open thread – March 18-19, 2016

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

{ 1,687 comments… read them below }

  1. Commute chat?*

    I have a 45 – 55 minute each way commute, and I’m really struggling with the idea of doing it long term. It’s been a little under a year and I find it chipping away at my quality of life. Unfortunately, it looks like it’ll be for at least another couple of years (possibly longer, depending on whether I can find work in the city where I live/whether my partner becomes OK with moving to the city where I work). I think I’m in need of some context for my own situation and maybe some ideas of how to make it better. Could we get a thread going with some comments on…

    1. How long is your commute?
    2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
    3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
    4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?

    5. Bonus: If you and your partner have children…how does it work for school emergencies, doctors appts, etc? I don’t have kids yet, but would like to in the next few years. My parents both worked from home, so this was never an issue and I truly have no frame of reference for how it works when both parents work outside of the home.

    1. TotesMaGoats*

      This is me every day. I chose it thinking it wouldn’t be awful and it wouldn’t be if other work factors weren’t in play. There isn’t currently any option for telecommuting. The most I can get to remotely is email. The main issue is traffic volume in one particular area. I’m still within the same metro area that we both live. It’s not the only reason I’m looking at 9 months in but it’s part of it. It was a mistake on my part to think the commute wouldn’t “be that bad.”

      We do have a kid and since hubby is closest, he has to do any emergency pick ups. He works in a secured space and currently doesn’t have any internet access (or phone), so let’s keep our fingers crossed that the kid stays well until he does.

    2. super anon*

      1. 15-20 minute depending on the day
      2. I don’t love it – ideally I’d live near where I work so I could walk, but that isn’t an option for me. I used to take the bus and it was almost an hour door to door to go 12 km, now I have a car and it’s drastically shortened my commute time.
      3. When I took the bus I would read/listen to music/etc, so it felt like I wasn’t wasting an hour of my time each way. Now I talk on the phone while I drive.
      4. We picked a neighbourhood that was in the middle of both of our locations. We’re going to be buying soon and that’s going to add about 15 minutes and a bridge crossing to our commute and I’m not excited.

    3. Anna No Mouse*

      I spent 3 years with a 50-60 minute commute, including throughout my pregnancy in the middle of summer and through the first 18 months of my son’s life.

      My husband works from home 2-3 days a week, but the other days, his commute is even longer than mine was. We were fortunate enough to have family nearby who could pick up our son in the case of sickness, etc.

      I tolerated the commute as long as I did because: a) I absolutely LOVED the people I worked with and the work that I did, and b) I was able to listen to an hour of NPR and catch up on news while I drove.

      That said, when an opportunity arose last year for me to take a job with better pay and a 10-20 minutes commute, I snapped that right up. My husband and I are in the process of putting our house on the market, and we’re STILL trying to figure out the best place for us to live.

    4. dancer*

      1. 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic. It’s taken me 90 minutes though on a particularly bad day.
      2. It’s about the longest I think I could do for a driving commute. I used to have a 45- 60 minute commute on transit which I found much less stressful.
      3. I work early hours so that despite my commute length, I am home by 5. I find that helps because I feel like I still have time for hobbies and activities in the evening.
      4. I just have myself to worry about, so I haven’t had to deal with this issue. Also my parents have pretty much always worked in the same location, so it was never an issue for them either.
      5. I don’t have direct experience with this, but from talking to my coworkers, they have one parent working close to home/school/doctors etc who is responsible for school emergencies. They also have one parent (not necessarily the same parent) who can work from home so that they can handle scheduled appointments.

    5. Erin*

      1. 30 minutes in the morning, up to 45 minutes in the afternoon.

      2. I tolerate it. I had a 10 to 15 minute commute for many years and sort of feel like I had to deal with this eventually and now it’s here. I would realistically be willing to commute up to an hour for a really great job.

      3. I’m a big reader, and I’ve gotten into audio books. I want to get into podcasts as well. I got a cord to connect my phone to my car (I didn’t have a smartphone until a few months ago, so, big deal for me) so I can listen right from my phone. It helps me feel like I’m making more use of that time. Also, if I can, I run errands during my lunch break to avoid stopping on the way home.

      4. He has it easier – he’s got about a 10 minute commute. We tried to be centralized in where we live, but obviously he has the better end of the deal. But we took other things into consideration, like proximity to family – we’re now closer to most of his family members, and just down the street from his brother’s family, which we love. But we have discussed the possibility of one of us getting a different job and what would happen, and he’s very open to moving and having his commute extended if need be.

      5. We don’t yet, but I too worry about this. Check in at some point in the future and I’ll keep ya posted. ;)

      1. Daisy Steiner*

        When I had a 45-50 minute one-way commute, and my husband had a 10-minute walk, it was his extra job (on top of a ~50/50 split of the rest of the chores) to do all the dishes before he left in the mornings. It felt like it evened things out a bit.

        1. Jessica Stevenson*

          Great idea and great username–your namesake was also a big fan of the “rota,” as I recall.

        2. Erin*

          Oh, I am so totally showing him this thread. ;)

          The thing is, is even with the commute difference he’s a boss/part business owner and tends to work longer days than I do but I’ll see what I can do. :P

      2. Marillenbaum*

        Erin, since you mentioned you want to get in to podcasts, I wanted to offer some recommendations, since I’m kind of a podcast junkie. Right now, I listen to Awesome Etiquette (from the Emily Post Institute), RuPaul’s What’s the Tee?, Another Round with Heben and Tracy (pop culture/feminism), Death Sex & Money (WNYC), Modern Love (like the NYT column), Burnt Toast (Food52), Serial, Welcome to Night Vale (fictional small town radio, like Prairie Home Companion meets the X-Files), Memory Palace (historical), Tom and Lorenzo’s PopStyle OpinionFest (celebrity, pop culture, fashion), Dear Sugar (advice), The Allusionist (etymology and language), Lore (history/horror), and Happier with Gretchen Rubin (advice/social science). As you can see, there are a ton of really great options, and since different podcasts post new episodes with different frequencies, there’s pretty much always something new to listen to. If you have an iPhone, there’s a podcast app already installed; if you have an Android phone, I would recommend either Soundcloud or Stitchr. Good luck!

          1. Stella Maris*

            More podcast recommendations if you’re interested:
            -You Must Remember This (secret/forgotten history of Hollywood)
            -Desert Island Discs from the BBC
            -Serial (start with season one) and the adjacent podcasts Undisclosed, the Serial Serial (AV Club), the Slate Serial Spoiler Special.
            -Happier with Gretchen Rubin (as mentioned above)
            -I Don’t Even Own a Television (about bad books)

        1. Qmatilda*

          Based on your podcasts – can I recommend Futility Closet? A little bit like Lore (less story telling more into the details) plus lateral thinking puzzles. truly wonderful.

          1. ithinkyouhavemystapler*

            Oh I love lore, I’m going to have to check this out! Have either of you listened to Tanis or the Black Tapes Podcast? I enjoy the creep factor. Limetown is another one. I liked The Message well enough but thought the ending was a little meh. Those four are all serial stories.

            If you like language podcasts, I like Lexicon Valley a lot.

            I really enjoy history podcasts too…Myths and Legends, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and The British History Podcast are my favorites.

    6. Dawn*

      1- 3-6 minutes driving; 3 if no stoplights are hit, 6 if they are/ 20 minutes walking
      2- Love it love it love it. Best thing I have ever done for my stress levels with regards to work
      3- it doesn’t, because it’s so short!
      4- back when we first moved up here we picked where we were based on it being a good price and being 5 miles away from my husband’s job with an easy drive. We’ve never looked at working anywhere that would involve more than a 20-minute commute, which I understand is totally unheard of here in DC. I think commutes longer than 30 minutes are insane- there’s significant research that shows that a long commute directly impacts health and well-being and I would rather live in a smaller place with a shorter commute than live on a farm three counties away and spend 2-3 hours every day in the car.

      1. Christy*

        That’s fascinating! I really need the green space near our apartment, so the hour-long commute is worth it to me. And I live a mile outside of the District, and my office is in Federal Triangle–so it’s not like it’s three counties away.

      2. Anansi*

        I’m in DC too and it’s great. My husband and I can both walk to work. For me, it’s about 20 minutes by metro or 30 minutes walking.

    7. HeyNonnyNonny*

      1. Mine is about a solid hour door-to-door.
      2. I actually don’t mind it that much.
      3. I am extremely lucky– I rely on public transportation the whole trip, so I get a lot of reading done. A lot. I love to read, so this is actually a bit of a benefit for me. I also share most of the commute with my spouse, so we can talk and hang out.
      4. Our home was chosen for the commute! It’s on the same subway line (no transfers) but far enough away that housing is affordable.

      1. KR*

        I love the idea of taking public transportation – there’s a bus line right at the end of my street and I know it rolls right past my work. I get so carsick though, I think it would cause me more pain than my commute. So sad.

    8. Anonnn*

      I live in New York, and my 45-minute commute never felt long or unusual, and this thread has me wondering if there’s something wrong with me. That’s just … What people do, i always thought? Curious to see how others feel.

      1. Christy*

        Same here–I’m in the DC area and my hour-long commute strikes me as standard. My girlfriend’s 90-minute commute is only like slightly long in my mind.

      2. Parfait*

        Same here, from Los Angeles. I’m actually an aberration in that: I only drive 25 minutes to work (can be 30-45 in the evening), I don’t have to get on any freeways, and it’s a reverse commute with most of the traffic heading the other direction. My eyes bugged a little at the person who said that 30 minutes was merely tolerable. To me, that’s awesome.

        In my last job it took me an hour to get there on a good day and I had to allow an hour and a half for traffic. And getting home, it was anybody’s guess how long it would take. That was awful. I developed permanent shoulder pain from being so tense. Location was a big reason why I took my current job. It gave me time in my life to do things like exercise and make dinner.

        When people ask me what the best neighborhood in LA to live in is, I say “One that is close to where you work.”

        1. ann perkins*

          omg yes. LA has the worst traffic ever. I live in Orange County and my commute is like 15 minutes, which is amazing. I hate driving and traffic so I need to live close to work.

        2. non-profit manager*

          I am also in the Los Angeles area and managed to avoid a commute for most of my working life. I now have one that is approximately 45 minutes each way, often longer, and I drive only 15 miles. Because it’s only 15 miles, I’ve tried all combinations of freeways and surface streets, but cannot get it much below that due to traffic volume. Where I am, there is no concept of reverse commute; it’s awful in all directions. And the traffic is awful in the morning from approximately 5:30am to 9:30am (I have tried shifting my working hours to no avail).

          1. pumpkin scone*

            Oh, yeah. When I moved in with my partner in LA, I thought, how bad can it be? Very. I amused my coworkers by creating a matrix: what if I took a train, then bus? What about freeway vs surface streets? What if I did a combo? What if I took the bus, then the other train? It was all awful.

            I love podcasts and NPR, but found if I was driving, the traffic was intense enough I couldn’t spare the attention. And all the public transportation options required multiple changes, so I never really settled down enough to read.

            I ended up taking another job.

        3. SJ*

          When I had a long commute, about as long as your long one, I had the worst stress headaches and body pain from being so tense and gripping the wheel so hard. I was living at home at the time and my mother would massage my shoulders and be shocked at all the knots. I hated that commute.

        4. Charlotte mousse*

          1. 15-45 minutes, depending on traffic and time of day.
          2. I tolerate it, sometimes like it, sometimes dislike it.
          3. I call my grandmother every morning and usually other relatives in the evenings (due to time differences). I also listen to music, or sometimes audio CD books from the library. My husband has the same commute and we sometimes carpool, which is really nice. He has different hours, so we often don’t carpool. He listens to language learning CD’s from the library, calls his family, or listens to audio books.
          4. We decided to live in a neighborhood we love, with a relatively reverse commute (in LA) and so far, it works for both of us. No kids yet, so I’m not sure how we’re going to work that out. We each have relative flexibility about hours, and his more so to work from home, so that’s all TBD.

      3. Anoners*

        Yeah, I think maybe commute times increase depending on the city. Most my coworkers have 1.5 hour commutes each way (yikes).

        1. afiendishthingy*

          It’s absolutely dependent on where you live, different people have different tolerances, and your norms can change. My commute is 15 minutes without traffic, rarely more than 30, which is probably short – average for this area. My hours are flexible so I can often avoid traffic. I also am out in the field visiting clients several hours a week, and those visits are usually between 3:30 and 6:30 pm, so traffic is a factor there. Even then it doesn’t usually take more than 45 minutes to get home.

          At my last job my commute was 35 minutes to an hour, and that was only tolerable. I wouldn’t want a longer commute than that.

          I enjoy driving when the weather is nice and there’s no traffic, which fortunately accounts for a reasonable amount of my commute and client visits, but I really don’t have much tolerance for sitting in traffic.

          1. Anoners*

            I agree. I also think that your surroundings during your commute are the biggest factor. I had to take a 25 minute commute via streetcar for a few months and it was the just the most terrible experience ever. Whereas I had about a 40 minute driving commute that was stress free and enjoyable.

      4. Stella Maris*

        Same. I’d say 30-45 minutes is the short end of average here in the Toronto (Canada) area. In 2014 I believe the average Greater Toronto Area commute time was over an hour. (I’m not sure if they were counting only driving, only transit, both, or combinations, though.)

        1. Snazzy Hat*

          A few years ago my s.o. & I took a vacation to Toronto (we live in WNY, but he isn’t from here & had not been to my favourite city until that trip). Our hotel was in Scarborough a few buildings away from a bus stop. That hour-long commute (a bus and three trains) into the city was so much fun I considered it part of the day’s activities!

      5. Stephanie (HR)*

        Same here, I was working in Stamford (just outside NYC) and my commute was 90 minutes door to door, and one hour of it was train. I was surrounded by people with 2-hour commutes or longer (they headed all the way into the city). It was very normal.

        If it weren’t for the train, though, I wouldn’t have been able to tolerate it long. The strain of concentrating in that kind of traffic and stress of never knowing when the traffic would make late; that I could not have done. As it was, the 90 minutes was a bit long, and 3 hours out of the day for just travel was excessive. I wasn’t able to work remotely while on the train as many are, so it really did suck the time out of the day. I was never outside in the daylight. I had to do everything on the weekends.

        My commute now is 6 minutes. Delightfully short. I can go home for lunch and see my baby, which is the best perk ever. It’s really about balance. What do you value the most? Your time, your location/surroundings, do you hate driving, do you have access to public transportation… it all has to factor in to what you want out of your life and what you have the flexibility to do (move, change jobs, etc.)

      6. starsaphire*

        45 minutes would be super-short to me, but I live in Silicon Valley. Depending on where you live and work, a 45-minute commute in Silicon Valley might only get you a few miles.

        My current job is two hours, two buses in the morning and an hour in the evening because my DH picks me up. We average about a 12-hour day between working and commuting. This to me is wonderful and amazing, because my LAST job had a commute of 2.5 hours EACH WAY, on top of a ten-hour workday.

        No kids, obviously, because if you’re a 2.5-hour train-and-bus ride away from home when your kid gets sick or hurt… yeah, no.

      7. Sprinkles*

        I also live in New York and my commute is an hour door-to-door. But it doesn’t feel that bad. 40 minutes is on the train, so I can read or listen to something, 20 is either on a bus or walking, depending on the weather.

        When I was a kid, my mom had about a 15-minutes commute, while my dad’s was an hour. I also had an hour-long commute to one job when I drove back in my home state.

        I guess I’ve always considered 45-60 minutes to be a really normal commute to work.

      8. Rusty Shackelford*

        Here in my little part of flyover country, a 45-minute commute would get me 45 miles away. An hour is considered doable but unfortunate. Anything over an hour gets you a raised eyebrow. (Mine is about 4 minutes. Double that if I come in at 8 instead of 7. And I know doubling 4 minutes is ridiculous.)

      9. JMegan*

        Yes, I think that’s something that’s missing from the original question (through no fault of the OP’s, but it does provide some useful context!) Average commute times can vary so much, depending on whether you’re in an urban/suburban/rural/etc area.

        In any case:
        1. I live and work in downtown Toronto, and my commute is about 30-45 minutes depending on the state of the public transit system that day. As Stella Maris said, this is the low end of average for this area. Anything shorter would be unusual, and lots of people have commutes that are much longer.

        2. I like it, because with a full-time job outside the home, and two little kids inside the home, it’s often the only alone time I get in a day!

        3. It’s pretty much a non-issue for me – almost every job will have some sort of commute involved, so it’s just something I have to do. I read, or play games on my phone, or just relax while I’m in transit.

        4. Critical. We don’t have a car, and I need to get the children to day care in the morning before work, so that needs to be factored into the commute time as well. I wouldn’t apply for a job outside of a specific geographic area, for this reason.

        5. It’s all me for school emergencies etc, both because my work is closer to the school than my partners, and because I have the most flexible job. Again, this is something we factor into the planning every time one of us changes jobs.

      10. NJ Anon*

        I worked in NY years ago. An hour commute sitting on a train is much different then an hour commute driving.

      11. Snargulfuss*

        It’s totally normal for a busy metro area. I spent about five years working in DC and even though I only lived about 5 miles away, it still took me a good 40 min or more (depending on metro) to get to work. For a while I biked to work; it took about the same amount of time but I killed two birds with one stone by getting my exercise in. For a few years I lived further out by at a metro stop where the trains turned around, so I’d get an empty car and a guaranteed seat going into work every day. I’d just read for forty minutes, and it was heaven. Then I moved to a different area and had to fight to squeeze onto a packed car every day; it was the worst.

        Now I live in a different state and my drive to work is about 15 minutes. It felt so weird the first few weeks to DRIVE to work!

      12. alter_ego*

        yeah, I’m actually finding this pretty surprising. I work in Boston and live in a suburb. I take the train most days, and it’s an hour on my way in, about an hour and fifteen on my way back. If I drive? It can be up to two hours. I don’t really consider a commute “long” until it hits the 90 minute mark. If I wanted to live walking distance from my workplace, I’d have to pay about 400,000 for a 450 square foot studio (real price of the condos down the street). If I want to live 30 minutes away? In one direction, it might not be as expensive, but I value not fearing for my life. In the other? Just as expensive. Outside the city is really the only way to do it if you ever want to own property, or live in anything other than a triple-decker with roommates.

        1. Rob Lowe can't read*

          Do we work at the same place? Fancy condos to the left of me, methadone clinic to the right. (I am stuck in the middle with both jokers and clowns.)

        2. INFJ*

          Lol. My mind went to Marlborough Street vs. Roxbury vs. Newton (in that order). It really is tough to find that balance of cost and comfort.

      13. Honeybee*

        In larger cities, longer commutes are more commonplace, I think, especially where public transit is ubiquitous. 45 minutes on the subway when I can read a book just seems different from 45 minutes in a car stuck in traffic. I live in Seattle and my 25-30 minute commute is a thing of wonder to most of my coworkers.

      14. Rebecca in Dallas*

        In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it’s not unusual for people to have long commutes. A lot of my coworkers drive 45 min- 1 hour each way. The metroplex is huge and there is a ton of suburban sprawl. The good school districts and affordable housing are all in the suburbs.

        My husband and I are not suburb people and both hate driving, so we have chosen our jobs and our house within the same general area. I don’t *love* my job but my short commute (less than 10 minutes) is a huge perk.

      15. Not So NewReader*

        I think it matters where you live. I had a supposedly 35 minute commute, if I was lucky.Usually it was about 45 minutes. Folks around me said, “Oh that’s nothing.” And they pointed to individuals who work in NYC everyday. That’s 5 plus hours by car, but they use the train. No way in h— would I ever consider this commute.

        I think it also matters if you are going to a good job and building a career vs going to a crappy job and feeling like it’s going no where. Even little things like is there anyone at work that cares if you had trouble in the blinding snow storm vs getting the silent treatment for being a half hour late because of snow. These little things add up FAST. They can make a commute feel oh-so-much longer.

        Currently, in bad weather my commute is about 45 minutes, 20 minutes in good weather. I enjoy my drive now. I also enjoy leaving the house a half hour before my start time, as opposed to my previous situation where I left 1 hour before my start time. It was too long a day for not too much.

    9. K.*

      I worked with a woman who had a rule with her husband that only one of them could have a long commute because of childcare issues (her husband’s commute was the longer one then but that hasn’t always been the case). I know with another set of friends I have, she’s a SAHM now (not entirely by choice) but when she was working, her commute was a hour and 15. Her husband’s was 20, tops. So I think if possible, you try to balance it so one’s is shorter.

      I’ve had a 45-minute commute for a while. I’d say I tolerate it, but this is the max I’m willing to go. My old job was that long because of mileage, my new one because of traffic – it’s half the mileage as my old job but takes the same amount of time. Either I sit in traffic or I go a random roundabout way (I prefer the latter because at least I’m moving). I deal by keeping myself entertained with podcasts and audio books. I also will stop and do errands on the way home; breaks things up a little. I would love it if I could walk to my next job though! I also think public transportation makes a difference. Driving, I have to be engaged more than I do in PT. I’d look at a 45 minute pt commute differently – that would be a nice chunk of reading time!

      1. Kyrielle*

        Yes. The worst part of my previous long commute for our parenting and family life was the time when my husband’s company had him at a client site nearly as far away from our home and the kids’ schools as my job was. There was always the knowledge that if we got a call to come get them, they’d have to wait 30-45 minutes before we were there. It happened a few times. It felt horrible.

        When that piece of work ended for him, and he was only 15 minutes away (a reliable 15 minutes that never ran over), I did a happy dance. And now that I’m maybe 5 minutes away? Happier. Getting one commute as short as possible is _really_ helpful if you have children. That person has to be prepared to be the go to person for emergencies, though, or you don’t get the benefit.

        1. KR*

          That was hard for my dad when he was working an hour away and it was just him and me. Luckily if I got sick, I had permission to walk home from school and I lived just around the corner from the school but if I ever got seriously ill or needed him, I don’t know what he would have done. Just sped, I guess.

          1. TL -*

            I had a friend who got extremely ill in college, 3+ hours from home, and her dad got to the emergency room right at 2 hours after the ambulance was called.
            She was fine after a long treatment and she had friends with her the whole time in the ER, but I was impressed.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        K’s rule of thumb is a good one even for those without children. I cannot count how many times I came home for something or stayed home because of a problem with the house. My husband could be over 100 miles away from home and have a two hour drive, plus he had crazy hours. There is no way both of us could have had jobs that were that demanding.

    10. Sandy*

      Mine used to be a less than 20 minute walk door to door. Through a park.

      Now it’s 60-90 minutes by car. I hate it. I hate every minute of it.

      1. Snazzy Hat*

        re: “through a park”, my father had this commute when I was a wee sprite:
        1. Leave apartment complex.
        2. Cross the street.
        3. Walk about a minute or two.
        4. Walk through employee parking lot.
        5. Enter workplace.

        One of those fabulous commutes where “oh crap I’m running late!” requires *actually running* in order to rectify the situation.

    11. Allison*

      1. If I leave at 7AM, it’s 45 minutes. If I leave later than 7, it can be as long as an hour. Same goes for the evening commute, if I leave at 4 it takes a little over 45 minutes, but it can take an hour if I leave at 4:30.

      2. I tolerate it. It’s not the most fun part of my day but my music gets me through it.

      3. I have an early schedule, which means getting up early but it also means getting home by 4:45-5:30, leaving plenty of time for dance classes, social activities, or personal time.

      4. Never lived with a partner, but if I were to move, I’d want to find something with a commute that’s the same length or shorter, I wouldn’t want a longer commute unless I can work from home more often.

    12. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      1. About 15-20 min.
      2. I hate any driving, but it’s tolerable.
      3. N/A
      4. We lucked out and bought a house without really considering our workplaces – but his commute is 4 miles and mine is 8.

    13. nofelix*

      My commute is similar, sometimes longer if it’s busy:
      * I aim to leave work early once a week, even if it means working longer other days. The extra time is invaluable for my mental health and getting stuff done at home.
      * I prepare entertainment for the route so it doesn’t feel like such a time sink. I watch movies on my phone – just headphones in, ignore the other commuters and focus on the movie.
      * I try to keep angry feelings at bay. Being stressed at the transport system or other commuters for two hours a day is really bad for my general mood and energy levels.

    14. Christy*

      1. 55 minutes each way. It’s all on public transit. Luckily, I only have to do it 4x/month.
      2. I dislike it because it cuts into my gym time and energy after I get home. Overall, though, it’s not intolerable. If I had coworkers in my office and not just people who work for a totally different division, I’d go in more often.
      3. I just do it. I read on the train and that helps me enjoy the time. When I used to drive, I would chat with family the whole time. That kept the time fulfilling.
      4. We live where we like to live and just deal with the commutes. Her commute is even longer than mine–at least 90 minutes each way. We could, in theory, live 20 minutes from each of our jobs. But we love our neighborhood and don’t want to move to the other area. Plus she doesn’t know how long she’ll stay at her job.
      5. We don’t have kids, but even if I worked in the office every day, I would be the one to handle most kid situations. My job is far more flexible than hers and so it would be far easier for me to handle things. Even if we lived ten minutes from her work and an hour from mine, it would still likely be me handling things.

    15. AVP*

      I take the subway every day, 25-30 minutes. I don’t mind it as I can read and don’t have to pay a lot of attention, and I can bike home if the weather is nice. So it becomes solo-time to do things I already like doing.

      However, I recently moved and this is a shorter commute from what I used to have, but I think I prefer the old one better! It was 45 minutes but less crowded and more seating room and I didn’t have to transfer through one of the craziest stations in the city. So I guess the amount of people one deals with along the way is a factor I hadn’t thought of before this.

    16. MostCommonLastName*

      1. My commute’s about the same as yours, 45-50 minutes depending on traffic

      2. I don’t really mind it. I like having time to myself and I listen to my music as I’m driving. I also use it as a time to work through story plots (I’m an author outside of my day job)

      3. For a while, before I became bogged down with a bunch of other things, I was taking broadsword lessons in the city I work in once a week. That gave me something fun to do outside of work that made the commute worth it

      4. I wasn’t working in this city when my partner and I bought a house. He works ten minutes away from where we live and at the time, so was I. I accepted this job knowing that I would have this commute. I’m the more mobile job-wise of the two of us, so it makes sense for us to focus on his work when we eventually decide to move.

      5. No kids, but we’re in the same situation where it will likely be in the next few years. My partner’s trying to switch his work schedule, and if he could do that, he’d be home well before school’s would get out and I would be able to take care of things in the morning. But that’s not something we need to worry about quite yet

    17. oldfashionedlovesong*

      1. 15-20 minutes depending on the day and traffic patterns. I moved here for this job and I specifically chose this rural area to live in for the short commute to my office, completely neglecting the fact that as a single 20-something I might be happier living in the major metropolitan area 45 minutes further away. I’ve been here 2 years now, have no friends, talk to no one on the weekends, and have gained a lot of weight because I have no one to play sports with and find it so easy to just shut myself up in my apartment instead of going to the gym. Which means the answer to 2 is…
      2. I tolerate it because its so beautifully short, even though it means I have to deal with all of the wahmbulance stuff above. Last year when my lease ended I had the opportunity to move to the city but I couldn’t bear the thought of the hour-plus train and bus commute my colleagues who live there have, so I renewed my lease in the place I hate.
      3. I don’t know, actually.
      4. I’m single, and as I mentioned in 1 I literally chose this place sight unseen when moving for this job, just for the proximity to work. I regret it.

      1. Confused Publisher*

        Are you me? I made the same choices, and hated it, until my husband happened to me and we moved just that bit closer to big city and further from my office.

      2. SJ*

        Have you tried using an app like MeetUp to meet people? I haven’t actually gone to any social events yet (ironically, due to a busy month or so with friends who live in other cities), but my friends who live in my city are all basically 80 at the age of 28 and never want to do anything but hang inside and watch movies, so I’m determined to meet new people who want to go out and do things.

        1. oldfashionedlovesong*

          I have! I am naturally introverted — which of course doesn’t preclude loneliness, so I really tried/am trying hard with Meetup. I joined pretty much every group in my area, having drawn a pretty big radius to define “my area” and have attended maybe 5-10 things in a little under 2 years. They’ve been fine for the most part, but I guess I just haven’t met anyone whom I really clicked with. I think, again, if I lived in the major city 45 minutes away I’d have better luck with the Meetup groups, but out here there aren’t too many groups (and there isn’t really much to do either, so it’s always either movies, dinner, or drinks, which gets boring after awhile).

    18. Jinx*

      My commute averages 20 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon (I take slightly different routes there and back to avoid problem areas).

      Commuting is generally the worst part of my day – people drive like maniacs here and I have driving anxiety. I handle it by plugging my mp3 player into the car and loading up an upbeat playlist, so I get distracted by good music and don’t think about how much I hate driving. I also consider that it could be worse – one of my coworkers has a 90 minute commute after the move, and I have no idea how he does it.

      The living situation is interesting in my case. I knew when I accepted the job that I didn’t want to take the major highway to work, so I chose an apartment close to my office (~five minute drive). About six months later my team was moved to an office further out, so now I have to take that highway and we’re paying a high rent for no reason. :S My husband and I actually found a new place to live that should cut my commute in half and avoid the highway, and I’m reaaaally excited.

    19. Riley*

      1. 40-50 minutes
      2. I tolerate it. It’s actually a slight improvement over my previous commute, and it’s definitely not the worst it could be in terms of DC commuting.
      3. I ride the bus, and I spend the time reading/listening to podcasts/relaxing. I would probably hate it a lot more if it were 40 minutes of driving.
      4. It’s just me, but my workplace is in a very expensive neighborhood with no metro stop, so I knew I would either have to live on the bus line that goes directly there or live on certain metro lines, and then take the bus. I limited my apartment search to places that were on those lines and close to the transfer stop, but I let the commute be just one factor–ie, I could have found somewhere on the direct bus line, but it would have meant being far from other things I wanted.

    20. Anon for always*

      Great question.

      My commute is 20 minutes and I love it.

      I used to commute for almost an hour (each way), and I did so for over five years. I found it to be completely soul sucking. One of the many reasons I stay at my current job is because of the great commute.

    21. Master Bean Counter*

      I have a 30 minute commute and I’m using it to learn a foreign language. But I’ve never been much of a city dweller, so a 30 minute commute has always been the norm for me. My Partner is a stay at home type. So he’s in charge of making sure everything runs well on the home front. With my friends it usually works that whom ever works closest to the kids ends up with the responsibility of of school emergencies. Although when I worked near the school where my nieces and granddaughter went, I was listed as an emergency contact because I could be there the quickest.

          1. Charlotte mousse*

            My husband uses Pimsler, too! But he borrows the CD’s from the public library, another option to consider.

    22. Kelly L.*

      Roughly 40 minutes by bus. I tolerate it. It does get long, but I read for most of it.

      Right now it’s the best choice for me because Apartment in Cheap Town + Bus Pass is massively cheaper than Apartment in the Town Where I Actually Work.

      I currently live in the same metro area as my partner but don’t actually cohabitate with him. The decision we face in the next few years is whether I should move to his part of the area and job search (my current job is civil service and requires me to live in-state, and the metro area has parts in two states), or whether he should move to my part of the area, where I keep the job but we’re farther from most of our social life. It’s a tough one.

    23. ThatGirl*

      I have a 30-mile commute that takes me 4o to 55 minutes on average, depending on traffic. My husband has a 25-mile commute that takes him about 35 minutes.

      We’ve both worked at our respective jobs for awhile and they are on opposite ends of the metro area, so the best we could ever hope for was roughly splitting the difference. The good news for me is that I now work from home 2 days a week. I don’t mind the commute in general unless there’s bad weather or really bad traffic, but my schedule is also flexible so I am able to avoid the worst of rush hour.

      We don’t have kids, we do have a dog but he’s not a real problem. :)

      In a perfect world I’d love a shorter commute, but I’ve moved in the past to be closer to work and then lost the job/it moved. So that sucked. I decided from here on out to just focus on places I don’t mind driving to (30 miles is about my limit, I’d say) and live in a place I like coming home to.

    24. LawCat*

      Right now, my “commute” is a 12-15 minute walk. Love love love it. My husband’s is a 10-15 minute drive, which is great. We moved to where we did so we could downgrade to one car and I could walk to work. I listen to audio books while I walk (free from my local library on an app called Overdrive).

      Prior to that, I had a 30-45 minute public transit commute. This was okay as I could read during this time.

      I once had a 50-60 minute driving commute (each way) and I ended up quitting. Just hated the commute too much. 20-30 mins is about my max tolerance for a driving commute. I would typically listen to the news. That was pre-smartphones though. Today, I’d probably listen to audio books on an app. I find it really helps pass the time.

    25. Court*

      1. 10-15 minutes. Maybe 20 during rush hour?
      2. I honestly love it. I don’t have a whole lot of time to myself other than that commute, so I think it’s a really nice way to chill out, listen to music, do whatever to get you to a better peace of mind (this is especially needed after work some days).

      Those are really the only two questions that applied to me. But I think your bigger question here is what would wear on you more: uprooting to move to a closer location, find a new job with a shorter commute, or continue dealing with the current commute? If you can’t stand the commute but you know it would grate on you even more to house hunt and move or job search, then it might be a better idea to try finding a happier perspective on the long commute. But if you decide the commute is absolutely intolerable, it would be better to either find a shorter commute or move closer to work.

    26. Stella Maris*

      1. How long is your commute?
      45-60 minutes — all on subways. Sometimes I get out a couple of stops early and walk and it doesn’t add more then about 15 minutes.
      My previous commute was, on its best day, 59 minutes. Usually more like 90-120. All on buses, and it was awful and was one of the main factors I left that job. (It was a good stepping stone but the commute sucked every single day.)

      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
      I don’t mind it most days. (When service is good and consistent I hardly mind it at all.) I live at the end of the line so I (for the moment) always get a seat in the mornings. (Not so on the way home.)

      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
      I don’t understand the question. It’s just how I get to work? Other people are talking about reading and podcasts and I agree with those things but also, it’s just a thing I do. One thing we do is try to have date nights on Fridays where we stay downtown for dinner and then go home, so we avoid the rush-hour crush. That’s always nice.

      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?
      We decided we wanted to live near enough to a subway line that we could walk to a station in 10-15 minutes. We’ve both changed jobs a few times without moving. We are talking about moving closer in to downtown — in part for lifestyle reasons and in theory to shorten the commute, although I think it would take me about the same amount of time, just in a different mode (streetcar or bus vs. subway). BUT – if we lived downtown I could walk in a reasonable amount of time if I wanted or needed to. Currently it is a little over 15km (~10 miles).

    27. Kyrielle*

      That was my commute until just last year – answering as of last May, in case it helps:

      1) Going in it was 45 minutes, home at the end of the day could be 45-90 minutes depending on luck (rarely 90).

      2) Hated the commute, but learned to work with it.

      3) I had my life take over it a bit. First I negotiated a modified schedule (which not everyone can do), but second I started listening to Coursera courses as I drove so I was learning! (I downloaded the videos to my phone, and then just listened to them – put the screen face-down so I wouldn’t be tempted to look. Most courses worked fine without the visual component, a few didn’t.) I have friends who listen to audio books and/or podcasts.

      Planning to take advantage of it – a quick stop at a conveniently-along-the-way commute on the way home adds more time (ugh!) but cuts out time needed later in the week and saves money, sometimes. (There was a good grocery store with good prices that was on that commute.)

      4. Sigh. We bought a house 5 minutes from his place of employment and 15 minutes from mine. Then my company moved our office to the back end of nowhere, and his went bankrupt and he found another job. So neither of us have an ideal commute.

      5. It’s not too bad. If you have to, one of you takes time off work to deal with planned things (doctor’s appointments, etc.), and one or the other of you books off and dashes to the kid for emergencies. Unless one of us had just newly started a job, we split those duties. If one or both of you have a long commute, it’s key to look at the logistics and figure out who handles the routine drop-off/pick-up activities; it’s frequently useful to have one parent do drop-off and the other do pick-up (even if one is in the same town), just to even it out.

      My husband and I trade off for emergency pick-ups like illness, generally, so neither of us misses too much work. I’m a little more likely to handle them, especially if it’s urgent, because I’m closer now – your husband may need that also. What we sometimes did when it was my turn but he was closer (and I suppose may do in reverse now that I am, it hasn’t come up yet) is that he would go get the kid and take them home, I would come home and as soon as I got there, he’d switch to work-from-home mode.

      It also depends, of course, on your jobs/roles and how easy it is for one of you to step out of a day (and possibly back in) – some jobs are more forgiving of that sort of thing.

      I highly recommend child care be in the town where you live, not where you work. You’ll be further from them, but _they_ won’t have a lengthy commute, and when they reach school-age (assuming you send to the local public school), they may already know a couple classmates, plus you will be used to the logistics of that location.

    28. AFT123*

      I’ve had commutes from 45-60 minutes, 15-20 minutes, 5 minutes, and home-based. After having experienced shorter commutes, I will likely never again take a commute more than 15-20 minutes. When 45-60 minutes was “normal” to me, I didn’t mind as much, but now there is just no way. I actually turned down a great job because of the commute and lack of flexibility in working from home a few days a week.

      My sister has commuted 45 minutes and she has kids, and she doesn’t mind because it’s what she’s always done. Her husband is closer to home and he handles running kids to daycare and back.

      Most people I know choose where they live independently of where they work. For me, where I live takes priority and I choose by school district, proximity to family, and neighborhood features. I choose my job secondarily, which is a luxury of being in a career with plenty of options.

    29. Minion*

      Mine is about 40 minutes. I hate it. Going to work in the morning is actually ok, but coming home the commute just seems to last forever.
      The only thing I could do was to change my hours at work. I used to work 8 – 4:30 and now I come in at 7 and leave at 3:30 which gives me a little extra time in the evenings to enjoy a bit. Bedtime is pretty early now, though.
      Right now, my husband and I are in a bit of a standoff. LOL He absolutely hates the area I work in and doesn’t want to live there. If we moved to that area, then his commute would be about 40 – 45 minutes, so the only solution would be to find a middle point between our two workplaces, but that’s easier said than done. Oh, and, in case it matters, I got this job after we’d made the decision to move to where we live currently.
      My kids are grown and living on their own, so I don’t have those issues at this time.

