my boss complains when I can afford vacations that he can’t take

A reader writes:

I work for a small business as an accountant. My direct boss is the owner of the company. Every two to three months, he’ll start complaining that it’s “not fair” that I get to travel (in my personal life) more than he does.

I know that I’m super lucky to be able to afford these trips, but it’s not like luck is the only reason I get to go travel. I take one or two trips a year and spend the rest of the year saving up.

When I try to brush his complaints off (by saying we just have different priorities), he’ll straight out tell me I’m wrong and that it’s all because he can’t afford it, because the company won’t pay him more. He’ll then try to get sympathy from me or anyone else nearby.

When I try to offer him advice (like “if you save $30 a week for a year, you’ll have enough to fly to another state, and stay in a half decent hotel” or “I put aside $X from my paychecks to a savings account I can only get money from twice a year”), he says he hates budgeting and shouldn’t have to do things like that. He should just be able to buy whatever he wants whenever he wants it.

I know for a fact that he could afford to travel, if he would just stick to a budget. He has me handling his personal finances (paying his bills on time from his personal accounts) so I know he has the money to do basically anything he could ever want to do; he just wastes his cash on impulse buys and poor budgeting.

I really do like my job here, and this isn’t something I’m going to leave over. However, we have lost a few good employees over the years by giving them the benefits that allow travel (decent wage, three weeks paid vacation, remote work, etc.) and then complaining when they actually use these benefits.

We’re too small for an HR department. He’s the owner, so there’s no one “higher up” I could try to talk to about this. And anytime I try and ask him to stop this behavior (saying that it makes me uncomfortable, that it’s encouraging people to avoid taking vacations in general) he just starts up another rant on how unfair the whole situation is.

I’m unsure of how to proceed. Is there anything I can do at this point, or should I just give up and accept things as they are?

“He should just be able to buy whatever he wants whenever he wants it.”


I feel like your boss could easily supplement his budget by doing stand-up comedy, and then he would have extra funds for traveling!

In any case, there are two separate issues here: Your boss complaining to you all the time that you can afford to travel when he can’t, and your boss saying things that discourage people from fully using their benefits.

On the first, there’s not a lot you can do. Your boss is ridiculous. He presumably earns more than you, but even if for some reason he didn’t or if he had staggering debt or was putting a whole pack of children through college, it’s still ridiculous for him to complain about this to you. I mean, the occasional wistful “I wish I could travel more” would be fine, but regularly bringing it up and trying to get sympathy from people, and saying he hates budgeting and money should just somehow rain down on him? He is really just a loon.

Luckily, on this front, there’s not much impact other than you having to hear him say ridiculous things. So I think all you can or need to do is to just internally roll your eyes and not feel like you have to somehow make him see reason. He’s not going to see reason.

On the second issue — him saying things that discourage people from taking vacation — I don’t think there’s much you can do there either. Once again, you’ve tried all the reasonable things, like pointing out that he’s making people feel guilty about using their vacation time. He doesn’t care.

Take your vacation. Take all of it that’s allotted to you. Encourage your coworkers to do the same. Let them know that you take all your vacation and that it’s fine, aside from inspiring whining from your boss about his own travel-free life.

If you can see this as the amazing comedy show that it is, all the better.

{ 256 comments… read them below }

  1. Evie*

    If he’s the owner why is his argument the company won’t pay him more? Isn’t he in control of that? I understand the company budget might now allow that but it sounds like that is a different thing.

    1. Jaguar*

      Yeah, this is really confusing for me as well. I know it’s besides the point of the letter, but the company owner doesn’t need the company’s permission to raise his or her wage? Right?

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I came her to say the same thing. Sounds like the boss can’t manage money at home or in the business & counts on the OP to do everything, but LOL, has he done such a bad job that someone else is now calling the shots on how much he gets paid?

    3. LBK*

      Yeah, I was wondering that too. Maybe it was just odd phrasing and what he means is that the company isn’t profitable enough for him to take the salary he wants? Which…also seems like his problem to deal with as the owner.

