my coworkers are going to my dad about problems with me, a parking kerfuffle, and more

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

1. My coworkers are going to my dad about problems with me

I recently started working at the same school that my father has taught at for over 30 years. He is actively involved in various aspects of the school and he is well respected by just about everyone in the district. (It’s a large district, but the superintendent knows him by name, which almost never happens.) Realistically, I know that has some role in my being hired, but I am qualified for the job; in fact, I’m overqualified (the job requires an associate’s degree, I have a master’s degree). While I don’t think anyone thinks I shouldn’t be there, there is a tendency to defer to my father, even though he’s not my supervisor. Generally, I want to know how to address this matter so it doesn’t interfere with my work.

More specifically, recently, I made a small mistake that seems to have upset a coworker, perhaps even disproportionately so (I knocked on her door to ask a question at what was apparently a bad time). While I think this is the sort of matter that can be handled without getting anyone else involved (this being the first time I’ve met her, so obviously not a recurring problem, and it won’t happen again), as the party in the wrong, I admit that maybe I’m not the best to judge what is or isn’t a big deal. However, she didn’t go to my supervisor, she went to my father. So, I’m torn because I want to avoid this lady, but I also feel like I need to address the fact that I’m clearly being treated as if I’m under my father’s guardianship. What do I do?

You need your dad to agree not to play into this. If people come to you about matters involving you, he needs to say, “When we’re at work, Lucinda isn’t related to me. You should address this directly with her.”

If it becomes an ongoing issue, you might need to say something similar to the culprits, but I bet you can solve the whole thing if your dad refuses to participate in it.

2. My employer requires all employees to back into parking spaces

I work for a mid-sized corporation. A new parking policy has been introduced, which requires all employees to back into parking spaces. I don’t like this because it takes longer to park now and because I am terrified of hitting the cars on either side of me when I am attempting to back in. When I questioned the reason for this policy, I was told it was for employee safety and that it would prevent people from backing out of a parking space and hitting someone who was walking by or another car. I feel the odds of me hitting someone are something are greatest when I am trying to wedge myself and my car in a tight space, while in reverse. What do you think of this policy and do you think it is logical?

I have no idea, without knowing more about the parking situation. But regardless of how reasonable it is, if you make a big deal about it, it’s not likely to reflect well on you — most people will think this is a pretty minor thing, and major pushback on it will seem out of place.

For what it’s worth, I once lived somewhere that required residents to park that way and I was highly annoyed — but I discovered that it was pretty easy after the first week of doing it. (And then I never lost the skill, which has been handy.)

3. Since I can’t contact job candidates’ current managers, how can I know if they’re hiding problems at a current job?

I’m a manager in training for a mid-size level retailer and am completely brand new to hiring, I have a concern regarding job applicants who check “no” on “may we contact your employer” for current employers. I’ve read your articles and if memory serves me correctly, this should not necessarily raise a red flag because employees don’t want their bosses to know that they’re job searching. Understandable.

My concern is if they check “no,” is there any way to try to find out if they’re hiding anything (i.e. performance issues, tardiness, etc.?) Like I said, I’m new to hiring, so the answer may be as simple as there may not be much that can be done. I mean, if I bring someone in for an interview, is there any way I can address that concern with the interviewee without being overly suspicious that something could very well be wrong? Any recommended questions that I could ask?

It’s definitely very normal for candidates to request that their current employers not be contacted, since that can jeopardize their current jobs. And yeah, that means that if there’s something going on with their current job, you probably won’t get to hear about it — but you can certainly ask about why they’re looking for a new job, and what challenges they’ve experienced there.

I wouldn’t worry too much that there’s some dark story you won’t be able to uncover, as long as you’re doing a thorough job of checking references from previous jobs (and making sure to talk to past managers, specifically). Someone who has glowing references from their last three jobs is unlikely to have suddenly become a different person at their current position. It’s patterns that really matter most anyway, and you’re going to get a good sense of that from the past managers.

4. Interactive, web-based resumes

With the digitization of our world, what is your opinion on interactive, web-based resumes? The content would be as professional as expected (based on the posts you’ve made regarding how to write good resumes and cover letters). But it would be web-based and has a bit of interactivity (more organized links, sections, etc. and maybe with a bit of light animation when you click on menus). I’ve seen a few in the past, but they are few and far in between and usually for design-related positions where the individual needs to demonstrate their visual and programming skills. But for regular white-collar jobs… what do you think?

Nope. People keep looking for creative ways to improve on the traditional resume, but the vast, vast majority of hiring managers prefer the traditional resume because it serves their needs the best. Traditional resumes are easy to scan and quickly find information in, and they can be easily input into electronic applicant systems. That’s seriously all we want. Don’t mess with it!

5. Can I ask for a paycheck advance?

I work for a small business that provides home health care. As you can imagine, I depend on my vehicle to get to my clients’ homes. My car recently broke down and is going to cost me about $600. I’ve turned everywhere. The bank, credit cards, installment loans, family, friends, etc.all have been denied. I have nowhere else to turn and I’m running out of options and money. I’m depending on my friend’s car to get to work but that option is running low as well. Am I in a position to ask my manager (owner of the company) for an advance to help me pay for the repairs?

In general, I’d avoid doing that if at all possible, but if you’ve truly exhausted all other options, you don’t have a lot to lose — if the alternative is being unable to get to work, then this isn’t crazy to ask. Just make it clear that it’s not something you’d ask if you had other alternatives, and that you understand the answer may be no.

{ 348 comments… read them below }

  1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    #3, a key here is that you don’t want to “address the concern” about not being able to contact their current manager. There isn’t really a way to frame it as a concern while still (a) acknowledging this is totally normal and (b) not seeming suspicious. Also, you don’t want candidates to feel pressured to let you call that manager…you could inadvertently cause someone you have no intention of hiring to lose their job. Good for you for thinking this one through and being sensitive to how you might be perceived in the hiring process.

    1. triple flip*

      Totally agree with these statements. At my current company, if you have applied for an internal position (let alone have an interview), you are required to tell your manager. It makes for some awkward conversations to say the least. I actually just had to have that conversation with my manager last week, and even though they took the news well, I can’t help but wonder how they will treat me moving forward.

      I think the key in thus situation is to ask very specific questions during the interview process. For example, if the role you are hiring for requires someone to be very detail-oriented, you can ask the interviewee to give examples to demonstrate their effectiveness (a proofing test for an editor position you’re hiring for, for example).

      1. tt*

        Talk about awkward! That goodness my organization doesn’t require us to inform our managers, unless we’ve been in the position less than a year (in which case you’re usually not allowed to move anyway, so may as well not bother). I would not have wanted to tell my former manager that I was applying to other things.

    2. Anon for This*

      What do you do when “scuttlebutt” arises regarding a candidate who has asked that you not talk to their manager until they have a chance to talk to their manager first? Sorry to be vague here.

    3. J.*

      Thank you. I’m the OP and I appreciate your feedback. Employee engagement has been one of my strengths throughout my relatively new career as a manager and I’m keeping that in mind as I assume hiring responsibilities. Even though job candidates may not be your current employees, it’s extremely important to engage their interest and treat them fairly and considerately.

  2. Charles Haine*

    #2, backing into parking spaces is much, much safer for all involved and something I do whenever I park anywhere. UPS did a large study and requires back-in parking in all it’s employee parking lots. In addition to making it less likely that you hit a pedestrian, it also makes it much less likely that you’ll have an accident with another car, since when you are backing up (which is the most dangerous time), you are in the middle of the lane and controlling traffic, and when you are “pulling out” into the driving lane, you are going forward and have better visibility.

    After a week, you’ll get used to it. Seriously, I only back-in park now, wherever I go.

    1. Dan*

      I just find a space where I can pull through, even if I have to park at the end of the lot (a little walking never killed anybody.) In almost all busy lots, this is a viable option. The only place it isn’t is my work parking garage, but it’s quiet enough where I don’t worry.

      1. Traveler*

        Yes! I hate backing up, especially when I’m flanked by two large trucks/SUVs. Pull throughs are worth the walk.

        1. fposte*

          As long as you don’t mistakenly believe there’s no low concrete bar at the front of the space. Not that I’d know anything about that.

          1. JB*

            At the grocery store near my parents house, there is exactly one parking space in the whole lot that has one of those, and we have all accidentally driven over it. You look around and think, “ok, this parking lot doesn’t have those,” pull through, and hear that awful grating sound.

        2. Sharon*

          I’ve joked with my husband that I’m better at backing into a parking space than pulling forward into one, but it’s true. I have neck/spine issues, so have never really been able to turn my head around enough to look behind. However, I find that it’s super easy to line up with the next car by looking in the side mirrors. And to know when to stop before I hit something behind me I refer to my backup camera – the best thing since sliced bread, by the way. But the key to parking well in reverse really is aligning yourself with either the next car over or the lines on the pavement by looking in your side mirror instead of out the window.

          1. Brenda*

            I can align myself fine, it’s the actual moving backward in a straight line that eludes me. The car always goes too far one way or the other even though I think I’m keeping the wheel straight. Reversing in a straight line for more than a couple of feet is my biggest driving fear.

            On the other hand, I am master of parallel parking. Big cars, small cards, right hand, left hand, tight spaces busy downtown streets, I can do it all!

            1. Lee*

              Do you turn around to back up? Or use your mirrors?
              I like to put my right hand on the back of the passenger seat and turn around, it’s much more intuitive than trying to do it in the mirror.

              1. Emily*

                Also, make small adjustments, don’t over-overcompensate when you straighten up the car.

                Depending on the lot, sometimes you can cheat by setting up as though you’re about to front-park in the spot across from the spot you want and then backing in.

      2. cuppa*

        I pull through as well. It works out well because my husband is embarrassed by my reversing skills, but it gets the same result most of the time.

        1. LW*

          I hate to admit this, but I have trouble getting the car (Subaru Outback) in the garage. I am always too close on one side or the other despite thinking I’m perfectly lined up. It drives my husband nuts. He has to re-position it almost every night. I don’t think I’d ever even attempt to back up into a parking space. Never, no way!

          1. cuppa*

            I know what you mean! I tried to back in the driveway the other day, and I actually thought I did a great job, but then I got out of the car and realized I was still a little crooked.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I had trouble backing my tractor into the garage until I decided to just focus on one side. (I keep looking at both sides and trying to drive straight at the same time. It went badly.) I figured out where to put the wheels on the right hand side (because I was backing in), and presto! I started parking in the correct spot.

            Another cool thing to think about is to drop a string down from the ceiling/beam of your garage. Know where the car should line up with that string. For example- the string should be over the center of the hood OR the string should be over the driver. Put the string toward the middle or near the door of the garage, so you can line up as you are pulling in. Look at that cross bar of the steering wheel- if the cross bar is straight then your wheels are straight and you will drive straight in. (It took me years to figure that one out with respect to driving in reverse. sigh, sigh.)

      3. Mister Pickle*

        I, too, love the “pull-through”.

        I’ve noticed that newer cars have rear-view camera systems that often make back-in parking a lot easier.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I love it too. My favorite spot at Walmart is a pull-through right beside the cart corral. Easy to find my car, I can put the cart away, and no one can hit me at least on that side.

          I wish our office parking lot had pull-through spots. I hate backing up because people roar out of there like their butts are on fire, and I expect them to take out my back end one of these days.

    2. Jennifer M.*

      While I’m not saying it is there is a high likelihood of this, if you have backed in to your parking space and need to make a quick getaway because you are being pursued, you will be able to get in your car and get gone faster if you can exit the spot by driving forward rather than backing up. I forced myself to learn to back in to spots because I knew I was moving overseas to a country that doesn’t have big parking lots like the US and backing into a space might be the only way to guarantee I would be able to get out. I can’t do it quickly and I do much better backing into a spot on my left vs my right, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

      1. CNW*

        My fiancé always tells me it’s better to back into the space in case we have to make a quick getaway. It’s only super weird when he tells me that and we’re at the bank… Seriously, his dad does that too, so I see where he gets it from. It can be a bit annoying but if OP practices it shouldn’t be a problem.

    3. MT*

      As someone who drove a delivery truck in college, when I was getting my CDL it was explained to me that you are more aware of your surroundings when you are arriving to a location, thus making it safer to back into than out of a spot.

    4. YourCdnFriend*

      I know of companies that require you to back in even if you’re off work time and in your personal vehicle.

      How they can require that and enforce it, I have no clue. But, it’s not a totally crazy rule.

      1. MT*

        You are parking on private property. They can easily just have you towed if you are not following the lot rules.

        1. YourCdnFriend*

          Oh! No their rule is all the time, any time – even at home or at the grocery store.

          I would say in the personal space it’s more of an aspiration for their employees to be safe, always and less an enforceable rule.

          1. LBK*

            What the hell? They just don’t want any of their employees parking forward…ever? I agree, that seems like an insane rule to try to enforce. Do they hire a brigade of meter maids to hunt down your cars throughout town and make sure they’re parked appropriately?

            1. Judy*

              My guess is it is like a safety pledge. I’ve had some where employers ask you to pledge to always wear your seat belts. One place would randomly once or twice a year have someone in the parking lot at shift change handing out safety swag for having your seat belts buckled.

              Woo hoo! A can cozy that says “Safety First! Always buckle your seat belts”, what I always wanted.

              1. fposte*

                So much nicer than a gold watch, isn’t it?

                Though I think the goal may also just to be sure that people practice the maneuver over and over and over so that it really is a well-established skill and not the scary way they have to get into the work parking lot.

              2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

                When employers ask you to “wear your seat belt” — it’s not unusual – very much like wellness programs in the workplace.

                AND – in most jurisdictions – wearing seat belts is mandatory. For an employer – it’s cost effective , because if you ARE in an accident you are less likely to be seriously injured if you’re wearing it. Which means you’re less likely to miss work, and less likely to put more stress on the health-care premiums….

            2. AB*

              My OldJob made us sign safety pledges that we would never use our phones in our cars (personal or work, at home or while on the job, driver or passenger). They couldn’t enforce it of course.

              While I never text and drive, my phone is my GPS and my music. It’s all connected to the car’s bluetooth, so I can get directions and change songs without touching my phone (I can even “text” with voice command but I don’t because texting and driving is illegal). However, I didn’t dare use my GPS when I drove my boss anywhere. He wanted us to print out directions. I found trying to decipher what the next step is on printed directions way more distracting and dangerous than having my phone tell me through my speakers when I needed to turn. I even got in trouble once because I was trying to get to a meeting and was stuck in a traffic standstill (as in, the road was closed due to an emergency and I hadn’t moved for 30 minutes and had shut my car off) and I called to let them know that I wasn’t going to make the meeting.