    30. Commute chat?*

      Thanks everyone for your responses so far. I’m reading through them with great interest and relief that I’m not alone in feeling the way that I do. For those of you with short commutes: I’m so happy for y’all! For those of you with commutes as long as or longer than mine: may your roads be clear and seats be always available.

      Also, just a note on #4: definitely didn’t mean to exclude people who don’t have/live with partners! I was caught up in my own frame of reference.

    31. matcha123*

      I had a commute like that when various things were going on in my life.

      1/2. I hated the place I worked at, which contributed to my dislike of the commute.
      The pluses, I guess, were that I was taking the train, and since the stop I was riding from was far up the line, I usually got a seat. The place I worked at also paid for my train pass.

      The bad part was waking up at 6:30am to get ready and the 15 minute walk to the station to catch the train at 7:15am and the bike ride to work to be there by 8:15am. I don’t want to be moving that early in the morning.

      3. The commute didn’t really take over my life at that time. It was my job and all of the prep and research that was messing with me.

      4. Hmm…this is too complicated to answer haha

    32. Rat Racer*

      I work from home, which is awesome, but have to travel at about 20%. I live in Northern California and am shocked/appalled at how difficult it is to get across the country to major metropolitan areas on the East Coast. Why doesn’t Oakland have any direct flights to New York? Ridiculous. And don’t even get me started on Dulles and the lack of public transportation from that airport to DC…

      Anyway, working from home and travelling has opened up a whole new world of considerations that I’m sure all you road warriors have been dealing with for years (like that fact that there are no outlets on Southwest flights) and made me very particular about airports. I’m developing a whole new zoo of pet peeves (yay!)

    33. Teapot Coordinator*

      1. 20 minutes in the morning, I start at 7:30 and I JUST miss the bulk of traffic! I work until 4:00, if I can leave at 4, it’s 20 minutes. If I leave about 4:15 or later, it’s 30+ although on Tuesday there was an accident and it took 45 minutes. This is a 14 mile commute and about 90% of it is on the interstate.
      My husband is a 12 minute commute into downtown KCMO (I work to the south in the Overland Park area, for any locals)
      2. It’s ok. I don’t love it, but if it sticks around 20 minutes, that’s ok with me. I do like that it’s mostly interstate driving as opposed to driving through stoplights. We are moving in two months though and my commute will shorten to about 13 minutes. My husband’s will increase to 20 minutes until next spring, when it will shorten to 15 minutes when he moves offices.
      3. The only thing that saves me is that my work day ends at 4:00!
      4. We decided to move further south for planning for my husband’s office move next year(it would have been a 30 minute commute without the move), to be closer to my work and to have a newer/nicer apartment.
      5. We don’t have kids, but I’ll likely work part-time or not at all for the first few years and then work part time while they’re school age. We’ve talked about this a lot and we think it will work really well for us.

      1. Christy*

        I seethe with jealousy. We’re trying to move to KCMO–looking at the Westport/Country Club Plaza area. My commute would be 10 minutes driving to near Union Station. What a dream!

        1. Teapot Coordinator*

          Try Fairway/Roeland Park/eastern Mission area too, if you don’t mind living in Kansas as opposed to living in Missouri. Both are small suburbs that are quick and convenient to Union Station. You can take Shawnee Mission Parkway to Ward Parkway or take I-35.

          1. Christy*

            Thank you! My girlfriend is like 1000% opposed to living in Kansas because she’s had a grudge against Sam Brownback since high school. I’m actually going to post something on the non-work thread about KCMO schools because that element weighs heavily on me.

            1. Teapot Coordinator*

              Brownback is kind of a tool, luckily we seem a bit more sheltered here in the KC area from his shenanigans.
              I will say that any co-worker I’ve had who lives in MO either 1.Sends their kids to private schools or 2.Lives in the country to avoid the schools of KCMO – as in, Smithville/Parkville area – which may be an option for you too, if you live in the Gladstone/Riverside area, the schools are better and the commute to downtown/Union Station is in the 15-20 minute range

              1. Christy*

                And that’s my issue–I support public schools! I think kids who have supportive (and honestly, well-off) families can do well anywhere. Generally speaking, I’d send my kids to the public school wherever we lived, and trust that they would succeed in life.

                But the schools in KCMO are not like 3/10 bad. They’re not 5/10 mediocre. They’re like uniformly 1/10 bad. They’ve been just horribly mismanaged. What’s the line? But how will schools ever improve if people don’t send their kids there unless they have no alternative? This is my great moral quandary. Purely hypothetical for now, as I live across the country and have no kids.

              2. Qmatilda*

                Former Parkville resident (and Parkhill grad here) Excellent schools, short commutes and many bridges to get you into work….come to the Northland. Plus, we have the airport. ;)

        2. DCtoKC*

          Potentially short commute was one of the reasons I agreed to move …. My current coworkers complain about traffic. Unless you’ve been stuck on the Beltway, you really don’t know what traffic is.

          1. Christy*

            You’re living the dream! The dream, I tell you. (Would you mind sharing where you were in DC and where you are in KC? I’m just interested in neighborhood comparisons.)

    34. Dangerfield*

      1) I only work about 2.5 miles from my house, but the location of my office, my house and all the roadworks around my city mean that I struggle to drive there in less than thirty minutes. I can walk it in about forty-five, which I do most of the time. If I’m not going in for 9am, then it’s more like fifteen minutes to drive it. My partner’s commute is hellacious (twenty minute walk, forty minute train journey, another twenty minute walk) so I’m lucky by comparison.

      2) I tolerate it. It’s nice to have the option to walk but the streets are so dirty and unpleasant that it’s not much good for decompression. If it were a pleasant walk I’d enjoy it.

      3) It’s a great opportunity to catch up on podcasts etc. It’s nice to know that at least I’m getting some exercise.

      4) We bought our house based on being under two miles from a train station and within half a mile of our daughter’s school. Being able to walk her to school easily in all weathers was our top priority and we’re very glad of it.

      5) I’ve had to consider this because not only does my partner work a long way from home but he can’t drive, so any kind of emergency cover falls on me. I’ve made sure that I work somewhere that is forgiving and flexible, and I’ve arranged backup childcare options for the times I just can’t leave easily.

    35. HappyHedgie*

      1. 30-40 minutes each way by public transit. I could probably shave 15-20 minutes off of my commute by driving but, the added expense and hassle of driving isn’t worth it.

      2. I enjoy it. I wouldn’t enjoy it if I had to drive but, b/c it is public transit I can put my headphones in listen to some music and catch up on a good book. I consider it “me” time and enjoy the relaxation after a busy day. It does suck when either I miss my connection or the weather is awful and I’m soaked by the time I get to work though.

      3. I just add tack it onto my working hours. I.e. an 8 hour work day is a 9 hour work day with commute.

      4. We sort of did it the unconventional way. We chose where we wanted to live (I’ve lived in this area my whole life as has he) and we found jobs based on that. In fact, he just turned down a job that would have meant a 1.5 hour commute one way on country roads. Family/life is always more important to us that our careers so we make sacrifices to ensure that Life gets put first. Obviously, that won’t work for everyone but, we’ve been able to make it work for us.

      5. Bonus: No kids.

    36. Anonymous Educator*

      1. Just based on my own experience, a 45- to 55-minute commute is not too bad.

      My first full-time “real” job was a 40- to 50-minute driving commute. That wasn’t excellent, but it wasn’t bad either. I held that job down for a few years.

      Then I had another job that was a 55- to 75-minute bus commute with one transfer. The transfer part was what really got me down, not the time, because sometimes the buses just wouldn’t match up.

      I had a 30- to 40-minute bus commute that was excellent… again with a transfer, but it being under an hour was much better.

      Then I had a commute that ranged between an hour and forty-five minutes and two hours via public transit. I could at least sleep on the commuter train or knit. But it was long and took its toll on me.

      I followed that with an hour and forty-five minutes to two hours commute driving, and that was way worse, because traffic is frustrating, and when you’re driving, you have to pay attention—you can’t just doze off.

      Now I have a 20-minute one-bus commute, and it makes my life so much easier. In fact, sometimes I’ll just get off the bus early and walk just to get some walking in.

      2/3. So, at least from my perspective 45- to 55-minutes… not ideal, but not too awful either. I think ultimately with my much longer commutes (up to two hours each way), what really bummed me out wasn’t the commute itself or the time it took but the time it took away. It meant I had to get up that much earlier, and it meant I got home that much later. Less sleep, less leisure time.

      4. We usually didn’t decide where to live based on the commute. We usually picked the job and the place to live was just what we could afford.

      5. No kids

    37. Chalupa Batman*

      1. About 20 minutes, with variables in the middle that occasionally push it up to 30-35.
      2. I don’t hate it. I’m pretty introverted, so I actually really like the days I drive (we only have one car, so I get dropped off about 2/3 of the time) because I get to decompress before and after work.
      3. The only time it really bothers me is when I have to dash home at lunchtime. It means I’m rushing home, hoping for no delays, then often grabbing a snack and getting right back in the car. Stressful. If I’m getting dropped off, I take advantage of it as a good time to talk with my husband without distractions-it can be very productive. So I guess I see the positives and maximize those.
      4. We didn’t, but we’re considering moving now, and it’s factoring in. We’re looking at two towns; one is in the same district that my kids go to school now, the other is a new school district, but the new town is a 5 minute commute to my job. I’m leaning toward the first, though.
      5. The one car thing makes this kind of tricky-it actually came up recently when our daughter had to go home sick. My husband has a flexible work schedule, and if he’s home all day, it usually means I have the car. It took him a while to reach me (’cause I was, ya know, working), and she ended up waiting for a bit. For scheduled appointments, he keeps the car and adjusts his schedule, or we try to get them outside of work hours. My parents worked off shifts-mom at night, dad in the daytime, so Mom typically dealt with school stuff, etc.

    38. GiantPanda*

      1. 20 minutes by car, 38 to 90 minutes by public transport (I’ve achieved 38 exactly once in 4 years.) I do get to telecommute now and then.
      2. Like the public transport version. The only time I get to read. Dislike the car version. No parking spaces on either end.
      3. I don’t.
      4. The closest place to my job where a house is affordable.
      5. None.

    39. The Cosmic Avenger*

      1. 25-35 minutes. (I come in early and leave early, so usually around 25.)
      2. Tolerate it. It’s really not bad, but I much prefer teleworking, which I do regularly.
      3. I mostly listen to NPR, and/or use the time to think about other things.
      4. We bought our home when both of our employers were in different locations, so when we were younger we were OK with longer commutes, although I’ve taken the bus and carpooled. Lucky for us, my employer moved a tiny bit closer and my wife’s employer moved a lot closer.
      5. We usually alternate, although more recently it depends on who has the least going on that day or has more leave (usually me). Our day care was around the corner from the house, so it made pick up and drop off easy and it didn’t matter who did what. We can both telework very easily, and if we both had big meetings, we might call my mother-in-law, or just say we can’t pick her up for another hour and a half. It’s not like we can answer the phone instantly all day either, many people are busy enough that they can’t check their messages at work as soon as they get them. (We usually can, though.)

    40. Marketeer*

      1. A little over 2 hours door-to-door each way
      2. It’s the absolute worst. I would love to find something closer but it hasn’t happened yet
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
      4. I’m single but I live there because I have lots of family and I could never find something like what I have for that price closer to my job.
      5. I do have a child. We’re lucky enough to have a doctor that has Saturday hours. If she’s sick, I can work from home or go in late/leave early. I also have my family around who can take her. I drop her off at school really early and a relative will pick her up until I get home.

    41. ZSD*

      About 40-45 minutes each way.
      I take public transport and read the paper in the morning and novels on my way home, so I actually like having that time. When I used to drive (in a different city), I listened to NPR, which also seemed like a good use of time.
      As far as deciding where to live, well, we made sure to live on the metro line that I’d be working on so that I at least wouldn’t have to change trains (or take both a train and bus). My husband telecommutes here, so we didn’t have to compromise on a commute.

    42. the_scientist*

      1. My commute is all by public transit, and can range from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic, transit breakdowns, etc.
      2. It’s fine. I was living in the suburbs and spending 90+ minutes (each way) on transit before I moved, so this is a significant improvement. While public transit is certainly less stressful than driving, I find the Toronto transit system to be incredibly anxiety-producing. I take the streetcar and during rushhour, they are absolutely shoulder-to-shoulder; like forget any ideas you might have about personal space because such a thing doesn’t exist. There are frequent (almost daily) service interruptions, delays, breakdowns and other problems. The overcrowding is so significant that you often have to wait for 5 or 6 full cars to go past before you can fit on one, so it’s hard to plan a trip or get where you need to be in a timely manner. At this point, I’d prefer living in a smaller town where I could walk or drive or bike to work, as much as I hate “car culture”.
      3. I moved closer to work to shorten my commute from 3 hours a day to a little over an hour a day. In the summer, I’ll work 8:30-4:30 so I miss the worst of rush hour on both sides.
      4. My partner and I picked our apartment based on our commutes. He walks 20 minutes to work, I commute by public transit. We have one car, but our neighbourhood is walkable for all errands and our doctor’s office is in the neighbourhood, etc., so it’s rare that we need the car for our daily lives. We are planning to buy in the next few years and have NO idea how to handle it or where to look, because we can’t afford in the city, or even in the surrounding suburbs.
      For the kids thing: here, there is NO way that both parents can live in the suburbs and commute downtown with young kids, unless there is family support. You’re looking at a minimum of 45 minutes, and usually over an hour one way to any of the major suburbs, and that’s not going to cut it in case of an emergency. Or even with daycare pickup deadlines, really. So most people here either have one parent not working or working close to home, or have family support. People who live in the city get by OK. I think a lot of people pick daycares that are walking distance from the office, rather than their homes, so they are close by in the event of illness/emergency. Also, my employer has a good WFH policy, which helps a lot.

    43. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

      My father and most of my friends parents have had hour + commutes into the Boston area the entire time they’ve known them. I did an hour commute when I first go the job I have now. I didn’t mind it when the weather wasn’t bad, but it snowed a ton that winter and the road conditions were really bad… lots of pothole dodging! I have a ten minute commute now (though sometimes it does take me over an hour if there’s an accident, and that makes me far angrier than having a commute that was just normally an hour!) but I’d be willing to live further away if it meant be in a better area. Also, I grew up thinking long commutes so you can live in the suburbs were the norm (see above) but my partner didn’t. Since he has more of a problem with the idea of a long commute I’d be willing to live closer to his job and take the longer commute myself, if that became an issue.

      1. TL -*

        One of my old coworkers does a Providence-Boston commute every day by car (it would be so much faster to take the commuter rail). I think he’s crazy but he’s been doing it for a couple of years now, so…

        1. Rob Lowe can't read*

          I know people who do that commute in both directions. Overall I think it’s nuts, but driving the Providence-Boston trip is definitely nuttier.

    44. KR*

      1. My commute is a 30 minutes at the worst, 17 minutes at the best. I used to have a commute of 25-35 minutes and I hated it so much. When I was in college, my commute there was 45 minutes at best, 60-65 minutes at the worst.
      2. Compared to the commutes to work and school I used to have, this one is great. I have to drive on some high traffic roads with no passing zones though, so sometimes my commute is really frustrating because it can be slowed down dramatically by one school bus, the thought of rain, or a slow driver. When my commute was really long I hated it because it made my work day a lot longer and it was harder to do things because if someone wanted to hang out after work, it would take an hour round trip to go home and change. Or if I forgot something at home it was a pain to go home and get it. I was more irritable with a long commute and it stressed me out a lot.
      3. I began looking for ways to enjoy my commute when it was seriously long. I stocked my iPod with really good music, I started listening to NPR, and I timed my errands and chores so that I could do everything in one trip so that once I was home, I didn’t have to drive more than 10 minutes to get anything I needed.
      4. When my roommate and myself were looking for somewhere to live, she was comfortable moving to City B, which is about a 30-35 minute drive (sometimes a 40 minute drive in bad traffic) away from where I work along busy roads with no passing zones that can be easily backed up. She thought it was a viable option because she didn’t mind long drives (mind you that she doesn’t work and when she goes to school she does not go 5 days a week and usually only has one class a day in the late morning – so not comparable to my usual 8-12 hr a day working). I pushed back hard against this to the point where I would rather move in by myself then have to drive over an hour round trip every day to work again. It was hard to push the line but I think she really understands now how much a long commute grates on me.
      5. When I was a kid, my dad had a long commute (2 hrs round trip every day). When I was younger my mom was there and worked nights when he worked days or would work mornings and get out before I got home from school, so my parents were lucky in that sense. When I was older it was just my dad around, but as a high school student I felt really lucky that I had over two hours at home alone guarenteed before my dad got home ;).

    45. ACA*

      1. 10-15 minutes by bus, plus 1-20 minutes of waiting for the bus. (They’re supposed to run every 10 minutes, but….) I never walk in to work, but when I walk home it’s about 30 minutes.
      2. I like it! I just wish the buses were on time.
      4. The main role commute played when we were house-hunting was that we wanted to make sure we were close to public transportation. And we are! About five blocks from the train, and only a block or two away from three different bus routes.

    46. Collie*

      1. Commute is somewhere between half-an-hour to forty-five minutes. It depends on if I take the bus or walk to the Metro. Except the other day when the Metro was closed. >:( (For more context, I live about seven driving miles from where I work.)
      2. As much as I enjoy driving, I’m glad I don’t have to (a) drive first thing in the morning when I’m still waking up and (b) drive in DC traffic which is the first or second worst in the country depending on what article you read. I like it, as far as commutes go. Once I got over the motion sickness for the first few months, I was even able to read on the train.
      3. It doesn’t. Plus, when the weather is nice, I can opt to walk to/from the Metro which provides some nice quiet, meditation time to myself and improves my day. Hooray for vitamin D!
      4. He has a slightly shorter commute than I do at present, though his new job is going to make commuting a bit of a challenge. There are too many other factors that determined where we lived, but commute will probably factor in much larger next time we move.

    47. Accountant*

      1. 12 minutes if I drive directly to work, 25 if I drop my daughter off at daycare (which includes the time spent getting her out of the car and into her classroom)

      2. love it. My parents wanted to live out in the county, so we did that growing up. To get “to town” where my dad worked, where we went to the grocery store or the doctor, etc. it was a 45+ minute drive. It was stupid and I never wanted a long commute.

      3. n/a

      4. We knew I’d be working downtown as long as we live in this city, so we picked the closest affordable suburb. His commute is 25 minutes in the opposite direction from mine.

      1. Accountant*

        oh, and 5.– the above-mentioned daycare is about 10 minutes from our house to make it easy for us both. It’s between our house and my job, so I drop her off every morning and we alternate who picks her up based on whats going on that day. I usually handle medical stuff, etc, just because my job is more flexible.

    48. Jules the First*

      1. 40-45 min by subway. There’s also a train which is about five minutes faster but comes less frequently and is a less convenient transfer, so I only use it when I’m in a hurry.
      2. I read or listen to music because I’m mostly underground with no phone service. It’s my me time.
      3. I plan to do something downtown after work at least once a week so that I can vary the trip home occasionally. Also make sure that what you do during the commute is something you actively enjoy (so no working on the trip!)
      4. I’ve lived in the same neighbourhood for ten years through four jobs. I love the neighbourhood and wouldn’t leave for anything. I’ve turned down jobs because the commute would be too gnarly.
      5. A part time nanny does school pick ups and emergencies for my colleague (I’m currently kid-less, but this would be my option if I had them). If it’s too early for the nanny to be available, a schoolfriend SAHM can take the older one, or you take the day off.

    49. Ad Girl*

      1. About 10-15 minutes, can be 25-30 if traffic is really, really bad in the evenings.
      2. It really is great! One of the biggest perks is that it is 5-10 at lunch, so I am able to go home. I also live right outside of the city center (Southern, big city), so there are a lot of things close by as well for running errands, etc at lunch.
      3. One of the biggest things (which I just got lucky with), is that a gym is two blocks away. Grocery store is also two blocks in the other direction. I am able to work my schedule so I am working out/shopping right after work, instead of feeling like I have to go out of my way either before I go home or after I get home to do those things.

    50. Marcy Marketer*

      I worked at company A in City Z for two years and for the first nine months I had a 45 minute commute by train. my partner and I decided to move in together, and it was very much a conversation. We would live in City Y where his job was located only if his current roommate (Daryl) would rather live with us than find other roommates. Otherwise we’d live in a borough of City X which was halfway between City Y and Z for a 45 minute commute for both of us. But, Daryl wanted to still live with us so we lived in City Y for a year and my partner had a five minute commute and I had an hour and a half commute.

      I’m not going to say it was all hearts and roses, but I was young and getting my hustle on and we made it work. He would always have dinner ready for me when I got home and I would listen to NPR or audio books in the car. It wasn’t the worst. However, I eventually got a new job that was an hour in the other direction. My partner, Daryl, and I thought about moving a little bit my way to make my commute 45 minutes (no traffic), but I basically pitched a fit and said that I had a shitty commute for the last year and it was my partner’s turn! Not my best moment :) So we parted ways from Daryl and moved closer to my new job. My partner had an hour commute for six months, but he was actively looking for another job even before we moved, and he eventually got one. We both have 20 minute commutes now.

      I think it’s just one of those things where you both have to decide if your quality of life/relationship is more important than your job or city. For us, it was pretty easy once we shedded Daryl (sorry Daryl!) because both of us are easy going, but I think my partner didn’t want to let Daryl down or abandon him. However, I have a lot of friends who really tussle with where to live, with no one wanting to “give up” their job. I honestly think it just has to be a really open conversation with no one trying to “win” but just make the best life together. My 20 minute commute is amazing. We have a dog now, which we’d never be able to have before, and I can get home and cook, do the dishes, take the dog for a walk, and watch tv, and I’m not exhausted at all.

    51. Stranger than fiction*

      Wow, I feel like a spoiled brat right now, but my commute is less than 20 minutes, but I’m only about 8 miles from the office. I’m in the OC, and the longest commute I’ve ever had in my career was 40 minutes. Here, it could take 1 1/2 hours to drive from north to south county or vice versa in rush hour traffic, though. I guess I’ve been lucky to have found most of my jobs on my end of the county. And, honestly, a lot of companies here question or raise eyebrows at job applicants coming from the other end of the county because they worry about the commute being too much. I guess that’s easy to do, though, when the area is so densely populated that you have plenty of candidates close by.

    52. LQ*

      I’m on the low side of this which seems uncommon at least here.
      1. How long is your commute?
      7 minute walk each way. (I can’t imagine what it would be driving, most people who driving park farther away from the building than my apartment.)
      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
      Love it, just enough to let my brain discard work things and shift into a more personal space.
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
      It’s perfect. Up to about 20 minutes has been fine for me. Once when I had a 2.5 hour each way commute, there was no way to stop it from taking over my life. Spending more than 5 hours a day commuting basically meant I could do nothing else with my life during the week. 15 minutes a day means I can have a really substantial hobby that I love. I could have a second job if I needed. I could do a lot of things with that extra 20 hours a week that make the scope of job much more tolerable. (I actually like my job quite a bit, but I’d do a job I liked less to have this short of commute.)
      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?
      Currently single, but when partnered and living with someone it was sort of who had the job they were more likely to stay with for a while (me-he had…high job turnover?).

    53. Laura*

      Aww, that’s tough. I feel for you. Here’s my info:

      1. 20 minutes to get there, 30 minutes to leave (all surface streets!)
      2. I tolerate it. I work at a large university so when leaving, the traffic can be really frustrating. I listen to podcasts on my way home, which make the drive a lot more bearable.
      3. It doesn’t. It’s not long enough to take over my life.
      4. My boyfriend and I live apart but I mostly stay at his place. We are planning on moving in together and have only considered places that are equidistant for us both.
      5. No kids

    54. AmyNYC*

      1. My commute is about 50 minutes by train.
      2. I don’t love it, but I’m resigned to it – in New York, this is pretty standard.
      3. I’m fortunate that it’s a pretty straight shot – no transfers – so I can read or study and get a solid 30-40 minutes of concentration. In nice weather, I break it up by walking 10 minutes to the further station, riding the train for 30 min, and getting out a stop before the office to walk another 10.
      4. We both got new jobs after moving, so the commute wasn’t a factor. He can work from home (I can’t) so that flexibility is nice when we need stuff done at the apartment (and I would assume, should kid emergencies come up)

    55. Sitting Duck*

      1. Currently about an hour – but it will be cut in 1/2 when summer starts (We just moved/bought a house and decided to keep our son in the same pre-school he was already in, so I currently drive about 15 minutes in the wrong direction to get him to school, and do the reverse at the end of the day to pick him up, when summer comes we are moving him to a summer camp a block away from where I work, and then in the fall he will go to Kindergarten, which is directly across from the house we bought, so my commute will be 30 min each way since I don’t be dropping him off or picking him up)
      2. Its only been 1.5 weeks since we moved, my old commute was about 30 minutes (including dropping my son off) so once I don’t have to drop him off anymore my commute will still be the same as it has been for 1.5 years. I don’t mind the 30 minutes in the car.
      3. This post actually just allowed me to realize that once my son transitions to the camp/kindergarten that my commute will be the same as it was before we moved – and I feel so much better about it knowing that than I did before. SO thanks :) Its all about context and creating a schedule. Long commutes can sound terrible, but once you get into the practice of doing it, I don’t think they are all that bad.
      4. We choose a place we could afford, with the house items we really wanted (2 car garage, gas stove, etc.) in a neighborhood we liked. I was nervous about the commute (mine increased, my fiance’s decreased) although am feeling better about it now.
      5. We have one son who will be in kindergarten in the fall. Currently I take care of most of the emergency pick ups, although we are both about 10 minutes from his current school, my job just has more flexibility to leave without notice than his dad’s job. When he goes to camp I will also be the emergency pick-up, as he will be a block away from where I work. Once he starts school in the fall his dad will be much closer, but again, since I have the more flexibility it will probably still be me, it will just take an extra 15 minutes for me to get there than it would his dad. I will most likely also be the one to take him to appts, which is really just because my job is the more flexible one. The biggest change when he goes to kindergarten in the fall will be his dad will be the one picking him up at the end of the day (currently I do 90% of the time) because I won’t be able to get to the afterschool program before they close since I am farther away, and his dad gets out of work earlier than I do.

    56. Callie*

      My first year of teaching I had a 70 minute commute, because I got a job in a town where I didn’t want to live and I drove back and forth every day. I hated it and quit that job at the end of the academic year for a better one in the town where I lived.

      1. 70 minutes, but it was on back roads so longer in the rain.
      2. I hated it.
      3. There was no way to keep it from taking over my life especially on days when I had early morning duty and had to be there by 7 am. Leaving the house at 5:45 was ridiculous.
      4. We stayed in the town where we already lived. I had no desire to live in that town and my goal was to eventually get a job in town, which I did.

    57. Marzipan*

      I have about a 45 minute walk each way, and actually I quite like it. I listen to music, potter about online on my phone, and generally treat it as my exercise for the day. I wouldn’t enjoy a 45 minute drive, but then I hate driving anyway.

      1. Marzipan*

        Oh, and in terms of where to live, it pretty much came down to where I could afford. I did think about some areas where I would have had a short walk + short train journey + short walk, although I had some reservations about that because it would be less flexible in terms of getting back and forth if I had to stay on at work/come in at odd times. On the flipside, the nature of my work is such that I wouldn’t want to live too nearby…

    58. AvonLady Barksdale*

      1. About 20 minutes, give or take, by car.
      2. I don’t mind it. For most of my trip, I go against traffic so it’s pretty easy. I also figured out all of the alternate routes pretty quickly and I take easy surface roads. I can stop for coffee on the way if I want to. I can also drop my boyfriend off at campus on certain days.
      3. It doesn’t, luckily for me. I listen to NPR in the mornings, music on the way home. If there’s ever a day where I just can’t face it, I can work from home.
      4. When we first moved here, I was working from home full-time. We only have one car. We chose our location so my boyfriend could walk to campus (he’s a PhD student) and so I could walk to some things nearby (we moved from NYC, so the idea of being far away from anything was more than we both could bear). I love our neighborhood. Then I got this job but, thankfully, the commute is fine. In fact, my commute is the shortest in the office– even the co-workers who live in the same town as our office have a longer commute.

      I used to live in NYC and work in Midtown. When I lived in Queens, my commute could be 45 minutes to an hour. When I lived in Manhattan, it was a 15-minute subway ride or a 45-minute bus ride with some walking. I never minded commuting by public transportation because I could completely zone out and even close my eyes if I needed to. Driving makes things really stressful. I do miss walking part of the way to work, though.

    59. Something Something*

      Oh boy, that commute sounds really tough. I used to have a commute like that and maybe I’m just a big sensitive baby but it made really sad. I won’t ever go back to a commute like that now. I moved away from the area where that was normal to a small city where the longest commute anyone can have is about 20 minutes. I get the shakes just thinking about that old commute, honestly.

      1. How long is your commute? 2 minutes driving and about 15 minutes walking.
      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it? Like it.
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life? Well, that’s easy in this case of course.
      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes? We made it our #1 priority. I am a basketcase about driving so we made sure to find a place within walking distance from my job. We have housemates (which actually we love having for the most part) and it works for us.

    60. Ihmmy*

      1) since I use public transit to get to/from work, it’s 35 minutes each way
      2) it’s fine. I could make it shorter by driving, but I would pay oodles in parking costs (particularly if I wanted to be close enough that the walking + driving =/= same as busing time)
      3) I doze on the bus. I am not a morning person, so some mornings I’m still frelling exhausted when my bus arrives, and I can close my eyes if I’m in a decent seat
      4) no live in partner, was in this house prior to getting this job, but part of its selling feature was proximity to main arterial roads and bus routes.
      5) no kids but my job does get a day off every 3rd week which helps a lot with appointments

    61. Noah*

      1) Usually 15-20 mins each way. However I come in late and leave late to avoid rush hour. During rush hour it is at least 45 mins.
      2) I don’t mind it, but I miss my old job where I could walk to work in about 15 mins. If I had to drive in rush hour everyday I would move closer.
      3) I work from home one day a week and we have flex time so I come in later and leave later than many.
      4) I’m single. For me though living where I do now meant a better QOL compared with the area around my office.

    62. T3k*

      1) I have a 35 min. commute, and that’s when there’s no accidents on the highway. If there are, then it becomes 50 min. And taking back roads isn’t an option as that makes it even longer.

      2) I really hate it because 1) I just don’t like spending over an hour each day driving as I feel I could be doing something more productive and 2) I’m so underpaid, it’s not worth it to me in the long run.

      3) I try to go as fast as I can to make it shorter :p ok, not that. I play music off my iPod to pass the time but that’s about it. I don’t do audio books because I’m a very visual person and I don’t take a lot in unless I can write or see what’s being said.

      4) no partner, but I live at home with my mom. As I’m so underpaid, even if I didn’t have student loans, and even if I shared an apartment around here, I still wouldn’t be able to afford rent so where I live is dictated by where my mom lives.

    63. Sunflower*

      I work in Philly and live in Center City. I only started this job in Sept. I used to drive to work- about the same commute as you.

      1. 15-20 minute walk
      2. LOVE it. I used to live on the other side of the city and took the subway which was about a 30 minute trip(walking to stop, ride, walk to building). It would be really hard for me to go back to the subway and almost impossible for me to go back to driving.
      3. When I used to drive to work, I started listing to a lot of podcasts. Not sure if this is possible but having a car with satellite radio and blue tooth was a lifesaver. I would make a lot of phone calls during the commute. I also would listen to various talk/news radio stations on Sirius. I never got into books on tape(are they still called that? lol) but I bet they would help the time go by.
      4. No partner or kids.

    64. overeducated*

      1. Currently, my commute is 1.5-2 hours each way, driving from north of a major metropolitan area where I live to a city south of it, so traffic is unavoidable. This is for two part time temp jobs, but if I have to go back to my seasonal job in a few months, then I’ll have about a 60 minute commute via public transit, with a transfer from bus to train.

      2. Hate it. Hate it hate it hate it. The only think that keeps me sane is the hope that my 10 month job search will soon be successful, and I’ll either have a shorter commute, or we’ll move closer to my new job once I actually have something with long term prospects.

      3. The 1.5-2 hour commute does take over my life but the 60 minute wasn’t as bad. I enjoyed reading on public transit and listening to audiobooks and the radio isn’t quite the same.

      4. We decided where to live in major metropolitan area based on my partner’s job, since he got a multi-year contract, and when we moved I was one semester away from finishing grad school. We just can’t afford to live along one of the subway lines that serves his work area, it’s far far too expensive, so we chose our neighborhood because he can take a 20-30 minute bus trip to work. That was the shortest commute we could afford, rent-wise. We knew that this meant a longer commute for my seasonal job, so we agreed that he would have to deal with day care dropoff and pickup in exchange. Unfortunately, my job search so far has not turned up any possibilities with a commute of under 45 minutes for me, and if I do get one of the jobs I’ve interviewed for recently, it’ll be 60-90 on public transit, so we might wind up thinking about a move them.

      5. It’s been a puzzle in terms of childcare so far, we’ve wound up taking turns because husband’s job has some flexibility and I’ve only been working 3-4 days a week since graduating. What kind of jobs you have makes a really big difference here. With two butt-in-seat jobs and minimal PTO, dealing with sick kids and appointments would be really, really hard, but those factors have given us enough breathing room that we’ve only called on out-of-state grandparents for help once in a year and a half. (Yes, I feel bad that we had to do that at all, but grateful that one was willing to drive hours to help us in a pinch.)

    65. NylaW*

      1. My commute is about 5 minutes tops if the traffic isn’t too terrible and I don’t end up being one of the school buses.
      2. I love it!!! I am afraid of moving somewhere else because I know that time will go up exponentially.
      3. It’s impossible for it to, but it is annoying that when the weather is horrible I have no excuse for not going to work.
      4. We both work at the same place. If we didn’t, we’d probably try to make it an equal commute time if we could, or we’d most likely live close to my work since it has longer hours and is more demanding.
      5. We have a very flexible schedule. Back when our daughter was born, he made a deal with his boss and coworkers that he would work one day every weekend, in exchange for having a set schedule. We basically work opposite days now, but since we both work only days everyone is home in the evenings. It’s great because one of us is always home with the kid, except for 1 day, when my mother watches her.

    66. DebbieDebbieDebbie*

      1. For the last 10 years I have had a 30-45min commute-mostly related to miles as I live in a suburb of a rust-belt city without much traffic. Hubs drives 45min each way
      2. I tolerate it because I used to live in an inner ring suburb that was only a few miles from my workplace and it still took 20 minutes because it was all stop signs and traffic lights. Now it’s mostly all highway. I download podcasts and listen to sermons in the am. Make phone calls in the pm.
      3. I was able to arrange my schedule to start very early (6am) and thus am often able to leave by 3pm and still have time and energy for other life things.
      4. We chose where we lived because I was renting and my husband owned his home when we met. Neither of us had the motivation to look for a home together.
      5. I had three young children when we met and quite foolishly continued to behave as a single mom throughout the kids growing up years. I managed all snow days, medical emergencies and appts. I think my husband picked up from daycare a handful of times when I had a work emergency that would keep me past 6p. Both of our parents were always willing to be back up for us but I just had a terrible, terrible case of Supermom Syndrome.

    67. Lefty*

      1. Just over 2 hours… drive to station, take train in, walk mile to office
      2. I tolerate it. Don’t really have a choice because of the cost of living/quality of living closer to work.
      3. I’m watching this because it’s new to me too… right now it feels like my life is ON the train.
      4. We decided mostly on cost, what we want can only be in our budget that far away. However, the train schedules changed around our move… what was a 47 minute ride is now 1 hour and 27 minutes. *fingers crossed that will change soon with some new train schedules*

      5. Bonus: We’re about to start a family so I’d love to hear these explanations too!

      1. MoinMoin*

        I really hope for your sake that the train schedules change in your favor, but in the spirit of the grass always being greener on the other side I just want to say that I’d still take your commute over my own. Mine is shorter but it’s all active driving. I’d love to sit on a train and get some time to read instead. :-)

    68. The Other Dawn*

      For my whole adult life (I’m 41 now) I had a commute of about 10 minutes, because I worked at one place for 6 years and the other for 18 years. Although there was a 6 month stint where I drove to another office: 3 days a week at first and it was about 50 minutes one way, and then it later became 5 days a week for about 3 months. Then I was relocated back to the main office. I didn’t mind that drive, because it was “thinking time” for me and helped me ease into and out of the work day.

      I went onto another job for about 10 months and that was also about 10 minutes commute time. About three months before I left I moved 45 minutes away…and that drive SUCKED! Traffic was fine going there, but coming home was a pain in the ass because there was ALWAYS traffic in particular spots and no way to really avoid it. And on Friday nights, inevitably there was an accident in that same spot. Another reason I hated that commute was that I really hated the job, the boss, the company, everything about it. So that made it much worse.

      Now I work up in this area and my commute is about 20 minutes. I find it to be just right: enough time to ease into and out of the day, and the traffic is usually just a slowdown in one particular spot. It’s far enough that I don’t feel like I have to jump right into the work day, or like I’m obligated to come in if the weather is really bad. (That’s how I felt when I was 10 minutes away. It was pretty much expected that I wouldn’t call out for weather. Which was no big deal to me anyway.) But it’s close enough where I can run home during the day, if necessary. I usually try to leave about 4:50 pm so I miss the huge line of cars getting on the highway and I usually miss any potential slowdowns.

      My husband, on the other hand, has been driving 50-60 minutes each way for about 11 years and he doesn’t mind it. Traffic sucks coming home, but he’s pretty much OK with it. I don’t know why or how, but he is. He works 7 am to 3 pm, so that’s pretty much why it doesn’t take over his life.

    69. Mike C.*

      1. Ten minutes.
      2. It’s pretty awesome.
      3. A fast car that can take corners at speed. ;)
      4. Wife wanted to life in a nicer complex that just happened to be really closer to my workplace, so that was pretty much that.

      1. Mike C.*

        Oh, I should add the 5-10 minutes to park and 10-15 minute walk. Those aren’t exaggerations either, it’s a large site.