    4. The Rat-Catcher*

      I’m another one who came to say that. OP, if you’re reading, please enlighten us!

    5. OriginalYup*

      That was actually going to be my proposed answer for the OP in this asinine conversation:

      Boss: “I wish I could travel as much as you do.”
      OP: “I wish I could own a company like you do.”

      Seriously, OP. Your boss is a giant baby. Don’t try to reason with him. You could present the most flawless waterproof argument ever, and he would still stamp his feet and be all, “WAH ME WANTS VACATION.” Deflect, avoid, disengage. “Yes, I’m very excited to have a break. Have you seen the Pensky file?” “We all have our little indulgences, I guess. Did you catch the game last night?” “Yep, I got bit by the travel bug and never got over it. How was your weekend?”

      Also, I find empty phrases really helpful for dealing with dolts like him: “mmmm, indeed” + “how interesting” + “my, my” + “is that so?”. Good luck and enjoy your well-deserved vacations!

      1. Three Thousand*

        That’s what I was thinking. Complaining that he shouldn’t have to budget and he should just get whatever he wants when he wants it? He’s whining because there’s no one to call him on it. Don’t get sucked into his nonsense.

        1. ZenJen*

          So true–people make their choices, to budget and prioritize their spending to attain their goals (such as some awesome travel!) or to squander it like entitled children. I’m with OP, on making choices that allow me to live life the way I want to. I refuse to listen to whiny people at my job over this, too–I have zero reason to feel guilty for some fun trips!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        This is a pretty good idea, OP. Pick something that is meaningless to you. For example, I am not a car person so I would pick cars. “Gee, I wish I could afford a BMW like yours, Boss.”

    6. fposte*

      I don’t know if it’s this guy, but some owners who complain like this mean (and even outright say) “I can’t afford to go on vacation because your salary costs me too much.” Which–too bad, they’re free to do that position’s work and keep the money if they’d like that better.

      1. animaniactoo*

        This. You need somebody to do the work? Then you better share. Because without that work being done, you got nothing yourself either.

    7. Pwyll*

      Meh, the phrasing might be a bit off, but my old boss used to complain to the finance guy in our office all the time about how the company wasn’t paying him enough (or at all). When we had particularly rough months of late client payments, Owner would come in and say, “Can I get a paycheck?” and often be told no.

      Of course, finance guy would also tell him to stop randomly hiring people he met in bars, or buying days of meals for the whole office on a whim, or taking unnecessary trips to see clients in other states if he wanted to have more money in his paycheck.

      1. NJ Anon*

        So much this. My boss is running around saying the sky is falling but then makes stupid financial decisions. I am so sick of people who head up a business but have no idea how to run it.

    8. Mike C.*

      I think the OP was trying to say that “we don’t have an HR department, the owner is HR”, but I could be wrong.

    9. OP*

      Sorry for my weird phrasing, I’m not that great with words.

      It’s a combination of company budget and ridiculous expectations. He wants to go back to the days when he made 10 x what he does now (he was an amazing sales agent before he opened a business), but the company can’t afford to pay him that while keeping the lights on. He still makes an upper middle class wage (especially when you include his spouse’s income) but it’s not even close to what he made a decade ago.

      1. burnout*

        Well, he owns the company, so he can pay himself what he wants to. He can travel if he wants, as well, and even charge it off as a business expense (hello…. business development seminar? sales training?) He’s just bellyaching to be bellyaching, or so it sounds to me.

      2. FD*

        That does make sense.

        I wonder why he doesn’t just close the business then? I mean, with this kind of temperament, I can’t imagine he keeps it open because he feels responsible for the employees, and there’s always a good market for good sales people.

      3. Van Wilder*

        My husband used to work for the owner of a tiny business, who constantly complained that he was short on cash and mentioned how lucky my husband was to be paid so well (he was actually underpaid for the area). I think sometimes small business owners feel like their employees are picking their pockets.