            3. Momghoti*

              Hunh? At the grocery store or Costco is the one time backing in is a really bad idea–how do you get your shopping in the boot? My hubby found that out the hard way.

              1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

                Silly question – you take your car to the “No Parking – Fire Lane” zone, park there, and load it up.

                Sure, you block the main road in front of the store, create chaos for pedestrians, but as long as the cops don’t yell at you , you’re ok!

                (your comment is legitimate – I was being funny. I always park front-end-in at the supermarket for that very reason… how do I get my 10 bags of groceries in the trunk?)

              2. Diet Coke Addict*

                Good grief, yes. I love to pull through or back in when possible, but at Costco when I’m loading a ton of heavy crap into my car, how am I supposed to do that if my back bumper is six inches from someone else’s? The entire point of my driving a miniature hatchback is that it holds a ton of stuff–backing in at Costco or the grocery store would totally negate that!

                1. De Minimis*

                  It would make sense if you park right next to the store, but I rarely saw people doing that back when I lived where we had Costco.

            4. The Strand*

              That’s hilarious. I smell a reality TV series – like “Parking Wars” except with a fleet of meter maid robots dressed like Rosie, the Jetsons’ maid.

            5. Hillary*

              I’m very late to the conversation, but…

              It’s coming from companies that have relatively high accident rates (especially trucking/transportation companies). Usually they’ve improved their safety records but plateaued. Maybe they have a lot of employees out in the field where a supervisor can’t do a lot of hands on coaching.

              Basically, they’ve realized that you can’t expect a person to behave one way on the clock if they don’t buy into it for their entire life. It has to be a well designed program to work, but good ones can be successful. UPS is the prime example.

          2. Kyrielle*

            What do they do if you’re parking somewhere that _forbids_ it? I’ve seen a couple lots where most (or all) of the parking is along the building, and they forbid backing in – I think because they don’t want exhaust fumes coming at the buildings, but I’m really not sure.

          3. Sans*

            I’d roll my eyes and ignore that one. It’s one thing to suggest and an another to make it a totally ridiculous rule. I’ve driven for 38 years. And I still can’t back into a parking spot or parallel park. Yeah, it sucks. But I drive well otherwise and I guess I’m just not perfect, huh? I stink at backing into a parking spot. I would absolutely hit cars and if I haven’t gotten the hang of it in almost 40 years of driving, I’m not going to risk my car and other cars by doing it now. I’m one of those that would find a spot to go through, even if it meant a long walk.

      2. Tenley*

        The only worksite accidents I know of in real life (as opposed to from national news) that have resulted in deaths are parking lot accidents. Usually it’s someone who is hit during strange shift hour changes — like a nurse leaving at 5:30 a.m. The driver tends to be in their own vehicle tearing out of what they think is a lot or garage with no moving humans (and often it seems has their music full blast to relax after the shift so not only isn’t primed to look for the rare person but can’t hear them either).

      3. Nancie*

        That would drive me nuts! What if I also have to park somewhere that requires me to park nose-in? (Presumably there’s a parking permit sticker that’s supposed to be placed in a particular spot on the back of the car.)

        Sure, they can’t really enforce it, but just knowing that people who see that decal would know I’m not following the rules elsewhere would constantly bug me.

        (I prefer to think this is a facet of my OCD, rather than the alternative that I’m a goody two-shoes.)

    5. Emily*

      I back in all the time too just for the sheer convenience of quickly getting out! Especially in a crowded parking lot it’s so much easier to just pull forward and immediately enter the traffic stream…ever been leaving a major event and need to back your car out but there’s a line of cars behind you, stretching from the parking garage entrance where everyone is paying, moving one car forward at a time? You’re totally at the mercy of the cars in line behind you to make room for you to back up while turning. But if you backed in, you just bring your nose forward and gently turn directly into the line.

      1. Judy*

        I generally pull through or back in when going to events when everyone will be leaving at once where the parking area does not have slanted lines. I also ALWAYS back in or pull through to the spots in my church parking lot, because there are always kids running around.

    6. hermit crab*

      I’ve also seen back-in parking required at a federal facility, at least for the government vehicles. In addition to the everyday safety issue, it meant that if there was some kind of emergency, everyone would be able to leave quickly without crashing into each other.

    7. Reix*

      Backing into parking spaces is a regular requirement in oil& gas and petrochemical facilities, to allow quicker evacuation in case of an emergency (I am not in the US, though).

      1. Summer*

        Yeah, my brother-in-law works at a chemical plant (in the US) and is required to back in so they can get out quickly in an emergency.

    8. Graciosa*

      There seem to be a lot of comments about parking, and I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with this when the parking spaces were angled? I understand it for straight in spaces, but I don’t believe I’ve ever tried to reverse into an angled spot. Unless it was mandatory for all, I think it would leave you trying to go against the flow of traffic when pulling out.

      1. danr*

        NYC re-angled the onstreet parking (where angle parking existed) so cars could back in correctly and come out of the space into the flow of traffic. It seems silly to back into traditional angled spaces so you have to swing wide coming out and possibly back and fill to make the turn.

      2. Cautionary tail*


        Like all the respondents above, my company requires backing in for all the safety reasons already mentioned.

        With respect to angled spots the guidance we’ve gotten is to park head-in to angled spots because if you back-in/pull-through to an angled spot, when you leave your vehicle will be facing against the flow of traffic creating a hazard.

      3. chewbecca*

        My high school banned pull-through or back-in parking in angled spots because they were having too many problems. Their reasoning was exactly what you said – you’re going against the flow of traffic – and in most cases, going the wrong way down the lane.

    9. JMegan*

      I’m a new driver, and a recent graduate of driver’s ed. And one of the things I remember them teaching me, over and over and over again, was that it’s much safer to back in to a spot than to drive in. The reason is that you can check the spot for obstacles (other vehicles, pedestrians, etc) before you start, and it’s pretty unlikely that new ones will appear while you’re parking. Whereas if you’re backing *out,* it’s very easy for vehicles, pedestrians, etc to enter your space after you’ve already checked for them.

      I think it’s a bit over the top to make a policy about it, but they’re not wrong about it being safer. I think this is a question of picking your battles – is this really the hill you want to die on? Alison and the others are right about this being a relatively easy skill for most people to learn – it shouldn’t take you more than a week or two to get the hang of it.

      1. ChristinaW*

        I was always told to park rear-in so that if you need a jump, you can easily access the engine. If you are front-in and stuck in a long line of parked cars, getting a jump is a much tougher feat!

    10. Rita*

      I agree, you’ll get used to it. Although it may take longer to park, it takes less time to leave so that’s a plus!

      My old job had a weird parking lot, which was partially under the building. The spots delegated to our company were tandem (against a wall – ugh) and there were two oddly placed poles that made backing out of my usual spot challenging. I eventually became much, much better at backing my car in, not just there but in all situations. It’s odd, because I bought a new car about six months ago (went from a small sedan to a midsized) and I haven’t yet become comfortable with backing in to spots yet. At my current job I’m able to pull through, so I don’t have the practice.

    11. JB*

      I actually hate the back-into spots. I’m not going to argue with studies that say it’s generally safer because I have no reason to doubt the studies were done well. But for me personally, I feel so much less safe pulling forward out of a spot because I don’t feel like I have as good visibility without the mirrors to see odd angles. It may not be the reality of the situation, but that’s how I feel.

      But more than that, I haaaaate the back-in parkers who take forever getting into their spots or who hold up people driving in the aisle by their pull-forward, swing-out parking maneuvers. I know that safety should come first, but that’s not how I feel while I’m waiting for them to park.

    12. chewbecca*

      NPR did a story about backing in and how it correlates to economic growth on Morning Edition back in August (I’ll reply with a link, but it was part of the Hidden Brain series by Shankar Vedantam).

      They also said it was a form of delayed gratification. I didn’t really buy that so much, but that could be because I’m a pull-in parker. Though, after reading the comments, I might start trying to back in or at least pull-through at work.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Yeah, I remember that and was thinking of the same. Our company also requires (or at least highly recommends) back in parking, and I am so much better at backing now. It was really hard and awkward the first week or two.

      2. Judy*

        One place I worked had 2 parking lots, one at each end of the building. My office was on the south end of the building, and for 3 months due to construction, they removed the card readers on the south door. We could leave by the door, but we didn’t have a way to get in. Many of us still parked in the south lot, walked along the front of the building, entered, and walked inside the building to the south end. If you have to walk 1/8 mile in the morning and in the evening, isn’t it better planning to just walk 1/4 mile in the morning, and exit the door 25 feet from your desk to the parking lot?

    13. Betty*

      It’s funny how many comments there are on the “backing into a parking spot” topic. So I’ll add one.

      While I don’t back in all the time, it’s a good skill to have. I’m teaching my teenager to drive and this is one of things I want him to know before he gets his license. (Along with using the drive-through ATM and mailboxes, fast food drive-throughs, parallel parking, and all the usual local street and highways driving skills.)

      I lived in apartments that required backing in: otherwise your headlights would shine right into the downstairs apartments.

    14. Bella*

      I am terrible at backing up and to make matters worse I drive a huge truck. I find pull-through spaces when I can. However at work this is not possible but there is a policy that we have to park by lining up to the person next to us, so I just make sure that I am there early enough to be first so that I can take as many tries as I need. If I am not first or someone witnesses it, I just laugh it off with the witness or get them to help me. It is known around the office that I cannot park.

    15. TBoT*

      I once worked at a place that had the opposite rule: You had to pull in, nose first, one space, no exceptions. No backing in, no pulling through. Their rationale was that someone who was not supposed to be on the property would be easier to spot because they had backed in/pulled through.

      (I found this line of reasoning absurd, since there’s no guarantee that someone who was not supposed to be there would back in or pull through, so I chalked it up to being one of the company’s endless techniques for micromanagement. For example, in addition to this parking thing, we could not bring desk accessories like pencil cups and staplers from home; we could only get them from the supply room. The only color available from the supply room was beige. The cubicle walls were also beige, and we were not allowed to decorate them. Nor could we change or computer backgrounds or screensavers. The only thing we could have on our desk that was not work related was a cup or a coffee mug, which had to have a lid.)

      (This was just the tip of the iceberg … it was a stifling, oppressive place to work.)

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Since parking nose-in is much more common, it seems that would not be the best way to notice intruders. Better would be to require back-in parking, which an intruder would probably not be so good at, might not even notice that everyone else is doing, and their nose-in parking would stick out.

    16. ECH*

      I was thinking about this thread when I went to the store today. I pulled forward into a parking space, then decided to pull back out and return in reverse. Then, I noticed that the space closest to the store was open! So not quite the point, but tangentially a success story.

  3. Artemesia*

    #1 Hit out of the park by Alison. This problem cannot be managed if your father doesn’t have the sense to shut it down immediately. This is something you should have discussed with your Dad before starting work there; if he did anything except refuse to discuss it and send the complainer back to you, then you need to have a serious conversation about your professional roles. If he did shut it down, then a happier conversation is in order. It is so critical that relatives working in an organization are VERY clear about this. If your father does not get this it is time to look to transfer to another school.

    #4 Oh please no ‘light animation’ or fiddly interactive resumes. All that is a time suck. Just like videos, resumes that don’t let the hiring manager quickly find what they want as they initially scan are likely to be disregarded. Links for work products, publications etc can be useful especially once past the initial scan, but the basic information about past work achievements, education etc — that needs to be presented crisply, traditionally and with no dancing bears. If they are impressed, they will look at the links.

    1. Emily*

      I would hate any electronic resume because my preferred way to review resumes is printed out, on my lunch break while I’m nowhere near a computer. I’ve found I will spend a bit more time with and think more abstractly about a strong resume that I’m casually perusing with interest over food on my break, whereas at my desk when I’m “on the clock” I feel more the need to keep up the pace and make quick assessments.

      1. Kyrielle*

        I like to take notes about questions I need to ask to follow up, where for example some experience means they may have a “nice to have” that wasn’t in the ad, but they didn’t state it outright, so I need to ask more about that experience.

        1. Koko*

          Ah yes, that too! I always write notes on the resumes and then have my notated print-out in front of me during the interview. I’ve yet to ever really come across anything electronic that lets me take notes on a document in a way that I like.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      #1 – Deifnitely agree with Alison’s response, based on the fact that someone did go to the OP’s dad, but I also completely agree with the OP’s assessment on this part of the situation:While I think this is the sort of matter that can be handled without getting anyone else involved (this being the first time I’ve met her, so obviously not a recurring problem, and it won’t happen again).

      I have an office, a door, and no sidelight. The only time I usually shut my door is if I am on a conference call or have 2+ people in my office meeting, simply so that I don’t disturb everyone else around me. In these situations, it’s fine if someone knocks on the door and interrupts with a quick question. I tell them I’ll come by when I’m finished. Now, if I happen to be on the phone with my doctor or fighting with my husband, I can choose to not answer the knock. : ) If someone is so bold to knock then crack the door open, I can politely explain that if my door is shut and I don’t answer, come back another time. There’s no need to dress down the person for something so small, or to get their manager involved. (Unless the OP was pulling a Sheldon — “Penny, Penny, Penny,” then I might elevate the complaint.)

      (I know I’m losing sight of the bigger issue & the point of the question, but it annoys me when people get bent out of shape over minor, one-time infractions.)

      1. Ted Mosby*

        This was my thought too… you’re in trouble for…. knocking on a door? Overreaction . Huge overreaction to go to anyone . Unprofessional and weird to go to your dad.

        I also disagree that OP should have talked about this with her father beforehand. I wouldn’t anticipate this kind of behavior. It’s unprofessional and doesn’t really make any sense. What did Mr. Don’tknock think he was going to do? Ground her? Dock her allowance for the week?

        1. KarenT*

          So much this. Your co-worker went to your dad because you dared to knock on her door during an inopportune time?

      2. Polaris*

        Did the OP knock on a bathroom stall door or catch her coworker doing something shady? I am racking my brain trying to think of any situation in a K -12 environment in which knocking on a door would be a problem that escalated beyond a simple conversation. Perhaps, if the school psychologist or the vice principal were with a student and there was a flashing neon sign saying “Disturb at Your Own Risk,” but I’d still call talking to anyone other than the OP about it an overreaction and talking to her father is weird and unprofessional.

      3. catsAreCool*

        Yeah, this doesn’t seem like it should be considered a mistake. What’s the big deal with knocking on a door?