    70. MoinMoin*

      I commute 25 miles each way, from the southern part of a major metropolitan area to the northern part. I don’t love it, but I fell into this company last summer and I’ve made my peace that I’ve committed to this job for at least another year or two and that includes the commute. About a month ago it finally made sense to change my usual hours, though, from 8-4 to 6:30-2:30, which means I avoid a lot of traffic and my commute is cut down from 1 hour each way to ~30 minutes. Getting up earlier works with the rest of my daily schedule so for me the trade-off is definitely worth it. That said, I still have to work at not letting the drive stress me out- I thought not being in bumper to bumper traffic would eliminate a lot of that, but it’s pretty easy to get tired of the drive and other drivers at normal driving speeds as well.
      Luckily my company is very “burn-out conscious” so they have a lot of initiatives like flex schedules, work from home programs, commuter vans, etc. so there may be other options for me in the future if the commute still feels like it’s impacting more than I can emotionally/time-wise/whatever take. Just knowing that helps, as well as trying to treat the drive as my introverted time to decompress and listen to stand up comedy on Pandora- something I enjoy but wouldn’t otherwise make time for.
      As for choosing to live where we do- at the time we both had jobs in our corner of the city. Now my changing companies and my husband getting promoted means we both have about the same distance/time commutes but in different directions. Finding a midway point to lessen both our commutes would put us in the heart of downtown, much more expensive for a much smaller, older house. I honestly don’t see the point because I’d like to escape this city in the next 5 years anyway, so I don’t see a reason to move away from the stuff I like in our current neck of the woods for a company I only plan on using as a short-term stepping stone and a position (his) that he wants to grow out of as quickly as possible anyway.
      So I guess the bottom line is that yes, commuting is a huge suck and I only manage it because I consider it a temporary suck that I choose to accept for a greater goal. If I were planning to stay in this city/company/etc longer, I would definitely be doing the math on gas/car wear and tear/mental and time investments and probably choose to invest that money in a house closer to my job or something.
      If you read any or all of this thanks! Commuting takes a significant amount of my mental time and so I have a lot to say about it, though I know it’s not generally interesting to anyone else.

    71. Pwyll*

      1. A little under an hour each way
      2. I surprisingly like it more than I expected. I’m reverse-commuting from a major metro to beyond the suburbs, so traffic isn’t too bad, but it can be a bit long. I really wish I could telecommute, but my employer disallows all external access: I literally have to print every piece of information I could possibly need in paper in order to work from home, which is more work to prepare.
      3. I’ve really been digging into audiobooks. I just haven’t had the time the past few years to do any real reading, so when I started this job I grabbed a bunch and have been really enjoying the ride. I also use the time to call family on my bluetooth speaker, which is a great way to catch up with them.
      4. No partner at the moment. I live on a subway line in the suburbs of a metro area in a nice place that is so incredibly inexpensive. The offer I received was too good to refuse, even though I wanted to work downtown. So, in a few months I’ll need to decide if it’s worth the commute time. But the convenience of the city being so close and not needing to pay for parking really wins it for me.

    72. Gene*

      1. Current commute is a 15-20 minute drive, counter rush hour traffic. Or a 45-55 minute bike ride (pretty much all downhill to work and all uphill home). Public transit is not an option, closest bus stop to work is 3.5 miles from the office.
      2. It’s the longest I’ve had, but it’s OK.
      3. Any errands I want to run are on the way home, so it’s good in that respect.
      4. I had the job and house when we met, so it was a given in the relationship. FirstWife and I found a house we liked in our price range with a reasonable commute to LastJob. CurrentJob is farther from home, but doable.
      Bonus. No kids, so no comment.

    73. Ife*

      I don’t have such a terrible commute compared to a lot of other people. I have to drive but I can avoid the freeway and it’s a pretty easy route. I can run some errands on my commute, like stop for gas or at the grocery store. I also pass a Starbucks on the way, so sometimes I stop there so I have something to look forward to.

      That said, I much preferred driving just 10 minutes to work. It’s time that I could be using to do something else, and it’s inconvenient to be so far away. I know some people like a longer commute so they can de-stress after the day, but for me it actually makes me more stressed because I can’t always let go of a problem from work and I end up thinking about it for 30 straight minutes (plus driving is stressful for me).

      1. 30 minutes driving
      2. I don’t think I could do anything longer than 30 minutes. It’s tolerable now that I found some good radio stations to listen to, but it’s super annoying in the evening when I just want to get back to the house/have something to do in the evening.
      3. I’m lucky that I have flexibility in start/end times at work, and I can work from home if I need to be at the house for some reason or have an appointment.
      4. My fiance works in construction, so he has a really variable commute. One week he might be working 10 minutes away, and the next it could be 1.5 hours away. Right now we’re living in the house that he was living in previously, but in a couple years we will be moving to a *nice* house. Choosing it is going to be a balancing act between distance to families, amount of land, and distance to the freeway (which shortens his commute).

    74. Lizketeer*

      1. 10ish minutes depending on stoplights
      2. Love it for work/access to specific entertainment in the area, but not so much for seeing other people
      3. The biggest downside to where I am is that, while it’s super close to work (the reason why I chose here), most other people that I am connected with live on the other side of property (Disney World) because of the layout of the parks and their needs to be close to work. To do anything outside of work is at minimum a 30 minute drive on unlit back roads with minimal signage. This is a big barrier to me going out and doing things.
      4. I’m by myself so this isn’t an issue, but again I explicitly chose this location because of it’s closeness to work

    75. Dynamic Beige*

      I commuted to college by train in early 90’s. I would read books but there were people who brought their knitting, picked up a newspaper, slept (which I did often) and then occasionally, there would be someone with a laptop. Seeing those early laptops was like seeing an alien… and remember, no Internet! No iPods! I don’t recall seeing a cellphone, because they were still the big bulky kind that needed a battery pack like a small suitcase. The whole trip took about an hour and a half. Driving to station, getting up to the platform, ride, subway then short walk to school. I didn’t realise how exhausted I was doing it until looking back years later.

      I then commuted essentially the same distance for 7 years at 2nd and 3rd job. I drove because both places were not located in a transit friendly area and also kind of sketchy areas. As an extra added bonus, at any time the day could end at midnight (or later), when the trains were no longer running. So, car. Once again, until I quit LastJob, I didn’t really understand how exhausted I was.

      Driving was more convenient than taking transit, but just as stressful in a different way. On the train, I could read or sleep but getting to the station, catching the trains on time, it was an extra thing to manage on top of everything else. Missing a train meant waiting an hour (usually) for the next one. With driving it was good to not have to worry about schedules but traffic! Weather! At least I got to listen to the radio. I don’t think audiobooks/books on CD where a thing at the time.

      From my experience, no matter what you do during your commute, it’s like having a part-time job on top of your full-time one. There are so many things you can do now to make some productive use of that time but it is still time and that’s the one thing you can’t buy more of.

    76. Patty*

      1. How long is your commute?
      35 – 60 minutes depending on traffic
      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
      I’ve only been doing it for 3 months, but I don’t mind it. I listen to podcasts or audio books. The stop and go traffic gets annoying, but I just take a calm approach to the whole thing so it doesn’t stress me out.
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
      I try to work early hours, 730-4pm usually, so I have time to do things after work. I also have standing 4pm happy hour date with my husband, so I’m always out the door at 4 on those days
      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?
      My old job was closer to our house, and we picked that location because of the school district and the neighborhood. My husband and I both commute about the same amount now. We discussed moving when I got my new job, but the school districts close to work are not nearly as good as where we currently live, so it doesn’t make sense to move because of that.
      5. Bonus: If you and your partner have children…how does it work for school emergencies, doctors appts, etc?
      When I got this job, part of the deal was the fact that it was going to be more hours than my last job, more responsibility, etc. My husband and I discussed it and agreed to focus on my career for the time being since my husbands is pretty established at his company and so can take the hit of extra sick days. So he does any emergency pick ups and stays home if our daughter is sick. My mom is also available to watch her for emergencies. It’s worked out pretty well. He picks her up everyday so I can stay late if I have to and not rush out the door. We still both go to doctor appointments, but we’re unusual like that.

    77. NJ Anon*

      My commute is an hour each way. Sometimes longer if there is an accident or bad weather. I knew that when I took the job and while the driving in and of itself doesn’t bother me, it is the time I am wasting sitting in the car.
      My kids are grown so that is not an issue. When they were young, I always worked close to home. I am looking for another job with a shorter commute and more $.

    78. NASAcat*

      1. Until very recently it was 90-120 mins each way for 5 years
      2. Depends on the day, but mostly tolerated it. When I would miss the train or drive in with exceptionally bad traffic, I would hate it. I liked when I was into a series or movies or podcasts.
      3. It was just part of my life…It was what it was. I guess I knew that it wouldn’t be forever, so I just sucked it up.
      4. We decided to live “halfway” but as soon as we moved my partner got a job less than 10 miles away from our new place. How convenient. I wasn’t bitter at all. Can you tell?
      5. No children yet. I didn’t think it was a good idea to have kids with a 3-4 hour commute everyday unless my partner was really going to take over childcare duties.

      I haven’t had a chance to read any of the comments, but it’s all relative. I’ve lived in one of the most populated areas in the US my entire life. Traffic is the norm, a constant. A 45-55 minute commute would not bother me (might have stayed at my previous job longer), however we are talking about you not me!

      I would tell you that the more you think about it, the more miserable you will be. There would be days where I would sulk and pity myself and it made the commute unbearable. I would have to remind myself that there were people on the train with me who had gotten on at the previous stops and needed to wake up even earlier than me and would get home later than me too. Distraction was key for me. Audiobooks, music, movies, phone calls. You are looking at a minimum of 2 more years right, is this set in stone? Anyway you can come in later or earlier so you commute is as short as possible? Do a 4/40 or 9/80? Talk about this with your partner now. You wouldn’t want to hear in 2 years that they are not interested in moving to city-that-you-work-in and you see no end in site to your current commute time.

    79. Liza*

      1. 30-40 minutes by public transit, or about 25 minutes biking at an easy pace.
      2. I like it pretty well. When I’m on transit I’m reading or playing games on my phone; when I’m on my bike, I’m on my bike!
      3. Not really an issue at that length.
      4. My partner and I live separately for other reasons (partly because he’s allergic to my cat). I picked my neighborhood partly because it was reasonably convenient to get to his house, and partly because it was close to good transit lines.

      1. Liza*

        P.S. Some of the other factors for me in choosing a place to live: I prefer not to own a car, so being near public transit is essential; and I need more sleep than the average human, so a shorter commute is valuable because it means I can still have a decent amount of time awake at home. Both of those factors mean I’m willing to pay a little more to live closer to work.

    80. Jenna P.*

      1. 30 mins
      2. Love it!
      3. It is a 20 minute bus ride and a 10 minute walk, so it allows me to listen to podcasts/daydream/decompress and enjoy a bit of fresh air and movement before and after work.
      4. We choose to live where I can access a bus line since I don’t drive. My husband does drive and has a car, so he has more flexibility.

    81. AP*

      My commute is about an hour each way, and I take the train. I don’t really feel any way about it- it gives me a lot of time to read, and I’ve never had a commute that was under 40 minutes. It helps that my office is pretty flexible about time, so long as you get work done and get in at least 40 hours. My partner and I are in the process of moving, and it’s going to leave me with the same commute, but he’ll be living much closer to me now. However, it’s going to considerably lengthen his commute as well. I’ve been encouraging him to look for a new position closer to where we’re moving (for a lot of reasons, one being the current instability at his company), but I am a little nervous to see how that works out.

    82. Van Wilder*

      1. 50-65 minutes. In NYC, I know so few people that have a commute under 45 minutes, because it’s expensive to live in midtown Manhattan, where most companies are.
      2. I’m just learning that this is not the norm in other cities and it’s pretty tempting to move. I also think that, depending on your preferences, 60 minutes of walking/subway may be more/less bearable than 60 minutes in traffic. I always thought I’d prefer driving but I’m definitely used to the commute. Also, I lived in Long Island for a couple years and my commute was 1:45 door to door so an hour seems great.
      3. I’m guessing you’re driving so you can’t read but audible! My favorite audiobooks are celebrity memoirs. Also, Leah Remini’s book on scientology was amazing. Also podcasts! This American Life. Serial. Scriptnotes (if you have any interest in movies and/or writing).
      4. Ugh, idk. We found a reasonably priced place on craigslist. My husband’s in school so once he figures out where he’s going to work, I hope we can move to part of Brooklyn that’s a shorter commute.
      5. I’m pregnant for the first time so I would love to know the answer too. Both my parents worked and we always had a babysitter / my dad’s schedule was somewhat flexible. I think if you can’t get home quickly, you’ll have a family member or another parent from the school that you can lean on in emergencies.

    83. Mallory Janis Ian*

      1. 10 – 15 minute drive, depending on traffic. But it is a university campus, so there is also a 12 – 15 minute walk after I park. The cheap ($97/year) parking is all on the opposite side of campus where I used to work, and the only parking on this side of campus is $800/year.
      2. I like my commute; it isn’t bad. My husband doesn’t like his because it is 30 – 40 minutes along a section of highway that is always under construction because they won’t properly plan for population growth. Every time the construction is finished, the population growth means that it is out of date already and they have to widen the highway or add more lanes again.
      3. I always have a book on tape or NPR going in the car; I look forward to my drive times so I can continue my stories.
      4. 20 years ago when we were expecting our first child and living in an apartment, my husband’s parents scoped out our current house and asked us if they bought it, if we would live in it. It is in a small bedroom community with a good school system about 10 minutes outside the nearby college town. We rented it from them for a couple of years, and then they sold it to us for what they paid. So we didn’t so much choose our location as we agreed to a location that we may not necessarily have chosen ourselves. But we like it.

    84. Rit*

      My current commute is ~20 minutes each way, and it’s amazing. But my last job (held for 2 years) was very different:

      1. My commute was 60-90 minutes each way.
      2. I thought I’d be okay, I really did, and don’t regret taking the job in hindsight. But damn, it was soul crushing by the end.
      3. I’m not sure I did, honestly. Eventually I was just exhausted all the time.
      4. This one is a little weird for me, since I can’t move outside a fairly small area.

      5. I’m married with two kids who were middle school/late elementary school age at the time. My husband had a 15 minute commute, so things significantly shifted for us- early pickups, minor emergencies, kid-related errands all fell 100% on top of him. And he never complained, but I wasn’t very happy with the arrangement- I’m just not a fan of such a long term imbalance in responsibilities and it made me feel so disconnected from things. During the week I really only saw the kids for rushed dinner/homework/bed.

      On the other hand I had coworkers with similar commutes who’d done it for 5+ years quite happily. It’s such an individual thing.

    85. Gillian*

      My commute’s about an hour in the morning and an hour and 15 minutes in the evening – I drive about 10-15 minutes to meet my carpool and then go on to work from there. The fact that I only drive the full distance to work one week out of the month helps, and I can sleep/read/whatever during the commute the rest of the time. It’s not terrible, though it does require sometimes making small talk at 6 a.m., which I am not a fan of.

      We bought our house a few years ago to be halfway between our two jobs – now my husband works from home and I’ve changed jobs to a much better work environment – though it’s 20 miles further away. We’ve not talked about moving, though, because we really like our house and neighborhood. I can work from home occasionally, so the commute is not a huge issue.

    86. HR Dave*

      My commute is close to 90 minutes in the mornings, and about 60 in the evenings. I work in NYC and my family made the choice to move out to the suburbs, knowing full well that the commute would be what it is. I’m fortunate in that my wife is home during the day so our son always has someone there in case any emergencies come up or something has to get done before I get home.

      Sure, I’d love to have more time at home and be able to do more than say goodnight to my son before he goes to bed, but it’s a necessary trade-off. Most of the work that I want to do is in the city, and frankly it pays much better on average than equivalent work in the burbs. So this commute is likely what I’ll be dealing with for the foreseeable future. It’s not that bad – I take a commuter bus so I can read, listen to music or podcasts, get a jumpstart on the workday, whatever I feel like. And frankly I kind of like the “me time” that I have on the bus twice a day.

      I’m also fortunate in that my employer is relatively flexible and if I need to leave early, come in late, or work from home it’s generally not a problem.

    87. Elizabeth West*

      1. How long is your commute?
      15 – 20 minutes, depending on traffic. If I go through town instead of on the highway (due to weather, etc.), it can take 20 – 30 minutes. I live on one side of town and work on the other.

      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
      Hate–it’s through an industrial area and then onto a three-lane highway, which is full of idiots. Also trucks. Everywhere. Box vans, semi-trailers, construction vehicles, utility vehicles, you name it. I haaaaaate truuuuuuuucks. Every day I wish we had trains but we’re not big enough. Buses here take too long.

      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
      It stressed me out so much to drive this way at rush hour that I now work 8:30–4:30 and don’t take a lunch break so I can leave before the worst of it.

      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?
      I don’t have a partner.
      When I was job hunting with a crap car, I tried to find jobs closer to my home. That didn’t always work out for the best; many of the better jobs are on the other side of town. Got a better car, which allowed me to look further out. Despite the fact that I don’t like where I live now and it would be more convenient/nicer to be closer to work, I don’t want to go to the trouble and expense of moving unless I’m leaving altogether. Plus rents here are higher than my mortgage payment. I really need to be saving the difference so I can get out of here. I would like to live somewhere with better public transport.

    88. Beth*

      My commute is about a 30-35 minute drive right now, which is pretty typical for where I live, I think. My house is at least 20 minutes away from anything. In the past my commute was 45 minutes and gas was really getting a good chunk of my paycheck (but that was when gas was almost $4) and when I lived in DC for the summer, it was at least an hour, but that was all public transportation so I could read. I listen to a lot of podcasts and music so help the time go by, but a 30 minute drive isn’t really long enough to get boring unless it’s 5 o’clock standstill traffic.

    89. College Career Counselor*

      I had an eight mile commute that took me 45 minutes, despite every navigation hack (back-rounds, through neighborhoods, etc.) I could come up with. In that eight miles, it contained 27 traffic lights and 19 stop signs (yes, I counted), so there wasn’t a lot I could do about it when there was traffic (there was almost always traffic). That same commute, if I was coming back late after an evening work event, would take about 15 minutes. I did that for almost six years, and I hated it every day. I was also the primary drop-off/pick-up for daycare/pre-school, which we picked because it was close to my work (hey, I was driving there anyway), so I could much more easily get there than my spouse, who worked in the complete opposite direction. I do think that picking childcare close to your work as opposed to close to your home (if you don’t work near your home) made more sense for me, but YMMV. At least I knew I could get there before they closed (two minutes away) and/or charged me “late penalties” to get the kids.

      My subsequent job had a 14 mile commute that was 90% interstate, and my colleagues couldn’t believe I was willing to live that far away. It was a breeze–or as I told them, twice the distance, a third of the time (three traffic lights, ONE stop sign). That made it much easier to go to my kid’s school/pick up for doctor’s office visits, etc., even though I was farther away. Time spent in the car IN TRAFFIC and NOT MOVING was always the worst. I’d much rather drive 40 minutes each way if it’s a largely open road.

    90. Annie*

      A long commute (more than 30 minutes) is a deal-breaker for me. I won’t do it.
      1. Current commute 25-30 minutes each way.
      2. I love it.
      3. It’s perfect for me
      4. We bought first then I found a job nearby. I commuted 45+ minutes each way at one job… I lasted 9 months!!

    91. Kelley*

      1. Mine is 25 minutes one way with standard traffic, a little longer if I leave late in the morning. My husband’s is about 15 minutes, but can extend to 30 in the mornings depending on traffic.
      2. I don’t mind it, most other jobs in my field are downtown with all the parking woes that entails. We have a free, secured parking lot just for our office.
      3. It’s the only time I can listen to NPR uninterrupted.
      4. We chose our neighborhood based on his commute (I didn’t have a job lined up yet when we moved to this city) and the neighborhood amenities for our kids.
      5. I schedule doctor’s appointments either at the very beginning or end of the day (flexible work schedule). School emergencies get split between my husband and I based on our day’s schedule, my PTO balance, type of emergency. My turn means I’m taking the rest of the day off, because I’m not going to drive half an hour to work, then to the school, then back to work, then back home at the end of the day. (My kids are older and can be home alone, just aren’t allowed to sign themselves out of school.)

    92. ace*

      1. How long is your commute? 1 hr door-to-door, composed of drive to train (15 mins), express train (30 mins) and walk to office (15 mins).
      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it? First year it was fine, but now at the end of the second year it’s getting old. I typically read a book on my kindle during the train part of the commute, which does make it slightly more enjoyable. While I could (theoretically) work on the train ride, I don’t unless something comes up urgently, usually.
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life? see above.
      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes? We purchased a home that was a compromise in commutes — husband was previously driving 90+ minutes x2 every day. At our current location, I have the 1-hr commute by train and his drive is more like 30-40 minutes.

      5. Bonus: If you and your partner have children…how does it work for school emergencies, doctors appts, etc? My kids are young (preschool age) and we have a nanny, so it’s workable. I also can work from home approximately 1x a week, so when we have dr’s appts/planned in advance school functions/etc., I can often make those work. If it’s unexpected and/or I can’t make it work, husband handles. My older kid will be going to elementary school next year, and that’s going to be a challenge because his after-school care ends at 6 pm — which is before I get home at this point. Would love to find a job closer to make this part of our schedule a little easier.

      1. ace*

        Oh, and it’s all-or-nothing for me for commuting most days. Because I take express trains that only run at rush hour, and the commute is typically even longer by car, I either spend the whole day in the office or WFH if possible.

    93. Xay*

      1. 15-40 minutes. My work spans several different locations, so my commute varies.
      2. I like it. I tried living further from my work and I hated commuting over an hour each way.
      3. I have a lot of flexibility in my job – when I have to go to the downtown office (furthest away), I try to schedule around peak traffic and/or take the train if possible.
      4. He works all over the metro Atlanta area so we are close to the highway for his (slight) convenience but overall we are closer to my job. Aside from my aversion to long commutes, it also is a good central location for my son’s activities, friends, and family.
      5. My SO is self-employed and I have the 9-5 so we have flexibility built in. I handle routine pick up and drop off and he handles doctor’s appointments and most school emergencies because he can shape his day and meetings around them more easily than I can.

    94. Lindsay J*

      My commute is like 15 minutes right now. Down from 45-1:30 (and it’s not even that much in a difference in mileage, just moved to a place in the traffic pattern.)

      The 15 minute commute is glorious. I can leave work at 3:30, spend several minutes walking to my car, stop at FedEx on the way home, and still be home by 4.

      The 45-1:30 commute was soul sucking. It did take over my life – there was no stopping it. I would stay at work longer to get to the less terrible part of the commute time. I’d get home even later, but at least I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting my life sitting in the car.

      The long commute did take over my life. Especially as I was working 12 hour days. Add another 3 hours of driving on top of that and all I really had time to do was shower, walk my dog, feed my dog, and go back to sleep. I didn’t even eat at home most days. Even small errands could only be run on my days off, it sucked.

      My partner and I work in the same place (different companies, but the same mile radius) so it was easy deciding on a spot. Our jobs are also not likely to move far from this spot in the future, unless we leave the city entirely. Pricing was the other decider.

      No kids yet, but when I was younger both of my parents worked outside of the home – both about 35 minutes away.

      For school emergencies, a relative would have picked us up – we had several in the area. We also had a couple babysitter’s – neighborhood girls that were in high school and college when we were in elementary school, that may have picked us up if they were available and not in school themselves. I don’t remember ever riding in a car with either of them, but they were our set sitters for the days my mom worked later (Tuesday and Thursday).

      My mom always took us to doctor’s appointments – we had a pediatrician that was open late for our regular appointments. She was a teacher and if we needed to go to the doctor for a sick day she would be able to take a personal day to bring us without much advanced notice (as long as she could line up a sub the night before it was fine). We also didn’t get brought to the doctor’s office for a sick appointment unless it was clear we actually needed it; if it was just a cold we would be kept home to rest with some pain and/or cough med and a vaporizer. It was only if we didn’t recover after that that we would stay home. I only remember going to the doctor when sick a few times; when I had the chicken pox, when I had step throat, and when I was sick with a stomach virus.

      Dentist and optometrist appointments happened on the weekends. When I had braces we would get evening appointments on the weekdays.

    95. Lady Bug*

      I commute 45 to 90 depending on traffic, driving. I guess I tolerate it. You probably all think I’m nuts, but I’ll take my car over the train any day. I’ve done 2 hrs on the LI Fail Road (intentional misspelling) and despised it. Weekly or daily delays for 100 year old signal problems, disabled trains, trains hitting cars and people, snow (what, in NY, it never snows, we’re not prepared!!!!) all for the low low price of $400/mo. No thanks. I miss the naps, but I’ll take my car and ability to choose a different route, when I can leave, ability to sing along with the radio and air drum any day over that hell.

      We chose where to live based on what we could afford, which is why the commute is so long.

      My husband and I don’t have kids together, and luckily our exes were in a position to handle school emergencies, which was great.

      Drs appts etc, I only go to doctors open on Saturday or til 7 or 8 pm weekdays if I can help it.

    96. Eden*

      1. 20-25 min in the a.m., 30-40 min in the p.m.
      2. I like it. I have had commutes on both ends of the spectrum, and find that this is the perfect balance for me. I could walk to my previous job in about 7 minutes, and discovered that the coveted zero commute did not work for me psychologically. I need a 20-30 min buffer to go over work stuff from the day in my head and leave it behind. I found myself obsessing over stuff when I got home. I am a higher-anxiety person so for the more mellow, very short commutes probably work fine. Agree with everyone that a long commute on public transit is different from a long commute driving your car. Although I suppose it depends, my train ride was iffy, many days it was so packed that it was impossible to read while hanging from the overhead bar in a sea of bodies.
      3. The longer ones I tolerated because I just LOVED the jobs. I think I would still be open to a much longer drive if it were for a fantastic job. Whether I would do it long term for said job, less certain.
      4. When I moved recently, I decided where I wanted to work partially based on where I wanted to live, and not the other way around. I was offered a different job that would have had double my commute and decided it would be too much. (There were other factors, like the job seemed much higher stress and longer hours–I didn’t want to get home at 8 pm.)
      5. My husband works at home so this is not an issue for us. No idea what people do if both partners have hour plus commutes!

    97. Person of Interest*

      For the past year or so I have been driving about 50 minutes each way from the DC area to Baltimore. I started with 1 day a week working from home and recently bumped up to 2 days a week. Even when I drive in daily I don’t mind it – the drive is mostly against our notoriously terrible traffic. I listen to NPR most of the time, and my commute time is my only news fix most days. I could theoretically take the commuter train but the total trip takes about twice as long as driving. I don’t usually drive anywhere on my non-commuting days so I don’t feel like I’m in the car all the time.

      My husband commutes about the same distance in the opposite direction – we live right in the middle of our two workplaces. He lives by his SiriusXM radio!

    98. LAI*

      Ohh, I’m really interested in the answers to this. My commute is currently about 25 minutes but it’s 10 minutes on public transit and 15 minutes walking which is not bad at all – I read the news on my phone and get some exercise. However, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my boyfriend’s house, which is close to an hour commute on the freeway for me to get to work and I’m questioning how long I’ll be able to do that. The worst part is that the commute is really only about 15 miles but the traffic is just horrendous. I’m very seriously considering searching for new jobs with this as a primary consideration.

    99. Meeeeeeeee*

      1. 20 minutes driving
      2. It is shorter than my previous commute so I love that about it (and also I love the fact I am rarely stuck in traffic because I have several possible routes, so it’s a pretty consistent 20 minutes no matter the time of day). But taken purely on its own, instead of comparing it to alternatives, I dislike it but tolerate it. I wish I could walk/bike to work but I know that is not realistic. Typically I have breakfast in the car (smoothie + coffee) so it’s not a total waste of time. Also I do like the opportunity to listen to NPR.
      3. It doesn’t because it’s not that long a commute.
      4. When we (my husband & I) decided on where to live I did not have a job yet, so we picked something in a first ring suburb on the side of the city where he works. Where I work now is on the same side.
      5. No children, but we do have a dog. Because he works closer to home he is the one to go home during the day etc. I could picture your situation only really working if either your partner works near home and can take time during the day, or you can work from home regularly.

    100. Aunt Vixen*

      1. About an hour door to door: 15-20 minute walk to the train, some standing around waiting for the train, and 40ish minutes on the train (for a 30-minute journey, but we always stop and hold more than you’d think is strictly necessary).
      2. It’s okay. My previous commute was not less than 45 minutes in the car; this is better. (Before that I was about half an hour in the car, which was better than both for a variety of reasons, but never mind.) I would prefer to spend less of my day in transit, but I do appreciate that it requires me to move a bit and that I don’t have to drive for any of it. If I could just have the walk that would be better; or if I could work from home and spend some of the two hours a day I saved on the elliptical that would be fine. As it is, it’s all right. (And I work a 9/80, so it’s not every day of my life.)
      3. Crossword puzzles on my phone unless I’m feeling motion sick.
      4. We can both walk to transit now, so it’s better for both of us.
      5. We don’t have kids yet, but Uncle Vixen works from home 60% of the time so until/unless I get a new job (or the circumstances of the one I’ve got change sufficiently), he’s probably going to be the one handling short-notice kid stuff unless I’m on my 9/80 day off. That’s something I’m thinking about a lot as my days are long, obviously, because there are fewer of them.

    101. Jaydee*

      I have been commuting roughly 45 minutes each way for the last 9 years. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it (except when winter weather makes it a 2+ hour trek and I have lots of time sliding along at 30 mph and being passed by trucks to dream up alternative careers). I really have no choice if I want to keep my current job. My spouse doesn’t want to live in the large city where I work, and my employer doesn’t have an office any closer to where we live. At this point we don’t have any plans to try to completely relocate. As for kid and house stuff, my husband is primarily responsible for emergencies and mid-day stuff. His job is usually pretty flexible about that. It also helps that we have extended family in the area who can help out in a pinch. As for keeping it from taking over my life, it’s just become part of the routine at this point. I try to multi-task as much as possible, which is of course pretty limited since I’m driving. But I can eat breakfast on the drive to work, listen to music/audio books/podcasts/the nice voice on my phone reading saved websites and PDF files to me, call my mom, plan for or wind down from the day.

    102. Betty (the other Betty)*

      1. Currently zero (I work from home). In the past, 10 – 30 minutes (driving vs bus).
      2. Always so short that it didn’t matter too much.
      3. Only looked for jobs with a very easy commute.
      4. My husband has had jobs that he had longer (30-45 minute) commutes for, but he doesn’t usually mind driving (except in bad weather).
      5. Worked close to childcare when my son was little. Now he is in high school: if I am working outside of my house, I drive instead of taking the bus so that I could go get him if the school health office calls with an emergency. If I’m out of town or in a meeting, generally my husband is available for emergencies.

      1. Betty (the other Betty)*

        We are looking to move, and our only requirement is that the new place be no further than a 30 minute drive from our son’s high school, so he can finish senior year at the same school.

    103. Jade*

      A few months back I took a job that was a 35 min commute, but all highways in a rural area, so it wasn’t bad traffic. I hated it. After about a month of watching the miles accumulate on my car, watching the money go into my gas tank, and having to drive 30 miles through snowstorms, I was sick of it. For other reasons, I am searching for a new job, and it needs to be one that is either closer to home or I will plan on moving. My previous jobs have never been more than 15 miles from home. I would like to go back to that.

    104. Valkyrie*

      1. Mine is about 30-45 minutes in the AM, longer after work
      2. It’s tolerable. I try to avoid the freeways, and I listen to interesting/distracting podcasts.
      3. I found hobbies near work to occupy me for a bit after, I workout 3-4 times a week and visit my gramma on Tuesdays. This has me leaving a couple hours later which makes my commute about 15 minutes!
      4. We decided where to live based on where we could afford to buy a house. The market was on the verge of picking back up so we had to act pretty fast. Luckily, we ended up somewhere that’s about 10-12 miles from where we ended up working!

      5. I don’t have kids, but I have had to take time off to pick up my niece who lives clear on the other side of town. To make it work I had to take time off. My coworker uses a vast network of people to pick up her kids. We work in a small, and flexible office, so needing to leave in an emergency works.

      Good luck!

    105. Ann O'Nemity*

      1. Usually 20 minutes each way
      2. Tolerate it, wish it was shorter
      3. Music, audiobooks. Mentally planning for work in the morning, disconnecting from work in the evening.
      4. Commute length was definitely a factor, but not as important as school quality and neighborhood. My husband and I work on opposite sides of town, so we tried to compromise with a central location.
      5. Schedule everything as early as possible so you can get those coveted beginning of the day and end of the day appt spots so you’re not driving back and forth. Look into daycare and school requirements for sick/emergency response time. Our current daycare asks that we be able to pick up our daughter within 30 minutes for sickness or emergencies. Mostly this one is about sharing responsibilities, communications, and advance scheduling.

    106. Cupcake Girl*

      My commute is 90 minutes each way, so 3 hours a day, 5 days per week. This is all done via public transit. I live in the suburbs and work in the city. The best paying and most available jobs are all in the city, otherwise I would look for work in the burbs. During this time, I do a lot of reading, crosswords, listening to music and getting caught up on emails. I don’t sleep during the ride, because it’s not usually quiet enough to do that.

      Married, no kids, but several dogs, and I’ve been doing this for 20 years, so I guess I’m just used to it. The only time I really hate it is during bad weather in the winter. It takes me even longer when there’s a snowstorm and I’m not allowed to work at home, so that means I have to go into the office.

      Being further away from the office means you really have to plan each day before you leave in the morning. You absolutely need to have everything with you, because you can’t just pop home during the lunch hour to grab something. Also, at the end of the day, you can’t hang around and do shopping or stay late at company events because you need to take transit home.

      My husband drives to work each day and works in the suburbs where we live. As long as I have reliable access to public transit, I have no interest in moving even further away, which is what he’d love to do. If I can’t get to work in less time than I do now, there’s no chance I’ll agree to move.

      If it wasn’t so expensive to live in the city (and it’s even becoming quite expensive to live in my suburbs, as well), I would live closer to the job or quit, work at home and move to a more rural community. None of these are options, I’m afraid, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

    107. Dalia524*

      1. 20-25 minutes each way. I counter-commute and I have flexible hours, so I can leave before or after the rush so I can miss it.

      2. I tolerate it. I hate driving. But I’m very lucky (I also live in the DC suburbs/exurbs, where everyone has an hour long commute). I previously lived much farther away from this job, and it would take me at least 45 mins to get in if I left before traffic got bad (75 mins+ if I were late). It was miserable, and I would never do it again.

      3. It’s short enough that it’s fine. Sometimes I listen to music or the news, but most of the time I just enjoy twenty minutes of quiet.

      4. Wasn’t an issue for a our current place. Moving here brought me a lot closer to work. We talked a few times about moving closer to the city (at the time he had a 45 min commute everyday towards the city), but rent gets much more expensive the closer to DC you get. We’re moving into a new place in the next couple of months, and we’re trying to balance our various commutes with price and value… we could live an hour away from our main jobs (which are in the same town) and live in a huge house or live 10 minutes away in a tiny townhouse for the same price. He also has several part time jobs, so we have to take into consideration his commute for each one.

      5. We don’t have kids yet, but we have dogs. It’s struggle to maintain a household if you have two people working full-time with a long commute. I can’t imagine throwing kid emergencies on top of that. For dog or other family emergencies, I end up being the go-to because I can work from home and I get a lot of leave and lee-way from my boss.

    108. Honeybee*

      1. My commute is generally about 25-30 minutes driving, but can take up to 45 minutes depending on traffic and weather. No highways, only surface streets.

      2. I tolerate it. I’d much rather take public transit to work, but I do realize that I am lucky to have a ~30-minute commute with very little traffic on most days.

      3. I use my commute as my time to gear up in the morning and wind down in the evening. I put on music to suit my mood and reflect on what I have to do that day and the first tasks I need to get out of the way in the morning, or to reflect on how the day went or what I’m going to do when I get home on my way home.

      4. I moved cross-country for my job, so I had the luxury of knowing where I was going to work first and then selecting where I lived based on that. My metro area is notorious for its bad traffic, and my company is located in the suburbs of that city. SO I decided first off that I was going to live in the suburbs instead of the city because commuting from the city to the ‘burbs in the morning is a bit of a nightmare. I also knew I wanted to pick a place where I could avoid the highways in the morning. That narrowed it down quite a bit, so I started poking around in those areas. I actually asked a question here at AAM almost a year ago when I was deciding between places about commutes and what people felt was too long/too short and what was annoying about their commutes. It seemed general consensus that about 30ish minutes was the upper limit of what people thought was a good commute.

      I am worried about my husband’s job, though. Our place and town is pretty centrally located and most other places are relatively easy to get to, but if he gets a job in the city or in a town that’s about 45-60 minutes from us WITHOUT traffic (where one of our biggest employers has lots of jobs), that could make his commute really rough.

    109. Former Retail Manager*

      1. Commute ranges from 40 mins to an hour, if going to the office. Up to an hour and a half if going to a client location.
      2. I suppose I tolerate it. It’s pretty much a part of life in the area I live in.
      3. I don’t feel this strongly about a commute that I would ever describe it as “taking over my life.” However, it should be noted that I am not a go-go goer. I don’t leave work to pick up kids, hit a yoga class, and then get home to cook dinner. If I did, it might be more of an issue.
      4. My commute plays into where I live in NO WAY WHATSOEVER. Assuming you are buying and not renting, a mortgage is for 15-30 years….most jobs aren’t. Live in a community that you’re happy with. Jobs will change. I will say that, if buying, I would decide beforehand if you’re going to be within what you deem to be a reasonable commute considering that you may need to change jobs at some point. For example, could you find another job within a 20-30 minute radius of said house or is the economy limited where you are.

      5. My husband has a very different job than I do, and while it’s outside the home, he has one weekday off and a very short commute (15 mins…all backroads) and most doctor appts for the child are scheduled on that day. School emergencies really don’t happen that often, unless your kid is rowdy or sickly.

      Overall, it’s best if both spouses don’t have a crazy commute. Mine is obviously the bad one, but I make substantially more money so it’s worth it. If you plan to have children then I’d say that one parent needs to have a relatively short commute (15-20 mins is reasonable to me) and have the day care/doctor/school etc all be within that range. There probably will be plenty of times your imagibaby will get sick and need to be picked up early from day care, but once they hit school age is lessens substantially.

      And FWIW, if the commute is the only “bad” part of a job that exists, and it pretty much is for my current position, my viewpoint is to be grateful for the opportunity at a salary that I am happy with and co-workers and a manager that are not worthy of an AAM letter in the least.