        1. nonprofit manager*

          Yes. I used to work for a small business and any time anyone asked for a pay increase, the owner would reply, “You’re taking food out of the mouths of my family.”

        2. Violet Rose*

          Oh LOL, does this ring true for me! A former boss used to complain that me taking 4 or 5 bathroom breaks a day was taking his (personal) money out of his (personal) pocket (personally). As the only woman and uterus-possessor in the office, I lacked the equipment to speed-pee, so by the time I walked up the stairs to the bathroom, down the stairs to the water cooler, and back to our office, these breaks sometimes took up to 12 minutes. Did I mention company culture was to take 30 minute lunches?

          I handed in my resignation after about six months, and a week later he sacked me on the spot* for “gross misconduct”. I don’t think I was ever more pleased to leave early!

          *I live in the UK where my contract stipulated a month’s notice by both parties, so this reeked of “if you’re not with us 100% then we don’t want you here”, which is a sentiment he presented a lot

      4. disconnect*

        There’s a meme going around that you can take any New Yorker cartoon and replace the caption with “Christ, what an asshole” without loss of comedic value. I’ve found that this caption, when muttered under one’s breath, covers a surprising array of situations. Such as this one, e.g.

    10. AF*

      I worked for the owner of a very small company. Unfortunately, he was the last one to get paid (as someone said, after you pay employees to do the work, keep the lights on, pay rent for the office, etc.). However, if you have enough money to OWN a company, don’t be crying to the accountant about how you don’t have any money. Or, ya know, do something to increase profits, and then he would get a chunk of that. Business 101. He is an idiot.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Or if you’re my FIL, you take home your whopping salary and then just tell your minimum-wage workers to hold on to their checks until the Tuesday after payday.

      2. Rmric0*

        Current boss has the same attitude, complains there isn’t any money or business and then sits in his office and watches videos online (which I can hear because he’s got the volume jacked way up). Dude, it’s your business and if you’re not busting your ass to grow it then no one is going to do it for you.

    11. CanadianKat*

      I don’t think that’s a mystery at all. The boss may actually be earning less than the employees. To stay afloat, a business’s first priority would be to pay the expenses, such as rent, supplies, and salaries of the employees (assuming a layoff would not make sense here). The salary of the owner is not a priority – he simply gets whatever is left over (whether that’s structures as salary, dividends, or otherwise).

      So it’s “not fair” in the sense that he has to have the headache of running the business and doesn’t make enough (below market, for his position), while the employees have a guaranteed income (perhaps in line with the market rate). What he is missing, is that he has a chance of profit (i.e. making far above his position) if the business succeeds – which is, to a great extent, up to him.

  2. RVA Cat*

    Also, why is the OP paying his bills for him….? That strikes me as blurring boundaries. I know there are still people who outsource their personal business to their support staff, but this is so beyond something like dropping off his dry cleaning.

      1. Kate M*

        It definitely happens a lot. Back when I was an executive assistant, my boss (who owned the law firm I worked for) had me book him vacations and pay from the business account. Whenever he was low on money he would take a draw on the business account, so it’s not like he got a regular paycheck, it was all “his money.” (His wife was also on payroll and got a monthly check and she didn’t even work there.)

        He was also the type that was the paycheck to paycheck rich – if something ever happened to the business or he couldn’t draw money, he’d be in a LOT of debt and in real trouble.

        1. Jaguar*

          I had a boss (a great boss!) at a small 10-person firm that had the secretary / office admin do basically all of his finances / stocks / etc. And he most definitely wasn’t a paycheque to paycheque person. I’m not saying you implied this, but it is important to note that not just idiots do this. It happens in small businesses that are well run by good people, too.

          1. Kate M*

            Oh, I’m definitely not saying only idiots or bad people do this. But I do think that it is important for a healthy business to have personal funds and business funds separate. And you do have to be really careful when you have someone managing both business and personal funds (especially if they aren’t trained in personal finance).