  4. Noah*

    #2 – I’m a safety manager for an airline. We actually required our employees at HQ to back into parking spaces for nearly two years. However, after comparing data prior to the change and with other companies, we found that our rate of parking lots accidents was higher during the time period we forced people to back in. No injuries were noted, but lots of small parking lot scuffs and dings. In the end we abandoned the policy and now employees can park however they are most comfortable. Those that were comfortable backing in still do so, and those that were not pull in.

    FWIW, I think many people are nervous backing into spots for the same reason that many are nervous about parallel parking. It is not a skill most drivers use that often. Most can accomplish the task, after all we back out of parking spaces all the times, but for whatever reason nerves get the best of them.

    1. Dan*

      Heh. I learned how to “back in park” with a 5,000 gallon fuel truck. It was probably the safest thing, as the parking area was in front of our hangars. The parking spaces were painted with proper separation between the trucks. Probably better than backing out into a busy ramp. You learn to use your mirrors. The difference with a car parking lot though is there isn’t really any buffer space. Our buffer space for the trucks was one truck wide.

      Now, I had a lot of fun with the 10,000 gallon fuel truck. That thing handled differently and they didn’t train us on it very much. You could “turn in” to things with that, and one day I put a huge scratch on the side of it while making a turn. I didn’t say anything, and about two months later, some goody-two-shoes found it and made a big deal about it. Boss calls me on the radio and asked if I did it. I learned in the past to “Deny deny deny” (Honesty is NOT the best policy). Boss calls back and says, “If you did would you tell me?” I called back with a loud “Nope!”

      They banned me from the rig when I backed into a fence. That sucked was big, and sometimes hard to judge your depth when backing up.

      One guy did get fired for a fuel truck “incident”. He was working two jobs, and fell asleep while driving the truck. He took out another (full) truck. Oops.

      1. Noah*

        When I worked as a cross utilized agent, the final test for the ramp agent part involved backing up a tug with two bag carts attached in a straight line. Not as difficult as I thought it would be honestly. I was way more scared the first time I had to drive the jet bridge up to a real aircraft. I was less scared pushing an airplane out of the gate.

        1. Bea W*

          I’ve been on the incoming plane while having someone new being trained on the jet bridge. It’s not pretty. :D

    2. sally*

      There is a big difference between backing out and backing in. Most obvious is when backing in you most likely have a car on 1 or possibly 2 sides. You stated this when you said accidents increased when your company had the policy in place.
      Its a ridiculous policy …. hopefully they did some actual research and slanted the parking spots.

        1. Bloopy*

          Also, when you are backing in, you start off in the lane where cars/people around can clearly see you and your reverse lights, and have time to react when you start backing in. You also have a better view of everything around you. When backing out of a spot, your sights are limited, you can’t see whether people or cars are about to go by, and those people and cars typically expect you to stop and wait for them, even when you’re half way out of the spot. If all cars are backed in the line of sight for the drivers pulling out has vastly increased.

        2. LBK*

          And when you’re backing out, it’s much, much more likely that there will be a pedestrian walking behind your car. I think that’s really the main concern.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            My office just required everyone to walk on the painted walkway/sidewalk to address this issue. Yes, you’re still walking behind cars when you are getting to the sidewalk, and anyone backing out of the spots near the walkway needs to look carefully for people in the walkway, but this does seem like another option, rather than forcing everyone to learn to park. My mom needs 3 tries to pull in to a spot forwards, with a Hyundai Sonata.

        3. LibLady*

          I can back in pretty well, but only if I stick my head out the driver’s window. Sucks when it’s raining.

        4. Mephyle*

          When you’re backing out, you also have a car on one or both sides, but you’re coming out of an enclosed space into an open space,. That’s what makes backing out easier than backing in. In contrast, when backing in, you’re backing into an enclosed space. That’s what makes backing in different, and harder for people who haven’t gotten comfortable with that skill.
          I haven’t read the below comments yet, but so far no stories about learning to back up with a trailer. Once you’ve tried that, backing up a car is trivial!

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        I’ve noticed that our workplace (which requires backing in) has generously wide parking spaces. I think that helps a lot. And I haven’t heard of any even slight fender bender in the two years I’ve worked here.

    3. Sparrow*

      Yes to nerves! I am horrible when trying to back into a parking spot. For some reason, I lose my sense of direction and get confused between left and right. It’s worse if there are other cars waiting for me to park. My husband is an expert at backing in and parallel parking and doesn’t always understand why I get so flustered. I’ve never had a need to do either so I’ve never taken the time to learn.

      If I was forced to do this in my workplace, I wouldn’t say anything about it. I would just try to park somewhere where there weren’t a lot of cars. Also, there would probably be a lot of pulling forward and backing up until I got the hang of it.

      1. JMegan*

        I don’t know if this helps, but I always remind myself to “turn the wheel the way you want the back of the car to go.” It’s probably second nature to people who drive all the time, but it’s really helpful for me as a newbie to have the verbal cue!

        1. De Minimis*

          That’s always how I remember it too…I think it’s the best way to think about it especially when you’re just starting out.

      2. Anx*

        I panic about this. I would rather drive interstates than park in new places in new ways. I have a very difficult time maintaining a sense of where I am in relation to my surroundings while in motions. What I wouldn’t give for the opportunity to have a hyper-realistic simulation to practice. Parking and merging is the pits for me.

        I wish I could just turn around and examine the cars and mirrors while I’m driving without it affecting the car just a few times.

        Note: I may have adhd and/or dyscalculia

        1. Ife*

          I thought I was the only one! I have a terrible sense of space/distance when I’m in a car. Walking, biking? Totally fine. But when I get into that hollow piece of metal it goes away. 10 years of driving experience hasn’t made any difference, so I just make sure to give myself plenty of space at all times. But being required to back into parking spots? I’d probably have to quit if biking to work wasn’t an option.

  5. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


    If you have reason to have an online portfolio, have at it. Even dancing bears are okay if you’re interviewing for a job that would have you designing dancing bears. (But they better dance very well and match the tone of all of the jobs you are interviewing for.)

    Online competency is a big deal in a many jobs, not just creative positions, and having a professional online portfolio the matches the tone of who you are, the companies you are interviewing with, and how you would express yourself face to face in your first interview can only help, I think. If it doesn’t match the tone (dancing bears for accountancy), then what would have been a plus is a big backfire. I have not interviewed people for things found in their online portfolio — think artists with serious NSFW pieces published and linked to in their otherwise staid resume.

    1. Perpetua*

      I agree. I don’t mind seeing a well-designed, well-thought out online resume (a personal webpage or something similar), it can even help slightly, but I wouldn’t do it as a complete replacement of the traditional resume, only as a possible addition – I want to have something I can print out or scan through easily, just like Alison says.

      Also, I hear you on the “not interviewing people for online portfolio findings”, I’ve had exactly those kinds of applications (artists with really NSFW or even NSFL work), they just make me go “Uh…No.”

      1. LBK*

        Yeah, agreed – I wouldn’t necessarily mind it as a supplement to a traditional resume if it were appropriate for the role, but not as a replacement.

        1. Karowen*

          Yup – PDF version should always be available and readily accessible for people who don’t want to bother with the interactive version for whatever reason.

    2. YourCdnFriend*

      I really wish I worked for a place where animated Dancing Bears doing very impressive dances were appropriate in tone for the office.

    3. AB*

      I concur, while I would not use an interactive resume as your only resume, having one as a supplement doesn’t hurt. I have one that I can show to places who are looking for something more than a traditional exec. assistant. It shows that I’m tech-savy and well versed in social media. It gives examples of projects that I’ve managed or improved on (boring old report that nobody read that I redid to an interactive report and was able to show the analytics for vastly improved readership and breakdowns in who was interested in what information so we could continue to tailor and improve the report to make it a more informative and useful tool).

      A digital work portfolio or interactive resume can be a good way to stand out, so long as it’s used correctly. I only ever give it out once I’ve gotten a feel for what the company is truly looking for, usually at the interview stage. So if we’ve talked about something similar in the interview (say the exec wants to improve his online presence or he wants to improve his department’s visibility), then I would say, “if you would like to see some examples of how I accomplished that for Company X and Z, I can send you a link to my portfolio”. It really blows people away that I can give them concrete examples so they can get a feel for my work.

    4. Artemesia*

      An online portfolio is a good thing to have for many types of positions. But it should be linked in a traditional resume — I don’t care about your dancing bears or your graphic art samples UNTIL I have screened your resume and put you in the stack to pursue further. Make it hard for me to screen your resume and I won’t bother. (a position that is in fact about web design or graphic arts may be an exception to this, but I’d still have both available)

  6. Amber*

    #2 Just a random fact :) In the Army, we called this “combat parking” and we were required to park all vehicles this way because if we were in an emergency it’s faster to just pull out then to back out.

    But in the civilian world this is just weird to me. If it really bothers you, just park further away and avoid the other cars. If you give it time, it may turn into one of those rules that annoys everyone and eventually people just stop doing it.

    1. Reix*

      Emergencies, exactly. I wrote it further up in the comments. This way of parking is standard in oil&gas and petrochemical facilities for the same reason.

  7. CaptainStupid*

    I’m afraid it is quite simple: If you cannot control your car well enough to reverse park then you do not have enough control to drive at all.

    1. SJP*

      Yea, sorry, but i’m going to have to agree with this. It’s worrying that people in the US and UK pass there driving test by just about reverse parking and then once they get their license they cannot reverse park into spaces..

      I agree with the policy that you should reverse into a space to avoid hitting pedestrians and other cars.. I have no idea about in the US but in the UK it’s currently getting dark at around 3.30/4pm and with people backing out, despite needing to stop when cars drive past, they don’t cause they cannot see properly, and it’s worrying how many accidents i’ve seen nearly happen because of people reversing out..

      1. Bea W*

        My driving test consisted of going in a circle around the block and making a 3 point turn. It was ridiculously easy.

        1. Ash (the other one)*

          Yup, mine too. Hence never needing to learn to reverse park or parallel park. I’ve been driving for 14 years, never received a ticket and have only had one minor fender bender (person stopped short because they missed their turn while it was snowing and I skidded into their bumper just a bit). I am perfectly capable of driving, I just avoid situations in which I would have to reverse park or parallel park.

          1. Ash (the other one)*

            Oh, I’ll add I got my first license in AZ (haven’t needed to do a driving test since then in moving around, luckily), and they issue you your license until you’re 65 — no renewals or retests. That meant when I got my first license it expired in 2050!

        2. Kyrielle*

          Yeah, my driving test involved parallel parking but it didn’t involve reverse-in parking. Almost no one does that around here (although I pull through any time I can).

          I could back in park, but I would be REALLY careful and super nervous. This is because when backing in, I’m turning relative to the already-parked cars and telling where the back of my car is to that precision is tricky. When backing out, I don’t have to turn to avoid things near the _back_ of the car (if anything comes near the back of the car I stop backing up, and pull back in if needed!). It’s a skill that’s really only used, IMX, in back-in parking.

          1. Dmented Kitty*

            I generally do better backing in when there are other cars next to me as opposed to no cars — I use them as my guide. I also typically back in when there’s not much traffic around — that way I can swing across the lane and back in with less point-turns than backing in directly perpendicular to the parked cars.

            I don’t get much practice with parallel parking, but I do OK — my husband is an expert on parallel parking into tight spaces. This is why I really hate driving around downtown especially on high-traffic weekdays. I like to park without the pressure of people behind me watching (and possibly judging) my parking skills.

            I do pretty good at driving in very narrow roads, though. I used to drive in Manila, and there are two-lane roads that you literally only have an inch between the incoming car’s side mirrors and yours, otherwise your tires are going into a foot-deep uncovered rain gutters on the right side. My dad always told me, just mind the left side, and you’ll be safe on the other.

        3. Liane*

          I had to retake my first test due to parallel parking–which I still try to avoid–even with much practice beforehand, but a 3 point turn I got even though I had never practiced it. Go figure.

      2. Allison*

        I actually didn’t have to back into a perpendicular space in order to pass my test. In the US, or at least in MA, the elements of a driving test involve backing up along the curb, parallel parking, and 3-point turns. And they don’t always make people do all three, either.

        1. Windchime*

          I took my driving test 100 years ago, but even then there was no “reverse parking” (I’ve never even heard it called that until this thread). We had to parallel park, do a little driving and a few other things, but we were not required to back into a tight space with cars on either side. I will rarely choose to back into a spot; I don’t think I’ve ever done it voluntarily. Now that my car has a backup camera, it wouldn’t be as tough but I hate looking in the mirrors and trying to determine which way to turn the wheel so that I won’t scrape the car next to me.

        2. tt*

          I also took my driver’s test in MA, and they didn’t have me parallel park – thankfully, or I wouldn’t have passed! I don’t drive regularly, and spent years in a neighborhood where you never had to parallel park, you could just pull in or back in to a spot, so I still can’t do it.

          1. cuppa*

            I never learned how to parallel park in driver’s ed. I had to learn on the fly. Still not great at it.

          2. Jamie*

            I flunked my test the first time because I couldn’t parallel park. Second time I burst into tears when it came up and the lovely older gentleman checked it off as OK and told me not to cry. I still can’t parallel park and it’s only been an issue once – but it’s why when I was job searching I scoped out any job in the city for off-street parking before agreeing to an interview.

            I live in the ‘burbs – parking lots and driveways. That’s all I ask out of life.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I flunked it the first time because I bumped the stick. Failed the test by those three points. My dad’s late neighbor took me out into the elementary school parking lot and taught me properly. I went back and aced the driving test.

              I’m pretty good at parallel parking now, though I don’t like doing it. One time I parked downtown and when I came out of the store I was visiting, the original cars bracketing me were gone and the new ones had boxed me in with an inch to spare on either end. It took me nearly fifteen minutes to get out of that space without touching them, but I did it. In a big old Buick, no less! :D

            2. Dmented Kitty*

              My DL exam had parallel parking, 90-degree parking, and 90-degree reverse.

              I passed all three on the first try, but I apparently failed at turning into one-way streets, LOL, but I thought I failed because of my parking (it wasn’t excellent, but I didn’t hit any cones). Turns out I realized what I failed in when me and my MIL (whose car I used for practice driving) suddenly ended up turning into a one-way street and she told me the right way to do so — I was all light bulbs, “OMG I THINK I NOW KNOW WHAT I FAILED AT!” Passed my DL the second time.

              Living in Manila, everyone ignores every road sign. I had to unlearn that. Sheesh.

        3. BOMA*

          As someone who also took their driving test in MA (twice, because I failed the first time), parallel parking as a teenager is terrifying. I had to do it for my first test (which is how I failed), but not for my second. I eventually became great at parallel-parking when I moved to Boston, because our streets are tiny and illogical, but I don’t know how long it would have taken me to pass if I had to do it at 16.