    110. MarquisDeP*

      1) Approximately 5 seconds. I work from home 100% of the time.
      2) LOVE IT. Not sure I will be able to ever work outside of the home again. It would be tough for sure. I have taken a pay cut to go 100% virtual. Previously, I’d work from home 70% of the time and travel through 3 states 30% of the time (sales). Field work pays more but the long hauls were killer. Now, with few exceptions (full team or company meetings 1 – 2 times per year) I am exclusively virtual.
      3) There’s a different unique challenge in that, while I have a ton of flexibility (it’s 2p and I’m about to head to the gym) I will also likely be doing work on Saturday at 11p. You never really leave work. It’s always there.
      4) That’s another awesome thing; we could live anywhere we wanted.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        Flexibility is such a double-edged sword. I love it, but I’ve also screwed myself over so many times thinking “Ohhhh it’s ok if I take the afternoon off, I will just make it up at 9 pm on Saturday!”
        On that note I should probably close this window for a bit!

    111. Marina*

      1. 20 minutes with no traffic. 45-60 on a usual work day.
      2. I like it a lot better since I’ve started listening to podcasts.
      3. I work from home one day a week, and try to flex my hours at least one other day so that my commute is not during rush hour. I basically consider my commute part of my work hours, so I just expect that I’ll be out of the house 8-6 most days and I don’t feel like it impacts my life all that much.
      4. We bought a house long before I got this job, so we picked where to live based on how we like the neighborhood, not jobs. Frankly I expect to change jobs far more frequently than I change where I live.
      5. We have two kids. I try to work from home or take PTO on doctor appointment days–if I take PTO I cram as many appointments as possible into one day. For emergency pickups, it doesn’t really bother me to be 20-30 minutes away. If it’s an actual emergency, an ambulance will be there quicker than I will in any situation. If it’s not an emergency, the school will probably have been dealing with it to some degree for ~half an hour before they call me anyway, and another little while won’t make that much difference.

      My husband does work part- time, so he’s available for the kids more often than I am. And he does shift work (nursing) so our hours are offset a bit. But his commute is longer than mine, 60 minutes with zero traffic.

      It also helps that my parents live in town and we’re close, so it’s definitely helpful to know they’re around as backup. I firmly believe all working parents need some sort of emergency backup, whether that’s family or paid care. When it rains it pours–the kid will always spike a fever on the day you have your big presentation, every time.

    112. Nicole Michelle*

      Ohhhh I so feel your pain here. So, I have an hour commute to work and an hour commute home, the good days are 40 minutes with a 10 minute walk to my job from the stop that let’s me off, and about the same 10 minute walk home. So even on a good day, my commute is 50 minutes.

      I tolerate it, I can’t say I fully hate it, which leads to # 3 –

      I read on the bus. And since writing is something I love, on the rare occasion, I’ve scribbled out ideas onto notebooks. Maybe for me since I take the bus it’s a bit easier because I can do other stuff. So, I don’t know if it makes it better.

      On the other hand though, because of some specific things going on financially, the likelihood of me moving closer to my job, is really low. Rents are going higher and I just can’t imagine my commute ever getting better. Jobs around my neighborhood are usually really low level so I can’t imagine much changing unless a miracle happens.

      So for me right now I feel really stuck and don’t like it and hope to find a workable change.

    113. MrsL*

      I have been in my new job for about 8 months and my commute (public transportation) is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes one way. I had my reservations about accepting the job because of the commute, because I have a 2 year old and I worried about not getting enough family-time. I spend the time reading and recharging between work and family-life. Its me-time that I learned to really appreciate.

      It has worked out surprisingly well for me, and the main reason for that is that the job was exactly what I had hoped it to be and my colleagues are great. My boss is very understanding about family-life and I am allowed a lot of flexibility in my work, where I can work from home at times. I telecommute on Fridays and there is never any problem with me staying at home caring for my sick child or attending doctors appointments when neccesary, as long as the quality of my work is not being compromised and I make sure to catch up on work after family business is taken care of.

      Sure, it is a bit of a challenge to make things work in our private lives. My husband has to do most of the daycare drop off and pick up and also jump in and pick up our child if there is an emergency. It’s though for me to be so far away whenever something happens. But overall, I feel like I do get enough time as a family. Our child stays up late enough for us to have playtime each day and we do also have the weekends together.

    114. Puffle*

      1. About 20-25 mins by car
      2. I actually enjoy it
      3. Various ways, really. I have a set up where I can play stuff on my phone through the car stereo, so I listen to a lot of music and podcasts. I make sure I always have something interesting to listen to on there.

      Also, I find that the way if I mentally frame my commute in a certain way I feel much better about it. I.e. I try to think about it as my time to either wake up properly and get in the right frame of mind (in the morning) or chill out and forget about work stuff (in the evening). That and I consciously try to brush off driving slights (i.e. another driver pulling out in front of me) and avoid getting stressed/ angry about them, which helps me to feel much more positive about things.

      It does help that I work early hours (8 to 4.30). I get home at 5 so it feels like I have loads of time to make dinner/ exercise/ do whatever, and also I avoid the worst of the traffic.

    115. the.kat*

      1. My commute is about a 2 minute walk down the driveway.
      2. I love, love, love not having to drive far in the winter but dislike never being able to get away from campus.
      3. Light-blocking curtains and hanging out on the back porch.
      4. N/A

      My campus duplex was part of the perks of the job. It’s nice but it really brings some additional responsibilities. If something needs to be picked up from the office, if someone needs to be let in somewhere on the weekends, etc.

    116. SouthBay Anon*

      1. 40-45 minutes on a good day. 60 minutes on an average day. 75 in a moderately ugly rainy day, 90+ if things go badly. I plan on 60-75 most days while allowing time for 90. My job is a call center-type where I absolutely need to be in by a certain time, so I make it happen.
      2. I don’t mind it. My particular commute is zen and non-stressful for the first two-thirds, then more merging/lanes/stressed out traffic for the last bit. I would have a much harder time in real highway traffic the whole commute (which is the norm in the Bay Area). My zen highway and non-commute hours make it doable.
      3. My expectation is that a 20-30 minute drive to work is normal. I tell myself that mine is just an extra 15-20 minutes. Some weeks I can work 4 days rather than 5, staying late one day to have a “free day” where I don’t need to make the drive.
      4. This is probably the big thing for me: my main social life/sport is located 3-5 minutes from my house. I’m involved in sport 4 days a week. If/when I move closer to work, I’ll be commuting to this (even if in a different location) and I’m looking at a 25-60 minute drive from just about any location that puts me at a 30 minute or less commute from work. My partner has been kind enough to move to my location. We may have to compromise on that in the next few years.

    117. Phoebe*

      I live in Atlanta and my commute is only 12 miles but can take any where from 20 minutes to an hour. That’s pretty a pretty average commute around here. I hate it, but I try to make my time productive by listening to podcasts while I drive. I don’t have a partner, so I made the decision on my own. When I first started working at my current job I was just 2 miles up the road. But the business grew and when we moved the owners decided they wanted to purchase space rather than rent. In order to find an affordable space to purchase we moved the office a few miles north, so my commute gained 10 miles. I love my job though, so I tolerate it. Honestly, I would much rather take public transportation, but Atlanta has a pretty poor and dysfunctional public transit system.

    118. Anne*

      Haven’t read all the replies, but here’s my two cents.

      1. About 30 minutes to work, however I do the daycare dropoff/pickup so that adds about 20-30 minutes, so total from home to work ranges from 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic and how much time I chat with the daycare teachers.
      2. I tolerate it. I work in a downtown area and we live more in the suburbs, so as long as I work in this area (which I love!) it’s going to be about the same length of time. It wasn’t bad at all before we had kids and I didn’t have that extra commute.
      3. I use it as my chill time. I listen to music I like (although my son is approaching 2 and so at some point I may have to switch to more kid-friendly stuff) and just zone out.
      4. We bought our house six years ago when we were both at different jobs, at the time we picked based on being close to both of our families and the type of house/neighborhood we wanted. We’re looking at moving and my big stipulation is that I won’t commute more than 30 minutes.
      5. We picked a daycare near my work because choices were limited near our house and I wanted to be able to go nurse him during lunch when he was a baby. My husband’s work involves traveling to different shops and he drives a work vehicle so he’s not always available on short notice. My work is much more flexible (salaried office job) and my boss has 3 kids so she’s very understanding when my son is sick and I need to go pick him up or if we have a doctor’s appointment. We’ve taken turns staying home with him when he’s sick, depending on each other’s workload (and since we both work full-time I refuse to believe that it’s automatically my responsibility to stay home).

    119. Rebecca in Dallas*

      1. How long is your commute? About 10 minutes
      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it? Love it! I wish I could walk actually, but I have to cross a highway that doesn’t have many pedestrian-friendly places to cross. I also love that I can go home for lunch and/or to let the dog out.
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life? n/a
      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes? We already rented in this general area and had short commutes and wanted to keep it that way. We looked a couple of different neighborhoods within the same area and found one with great prices and within a good school district. (We don’t have kids, but it was still a bonus if we needed to think about resell values.)

      I’ve had a 30-ish minute commute before, I already hated that job but the commute definitely didn’t help. I posted upthread as well, but it’s not unusual for people in the DFW metroplex to live in the suburbs and commute 45 min+ for work. We definitely spent more on housing than we would have if we’d moved further out, but having short commutes (not just for work, but for the things we like to do in our free time around town) was really important to both of us.

    120. Sam E.*

      1. 10 minute walk each way, although right now I drive the 3 minutes because of winter. I don’t feel like drivers can see me over the snowbanks when I walk.
      2. & 3. It’s great because I don’t feel rushed in the morning. and because it is a few streets away I can’t physically see the building or the street my work is on from my street, so I feel like I’m truly away. The physical separation makes for a mental separation.
      4. Partner and I recently moved back to the area, and our preferred location was actually on the other side of town. It was by fluke that we (very last minute) scheduled a viewing at our current home, and it ticked all the boxes, although commute wasn’t one of them. FWIW, right now I’m the only one who works out of the home. I previously had a 20 minute commute, and thought it wouldn’t be the end of the world to do that here as well.

    121. Ghost Town*

      1. Commute is roughly 30 minutes to go about 20 miles. We live the county over from where my husband and I both work (university town). It’s not so bad, but if there’s an accident, road closure, or bad weather, we have limited options for going around obstacles. And you have to know about said obstacles well enough in advance to take the one or two work-arounds
      2. Have grown to tolerate/dislike it. (Try to remember that this commute would be normal to short in other locations)
      3. Sometimes we can’t. Other times, we just have to plan. We live in one town, but work, have doctors, son’s daycare, etc. in the other town. Over the weekend, we may choose to have breakfast at a local to us place, instead of driving into town. Or we’ll combine breakfast out with errands at locations in other town.
      4. Bought out where we did so we could have more house for less money. A sizable minority of university employees (and employees in general) live in our town/county and work at the university or in the university town. That’s what gave us the idea. Home prices gave us the push.

      Personal bonus: we’re a one car family. (technically, we have a beater truck that can make the drive if absolutely necessary and the weather is good)
      5. Our son is in daycare right now, so we chose a daycare close to work and his pediatrician. I’m exempt and my husband is currently non-exempt (and in classes), so I take the lion’s share of sick days, doctor’s appts, etc. If we have a known Ghost Town needs the car for my own or son’s appt., I drop everyone off, and proceed to work/appt as necessary. If something comes up (like son runs a fever and needs to go home), I walk over to where husband parked the car and then go get him. If it is early enough in the day to make sense, I’ll go home. If it is late enough in the day that going home means I’d get home and turn around to pick up my husband, I’ll probably chill in the car or bring son to my office (separate office, closed door, obviously dependent on why he’s being sent home. they send home for any fever over a certain temp, even if it is just teething).

      So, a lot of logistical calculus and driving

    122. GreenTeaPot*

      I started out with a 40-minute commute via mass transit, then a 20-minute drive into the city, next a ten-minute drive downtown and finally, a home office. I liked the longer commute best, it gave me time to decompress at night.

    123. Cath in Canada*

      1) By bike: 20 minutes on the way in, 25-30 on the way home, depending on how much energy I have to climb all the hills
      By transit: 25 minutes

      I snowshoed to work one snowy day when transit wasn’t running – it took about an hour and 10 minutes. That was really fun as a one-off!

      2) I mostly love cycling, and I get grumpy when icy/windy weather or other circumstances conspire to keep me off my bike for more than a week at a time. I have the occasional bad day when I feel lucky to make it to work in one piece, but those are pretty rare. Even when it’s pelting rain, it’s better than being on a crowded, steamy bus with people’s umbrellas dripping on me. Part of my ride goes through an old cemetery, full of beautiful mature trees and with a view of the mountains in clear weather; I’ve seen eagles there, too. The streets I ride on are lined with trees, which right now are covered in pink and white blossoms and which are gorgeous in the autumn, too.

      I mostly don’t like transit much, but I tolerate it. It’s definitely more convenient than cycling if I’m going out straight after work. My current route is crowded (I rarely get a seat on the bus and never on the train), but not as badly as the one I took from our old apartment, and it’s pretty fast once you’re actually on. Discovering some compelling podcasts has really helped me to keep a lid on the anxiety I used to sometimes feel on a crowded bus. I do tend to get frustrated with people who don’t maintain an awareness of their surroundings and who block the sidewalk / aisle / platform / escalators though!

      3) Not needed when cycling. On transit: podcasts. Having the option to mix things up really helps in general too. Cycling is physically harder but (usually) mentally easier than cycling, so if my legs are feeling really particularly tired one day I’ll take transit the next; if I have Had It with transit, I’ll cycle for a few days even if it’s not convenient (e.g. if I’m going out after work).

      4) Good transit connections were important factors for me when we bought our house. The two bus lines that serve our place aren’t the best in the city, but are by no means the worst either. There are designated bike routes (side streets that allow cars too but have painted bike lanes and/or traffic calming features) all over the city – we’re so lucky! – so that wasn’t a concern.

      My husband drives to work. He works on short term contracts in different locations all over the city and its suburbs, for a couple of weeks to several months at a time, so he just wanted somewhere reasonably well connected to most of his usual workplaces. He only has to cross a bridge (there are lots of bridges here) if he’s working at one particular studio, which isn’t too bad.

      5) N/A, our cats don’t care as long as we come home eventually!

    124. Rob Lowe can't read*

      1. My current commute is about 25 minutes in the morning, 30-45 minutes in the evening depending on the day of the week/what time I leave work. Last year, I commuted 2 hours each way on public transit.
      2. I tolerate it. The evening commute could only get worse if I adjusted my schedule (which isn’t really an option, I have a butt-in-seat job), so this is probably as good as it gets unless I move closer to my job or get a job closer to home.
      3. Timing my drive home is key. I try to prepare ahead of time so I can bolt within 10 minutes of my official work day ending. I also listen to tons of podcasts/the Hamilton OCR to make the drive more fun. And I bring a snack to eat on the drive home, because I’m always hungry then.
      4. Hah. So we actually moved closer to my old job last summer…right in time for that employer’s funding to get cut, and there went my position! I did look at several positions that are much closer to home, and was actually offered one that would have been only a ten minute commute, but I couldn’t turn down the money and the preferential responsibilities/projects my current job was offering. We didn’t just move because of my job, though – we used to live in the ridiculously expensive city where we both work, and we were sick of paying through the nose for a one bedroom basement apartment and doing battle with college students for parking spaces. So now we live in a slightly less expensive suburb and are much happier.
      5. No kids/don’t want any, so no personal anecdotes. But many people I work with who have children who aren’t old enough for school put them in daycare near someone’s work, rather than close to home.

    125. BeeBee*

      1. I used to have a 60-120 min commute (one way).
      2. I tolerated it. There were days when I hated it so much, but what else could I do?
      3. I think I mostly survived because of my books and music. Just get lost in other universe and time flies.
      4. NA

    126. SAHM*

      Hubby does a 45 min commute to BART and then it’s an hour on the train. We moved out here for housing affordability, good school district, etc. All of which are huge factors into my ability to be a SAHM, but the trade off is the two hour commute (4hrs total) a day. When I was working, his commute was 45min-1 HR, mine was literally 10 minutes, and we had a daycare close to the highschool where my mom worked. Mom also watched The Kid for free during the summer which helped a lot. The downside to that was no backyard, a crappy boss, and it’s HARD to leave your kids. I’m much happier now that we live in a more family oriented community, have a place WITH a backyard and I can be home with the kids. It sucks that his commute is 2 hrs each way, but it is what is.

    127. De Minimis*

      1. Currently about 45-50 minutes for my wife to drop me off at the train station, then about another 10 minutes or so by public transit. On bad traffic days the driving part can be closer to an hour. The train station is actually located about 16 miles from our house. My wife drives to her job in the area so the commute makes sense.
      2. Like it okay…it still beats my former commute, rural location 70 miles from my house, took about 80-90 minutes each way.
      3. I can’t, commuting is just a huge factor in people’s lives where we live.
      4. The locations closer to work are either unaffordable, unsafe, or not practical for us. We are considering moving to where we’re at least on the same side of the bay [would save a toll each day] but it would not really make the commute much shorter.

    128. Penny*

      My average commute time is an hour each way. One weeks like this, with Spring Break, it’s more like 35-45 minutes (with good weather and few traffic incidents), but on a bad day, it can take 1.5 hour one way. Luckily, I’m able to carpool most days, which brings commute time down to 30-45 minutes on way most of the time. Unfortunately, this is pretty standard in my city which is very large & highly populated & has essentially zero useful public transportation unless you live and work inside the city. Before this job, I couldn’t carpool so it was a full hour each way. Of course, I hated it, but what can you do? The jobs are in the city, so unless I was willing/able to move, that was my only option.

      Can you get into a carpool or vanpool in your area?

      As far as having kids (which I don’t btw), that has a lot to do with the flexibility of your schedule, so that’s really important to consider in your job.

    129. Thyri*

      Mine’s 40 minutes and I’m sick of it. I’ve been doing it for almost five years. I pass the time by calling my mother on a headset or listening to music. I’m thinking about renting some audiobooks from the library but I don’t always like the voice of the person reading.

      1. Penny*

        @Thyri- I started borrowing some audio books from my library (that I can download online) and I really enjoy it. I especially like this for business related books which, while i find the content can be great, are still sometimes really hard for me to read- I just want to fall asleep like I’m reading a textbook. So being able to listen is so much better for me and gives me something to focus on while driving.

    130. Audiophile*

      My current commute is between 35-45 minutes, but it’s basically all highway. I don’t mind it when there’s no traffic, as it feels relatively short.

      When I commuted into the city, it was a 10 minute drive to the train station, 80-90 minutes on the train, taking the shuttle line 2 stops downtown (maybe 10 minutes). I didn’t mind the long train ride and preferred it to driving.

    131. Panda Bandit*

      1. Currently 20 minutes. I used to have 90 minutes each way and that was awful.

      2. I love it. It’s the second shortest commute I ever had. I absolutely hated the long ones and felt like they were eating up all my spare time.

      3. I toughed out the long commutes for a couple of years until I moved to an apartment that was closer to my work. During the commute I’d listen to music, try to nap sometimes, or think about my creative projects. I can’t read in moving vehicles so that was out.

      4 & 5. No partner and no children so I didn’t need to factor them in.

      45 minutes is at the upper limit for me. It sounds like that for you too. Imo it’s better to move closer or see if you can arrange to work from home sometimes. Quality of life is important.

    132. Nobody*

      1. It’s a little under 15 minutes for the drive, but it takes 10-15 minutes to park, get through security, and get to my desk, and I like to leave a little margin, so I leave my house 35-40 minutes before my start time.

      2. It’s nice being reasonably close to work, and there’s almost no traffic because it’s a rural area. I once did a 6-month internship where I had a 50-minute commute, and I would never want to live that far from work again.

      3. Its not much of an issue since I don’t have to go very far. I only get to listen to 3 or 4 songs and I’m there.

      4. I’m single with no kids, so it was a pretty simple decision. I chose to live close to work because I go to work more often than I go anywhere else. Most of my coworkers choose to live closer to the city, which is an hour away, and while I envy their proximity to civilization, it’s not worth spending an extra 90 minutes in the car every day.

    133. Joanna*

      1. How long is your commute?
      The train trip itself is about 25 minutes, but adding in getting to/from the station and waiting for trains is about 50 minutes.
      2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
      Unless our unreliable train service is screwing up again, I don’t mind it.
      3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
      I plan my mornings well (including stuff like setting out outfits the night before) so my mornings aren’t ruined by mad rushes trying to make it to the train at the painfully early time I need to. I also find worthwhile stuff to do on the train like reading books/blogs or replying to emails which makes commuting time seem less of a black hole. When I had to commute by car, audiobooks were a big sanity saver.
      4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?
      My city has an out of control property market, so I pretty much have to live wherever it is I can find somewhere suitable to rent, although I do especially look for places close to train stations.

    134. FiveWheels*

      1 I rely on unreliable public transport, so this varies, but my average commute is 45 minutes each way.

      2 I like it just fine! Waiting for the bus, sitting on the bus, and walking to the office are low stress 90% of the time.

      3 I don’t see why it would. For people who work in the city parking is prohibitive so almost everyone either walks 30-45 minutes or gets the train /bus for about the same length of time.

      4 Moving for a job isn’t really something people do here. I live near where I grew up.

    135. Kimberlee, Esq*

      My commute is about 40 mins (spiking to an hour if the trains are delayed). It’s fine… I like working from home to get the extra hour and a half of sleep, but when something stressful happens at my job and I find out in the morning, listening to my comedy podcasts for 40 minutes on the commute totally recenters me. I don’t like a ton of podcasts, but I feel like just straight comedy (not news or intense stories) is the perfect mixture of distracting and ignorable if something more interesting is happening. And after 40 minutes of the McElroy brothers, I come in to work restored of optimism and happiness, which makes stress infinitely easier to deal with.

    136. Nicole*

      8 minutes, and that’s only because it’s through a residential / school zone that’s 25 mph or it would be even shorter. Don’t hate me! :)

      Previous commutes where 20-30 minutes which were ok although I wouldn’t want anything longer. Other drivers up my anxiety level. Even my short 2.5 mile commute isn’t immune to terrible drivers pretty much every single day.

      1. Bibliovore*

        1. How long is your commute?
        11 minutes — door to door driving. Twenty minutes if I take the bus. Ex-job- for 15 years- at least 60 minutes, 2 subways from Brooklyn to Upper West Side.

        2. Do you like it/hate it/tolerate it?
        Love my commute. Learned how to drive. (Two years driving now)

        Ex- job- despised my commute the first year. Loved the job so got used to it. Read, listened to audio books/ podcasts and knit.

        3. How do you keep it from taking over your life?
        I didn’t. It was just the price I had to pay for my really great job. I served on the Audies, so got free downloads of audio books for judging. Reviewed audio books- YA and kids so had those to listen to. Forgave myself if I just didn’t have the energy to do anything on a “school night” Had to be on the platform at 7:15 to assure an “on-time” arrival at school by 8:30. Classes began at 9:00 am. Got on the subway home around 5:00 ish. Really resented staying any later of school events and hated coming in early for team meetings at 7:30 am. Although my position was year-round- had more flexibility in the summer when I didn’t have a fixed schedule of classes.

        No problem now- can be home to walk the dog at lunch if I need to. Flexible schedule means that I no longer have to be “on-time” unlike a teaching schedule.
        Mr. Bibliovore worked less than 20 minutes away during most of that time. NYC is easy in that dinner or components can be easily picked up on the way home. Fresh Direct was a the best thing that happened for convenience. Many of my co-workers came from NJ and they took the subway then a bus/train. Could have been worse.

        4. How did you and your partner decide where to live, relative to your commutes?

        When we moved to MN, we decided that because the ultimate plan was for him to retire in a few years and that I had the horrendous commute for the past 15, we had to live convenient to the campus. (but not so close that undergrads were puking on our lawn) The house we chose was a ½ a mile from the village main strip with a grocery store/bookstore/public library/ and two cafes. Half a mile in the other direction was a University satellite campus with a free bus that shuttled to the main campus where I worked, about a 10 to 15 minute bus ride. I did that until I learned to drive.

        Mr. Bibliovore commuted 30 minutes to 45 minutes to his MN office until he retired a year ago.

  2. TGIF XD*

    A lot of the jobs I am interested in applying for in the future want candidates that have a background in writing for the Internet, such as managing a social media account for a company or writing for an online magazine/newspaper or maintaining an ongoing blog. I’m looking right now at some volunteer/temporary/part-time work to start filling up my resume but, in the meantime, I thought I would start up my own blog to get some practice.

    Does anyone have any tips for starting and maintaining a blog? Including strong themes, as I’m still trying to think about a semi-professional theme I could write about. Also any ideas for finding volunteer/temp/part-time work that would also fit this need?

    1. katamia*

      Prepare a backlog of posts so you can throw something up on days when you don’t feel like writing something new.

      1. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

        This! I run a just for fun blog, but still like to keep it active. Having backlogs saves my butt and I also find that once the ball is rolling and I have written one post, it’s easier to keep going and write five than stop and pick up a few days later to write another one

      2. Ama*

        Also if you can come up with a regular feature that’s relatively quick to put together (link posts, “Top Five on Fridays,” a photo post) that can help generate content and give your writing brain a break.

        1. Turtle Candle*

          This is a great idea. Even on my totally for fun fandom blog, it’s nice to be able to lean on a theme like “shameless self promotion Mondays” (reblogging older art, meta, or gifsets that I either think deserve more attention or that I want to provide additional commentary for) and “recommendations Thursday” where I rec one or more other blogs/posts. The structure is nice.

      3. Ad Astra*

        This is the best advice that I didn’t take when I started my own blog. I go weeks or even months at a time with nothing new because I haven’t had the time to write something from scratch, and it definitely hurts my numbers. Preparing a few things all at once will help you get people coming back to your blog on a regular basis.

    2. Cass*

      This is completely observational but health/fitness blogs and parenting blogs seem to do really well.

    3. HeyNonnyNonny*

      There are a lot of freelance writing web sites that offer assignments that will give you experience and some resume points– they don’t pay a lot in general, but some recognizable businesses use them, and you can build up stats about writing productivity and client reviews that work on a resume.

    4. A Teacher*

      I maintain the twitter feed for the NFP I volunteer for and help with FB and maintain a pinterest feed as well. The analytic section is what we care the most about because it lets us see the audience we are reaching. Direct Messaging and finding the right tagging/hashtags has become important. I took it over about a 10 months ago with zero followers and we’re approaching 800, as a very small NFP that is all volunteers I’m happy with that progress. Some of our posts on twitter are hitting 10k a day and on FB we reached a new all time high of 25k views a week ago.

      To answer the second part of your question: find an all volunteer NFP that needs someone to do their social media. I’m a high school teacher that knows nothing about digital marketing or writing. I’ve had to learn as I go and if I can figure out some of it, I’m sure you’ll do a great job.

    5. Jean*

      Thank you for this question! I look forward to reading the responses above (and hopefully below as others chime in later).

    6. Erin*

      I’m lucky to have a techie husband who helps me with that side of things but….my number one piece of blogging advice would be to have relevant, frequent content.

      Yes, if you have a great theme and you use SEO and all of that great stuff, that certainly helps. But no one is going to care if the content isn’t relevant. And vice versa – if you have great content that people want to read about, no one is going to be like, “Hey, I’m not reading this cause it’s on instead of having its own unique URL.”

      Secondary advice: Be patient. It can feel like you’re talking to yourself for awhile but the content will build up. It took about a year before I got noticed, but now I’m being picked up on other sites, making ad revenue, etc.

      And check out Google Analytics. Helpful.

    7. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I would really push you to look more for volunteer or online gigs. Even things like writing for elite daily or thought catalog seem to get more weight than a personal blog (unless you are one of the few that go big).

      On my LinkedIn feed, I get a ton of volunteer jobs through places like the taproot foundation and catchafire.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        Open source software often has a real need for volunteer documentation, release announcements, blog posts, etc. I know that well-written online writing of that nature is a real boon when applying for writing-related positions at my company.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          This would a huge highlight on a resume!

          I would love to see something like this!

    8. Oryx*

      Starting a blog? Easy. Maintaining a blog takes a lot of hard work and dedication so if you’re not in for the long haul I’d suggest seeking other avenues for this particular experience. There are tons of blogs out there that were updated for awhile and now just sit and languish because the blogger didn’t have the heart to follow through and readers can ALWAYS tell when a blogger is basically doing the internet version of phoning it in. I stop reading blogs that do that.

    9. AP*

      I work on a web content team, and we were recently hiring. One candidate came from a traditional print background, but reached out and made efforts to do guest blogging about marketing topics for different sites. I thought it was really great- she provided the guest blogs as writing samples, but didn’t have to worry about the continual content generation and upkeep involved in a personal blog.

    10. TheAssistant*

      I help run a 100% volunteer-run organization. We have a very lame blog at the moment. The best volunteer thing I ever saw was someone who emailed our Communications coordinator with 5-6 ideas of regular posts she could do to contribute to our blog. Some are about us, some on a related topic, all very relevant to our audience. We would have never advertised for a volunteer position like this, but the fact that she came prepared with lots of ideas made us realize the value. So if you’re okay with something less structured in terms of volunteer work, or you actually like the idea of creating your own role, I’d suggest looking for small, volunteer-run nonprofits that interest you and just ask. The worst they can do is say no, really.

    11. Joanna*

      While of course what you choose to write about should be something that at least a small group of people will want to read about, it’s important that you’re genuinely interested in it. If it’s a topic you don’t really care about, you’ll struggle to keep going and the lack of passion will show through in your writing.

  3. SP*

    Not sure if this is work related enough but- I create a lot of tables at work. I use Excel whenever I can but sometimes I need to use Word, which always drives me a bit crazy. Any tips/suggestions/resources for creating/manipulating tables in Word?

    1. Fabulous*

      What issues are you having with Word’s tables? They link to Excel spreadsheets. I’ve never had difficulties. I actually prefer to use Word sometimes because you can plan out your page more precisely since you can move everything around the page like you would pictures using the “Wrap Text” formatting.

    2. Mockingjay*

      Are the cells filled with text or numbers?

      I do mostly text tables in Word. I added a sheet in the style guide for standard table formatting so my tables always look the same. Header row always has the same shade of gray, Borders are gridded, 1/2 point lines, etc. I also created a Style for Table Text and added it to the Normal template. Keeps the spacing even and font consistent.

      Remember that you can tab within a table using [CTRL] + [TAB], which is nice when you need to indent subcategories. (No, you don’t have to hold down the space bar to move something over. Oy!)

      If it’s a lot of text, the rows will break across the page, which can be hard to read. In those cases, I set the page Landscape and increase the page size (Legal or Tabloid) so more text fits on a single line.

      Some like to use a different font for tables than standard text. We’re more about expediency than presentation here, so I use the same font. I will adjust the point size a little smaller to help text fit. If your style guide mandates a Serif font, in Table Properties > Layout, set the default cell margins wide enough so text doesn’t run into the cell border.

      It will take some tweaking. Once you get something you like, just copy the formatting over and over.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        An extra tip for text in Excel, you can use [Alt]+[Enter] to force text to the next row but in the same cell.
        Way, way back in the day we would enter all sorts of text into excel and this tip blew my mind.

        1. A Bug!*

          A related tip is that holding ctrl and shift while you type a space or a hyphen creates a “non-breaking” version of each of those (in Word for sure, don’t know about Excel but imagine it’s the same), so that you don’t get a line break in the middle of a series of words that properly belong together. It’s a really minor thing but something that would bother me a lot, and before I knew about the non-breaking versions I’d sometimes end up re-wording a sentence just to change the line break.

      2. Jules the First*

        Also, if you open up table properties, there are options to prevent rows breakinh across a page, and to repeat header rows on each new page, which makes them much easier to read.

      3. afiendishthingy*

        “Remember that you can tab within a table using [CTRL] + [TAB], which is nice when you need to indent subcategories. (No, you don’t have to hold down the space bar to move something over. Oy!)

        Omg. Game changer.

      4. Xay*

        Also, you can use bullets within a Word table, but to change the list level/indent the entire bullet, you can use [ALT]+[SHIFT]+[RIGHT ARROW] to move right or [ALT]+[SHIFT]+[LEFT ARROW] to move left.

    3. Anna No Mouse*

      If I know I’m going to have more than the most basic of tables to create, I’ll do it in Excel first, make it just how I want it, then I’ll copy and paste into a Word doc if needed.

      1. Stephanie (HR)*


        Word tables are very finicky, and the less you touch them after they are created, the less trouble they will give you. I recommend building in Excel and pasting into Word.

        If you can’t, or it’s a living document that needs to be constantly updated, just keep in mind that there are all sorts of hidden settings (like whether or not it stays in line with text, or the text moves and the table doesn’t.) Happy to answer more specific questions.

      2. Analyst*

        +1. Word really isn’t good for generating tables but they can hold them just fine. Just keep a separate Excel file with all relevant tables for your word doc so updates are easy.

      3. Finman*

        And when you paste them into word, really prefer pasting as a picture vs. having a live table in word. Much easier to manipulate a picture size wise vs. a live table.

        1. calonkat*

          Having a picture of data makes the data inaccessible for people who are using a screenreader though.

    4. Zangelbert Bingledack*

      You can do a surprising amount of math and automation in Word tables using field functions. Of course Excel is always easier, but I know there are times when embedding an excel table just gets messy. There’s a great document that provides instructions and examples, which you can download here: is near the bottom of the page.

      1. Pwyll*

        This just reminded me of the crazy boss I had once who refused to use Word. She literally concocted a massive Excel spreadsheet with variable sizes of cells in which she “typeset” all of her documents, letters, reports, everything so that every single character and space was exactly where she wanted it to be. In some documents every word was in its own cell.

        That said, even after that experience, I agree with you. Excel FTW!

        1. afiendishthingy*

          What????? I like Excel and everything but I can’t even imagine how that would work.

    5. nofelix*

      Word just IS crazy – eventually you may learn its idiosyncrasies (until they release a new version). I don’t really have any great tips except to use another program and import the table as a PDF. You can also embed an Excel table in Word but I have not looked in that Pandora’s box to say whether it’s a good idea.

      To add cell padding to improve the look of the table. Right click on the + on the top left of the table, choose Table Properties and then under the Table tab click Options. Change the default cell margins to 0.15cm or similar.

      To move content within a table, create a new row/column where needed, select the content you want to move, Copy and Paste into the blank cells, then click Delete Row (/Column) under the Layout tab. There are a couple of options for pasting into a table, which work unreliably but are worth exploring if something doesn’t behave.

    6. hermit crab*

      A few things I can think of:

      1. Many bizarre formatting problems in Word (even those that, at first, appear to have nothing to do with tables) can be fixed by going to Table Properties –> Text Wrapping and making sure it’s set to None.

      2. It’s not as much of a problem in Word as in Excel, but it’s still often better to create the appearance of merged cells by adjusting the borders rather than actually merging them. This is especially good practice if you are creating documents with accessibility requirements (e.g., for Section 508 compliance). Other accessibility best practices are to make sure you set your header row(s) to repeat at the top of each page and to not let rows break across pages.

      3. If you are using styles in your document (and you should be!) create separate styles (different from your regular paragraph style) for table text and for table headers. This way, you can apply formatting consistently and if you need to adjust your normal paragraph style (e.g., to make it double spaced) it won’t wreck the formatting in your table.

      4. The default cell margin settings in Word make things hard to read (at least, I think so). Our standard practice here is to set cell margins to 0.04″ on all sides.

      5. The “Row” and “Column” menus under Table Properties can be great troubleshooting tools because they let you step through areas of your table in sequence. I recommend clearing the “specify height” check boxes for both rows and columns unless you really want to specify those values.

    7. lulu*

      One thing I use a lot is Right click: Table properties, then select prefer width 100% measure in %. Only works if indent from left is zero. That’s useful when the table is too big and won’t fit in the page. Then you can see everything at a glance.

    8. Van Wilder*

      Can you make it in Excel and copy it as a table into word? That’s probably what I’d do.

    9. afiendishthingy*

      I work a lot with big text tables in Word. If I have to add a section in the middle of the table and I’m copy and pasting rows from elsewhere, I add a blank row where I want the new section to start, then go to the row below that and click “Split table” from the Layout tab. Then just click in the first cell of the blank row and paste your rows there- saves you from pressing “insert row” about 50 times.

      I also get some good use out of “Distribute rows” and “Distribute columns.”

    10. themmases*

      Definitely just manipulate any numeric data in Excel and paste it into Word. For example maybe there is a way to change the number of decimal places or number format en masse in Word, but why bother when it’s obvious how to do it in Excel?

      If you find yourself wanting to do the same types of things to tables once they’re in Word, try saving your changes as a table style. They are analogous to text styles and will save you a lot of time if you invest in seeing them up up front. Alternatively, play around with the preset ones in the table design ribbon and see if there’s one you like with few or no alterations. Then in the future you can paste in a plain table from Excel and just apply the style.

  4. Eleven*

    How do you properly assess your supervisor when you have little interaction with her? I work independently in another part of the building, and I really have no issues with her.

    It’s my first time having to assess a supervisor, and I’m really struggling with what to say. Part of the assessment is multiple choice answering agree/disagree, which was fairly easy, but there is a spot to write a recommendation for improvement. I think the writing spot is optional, but I don’t want to leave it blank, unless I have to. I’m at a loss for what to put down. I don’t really see her “in action” in her own workspace, I’m sure if I did, I’d be able to have suggestions. But from my standpoint, she’s always very helpful, is always happy to answer questions, and there isn’t anything she can do differently that would make things easier for me (or none that I can think of). What questions can I ask myself to consider her work from a different perspective? Or is it okay to truly not have any suggestions for her?

    1. Irishgal*

      Aren’t you being asked to assess her as your supervisor so you are seeing her in action and your comments about how she responds to your requests would be ideal for that box?

    2. Court*

      I’ve never had to do one of these but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be okay to not have suggestions. Actually, I think getting suggestions for improvement from people who have never seen the downsides of my work style/ethic would really grate on me. If you don’t know much about her day-to-day work, it doesn’t seem beneficial to make something up just to have something to say.