            1. CDN Accountant*

              I used to have bosses (family business) that would just take draws as well. How we managed it was that all cash draws – or personal purchases – were debited to their shareholder loan account and on a monthly basis there was an entry to debit management fee expense and credit their shareholder loan account for their monthly earnings. As long as the shareholder loan was in a credit (so the company owed them money) balance we – and the auditors – didn’t care. Not quite as clean as it could be, but was defensible to auditors and in line with tax rules, etc. It’s pretty status quo in a lot of private companies.

          2. Pwyll*

            Yup, this. Great managers know what they don’t know, and hire people to get it done. That applies just as much to personal finances.

    1. EA*

      This was my first thought. And OP is an accountant, not an assistant. It doesn’t seem like a good use of his time.

      1. RVA Cat*

        Not to mention the boss is taking on a lot of risk – good thing the OP is presumably an honest person, but a lot of people…aren’t.

      2. finman*

        Is it any different than him paying a second accountant to track his personal books? He hired someone he trusts to manage the firm’s money (which is basically his own as well), I would assume he trusts him with his private money as well.

    2. Triangle Pose*

      Not just small businesses, some senior people do this, some large organizations do this. It’s not always taking advantage and it’s not always bad. At my office, our assistants routinely book/research our personal travel when it bookends business travel and they take care of personal mailings or personal in-office errands. It’s not crazy. Obviously it’s unreasonable to ask that personal tasks encroach on work ones, but that’s rarely the case here.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      Since she is, maybe she could just make him a secret budge and secret vacay savings account and one day be like “surprise you’re going in vacation ( now stop whining)”

  3. Notepads*

    When I am interacting with a person who fishes for sympathy like this, my tactic is to make myself as boring as possible to them, and not give them the sympathy that they want. In this instance, whenever he says he wishes he could take vacation or get paid more, I would just respond with, “Okay. So work-related thing…” Don’t even try to give a reason or anything. Simply move on from the comment.

    I hope this helps – in my experience, it doesn’t cut out the behavior completely, but it does help lessen it! Once these types of people see they aren’t going to get from you what they want, they stop trying to get it.

    1. Amber T*

      I’ll add that I ‘agree’ with them, then change the topic. In a way you’re saying “I heard what you said, I’m saying it back to you to let you know I understood,” but here’s the topic change.

      Boss – “It’s not fair you can afford to travel – I can’t!”
      You – “Nope, not fair at all. So did you get that report I sent?”

      Boss – “I should be able to buy whatever I want, whenever I want!”
      You – “Yep, sounds reasonable. You ready for our meeting this afternoon?”

      This approach obviously delves into the slightly snarky territory… but with a ridiculous boss saying ridiculous things like that, I’d have a problem not letting my sarcasm out.

      As an aside, you should check out the Mr Money Mustache forum. It primarily deals with extreme ways to save and retire early, but there are a bunch of good threads dealing with bosses/coworkers/people in general who just don’t understand what personal finance is.

      1. OP*

        Forum bookmarked for my next lunch break

        I’m kind of worried he’d take the agreement as endorsement for a higher wage. Even if it’s soaked to the bone in sarcasm. However, I will try the “okay, new topic” method.

        1. Ruffingit*

          You can do the vague response too and just say “Huh” or as stated use the Okay, new topic thing. I sometimes do the OK with people who just seem to want to argue or gain sympathy. It really does work a lot of the time because you’re refusing to engage with them, you’re just saying “OK” and moving on.

        2. JeanLouiseFinch*

          If he is the kind of person who eats lunch out and eats other meals consisting of restaurant foods and prepared foods, you could suggest that he brings his lunch from home and/or only eats a restaurants 1 or 2 times per month. That was how we used to save for vacations. If you work in a large urban area, it’s amazing how much gets spent on restaurant meals and junk food.