          1. Allison*

            I live in Boston now, and while I can usually find a nice big gap that I can pull into head-on, I do sometimes need to parallel park. I’m not great at it . . . luckily, I just started renting my own spot.

          2. Ted Mosby*

            Clearly you didn’t know to go to Watertown high and pay $100 to just drive around the block twice ;-)

      3. JoJo*

        My driver’s test consisted of driving around the block, then pulling into a space in front of the building. No parallel parking, no turns, etc. In Michigan they just assumed you could drive and the test was a formality.

      4. Artemesia*

        By crackey, back in the day, we had to learn on a stick shift and had to parallel park in one try to get our driver’s license. I am pretty sure parallel parking is not a requirement today given the fact that most drivers don’t seem to be able to do it.

      5. Huge parking lot*

        I learned to drive and took my test in Ontario, Canada (live in the US now), and I had to back in to pass (I did). I was really good at backing in in my late teens though. I backed into every spot, even my own garage. My driving instructor taught method of lining up just right so I could back in almost automatically. Then I lived car-free in a major city for a few years (where I no longer live) and now I’ve forgotten how to do it. But after reading this thread I’m going to re-learn. We (office) have a huge parking lot with tons of empty spots so I can easily get some practice in. I haven’t had a close call yet, but it’s 100% worth it if I avoid hitting even one pedestrian, especially a shorter pedestrian (child, pet, etc.) who I wouldn’t be able to see out the back.

    2. Marcia*

      Absolutely. It’s part of the driving test for a reason. And I say this as someone who got her driver’s license later in life, and was scared of driving for years. You *should* be scared if you can’t back in properly. You don’t have enough control.

      I forced myself to back in over and over and over, in pick-up trucks as well as smaller vehicles, because it’s a necessary skill for anyone that drives.

      If you can’t do this, you are not a safe driver.

      1. LBK*

        I completely disagree that it’s a necessary skill for any driver. Aside from parking lots that have a requirement about it, when would you be forced to back in?

        1. De Minimis*

          I’ve been driving for over 25 years and have only had to do it once [in an emergency when my transmission had gone out.] I think it depends on where you live, I’ve also rarely had to do any sort of parallel parking.

          Our regional headquarters is located in an office park and one of the neighboring buildings does require employees to back into spaces. I figured it was some sort of efficiency thing. What I’ve seen in the past are accidents when some people back into the spaces and others do not. It should probably be an all or nothing type thing, or maybe have designated areas for both. A lot of the “back-inners” where I work all tend to park in the same area, at the back of the parking lot.

        2. illini02*

          Well, I guess its not necessary, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to do it. I grew up in the suburbs and never had to parallel park, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t need to learn to do it. Now I live in the city so I have to do it. Depending on where you live, many facets of driving aren’t necessary, but you still need to have the skill.

          1. LBK*

            I guess we are fundamentally disagreeing on the meaning of the term “necessary”. To me, something is only necessary if I need to do it. If I don’t need to parallel park ever…that is not a necessary skill. Helpful to have in my back pocket an emergency? Sure, but not necessary.

          2. Artemesia*

            I have been driving for over 50 years and I still remember the guidelines I was taught in driver’s ed for parallel parking. I had a car with a backup camera for awhile and that was magic, but I can still park our old sedan using the rules of thumb that I was taught in 1961.

        3. Judy*

          I know when I was first driving, I backed my dad’s truck much more than I backed the cars. My parents had me drive as much as possible, and the truck was what we took to the lumber yard or garden center when we were doing projects. Many of our local places had back in loading for things. (They would also offer me to drive some of the widowed neighbors to the garden center if they needed to get things.)

          1. LBK*

            My main car in HS was a van and I always backed that in since it was such a pain in the butt to see behind me while backing out, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it in the sedan I have now.

          2. Chinook*

            I think backing in a truck is also more practical than a car because of the large “overhang” at the read of the wheel (the trucks around here often have extended beds). If you back into a parking spot that isn’t against a wall, the overhang can go where the wheel and hood can’t. I think that is the only way some of those trucks can even fit into my condo parking lot without blocking traffic.

        4. Jamie*

          I also completely disagree. I’ve a very safe driver and I can’t back into a spot. This is one of the biggest sources of conflict between my husband and I as he backs into all spots including our driveway and I think it looks stupid. I’ve let it go, but still bugs me. (Apparently it’s a cop thing.)

          I have never once been anywhere where this was required or necessary – I don’t even understand how this could be classified as a safety issue.

      2. Hlyssande*

        Actually, it’s not necessarily on the driving test. When I was learning in IL in fall 1996, the teacher didn’t teach us how to back into things or parallel park because it wasn’t on the test.

        While I can back into things and I can parallel park, I’m not sure I will ever be really comfortable with either maneuver unless I have tons of space on all sides. Especially the parallel parking.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I don’t think that’s universally true. I do not back into parking spaces because I don’t feel comfortable doing so, and I don’t feel comfortable because I have some strange issues related to straight lines– these issues don’t affect my driving or front-facing parking one bit, and I am more than capable of backing out of a space safely, even in a busy parking lot. I am a very good driver with an excellent record (*spit, turn three times in a circle, knock wood, mutter Yiddish anti-evil-eye curses*). Now, backing in is certainly a skill I can gain with practice, but I haven’t had the opportunity or the requirement to develop it. I would advise the OP to find a place where she can practice, but I don’t think feeling uncomfortable backing in (which is NOT the same as “can’t do it”) is an immediate indicator of poor driving skills.

      1. Hlyssande*

        I agree with you.

        I can back into a spot when there is lots of space for me to maneuver. I can parallel park as long as there is a lot of extra space on either side.

        Do I enjoy either of them? Heck no. I was never taught and it’s never really been a requirement to learn, like you said.

      2. danr*

        Also known as astigmatism… you don’t see parallel lines as parallel. Eyeglasses can correct for most if it, but it makes backing into a parking space a challenge. Backing out is easier since you are already set up correctly… provided that the drivers who pulled in after you are not both angling into your space.
        Then there are the angled (head in) lines in the handicapped spaces at a local hospital. There is plenty of space between cars and the lines are not parallel, so you never get a good parking angle, except for a Smart car.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          You truly do learn something new every day… I have severe corneal astigmatism in both eyes, and I never knew that was the reason for my wonky straight line issues!

        2. VintageLydia USA*

          Now I suddenly understand why my good friend who otherwise drives excellently has a major issue with backing in and parallel parking!

        3. beachlover*

          Yup! I have astigmatism issues and it is very difficult for me to back into a parking spot and keep my car straight. I can do it, as long as the others waiting to go down the aisle do not mind waiting…… I am also very cognizant of this when backing out of a parking spot, I am always looking out for pedestrians and other vehicles that may be coming past me.

        4. Erin*

          Wow! I have severe astigmatism and have always had terrible trouble backing in to spaces and parallel parking. I can parallel park but I never reverse park. I no longer feel so incompetent!

        5. Jamie*

          That’s amazing – you just described my exact issues and I also pretty severe astigmatism – really interesting.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            I swear, this has been the single greatest piece of information I have had in ages. I can’t cut or draw a straight line either! I wonder why no one ever mentioned this to me in my 30 years of wearing corrective lenses.

            1. Jessica (the celt)*

              I’m with everyone else here. I have severe astigmatism, and it’s oblique/irregular (so it’s not on the normal axes that regular astigmatism is), so this actually makes a lot of sense for me! I can’t even wear contact lenses because my astigmatism is so wonky.

        6. Jules*

          That’s funny, I do have astig but loves backing up when parking. Mostly because long time ago after a long day at work, I reversed into a pillar. Never again.

    4. Arjay*

      I guess I’ll be the voice of dissent then. I’ve been driving successfully for 20+ years. I drive on freeways that are 6 lanes wide with crazy merges. I drive in heavy traffic with poor traffic signal timing. I’ve never had any problems controlling my driving. I’m sure I could learn to back into parking spaces, but I have never needed to, and therefore I’m not comfortable doing it. And it’s not part of our driving test in my state, so it’s not a requirement everywhere.

    5. LBK*

      It’s one of those weird things that they make you practice in driver’s ed and then no one ever does again, so I can certainly see being an otherwise good driver who just hasn’t backed into a spot in years and forgets how. There’s rarely a situation where you’re forced to do it – it’s quite like parallel parking, where you may have to know how to do it often if you live in a city. Almost anywhere you could back in, you can pull in forward too.

      1. Rita*

        My mom backed in the car we used for my driving test so I could pull out easily. So the state trooper (at that time in Massachusetts, State Troopers did the driving tests for licenses) told me I had to park same way we started. At the time it wasn’t something I had done a lot. I did it – very slowly, but I did it.

        1. De Minimis*

          I mentioned downthread that we had the troopers doing our driving tests too! I don’t think they do it anymore, though they might in some smaller towns. For mine I think the trooper would do driving tests at the community building once a week.

          1. Rita*

            I know by the time my brother got his license (7 or so years after me) they no longer had state troopers, at least at the places he was looking into having the test done.

            1. De Minimis*

              We moved back to my home state, and I think they’ve changed the system a lot, now they have various “certified examiners” doing the driving tests.

              I’m just glad I didn’t have to do it again….didn’t even have to do a written test since I had a valid license from another state.

    6. jhhj*

      I can back in to a spot (and indeed have to sometimes at the parking spot at work), but I much prefer backing out over backing in. (Pulling through is, of course, the best.)

      The biggest problem with backing in is that if the cars next to you are close to the sides of their spots, you have to back in to a very narrow space — when you back out, you can back out straight into an empty lane and turn with much less concern.

      Since I never park in lots that are that busy, I don’t have the concern about backing into a lane of traffic.

    7. HR Manager*

      I am slightly in agreement with your sentiment, but there is also a redonkulous trend of cars the size of small buildings for urban drivers (and not the best parkers either, with their cars overflowing into the next space). Really, did you need the humvee that takes up a space and a half for you 5 mile commute? Gee, even Greg Brady couldn’t get within an inch-and-a-half of that egg, and I’m sure he was a perfectly safe driver.

      1. SJP*

        It really worries me that so many people can’t parallel park. I drive in cities and well as very rural England so I’ve driven in all sorts, for a long time now..
        But being able to park in and reverse out and parallel park is, IMO (so a lot will disagree i’m sure) really important..
        Just maybe a thing for people to do going forward but go back and do some refresher driving and relearn it if you did for your test and then forgot it..
        Test yourself and see if you can actually do it and see how beneficial it actually is.. might even save you reversing into someone or another car some time..

        1. VintageLydia USA*

          I think that depends on where you live. A lot of suburban American (and pretty much all rural America, so most of the country) there is literally never a reason to parallel park. Stores, even small stores, have huge parking lots or nearby garages. I’m not saying it’s not a good skill to have, but if it’s a skill you never need, well, I can’t blame people for not practicing.

          1. LBK*

            Seriously – when I was in HS there was never, ever, ever a reason for me to parallel park. My house, school, the mall, a friend’s house…everywhere had a driveway or a parking lot.

            It wasn’t until years later when I got a car in the city that it became a necessary skill. And recalling that skill was actually a bit of a baptism by fire – it was downpouring, I didn’t have an umbrella and the only spots within a 10-minute walk of my apartment were ones that required parallel parking, so I had to either figure it out on the spot or get soaked. I opted to just figured it out.

            1. VintageLydia USA*

              My first apartments where in an urban area not far from where I grew (different city, same geographic area) but before moving there I never needed to parallel park. For the twoish years I lived there I became a pro but since then I can probably count the times I’ve had to parallel park on my two hands in 8 years. I live near DC but I usually take mass transport if I’m actually going into the city aside from, like, twice, and otherwise my husband normally drives (he’s comfortable driving in and parking–if he can find it–in NYC so DC is easy comparatively.)

              1. SJP*

                I guess the US/Canada is totally different from parking in the UK… you guys are luckily then.. cause there are a lot of times you need to parallel park in the UK and if you can’t..
                Well then you’re F’ed

                1. fposte*

                  Much of the US is very car-focused in its design–our suburbs were mostly built around cars. It’s not good for us overall, but it does make a lot of driving easier.

                2. Jamie*

                  Even here in a lot of the larger cities it would be a handicap because many apartments have on-street parking only. (Hence the crazy dibs issue for which Chicago is famous.)

                  But I’ve literally run into one instance in my almost 3 decades of driving where not knowing how to parallel park was an issue. And I was rescued by a good Samaritan passer-by who jumped in my car and parked it for me. But honestly, it so rarely comes up for me it would be like practicing how to jump out of the way of a poisonous snake. It may come in handy someday, but my life circumstances make it pretty unlikely.

                3. Elizabeth West*

                  What fposte said; the US is very car-centric. Plus, we have more space than you do in the UK. Except downtown in cities, where things can get very cramped, but once you go into residential areas, it widens out again.

        2. Mike C.*

          I can certainly do it, but in moving from a ’94 Jeep to a ’13 BRZ, I can certainly say it’s a lot more difficult to do in certain types of vehicles. I’ll most likely add a camera to mine in future to aid in this.

      2. Mike C.*

        Not to mention the fact they always try to change lanes into me while driving then get upset when I lay on my horn. Yes, I get that my car is small and low to the ground straight out of the factory. It doesn’t give one an excuse to forget what your mirrors are for!

        Besides, I’ll be passing you in a few moments anyway. ;)

      3. Dmented Kitty*

        HAH! I’ve actually seen some people with luxury cars park occupying two parking spaces, mainly because they want enough space to avoid their precious car being dinged on the sides by other cars. Ugh.

    8. Sans*

      That’s a load of crap. Sorry to be rude but that’s how I’m reacting to a very sanctimonious statement. I drive fine. I’ve driven on crazy turnpikes and in cities, and in all kinds of situations. The only accident I’ve ever had was 20 years ago, when a 16 year old blew a stop sign and hit my car. I have enough control to drive. I just can’t reverse park.

    9. ThursdaysGeek*

      It does take some practice to get good in various driving skills. I’m pretty good at back-in parking now, since my current company requires it. But I’m still lousy at parallel parking, since there is no place around here that needs it.

      Still, I’ll have to agree. When I had to parallel park in NZ, trying to use a skill I didn’t have on a car where everything was opposite from what I was used to, and using a stick shift, I finally gave up. I handed the task to the spouse, who at least has better shifting skills.

    10. Anx*

      I disagree.

      It definitely is a weakness, but few people are perfect drivers. If there were alternatives to driving I would most certainly take them and I’m sure others with some driving difficulties would, too. But in many regions a license is the only path to employment and education. You can’t exactly go on disability in the US for being a bad driver or a nervous driver (unless I suppose you were in the transportation industry first).