      But if you see that she’s doing things well, I would absolutely write that in! That kind of feedback is so important, especially when it comes from people who don’t interact with you often. It shows that her overall demeanor in the office is positive and that she’s contributing in a good way to the company.

      tldr; Write about what you know of her from personal experience, even if that doesn’t include “improvements’ to her work.

    3. New Math*

      If your supervisor were filling out a review form for you, and she didn’t have any specific areas that she thought needed improvement, would you want her to come up with something just to fill in the form?

      The purpose of this review is two-fold, both to give your supervisor feedback and to let the company know if there are any issues they need to be aware of. Only fill in the blank if you want to do both of those things.

      1. KG*

        I would also suggest you could put positive feedback, instead of just constructive criticism in this space.

  5. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

    I am in such an awkward position and I’d like some general advice for how to deal with it, or just how I should adjust my thinking so it doesn’t weigh on me so heavily. I graduated in 2014 into a super-saturated field, and after temping and a short-term contract, I was really lucky to land a full-time permanent government job in my field. I had been applying to jobs all around the country, and the one I got happened to be located in a very economically depressed region of the country.

    I knew there would be some resentment of an outsider coming in and taking a government job, but what I didn’t expect was that I would be working alongside some of those resentful people! Two of my current co-workers (who are now still part-time, without benefits) had been doing many of my current duties and they had sort of assumed one of them had the job locked up, but there were language requirements that neither met. They are pretty obviously resentful of me, although they are basically nice people who do their best to hide it.

    Still, I feel SO guilty whenever they mention anything about their financial situations or their plans for the future. It’s especially bad when they say it in front of other people, because I can just feel the resentment of all the others, and I know their sympathy is with the local who was cheated out of work by someone from the big city. The thing is that our field is still super competitive and finding another full-time permanent job would be extremely difficult, leaving quickly would be seen as a snub to the region, plus, except for the guilt, I actually really love my job. Any words of wisdom?

    1. Dawn*

      You are NOT responsible for anyone else’s life. You said right here why you got the job- you met the language requirements, and they did not. That’s a factual statement that is exactly why you got the job and they did not. You learned the language, you had the qualifications, they did not, that was the determining factor in getting the job, you got the job. There’s nothing to feel guilty about- you didn’t DO anything! It’s like if you needed to bake a chocolate cake and you had to choose between two boxes of cake mix- one that was vanilla flavored and one that was chocolate flavored. You’d choose the CHOCOLATE cake mix if you had to make a CHOCOLATE cake, right? So you’re the box of chocolate cake mix in this scenario, and your co-workers are the boxes of vanilla cake mix. You had what was needed to “make the cake”, and your co-workers did not.

      The fact that they’re sour grapes about the process is a concern and one I’d bring up with my manager if I were you. However, their poor behavior IS NOT YOUR FAULT NOR IS IT YOUR PROBLEM TO FIX.

    2. AMG*

      The job does not belong to them, it was an open req. Also, you are not responsible for other people’s finances. It is that simple. The very name you have given yourself as a Job Thief is misguided. I got a job as an outsider that many people wanted. Some were resentful, and some were very immature about it like your coworkers. It was never theirs to own and this is not on you, it’s on them.

      Now, my boss is leaving and there is heavy competition for his job. I am going for it and I will not feel guilty if I get it. Believe me, other people gunning for jobs don’t feel this level of guilt when they get the position and someone else doesn’t. You coworkers are off base and asinine. Don’t give into this guilt trip. Enjoy your job and remember, you never need to make yourself small for other people to try and feel big. We all stand on our own merit.

    3. Minion*

      You are NOT a job thief! You applied for a job and were hired, presumably after an interview process in which either a hiring manager or committee evaluated all available candidates, likely including the local, and came to the conclusion that you were the best candidate for the position.
      Also, if you quit right now and found another job, there’s absolutely no guarantee the hiring manager would hire the local even then. There are likely reasons the local wasn’t hired. So leaving a position you love is not a fix.
      The only thing you can reasonably be expected to do is to be kind to the others as much as it is possible to be without being a doormat or a target for resentful and angry behavior. Their financial situation is not your fault. If you feel that it is, then please consider that my financial situation could always be improved and I really feel that you are responsible for that, so please send me a monthly stipend to help me pay for my pool boy and we’ll call it even.
      Don’t feel guilty for reaping the benefit of being a stellar candidate. That “outsider” crap will die down eventually and, in the meantime, just keep enjoying your job and being awesome at it. And sending my stipend.

    4. Amy M the HR Lady*

      Well, first let me say congrats! Landing a government job is not easy to do, so good for you. Second, never feel guilty that you were the better candidate and landed the job. It seems you have additional skills that they do not – good for you, too bad for them.
      I also am living and working in an area of the country that is…very different from where I have lived in the past. I landed a wonderful job doing exactly what I want, but I am definitely the outsider. My accent (or lack of one) is different, I am a salaried employee working with low paid hourly employees and overworked decently paid employees, and, as a stranger to this part of the country, everything I do or say is different from what my co-workers would do. To top it off, we are here temporarily (not more than a few years) because of my husband’s job and so I am the one who took a great job from a local when I won’t even be staying here long. I feel no guilt, my co-workers are very nice people but their place in life has nothing to do with me, I have worked hard to get where I am and I refuse to let others make me feel less deserving than I am. I hope in time you will feel the same. :-)

    5. RVA Cat*

      ” I know their sympathy is with the local who was cheated out of work by someone from the big city. ”

      Did you, yourself, do anything unethical to get this job – like *lie* about your qualifications, rather than just having skills they didn’t have? If not, you have done Nothing Wrong, and no one was “cheated” out of anything. You applied for a job, management chose you for whatever reason.

      Please don’t take their resentment personally, and also remember it wasn’t that long ago that women in the workplace were accused of “stealing” jobs from men, etc. That said, if you have room in your schedule, volunteering at a food bank, etc. to help needy people in the community should help ease some of this guilt – as well as being a great way to meet people. It sounds to me like you need to make friends outside of work and build social support after relocating, so definitely look for other groups and activities as well.

      1. emvic*

        If any “cheating” was involved, I’d say they “cheated” themselves by not having the needed qualifications. A foreign language is nothing to smirk at. Enjoy your work, be kind to your coworkers and forget about guilt. To turn tables, would any of them feel any guilt for “stealing” the job from you, freshly graduated in a competitive field in dire need of a job? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. Just let their destiny be theirs, like yours belongs to you entirely.

    6. fposte*

      Might also be worth remembering that the jobs the resentful people have were undoubtedly competitive as well, and if you’re a job thief so are they.

      But can you say how exactly they’re showing resentment? Because they really shouldn’t be. (How long have you been there, btw?)

      1. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

        Ah but they’re locals. People here really like seeing well-educated locals stay in the region, so everyone is thrilled when they get a job. Someone actually came into our office to visit and, seeing one of my co-workers there during the day, exclaimed that she was so happy to see that she got the job. I was sitting right there and it was so awkward when it was explained that actually, she hadn’t, they’d hired externally.

        Their resentment really is not affecting our work so I can’t complain about it. It’s really just comments about how if another place were to hire, they’d just choose another person from [my home region], or how sad it is that employers in this area don’t value local graduates. I feel embarrassed when they say things like this in the lunch room. The husband of one of them was on local radio a little while ago and joked that his wife was a great [professional] and she needs a job and everyone at our workplace knows she’s the best. He of course meant “the best” not comparatively superior, but I’m still thinking about it so clearly it stung a bit. But they work well with me so it’s nothing the manager should address.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Am shaking my head. I can understand why you would feel a pang, but it’s theirs to sort out not yours.
          It sounds like you are in a rural area or an area that does not have large cities. I see a lot of that type of attitude around here. I would take it as normal talk for the area. In other words, the locals have a habit of discussing this and they reinforce the habit with each other.

          When I moved here the running joke was if the last ten generations of your family were not born here along with YOU, then you were clearly an outsider. Time has passed and there are more outsiders now. Matter of fact, the new comers are starting to change the old ways, it is a verrrry slow process and very painful for some.
          1) Look at the general mindset of the community. It is probably in keeping with other things you find out.
          2) Give it time. Do your best everyday. Treat everyone with the same level of respect. ASSUME they all know each other, even if you can’t figure out how. This means strictly limit any negative comments you may have. Doing this will help you so much, it’s unbelievable.
          3) Flex. Be prepared to learn things you did not know. I had a boss that could not get over the fact we leave our cars running to go into the store to grab a cuppa. I tried to explain to him that at certain temps you HAVE to leave the car running. He was a great boss, but he could not wrap his mind around this regional quirk. We went over this point several times, I think he remained unconvinced, but dropped the topic to be polite.
          In another example, my husband had a boss that came from NYC. He had no clue how the winters were up here. After my husband came to the rescue several times, he stopped telling my husband that he could not wear boots to work. Be flexible, let them show you little idiosyncrasies of the area.
          4)Which brings me to my next point, people love to talk about themselves and talk about their home towns. Get them to tell you stories. This is a win-win. You will learn about them and their background and they will be more apt to think warmly of you. Once you have a couple hundred stories under your belt (lol), you will feel more acclimated, too.

          1. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

            ASSUME they all know each other, even if you can’t figure out how.

            That is SO true. You’ve nailed this place! Unfortunately, I think the first dozen times I said “You know that person?? Everyone here knows everyone!” it came off as calling them a one-horse town and I’ve toned it down since. :)

        2. Engineer Girl*

          The kindest thing you can do is point out why you were hired (language skill). Let them know that you possessed a skill set they did not which gave you an edge over them. In the same breath, mention that you would like to work with them so that they can be better positioned next time.
          Clear goals and standards dispel rumors. Helping these two succeed should ease your guilt. You don’t have to do their improvement work for them but you could figure out where they need better training and maybe find some on-line classes from an accredited school. That goes a long way in building strong relationships.

    7. Granite*

      I don’t know if it would help to open up a little about how many jobs you applied before you got this one? Some sort of expression of gratitude about how fortunate you felt to have been hired when there are so many qualified candidates? Hard to know if that would make it worse or better. So really no advice, just empathy. Good luck.

      1. Temperance*

        I would recommend against this, because if those coworkers have been looking longer, they’re going to be even more angry.

        1. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

          Indeed… They both graduated around 2010 and between the two of them, have worked at all the institutions that hire people with our degree in the area, but always part-time or on contract.

    8. KR*

      If they were qualified, you would have gotten the job. I know it’s hard to deal with the resentment, so keep reminding yourself that you worked hard for this and you deserve this.

    9. Master Bean Counter*

      Been there done that. Just work and do a stellar job. They will eventually get over it. Just be a genuinely nice person and show compassion to them. In other words be a decent human being and eventually something else will come up that they’ll all start griping about and you’ll be old news by then. ;)

    10. Adam*

      Proper guilt is deserved when it’s felt. You are blaming yourself for something that is not your fault one bit. You can be sympathetic to the struggles of your coworkers for sure and maybe they’re right to have a beef with management over their hiring practices. But even if that’s true not one iota of that is your fault. You needed a job, and the agency decided to hire someone outside the establishment for it. Your coworker’s anger at you is terribly misplaced.

      When I worked in retail for a brief period (though it was the longest year of my life) I asked for as many hours as they could give me. Some weeks I could have enough hours to almost be full time. Other weeks I could have less than ten. Management would often say that hours given out were contingent on how well the store was doing, so if we wanted more time we needed to get people to buy more stuff, which for a floor/stock person who makes minimum wage and zero commission is kind of a daunting edict.

      Literally one week after one of these pep talks about how there just weren’t hours to give out they hired two people at guaranteed 30 hours a week. I was not happy, but I didn’t take it out on the new people. They had no idea what they were getting into and I’m sure they needed the work just as much as I did. I just used it as further motivation to find a better job and get out of that sinking ship.

      Your coworkers may have legit things to be frustrated over, but it’s unfair for them to target you for that. Please let the unnecessary guilt go and if your coworkers continue to make it uncomfortable try talking to your manager about it.

      Good luck!

    11. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      but there were language requirements that neither met,/blockquote>

      Don’t feel guilty! If they did not have the requirements — especially something a language requirement for a government job, they in no way had the job locked up.

      I think this is a situation where you just have to keep being the awesome professional that you are and rise above it!

    12. Court*

      Don’t feel guilty! Their resentment is their own problem to deal with, not yours. You will NEVER be able to change this. What you can change is your reaction to their obvious attempts at guilt trips. If you didn’t get that job, some other outsider could have.

      It is not on you that they can’t be professionals in a professional workplace.

    13. Sadsack*

      Just keep in mind that there are reasons those coworkers did not get the job that have nothing to do with you? Probably easier said than done, but I am not sure what else you can do. If you weren’t hired, someone else would have been instead of them. Blaming you for their shortcomings certainly is unfair.

    14. StellsBells*

      I also want to point out that if your coworkers have been there for a significant amount of time, then they should have known that the language requirement would be needed for the full time position and planned accordingly. The fact that they just assumed that one of them was entitled to this job without discussing it with the manager long before the hiring process was needed is not your fault – that is 100% on them.

      Besides, even if one of them was hired into the role, the other would still be part time and no benefits – and still be resentful of the person who wasn’t even if they were local. It isn’t personal, and it isn’t something you should worry about.

      Don’t let them ruffle your feathers – and once you put it aside and let your enthusiasm for your job (and by extension your new community) then eventually the “locals” will get over it and start seeing you as one of their own.

      1. TootsNYC*

        they should have known that the language requirement would be needed for the full time position and planned accordingly.

        This is so incredibly true! Don’t lose sight of this. That complacency hurt them, and they deserved for it to.

        And, you haven’t taken anything AWAY from them, so it didn’t hurt them so much as BLOCK them.

        They still have a job.

        I wouldn’t say go out of your way to do this (I think you best bet is to just be oblivious and give them space to get over it), but if they DO say anything, you can do this:
        Be very encouraging and say, “Maybe you should start brushing up your Foreign Language–that will make you a really strong candidate if a position like this opens up again!”

    15. Observer*

      Please rename yourself. You are not a “thief”. You did NOT cheat anyone out of a job.

      Dealing with your coworkers is a different story. But, you will actually do much better if you drop the idea that you “cheated” anyone or did anything unethical. On the other hand some sympathy and empathy are in order. Not because they were cheated or mistreated, but because it IS a disappointment, even if they had been in denial. It sounds, though, like there might have been a bit of miscommunications there on the part of HR or their boss, so it makes the disappointment worse. Again, this is NOT your fault, and you should project that attitude.

      You need to believe and act on three things:
      1. You did nothing wrong, unethical or dishonest. No guilt warranted here.

      2. Being part time when you need a full time job stinks. So does not getting a job you thought you had a good chance at, and living in an economically depressed area where opportunities are few and far between.

      3. None of this is your fault or yours to fix. You can, and should sympathize, empathize and respect their issues. But do not, in any way shape of form accept any level of blame or validate resentment of you over it.

    16. Creag an Tuire*

      Situations like this are where I’d channel my Inner Bastard and think “they wouldn’t give up -their- well-paying job for -my- benefit, so I have no obligation to do the same for them”.

    17. HeyNonnyNonny*

      OK, I have some indirect experience from the side of your coworkers– so I think I understand some of why they might be feeling resentful.

      This is pretty common, especially with government jobs, which are very competitive (as you know!). I have seen a lot of people lose out on “their” jobs to an outsider– and unfortunately, sometimes this is due to bureaucracy, a convoluted hiring process, and point advantages given to certain groups. Since you earned this job because of your language requirement, those don’t really apply– but the requirements could have been very poorly communicated to these workers, or maybe they thought they met the requirements and didn’t, or they were told it didn’t matter.

      So I think that everyone’s advice is spot on– you shouldn’t feel guilty, of course! You wouldn’t have been offered the job if you didn’t deserve it, and no one’s finances are your responsibility. But understand that they aren’t mad at you, they’re mad at the system that they felt was unfair– it might help to remember that when you feel guilty or resented. You say they’re nice people, so just remember that this happens a lot, and people get over it all the time. Sorry it’s tarnishing an otherwise great opportunity, but this will pass!

      1. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

        That’s very true, and it is why I feel guilty, because unless they weren’t doing a good job, and they were by all accounts, no one should be able to score higher than the person who was actually doing the job!

        1. Observer*

          But, that’s just it. You have no reason to feel guilty. You didn’t outscore them by doing something unethical.

          I tend to agree with you that you shouldn’t have been able to outscore them. But, it could be that although they were doing a good job, there were limits to what they could to because of the language requirement.

          I don’t know what you do, so I’ll stick to Teapots Inc. for my illustration. If Teapots Inc. puts someone into a CSR Supervisor role on a temporary basis, they may not worry if she doesn’t know Spanish, even though a significant percentage of customers and CSRs are Spanish speaking. But, no matter how good that Temp Supervisor is, they are going to keep looking till they find someone who speaks Spanish

          1. HeyNonnyNonny*

            Observer makes a great point– it’s possible that the job they were doing didn’t have all the requirements of the full time job you got! Or, again, maybe they got tangled up in the red tape of the application process. Or they didn’t answer the questionnaire as strongly as they could have. But you outscored them based on your strengths. So you can be sympathetic towards them that the system was bad or they were misled into thinking they’d get the job…but don’t be guilty that you made it through.

            Like I said, I’ve seen this sort of thing happen a lot, and to be honest, you don’t just ‘win’ the job by outscoring people! If an outsider outscores an internal candidate that they reallllly want, they have to fall in love with that outside candidate or they’ll just cast a wider net. So they certainly wanted you more than the coworkers, and it was more than just “Oh, Guilt-Ridden Job Thief got 5 more points, he automatically wins, nuts to them!”

        2. TootsNYC*

          “no one should be able to score higher than the person who was actually doing the job!”

          I disagree.

          What if they weren’t doing the job quite as well as needed? What if the absence of the language thing meant things were ticking along OK, but just OK. And what if there were many lost opportunities (“opportunity cost”) that couldn’t be capitalized on because theydidn’t have the language. Or the outside perspective.

          I have to tell you–I’m loathe to hire or promote someone who thinks that the higher-level job “should” be theirs, especially if they think anyone else would be “wrong” to “steal” it from them. I fear they will be too complacent and would not do the job well enough. That they wouldn’t bring the same energy, innovation, and fresh perspective.
          Someone who wants the promotion because they think they’re good enough, or because they want to get more authority/autonomy, because they have ideas of what they want to do? Totally I’d want them.

          But someone who feels entitled to that job? I don’t think they’re such a great person to promote, actually.

      2. Alice*

        I am, luckily, in a different position: I pipped an internal candidate at the last post, but I have no idea who it is. Everyone who could be the disappointed, local, internal candidate has been 100% helpful. So I have no advice, except to remind you that there are people who can get past similar disappointments… So while you’re being understanding, don’t overdo it. As every else has said, it’s not your fault and you stole nothing.

    18. INTP*

      Remind yourself of the good you’re doing the people you serve through unique attributes that you are able to bring to the position. For example, assuming the language requirement wasn’t totally pointless, because you are there, people are being served/having their needs considered/employed (it’s hard to say without knowing your job but I’m positive there’s something!) who otherwise wouldn’t due to a language barrier. Remember that the job having gone to your coworkers might have helped one coworker, but it would have also perpetuated inequality for all of the minority language speakers you can help directly or indirectly. Maybe your education or city experience have provided you with information or ideas that you can put into practice. Being in government, your job touches many people, and remember how many people are being helped by having someone very qualified in that position versus the few coworkers you feel bad about not having your job.

      1. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

        Thanks, that’s a good point. I actually work in an internal client-facing job, and in principle I do believe that it’s really important to provide services in both official languages.

        1. TootsNYC*

          One thing that might help them get over it faster, or help them become realistic faster, is to make sure that the value you bring with that language skill is clear–both effective/powerful and visible.

    19. Anxa*

      Do they both have similar jobs? Are the positions predominantly part-time with only a few full-time options.

      If there is plenty of full-time work for current workers, but the department is hiring all part-timers to save money, that’s on the higher ups that are making these decisions.

      I’ve been in a position where a half job is better than no job, so even if those jobs were consolidated, someone would lose out. But now I’m stuck in part-time purgatory, and I almost wish they’d just fire me and give someone else a full-time job if it can’t be me.

      If you feel badly about it, that’s perfectly fine. But it wasn’t your decision not to promote or otherwise provide a living wage for those employees.

    20. KC*

      I was in a similar situation when i graduated in 2013. I had trouble finding perm jobs and worked in a few different temp jobs for about 2 years, with a little unemployment in between. I finally found a good perm job when the last temp job i was in hired me as a perm employee. You have absolutely nothing to feel bad about. Ignore the resentment and focus on doing the best job you can.

    21. DB*

      If your co-workers are genuinely nice people at one point or another they will get past this. By behaving apologetically you can inadvertently enable the resentment. Treat them as grown-ups, do your job well and don’t act embarrassed by something you have no control over. This more than anything will help them get beyond their resentment If you avoid feeding their victimization by the system mentality, they can learn to respect and support you.

      1. Guilt-ridden Job Thief*

        Thanks, that’s a good thing to remember. No one likes to be pitied and giving off that vibe would not help our relationship.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        If you can see that they are nice people, then on some level they do realize you are not at fault here. I would be more worried if they treated you crappy.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I agree.

        I think the absolute best think you can do for other people who are feeling inappropriate emotions (real, but not actually appropriate to the situation) is to act as though they DON’T feel that way.

        Give them room and time to get over, and give them deniability as well. It will help them save face.

        Blithely oblivious.

    22. Nobody*

      All the other comments have already covered the fact that you have no reason to feel guilty and you did nothing wrong, but unfortunately, you still have to deal with the resentment of your coworkers, no matter how misdirected it is. I’ve seen situations like this, where people are resentful of an outsider “stealing” a promotion they wanted, and the good news is that if the outsider proves herself, the resentment eventually subsides. The bad news is that people are extra critical of the outsider, so an outsider has to meet a higher standard to be accepted as deserving of the job.

      Also, avoid complaining about the job in any way, because that just rubs salt in the wounds of those who would have loved to have it (never mind that they would probably have the same complaints if they had gotten the job — they’ll just be thinking about how ungrateful you are).

      The fact that you are conscious of the situation probably helps, because it means that you are considerate about other people’s feelings, and they will probably come to sense that you have good intentions. Try not to take to take their resentment personally, even if they take it out on you, because they are really just resentful of the situation. I’m not saying you should put up with bullying or unprofessional behavior, but that doesn’t look like what’s happening. I think if you stick it out, do a good job, and have a good attitude, your coworkers will eventually come around.

    23. TootsNYC*

      There’s a great saying I’ve been running across lately:

      What other people think of you is none of your business.

      What other people feel is none of your business.

      If they don’t come right out and mention it, it’s not your business.

      also–you may be hypersensitive to this; it’s possible they aren’t as resentful as you think.

      “blithely ignorant”–that’s how you should act and feel.

  6. Anna No Mouse*

    I had a phone interview for a job yesterday that I am so thrilled about that I’m actually having trouble focusing today on my work. This is my first real interview for a non-profit and it fits my interests and most of my skills and experience. There are two things that I can see working against me: my lack of direct fundraising experience (through I do have some experience with grants) and not having previous involvement with this particular organization, which the last person to hold this position did.

    But the interview went really well, and now I’m just waiting to see if I get called in for an in-person interview with some or all of the board. The woman I’ve been in touch with has been great, and is sending me the groups multi-year strategic plan at my request so I can read more in depth about their plans for the future.

    Any advice on what to do when interviewing with a board hiring committee?

    1. Anna No Mouse*

      Update: I know have an in-person interview scheduled for three weeks from yesterday. Yippee!

    2. Intern Wrangler*

      Congratulations! Interviewing with a board hiring committee is not dissimilar from any committee interview. I would do some research on the board ahead of time–finding out who they are and what affiliations they have. Be prepared. If you are looking at fundraising, understand what type of funding they receive. Review their last couple of 990s–which are available through a free account on guidestar. (I hope I’m not telling you things you already know.) And prepare some questions for them, but know that you may not get to all of them because they may have limited time. Good luck!

      1. Anna No Mouse*

        This is great! Thank you!

        We discussed some funding issues on the phone interview, but I still have a lot of questions.

    3. Marina*

      Woohoo!! Congratulations! :) As far as a lack of direct fundraising experience, most of what’s needed is sheer chutzpah and willingness to make the ask. If you can convince your interviewer that you’re willing to put yourself out there and ask for money, you’re halfway there. And hey, it’s not asking for money for you, it’s asking for money for the great cause that you are very passionate about, so that helps. ;)

      1. Anna No Mouse*

        Thanks for the advice. Most of what I know about in terms of funding is on the grant side of things. I’m not sure if that’s their plan for getting funding, or if they’d prefer to go more of the fundraiser route, which is why I asked for the strategic plan. I’ve done event planning in the past, and think I could swing this into a fundraiser pretty easily by reaching out to some contacts I have for advice.

  7. Erin*

    For part of my job I help to coordinate events – client appreciation events, things like that.

    I hate it when I’m in negotiations with a restaurant or a venue for pricing, and then the event doesn’t happen or we go in another direction. Thanks for all the back and forth and answering all my questions, nooooow we’re not going with you.

    Any advice on how to navigate that, or is that just sort of part of the course of doing business?

    1. Cass*

      Maybe an e-mail thanking them for their time and letting them know you’ll keep them in mind for future events?

      1. KathyGeiss*

        This sounds like the best course of action. Combine it with the confidence that it’s just the course of business and not out of the ordinary for these vendors.

    2. some1*

      What Cass said. It’s kind of like rejecting an applicant: “We needed to go with a venue that better fit our budget/could accommodate more people/had Kosher options (or generic “better fit our needs for this event), but I sincerely appreciate all of your help while making this decision. I will keep you in mind for future events”

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Excellent wording. I just had to get quotes from some vendors that provide printing and email marketing services. I’m happy with the companies we picked, but I’m the type of person who always feels badly about rejecting people. I’m going to write something similar to what you said above.

    3. ACA*

      Ugh, I hate that. Last year I was in the process of booking a $$$ catering order for a graduation, did a tasting, set the menu, had basically done everything except signed the contract – and then we changed our venue and had to use the venue’s catering. I felt terrible.

    4. Over Development*

      I’m in agreement with Cass and polite note goes a long way.

      Depending on the venue/relationship, I will sometimes do this over the phone. I.e. Board member who is hosting an event in their home doesn’t tell us that they have a preferred caterer (despite us asking) until I have already reached out to our go-to folks.

    5. OwnedByTheCat*

      I hate saying no to vendors. Most of the time they are nice but sometimes they’re incredibly pushy! No advice, just a “me too” sentiment.

    6. justsomeone*

      I do this for my job too – just remember, it’s their job to answer your questions AND you’re not the first or the last person to do this. They’re pretty used to it. Events are a very fluid beast.

      When I have to tell a vendor we’re going in a different direction I always send a quick email saying “Thank you so much for your time. We really liked X or Y but for this event, we’ve decided to go in a different direction. I’ll keep you in mind for future events.”

    7. Event Planner*

      I’m an event planner and this happens literally ALL the time in our industry. The venue reps know that. I usually start conversations with venues by saying something non-committal like “I’m just assessing our options”, which can soften the blow a little when it comes to turning them down.

      Seriously though, this is standard operating procedure for venues though. They know they’re going to put together x number of proposals that will be rejected. Just be polite and tell them you’ll be in touch if anything that fits comes up and the relationship will still be there if you do need them.

    8. Sunflower*

      I used to be like this too. Just remember that not getting a deal/contract is a big part of their job. I usually just send an email saying ‘thanks for all your help and I’ll be in touch if any future events come up.’

      I usually start off the process by telling them that we’re just looking at options and nothing is set in stone yet.

    9. NDR*

      Don’t feel bad! Just let them know as soon and possible and thank them for their time. I used to work for a caterer, in sales, and it was awful when I couldn’t get a straight answer (or any answer) from a client who was holding a date. If you say no, that frees them up to pursue other business.

    10. KWB*

      Just seeing this late, but I used to book events for a venue, and people inquired and didn’t book all the time! Part of my job was talking people through the options, prices, menus, etc., and as long as the person I was dealing with was nice, it was fine–sometimes they had more people than we could accommodate, the menu was too pricey, the wedding got called off (yes), the menu didn’t have enough XYZ options–anyone who takes stuff like that personally is being unreasonable. Just say, “Thanks for all the back and forth and answering all my questions, nooooow we’re not going with you.” Or something with fewer O’s. :) It really is just part of that business.

  8. Hangry at a meeting*

    I know better than to ask “is this legal?” so I’m venting and asking “isn’t this sh*tty?”
    At my new job, I’m salaried AND I get overtime (the holy grail!). I typically get about 2 hours of OT each week; it’s not money that makes or breaks my budget, but it’s nice to have a little extra to save.
    We have a mandatory meeting today that is scheduled for an hour (and will probably run closer to 2) and just got an all staff email saying there’s no number to bill your time, this is your lunch.
    Just… annoyed.
    If it’s mandatory, shouldn’t we be paid? (or at the very least SERVED LUNCH? We have to have these meetings at a hall offsite so everyone can fit, there’s no way it’s BYO-Lunch)

    1. Fabulous*

      I’d assume catering would be provided if it’s around lunchtime. They’re crazy if it’s not.

      1. Charlotte Collins*

        I’m pretty sure that if it’s required, it needs to be considered work time. (I don’t know how it would be for salaried staff, but they definitely would have to pay any hourly staff for that time.)

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          That’s what I always thought. And, secondary question: If that’s the case, when is your actual break?

    2. KR*

      I figured out a while ago that the best way to get my employees to enjoy and attend meetings was to bribe them with pizza. Maybe you could put a bug in your manager’s ear.

    3. Terra*

      If you’re non-exempt then this might actually be illegal depending on where you work. The rule for exempt is that if you’re required to be there then generally they have to pay you for it. Telling people to count it as lunch, especially if they aren’t actually serving lunch and it’s considered mandatory, is at the very least incredibly shady.

      1. Natalie*

        And if you are in a state that requires non-exempt staff to get a lunch break, this probably doesn’t count.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you’re non-exempt, it has to be paid time because it’s mandatory. If you’re exempt, they can’t mess with your salary for that period anyway so it’s probably moot.

    5. Ama*

      If they aren’t serving lunch and making you count the meeting as your lunch break, that’s pretty crappy.

      I actually get kind of resentful even at lunch time meetings that include lunch because I really need that mental break during the day.

    6. Oryx*

      Yes, if it’s a mandatory meeting, I’d consider that work.

      But, if you’re salaried, you’re still going to be paid for your time, right? This would really only have an effect if you’re hourly and they force you to clock out and then make you attend (which would then be illegal).

      1. TootsNYC*

        is the “charge your time to” a matter of internal billing, or of your own individual time card?

    7. fposte*

      I can’t tell if you’re exempt or not. If you’re exempt, you are being paid for that time–that’s your salary. If you’re non-exempt, they’re doing it wrong and have to pay you.

    8. Hangry at a meeting*

      To clear it up – I am an exempt salaried employee who also gets overtime. So nothing illegal, just annoying.

      1. Newbie*

        As an exempt salaried employee and for the sake of sanity, I try to keep in mind the positives of this classification when something mandatory comes up. There may be occasional mandatory events, but I’m able to take occasional long lunches or leave earlier than usual when the work is caught up.

        I’m in no means an expert, but are you sure you’re exempt? It’s possible to be both salaried and non-exempt, which would require payment of overtime. In that case, time spent at a mandatory meeting would count toward the calculation of overtime that week. My understanding of exempt is that you’re exempt from overtime.

      2. NJ Anon*

        It is highly unusual to be exempt and get overtime. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t complain. Just go to lunch after the meeting if they don’t feed you. I am exempt, get no overtime but go to lunch whenever I want to.

        1. Jen*

          It’s unusual but it happens. My husband is a design engineer for a firm. He is salaried and no exempt but his salary is based in a 45 hour workweek.

          Because his work is 100% billable to clients, he gets overtime (straight time, not time and a half) for any work over 45 hours assuming he renains 90% billable for the week. So if client A wants work done this week but he’s got to pull a 60 hour week to do it, he gets to bill for it.

          Pretty nice!

    9. Elle*

      I think it will depend on if you are considered exempt or non-exempt. If you’re exempt, they would not have to pay you for the mandatory lunch meeting. If you’re non-exempt, they would.

    10. Master Bean Counter*

      I believe that people who schedule meetings or parties over what would normally be eating hours and don’t provide sufficient amounts of food will live their afterlives in a state of perpetually hungry purgatory.

      1. Hlyssande*

        Absolutely, yes.

        People like that are the reason I have a daily recurring meeting in my calendar for lunch.

    11. Kelly White*

      Yes- that’s sucky!!

      (I think you have to suck it up and do it, but I wanted you to feel validated!)

        1. catsAreCool*

          Where I work, if they expect you to work through lunch for a meeting, they provide lunch and sometimes even ask you what kind of sandwich you want. Seems like a better way to have people invested in the meeting.

    12. New Math*

      You are exempt and get overtime whenever it can be billed… sounds like you work in a great place! The deal with exempt is that sometimes you do have to put in more than 40 hours without extra pay, so I would say that, no this isn’t sh*itty from a financial perspective. But they should be paying attention to the fact that they will be holding a meeting with hungry people!

      1. Hangry at a meeting*

        I see your financial point – if the whole office is short one billable hour, they’re loosing 600 hours of work – and if we all put it in as OT, they’re paying and extra 600 hours of salary for no work.
        I’m crossing my fingers for food at this thing….

        1. afiendishthingy*

          Our mandatory monthly nonbillable meeting used to be held from 11 – 1, with no free lunch. What. the. eff.

    13. hermit crab*

      I would be annoyed too. I’m salaried but we work on a billable hours model where all your hours have to be accounted for, so it definitely feels like you’re not getting paid for those “voluntary mandatory” unbillable events. We often get food provided in lieu of a billing code, which people are generally fine with, but there would be a LOT of grumbling if we got neither.

    14. Engineer Girl*

      I’ve seen this plenty. A meeting comes out of overhead so there is no charge number. You only get OT if it is authorized for a project.
      If this only happens occasionally then you probably should suck it up. It is “normal” for salary exempt. And you still get OT most of the time.
      Not the hill to die on

    15. afiendishthingy*

      I’m salaried but have billable hours expectations -it’s only 55%, but there are strict insurance codes regarding what constitutes a billable activity for my role. If you go to a committee meeting or continuing education workshop, that time gets “deducted from productivity” – e.g., if I’m in a committee meeting for 3 hours on Tuesday I’m only responsible for billing 55% of 5 hours that day. However, supervisors have been saying no to a lot of requests to deduct other things lately – things like participating in hiring process for a junior team member and attending a required team meeting, even though the rest of the department doesn’t have an equivalent meeting. These things have been deducted in the past and we’ve not been given an answer for why they aren’t anymore.

      In conclusion – Yes. It is annoying. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not a toxic workplace, but you have my blessing to be annoyed. :)

  9. Folklorist*

    Alison, have you ever considered doing a podcast call-in version of the blog? Not gonna lie; I would kind of love to hear you tell people that their manager sucks and will never change. Or just say “what the hell?!” I’m thinking like the Savage Lovecast, but with slightly less BDSM (unless it happens in the office. Quack.)

    Maybe I just want AAM soundbites in my life.

    1. some1*

      Oh, that reminds me! Savage Love recently answered a letter from someone who’s coworker was vetting sugar daddies by having them take a tour of the spa where they were working, and I was thinking it’s too bad Alison couldn’t have been the guest columnist for that one

      1. Granite*

        Even if it wasn’t a regular thing, doing a couple one offs on popular topics would be awesome.

        1. Elizabeth Plan*

          A hockey blog I follow does that – once a the begging of the season, once around the mid point (trade deadline) and once per round of the play offs and once the season is over. Its a nice treat when the pop up in my podcast feed.

      2. BRR*

        I think this would be great for those letters where you emphasize tone in your answer (like the time you did the recording). Also I want to hear you say “your manager sucks and isn’t going to change.”

      3. Allison Mary*

        Please, please do!! I would listen to every single episode!

        Also, you should reach out to Dan Savage and tell him that his listeners really want you to be a guest on his show, for any work-related crossover type questions that he gets (Savage Love is the only other podcast I listen to religiously).

      4. Marina*

        OMG PLEASE. See commute thread above–this would make two hours of my life every day so. much. better.

      5. beachlover*

        Please do. Podcasts keep me sane on my commute home, and when I am working on spreadsheets at work!

    2. Elle*

      That would be awesome! I’ve never listened to a podcast in my life (I know, I know) but I just might be motivated to listen to yours!

    3. Gandalf the Nude*

      I would love to see (hear?) this with guess voice over for the LWs and potentially as roleplay/practice conversations. And more interviews! It’s totally different hearing someone talk about their job than reading it.

        1. Bibliovore*

          I am a enthusiastic yes to a podcast. Perhaps you can do one as part of the NPR Marketplace franchise? Also Krista Tippet who does On Being (my favorite podcast) is also a producer. She would be able to point you in the right direction.

    4. Turtle Candle*

      I would love so much a podcast so that I could have an audio version of my favorite of Alison’s conclusions: “Your boss is a loon.”

        1. Bibliovore*


          Start with In the News… working conditions, new employment laws, books to read
          five questions. with Alison answers
          then a phone questions recorded like the car guys so that there can be back and forth.
          Then Is It Legal?
          time to quit- could be worst boss, worst working environment. B eating cracks moment.
          End with positive- letters from readers who have succeeded due to good advice- contract negotiations job interviews, cover letters.

  10. Mockingjay*

    Best / Worst of the Week?

    Best: Helped my colleagues with some contract stuff. It was just a little thing, but they were swamped with other work and couldn’t get it finished. My boss found out about it and gave me a really nice thank you.

    Worst: My account is experiencing a random Windows credentials problem so I can’t access our databases and SharePoint. Three of the IT staff are working full-time on it – they are completely baffled. I am emailing files back and forth, old school!

    1. Master Bean Counter*

      Best: Getting birthday bombed by my new coworkers. I don’t even know how they knew..I’ve only been here a month.
      Worst: Having to work late because there’s a culture of waiting until the last minute in this place to get things done. I will be working on that.

    2. Dawn*

      Best: IT’S FRIDAY. Seriously the most-looked forward to Friday I’ve had in a while.

      Worst: Found out that the company owners are really really really adverse to firing people, even if they’re dead weight. Going to have to come up with ways to change that mindset.