      2. AMT*

        This is the approach I take when people comment on how unfair it is that I stay so fit eating burgers and donuts. (Because obviously being a serious athlete and sticking to a strict nutritional plan has nothing to do with it, and I’m just one of those lucky people.) Fine, okay, moving along, how was your weekend?

        1. blackcat*

          Ugh, yes, those comments necessitate the “Yep, moving along” response.

          I get asked how I stay so thin eating whatever I want. I tend to respond, “It’s hardwired into my DNA. But so is my asthma and a guarantee of skin cancer. You win some, you lose some. Anyways, how about X?”

    2. Artemesia*

      Seems smart to me. People who envy/whine ESPECIALLY when they are the boss and control how much they make to some extend are icky to be around. I used to travel every summer for 3 weeks to Europe and would hear this ‘must be nice stuff’ from people who had lavish cars, beautifully furnished homes sent their kids to poncy private schools etc. yadda yadda. We drove old cars and had old adequate furniture including a sort of grad student hodgepodge of bedroom furniture and our kids were in public schools. But people like this are not asking for budgeting suggestions so ‘yes it is nice, what about the Veeblefetzer account’ is the perfect response.

      1. NJ Anon*

        My boss actually complained to me how expensive oil changes were for his Porsche. I mean, seriously?

      2. Ruffingit*

        Yeah, seriously. My husband and I have one car between us and our biggest recent purchases were iPhone 5s. Prior to that, we owned our old Nokia phones for years. We have nothing luxury thus can afford the once a year luxury of major travel.

  4. Stephanie*

    Ugh, yeah. I have coworkers who outearn me who do this. I tried saying things like “I usually fly outside of busy days or stay with friends and I don’t have children” to no avail. I just gave up. A couple of times I said snarky things, but I just leave it at “I just budget for it.”

    1. EA*

      My boss, who outearns me by orders of magnitude, made a “must be nice” comment when I said I was going to Hawaii. He then asked if my parents were taking me. I could tell he was wondering how I afford it (I don’t go out to dinner, plan, budget, stock up on frequent flier miles and credit card points).

      I know from doing reimbursements (My company requires a cc statement as backup on large purchases), that he doesn’t spend money wisely. I think bad money spending happens across all income brackets.

      1. Mickey Q*

        Same thing going on in my company. I bought a brand new Audi. VP making 5 times as much as me had to buy a 5-year-old Lexus. Then we are supposed to feel sorry for him. The difference there is I don’t have a wife who refuses to work and stays home spending money all day. The pres boohooed that he was planning on buying a new car but couldn’t because for two years in a row he had to pay for an expensive wedding for each of his offspring. These people think they’re entitled to it and I’m not. I paid for my own wedding and it didn’t cost $35,000.

        1. EA*

          That’s ridiculous. People are painfully not self aware. No one ‘deserves’ anything, you get what you earn/budget for. Also my boss is the same guy who comments daily on my lunches, “brown bagging it again?” and then is confused by how I afford the things I want.

          1. finman*

            A $10/day lunch = $2,500 a year. Brown bagging lunch for me is usually under $3/day, which saves me $1,750 than someone eating out every day.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Interesting. I calculated in the early 80s that brown bagging saved me roughly 66% of costs. Now you are showing it has not changed even though prices most certainly have changed. I did not know this had not changed… because I don’t eat lunch out anywhere.

        2. AnotherAlison*

          Same here. When you combine my reasonably healthy salary with my husband’s business income, I out earn plenty of people who outrank me. If you have a stay at home wife and seven kids (I’m looking at you Tom), you’re probably going to have zero disposable cash.

          1. blackcat*

            To be fair, with 7 kids, a stay at home parent is basically necessary. Daycare for 2 kids in my area exceeds many reasonable salaries. So unless all 7 kids are teens or older who could take care of themselves, the problem is more the 7 kids than the stay at home wife.