    11. Dan*


      I know it’s not a popular opinion, but being able to reverse park speaks to your overall ability to control your vehicle and your familiarity with it’s dimensions and handling.

    12. Mephyle*

      I guess nobody else here lives in a jurisdiction where there is no driver’s test at all? I didn’t grow up here, but my kids did. They got their licenses first, then learned how to drive.

      1. Huge parking lot*

        I grew up in a jurisdction with a 2 stage license, so I had one test that was pen and paper questions like “what does a stop sign mean?” and the second, a few months later, was an actual road test. I hadn’t driven at all when I passed the first test, and learned to drive basically in 8 months before the second test.

    13. Tinker*

      You know, I’ll be the first one to say that we need to arrange things in our society so that it’s not necessary to drive and folks who have real issues with operating a car in traffic on the public roads are not strongly motivated to try anyway.

      When I got my first driver’s license — for which it was required that I parallel park once, and reverse park not at all — the clerk basically read the eye chart to the guy in line in front of me, and it was obvious he couldn’t see well enough to read it on his own. This was in a small town with a lot of elderly people and not a lot of transportation services, such that a person who couldn’t drive and wasn’t in good enough shape to do extensive biking or walking would be confined to their home or unable to live independently. It’s a problem that I’ve eventually seen happen to every one of my older relatives so far, and practically speaking the dilemma tends to lead to things like a person with macular degeneration who can barely read and is sketchy about walking down an uneven sidewalk being a licensed driver who still drives. It’s not a good situation, and we need to have better supports for non-drivers in place so that there’s not an obstacle to recognizing the obvious point that someone who cannot see the road cannot drive.

      That said, there’s a difference between someone having impairments that must have an obvious impact on driving a car in the forward direction down a road that may not be completely unoccupied and someone who happens to not be comfortable with routinely using a specific low-speed driving maneuver that people can often trivially decline to do with no significant impact to safety (perhaps I have lived in unusual places, but almost every parking lot I see is full of forward parked cars and perhaps the occasional pull-through; forward parking may not be the theoretical ideal, but it seems weird to me to speak of it as if it is nonstandard and unacceptably dangerous) and hence may have very little practice in performing. Not being good at things that one has not done much is not indicative of an unusual degree of incapacity, and declining to park using a maneuver that one does not care to use is at best a highly hypothetical risk.

      I think it’s a common temptation to come up with hoops to jump one’s car through that “prove” that most people who currently drive (generally excluding oneself) shouldn’t be allowed to, particularly among folks who have a hobbyist interest in performance driving (or, conversely, have a deep passion about non-motorized transport) but in practice it’s not a particularly productive or kind way of approaching the issue.

      1. fposte*

        Agreed, and I think this jibes with what Artemesia is saying downthread about single-point judgments in hiring candidates–it’s a common human tendency to reduce capability in anything to something specific that the judger does and the judgee doesn’t, but it ends up as a Sneetchlike level of randomness.

        I’m reminded of a legendary conversation among dignified English professors at my alma mater, where they decided that the one book you *had* to have read to be considered an educated individual was Middlemarch. Whereupon the august and accomplished named chair rose, said he wasn’t fit to be in the company of educated men and women, and left.

        Stars upon thars.

    14. Anna*

      I don’t know if this is about being able to control the car, rather it’s probably more about comfort. I am a fine driver. I do not like to back in to parking spaces because whether or not I can see well enough, I don’t feel like I can. Preference isn’t indication of ability.

  8. Elkay*

    #2 Reverse parking is also recommended for personal safety, the logic being if you’re followed to your car you can use the door as a barrier and have more chance of getting into your car because if someone’s approaching you all they’re going to do is push the door closed as you get in the car.

    To second Alison, you’ll get used to it. I used to have to parallel park when I was at school because the only parking was on residential streets. It was hellish to start with but after a while I could get in a space without too much kerfuffle.

    1. Bea W*

      I’m not sure how realistic or effective that would be. If someone has followed you with the aim of attacking, they’ll move to do it before you unlock or open the door, when your back is still turned.

      1. Chinook*

        If someone has followed you with the aim of attacking, they’ll move to do it before you unlock or open the door, when your back is still turned”

        That is one of the reason I like my keyless entry. As long is my keys are on my person, I can unlock the door with a push of the button. It is also great when you have an arm full of groceries. – no fumbling for keys.

    2. Marcia*

      Are there people who can drive who can’t parallel park? How!? Isn’t it part of the test? I had to do both 90 degree backing and parallel parking (incidentally, I failed 90 degree backing but passed the test–fairly terrifying fact! I made sure to learn to do it well after).

      1. Claire*

        I think a lot of people learn to do something well enough to pass their test then just never do it again, so they forget. My mum learned to drive at the age of 60, and now she keeps telling me the things she never has to do again because she passed her test. Parallel parking was one of them.

        A friend of mine told me recently about another friend of hers who showed up 45 minutes late for lunch because she can’t park unless she can drive straight into a space (no parallel parking, no reversing, etc). So she drove to the restaurant, couldn’t find a space she could park in (despite there being plenty of free parking, none of the spaces available met her needs), drove home, then got a bus back to the restaurant. Apparently this is something that she does quite often!

        1. Allison*

          I’ll admit I sometimes park a good distance away from my apartment so I can park this way, but I’ve never gone to those lengths to avoid parallel parking.

        2. De Minimis*

          This is me, I lived in a rural area as a teen and although they required parallel parking as part of the test most people just learned it well enough to pass the test and often rarely had to do it again unless they moved to a bigger city later on [and even it depended on where they worked, lived, etc.] I probably couldn’t do it now, because I just haven’t needed to.

      2. Emily*

        When I was licensed in Virginia in 2000 there was no road test. There was a written test, and there was a however-many-hours behind-the-wheel instruction requirement. At the end of your mandatory hours behind the wheel, your instructor either graduated you or failed you. But there was never a single drive that I was evaluated on or asked to do particular things, it was the overall assessment of several hours with the instructor.

        1. Kay*

          Yes, I was licensed in Texas in 2002. You had a choice to do either parent taught drivers ed or go to driving school and take the class. Because my parents made me pay for it, I chose parent taught and my dad taught me to drive. There is a road test in Texas, but at the time, your parent could choose to waive it, which my dad did because he believed his requirements were more stringent than the state’s. (They probably were, he worked at a facility with back-in parking and had a CDL for awhile, and is one of the safest drivers I know) but I was still amazed that all I had to do was submit the paperwork that we had completed the hours behind the wheel instruction and take the written test. The written test is seriously easy. I believe one of the questions had a picture of a stop sign and asked what you were supposed to do when you approach one…

          1. De Minimis*

            We had a road test, and in a lot of places the test was conducted by a highway patrol officer! Mine was, and it was nerve-wracking.

          2. danr*

            “I believe one of the questions had a picture of a stop sign and asked what you were supposed to do when you approach one…” In NJ, many drivers would say to do a slow roll into the intersection.

            1. De Minimis*

              I failed my first time because I didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign…it was at the very beginning but he didn’t tell me about it until we were done, he wanted to see what else I needed to work on. I passed it the next week.

              My sister failed her initial try because the trooper didn’t fasten his seat belt and was waiting for her to tell him to buckle up.

              1. Abhorsen327*

                I failed my first try because I was driving my parents’ Honda Insight hybrid (engine auto-stops instead of idling, restarts when you put your foot back on the gas) and I “stalled the car repeatedly”. For my second try, I used their other car – an ultra-efficient sedan with recommended running engine RPMs of around 1800; I flunked because I let the RPMs drop below 2500. For my third try, my parents bit the bullet and paid for me to use a “normal” sedan from the local driving school, and I passed with flying colors.

                1. Judy*

                  What? That seems really odd. Engine RPM is a function of what the gear ratios are.

                  I watched my vehicle’s tachometer on the way home tonight. It’s a mid sized SUV. I drive about 20 miles, 6 of it interstate, 3 of it 50 mph highway. The only time it went over 2500 RPM was in my initial acceleration. My automatic transmission’s shift points seem to be 1-2 at 3200 RPM, 2-3 at 2800 RPM, 3-4 2200 RPM. The only time I was above 2500 RPM was under 25 mph or so. At 50 mph on slightly rolling hills, it was running about 1500-1800, at 70 mph on mostly flat it was running 1800-2100.

                  Did the examiner watch the tach?

                2. Judy*

                  I should also say, I seem to have 6 gears in my automatic transmission. The higher gears shift at even lower points. And my idle speed is less than 800 RPM.

                3. Tinker*

                  Was there some sort of relationship between the examiners and the driving school or something? The second event in particular seems awfully odd.

                4. Abhorsen327*

                  The examiner was indeed watching the tach because I was driving a standard transmission car; he categorized anything below 2500 RPMs as “lugging” the engine and gave me a big lecture on it and how I was being horrifyingly unsafe because below 2500 RPMs the car has “no pickup at all” (for the record, I knew then, and know now, that it is dangerous to run your standard car in a high gear at low speeds, precisely because you have very little pickup should you need it). It’s a rural area, and this particular examiner has a history of failing about 80% of people who take the test, and apparently nearly 100% of people who drive an “unusual” car (e.g. standard transmission, hybrid…). I finally got a different examiner for the third test, who was… much more reasonable.

          3. Emily*

            The year I took the test they had just started a new two-part written test. There was the traditional scenario multiple-choice test where you had to get a minimum percent correct to pass. The new part was they would show you pictures of 10 road signs and you had to identify them all with 100% accuracy. Loads of kids I knew failed the written exam because they missed an obscure sign. I think the most-commonly missed one was the “slippery when wet” sign where the red herring false option was “curvy road” (if you google the sign, you’ll see it’s basically a car with curvy lines trailing behind it).

      3. Elkay*

        I feel that there’s a difference between doing it when you’re learning/for your test and in real life. I had to learn to parallel park but I didn’t have to do it on my test. I think I did two or three maneuvers, I definitely reversed around a corner but I don’t remember what else.

        1. De Minimis*

          Mine I remember even the parallel parking was an easier situation than in real life, I just had to park behind a single car, not fit in between two parked cars.

          1. Al Lo*

            A lot of driving schools do that so students can get the practice of gauging the angle and distance from the front car without having to also worry about the back distance. I feel like my driving instructor set up a pylon where the back car would have been.

            We used to live on a fairly quiet street at the end of a dead end road with a park across the are, so three was a ton of street parking across the road from us, but it was never full. It was a very popular place for driving schools to teach parallel parking, because there was almost always a good “car in front, no car behind” scenario to practice with

          2. Kyrielle*

            My parallel parking test, he asked me to parallel park on a block that had no cars parked. I am wondering if they’d had too many unfortunate incidences during other driving tests.

            1. De Minimis*

              I remember at the time wondering if the person who owned the car was aware that it was being used to test parallel parking….

            2. Huge parking lot*

              I had to reverse park in a tiny spot between two cars! And it was in the middle of a shopping center so I’m quite sure the other cars were not staged/dummies! Luckily I didn’t hit them. The spot was so small that both the instructor and I had to practically brush against the car to get out.

          3. ThursdaysGeek*

            When I’m helping teens learn parallel parking we use large garbage cans for the front and back cars. It’s something they can see, and if they bump one, the plastic won’t hurt the car or be hurt.

          4. Anna*

            I took my test in a small town where there weren’t enough cars parked on the street to do an actual parallel parking test. I can parallel park, and I do often, but I really had to teach myself how to do it. Because we couldn’t do parallel parking, the instructor had me park along the curb and then checked to see how far my tires were from it.

      4. Allison*

        It’s something people learn for their test, but forget without practice. I know I didn’t have to do it until about 3-4 years after I took my test.

        Also, 90 degree backing isn’t part of the test in my state, so while my parents did try to teach me so I could back into our driveway, I never really mastered it.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          Yup. I used to be an ACE parallel parker when I lived in Queens with a car. Now, after 10 years of not owning a car, I can’t even park straight in a parking lot.

      5. Bloopy*

        There is very little opportunity to parallel park in my area. Mostly it’s strip malls with parking lots or garages and residential areas. In the residential areas the houses are not crammed together so you can just pull up along the curb with no one else around to force parallel parking. Apartments have lots or individual spaces too. I grew up here and most people I know in this area have no idea how to parallel park because they have not really ever had to do it.

        That said, I think it’s nuts not to be able to do it. I learned to drive nearly 20 years ago and still remember the tips given to me on how to parallel park correctly. I have traveled a lot and lived in NYC for a while, so I have used the skill. It’s really not that difficult.

      6. AvonLady Barksdale*

        For the first 10 years I was driving, I never had to do it. I could avoid it at all costs. Then I moved to NYC and didn’t have a car. My last 2 years or so in NYC, I finally needed rental cars, and I avoided parallel parking those rentals because parking in Manhattan is a damn nightmare and cars have changed– I have a terrible time judging the front or back of a car these days because of the way they slope (I usually have much more room than I think I do). I did it, though, often with the help of kind old men sitting on their stoops in Harlem and having the time of their lives laughing at my attempts (I love my former neighbors very, very much). Now I live in a place where parallel parking is a joke because even when you have to do it, the spaces are MASSIVE. It’s beautiful. So I can see how people wouldn’t develop the skill.

        I got my license in the late ’90s, in Maryland. I had to parallel park, but in MD you don’t lose points for hitting the curb, just for jumping it, which is an automatic fail. I believe I tapped the curb about 4 times before I successfully parked the car. I passed.

      7. Hlyssande*

        Not part of my test in IL in 1996 – the teacher specifically said that since parallel parking wasn’t on the test, she wasn’t going to bother to teach us.

      8. Rita*

        I’ll admit, I’m one of them. I don’t know what it is – I can’t do it. I know how it’s done, I know all the steps – but I always manage to mess it up. I hit the curb, or I’m three feet from the curb.

        Honestly, I need to practice it. There aren’t many places near me where doing it is a necessity, and I can easily find nearby parking in a lot.

      9. MJH*

        I took my drivers’ test in Florida in 1994 and there was no parallel parking requirement. I didn’t have to parallel park until I was 22 or so. Now I’m really good at it (on-street parking, urban area), but I only learned by practice. If I never lived in a city, I still wouldn’t know how.

      10. kozinskey*

        It wasn’t a part of the Nebraska test when I took it in 2005. Even living in various states across the US, I’ve only needed to do it once, and it was as much of a disaster as you’d expect from someone who’d had around 15 minutes of practice at age 16. It’s one of those things that I feel like I should probably get around to learning someday, but haven’t had a good reason to yet.