    3. Not me*

      Best: New job! It starts next week. I really like my current position, but the change is exciting, too.

      Worst: Am bad at cooking things that I’ll microwave for lunch at work.

      1. De Minimis*

        Worst—our temp is leaving and I was having her deal with our student workers who have just started. Now I’ll have to try and train them even though I’m not really too familiar with most of what they’re doing.

        Annoyed in general because my boss insisted we hire them and he wanted so many hours of work from them, but he wants to just leave everything to me as far as training them and finding things for them to do. In my opinion, one student who works maybe 8-10 hours a week would be enough, but he’s the boss…

        And one is already being flaky as far as not showing up….which has made a problem because when we have a couple of days with no students we end up having to do the tasks that we would have assigned to them, and so when they do show up we struggle to find things for them to do.

        Oh well, we shall see…

          1. De Minimis*

            Student worker, they just started, and I don’t know if we really have a procedure in place for firing during the semester. I would guess we would just not have them back next term.

            Had a hard time filling these positions, it’s late in the semester already, so I will over look it for now.

            1. Anxa*

              Is it FWS? Because I could imagine it being hard to fire for that. Are they classified differently than other part-time staff.

              I guess I thought you meant they were not showing up to scheduled shifts or something egregious.

              1. De Minimis*

                It’s sort of like work study but not exactly the same. The students are technically university employees but the pay comes 100% from us [a non-profit affiliate, but we are independent from the university.] I think it would be difficult to fire, but also it would not be in line with what I’ve seen here culturally as far as the student workers…I think it would be really frowned upon.

                There is a real miscommunication with this student, I think possibly because of a slight language barrier. This is literally their first week of work, and I think they misunderstand about the scheduling. They actually did no-show the other day.

                I’ve had a really hard time finding students–the best two candidates I interviewed first, one turned us down for a different job and the other just had no availability during our operating hours. The resumes were pretty weak, and all I really want is someone who has done some amount of office work [even just for a couple of months] and/or is studying business/finance.

                1. Anxa*

                  Sounds like a complicated system.

                  I underestimated the scheduling issue. I guess when you’re only looking for a few students, that’s a much bigger issue. I’ve always worked on larger staffs, so I’d overlooked that.

        1. MT*

          Some tactics we’ve found successful with flaky student workers:

          1. This is probably obvious, but expectations! A brief document of attendance policies that address what is expected in terms of calling out, showing up late, getting coverage, communicating with teammates, etc. including laying out the consequences of not following these policies
          2. Specific goals and consequences: “Anybody who does not do X will not get more hours until it is completed”; “If you do not do X by [Date] you will not get any hours the following week”; “If you repeat [problem] another time we will have to discuss whether you want to continue working with us” etc.

          In our situation, at least, “hours” are the Holy Grail of student incentive. Nobody wants to lose an entire week of hours. This has cut down on students who appear when they want to and flake out when they don’t.

          1. De Minimis*

            It bothers me because the other departments all have great student employees who have been there for their entire college career. I feel like I dropped the ball on hiring.

          2. TootsNYC*

            Yea, the hours thing–I wondered if you can say: “this is when you need to come, because this is when the work is. If you don’t show up and it gets done by someone else, we won’t be able to pay you, because we’ll send you home.”

    4. super anon*

      Best: I talked to my bosses for the first time in weeks and got some clarity on issues I’d been struggling with.

      Worst: I offered a job to someone and they turned it down. I didn’t realize the sting of rejection swings both ways – but I might just feel that way because I have to repost the job and do another round of interviews.

    5. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      My boss told me I have a “high business IQ” – whatever that means, it was intended as a compliment. He also told me I’m the “poster child for continual improvement.”

      Worst: I work with an incredibly wordy/rambling person like the OP who wrote in yesterday about how to be more succinct. It’s been getting worse and worse.

    6. nofelix*

      Worst: Chickens have come home to roost on some decisions my boss made and a major project I’m working on is in jeopardy.

      Best: Now I have more free time…

    7. HeyNonnyNonny*

      Best: I’m on a team! This is my first “team” project, which are usually high-profile and great for people’s careers around here. I’m weirdly excited!

      Worst: One of the team members is a total project-Gollum. Ugh.

    8. MrsL*

      Best: That a project actually worked out just fine, despite a lot of hiccups along the way that were close to driving me crazy. I was like duck swimming frantically upstreams. I think that situations like this somehow makes me grow in my role as a project manager. Yes!

      Worst: When the details matter and I did not get them right. Situation: Decisions made after conferring with client (that is very particular about details) gets changed last minute by my boss, and client then totally agrees with my boss. Somehow made me feel like all my efforts of being on top of things to make the client happy (highest priority in this particular project), went down the drain then and there.

    9. AFT123*

      Best: We had a work kick-off at my new job and I am finally starting to feel a little bit of the “drinking the kool-aid” feeling, which I hope to feel more and more as I invest more time here.

      Also best, my spouse is coming home tomorrow after being gone for 10 days, yippee!!

      Worst: I still have next to nothing to do at my new job and there is no end in sight and I’m bored out of my gourd and my previous company is trying to woo me back into a promoted position and it’s tempting even though I know it’s a mess over there but at least I’d have work to do and feel like I’m providing value… whew. Sorry for the run-on sentence.

    10. ThatGirl*

      Best: I had my annual review, it was super awesome, my boss loves me, and she advocated for a higher raise than the general pool so I got 3% instead of 2.5%! (The money itself isn’t super impressive, but it feels really good to be appreciated.)

      Worst: My work’s been pretty good but my husband’s job is increasingly frustrating thanks to really crappy C-Level management.

    11. motherofdragons*

      Best: Landed a new job that starts in a few weeks, with a company I love and a nice pay bump to boot!

      Worst: Knowing that I’m leaving soon is only serving to highlight the incompetence of my current coworkers and managers, rather than alleviate it!

    12. F.*

      Worst: I’ve finally reached BECcon level 2 with my employer. It finally hit me yesterday during a phone call where I was told that the company owner will again be taking a very active role in recruiting (after all, who needs HR?) and interviewing for staff he doesn’t even supervise. He did that last year, blew smoke up new employees’ skirts about promotions and raises, and created a number of disgruntled (now ex-) employees, not to mention paying the new hires more than the veterans and generally pissing off everybody. I had a sudden moment of clarity when I realized that Nothing. Here. Will. EVER. Change. and I have to Get. Out.
      Next Worst: Found a job I wanted to apply for, but on further research discovered that their benefits are even worse than ours (nothing for 120 days, only 7 days of PTO for the first 5 years, only 5 paid holidays, crappy health insurance). It would also be a 20-25% pay cut. Nope. Not much out there for HR with less than two years experience in HR, and I don’t want to go back to being an Admin.
      Very Worst: I am supposed to be writing recruiting advertisements for internet job boards and my anxiety is so far up there that I can’t even think straight.
      Best: It’s finally Friday. (I’m too damn old for this!)

    13. Bowserkitty*

      Best: My week has been low-key, work wise.

      Worst: The secretaries who work around me have all had a horrible week for reasons I’m not sure of, just general clinic/doctor madness I think. (T_T) I have offered cheesecake, because what else do you do when someone’s unhappy?

      I was able to provide a listening ear at the very least.

    14. Laura*

      Best: Applied for a graduate program that directly relates to my field, with my manager’s reference and blessing! (I work at a university so tuition is almost nothing for me!)

      Worst: I was in the office all week. Typically I get to travel around the metro area, going to schools/doing presentations/having meetings. So this week has been pretty dull for me.

    15. Hermione*

      BEST: I got a new job!

      Worst: Having to awkwardly say “Oh thanks, I’ll miss you, too!” when, nope.

      1. Minion*

        How about:
        Them: We’re really going to miss you!
        You: Aw, that’s sweet of you to say. Welp…see ya!!!

        Or maybe just point your wand and say Avada Kedavra. Done.

        1. Hermione*

          Whoa, you went from normal to Death Eater in .02 seconds! Normally just stunning them would be more than adequate, though that’s still not considered a “polite” way to end a conversation. For the more egregious colleagues, I’m quite fond of a little “Avis/Oppungo!” action.

          Haha, thanks for congrats!

        2. Doriana Gray*

          Them: We’re really going to miss you!
          You: Aw, that’s sweet of you to say. Welp…see ya!!!

          I used that exact phrasing when I left my old department and became a paralegal in another department at the law firm where I used to work (wow, that was a mouthful). The people I actually liked took me to lunch to celebrate my new job.

      2. afiendishthingy*

        “Thanks, it’s going to be a big change!”

        “Aw, thanks – I’m excited about this job though!”

        “Well, obviously. I AM pretty awesome.”

        “Aw, maybe we’ll run into each other some time!” (Maybe you will. It’s a small world. Doesn’t have to mean you WANT to.)

    16. NylaW*

      Best: I made it through the week and it’s Friday.

      Worst: Literally everything else. *sigh* I hate big projects with tight immovable deadlines.

    17. Jules the First*

      Best: we found out (still off the record) that we’re down to the final four (originally 15!) on a £5billion project that is a big stretch for us technically but could fund a huge expansion of our business and is a super exciting really high profile project…and yours truly wrote the pitch!!!

      Worst: my Chinese assistant resigned because her husband has been transferred back to Shanghai and I probably won’t get budget to replace her FTE.

    18. Minion*

      Best: Our open enrollment is today, so I get to spend a few hours out of the office, not staring at numbers on a computer screen.
      Worst: Our open enrollment is today so the hours I’m spending out of the office will be spent out in the sanctuary (our office is located in a 100 year old church that was donated to us by the church when they built a new one, so we’re using the sanctuary area for our meeting today) on hard, wooden pews and my butt is gonna be numb after about 30 minutes of that.

    19. justsomeone*

      Worst: got in an argument with an insensitive jerk of a coworker while I was getting coffee, right before a phone call from a recruiter telling me that while the team loved me, they were going with another candidate. So you know, tears at my desk for a few minutes.

      Best: getting an email about scheduling a phone interview next week.

    20. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Best: Coworkers and mini state-based tax refund arrived via direct deposit. Also, telecommuting

      Worst: (Or middle/best/meh?) Mom and I aren’t on speaking terms since the whole crazy/my dad trying to get me to apologize for her misdeeds and I refused to. We call each other once a week. On Fridays.

      I really, really, really hate Fridays.

      Um, also, waiting on other stuff (see later post).

    21. afiendishthingy*

      Best: We’ve moved at least a step closer to finally being done with the Client From Hell – she’s appealing our decision to terminate state-funded services, but we’ve now been told by the state that we do not have to continue services between our stated March 30 discharge date and the appeal hearing (date tbd). Moreover the new-ish AVP for our department is being awesomely supportive and has announced he is taking us “somewhere good” for lunch after the hearing.

      Worst: Had to call Child Protective Services with concerns of neglect for another client. It always feels shitty to do it, but it feels shittier not to.

    22. Van Wilder*

      Best: Got bagels twice this week for people’s birthdays. (This might be slightly more important to me because I’m pregnant but they were seriously good bagels.)

      Worst: Had to skip team St. Patrick’s Day lunch w/ the rest of the group yesterday because my project supervisor was leaving early to go to Miami and she wanted everything in perfect shape. I get where she’s coming from but it’s not my fault she’s going on vacation in busy season, you know?

    23. Fawnling*

      IT Person here –

      I had this issue recently. I had to remove credentials from “Manage Windows Credentials”, manually add them back in, and run a /gpupdate in elevated CMD.

      Hope that helps.

    24. NJ Anon*

      Best: Hired a temp who is working out fabulously!
      Worst: Employee went out on disability because she has cancer and is not doing well.

    25. Elizabeth West*

      WORST: Have big meetings next week; not sure if I’ll have any more information/progress after those than I do now. It seems like we’re very disorganized right now and I’m doing disconnected tasks without knowing where they fit in. I think it will all smooth out in time, but I wish that time was now!

      BEST: It’s Friday and I thought it would never freaking get here. Plus, it’s payday. I can’t afford it but I’m going to buy myself something small as a treat this weekend. Maybe just a flea-market run. :)

    26. No Longer Just a Lurker*

      Best: I am done with the monthly sales and use tax filings
      Worst: On to even more mind numbing activities. Am I the only accountant in the world who longs for month end by week 3?

    27. EddieSherbert*

      Best: Earlier this week had my first project review where NO revisions where suggested! Whoo hoo! It finally happened :)

      Worst: Today I was told to completely change the topic for a document going out to our retailers that I had already written (it’s going out late next week, but I anticipated next week being VERY hectic and tried to complete this now to clear up space for everything else).

    28. Kelley*

      Best: Steps forward on a big project I’m handling. 59% complete and counting.
      Worst: Our office and presumably our entire agency is having major IT issues. Everything is web-based or on a shared server so when our connections go down, we can literally do nothing. At least 10% of my week was spent unable to work or relogging in to an application.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        Oh man, there was a while when it seemed like our network drives went down weekly. So frustrating.

    29. Lizabeth*

      Worst: the office squawker went from zero to 130 mph from a simple question from my boss. Major drama and nastiness for no reason. I put in a few words at the end to back up the boss.
      Best: now said office squawker is leaving me strictly alone unless it’s about work instead of being my BFF which is all I’ve ever wanted from the start. Hopefully it will last but more likely only two weeks before she’s desperate for attention.

    30. Lindsay J*

      Best: This coming Tuesday will be 3 months at this job. I’m feeling good about myself, am going to pass probation (no formal review, but you can be more easily be fired during the first three months), and all my benefits kick in. I made a dentist appointment where all I should be paying is a $5 copay for next Thursday.) Am now in the “use all the healthcare phase” since I’ve been putting things off for a couple years while I was broke and without insurance.

      Also, I’ve got a few fun weekend trips coming up. Going to St. Louis at the beginning of April, Toronto at the beginning of May, and a train trip from Denver to ? (somewhere on the west coast I think) on Memorial Day weekend. I’m not grounded anymore. :)

      Negatives: My boyfriend has not been around at all recently. Last week he was at a conference in New Orleans (and wound up in the hospital one of the days due to uh, overindulging), this week he was at his company’s headquarters in Arizona, next week he has another business trip somewhere else. Between that and him volunteering for a play that was in tech week two weeks ago, then had performances the two weekends he was home I feel like I haven’t seen him in forever.

      Also, my car got rear-ended. I’m fine, my car is fine. It was just unpleasant and made my back feel crappy.

    31. overeducated*

      Best: two interviews for jobs in my region that I’d be happy to take are in the rear-view mirror. I had a lot of anxiety about one of the interviews for reasons I won’t get into, and put many many hours of prep toward a presentation for the other, so it’s really good to be DONE with those.

      Worst: just…working at my two part time jobs, commuting, spending my free time on applications, and fear that I’m going to be rejected for these two jobs and have to keep on keeping on in this routine I’m just so very done with. I’m feeling hopeless and not liking my other options.

    32. Merry and Bright*

      Best: I got a great job offer. It is with the same UK government agency but with a new unit and it is also a promotion. I start after Easter.

      Second best: my new manager bought me cake this afternoon.

      Worst: Noisy Annoying Nosey Coworker got even worse. But our paths shouldn’t cross after the long weekend.

    33. Witty Nickname*

      Best: We are in the midst of annual reviews right now. My former boss did my review with me last Friday, since she was my boss all of last year, and I got the highest score possible – 5 out of 5. I’ve only ever known one other person in my company to get that score. My raise wasn’t very good (lower than last year, but higher than other orgs within my company), but then on Monday my new boss gave me an additional 13%, which brings me right up to the bottom of the market for my position (my old boss advocated for me, and my new boss agreed that I needed to be brought up to market, but they weren’t able to get it finalized before my review). And the new salary went into effect a whole pay period early.

      Worst: Just some bad timing on opportunities that have come up and decisions that I have to make about the direction I want my career to take, but won’t be able to really get the info I need to make an informed decision by the time I need to decide. I hate proceeding based on assumptions.

    34. Tammy*

      Best: I completed a work-related goal that’s been months in the making and will really make things better for my team members, and I got great feedback from my leadership team.

      Worst: My best friend is moving to take a new position two states away, and although I’m super happy for and proud of her, I’m really going to miss her.

    35. Jennifer*

      Don’t really have a worst, YAY, this week. I just came out of doing a demo for the team I want to get transferred to and they loved it, so yay there!

    36. GreenTeaPot*

      Best: Wrapped up a project with an almost-clean desk. Phase Two is postponed until late spring. Plus, had a couple of great workouts.

      Worst: Learned that my contact at an organization I work with changed jobs without much fanfare; it came as a shock and disappointment.

    37. OfficePrincess*

      Best: I came up with an idea for developing my team and encouraging engagement that my boss LOVED and it went over really well in the first shift meeting I had. I asked the team to brainstorm what the ideal would be in their position and then sent out an anonymous survey on how well they thought the team matches that ideal and what they would like to see change. (And it’s truly anonymous. I tested it a few times to make sure I had the settings right. I can’t see individual responses or even who completed it.)

      Worst: It went over like a lead balloon when I took it to the other shifts. I had one half-hearted participant, a couple who were entirely noncommittal, and one who was downright rude during the meeting and then proceeded to forcibly push back on the survey. I’ve never seen anyone so opposed to being asked for their opinion.

      This also came on top of getting some personal news that left me pretty emotional so I’m just a wreck. I’ve really been pushing myself to grow in this role, since it’s the first time I’ve had any management or supervisory responsibilities, so it’s hard when I think I’ve gotten somewhere and feel proud of myself just to have it utterly fail.

    38. Catherine*

      Best: It’s Friday and I leave work in half an hour.
      Worst: I’m also a full time grad student so my weekends kind of suck.

    39. Perse's Mom*

      Best: Day long company party wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting. I actually had quite a lot of fun and got lots of praise during our group activity session (I am not an Ideas Person, but I had some that day)! Also, one of the company execs had heard about me somehow (it makes me SO very anxious to know that people are talking about me, even if they’re saying good things) and when he overheard my name while walking past our session, he stopped and turned around to formally introduce himself.

      Worst: Second year in a row, nominated for but did not win departmental MVP. :(

    40. L*

      Worst: All the tedious minutae that have me questioning if this job is meant for me.
      Best: The best “kudos” email ever from a pretty darn higher-up, cc’d to other director type people: “Thanks! This makes me happier than a pig in s***!!! Thanks again and have a great weekend!” I told my boss I wanted that on my review verbatim.

    41. Doriana Gray*

      Best: My new manager told me in my pseudo-review Thursday that I’m killing my new job and he said, “If I could hire ten of you I would.” He said I’m an extremely hard worker, and it’s being noticed by everyone in our division, including our VP. He also said that in the event that we shake up the teams and reporting structure now that we’re bringing on new people from one of our competitors, he’ll fight to keep me on his team because we work well together and I’m one of the few people in the division whose decisions/recommendations make complete sense to him.

      Worst: My friends in this division who thought they were going to get large raises and/or promotions didn’t get them. They were told that with the addition of the new hires starting in the next few weeks, there wasn’t enough money in the budget. We’re supposed to be adding up to 30 new people this year, so now I’m concerned that when I’m at the point where I’ll want to move up, I’ll have to move out to do it because they won’t cough up the cash. What makes this all so awful is, they’re the one division in the company that was handing out promotions and raises like skittles the past three years. I didn’t even get to reap the benefits! Lol.

  11. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

    Going through some troubles in my home life when I remember, hey, my employer provides me with an EAP that can possibly help me, use your benefits, Xan!

    Unfortunately, they don’t do a good job providing information on how to use said EAP. The info page on the HR employee site just links to a PDF that details what I already mostly knew, but doesn’t give a website or a phone number or a contact person… so I’m currently Googling the name of the company it’s offered through- I found them but can’t locate the information for people who are currently clients, it’s all designed to sell themselves to businesses that aren’t currently using them. I suspect there’s a different site?

    I will probably have to call HR for more information but between coworkers and patrons that will have to wait because “yo, I’m trying to get counselling” isn’t really a conversation I want overheard. Of course they do need to know that if they want us to use this service, they need to give us an appropriate amount of information.

    1. KathyGeiss*

      Ugh. I commiserate. I remember trying to navigate EAPs a few years back and it was unnecessarily difficult and our employer did provide contact information.

      It makes me doubly angry when the company does “health challenges” that include things like “protect your mental health by exercising and eating right.” Ummm. If you legit cared about my mental health you would make the EAP easier and better.

      Keep fighting through it and good luck!

    2. Terra*

      If you don’t want people to overhear you talking about counseling you can absolutely call and just frame it as “hey, I can’t find out how to contact the EAP.” EAPs do (or are supposed to do) a lot more than just counseling, for all HR needs to know you’re asking them for a gym recommendation.

    3. Elle*

      That’s nuts. I’ve got posters up all over the place with the 800 number on it for ours. Plus, they send out frequent e-mail blasts on a variety of topics, and their contact information is contained in those as well. It should be easy for people to find, they shouldn’t have to ask HR for it. I used ours twice last year, and they were a huge help. I hope you’re able to navigate your way to a phone number at least!!

    4. Chalupa Batman*

      Much sympathy. I had to go to an HR person with a reputation for being a wildcard for EAP information at my last job. I wanted to use the EAP largely because I was so miserable there, but I didn’t ask for help for a long time because I didn’t want to have to tell a coworker (and definitely not this coworker) that I needed it. I was so delighted when I saw that NewJob posts all of the EAP info on an easy to find benefits site, no human interaction needed. Why is this not more common??

    5. Ife*

      Can you email HR about it, or just grab an empty conference room for a few minutes to call them? Hope everything works out for you.

  12. Fabulous*

    Why does it take so long for hiring managers to get back to you after an interview!?! I had a second interview two weeks ago, and at that time he said he’d be in touch before the end of LAST WEEK. I emailed him on Monday to see if their decision was still on schedule, and still no response. Arrrg, frustrations!!! At this point I’m assuming I didn’t get it and need to move on…

    1. Kelly L.*

      Usually irrelevant stuff on their end. Somebody important’s sick/on vacation and everything is piled up on their desk, some random emergency project came up and they’re laser focused on that, etc.

    2. fposte*

      Because they have to check references, who take days to call back, and then meet with the rest of the committee, who are a pain to schedule.

      I think moving on is always a good plan, but two weeks isn’t unusual.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        And then they’re ready to make an offer but HR says they absolutely can’t until X paperwork is done and by the way only Wakeen can do it and he’s out until next Tuesday.

        I just got a job offer after no contact for two weeks after a second interview.

      2. Fabulous*

        I wouldn’t think twice about two weeks, except for the fact that he said they’d know by last Friday.

        Oddly enough, they didn’t even request references from me. I’m finding this to be a trend in my recent job search. In the interviews where I’ve come prepared with them, the hiring manager has just given me a weird look like, “Why are you giving this to me? Um, ok…” This has been the 4th or 5th interview I’ve been on where references weren’t requested.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I never give people my references until they ask me for them. Which tends to happen pretty late stage. The job I just got I did two interviews and then they asked for my references via email.

          This job I was told they’d get back to me “early next week” two weeks ago and I heard back from them this week. When I was helping hire people we were never able to stick to our schedules either. We always PLANNED to get back to people pretty fast but something always went funny.

          So basically keep applying to things but live in hope?

        2. ExceptionToTheRule*

          Odds are best that someone got sick or had a project dropped on their plate at the last minute. When I miss a deadline like that, that’s usually the reason.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      I’m so sorry, it is indeed very frustrating. Truth is, it seems the process is getting longer at a lot of places. I was literally just talking to my manager about this the other day, because she’s interviewing to bring another person on right now. I told her how impressed I was that they keep the candidates informed of where they are in the decision making and let them know right away if they didn’t get the job (hey, one thing we do right here!). And I told her how, after I got the job here, a month later I finally heard back from another place I had interviewed, and six weeks after I started here, I heard from yet another place. I just wanted to say “Really?! Radio silence for a month and a half and now you call me?” but it was just as satisfying to say “Sorry! Got a job.”.

    4. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      It’s hard because you’re seeing your end, where you’re just living your life.

      But on their end, ALL THE THINGS could have happened. For example, their boss decided to take on a major last minute project and told them that all hiring is on hold until next week. Or, someone died. Or, the office flooded. Or, the HR person decided to take a last minute cruise to Brazil, and won’t be back until next Thursday. Or, their office is suddenly inundated with bees. Or, they were forced to go on a last minute work retreat with no internet access where they sit around a campfire and talk about their feelings.

      I could go on haha, but hopefully this made you laugh/roll your eyes. All you can do is assume the worst, and move on.

  13. Lily Evans*

    My coworker has been trying to get me to date her son. Today’s my last day and I’m leaving for a job two hours away so I have a built in reason to say no but it just makes me so uncomfortable.

    It started when I was out to lunch one day with my work friend. This coworker, Jane, came into the restaurant with her son. She saw us and came over to introduce him then they went to their own table and that was that. A few days later, Jane corners me in the staff lounge and starts talking about how her son is such a nice boy but so shy and then she asked if I knew any nice young ladies to set him up with. It was obvious what she was angling at, but I thought she was gauging my interest while giving me a really easy out. It was awkward but I was like, okay, at least she didn’t put me in a situation where I had to outright say no.

    Then a few days ago, at the goodbye lunch the office had for me (she must’ve seen it as her last chance), she got me alone and asked if I would have coffee sometime with her son because I’m such a sweet girl and she worries that he doesn’t have anyone to take care of him. It was So Uncomfortable. Fortunately I just reminded her that I’m leaving, but it was just such a bad note to end on.

    I’m glad I’m leaving because I honestly don’t even know how to react in situations like that. I’m not usually interested in dating men and my sexuality isn’t random coworkers’ business. Jane had no idea if I’m even single. I am so not interested in “taking care” of a fully grown man (that’s one of the reasons I don’t typically date them). Plus I’m not really “sweet”. I have good manners and I’m very polite and friendly at work but I also take no BS. Honestly, I kind of bristle at that adjective because I know I’m young but I try very hard to seem professional. And I had a good relationship with Jane up until that point and this just completely soured my view of her.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Fortunately, I see her very rarely so it hasn’t ruined my whole week. It just made lunch super awkward.

    1. Cass*

      Ugh! How inappropriate….and you are not alone in not being thrilled if a mother tells you her grown son needs “taking care of.”

      1. Lucky Charm*

        Oh gosh… I remember the mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine saying those same words to me about her son. I flat out told her that he is a grown adult and needs to take care of himself and that if I wanted to be a mother, I would have a child of my own. We had a good relationship until that point. For her to say that was a huge red flag and made me evaluate the relationship between me and ex-boyfriend.

        I broke up with the guy a few months later. He’s getting married later this year to a woman who is definitely a mother figure to him and already has children of her own.

      2. Merry and Bright*

        Yes. I’d also wonder why she hasn’t raised her son to take care of himself. Just no.

    2. Folklorist*

      “Such a sweet boy….she worries that he doesn’t have anyone to take care of him.”

      OMFG, presumably he’s a grown man, right? I feel sorry for you AND for the guy, with a mom who doesn’t think that he’s a grown-up who can take care of himself. This lady needs some boundaries, stat.

      1. Jennifer*

        Even worse: he might be the kind of guy who can’t take care of himself and needs a mommy.

        1. Lily Evans*

          That’s what I worry about! And she kept saying “he’s just so shy” and I was just like, yeah or he doesn’t tell you about his social life. I wouldn’t blame him if she meddles like this all the time…

          1. JMegan*

            Ha, my first thought was to wonder if the son isn’t telling her about his social life because he’s gay. Unfortunately, some parents might find “shy” a lot easier to accept than the alternative.

            1. Tinker*

              Yeah, that was basically the situation when I was on the other end of this thing. My mom brought me up as a charity case to a fifth cousin or some such who happens to live in the same city I do, because I was alone and friendless aside from the close friend that she strongly disapproves of, the longstanding social circle that she was mostly dismissing because of various issues she had with the people in it (e.g. an ex-boyfriend that she’d previously seen as the Great Marriage Hope) and how I related to them (e.g. not angry with my ex-boyfriend’s then-girlfriend), the online community I was heavily involved in or would be except the Internet isn’t real, and the various folks I was dating that she didn’t hear a peep about because she would start fretting about the path to monogamous heterosexual marriage to a man and their unsuitability for this plan because too poly and in some cases too female. So I was too busy with my friends to solve the problem of having no friends, which is basically what I ended up telling the guy.

        2. MsChanandlerBong*

          Like my father. He lived with his mother for 18 years, and then he married my mother. He is firmly in the “I take care of the water filter and put a new roof on the house every 10 or 15 years, so you can do all of the cooking, housework, errands, bill paying, and other tasks by yourself” camp.

    3. dancer*

      She’s not selling him very well either. My mental response is “What’s wrong with your son that he needs someone to take care of him…?”

    4. Ama*

      I wonder if he knows what she’s up to? When I was just out of college, I spent a year teaching Sunday School at my childhood church. The director of religious education kept talking up this single guy who was teaching another class (we didn’t teach in the same time slot, so I’d never met him) and kept talking about how interested he was in getting my phone number. When I finally agreed, the next week she came back with *his* phone number and told me he was kind of shy but would be interested if I called him. I’m pretty sure we were both just trying to get the director off our backs without actually having to go on a date, and that she was exaggerating to both of us how interested the other was.

      No one called anyone, which is probably for the best as I’m now halfway across the country and no longer particularly religious.

      1. Lily Evans*

        That’s another thing. I wouldn’t want to go out with a guy who’s only doing it because his mom pushed him into it. I also wouldn’t want to go out with a guy who relies on his mom to set him up. It’s a real lose-lose.

      2. Accountant*

        When I first moved to where I live now, this lady at my church was So Excited to set me up with this nice young man (she never said anything, but it was clear to me that she thought she was quite the matchmaker). She was in charge of a homeless ministry at the church and scheduled us for the same volunteer shift. He and I cooked dinner for some homeless people, and were both relieved– he was relieved to find out I was married and I was relieved to find out he had a boyfriend. We got to be friends though, and still laugh about it.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I had a coworker once who gave my phone number to someone I don’t know if she knew that well, and whom I had no idea even existed. I only found out about it when he called out of the blue to chat me up.

        Boy did she get an earful the next day at work. To her credit, she understood what she had done wrong so I forgave her, but I told her I didn’t want her to ever do it again. And she didn’t.

        1. Abbott*

          Wow. At least she understood what she had done wrong. I know people who have done the exact same thing or similarly giving customers’ numbers to each other, who would not grasp that they shouldn’t have done it.

    5. Wendy Darling*

      My SO’s mom, who lives in another country, once told me to take good care of him when she was leaving after a visit. I looked at her like she had three heads and said I thought he took care of himself rather well.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Honestly, I tried to brainstorm situation’s where it would be appropriate to tell an adult to “take care of” their SO and the only one I could come up with is if they’re bedridden for some reason.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I mean I definitely took care of him for like 24 hours when he’d had a minor oral surgery and was super high on pain killers? But that’s just kind of what you do.

        2. ThatGirl*

          My brand-new BIL told me, drunkenly, after our wedding to take care of his brother. But that was sweet and I knew what he meant.

          1. TootsNYC*

            And I think that’s the kind of “take care of him” that’s appropriate–many of us look out for our siblings, emotionally; you want to think their spouse will take on a similarly supportive mindset.

        3. Chrissie*

          I have tolerated HIS 90 year old grandma saying “It is so nice that you have each other, because men need someone to take care of them…” but that is the only appropriate scenario I can think of.

      2. LiteralGirl*

        My stepson’s mom chewed out his SO when he had a severe asthma attack. Said that she wasn’t taking care of him properly. Um, he’s a grown man?

    6. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Just be polite, but set very very firm boundaries. It’s also possible her son feels awful because of his aggressive mom.

      It actually sounds a lot like my mom, except she was the one pressuring a male medical student at her workplace to date/find guys to date me…..
      …despite me already happily with my bf of a couple years.

      What planet do these mothers come from? (Half serious/half not. I mean, what families raise women up to do things like this?) :/

      1. StellsBells*

        My husbands mother was like this! We dated/lived together for 5 years before we were married, and only once we were actually married did she stop trying to push other girls on him. Although her motivation was less “you need someone to take care of you” and more “these ladies would help you climb the social ladder”.

        I feel for you Carmen. It was very stressful for the hubs and caused a huge wedge between him and his mother for a long time.

    7. Irishgal*

      Maybe you are too polite? You can firmly shut someone down and still be polite e.g. “Jane I’m sure your son is lovely but I’m not interested. ” and change subject aka “bean dip” the conversation. It’s a good life and work skill to learn.

      1. Lily Evans*

        It’s definitely possible I’m too polite. That tends to be my default in awkward situations. But I’ve trained myself out of automatically agreeing to things I don’t actually want to do at least.

        1. BSharp*

          On the bright side, you have a coworker who likes you enough she wants to be related to you.

          (I’m so sorry, Boundaryless Lady must have made things so awkward and uncomfortable.)

          1. Lily Evans*

            Well the thing is she barely knows me! I only ever saw her a handful of times a month in passing. I feel like if she actually knew me she wouldn’t like me as much, not because I’m actually a terrible person, but I definitely don’t fit the way she described me to me (sweet, apparently subservient).

            1. Gandalf the Nude*

              I get this on occasion. I recently helped out in a department that I don’t normally get to spend much time with, and everyone kept making jokes about them corrupting me. And I’m just thinking, “Oh, honey, if you only knew.”

              1. Elizabeth*

                OMG THIS!
                I present (apparently) 6-ish years younger than I am (according to my co-workers), and while my forceful “New Jersey” nature comes through when I’m dealing with vendors, everyone thinks I’m so cute and nice. And this is why I don’t let anyone from work ride with me cause me in traffic is not nice and has quite the potty mouth.

            2. Van Wilder*

              People just assume women are sweet until they see evidence to the contrary. Sounds like she’s not being picky though, just awkward and desperate.

              1. Lily Evans*

                I’m also somewhat petite with a round face and I often get mistaken for younger than I am (a TSA agent last summer thought I was under twelve… I was 23) and I feel like that leads to the assumptions of sweetness too. I’m also pretty quiet, which probably doesn’t help. Friends of friends are always shocked when they find out that I’m actually super sarcastic and swear constantly.

            3. Tinker*

              Oh man, I had that exact thing happen to me a couple times — a bit of paraphrasing here, but things on the order of “Hey so I notice that you’re so terribly shy and geeky and timid and reserved, and my cousin’s hairdresser’s son is just like you and really wants a girlfriend, maybe I should introduce you?”

              Part of the trouble, I realized later, was that in the early years of my career I was working really, really hard to BE NORMAL and NOT BE WEIRD and DO THE SOCIAL and DEFINITELY DON’T VOMIT RAINBOWS AND SPECIAL INTERESTS ALL OVER THE OFFICE or you will NEVER GET A JOB EVERRRRR and looking back on that (partly with the aid of pictures from that era) I definitely came off as a person who smiled a lot and had no opinions whatsoever about anything.

              The one time I took the offer, we went out for sushi and one-sided conversation (not at all unusual for me, although in more successful cases the parties take turns ranting), and the victim mostly sat there looking like he had already screwed his courage to the sticking place for the shark tank cage diving tour and had now found that the bars had been made of meat rather than the traditional steel. Which in fairness is a reasonable reaction to dating me.

              I think anyone who is read as female is, to a certain sort of person, easy to read as timid and subservient unless they offer substantial proof otherwise. Add to that that when a lot of your total energy as a person doesn’t show up in a given environment for whatever reason, you look to them like you have less presence in total than a person than someone who has a similar amount of energy but reflects more of it in that environment, and the result seems to be a perception that is disjoint in that way.

          1. Lily Evans*

            I know. It’s an awful ingrained behavior that has roots in my anxiety problems, but it really is something I’m working on. I’m just constantly like “show me how to say no to this. I don’t know how to say no to this” in a panicky internal monologue.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              By not saying no you can increase your anxiety levels. Because now this problem won’t stop and each time it happens the anxiety gets worse.

              Ironically, I used this as motivation to learn to nip things when I see them the first time. Which is worse, saying no now or tap dancing around this for six more conversations?

              “Right now I have several things going on in my life and I am not interested in starting a relationship.” [explanation for the answer, then the answer]

              “I’m sorry I am going to have to tell you no on this one because the timing is just soo not good for me.” [apology, then irrefutable reason]

              “No, but thank you for the compliments. I am sure you son will find a nice partner when the time is right for him.”[answer, say something appreciative, then redirect away from you.]

              “Gee, you are a nice person and I have so enjoyed working with you. But you know, with the move and everything I am just not in a place where I can think about starting a relationship right now.” [flatter, flatter, reality check then NO bomb. Don’t lie, though.]

              If she tries again later:
              “Gee, Jane, I thought we had talked about this and we realized it was not such a good idea with the move and all.”
              “Jane, you asked me this before and I still remain consistent in my answer. No, it’s not a good idea for me.”

              If she still persists:
              “Jane,you seem like a sincere person. I feel that I must tell you, please stop asking me about your son. And please do not do this to other coworkers, either. It’s not fair to them.”

              1. Lily Evans*

                THANK YOU!!! It helps me so much to have scripted things like this to keep in mind for tough social situations (which is no small part of why I love reading AAM so much). And you’re so right about prolonging the anxiety, that is actually another bad habit of mine I’ve been working on unlearning.

    8. Sunflower*

      A coworker tried to set me up with her daughter’s best friend UGH UGH UGH it was SOOOO WEIRD. Thankfully this happened like a week before my last day and I got out of it. Him being her son makes it even worse ugh. Good luck at your new job!

      1. Lily Evans*

        Evan if I had been interested, I never would have dated a coworker’s son just because of the potential drama. It reminds me of the episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelai dates the son of one of her mother’s friends and all hell breaks loose when the date goes badly. Like what if I initiated a break up and had to listen to Jane try to re-sell her son to me every time I saw her? Yikes.

        And thank you!

        1. Chrissie*

          lol, I thought you were going to say where Lorelai dates her daughter’s teacher and all hell breaks loose when they break up. Seems to be a pattern…

          1. OfficePrincess*

            Or where Lorelai dates her father’s colleague’s son and all hell breaks loose when they go public AND again when they break up….