            (Not knocking people who have 7 kids. My dad was one of 8. Big families can be awesome. But they also cost $$$$)

            1. Stephanie*

              I live in an area with a lot of large Mormon families and I’d wager this is why I see so many MLM stickers: I think even with a salary from one of the better paying companies and a SAHM, it’s still hard to have a family one income.

              1. Random Citizen*

                I was one of five kids in my family growing up, and my Mom was a SAHM. My Dad made a decent salary, but money was always tight.

                1. NJ Anon*

                  I was too. Except the instant my youngest brother turned 13, she got a job. You gotta do what you gotta do.

            2. Overeducated*

              Yup. I have one kid, and full time day care in a home (cheaper than a corporate center) runs around $18k a year. For that money we could go to Europe for a month and still have some left over.

              But, you know, we all have our priorities and i’m very much aware that I gave up the money and mobility for major travel for a few years at minimum.

        3. many bells down*

          My husband and I recently bought our first NEW new car and there was a bit of “oh I wish I could afford a new car!” But they don’t take into account that he’d been driving the same car for the last 15 years, and it was 5 years old when he bought it! And it’s the first actually-new car either of us has ever owned. We’d planned for this purchase for two years, in order to be able to get what we wanted.

          1. Adam*

            That’s the trouble with sharing your personal successes with petty people: they only see your successful result, not the sweat and strain that went into it. Heck, even if you sat down and explained it to them a few would probably think there was some secret “trick” you weren’t mentioning.

            1. LQ*

              I hate the word magic when people use it to describe success. I’ve had a friend lately tell me I’m magic because my podcast is continuing and doing ok and I am finalizing the next book I’m self publishing.
              Not magic! No trick. Just lots and lots and lots of effort. (A bit of privilege and some luck too, but no magic.) I don’t go home and play video games any more. I go home and hammer at the keyboard writing or editing or marketing or recording. But he keeps saying I’m like “magic”. And even when I told him all that, oh it’s just your magic. Nope.
              So yes, even when people hear it I think they’d rather focus on magic than, well if I really wanted I could buckled down and do that thing.

        4. Stephanie*

          Yeah, the two guys who say things like this buy food out most nights (we work nights) and have stay-at-home wives. I bite my tongue.

        5. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Reminds me of the time I worked in a place where a top gun was arrested for DUI – in a state that mandates a 14-day jail sentence if you blow over a certain limit. Not 14 days of community service, not 14 days of time when it’s too lousy to play golf, you SURRENDER and serve two weeks in the can.

          He and his wife had to cancel their cruise.

          Oh, the humanity!

        1. Turtle Candle*

          I find that it’s possible to completely disarm people who say things like that by acting as if it were a sincere comment: “Yes, we’re really looking forward to it!” It only works if you can do it without even a trace of sarcasm or snark–if you can’t, you’re better off saying nothing–but if you can manage that, it leaves people flummoxed!

          1. Katrina*

            Yes, I love this strategy. People don’t seem to realize that they can *receive* someone’s comments however they want, even if the speaker was obviously trying to insult or annoy them. How you *say* it is your business; how I *hear* it is my business. Years ago, I would successfully reframe comments from my abusive boss in this way. He’d say, “haven’t you done that YET???!!!” with a sneer and the implication that I was lazy or inefficient or whatever, and I’d just calmly reply, “no, not yet,” as though he was simply asking for information in a neutral way. This guy grew to love me, because a lot of his attitude was simply habit, basically the only skill set he had for managing people, and my not responding to his rudeness gave him a respite from the dynamic, which I think was a relief to him. I didn’t stay at that job long of course but I learned some good skills in the months I was there.

            Also, I think I would disagree with the idea that you can’t be sarcastic or snarky in this way and be effective. It really depends on the outcome you want, the power dynamic that exists between you two, etc. If you want to put the relationship on a healthier footing, then yes, try sincerity as it may shift the dynamic. If on the other hand, you just want to set a boundary with the person, get them to knock off the behavior, and there is no downside to doing that, then you can dish it back to them for, by example, making it obvious that you are pretending they are complimenting you. They’ll probably feel foolish and be less likely to try that stuff again.