        Is this a good time to admit that I also don’t know what 90 degree backing is?

        1. Diet Coke Addict*

          I believe it’s the practice of being able to back around a corner. I was tested on it for my Illinois license in 2004, but who knows if they still do it now.

          1. Jamie*

            My kids got their licenses within the last few years and that wasn’t in the test. And I’ve never heard of it, or I’d still be trying to pass mine – also in Illinois. When would that even come in handy?

            1. fposte*

              You’d need to do it to back into perpendicular parking spaces à la the OP’s work, so there’s an answer right there, I guess.

              I can’t remember if I had to parallel park for my test or not, but it was another twenty years before I really needed the skill anyway, so it wouldn’t have meant much.

      11. SJP*

        Yea i’m with you on this (I wrote a comment similar above).. it’s worrying me just how many people learn it, pass their test and never use it again and then do some of the below like avoid parking cause they can’t!
        Just relearn it and save yourself sooooo much time

      12. CH*

        I have been driving for 36 years and have never had an at-fault accident (although I had a man back out of a parking space into me once when I was stopped for the car in front of me). I successfully parallel parked on my driver’s test, but can count on one hand the times I have needed to do it in the 36 years since. I am very out of practice, so I would avoid it if possible although my new vehicle with backup camera is supposed to make it easier. And I don’t believe 90 degree backing was on my driver’s test. I’m pretty sure that varies from state to state.

      13. JB*

        I used to be able to parallel park, but I haven’t had to do it in at least 8 years, so I don’t feel super comfortable doing it now.

    3. Cautionary tail*

      I honed my parallel parking skills on the streets of BigCity. It would take a half-hour at night of cruising the streets just to find a parking spot and when you found it you made your car fit. I learned the art of parallel-parking-by-ear: You get a really wicked angle on your car and then proceed to slowly parallel park into the spot. You then slow down almost to a stop till you touch the bumper of the car behind you. Next you gently hit the gas and push the other car back as far as its shocks will allow. Finally pull forward into the parking spot leaving about three inches of space in the front/back. If you don’t get it perfectly on the first try then you push the car in front forward on its shocks and repeat the process till you get in.


      1. SJP*

        You touch the bumper of the other car! Holy Sugar!
        If you got caught doing that in the UK, well let’s just say it would go down like a tonne of bricks…

        Never ever should you touch the car! You’d instantly fail your test! And plus you might not think you’re damaging someone’s car but there are often pins holding the bumper on that break on impact in an accident and by touching the bumper can damage them and cause someone to have to replace their bumper! Please just don’t do this going forward and stop if you think you’re too close and pull forward..
        I think I speak for a lot of people when I say this.. If I caught someone nudging my car when reversing i’d go mental

        1. Cautionary tail*

          In BigCity this was and still is pretty normal. At the time everyone just had a banged up car but now they sell bumper guards just for this. Even though I did it 30 years ago I saw the same activity in other big cities just this summer.

          Go to bumperbully . com to see one of several brands of bumper guards made just for this purpose.

          1. fposte*

            Yeah, I think tapping the other car is pretty usual behavior for the US; it’s just like the fact that sometimes opening car doors touch the other car, where it’s part of parking and unless there’s visible damage nobody really sweats it. The pushing the car back thing might be another matter, though.

            1. SJP*

              Well my eyes have been opened…
              In the UK it is really frowned upon to touch someone’s car when parking

              1. Agile Phalanges*

                In Thailand, at least at the international airport in Bangkok, they have pull (or back) in parking spaces, then parallel parking spaces with gaps here and there immediately in front of the pull-in spots, then the driving aisle. The idea is that if you have to park in one of the parallel spots, you leave your car out of gear and brake off (the spots are level), and when (not if) someone needs to move your car to access a pull-in spot, they push your car out of the way. Crazy, but apparently it works! When we landed there, my now BIL-IL pushed a random car out of the way in order to get his car out and drive us to where we were going.

            2. Kyrielle*

              Wow. This is totally not a thing that’s normal where I am…but I’m in a suburb. I’ve never even heard of it in the city, though. (Portland, Oregon, area.)

              1. Cautionary tail*

                I think Portland is both a cute and Grimm city. I love it.

                Sizewise, Portland is tiny compared to the cities I’m referring to. Places where this comes in handy are New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. I haven’t seen it in London but I see the need. Apparently thanks to Agile Phalanges Madrid too.

                1. Anna*

                  Yeah, Portland we’re too polite so we leave as much space as possible. We even ask “Will they be able to get out?” when we parallel park. :) Do you listen to any of the Grimm podcasts?

            3. Emily*

              Yep, very normal. You’re going less than 5mph, so there’s no damage to be done, and as Cautionary Tail says, when you park on the street in a big city you have to be King/Queen Prissy to be upset that another car merely yours. If someone got upset with me for it my eyes would roll right off my face.

    4. Tinker*

      That seems like one of the really sketchy sorts of personal safety advice, along the lines of the infamous “don’t wear overalls in order to protect yourself from attackers who carry scissors in order to snip the straps”.

      Assuming the “person is following you in your tracks in order to assault you at the door” scenario, and conceding the claimed value of using the door as a shield — it’s not that you want to reverse park your car, it’s that you always want to approach your car from its front. In the case of straight parking spaces at the front of a business or along a sidewalk, this would seem to dictate front-in parking, and at least for me large parking lots would call for “parking in the way that causes the front of the car to face the business that I will be walking back to the car from, assuming I don’t forget where I parked and have to go looking” — so either front-in or rear-in parking, depending on the orientation of the space relative to the planned direction of approach, plus a greater degree of care in noting where the car is and possibly the installation of an amusingly painted antenna ball.

      Granted it won’t do all that much for attackers who approach in a way other than following behind, attackers who aim to stop you from opening the door in the first place, multiple attackers moving to flank you, attackers in the rest of the lot, attackers in the store, attackers with decoy antenna balls that fool you into approaching the car from a suboptimal angle, attackers sitting in your back seat, attackers inside your home who live with you, or attackers in the form of cultural pressures to adopt heart-unhealthy habits, but man, those 1-2 seconds in every shopping trip are going to be really tactically sound with regard to the single-behind-following-but-not-too-close attacker scenario.

      I indulge silliness, but a lot of those “safety tips”, as far as I can see, are written in an off-the-cuff way in order to fill space, use questionable reasoning, and are dependent on absurdly fragile scenarios — it’s much like career advice that’s not AAM, in that regard, and I’d be cautious of giving them much credit for any advice more specific than “be aware of your surroundings and be willing to violate social norms to get out of a situation that appears threatening”.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I enjoyed this response very much, from its epic good sense to its sinister decoy antenna balls.

  9. Rowan*

    #2, if you find a lot of your colleagues are also averse to the new policy, is it worth someone suggesting to the company that they hire a driving instructor to come in and do a refresher course for half a day? Bay parking isn’t hard, but it can be tricky to pick out the right reference points on your car and get the initial knack of it. You could probably have it down in half an hour with an expert.

    1. Bea W*

      I second this. Once you can get the right reference points it’s pretty painless, same for parallel parking. It’s all about knowing where to look and what to look for to guide you when to turn the wheel. This is one of the few things that stuck with me from driver’s ed, using certain spots on the car as reference points to gauge your position and guide you.

      1. Judy*

        My husband thinks I’m crazy, but every time we get a new car, I make him stand at the 4 corners of the car, so I can see where they are exactly.

        1. Bloopy*

          Nope. Not crazy. Awesome!

          It boggles my mind that people don’t take the time to get to know the dimensions of their new vehicles. It’s really important to “know” how to tell where your car ends simply by feel from the driver seat. One of my cars has a very sloping hood and I can’t tell where it ends and I needed to practice pulling up to things and tapping them to get a feel for where it actually stopped. (Don’t worry, I didn’t do this with other people’s property.)

          1. Kyrielle*

            My husband really dislikes my car because of the sloping hood. I’ve learned to use the windshield-fluid dispensers as my landmarks, they work great.

        2. Chinook*

          You are not alone. I also get DH to stand at the 4 corners of the car. I learned this trick when I was a 16 year old working for a car dealership and had to do dealer transfers to the next town over (I usually was driving one of our rentals and someone older got the new car). I learned quite quickly that not all cars had the same dimensions. (I was also taught how to drive a standard there by geing given the keys to the parts truck and told to go pick something up from one of the stores that was midway down a hill. Luckily, no one mentioned that the 10 minutes round-trip took me an hour due to stalling)

        3. Joline*

          Makes total sense. One of the first things my dad did when I was learning to drive was put out a row of disposal coffee cups (Tim Hortons, I believe) in a parking lot and I had to run them all over with the passenger side tires. And then he made me do it backwards. Understanding the dimensions of your car is very important – and I find more difficult with certain cars where there’s sloping hoods, etc.

        4. Erin*

          I do it too! I also have him walk around as if he is another car so I can get a sense of blind spots. It’s not perfect but helps me feel prepared. And I’m a very safe driver. I’ve been driving for 20 years, no accidents and only 1 ticket (as a teenager.)

        5. Jessica (the celt)*

          Judy, this is a great idea! As a very short person, I always have problems figuring out the dimensions of newer cars (I grew up driving an early 80’s boat where I could see where the back and front ends were), so this trick will be super helpful! Thanks!

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That’s a great idea, and while I’m not the OP, thank you for understanding the difficulty. :)

    3. AdAgencyChick*

      This is a fantastic idea.

      I confess that I would be peeing my pants in fear if I had to drive to work and my company implemented this policy. But that’s because I haven’t owned a car in 10+ years, and as a result, whenever I try to drive one, I can barely park *front* in.

      So, yeah, I’d be all for anything the company could do to make the new rule easier to follow!

    4. Anx*

      I was going to mention that perhaps the company should offer a few vehicles to practice against.

      That’s my biggest hindrance in driving: there are things I can do but am not confident about because I’ve never had the opportunity to test my limits or examine the processes because that could mean getting into an accident or touching another car.

      I would love the opportunity to practice with the intent to fully learn the skill and be able to translation my visual perception into an understanding of how much room is around me, etc.

  10. sleepless*

    #3 I would wait until you have selected the candidate and extended an offer to talk about contacting their current manager. Maybe after the candidate has accepted the offer, you could set up a starting date contingent to checking with the candidate’s current manager. That way the candidate will have time to talk to their current manager and resign their current position.

    1. NurseB*

      The problem with that is now the candidate has resigned their current job but could lose out on the new position if there is some small hiccup in talking to the current manager. I mean, what if the manager is vindictive and angry that the person is leaving? They may not outright lie but saying things like “person will not be rehireable” or “person wasn’t a necessary part of the team”. Now the person has resigned their job and lost the new job. This is why background checks, reference checks, and any other checks need to be done before the offer is made and the candidate has resigned. Really, doing your due diligence in listening to the references and calling past employers is the best thing to do and move along with either going forward or not offering the candidate a job. Making an offer contingent on talking to a current manager could easily make you lose out on some really great people.

      1. sleepless*

        There are a lot of employers who request background checks after they extend offers to the candidates. It’s up to the employer what to do in the situation that a reference comes back with bad feedback. He could cross check with other references, he may ask for a coworker reference or other previous manager reference. In my opinion, it would be very weird that a good employee will have bad reference from their managers just for retaliation.

      2. TheSockMonkey*

        I agree. I went to an interview where they insisted on talking to my current manager before offering me a job.

        My boss is crazy, the company is currently doing layoffs, and I didn’t want to be on the chopping block if my boss said something about me that wasn’t perfect, or if they talked to my boss and I ended up deciding not to accept the job.

        Potential employers may be worried that someone wants to leave a job because he or she is a poor performer. What about cases when the boss is horrible? I have heard that employees leave managers, not companies.

        I hope hiring managers don’t continue to ask for references from current employers.

        1. sleepless*

          My suggestion was to wait until the candidate accepts the offer to begin the reference check process… Current managers are typically key in hiring decisions, consider that you are applying to a similar position but in a more senior/higher level and/or in different workplace, obviously the new employer will want to know how you performed with your most recent employer. If you have the situation with a crazy boss, you could mention something to the hiring manager, like giving an additional coworker as reference to crosscheck your manager’s reference. I don’t think it would be an issue if the only person that is coming back with a bad feedback is your current employer when everyone else are highly praising your contributions.

          1. Adnan*

            Current managers can mess up your job prospects real bad.
            This happened to me very recently. I interviewed for an internal position. Both my managers were enthusiastic and said they would love to give me a reference. My performance evaluations have been exemplary and the last one was done just a month ago. So I was excited when I heard the hiring manager had spoken to my references. Then there was silence. I asked for a status update and was told that one of my managers said I was unfit for the job and not eligible for rehire. So they went with another candidate.
            A week later I had another interview. This time I did not tell my managers and did not list them as references. I gave copies of my performance evaluations to the hiring manager and told him the references may be hostile. I got the offer. My current managers are shell shocked and trying desperately to delay my departure.

          2. Bloopy*

            “I don’t think it would be an issue if the only person that is coming back with a bad feedback is your current employer when everyone else are highly praising your contributions.”

            If it’s not an issue if the current employer comes back with bad feedback, then why ask them for feedback at all? You don’t need to hear it, positive or negative, if you are going to disregard it. If you’re at the point where the praise they’ve received from everyone else is so high that you would disregard negative feedback from their current manager, then you don’t need more feedback at all, from anyone. If the negative feedback would sway you, then you’ve put the candidate in a very bad position when you decide not to offer the job, which supports why it’s a bad idea to do this.

            You shouldn’t be making offers to candidates before checking references. Offers should be contingent on what the references say, not on what you *think* they will say. Current managers are not usually contacted as references and they are not “typically key in hiring decisions”.

            1. sleepless*

              Sorry, but I have seen a different side of the corporate/hiring world. A lot of companies require the candidate to provide references for background checks after they have made the offer. You are not making an offer based on what you think that the references will say, you are making an offer to the candidate as an individual, for his experience, skills and how well did he handled the interviews. This way you can limit the number of background checks you have to do on candidates, to just the one that you are really interested in.

              I re-iterate my opinion that it is very rare to see good employees on the situation that their current manager provides a bad feedback for retaliation or just to keep them. But hiring managers (like #3 OP could do) typically let you list additional references (additional to just your past managers) and you could list coworkers, etc.

              1. Judy*

                Reference checks and background checks are two different things.

                Reference checks are conversations about the candidates with people they have worked for or with.

                Background checks are verifying that the candidate has the degrees they say they have, has worked where they say they have, etc. Most universities will verify that the dates someone has attended, the degrees they have. Most companies have a call in line to ask if Wakeen was an employee from May 2010 to December 2013.