    9. Van Wilder*

      Ugh! Honestly, it would be inappropriate no matter what but his selling point is that she wants someone else to share the load of taking care of him? Pass. Poor guy. He probably hates her. He may be uninterested in women for all she knows.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Yeah, there’s really only three possibilities for his role in it. One, he has no idea his mom is trying to find him a woman and he would probably be uncomfortable if he knew. Two, he knows and actually wants his mom to find someone for him (yikes). Or three, he’s not interested in women or even romance and dating in general.

        1. Honeybee*

          Well, there are other possibilities – he could know that his mom is doing this and still be uncomfortable, but feel unequipped to tell her to stop (or maybe has tried and she keeps doing it without his consent). Or he could not know, but would be totally okay with it if he did know. He could be somewhere in the middle, where he really wishes she’d stop but wouldn’t refuse a date if his mom found someone great for him. And his mom’s actions don’t really have anything to do with whether he’s interested in women or romance or dating – he could be, be could not be, it’s sort of unrelated.

          It’s like Alison says all the time – people can’t control anyone but themselves, and everyone has a crazy/embarrassing relative.

          1. Lily Evans*

            That is true. But I meant that the reason that his mother thinks he’s shy around women could be because he’s just not interested in them and hasn’t told her (or has told her and she hasn’t accepted it, though I’d hope that’s not the case).

            1. Lily Evans*

              Also, I totally get the crazy relative. My aunt constantly tries to set me up with men. We were out to eat once and she’d had a few glasses of wine and tried to get the drummer in the band that was playing to talk to me despite the fact that I could not have been less interested and was asking her to stop.

              1. Lily Evans*

                I don’t want to keep replying to myself, but in case anyone wants a visual of my aunt trying to get him to talk to me, she was literally waving at him and then pointing to me while wiggling her eyebrows. I was ready to melt into the floor.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  Okay, now I see why the anxiety. Situations that are similar to previous situations can trigger anxiety in folks.

                  Try to separate the situations. When you are talking with your coworker decide NOT to think about your aunt for the moment. Thinking about that situation with your aunt will not be a positive train of thought to get you out of the coworker situation.

                2. Mander*

                  Oh man, that reminds me of a time I went to a concert with my aunt in a small bar. I wanted to talk to the singer, but there was absolutely nothing sexual about it — I was just a big fan and I basically wanted to thank him for playing in such an obscure place so that I could actually see him.

                  My aunt did not understand this at all and was passing him notes about how I thought he was cute, etc. via the bartender. I didn’t know this until we saw him outside the bar after the show and I asked him to autograph a poster I’d swiped from the venue. I pretty much wanted to die on the spot.

    10. Honeybee*

      “she worries that he doesn’t have anyone to take care of him.”

      Then hire him a home health aide? or a housekeeper? I mean, it’s bad enough that she’s bugging you to date her son but it’s super disgusting and creepy that this is one of her motivations behind it. Teach your son to take care of himself.

    11. catsAreCool*

      “she worries that he doesn’t have anyone to take care of him.” Yeah, for me that’s a huge red flag. I prefer men who are actually self-sufficient adults.

  14. KR*

    We had a meeting with some of our employees (public access media) about changing up the way we do things so instead of trying to get as much work done as possible, they’re focusing on improving the quality of specific projects. The work they’ve done just this week is so impressive and I’m so happy. Payroll is doubled, which is excellent because we were really trying to encourage them to work more and tell them that we didn’t mind how much they worked as long as it was under 29 hrs a week (ACA). All in all, I’m so happy with my team and they’ve done a lot of good work this week. Also, I’m covering for my boss on the IT front and nothing serious has gone wrong all week except for one issue that was mainly on a vendor to fix – I just had to be there to give them remote access and keep track of the issue. A good week aside from my own personal issues.

  15. Misty*

    I posted this in an off-topic in a thread yesterday, forgetting that the open thread was already today! Dur. Sorry, Alison.

    I need a reality check about this job application — is this normal or weird? It’s for a six-month internship paying roughly minimum wage, which is significantly less than the market rate for a real employee doing this kind of work. It’s a blend of administrative, editorial and PR work in an industry I’m hoping to get a start in. (I’m currently employed full-time in a different-but-related industry, but am looking for a change; transition between these industries is not terribly unusual, but people take different routes to it.) I sent in my resume and cover letter, and they sent me a test to take consisting of ten short-essay type questions about the industry. It seems to me like these questions will require a nontrivial amount of research and thinking — they’re not simple factual quiz questions, nor are they “show us how you work” exercises like “write a sample press release.” They’re more like, describe the landscape of the industry and the challenges facing people in this sector of it. Or, Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this particular industry norm. Ten questions’ worth of that kind of thing. I would estimate I’d need to set aside at least a weekend afternoon to do it well.

    It’s obviously not that they’re trying to get work product out of me for free, but it kind of seems like a LOT of work for a position that is pays so little, and particularly one that pays so little precisely because it’s assumed that it would be teaching ME things about an industry I’m new to. I could imagine doing some research to be prepared to discuss these types of questions verbally in an interview, but I haven’t even gotten an interview yet. Am I off-base or does this process seem silly? (I might do it even if it’s silly, but just trying to get some perspective.)

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      Internship applications can be strange, especially if they see it as more of a fellowship or “elevated” internship.

      It may also be their way of testing your writing and critical thinking skills without actually asking you for work product. That being said, ten questions is really long.

    2. Court*

      I have no experience with this sort of thing but from what you’ve described, I would find this excessive for an internship. And how do they expect you to know (or know how to find) the answers to those kinds of questions if you haven’t worked in the industry before?

    3. StellsBells*

      It does seem silly, but it sounds more like they are looking for current college students for the internship, so they decided to structure it like an essay contest vs an actual interview.

      If you get the role be prepared for the other interns to all be juniors or seniors in college. Obviously I don’t know anything about your age or background so while this might be a deal breaker for some people, it might not be for you. My husband went through something similar (went back to school in his late 20s so he was applying for internships in his early 30s), and sometimes the slight age difference was a bit more than he could take (most of the time it was fine though)

    4. Chriama*

      This sounds like someone used to working with students. Often times you don’t have real experience so seeing your ability to think and analyze based on what you’ve learned in class is the best way to assess your fit for this role. 10 questions is kind of a lot, but I don’t think it’s inherently unreasonable.

    5. Van Wilder*

      It sounds like they’re trying to get people to edit themselves out of the running instead of doing the work of thoroughly vetting the candidates themselves. Too bad for them because it will probably turn off some good candidates.

    6. Ife*

      That does seem like a lot of work for an internship application. As others mentioned, I can see why they might use an essay-format for an internship aimed at students, but those questions seem kind of…high level… for someone new to the industry, particularly the one about describing the “landscape of the industry.”

      Anyway, I wouldn’t think of it as “a LOT of work for a position that is pays so little,” because a lot of the value in an internship is experience and getting experience in your new field. So, factor that into your equation of, Is it worth it to spend an afternoon writing essays? For me personally, if I was looking for a new job in my field, the answer to that would be, “Thanks, no thanks.” But if I was looking to switch to something I don’t have much experience in, I would probably be more willing to do it because I wouldn’t have as many options.

    7. Misty*

      Thanks all. This is all about what I had concluded — a little excessive but that’s the price of admission when you’re new.

    8. Nobody*

      Ugh, that’s annoying, but it will probably drastically decrease the number of applicants (since there won’t be many people who will bother with this), so if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll probably have a good chance of getting it.

  16. Academic Partner*

    I’m hoping to get some advice particularly from the academic community here, and anyone else who might have some insight into this situation.

    My partner, who holds an adjunct teaching position at a university, overheard a professor in the department, with whom he has had some issues in the past, disparage my partner’s teaching abilities, in particular his performance in a class which he taught in this professor’s place last year. Worse, he did so in conversation with a student currently enrolled in both of their classes this semester. The professor likely does not know that my partner was down the hall and couldn’t help but hear most of their conversation.
    My partner is hurt by the comments, but I’m more concerned how he should handle this situation. I come from a pretty typical corporate background, and I’m not sure if there are nuances in this environment which I might be missing. We both feel that it was an inappropriate conversation for this professor to have with a student, and that it could affect how my partner interacts with this student for the remainder of the semester. There’s backbiting in workplaces of all stripes, but I gather that academia is particularly competitive, and I think that this might be a common experience. I would be so grateful to hear how others would handle this situation, and particularly if other academics out there have had similar experiences.

    1. fposte*

      In my academic world that would be Not Done. You could say, “I’m sorry you had difficulty with the material Professor Snape presented; I can help catch you up on that day’s material if you feel that would be helpful.” You could say, “Sometimes it’s tough to step into an existing class.” But you couldn’t say, “Yeah, that Professor Snape isn’t much of a teacher.”

      The what to do question is a little trickier, because it depends on the players and the culture. One possibility is to try to meet with the professor in question to say “I accidentally overheard your concerns about my teaching. I would love to hear any tips you have for improvement in that area–and I’d ask that in future you bring those to me rather than to the students.” One possibility is to say much the same thing to the department chair. The third possibility, of course, is to let it roll off you.

      I think what Other Prof is doing is bad for the department, so I’d go for the department chair if I thought it was safe and useful. But in many situations, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be.

      1. Court*

        I would personally choose the first option. I think people who behave this way need to be alerted that (a) they’re being jerks and (b) they’re not acting appropriately. Using the wording fposte provided would be a nice way to nudge them toward that understanding without turning it into a full on confrontation.

        I might amend the “I accidentally overheard your concerns” to “I’m not sure if you were aware, but I was actually in the office/area/wherever when you were voicing your concerns over my teaching style to one of my students.” Maybe not exactly that but something like it. I think the first suggestion gives the other professor an immediate way to place the blame on your friend for eavesdropping and gives them a way to skirt around the issue.

    2. Ophelia*

      This is not specific to an academic context, but from personal experience I think there’s a lot of empowerment just in (nicely, diplomatically) letting someone know that you know they are being a jerk. Even if they don’t apologize or anything, having the stuff out in the open feels a lot better than going around in the a cloud of dramatic irony (“they think I suck, but they don’t know that I know they think I suck!”)

      1. KG*

        +1 I sometimes get frustrated with my coworkers and have vented about a couple of them. If that person had heard me, I would feel pretty ashamed of myself and you can bet I wouldn’t continue to do it.

    3. Laura*

      I work in higher ed.

      Your partner should request a meeting with the department chair and explain to him/her what happened and how this undermines your partner’s ability to teach effectively.

    4. Hermione*

      In my experience (as an higher-ed admin) in a dogfight between a tenured professor and an adjunct, the adjunct is going to LOSE, every time. That’s not to say this is a dogfight, nor to say that this department would be that petty or that this tenured professor holds this much power, but I would tell your partner to be very careful here if he raises his concerns.

      Adjuncts are generally treated pretty horribly, in my experience. Full-time faculty members don’t like them because they think all courses should be taught by full-time faculty members, but have no qualms about leaving the department hanging for someone to teach their classes every time they take a sabbatical or leave. Tenure-track professors can get a “higher-than-thou” attitude about adjuncts, which is ridiculous because they often have all the same qualifications as the full-time faculty, but because of whatever reason didn’t get a full-time, tenure-track job in their first few years out of their graduate degrees and now are stuck with adjunct positions.

      That said, the adjuncts we’ve had during my time here have sort of been forced to take these comments quietly; one of the nicest adjuncts I met summed up how she’s been treated with a story of her first department holiday party. Upon being introduced to the adjunct by a grad student, a faculty member looked her hard up and down, rolled her eyes, and walked away, only to join a group of other faculty members, point a thumb over her shoulder at the adjunct, and laugh uproariously. This same faculty member’s office is right by the adjunct office, and every time they pass in the hallway, the faculty member mutters in her native language under her breath.

      I really hope your husband finds a way to bring his concerns to the Chair – especially with regards to what should/shouldn’t be said in front of students. The faculty member is certainly allowed to think what he thinks about your partner’s teaching skills or style, and I would argue that, though it’s rude, he’s allowed to talk to other faculty members about your partner’s teaching. But talking rudely about a colleague in front of students shouldn’t be allowed, and I would hope that your husband’s department is more willing to hear and act on his concerns than my department has been.

      1. BRR*

        I’m with you on this. I don’t think an adjunct can win against a tenured professor (in general it’s very difficult to win against a tenured professor). There’s very little to gain and a lot to lose.

        1. fposte*

          The other thing I’d say is that even in a department that values its adjuncts, they’re likely just to say “Hey, Professor Bozo, don’t do that, okay?”

          That being said, there are players in my department where it would absolutely work to talk to them, and my department would be really unhappy if somebody was making that kind of comment (I would report it if I heard a professor saying that about somebody else, in fact). It also might be a small piece of the picture if somebody is tenure stream but untenured.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            A friend of mine is a very good teacher, she naturally considerate of others’ lack of exposure to the subject matter and she explains the necessary pieces as she goes along in her main explanation.

            I told her that she missed her true calling as a natural teacher. She laughed. She said she can only teach adults and only when the adults are behaving like adults. She felt that ruled her out of most teaching situations.

      2. Christian Troy*

        I agree with you.

        I guess I sound jaded because to me this is not uncommon at all and I’m not sure how much is going to be gained by complaining to the Chair. I don’t think it’s OK but academia is just such a messy, personality and ego driven environment.

      3. Hermione*

        And I should say that to me, “losing” can be anything from being forced to just deal with it to being labeled as a troublemaker and not being asked back for another semester, so your partner should consider very, very carefully what they plan to do. I hate that it’s like this, but it’s the reality I have seen.

      4. Alma*

        This. I had to read OP’s letter twice to note that the partner is adjunct and the donkeybutt a full professor.

        I agree that the partner should make an appointment with the Department Chair.

        1. fposte*

          I don’t see any indication that the offender is a full professor, though. “Professor” is used pretty interchangeably all along the stream, and it certainly isn’t limited only to full professors.

          1. Academic Partner*

            OP here. Fposte, he is indeed a full professor, in case that’s helpful. I know that it certainly influences the power dynamics at play here.

            I might also take this opportunity to thank you and all of the other commenters here for your thoughtful and helpful advice. I feel so much more equipped to talk this out with my partner later. I’m really and truly grateful.

    5. Anxa*


      I’ve had issues with instructors’ styles, but only have ever talked to students about it in the context of how it may be incompatible with the structure of the course, learning styles, or to give them tips on how to work with it.

      Of course, I would never say anything to undermine them. When students complain to me, I try to find the balance between validating and listening to their complaints and supporting the instructor (a challenge).

      I think a lot of how to handle and perceive the situation depends on how the context started. Was the professor pointing out why he thought your partner wasn’t doing well in response to a student, or do you think that instructor brought it up. While neither situation justifies unkind words, it would make a difference to me.

      Maybe the professor is trying to nip away at any possible future competition?

      1. Academic Partner*

        Thanks for your reply, Anxa.

        This student went to see the professor because he is struggling in his course, Advanced Calculus for Teapot Engineers. The student is particularly surprised by his poor performance because he excelled in Introduction to Calculus for Teapot Engineers, the course which my partner taught last year in place of this professor (very much a situation like Hermione described above: this professor had no qualms leaving his department hanging on finding a different instructor to lead the course, but a lot to say about my partner when he stepped up to do it. The criticism was largely not constructive, as you might imagine). The professor essentially told the student that he wasn’t surprised that the student was unprepared for the rigors of the Advanced class since he knew (from observing my partner once) that my partner’s class was not up to snuff, and continued to undermine my partner from there.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          That sounds like the class was not up to snuff because of the previous professor not your partner. I could be reading this wrong though.

    6. Ultraviolet*

      My gut feeling is that your partner’s viable options are either 1) let it go, or 2) tell the professor he overheard the conversation and would like to hear more about what the professor didn’t like about his substitute lecture. Possible script: “The other day I heard you telling Student that you had concerns about the lecture I gave your Teapots 101 class on spout design. I didn’t realize you were unhappy with that lecture. Can you tell me more about the issues you found with it?” With a lot of the professors I can imagine doing what this one did, this approach would be a good combination of directness and [apparent] interest in their opinion.

      I would only consider going to the chair if this particular professor has an outsized role in supervising/assessing/rehiring your partner. In that case it might be important to notify the chair that the professor is showing a serious lack of respect. Otherwise, I’d guess going to the chair isn’t worth the political repercussions.

      1. Laura (Needs To Change Her Name)*

        Ooh is is good.

        I agree that anything remotely confrontational is a bad idea for an adjunct re: a tenured department member.

        Is your partner on the job market already? If I heard this from a tenured person in my department (especially sub field) I would be seriously job searching. Even if the rest of the department likes him and he has good teaching evals, a negative view from this person likely means he will never transition to a more secure position in the department. (Or worse, if he did, he could put in 6 years and then have this dude sink his tenure prospects.)

        1. Academic Partner*

          My partner is on the market, but I do think that this situation has made him realize just what you’ve pointed out here: that any hope for this position to turn into something more permanent could be torpedoed by this professor, and he’s not really willing to stick around to find out!

  17. NylaW*

    My boss is one of those people who just replies to emails and copies other people, or replies to an email and addresses it to another person (usually outside our organization) without thinking about the content of the email and whether all the replies in the train are something that person should see.

    Just today I emailed him to follow up on a project task. I felt that someone else in our department should be the person following up with a vendor, since she is the primary contact for that vendor and the system we purchased from them. But it impacts one of my projects. Both of us and my boss have been on all these messages for the last month. Today I sent my boss a rather exasperated email that basically asked once and for all, who should be going back to the vendor with all these questions, me or my coworker. And I reiterated how all this back and forth and me playing middle man has delayed us getting answers. It also hasn’t helped that my coworker has been out of the office a lot lately with training. The issue is though that I don’t have access to the vendor’s website to view the tasks we’ve entered with them, nor do I have the contact information for these people outside of their emails being in this now month long thread. Only my coworker has this access and information and knows all the players.

    So what does he do? Replies to that email, with all my whining in it that was clearly meant for his eyes only, and copies all 4 people at the vendor who have been involved in this, AND my coworker. So now I look like a jackass.

    1. Sadsack*

      Too late in this instance, but it’s a bad idea to put those kind of things in writing. The moment I feel like I am venting about something in an email, I stop and consider the tone or actual content. You probably can write the same message without it seeming accusatory if you step back and think about it for a couple of minutes.

      1. Sadsack*

        Sorry, I guess that probably dies not make you feel better! Yes, you would hope that he would have been more thoughtful when he sent your message along. But you can’t control other people’s actions, so it is better to be more cautious about your own. Anyway, hopefully the issue you wrote about will finally be resolved!

      2. NylaW*

        Well I’m working from home, he’s on the road at a conference, there was no way to address this until Wednesday next week and it needs to be address today. But I do understand what you mean. However I have that kind of relationship with my boss. I can say this stuff to him and he knows that yes I’m venting but it’s also a valid concern. My post probably made it sound more flippant than it really was. It was respectful but the message was “hey people aren’t doing the things they should do but no one seems to know what they should be doing FIX IT.”

    2. Glod Glodsson*

      Oooh, I feel your pain. One of our board members does this too and it drives me nuts! I’m always really careful about my wording when I mail him.

    3. TotesMaGoats*

      I had a boss that would do that. Send emails up the chain that I didn’t mind big bosses seeing but I wanted the content rewritten so it was less bitchy. So, for the few people I couldn’t trust to have that kind of tact, I would say “if you would like to send this up the chain, please let me know and I will construct a message for VP Humperdink.”

      It helped.

      1. Liza*

        “Why’d you say that name? You promised me you would never say that name!”
        “Humperdink? Humperdink, Humperdink, Humperdink!”

    4. Nicole*

      Ooof, I feel for you. I used to work with a sales person who would take a huge interoffice thread and forward it to the customer because they were too lazy to start a new email to the customer to tell them how we were going to handle their inquiry. It was so unprofessional! I was always very diplomatic in my emails to ensure at least I came across professionally since I knew it would continue to happen.

  18. Audiophile*

    I have a two part question. I’ve been told I need to be more assertive, which I working towards, but it’s difficult because I’ve come from a few environments where this wasn’t accepted and it’s not a natural part of my personality. So the first question is, how would I become more assertive?

    Here’s the second question. I was told by my manager to never say no to the CEO. What do I do with that? I feel like it’s put me in such an awkward position. This happened about 2 weeks ago. I’ve since had my 3 month evaluation and my manager said she feels I’m too quick to say no. I realized, I think there’s some miscommunication both ways. I won’t argue that I may say “no” but I’m not refusing to do something or saying it can’t be done, it’s usually that we’re not thinking about it in the same way.

    I guess these issues would likely tie back into my being more assertive and maybe slowing down a bit when a request is made to make sure I understand what’s being asked. I’m not sure.

    It feels good to finally breathe a bit, now that I made it past 3 months.

    1. Terra*

      Being assertive can still be done in a nice way if it helps. The two things I’ve found that help are using simple straightforward statements and not framing things as questions. Basically change “can you get XYZ done by tomorrow or at least sometime this week, please?” would become “I need XYZ done by Monday close, please.” Or leave off the please (if you have co-workers who think please is a sign of a request/chance to open negotiations) and substitute with a thank you when the work is done. Smile, be calm and pleasant, and mentally frame everything with the assumption that it will get done correctly and on time if you just tell people.

    2. Granite*

      You need to be more assertive but not say no? I’m confused. Saying no, especially to an executive, is one of the most assertive things you can do. If I were you, I’d be asking my manager for more examples to get at what they really want.

    3. CM*

      Be assertive, but never say no! That’s easy advice to follow. (Sarcasm)

      I think the key to being assertive is expressing your needs directly. Try not to use softening language or beat around the bush. Don’t ever say things like “This may be a dumb idea, but…” or “It would be great if you could, but you don’t have to…” Try identifying one or two ways in which you feel you’re not being assertive that are impacting you negatively, and working on fixing those.

      And as for the CEO, it’s hard for me to know where that “never say no” advice is coming from without context, but maybe you just need to find a way of communicating that shows that you’re absolutely on the CEO’s team and on board with their vision? Or makes your team look good? Like, if the CEO makes an unreasonable request like “do X immediately,” instead of “no” you could say “I agree we need to do X, but I’m concerned that prioritizing would make us miss the deadline on Y, so I would suggest that we get X done by the end of the week; would that work?” Or if the CEO says “is X done,” instead of saying “no” you could say, “Our team has been working hard on X, it’s halfway done and we should be on track to make the deadline.”

      1. TootsNYC*

        assertive is often concise. So make the request, and then STOP TALKING.

        Say, “I need a copy of the report; can I get it by 3pm?” And wait. Don’t explain, don’t apologize. Wait. Let there be silence. (Smile while you wait, but shhhh.)

        Overexplaining makes you look apologetic.

    4. Jinx*

      Oooh, this is a good question. I haven’t received that kind of feedback, but I’ve definitely recognized that behavior in myself. And it’s not even that I say “no” right away, it’s usually that I point out we need to think about “a”, “b”, and “c” dependencies that complicate the issue, which means we need to do “x”, “y”, “z”, which is a way bigger thing than the original query. Sometimes I’m misreading the situation, which makes it seem like I’m digging my heels in for no reason.

      What’s helped me is not saying “yes” or “no” in the moment (if that’s possible). If it’s a complicated issue I’ll say “I don’t have any immediate concerns, but let me look at it and I’ll get you a response by the end of the day”. That gives me time to formulate any potential objections or complicates better than I would in the moment, which makes my response look helpful instead of contrary. Slowing down, as you mentioned, definitely helps me.

      1. Abbott*

        Ooh, this is good. I tend to get overexcited and agree to stuff in the moment. Yes! That will be awesome! Great, I will do that! Etc. Stopping and thinking like this with the no immediate objections phrasing is great advice. Gives me time to think about objections instead of agreeing first and then realizing the scope of the task is much greater than I’d thought.

    5. GT*

      I have the problem of “saying no” too much, but that’s because my boss is not very good at logistics (not sure if this applies to what you do). I have found what works best for me (and I hate having to do it, but it works) is that I fake enthusiasm for his idea, then ask for advice on dealing with the logistical reason I think it won’t work. Perhaps the asking for advice route will work?

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sometimes when people are trying to be more assertive, they take it too far — it comes out feeling brusque or rude because they’re new to it and they haven’t quite calibrated their assertiveness setting correctly yet. Could something like that be happening here?

      There’s a difference between “no, I’m not going to do that” (feels pretty brusque in most situations) and “I can’t help out this time because I’m on a deadline for project Z” (still says no, but in a kinder way).

      1. Audiophile*

        I’m glad you saw this. I read an previous post but still wanted to post my question in the open thread.

        I’m generally not an assertive person, for a whole host of reasons. So this isn’t the first time I’ve heard “you need to be more assertive.” Or “don’t be afraid to ask questions or say you don’t understand something.”

        As for the comment from my manager about not saying no to the CEO, the situation in question went like this: I was working on a letter that was going out and it was stretching to two pages, so CEO and my manager who’s the COO, were both in my office trying to help format it. When my manager came in she asked, “is the letter long?” I said “yes” and CEO said “no.” I’m sure I followed up with “well it is long but that’s ok”. So I wasn’t even saying “no” it was a response to a question from someone other than the CEO. Which is why I say, if I’m saying “no” it doesn’t mean I’m refusing to do something or disagreeing.

        My manager mentioned another situation where I said “no” but again, it wasn’t me saying I wouldn’t do something. We were discussing Eventbrite and she asked if we could send confirmation emails to attendees, well all the email invitations had already gone out and so I said “no”. That doesn’t mean you, I won’t find a workaround though.

        1. Turtle Candle*

          Hmm. I have to say, if I was asked a subjective question (and “is the letter long?” is fairly subjective) and someone less senior than me said “yes” and I said “no” and then they said “well it is long but that’s ok,” I’d see that as… hm. Odd. I’m trying to put my finger on exactly why, but it would definitely strike me as strange. (Actually, the “but that’s ok” would strike me as weirder than being contradicted–I don’t need to be reassured by a less senior person, I guess, and that’s what it would feel like.)

          1. Audiophile*

            I’m starting to understand what you’re saying. And when I sat down with my manager for my evaluation, we discussed the letter situation, I explained I was responding to her. She felt the letter was long, but similar to what you said, the CEO didn’t care/feel that way so it wasn’t our job (hers or mine) to say otherwise. (It’s definitely a subjective question, but it took fiddling with the margins and all the spaces between each paragraph to get this letter to fit on one page with the header and footer.)

        2. Not So NewReader*

          The two things I would do there are:

          1) Look to see who your boss is talking to. Assume it’s the higher ranking person in the room, UNTIL you know for sure she means you.

          2) The big boss said the letter was not long. Let it go. Say nothing further. I have worked with some sensitive folks who would say that your comment “it is long but it is okay” means you are trying to be contrary or have the last word or some such nonsense.
          Realize that these are people you cannot do this with.
          Some people would understand that you were backpedaling or that you were trying to cover your disagreement with the big boss by bridging the two opposing answers. But your boss does not read that subtlety and sees it as “arguing or being contrary”. The best thing to do is say nothing or say “oh, okay” if appropriate. Try to avoid bridging or backpedaling.

          This stuff is tough at first, but you will get into the swing of it very soon. Years ago, I did not know where to draw my own lines. I used these two tools here to get myself started and it helped so much.

          See, I think part of the problem is that we don’t automatically know when to be assertive and when to stop talking. This knowledge is not in our genes at birth. Be confident about things under your control, “Yes, boss, I will have task X completed by the time I go home today.” Or, “Boss, I need A and B to complete task Z. I cannot complete Z without it.”

          If other people are involved, then double check yourself to see how much say you actually have in the matter. Expect this to be an ongoing thing as new situations arise and you will catch yourself needing to do a double check again. For example, this situation with the letter and the big boss will never happen again, because you see what the answer is. So it’s the new situations that involve the double checks.

          1. Audiophile*

            In this instance, it may not have been a question that was really being addressed to anyone in particular but it’s hard to tell.

            You’re right, I should have stopped talking. I think I was expecting a different than what I got. And so when I heard “no” and I had already said something which was the opposite of that, I felt like I HAD to say something else. Not to get the last word, but to “correct” myself, though I understand how it can look that way.

            This job is going to take some adjustment on my part. I keep getting asked for my opinion and being told to be more assertive, but then situations like this occur. There’s definitely too many cooks in the kitchen, for most of these projects and it seems to derail them pretty often.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Occasionally ask, “Do you mean me or Other Person?”

              Yep, I can see where you felt you had to say something. BTDT. This is a stupid thing to say but let me reassure you that there are times when NO ONE notices if we say nothing. Sometimes damage control can just be to stop talking because people only notice if we keep pursuing the point. Making matters worse, I find that under pressure I can say things that have an ambiguous meaning. So while I mean well, I have said something that is open to a not-so-good interpretation.

              It won’t be long, you will get your feet under you on this one and you will feel differently than you do right now.

        3. TootsNYC*

          I mentioned this below:

          Don’t say the word “no” or the word “yes.”
          Say the sentence after it.

          So: “Can we send confirmation emails?”
          You: “The invites have already gone out.” (instead of “no,” or instead of “No, the invitations have already gone out.”)

          Maybe train yourself to say “well” as an answer to every question. It might buy you time to mentally get to the second (short) sentence.

          At the very least, maybe say “no because.”

          (the letter thing is just stupid, frankly)

    7. fposte*

      I’m wondering if “assertive” was not quite the right word for what they were looking for, given what you’re describing. “Decisive” or “direct,” maybe? I’m thinking that specifically with the sentence you write about saying “No” but not meaning a refusal or it can’t be done. That sounded to me like you might do some thinking out loud rather than answering in the terms that the CEO is going to find useful. But perhaps you could give another example if that wasn’t representative.

      And in general, a “No” is going to be read as a refusal or an inability, so I think you’d find it advantageous to avoid it unless that’s what you mean. There are usually other ways to say “What if…” or “I was thinking…” so maybe try those for a while.

    8. JMegan*

      First of all, I now have a little chant going in my head. Never say no to the C-E-O! Never say no to the C-E-O! Yeah!

      So, thanks for the neat rhyme! :)

      To answer your actual question – I’m not a big fan of that kind of directive either, because I assume most people (even CEOs!) are open to actual feedback about whatever they’re suggesting, and I’m not going to be a yes-woman just because someone is higher than me on the org chart. That said, sometimes you do have to say no to people who aren’t open to hearing it for one reason or another.

      My strategy in this case is not to say no, but to spell out whatever it would take for me to say yes. “In order for that to work, we would have to…
      ~Take resources away from Established Project X to work on Brilliant Idea Y
      ~Delay Brilliant Idea Y until after Established Project X is complete
      ~Ask for help from another department
      ~Increase the budget by a million dollars and hire a staff of trained circus performers

      The key is to be sincere and helpful when you deliver this message. Even if the requirements are ridiculous – if you actually DO need an extra million dollars and several new staff, ideally it will help the requester prioritize things in their mind.

      1. CM*

        This is great advice. And looking at your examples, now I understand the “never say no to the CEO” advice. When the CEO says “can we…” your job is to explain how to make it happen. The answer to “can we…” should very rarely be no. (Exception: unethical or illegal.) In your Eventbrite example, you can use JMegan’s advice here and say something like: “Eventbrite doesn’t support that, but we can do it manually. It would take me about an hour to put together the list and send out the email.”

    9. hnl123*

      Another thing too, which is a feedback I received, is that though my words THEMSELVES were assertive, my VOICE showed otherwise. I was told to speak louder. That helped with feeling more assertive, as well.

      We also had a body posture expert come into our workplace and showed us how to ‘appear’ more confident/assertive. (Some of the usual things, like stance, shoulders back, looking into people’s eyes, keeping arms open, etc)

      It makes a big difference, the non verbal aspects as well.

    10. TootsNYC*

      for one thing, never say the word “no”

      I don’t know if this will help you, but I hope you aren’t doing what my husbadn does.

      We’re driving, a car cuts him off, and he calls out, “Hey, watch it!”
      I wasn’t paying that much attention, so I say, “Oh, did he cut you off?”
      He says–watch this carefully now–“No, he pulled back in too close.”

      It doesn’t matter WHAT he’s answering, he always says “No.” And then says the answer, which is often simply restating what I said.

      I don’t think he really even listens to me, he just automatically says “no.”

      So never say “no.” Say the sentence AFTER the “no.”

      (and i think it’s funny that you’re supposed to be assertive, but you aren’t supposed to say no)

      1. Audiophile*

        You’ve given some great advice, so thank you. ‘

        I don’t think I’m as bad as your husband, but I clearly say “no” too much for these two people. Like your husband, I’ve started my sentences with no and then followed up with the answer. I realized while having this discussion the other day with my manager, that I need to slow down and maybe go back to her once I’ve digested what she’s saying.

        The “be more assertive” comment didn’t come from her, it came from someone else, but she’s asked me why I won’t give her my input and what she can do to get me to give it more willingly. She might as well be saying “hey, be more assertive”. It’s just hard to put into practice.

  19. Adam*

    I have more of a lifestyle question this week.

    Say you’re currently employed and it meets your essential needs but you want a new job for whatever the reason. When conducting a job search how much effort do you feel is sufficient to put towards an active job search while balancing the rest of your life? Do you have a certain number of applications you aim to send out a week? A set number of hours/days you spend on job hunting?

    I’m currently employed and it is sufficient to live on. The organization I work at is ok. Nothing really bad about it, but not personally satisfying or tangibly rewarding either. If I want to make significant progress towards my many goals in life, particularly financial ones, I will need to find greener pastures sooner rather than later. So finding a new position at a different employer is my #1 priority at the moment.

    After my work week there’s only so many hours left for all the other tasks and desires in life (and my commute SUUUUCKS). There are lots of things I want to do and goals I want to reach for, but the job hunt feels like it takes precedence since it’s the most pressing concern of mine. Really it’s hard to feel like I’m “doing enough” to find a new job until I actually have one.

    So what do you do to feel like you’re diligently putting in the time to find a new job while not putting the rest of your life on hold?

    1. Terra*

      Think of it like any other project. Set a reasonable goal based on how important it is to you and your expectations and then give yourself permission not to think about it once you’ve met your goal. The goal can be framed multiple ways. Either as needing to apply to X number of jobs per week or (if you feel that’s taking too much time) as needing to spend Y amount of time searching for and applying to jobs each day/week/etc. The later might be better for you if you’re concerned with balancing it with the rest of your life since it means that whether you apply to one job that requires a lot of in depth work on application materials or three jobs that only require a resume and cover letter you’ll still only be spending a pre-defined amount of time that can be scheduled into your day.

    2. Fabulous*

      I’ve been job “hunting” for about 18 months now, while employed full time for the past year in a temp job. I usually send out 1-3 applications a week, maybe less if I’m particularly busy or if nothing interesting comes around.

    3. Excel Slayer*

      Because it’s the sort of setup that works for me, I would put aside a certain number of specific times a week to job search/apply – enough to be a good chunk of time, but not enough that I don’t have time to do anything else.

    4. Master Bean Counter*

      I tried for 3-4 good applications a week. One every other day or so. I also didn’t apply for everything. I took time to research companies and I got picky about where I applied.

    5. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I have an Indeed job alert set-up for my field, salary, and location that gets delivered to my email daily.

      I commit to taking 5 minutes to scan the email for jobs I would want to apply for. If there is nothing, I delete the email. If there is something, I commit to applying in the next three days. It’s made me feel proactive without feeling like it was taking over my life.

      1. Jules the First*

        I do this too. Once I’ve decided it’s time to move on, I call the four recruiters I work with to let them know I’m actively looking, and then I commit an hour every week to checking new postings, and set aside a couple of hours every other week to apply to things (and if there’s nothing worth applying to, which there sometimes isn’t, I spend that time working on my professional development).

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          Ooh. I like the idea of still using the time even if there is nothing to apply to!

      2. Jennifer*

        Seconded. There really isn’t a whole lot out there for me to find in the first place, so that makes it short.

    6. Glod Glodsson*

      I have trouble with this as well, because when I do something I want to do it ALL THE WAY. Like, what if I miss this amazing job because I didn’t check today? It can take over my life. I think the best thing to do with such a search is to be really critical about what you apply to. So no jobs that sound okay-ish or that you’re not sure you’d be happy to do. Also maybe limit the time you spend applying to two evenings a week or something? Or maybe use some of your commute time to line up good openings?

      1. overeducated*

        Yes, this is something I’ve been having trouble with lately, especially when I work on applications at night before bed. I know I need time to settle down before sleeping, but when I have to spend those hours writing cover letters because I haven’t had any other time during the day, I can’t turn off my brain and the “what ifs?” and anxiety have been pretty constant. It turns out that having some times where I just STOP with anything work-related, like setting aside 1-2 evenings a week or a weekend day to just relax, is also really important to maintaining sanity. So don’t tell yourself “I’ll just do this one thing” if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just turn it off and don’t think about it until the next day.

    7. Laura*

      You need to make it your highest priority outside of work and your personal health, if you are serious about moving on and finding something better. Apply for a few jobs during the work week, and work on doing more during the weekends. It’s really all about finding that one job that is going to be the right one, and unfortunately it takes a lot of applications to result in successful interviews.

    8. overeducated*

      I aim for around 3 applications a week. Sometimes I do fewer when I’m busy or there aren’t many openings, very rarely I find enough listings to apply for 4. That’s about the most I can handle during a normal week without going completely insane. I work on lunch breaks and after my kid is in bed. An average cover letter & resume application usually takes me 1-2 hours and a more involved one can take 3-4.

    9. NJ Anon*

      I peruse the job sites each morning and email any that I am interested in to myself. Then, on the weekend morning when I have more time, I actually apply. This works for me. I feel like I am getting something accomplished during the week. I don’t set a minimum or maximum. I just go with the ones that are a fit or I want to do some research on.

    10. Patty*

      I had the Indeed app on my phone and had saved searches. So I could review job listings during lunch, or other times I had opportunity to use my phone. Then I would save the jobs and apply for them on the weekends, or evenings when I had more time. I would only apply to jobs I was very interested in related to duties, commute, company, etc, so it wasn’t that many.