          2. FD*

            I agree! You have to do it sincerely.

            For example, “Yes, I’m really looking forward to [trip]! We’ve been saving all year for it, so we’re very excited.” It disarms them because it’s not arguing or accusing them of being bad at budgeting (even if they are), but yet also points out that you’ve made trade offs to get there.

        2. Rebecca in Dallas*

          I get that from some of my friends who have kids. We are child-free (by choice) and I have some friends who I guess are jealous that I have more free time/disposable income. My response is usually, “Yes, it is!”

          1. AK*

            I’ve heard that too, and we are childless-not-by-choice, so it’s doubly painful. One of my co-workers (who, incidentally, knew that we were struggling with fertility issues) used to say things like that, until I finally got fed up and said “Well, I’d rather be spending my free time with the kids I can’t seem to have, but since I can’t, this is what I do instead.”
            That was the end of that. I was honestly beyond caring what she thought at the time, I’m not usually so blunt. But it worked.

            1. Elfie*

              I’m so sorry! We too, are childless-not-by-choice, struggling with infertility, and I’m having to accept that at nearly 40, it basically ain’t gonna happen. We don’t want our lives to feel meaningless because we can’t have kids (and incidentally can’t adopt either), so we do live them in the way we want. Our friends with kids complain about all the money and the free time we have (and one set went through fertility treatment to get pregnant!) – I just tell them how lucky they are that things worked out for them. People can be thoughtless, but I know how awful it can feel when you’re raw and struggling to deal with this kind of issue. So e-hugs to you.

        3. Nervous Accountant*

          Is this one of those things wehre tone and context matters? or the phrase itself isa no go?

          1. MT*

            There are contexts where you can tell it’s sincere – “Wow, Hawaii! I bet that was nice!” – but it’s kind of a known jealous/snarky idiom.

      2. Triangle Pose*

        Your boss doesn’t black out his other purchases when he hands over his credit card statement for reimbursements? I just keep receipts so I never hand over my statement but if I did I would always black it out because I wouldn’t want people to know or judge what I buy or where I buy it.

        1. Katrina*

          I am an executive assistant and most of my bosses’ lives have been an open book to me, with me learning more than I wanted to about their medical conditions, etc. Sometimes a person’s estate can reach a point where they really can’t manage it by themselves.

        2. Blue Anne*

          When I filed expenses for my boss he never bothered to do that. He’d also just hand me all the detritus in his pockets at the end of a business trip – mostly business receipts and train tickets, but also receipts for whatever else he happened to buy, lots of business cards, and other random crap. Mostly innocuous stuff but I definitely learned a lot about him. (No, boss, you still can’t claim your sailing magazines as a business expense.)

      3. CarrieUK*

        It absolutely does! It’s how people with big salaries get ruined when they lose their jobs – a lot of people across all income brackets end up living paycheque to paycheque.

  5. TootsNYC*

    For the first problem–the boss harping on something ridiculous, which gets so very annoying–I’d try the “cut and paste” technique.

    Pick a response. One that’s appropriate, or sympathetic, or funny. Or uncomfortable, like: “Yes, it takes a lot of financial discipline and planning time to be able to travel” in a sympathetic tone (NOT snarky!).

    then say it every single time, and no matter where else he tries to take it.
    Him: It’s not fair that I don’t get to travel
    You: Yes, it takes a lot of discipline and planning to travel the way I do.
    Him: No, it’s because the company won’t pay me more!
    You: Yes, it takes a lot of discipline and planning to travel the way I do.
    Him: It’s not fair, you shouldn’t get to do on vacation if I don’t!
    You: Yes, it takes a lot of discipline and planning to travel the way I do.

    Don’t let him turn this into a conversation. It’s not, he doesn’t want it to be. He wants it to be a pity party. And that’s annoying.