                Background checks are administrative, most likely talking to someone who never even met the candidate, verifying facts.

              2. Bloopy*

                While I’ve never been a hiring manager in a corporate world, I have been hired into it and typically the process goes interview, reference checks, offer, then background check. You don’t have to do more background checks because you checked references before making an offer. Frankly, you only need to do reference checks on the person you plan on hiring first. If they decline the offer or they fail background check for some reason (which is rare), only then do you need to go through the process again. So the argument that it limits the number of checks doesn’t really follow for me.

                If you are willing to pull and offer because of what a current manager says then what you’re doing is wrong and leaves the candidate in a position where they could possibly lose their job. You may think it’s rare but it happens, and we’ve read about it here. If you would not pull an offer because of it, then there is no point in involving the current manager in the first place.

              3. Mike C.*

                It doesn’t matter if it’s rare when it happens to you. You’re talking about putting someone’s livelihood in jeopardy because you insist on something that is completely unnecessary. Come on!

                I was in a background check situation, and all I needed to do was provide tax documentation and paystubs for my then current employer. No manager was involved.

          3. Zillah*

            Wait, you think all reference checks should wait until the candidate accepts the offer, or just current managers? I mean, either way, I don’t think it’s a fair standard, but the former is absurd – references shouldn’t be formalities, they should enter into who you decide to hire.

  11. Cheesecake*

    We had a question here before about working with dad. OP #1’s story is an answer (sort of).
    I totally agree with AAM – father needs to nip this in the bud and be very direct. But there always will be someone who thinks kindergarten rules apply, so talking to Billy’s dad is the only way to handle situations.

    1. Zahra*

      Still, as long as Dad makes it clear he won’t be their messenger (since, as we all know, they are the first to get shot at in a battle), they can either say something to OP or let it drop.

      1. Artemesia*

        I worry that the OP’s father doesn’t have this sense, since she ended up writing here. The Dad could have made this a non issue and should have the first time it happened. If he took the message back to the OP then Dad is the problem here and the OP needs to make sure Dad gets it and doesn’t make that mistake again or she needs to leave.

        I had an uncle who was a school principal and self important blowhard — he would never have given an inch of authority. I could imagine him welcoming feedback on his daughter teaching in the same school. This is dead wrong and un professional but if the OP’s father is like my uncle then she needs to get another job or transfer to another school. If the Dad just caught flat footed and made a mistake, then a conversation should fix it.

        1. Zahra*

          Another option for the OP could be, after checking with her supervisor, to consider any feedback sent through her father as non-existent until the person comes directly to her or her supervisor. However, I don’t know if her workplace would consider such a behavior normal or petty.

  12. Jay*

    #2 I understand that this policy might be a hassle for the OP, but the policy is in place for employee safety. There are lots of workplace policies that do not make sense, but this one is for your and your colleagues safety. Maybe one of your colleagues was already (or almost) hit by a car in the parking place and you do not know about this. I would suggest to practice how to reverse park and stick with the policy.

  13. Bea W*

    #2 – I worked for an employer (transportation service) that required employees to back in to spaces whether they were driving a company vehicle or their personal vehicle. This is a legit safety precaution, especially (but not just for) for people driving SUVs, vans, and other vehicles with limited rear visibility. The chances that someone will wedge themselves between you and your parking space are slim to none. People walk in the lane of traffic in parking lots. It would take some doing and deliberation to have someone standing right in the parking spot between two cars at the moment you are trying to back into it. Conversely, when you back *out* of a parking spot, you are backing out directly into the lane of traffic, and are very likely to encounter a car or person moving across your path.

    Your employer is absolutely right about it being safer to back into a parking spot even though it doesn’t seem logical to you, because you are experiencing it as more difficult and are worrying that you will bump into a parked car. Really, that is the worst thing that would happen while you are nervously trying to back into your spot. Consider also that the effort to take backing in slows you down, and since you are worried about hitting something and have less room, you are probably taking extra care vs. if you were backing out where you might drive in reverse a bit faster and would cause more injury/damage if hitting something.

    It does get easier the more you do it, and the more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel. It’s really a good practice in any parking lot. Also consider that the time you take backing in, will get made up when you leave and can just drive forward with a good view of the lane of traffic. It takes time to back out of a space, or rather it *should* take time to back out of a space, at least in a busy lot. If you’re gunning it out of there, you’re doing it wrong, and you never see the people who are diving out of your way whom you narrowly missed. (This happened to me about a month ago, gave a guy I saw back up an extremely wide berth, but he unpredictably lay on the gas and backed-up much farther direction than necessary to leave the space. It was scary!)

    1. Jamie*

      I’ve done a quick google and I can’t find stats on the safety of this. A lot of articles saying it’s statistically safer and then offering anecdotal evidence – but I can’t find anything legit.

      I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just wondering if someone had a link to some solid numbers on why it’s safer.

      Seems to be the danger in backing out is people going to quickly and without using their mirrors properly and turning around in conjunction with people in parking lots driving too fast and not watching for taillights pulling out.

      I cringe whenever I see little ones in a parking lot without an adult firmly clutching their hand – but small kids are hard to see even from the front of an SUV and seems like they’d be easier to see in mirrors – but it’s still down to adults making sure kids aren’t running alone through parking lots.

  14. plain_jane*

    #4 – Basically I think if you want to do this that you’ll need two resumes. One boring that can be copied & pasted into web forms, and one that is interactive and shiny. But it really depends on what jobs you want. If you want to be working for the type of place where flash & online presentation are critical, and you have time to be picky, then lead with the online one. You’ll have a lower hit rate, but the people who like you will probably _really_ like you.

    I had a couple of resumes for an internship position a few years ago where the students had obviously been learning about infographics. So they made an infographic in the top left corner about their English, French & Powerpoint skill levels. I mentioned this to some other colleagues and we were split down the middle as to whether this was an eye-rolling move or a good idea.

    1. Cheesecake*

      Oh well…i myself love infographics. Now, here is the reality: even though it is…ehm..informative, it requires time to understand. When you get 100 CVs and 10 sec for each – clarity is the key. If i need an intern who speaks French and i receive 10 infograpics CV among 80 classic, by 3rd i will give up trying to figure out where it is written and what the bar/star/duck next to it means…and move on. On top – adding these to electronic database is impossible and needs to be done manually. So when speaking about “office jobs” – classic white A4 is the best

  15. some1*

    #3, like Alison mentioned, there are other ways to gauge if there are issues at the current job. Why are you looking for a new opportunity? Name an unexpected challenge from your current job and how you handled it? What struggles have you encountered?, etc.

  16. Bloop*

    #1. I agree you could solve this by talking to your dad but I also think you should talk to your coworker and address this directly because it is wildly inappropriate. My dad, sister and husband all work for the same company, all in different departments but in the same building. My dad has been there for 35 years and well respected and known through out the building. I also worked there for a time, in my sisters department, and if someone had ever gone to one of them, especially my dad, about something I did at work I would have been pretty upset, not to mention embarrassed. First off, I know no one there would have done that because they too would have seen it as inappropriate. But second of all, if it had happened, I would have wanted to make sure, in no uncertain terms, that I would not use my fathers/family’s position to protect me from blow back or criticisms. You need to let your coworker know that you should be treated like every other employee or you wish a long term stink associated with you that you’re only there because of your dad.

  17. Mal*

    #2- I used to hate backing it and parallel parking!
    This is by no means a solution you could implement today or tomorrow, but I HIGHLY recommend looking into future vehicles with back-up cameras! I have a 2006 Prius with a back-up camera and it is a lifesaver! Both for backing up in parking lots, backing into spaces, parallel parking(I actually had someone applaud, literally they clapped, me for backing into a tight parallel space…and then I told them I had a back up camera and they were decidedly less impressed) and that diagonal parking? You know, when it’s a row of spaces along storefronts with the street running behind you and it’s always a bit of a “Cross your fingers and hope someone sees your reverse lights” moment? Yeah, with a back-up camera, you can see the street and the cars coming! It’s lovely.
    Anyways. Tangent.
    You’ll get better with backing up with practice!
    Also, can you adjust your mirrors from inside your car? I always find that being able to see the lines in a space while backing up helps immensely.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Great point, if you have electric mirrors they can be your best friend for tight parking spots. You can move them any number of ways to get the best vantage point. I have been trying to use mine more often. I try to tip the mirror down toward the pavement and out sideways from the car- that seems to get a pretty good view of where the car is in relationship to… the stupid fire plug that I cannot see from the driver’s seat.

  18. Youth Services Librarian*

    Why not just park at the farthest reach of the parking lot and pull forward? Then you won’t be backing out OR backing in? No backing required! Although if your lot doesn’t have spaces you can pull through or is too super-crowded that wouldn’t work. I’m awful at parking – it’s difficult for me to judge distances (or depth – I’ve fallen down a lot of stairs) and I have poor peripheral vision. I know, why am I driving?! I’ve learned to be super careful, go slow, and always, always, always park at the very end of the lot (actually something my mom taught me because she got backed into in so many parking lots).

    1. C Average*

      Are you me??!

      I’m exactly the same way: 100% clean driving record, but I’ll take three right turns to avoid a left one and I’ll drive to the end of the lot to find a space the size of a barn in which to park my relatively small car.

      I grew up way out in the sticks and can confidently drive in a whole range of terrifying winter conditions, but everyday parking-lot and on-ramp maneuvering gives me the vapors.

      I drive rarely and carefully, stick to the back roads, try to avoid having passengers, and stick to the back roads where I can. I’d be right with you at the furthest periphery of the parking lot if I worked somewhere where backing in was a requirement.

  19. Graciosa*

    #4 – This reminded me of all the other how-can-I-get-my-resume-noticed ideas that make me roll my eyes. Maybe not as bad as sending candy or photos, but I tend to assume that anyone who is scrambling for gimmicks to get noticed was driven to it by a lack of real qualifications – especially here when the question relates to ordinary white-collar jobs.

    Anyone with real accomplishments can trust them to stand on their own. “Nobel Peace Prize” is impressive enough even if it doesn’t come flying in across an electronic screen on a cloud of colored lights accompanied by the theme from Star Wars.

    1. Jay*

      LOL, heyyyy the person who made the “electronic screen on a cloud of colored lights accompanied by the theme from Star Wars” resume deserves some credit. I would give him a job without any interview lol :).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I read that too fast. I thought you said “candy or potatoes”. I thought people give potatoes with their resume… wow. just wow.

  20. soitgoes*

    Is OP1 sure that her dad didn’t “go to bat” for her during the reference part of the application process? Or otherwise lobby really hard to push the school to hire her? Because I’ve worked alongside my mother in academic settings in the past, and no one ever acted like she had authority over me; it wouldn’t have occurred to people to report to her when it came to my performance. I’m not sure that a lot of people even put it together that we were related. People who didn’t work with both of us directly wouldn’t have known. I’m just trying to figure out how everyone knows who OP’s dad is in relation to her right out of the gate. Even having the same last name doesn’t make that assumption automatic, provided that the whole staff and faculty even know the OP’s full name (as she is not a teacher). There are always family members, kids and spouses working in the same schools (at least in my experience), and it rarely plays out this way. It’s very weird to me that OP’s dad is well-respected and seemingly great at his job but didn’t think to say, “We’re not in the same department, and I’m not in charge of disciplining her.” Why would he put himself in that position at all?

    I apologize if I’m off-base, but without I think there might be some backstory that the OP is unaware of. And no, there’s nothing wrong with someone’s dad helping her get a deserved job in this economy. I just think that she should have all pertinent information going forward.

    1. MsM*

      Uncommon last name plus family resemblance? All it would take is one person asking and then a round of office gossip.

      1. Cat*

        Plus, if OP’s dad has worked in this school system for decades, people are probably aware that he has a daughter, what her name is, and that she’s a teacher. They might even have met her.

        1. soitgoes*

          The role required an associate’s degree; I don’t think she was hired in as a teacher. This matters because it means that going to her dad is very out of line. It’s not a teacher-to-teacher thing. Would you report admin staff to a teacher?

            1. q*

              Could it be the unprofessionalism comes from a place of camaraderie? If I had a strong working/friend relationship with someone I could see myself making some sort of quip – “what did you raise her in a barn?” along the lines as “got another Aggie here I see”. I would do this especially if it wasn’t something worth going up the leadership ladder, we don’t joke about serious issues. At my office, we’ve had a few new hires who knock and walk – and depending on who they’ve done that to, they’ve gotten an earful! (I don’t mind generally but I do mind knock walk & wait)

          1. AVP*

            I think part of the problem is that this seems like a minor thing to report anyone to anyone about…knocking on a door at an inopportune time. So the reporter might just not have the best sense of who to talk to about what, in general.

        2. Elsajeni*

          I’m actually in a similar situation to the OP — I’m staff, my dad is faculty, he’s been here for 30 years, we work in the same building — and, yeah, it doesn’t take much. We look and sound a little bit alike, and some of the other longtime faculty and staff met me as a kid or teenager, either when I visited my dad’s office or when they visited him at home; on top of that, I actively want people to know that he’s my dad, because our relationship is obviously closer than what you’d expect just based on our work connection and I don’t want to put either of us in the position of the adjunct who everyone thought was dating his sister.

      2. soitgoes*

        I just don’t think that’s a given if the district is big enough for it to be rare that a high-up knows her dad by name. People don’t always put those things together. Even so, the fact that people assume they can go to her dad about work problems tells me that he might have indicated that they should do so. It’s not something that people across different departments would presume to do.

      3. Kelly L.*

        This. I don’t even look like my dad, but he taught for a while while I was a student, and I think everybody in the whole school system knew we were father and daughter. In my case it didn’t generally take the form of people tattling to my dad when I annoyed them–it was other students coming to me to tell me all about my dad’s antics in class! :D Everybody knew. Our last name is unusual, and has an even more unusual spelling to boot.

        All it would take would be OP’s dad mentioning “Oh, my daughter starts here next week” or a photo on his desk or pretty much anything. That goes double if OP grew up in the area and went to school in the same district when she was a kid, which we don’t know.

        And even if dad pulled some strings, which I think it’s a little uncharitable to assume, that doesn’t make it right for people to lean on their familial relationship to get work things done. He’s not her supervisor, and rightly so.

        soitgoes, I’m noticing a lot of antagonism from you toward lots of OPs lately–is something up?

        1. soitgoes*

          I have experience working in academic environments, and this is something specific that just never happens unless there’s been some kind of go-ahead, implied or otherwise.