    11. No Longer Just a Lurker*

      This can be difficult. I don’t think setting up a number of apps per week is going to help because you really should be looking for the right job and currently being employed, even if you aren’t thrilled with it, gives you a cushion. There is a ton of advice on AAM so really look at the topics that apply to you and learn from the horror stories and make yourself stand out the right way. When I was in your almost exact situation I hooked up with a reputable recruiter after going at it on my own for about a year with middling success (several interviews and one offer that was unexpected because I thought it was obvious from the middle of the interview that it wasn’t a good match). I got great advice (she must read AAM) and some resume help and she really helped me find the right job – 3+ years and no plans to go anywhere…in fact they would have to pry me out of this chair with a crowbar. As a bonus there was a lot less legwork on my end so if you have that option its worth a shot.

      1. Adam*

        Thanks for the idea. I’ve always been kind of hesitant to work with recruiters as my previous experience hasn’t been great. I always felt like they were trying to pigeonhole me into their big accounts which were usually high volume call centers which….just no thank you….and any other opportunity I might reach for they weren’t very supportive of.

        I have more work experience now, so maybe it would be a different situation, but we’ll see.

    12. Joanna*

      While it may be appropriate to set an upper limit on the amount of time you can spend job hunting before it starts to harm other parts of your life, I think it helps to not get hung up about putting in the same amount of time and effort every week. Some weeks you’ll find a bunch of great openings that deserve detailed, high quality applications, other weeks you’ll find none worth much effort on. On weeks where the later applies, you’ll probably be better focusing on the other things you’ve got happening in life rather than driving yourself crazy trying to put in a certain number of applications.

  20. TheIntern*

    How do you answer the interview question, “How long do you plan to be in this position”?

    As a soon to be MSW graduate I am applying for entry level jobs with the hope of moving into program management/adminstration within 3 years. It’s be ideal to build a career path within one organization, but majority of nonprofits here are too small with little turnover to plan on ‘working your way to the top’.

    1. CM*

      Why not be honest? Your answer sounds reasonable and you can’t predict what they’re looking for, unless you have a contact at the organization who can give you some inside info.

    2. Terra*

      “It would depend on the company and position. Ideally I would like to move into program management and administration within 3 years and I can see myself doing that here.” If you want to be more explicit you can add a bit to the end about “as long as I have the ability to grow and expand” or something similar but it’s completely fair to say you don’t know or say that you have this plan in “ideal circumstances”. Stuff happens, and if a company can’t offer you promotions and such then they should expect that you probably won’t stay as long as a company that can offer those things.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        In addition to talking about staying in a position that fosters your own development, I would be sure to mention that you would want to be in the position where you can be most effective at serving your target population. You want them to know you don’t think it’s just about you.

  21. Christy*

    My toxic coworker spent 45 minutes of a one-hour meeting complaining about how he’s been treated. (Part of his complaints was that management is interfering with him getting a job elsewhere, and I agree with that–please just let him go!) 45 minutes. At least it was a phone meeting so he couldn’t see me roll my eyes?

      1. Engineer Girl*

        Managers can block employees from transferring if they are deemed critical to the program. I had that happen on one job assignment. I was horribly unhappy and yet the Sr manager (who hated me) would NOT let me transfer. At the same time he kept giving me mediocre performance reviews and low raises because he hated me. Look – if I’m that critical to the program that you can’t spare me then you better well give me a good performance review if I perform. If not, let me go!
        I can see where your coworker is coming from. That said, complaining doesn’t get you out.
        BTW I couldn’t get a new job at the time because I needed FMLA for a family member. I was stuck. I was finally rescued by a couple of other managers I had previously worked for.

  22. Folklorist*

    ANTI-PROCRASTINATION POST!!! Just go off and do that thing you’ve been putting off. You know the one. Or two. Or five. Then come back here and tell us about it! Now Go go go…

        1. Folklorist*

          It almost always is… ;-) I think that my problem is that I procrastinate by putting up Anti-Procrastination Posts and check back Way Too Often. It’s a particularly vicious cycle I’ve built for myself.

    1. oldfashionedlovesong*

      Transcribing a set of key informant interviews. I came into work today specifically promising myself I would get. them. done. I put them off for so long because my work won’t obtain any transcription or qualitative analysis software for me, so I’m literally having to listen to a recording in Windows Media Player a few sentences at a time and frantically type in Word. Then I’ll have to hand code and analyze. This is the worst. But I just finished one entire interview so I decided to reward myself with a few minutes in the open thread!

      1. Folklorist*

        Oh! I have something that might help. Have you tried O-Transcribe? It’s a free online transcription tool. You can drag and drop the recording file and listen to it while typing directly into the site’s field (no toggling between Word and WMP). It also has things so you can slow down or speed up the recording, push escape to stop the recording when you need to catch up (so you just key ‘esc’ instead of having to pause, use the mouse to click on something, then go back to what you’re doing), and keystrokes to mark timestamps from the recording into your text (that way you can go back to important points in the recording when you need to–makes for easier coding/analysis!) I’m a journalist and use this thing all the time (and no, they’re not paying me!)

    2. Aella*

      Yes. I will go and complete the competencies. (I am applying for multiple jobs within this organisation, so at least once I have the first set done, I can use them for other applications.)

        1. Folklorist*

          OMG! Do you live in the US? If so, where do you go to Ceilidhs? (Also, congrats on getting the competencies done!)

    3. Arjay*

      I didn’t do it today, but I’m gonna brag anyway. I finally made the appointment to get all the recall work, and some other maintenance, done on my old jalopy.

    4. KR*

      -We have a white board that we list all of our projects on and I have to redo it. It involves standing on my desk to reach it and it makes my arm cramp and I just don’t want to do it.
      -Going through my mail pile on my desk.
      -Setting up these old printers my boss came across and finding new homes for them. He wanted one of them to be for me but I really, really, really don’t want to have it sitting on my desk when I can just share one of the other rarely used printers to my laptop and use that one.
      -Disposing of this pile of old PCs in my office which involves powering them up and deleting everything that looks confidential and then taking them to surplus.
      -Cleaning and organizing in general. Our office is almost always a mess anyway and it’s part of my duty to organize and clean it when possible and I’ve just been dropping the ball here.
      God I have a procrastinating problem… lol

    5. Gandalf the Nude*

      Just ran and submitted all my post-payroll reports and rotated the potatoes for dinner tonight. (Pro tip: don’t bake 3 dozen potatoes in one afternoon.)

    6. Jules the First*

      Added membership numbers to the form I’ve been ignoring all day – now it’s ready for signatures. Thanks for the push!

    7. Sibley*

      Unfortunately, the thing I want to procrastinate will also take hours and hours…. of tedious, mind numbing data entry. And I’m working on it this afternoon :(

    8. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I scheduled a meeting between multiple busy people whose calendars don’t appear to have any common openings. I hate that kind of scheduling. Finally, I just identified a few likely times when the highest-ranking people were available, asked everyone else if they could move things around to accommodate the meeting, and FINALLY got it done.

  23. Sunflower*

    A manager in my department was fired. I don’t know much- just that she was struggling and there were questions of whether she fit into the org or not. I’m planning on reaching out to her and have been checking the AAM archives for appropriate wording but I’m having trouble with this part.

    Even though I’ve only been in my job 6 months and I didn’t work with her a ton, I really admired her. She’s bold and although she could be off-putting and brass sometimes, she kind of exemplified for me what it meant to take control and get sh*t done- something that I am really working at in my own career. We’d talked about her career and she was a big risk taker and I admired her ability to take on challenges and pick up and move anywhere in the world. I was hoping she would stick around for a while and maybe become sort of a mentor to me.

    I want to say these things but I’m worried it comes off kind of creepy? I’m so tempted to not mention it but putting myself in the shoes of a person who has just been let go, I’d imagine it would be a nice thing to hear. So how would you suggest wording it? I am actually thinking she might be a better resource now that we don’t work together as workplace politics won’t get in the way of us having honest conversations.

    1. Terra*

      “I know we only worked together for six months but in that time I came to really admire you. I liked that you were bold and knew how to take control and get stuff done which are skills I’m working on myself. I also admired your ability to take on risks and challenges in your career. I was wondering if you’d like to get coffee sometime, my treat? You can reach me at this email address or at 555-555-5555. Thanks!”

      I wouldn’t bring up the mentor thing until you get the chance to talk to her in person so you can see if it still feels right for lack of a better term as well as seeing how she seems to feel after being laid off. If you decide you don’t want her as an official mentor but as a friend or unofficial mentor that’s fine too and then you don’t need to backpedal. Good luck!

      1. Laura*

        This is the perfect wording for what to send her. You put the ball in her court and let her decide what’s best.

    2. Glod Glodsson*

      I don’t think that would be creepy at all as long as you don’t word it in a creepy way! Receiving such a positive note after being fired must be great :)

  24. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    I interviewed for the gov job, an interviewer told me I did a great(!) interview and I’d hear back in 2 weeks. Now, it’s toward the very end of those 2 weeks. No word. I emailed the listing’s HR this morning to get a (polite) update to see if selections were made. Nothing yet….rrrrrrr.

    What’s the longest or shortest time someone’s heard back re: gov jobs? And how was the offer made? (Email? Phone?)

    I really wish the person hadn’t told me I did a great interview. Got my hopes up for no discernible reason. ***sigh*** >:/

    1. LawCat*

      About 1.5 months from interview to offer for federal job. Oral offer over the phone followed up by a letter.

      For state job, oral offer plus written offer given to me on the spot following a third interview. From first interview to third interview was about 2 months though. A little over one month between second interview and third interview. (The third interview really felt like more of a formality so they probably had decided after the second interview.)

    2. BRR*

      In general you should assume they won’t hit their timeline but it’s especially true for government jobs. Don’t worry, if they want to hire you they won’t forget about you.

    3. Kelley*

      Federal job 1: Applied in January, interviewed in March, offer came late April, started June 1.
      Federal job 2: Applied in August, interviewed in October, offer came late November, started December 15th.

    4. Former Retail Manager*

      Federal Here:
      –Can’t even remember when I applied (probably Sept.)
      –Interviewed in December
      –Offer in February, via telephone and later e-mail
      –Started in Mid-March

      Also Applied for an Intern Position with Local Government:
      –Applied in Sept/October
      –Interviewed in November
      –Offer via telephone in December
      –Stated in January

      In general, Government is just slow. I wouldn’t worry about the timeline too much. And also, if you don’t get it, and the job reopens, I would reapply. Government is funny that way. I was interviewed for my current position twice. Didn’t get hired the first round, but I did the second. They also had no knowledge of me the second round either, although that may differ depending upon he position you’re interviewing for and the size of the agency.

      Good luck! I hope you get it!

    5. Elle the new fed*

      In my experience for federal jobs (although most people I know had a shortened overall timeline) it was usually 2-3 weeks from final interview to verbal offer. The formal letter from HR took longer than the verbal.

    6. Joanna*

      It was for a graduate job which normally has a pretty long process, but I had one where I applied in March and interviewed in June. I think it was October when I finally got the rejection, which was delivered by a template email with a PDF of the interviewers blunt, obnoxious feedback.

  25. School Is My Job*

    Hi, all.

    I’m a masters-level student and I need to outline the “theoretical framework” I have chosen for this particular research. I have …. no idea. My undergrad did not cover theoretical approaches to anything and I feel like an idiot.

    I am reading other people’s papers with theoretical frameworks (and honestly usually gloss over them) but for my own work I am proposing more practical projects and it feels ridiculous to drag theory into it when I am talking about Things People Do.

    Can anyone explain the use of theoretical frameworks for more practical topics? Any suggestions of how to educate myself on this?

    1. TreeSilver*

      It depends a bit on your field, but there are ways in which theoretical frameworks are very helpful in applied settings. (Are you public health, by any chance?) Think of it as a structured set of thoughts and ideas and considerations that can be used as a foundation on which to build, a lens through which to view your work, or a build-in guide to how to evaluate it.

      E.g., if you were proposing to implement a new workflow for teapot production, you would want to say that you are using theoretical framework XYZ, which has been built on common workflow and environmental factors that affect teapot manufacture in general, and thus is applicable to your proposed project for reasons A, B, and C.

      1. School Is My Job*

        Thanks for the reply. I’m in information science. Some people’s work is very theoretical (e.g. “What is the nature of privacy in a public library space?” So they’re talking about Habermas and similar and it seems very natural) and mine is more like “How do people manage their ebook hold queue?”

        1. TreeSilver*

          Ah, Habermas…

          One thing that may help you is to make the distinction between grand theory and applied theory. Grand theory is more in the nature of abstract thinking and conceptualization of ideas in a way that describes larger systems of thought. Applied theory is more in the nature of something that connects to work in practice. From an information science perspective, something like the Technology Acceptance Model could be useful in that regard. Good luck.

        2. iSchool Grad*

          I’d look into information behavior topics. Wish I had my old notes with me right now, but some names I remember from my classes are David Ellis, Carol Kuhlthau, and Thomas Wilson. These particular researchers have more of an information seeking slant (that’s what I, as a librarian am more interested in) but I remember discussing different strategies for storing information in my Info Seeking Behavior course. For instance, the wikipedia article for Information Seeking Behavior briefly mentions “squirreling” behavior. Maybe do some research into information management?

          1. School Is My Job*

            Thanks for the response and the suggestions! I will look into those ideas and names.

        3. happypup*

          If you’re looking at ebook queues from a technology standpoint, I’ll second TreeSilver’s TAM recommendation, or there’s another similar model called UTAUT (unified theory of acceptance and use of technology). Part of how you’d use those is to figure out your hypotheses / what you expect to find out when you look at your data. So e.g. TAM suggests that how easy-to-use a user expects a given technology to be along with how useful they expect it to be are important in a user’s attitude toward using a given technology, but that those things are moderated by external variables — so you might use that to build a hypothesis that heavy readers are more likely to have a more positive attitude toward the ebook queuing function, because the perceived usefulness of that tool is much higher for those folks than people who don’t read as much.

          You might also look into some of the frameworks around personal information management, if your angle is less about the technology and more about how people manage the set of books/information/resources that they’re interested in.

          1. School Is My Job*

            Thanks for the comment and suggestions. It’s more of a behavioural approach than a technological one — TAM is a useful approach but I think your point about personal information management might be closer to the mark for the ebook example (not my actual project).

            What I am looking at is how people use a particular technology, but it’s more about the people than the tech, if you see what I mean.

            1. Laura (Needs To Change Her Name)*

              “It’s more about the people than the tech”

              That sounds like a theoretical model! Now you just have to find out the name for this in your field ;)

            2. Joanna*

              Perhaps then you need to be drawing not so much on information management theories, but pulling in theories from social psychology and behavioural economics. Both disciplines tend to frequently look at how people making choices which could be applicable here.

        4. Joanna*

          For a question like that, if you’re required to get theory in there somehow, perhaps you can address not just the theories of your particular discipline but the theoretical approach driving your research methods. For example, depending how you conduct your research, it might be considered a Grounded Theory ( approach.

    2. periwinkle*

      Doctoral student here, and I’m impressed that your masters program has you looking at theoretical frameworks!

      There are a multitude of theories revolving around behavior. Hmm. If you’re looking at how individuals manage their ebook hold queue, maybe we’re getting into theories about decision making. Or not. Can you give us a short description of your proposed research problem and research question(s)?

      Here’s an example of setting up the theoretical framework: my dissertation topic is looking at the intent of people in a certain field to use a solution-generating methodology that blends the use of published academic research with their existing professional knowledge and experience (evidence-based practice). In looking at the adoption – or rejection – of this methodology, some academics have framed their research around change management theories. I’m looking at the intent to adopt evidence-based practice through the framework of the theory of planned behavior, which posits that intent to behavior is a predictor of actual behavior and that intent is influenced by the person’s perception of the ease of use and the peer-group acceptance of the action as well as her own attitude toward that behavior.

      If you think that TAM is close to the mark, take a look at the diffusion of innovation theory which is often linked with TAM. My alternative theoretical framework choice was the perceived attributes of innovation, part of the DoI theory – a person’s willingness to adopt an innovation , such as an ebook queue, is based on her perception of characteristics of that innovation (such as how hard it is to use and can she try it out with messing up what she’s already using).

      1. School Is My Job*

        A belated ‘thanks’ for the reply! (I was not around a computer all weekend hence the late response.) I wish my program would TEACH us something about theoretical frameworks if they want us to write about them — I came out of an undergrad program with no theory at all so I am completely lost!

        My project isn’t about ebooks, that was just an example as to the practical nature of the topic as opposed to more theoretical topics some others have chosen. Mine is about how people use social media and navigate the risks and rewards of ‘real-name presence’ online.

    3. Dr. Doll*

      I did all my work in a totally applied, completely physical field, and did not understand the point of social theory until well after my doctorate, so don’t feel stupid! Finally what made it click was something completely unexpected: the priest at church said something about “Anselm’s theory of forgiveness” changing the way Christianity worked and behaved. And I finally got it that theory is like the glasses you see the world with, you explain things that happen based on what the theory predicts should happen.

      I still have trouble choking it down sometimes because compared to, say, cell theory or the theory of evolution, social theory still seems mushy and unsupported by consistent data, but that’s my own quirk.

      1. School Is My Job*

        Thanks for this. My undergrad contained no theory at all so I’m really lost when it comes up in grad school. (I keep saying that my goal is to get through two degrees without doing any Foucault!)

        It’s not even that I don’t think it’s important, it’s that I don’t entirely see its relevance in the face of practical questions/experiments.


  26. Jessen*

    When uploading documents to an online job application, is it appropriate to include your cover letter in with your resume if there’s no separate place to upload it? Or should it be left off? If so, what’s a good way to highlight skills that might be too lengthy to highlight on the resume?

    1. Charlotte Collins*

      If there’s no way to include a cover letter, I just leave it off and assume that the employer doesn’t want one. (A lot of the time, there are other ways to attach more information.)

      1. Jessen*

        Usually I haven’t found much. I’m applying for low-level jobs and I’m in an area where I think I have qualifications that don’t show through easily on a resume, because what I do and what people would think I do based on my job title are two different things.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          Can you tailor your resume to include more information that would show that your skillset shows what’s needed?

          1. Jessen*

            Not without making it really long for an entry level worker. I’m talking stuff like “learned multiple computer systems largely on my own” – not really resume stuff.

      2. Finman*

        I agree with Carlotte, if they wanted a cover letter they would ask for one. If you include a cover letter as the first page of your resume, you risk angering them by forcing a cover letter upon them.

        1. Hermione*

          I disagree. Why waste the opportunity to tell them things they can’t learn from your resume alone? I include my cover letter as the second page of a pdf – resume first, then cover letter.

    2. Kelly L.*

      I make it a single two-page PDF file. First page is my cover letter, second page is my resume.

    3. Liza*

      Absolutely appropriate to include the cover letter in with the resume if there isn’t a separate field for it. (The hiring manager usually has no control over whether the application system has a field for the cover letter. If they don’t want to see it, they can skip it, but if they do want to see it you’ll be putting yourself way ahead of the applicants who didn’t include one.)

  27. katamia*

    Anyone done a working holiday visa? I’m intrigued by the concept and would maybe like to apply for one, but I’m having trouble getting a good sense of what kind of jobs they’d be used for. I mean, can you get one and then just get a job as, say, a cashier or wait staff (jobs which citizens would be fully capable of doing)? What am I missing here?

    1. Jack K*

      I did it for farm work. It’s not intended for jobs requiring specialized skills — that’s what longer-term visas are for. Rather, it’s just what it sounds like: go work in a place for a while and get a taste of a different country.

      If you’re wondering what the host country gets out of this, typically people on working holiday visas will tack some travelling on and spend tourist money. And the country-country agreements are reciprocal.

      1. katamia*

        Thanks! That does help clarify things. I was a little confused because one of the countries I looked at was Australia, and apparently as a US citizen I can get a year-long visa, but I can only work for 6 months of it.

        1. Sunflower*

          My friend did one for Australia and she was a waitress. I had asked about this a while ago and I think someone said service industry is most likely the kind of job you’re looking at. I think you can get them for wineries too!

          1. katamia*

            Thanks! That was kind of the vibe I got, but I wasn’t sure if I was missing something.

          2. Rob Lowe can't read*

            I’m pretty sure can Sunflower is correct – a friend of mine (who is American) spent some time working at a winery in Western Australia. I’m not aware of any specialized permits she had for that job (but I could be wrong).

        2. Irishgal*

          Nurses use this a lot…work for 2 months solid, travel for 1-2, work again for 2 months type pattern.

        3. Jules the First*

          That’s why it’s a working holiday visa – they give you a limited time to work and then longer to enjoy the country. Most people show up for a few months and live off their savings, then do a few months work, usually in agriculture or hospitality, to earn enough money to keep travelling.

        4. Silver*

          In Australia you may end up doing temp work in offices, farm/seasonal work, service work (restaurants/bars) or as tour guides or sky instructors that kind of thing.
          One thing to be aware of is that some employers exploit people on working holiday visas like crazy. So you need to do your due diligence when considering employers and countries.

          There’s a whole industry here built around backpackers and their travelling needs just make sure to do your research before you arrive.

        5. Amy UK*

          My understanding was that you could work for the whole 12 months if you wanted, but only 6 months with any one employer. I did the Australian working holiday visa but didn’t end staying the whole year, but that was my plan.

          Your employer also had the option to decide to sponsor you, if they want to keep you more than 6 months. It happened to my sister (about 15 years ago, so the rules or employer’s willingness to do that might have changed).

    2. sarakg*

      I did one in Australia when I was in my mid-20s. I had 3 different jobs in different cities. One was related to my field, sort of, but was very part-time. One was on a really remote island fishing resort doing anything and everything (kitchen work, bar tender, selling bait, housekeeping, etc). The third was in a hostel with café attached, and I did housekeeping/airport pickups at the hostel and dishwashing/kitchen stuff at the café. I worked with citizens in all of these jobs, but also with other travelers. All the jobs were temporary and the last two I worked a certain number of hours a week in exchange for room/board and the rest for actual money. I don’t remember the details but there’s a maximum amount of time that I was allowed to stay in any one job. Most other travelers I met had similar jobs, or farm labour jobs. I did meet one person who got on with a temp agency doing office-type work, but I think that’s fairly unusual.

      1. Anonsie*

        This is a highly unhelpful comment but that’s all I can think whenever someone mentions the work holiday program. Cryyy

      2. Elle the new fed*

        The US does do this ? Generally for students on a gap year or recently college graduate. I’ve known people from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland who have come to the US on a working holiday of like 4-12 months. I myself (an American) took a working holiday visa in Canada so I assume there is a reciprocal there as well.

        Where are you from? That may be why the US doesn’t have the option.

        1. Anonsie*

          I’m from the US. All the places I want to go have reciprocal agreements with each other, but not the US.

      3. katamia*

        It does, though! Only with a few countries, though–Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland all have working holiday visas for US citizens. *also a US citizen*

        1. Anonsie*

          Yeah, versus the whole of the working holiday program. The places I want to go are all part of the overall program but not in agreement with the US :(

          1. Not Karen*

            I sympathize. I really want to do a working holiday in Japan but that’s not an option for US citizens.

    3. Ellie*

      I went to New Zealand (I’m from the UK), and spent around 6 months working and the other 6 months travelling around. I worked in a a backpacker hostel as a manager (where I was paid) and in a different hostel as a cleaner for bed and board. I also joined a temp agency and worked in a short term call centre for a couple of months, and at least 80% of the others there were backpackers like me. It was completely expected and normal and I’ve known people who have done all kinds of jobs on these visas.

      1. Ellie*

        These jobs were all at different times by the way. Work for a while, travel around, run out of money, then work again!

  28. oldfashionedlovesong*

    I work in public health and this spring I am supervising an intern for the first time. She didn’t have very clear interests when she came in, which was fine, so my supervisor and I devised a few interesting (to our department) projects and she chose one. I think I can be an overly critical person sometimes, so I almost hesitate to trust my own judgment on this, but I’ve settled on an overall impression of her as a bit flaky and not too engaged. She works half her 16 hours a week from home per her request (because of her class schedule, which we haven’t actually seen but took her word for) but always has to be reminded to send the weekly update email we decided she would send each Sunday evening.

    The most egregious thing happened this past week though. We set a deadline for the first half of her project to be completed last Tuesday so I could review it while she was on spring break this week. She didn’t have it done by last Tuesday; I asked her if she needed help, and she said no, she just needed time, so I said she could finish it at home and send it by that Friday. This Monday came and it wasn’t in my inbox, so I sent a reminder. It’s Friday now, the project is a week late, and I still have no response from her. I just know next Sunday or Monday I’ll get another “I’m sorry [insert some excuse here related to midterms and spring break] but I’ll have it to you on x date a few days from now I promise.”

    I know midterms can be a lot to deal with, and she’s on break this week, but none of this is how I would have behaved as an undergraduate intern, especially as a graduating senior who has to successfully complete this internship to graduate. I have taken my concerns about her lack of engagement and late update emails to my supervisor before, but she didn’t seem to think they were that big of a deal. After that, I don’t know whether to let my supervisor know the project was never turned it. So what would you do, how would you respond, and would you set different expectations going forward? Would you be honest on the evaluation you have to complete of her, or would you just let the behaviours slide if she more or less gets the work done in the end (which I think is my supervisor’s way of doing things).

    1. Ad Astra*

      Well, for her sake, I think you ought to say something about how she’s not meeting your expectations. The sooner you do that, the better shot she’ll have at turning things around. She really should know better than to turn in a project a week late, but interns tend to have weird knowledge gaps about stuff that most working professionals think is obvious. The point of an internship is to learn all that stuff you’re supposed to know when you enter the working world.

      Do you think she’s failed as an intern, or do you just have some criticisms about her performance? That answer should guide how you evaluate her, since your evaluation probably determines whether she passes or fails the internship portion of her degree program. I wouldn’t lie to protect someone who’s clearly not fit to work in my field, but I also wouldn’t want to be the reason a “needs some work, but she’ll get there” intern didn’t graduate. Certainly, a ding for responsiveness and reliability would be appropriate.

      1. Anxa*

        I see a lot of comments about inexperienced people not knowing what professional norms are, but I think sometimes they (we?) are afraid of being too formal.

        Most working environments are far more relaxed than schools are. Many instructors will say they won’t chase you down for homework, but they often do follow up and express some sort of frustration.

        I wonder if she thinks this is just a really lax environment, and is thus prioritizing her responsibilities where punctuality, follow-through, and communication are more clearly valued and explicitly required.

        1. Ad Astra*

          I think that’s definitely possible. When I was in college, I absolutely managed my time based on what I could get away with turning in late and what I couldn’t. Between classes, my sorority, campus organizations, internships, off-campus jobs and my student media job, I literally did not have the time (or at least the energy) to do every single task or assignment that came my way. didn’t have the time or energy to do literally every task or assignment I was asked to do — so I figured out what I could let slip and what was nonnegotiable. It wouldn’t be too crazy for a college student to interpret “laid-back environment” to mean “laid-back deadlines” and prioritize accordingly.

          1. Anxa*

            This is why I think you’re right in that it’s time to mention the expectations to the intern.

      2. TootsNYC*

        “Well, for her sake, I think you ought to say something”

        For her sake. Definitely. Say something. That’s what internships are about.

        Also, explain the WHY of why it’s a problem for you. You had set aside time in your schedule; you planned to do something; you have other things on your mind and this is taking away that energy.

        Lay it out for her.

        I think a lot of students thinkt hat deadlines are sort of arbitrary, or just to prove that they will follow orders.

        I told my kids that when they’re late to class, they distract the teacher, interrupt her train of thought, make her feel like she needs to back up and repeat stuff, adn that takes away instruction and progress from the other students. They distract the students, everybody else loses. Not just them.
        it really made them try to be on time.

    2. Glod Glodsson*

      In my experience about half of the interns I’ve mentored show this kind of behaviour. I think they simply have NO IDEA about workplace norms. They don’t take the work seriously or whatever. I once had to tell an intern she could not app me at 3 in the morning to say she wouldn’t come in the next day because she was sick, that she had to follow procedure. When she came back to work she told me that she complained about me to her father and that he, in turn, told her off for her bad ethics. That was so weird :D
      I always tell interns that this kind of behaviour will work against them once they enter the professional field and explain what kind of consequences their flakiness had. In the end, I think interns are there to learn so this is part of the package. Usually though, it’s not super effective. I just hope that they might remember my advice when they’ve entered the workforce.

        1. Glod Glodsson*

          Yes, getting fired is a harsh way to learn a lesson but I can’t help but think for some of them that’ll be the only way a real job will play out!

    3. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      If this is the mid-point of her internship, I think it would be a great time to do a “Mid-Year Review” with her. I would outline the problem and your proposed solutions to finish the internship strong.

      Definitely let your supervisor know that the work was not turned in and that you are planning to have a conversation about your expectations. Just letting it go as long as the work eventually gets done is not helping you or the intern. This is the kind of job behavior that would get someone put on a PIP!

      Finally, I would ask her to bring in her class schedule so you can talk about her hours. My internship (from the school side) would not have counted if I wasn’t in the office.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Totally agree with this. Treat her like a regular employee with a performance review and consequences if she doesn’t meet objectives.

    4. Terra*

      I wouldn’t worry about not having seen her school schedule (unless your company requires it for some reason). Generally I’d say requiring it is too hand-holdy for someone in college, especially if you agreed to her working part-time from home without seeing it. Focus on the flakiness and tell her, flat out, what’s wrong. If this is the first time you’re bringing it up you can always frame it more as “you need to do this because otherwise it makes you look bad/will affect my future reference” but it’s also perfectly acceptable to say “you need to have things submitted by the deadline in the future or we’ll need to let you go.”

    5. Callie*

      I’m in education and part of my job is working with student teachers, so I see this a lot. I think that in the future you should not allow interns to work from home. Part of the point of an internship is to get used to the culture of a work place and interact with professionals in the field, as opposed to being a student. They need to shift from a “student” identity to a “professional” identity and that is hard to do when they aren’t physically at the job.

      I would be very honest with her about your expectations and your evaluation of her work. I would also let her know that these types of internships are a good way to get references for jobs… but only if the work is done well, and her work to this point would not warrant a stellar recommendation from you. I had to have this conversation with one of the student teachers I supervise this term and it was very uncomfortable–but after that, he really shaped up and is doing well.

      Does the student have a university supervisor of some sort? I would definitely bring this up with the supervisor if there is one.

    6. Lady Kelvin*

      I’d agree with most of the commenters, but I’l also make it clear that if she doesn’t start turning things on time you will not be able to give her a passing grade for her internship. Make it clear that the projects you give her are no different than projects for her classes, and they will not be accepted late.

      1. Nanc*

        This! They are being graded and a failing grade is like getting fired for poor performance. I once had to fire an intern. He blamed me because he had to go to school one more term in order to graduate and said we had no structure to our internship program. Funnily enough, all of the other interns we hired with him were quite successful as they took direction and coaching (and did things like show up on time and follow the dress code). The kicker: he put me down as a reference while he was trying to get another internship.

    7. MsMaryMary*

      I suggest having a detailed status review on her project. “I’ll get it to you next week” is not a status, I’m thinking to have her bring inneverything she has so you can see how far along she actually is. Has she made good progress, or is she barely started? Is this a time management issue, or a skillset issue, or a knowledge issue?

      Then I think you have specific project-related things to give her feedback on, as well as resetting expectations. I suspect she thinks there’s more flexibility in your deadlines than her school work and is prioritizing accordingly.

    8. Christian Troy*

      My experiences in public health are a bit negative in the sense that I think people let a lot of stuff go that would not be normal in other fields. I think also for undergraduate interns, there is a sense of casualness about the process because they’re still in school and the idea is to give them skills but not ride them into quitting or PIP (like in a job).

      So I think you need to talk to your supervisor and get on the same page when it comes to what happens next. You shouldn’t tell her she’s getting a negative eval if she’s not really going to and you can’t come down hard if your supervisor has different ideas about interns. Just my thoughts…

    9. Sunflower*

      So I have never in all my years of schooling from K-undergrad asked for an extension on a project/paper. Apparently people do and it’s granted to them. So I wonder if your intern is thinking that pushing off this deadline is totally acceptable since ‘school comes first’. The hard thing to realize going from school to workplace is that your projects don’t just affect you. Turning in a paper later is for sure a hassle for the teacher and not always possible for many reasons but it’s not like ‘I need your paper so Jane can do X so then Xavier can complete Y’. I think now is a good time to sit down and set out your expectations.

      Also is this a required internship for this person? I’m wondering if they have an internship requirement and that’s how she’s viewing this as opposed to something she’s actually interested in.

      1. Anxa*

        “The hard thing to realize going from school to workplace is that your projects don’t just affect you.”

        This is one of the reasons why I failed as a student. By the time I was in college, my jobs mattered more to me than getting my assignments in. How could I prioritize my own homework when that didn’t affect other people? (of course, it DID, because my low GPA has hurt my family now).

        1. Elle the new fed*

          This was so true to me as well. Well, the job prioritization and the fact I just didn’t like school. But the lower GPA is not doing me any favors now that I want to go back to grad school. Sigh.

          1. Anxa*

            I’m pretty much stuck. I’m tutoring. If I want a ‘promotion’ I’d have to be an adjunct. Only I can’t get into grad school.

            This wouldn’t be so bad, except everyone I’m meeting now doesn’t seem to understand why I’d want to take a less ambitious path that doesn’t fit my passions and talents as well. I’m academically much more mature (also helped that I figured out I may have ADHD / anxiety / a sleep disorder and have worked on that to the best that I can for now), and seem to be guiding more toward those positions without realized grad school is NOT an option right now (or at least, not something I can gamble on with the cost of application fees).

            I’m actually trying to temper some of my enthusiasm for aspects of jobs that require more schooling to advance and downplay some of my skills to avoid getting ‘tracked’ that way.

    10. oldfashionedlovesong*

      Thanks to everyone for their super helpful replies! I ended up taking it to my supervisor and explaining my concerns and she took it seriously, if still a bit casually. We’ve emailed her that we are concerned about the status of the project as she enters the second half of her internship and offering our support to catch up, and also asked if she would like to set up a meeting with her internship coordinator at school for some support if she’s having trouble meeting deadlines. Kind of a friendly warning I suppose. I know it’s a more passive approach than most of you have suggested, but that was my supervisor’s preference so I went along with it.

      I will probably speak to her in person when she is back next week to lay down lines a bit closer to some of what you’ve described, being clear that this is as high a priority as her schoolwork since it is a requirement for graduation, that her late work impacts others (namely, myself!), and that this kind of thing won’t fly when she enters the workplace. Depending on my supervisor we may also revisit her work from home capability. (This is all a bit muddy because I am the intern’s technical expertise supervisor but as a consultant to the department, I can’t be her administrative supervisor– my supervisor is her supervisor on paper. So I don’t get final say on how we handle these kinds of issues). I am also planning to write about the late assignments and lack of engagement in her end of term evaluation. Thanks again all!

  29. Jimmy Jack Funk*

    I have been working at my career for almost 20 years now, and I have never been giving the opportunity to be in a leadership/management role. Although, I have always been promoted due to my experience and expertise, someone else always ends up in positions of authority. People I have worked with say it’s because I go with the flow, am not loud enough, and don’t challenge things or argue. I didn’t know this is what I needed to do to get ahead. Every time i have tried to be more authoritative and confident, it has totally backfired. Any thoughts?

    1. Terra*

      It’s not necessarily about being loud or arguing, although some people do it that way, in my experience it’s more about being the person who takes charge. Do you see things that need to be done? Could you reasonable start doing them? If yes then do it. If you’re worried about credit (which is valid if you want a promotion) you can casually tell your boss “hey, I noticed X needed done so I started working on it, just a heads up”. If you can’t do them but think they need done then take it to your manager or someone in the department that should handle it and say “I noticed X isn’t getting done which affects Y. Could someone start doing that?” If you can provide them with a breakdown of what needs to be done for X then even better. People who get promoted into leadership are the people who either fix a problem or bring a problem up with a proposed solution.

    2. Newbie*

      Is there anyone in your company in a leadership/management role that you respect and could approach about being a mentor for you? A mentor that is already in a role you aspire to could help provide tools, techniques, and resources for how you could work toward acquiring or enhancing the skills it takes to ascend to a leadership/management role in your company.

    3. BRR*

      Have you tried applying to any leadership jobs? You say they haven’t been given the opportunity but have you gone after them?

    4. Sadsack*

      Have you communicated to your manager that you are interested in moving into a management or supervisory position? Ask about a development plan to do this?

  30. Squirrel*

    As a way to try to get a new career, I have decided to get a certificate, specifically in business analytics. Is it really that easy to get a job in something, just because you have a certificate? I’m also hoping to find some sort of technical writing program so I can get additional education in that. I have practical experience in procedural writing and I really enjoyed it (and I love the ideas behind business analytics, and would like to qualify myself as someone who has a the kind of mind to excel at it), but I am hesitant to devote resources to these things if they won’t actually help me solidify a career, or at the very least expand my job options. But it looks like, just from cursory research into the topics, that I could actually be successful in finding jobs with these skills/education and start an actual career.

    I’ve just been going from job to job, with no actual goal, so this is very exciting for me. I guess I’m just looking to see what people’s experience has been in a similar situation, or if I have my head in the clouds…

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I’d want to hear about the placement rate of the certificate program before I paid money for it. You want to know how many of their graduates not only get hired within X months, but get hired in a job related to the certificate. They’re doing business analytics, so they should definitely have those numbers.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      If you had some related work experience (reporting, IT, research, or accounting) then I could see this as a natural transition that would help you. It would be hard to go from a receptionist position to an analyst role, but if it is something that interests you, that should be the real reason to pursue it.
      When I was considering different certificates, I went to job boards to search for them to see if they were included in any job ads. That will tell you if it is a cert that employers find important.

  31. Librarian*

    Is there any polite way to fend off small talk or is the problem with me?

    Often we have different shifts come in to work. I make a little chit chat and then get to work. We are entering the busy period for our library. We will often have bursts of customers and then a few minutes of calm. Although I am very friendly, often I look forward to the quiet periods to catch up on email and other stuff. Inevitably one of my coworkers likes to keep asking me questions, about my weekend, posts he saw on facebook etc. I have told him that I am busy but he keeps on asking. Sometimes they are the same questions he just asked!

    I want him to come to me with any work related questions, but his chit chat is driving me mad. So should I just get over it or is there a nice way to tell him, in no uncertain terms that I am busy?

    1. Collie*

      “I love chit chatting, but it’s really cutting into my work time and I need to limit it. I have to get to working now, but let’s catch up after work later!” Or leave out that last clause if you don’t want to do that. :)