          Also, I shouldn’t presume things about OPs, but you’re presuming something about me? Is it antagonisitc to be the only person who picked up on the fact that OP isn’t a teacher and to pull actual real experience into this? In my experience, coworkers only go to parents if the parents made it clear that that was okay. Something isn’t ringing true to me here, and your aside is a bit hypocritical, all things considered.

          1. Kelly L.*

            My comment came after you seemed unusually angry about both the piercing kid and the commuting parent yesterday. They seemed part of a whole. If not, my apologies.

          2. Elsajeni*

            I think you’re leaving out one key modifier, which is that a reasonable coworker wouldn’t go to the OP’s dad to complain about her unless he’d said or done something to indicate that that was okay. If this had happened multiple times, or with multiple coworkers, I’d agree with you that it was probably a problem with the dad; since it’s only happened once, though, I think it makes more sense to start from the assumption that that particular coworker is the problem.

  21. Julia*

    #6. 2 suggestions – 1 immediate, the other is mid-term.

    Call your nearest Catholic Church and see if their St. Vincent dePaul Society can help you with a deposit to get the repairs started. They should be able to give you a quick answer. This is an emergency and it sounds like this would be something that they/we would help with.

    Second – apply to for help with the whole bill. This organization assists people who work but are faced with an emergency that could push them over the edge. My connection is that I am a monthly donor. If funded, the payment would be made directly to the repair place.

    You’re in my prayers!

    1. fposte*

      I had not heard of Modest Needs–that looks like a really interesting organization, and thanks for the recommendation.

    2. Chinook*

      “Call your nearest Catholic Church and see if their St. Vincent dePaul Society can help you with a deposit to get the repairs started. They should be able to give you a quick answer. This is an emergency and it sounds like this would be something that they/we would help with.”

      It should be added that this society hels anyone, not just Catholics. Also, even if there isn’t one at that parish, the office staff and priest are used to people calling for help and may have contact information for other agencies in that area that you may not have heard of or know of someone who owns a repair shop that has mentioned they are willing to help out those in need but don’t advertise it.

    3. Formica Dinette*

      Thank you for the info about Modest Needs!

      To add to your suggestion, in my area (and I assume in others) there is Catholic Community Services, which provides all sorts of assistance to individuals regardless of religion. Also, OP could try calling 211, which is a social services referral hotline in many (most? all?) areas of the US.

      Finally–and this may be a long shot–OP could set up an online fund raiser. I have a few friends who have used The thing to keep in mind with GoFundMe is you can’t get to the money until you’ve reached your target or something like 30 days after the fund raiser starts. You *can* continue fund raising after you’ve reached your target and I think you can add stretch goals, so if you need money ASAP, the key is to set your initial target low. I have donated money to strangers’ emergency fund raising campaigns and I know many others who do as well.

      Good luck, OP #5!

      1. fposte*

        Wow, I had assumed 211 was pretty much a minority of the US, and it turns out that I’m just in one of the two most backward states on the initiative. The webpage for the initiative maps it as reaching approximately 90% of the US.

  22. MaggietheCat*

    #2 My company recently started requiring this as well. More than 1/3 of the office has a company vehicle that they drive and HR has said that everyone has to park this way – not just in our lot but *everywhere*. For some of our Clients they require that vehicles are parked this way at job sites for safety. I guess HR wanted everyone to get in the habit/practice. It is stressful though! I have been thinking about getting a suburban but it scares me to park that in reverse!

  23. The IT Manager*

    Now that I have a car with a backup camera I find myself backing into parking spot more and feeling more confident about it.

    Here’s the safety issue: it is often a bit more nerve racking to back into a spot and you’re more likely to ding the car already parked next to you, but … Driving in and backing out leads to more incidents of backing into pedestrians or other moving cars. I drive a medium sized car; sometimes backing out I can’t see the lane I am backing into because of the trucks and vans parked next to me and I just have to inch out slowly and hope no one is in the spot I’m aiming for. I don’t have that problem when I back in.

    I suspect there’s less incidents when driving in a spot but the incidents caused by backing out are more major/costly/dangerous to life and limb than scraping the car next to you.

    TL;DR: You may not like the rule, but it’s not unheard of and there’s actually a good logical reason behind the decision – safety – and you just need to learn to deal with the terror and nerves you feel. Practice makes perfect.

  24. Kathy-office*

    #4: I think having a personal site along with a traditional resume can be a great idea and supplement what you have on your resume. It depends on the industry, but many jobs are requiring knowledge of web design/dev or being able to develop an online presence. It can also be a great way to show your interest to specific topics or causes. More jobs (outside of design/illustration/etc) are requiring this sort of demonstration of past work or interest.

    As long as you treat it like a portfolio, it’s not a bad idea. However, if you can’t think of a good reason to have one other than to just have an electronic copy of your resume, then I’d say it may not be worth it. So ex: if you work in research, having a site where you can show your interest/past work in research topic would be good. But if you’re an accountant, this wouldn’t work.

    Also, make sure your site has good design and function. Animations can be good, but nothing too flashy or distracting. If you can’t figure it out, look up the resources or pay someone to do it for you.

    That said, I’m surprised to see ppl not like this idea. Maybe it’s just a starting trend (or a bias in my own job search) but I’ve heard from so many ppl that they want to see some kind of site or even a professional twitter account from applicants, just to see what they can do or see that they’re engaged with their profession’s community.

    1. river*

      Online presence and engagement is good. Online portfolio – where relevant to the field- is good.

      Online resume? Not good. Online “interactive” resume for a field that is traditional white collar rather than creative/design based? Very not good. And it’s the latter that the OP asked about.

      1. Kathy-office*

        I still don’t see how it would necessarily hurt. It’s not really worth having just an online resume in terms of the effort/ resources involved, but I don’t see how it’s a bad idea to have it as a supplement to a traditional one and link to it in the usual .doc/.pdf resume along with one’s contact info. It’s just as easy to link to an online resume as it is to a LinkedIn profile.

        But a poorly designed online resume (“interactive” isn’t automatically bad unless it’s poorly implemented)? That, I would agree is a bad idea and would hurt. In that case, it’d be best to just link to a LinkedIn profile.

    2. Emily*

      Yeah, the issue is exactly that it should be supplementary, not replacing the resume. And most hiring managers will only look at supplementary information for candidates who have already made the short-list. They won’t invest time look up additional materials about someone whose resume didn’t already indicate they’re a strong fit.

      This gets back to a common problem that a lot of job-seekers have, in thinking that it’s the hiring manager’s job to assess whether this one candidate *could* succeed at the role, as opposed to assessing who of many candidates is the *most likely* to bring the *most value* to the role. So while from the candidate’s perspective supplementary materials would only seem to strengthen your candidacy, from the hiring manager’s perspective the message I get is, “This candidate needs to present additional materials in order to remain competitive with people presenting only a resume.” Which either means you’re not a strong candidate and you’re reaching for the position, or you aren’t very good at presenting yourself.

      In fact, supplementary materials are something I generally don’t even offer until during or after the interview. I’ll have a few writing or design samples in a folder that I’ll pull out during the interview if it comes up in discussion naturally, otherwise saving them and possibly attaching them to my thank-you note email(s). Likewise on the interviewer side I wouldn’t ask for samples until I’d already interviewed someone and was interested enough to proceed. Similar to how I wouldn’t call references until I was interested enough to proceed past a first interview. I’m not going to invest more time than necessary in someone who may not even advance to the next stage.

  25. long time reader first time poster*

    Re: #4 — I have two resumes. My regular one and my online one. The regular one is the one I share whenever applying for a job. But within it, I reference my online resume — I include the URL in my contact info (I have my own domain). Prospective employers almost always check it.

    The online version includes links to my work and speaks way more for me than a print resume can.

    Of course, I work in the digital media space, so it’s appropriate. If I were an accountant, probably not so much.

  26. Hermano*

    Re #2, on my first morning of living in Japan I noticed that all the cars at a grocery store were backed in. It didn’t take long to figure out why once I started driving and trying to park in the cramped parking lots that are the norm there. This is especially true for small lots at places like convenience stores where the parking space ends about two feet from the street and visibility is poor, so the only safe way to deal with it is to back in (when you control traffic by braking and signalling) and go out forward so you can actually see.

    Since moving back to the US after three years over there I almost always back in, and feel terribly nervous backing out if I don’t, especially when between cars taller than mine. Having a backup camera on my new car here makes it easier to back in, but it’s certainly not a necessity.

  27. H*

    I have one manager (not current) that I always check “no” for, and I worry that being the only one I say they can’t contact seems suspicious. However, the employer is located in Korea and doesn’t speak the greatest English. The few times he had to recommend employees while I worked there, he delegated the letters to people like me. Since the hiring manager would either have to make a long distance phone call to someplace with an extreme time difference or get an email written by someone who never knew me… I always hope they can logic it out and not hold it against me.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But your “no” is really about the fact that it will be difficult for the employer to contact the reference, not that you’re banning it. I’d write “yes” and let them figure out for themselves that they don’t want to contact someone in Korea.

      They’re not asking if it will be easy for them to contact the person. They’re asking whether you’ll consent to it or not.

      1. Chinook*

        That is what I did when my only professional history was in Japan – I gave the employer the contact information and mentioned how good their English was. I think it also helped that my reference letter (required for teaching) was in Japanese with an attached translation. No one ever did call them.

      2. H*

        If it was just the distance phone call I’d leave it up to them entirely, but I don’t like the idea of them making contact and getting a recommendation written by someone with good English skills but who has never met me and just been given one or two performance-related bullet points.

  28. HR Manager*

    #3 – You should structure your interviews to ask questions that are going to get you the best information possible. Do you have a trend for where people do not succeed in the job? If so, develop questions that get at this type info for your meetings. References should help confirm/counter any of your perceptions from the interview, but much of the information you’ll need to base your hiring decision on is from conversation. The fact is that accessing the current manager is not possible for most, and it’s important this be respected in the hiring process. If this isn’t possible, you might talk to your HR/Legal department about how to implement a formal probation period that allows you to ‘test drive’ your chosen candidate, so that should things not work out, there is minimal process needed to cut the cord.

  29. F*

    #2 – this is actually much more better than parking head on. When you park head on you need to reverse to leave your parking space and you take much more time leaving and also risk hitting people or cars nearby. I’ve almost never parked head on and I don’t see any reason to do so.

  30. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-AAM is so right. Your dad needs to be the one to shut this down. It was never an issue when my mom and I worked at the same school but I know she would’ve immediately shut it down with the person and then given me the scoop that it had happened and to be aware.

    #2-I don’t know that this is a hill worth dying on much less fighting for. My husband only reverse parks, if at all possible. I’ve gotten better at it and having a rear camera has helped. I can even parallel park my SUV now. We see LW’s get told to do much more onerous things than back into a parking spot. I’m not trying to belittle your feelings but I wouldn’t spend energy on this.

  31. Ash (the other one)*

    Ugh to the reverse parking. I cannot back into parking spaces (or parallel park) to save my life and basically refuse to do it (I make my husband do a “Chinese Firedrill” type thing if I have to). That policy would basically mean I couldn’t drive to work anymore so I would definitely push back on it. But that’s me…

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      But, are you saying that you’re incapable of learning or you don’t want to learn? I suspect if you had to, you could learn, and then it wouldn’t be that bad. In other words, I bet you could, if it was to save your life. :)

      I’m lousy at driving a stick, lousy at parallel parking. When I had to parallel park a stick shift car in NZ (so doing everything opposite too) with traffic, I tried and tried and then gave up, and let the spouse do it. But if I lived there, I would learn and eventually get good at it.

    2. Formica Dinette*

      I doubt you meant to be offensive, but the term “Chinese firedrill” is offensive. It’s not exactly something most of us end up referring to regularly, but should it come up sometime in the next, say 10 or 20 years, maybe find a different way to describe it. (I am trying not to come across as scolding or finger-wagging or anything like that, so I apologize if I’ve failed at that.)

  32. Allison*

    OP #2, I wouldn’t like this policy either. With the exception of backing out of a parking space or driveway, maneuvering while in reverse can be scary. Sure, it’s something you can get used to in a week or two, but what about before that? People make mistakes when learning a new skill, and even if all the cars involved make it through unharmed, I’d be particularly worried that a co-worker would get impatient with me if I took too long backing in.

  33. Rex-a-ford*

    I actually worked for a boss who wished that he could view how potential job applicants parked when they visited. If they backed into a spot, and someone had to wait slightly longer to park, he said it would reflect poorly on them, and he probably wouldn’t hire them.

    1. Artemesia*

      The worst hirers are those who have picky little personal prejudices that they then make general rules of character. She ordered tea, not coffee so she is prim and uptight. Ding. He backs into parking spaces, so he is inconsiderate. Ding. He wears brown suits. Ding. You have to be a real horses patoot to let your personal twitches drive hiring practices.

  34. Mike B.*

    #4 – How do you think your résumé is going to be viewed? Most people who read it will be doing so in a PDF viewer, as a hard copy, or (in summarized form) on LinkedIn. Sure, you can have a more interactive version on your website, but nobody’s going to go there before they’re interested in your candidacy, so it’s not going to get much more than a glance.

    The bells and whistles are probably more of a liability than an asset if they don’t demonstrate an important skillset of yours–it makes it look like you consider implementing unimportant cosmetic features to be a good use of a big chunk of your time. Leave those features to businesses, which actually have a vested interest in giving their customers an attractive user experience and which task professionals with doing so.

  35. Wren*

    I prefer back in parking to backing out after front in parking because with the former, I’m backing towards stationary objects (parked cars) vs backing out towards things that are potentially moving, other cars and pedestrians.

  36. Kat*

    Re: 2. My employer requires all employees to back into parking spaces
    This is common in the construction industry in Australia and New Zealand, even for office staff. The research I’ve seen shows that it reduces reversing incidents (i.e. hitting things and near misses) by about 80%.

    If you are nervous about parking, could you ask somebody to tutor you a little? Nobody would think less of you for trying to learn the skill, and it might give you some confidence. I doubt that your employer will want to make an exception for you, because it sounds like they’ve thought through their decision already.

  37. JSO*

    #2 – I work in oil & gas and most places require people to back in due to safety. If something happens, you can leave the site quicker than waiting for everyone to back out of their parking spaces. Like many other posters here, once you learn to do it efficiently, you won’t think twice about doing it.

  38. Willow+Sunstar*

    Personally, if a company told me how to park, I would consider looking for a job elsewhere. I drive through because I am afraid of worried of hitting people, and park in the back to walk further to work. How is a company going to enforce such a policy? Having cameras everywhere and lecturing or ticketing employees who don’t park a certain way, even if their car is perfectly in the spot? That is a big red flag to me that the company is run by major control freaks. I would have to wonder what else they are control freaks about.

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