    And STOP trying to change him, stop trying to change his response, his wording, his attitude, his spending habits.
    STOP trying to convince him. Stop giving him advice, pointers, etc.

    STOP trying to make him see reason.
    That’s not really appropriate for you to do, no matter how illogical he is.
    And he doesn’t want to.

    By conversing with him, and arguing with him, you’re just feeding the beast.

    However, by making the conversation as boring as possible, he’ll stop sooner.
    And if you make it a tiny bit uncomfortable, he’ll have even more incentive to never bring it up, because you are so-so-sympathetically pointing out that he has no discipline and won’t plan. (that’s why the sympathetic tone is so important–you are pitying him! But he can’t really complain about it, because you’re being so sympathetic! All while you are pointing out that he has no discipline and can’t plan)

    1. neverjaunty*

      As he’s the OP’s boss, this is not really the place to insert subtle snark, and the guy clearly isn’t going to respond to hints that he’s wrong. Boring listening noises are better.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        That’s what I was thinking. I’d just reply to each “that’s not fair!” and “how come you can do it and I can’t?” and that with a noncommittal listening noise–enough to avoid any claim that you’re being rude by ignoring him, but nothing he can get a grip on. Blandly pleasant facial expression, vague ‘mhm?’ noise–no snark, no advice, no “you could do it too if you change your priorities,” nada. It’s not as much fun to imagine as a clever quip, but IME it’s more satisfying, because there’s just nothing for the person to get their claws into to keep arguing (and often what they want to do is keep arguing so they can feel self-righteous).

        1. Myrin*

          This is my usual approach to ridiculours things like this. Depending on my mood and who it is I’m dealing with, I might come out and say something in the vain of “Are you kidding me right now?” but more often than not – and especially so if it’s someone in some position of power over me – I’ll just “answer” with some vague “Hmhmmm” noise and then let there be silence or change the topic (both approaches are usually effective).

    2. Irishgal*

      Lol… technology changes language; I know the “cut and paste” technique as the “broken/stuck record” technique.

  6. Gandalf the Nude*

    If my boss said something like that to me, I’m not sure I could keep myself from staring at him like he had two heads or going “Wow” and walking away or any number of other things that would not enhance my job security. I applaud your restraint, OP.

    1. Cookie*

      In situations like this, I like to go with, “Oh!” like as if I had walked in on someone on the toilet who forgot to lock the door. Probably not great to do with the boss, but a surprised/mortified “oh!” just slips out reflexively sometimes.

  7. Joseph*

    A more senior guy…who makes more money than you…can’t figure out how to manage his money to take vacations as nice as you?

    I feel like the only appropriate response here is to (a) completely brush it off between 9-5, and (b) shake your head and sigh in the privacy of your own house.

  8. RoseRed*

    I don’t know anything about where this person works, but discouraging people from using their benefits was something I ran into a lot when I was at nonprofits. I feel like there was a widespread culture of sacrificing for “the cause” and..I guess “making yourself a martyr” is too strong, but definitely making a lot of the fact that you didn’t do things for yourself. There were tons of instances of people coming in to work sick because it was somehow more noble to do that than to stay home and spare everyone else your illness (and viruses went around like crazy despite all good hygiene practices, because so many people came to work sick), and people would brag about how management had to practically order them to use their 99+ hours of paid time off before it expired. In all the years I worked there, I was the only non-smoker who ever took the three 5-minute breaks we were entitled to by law. I always quietly used the benefits offered to me, and every time I did I was subject to criticism from my coworkers. My breaks and days off were also micromanaged by my bosses to such an extent that it was clear they were trying to get me not to take them at all–every time I complied with their latest rule, they’d come up with another one, and when I mentioned some of their rules it accidentally brought to light that nobody else in the organization had to follow the same rules.

    Needless to say, I left, and at my new job I continue to use all my benefits and do the same great work, and nobody says a thing to me.

    Sorry about that rant–the concept of companies discouraging people from using their benefits always just makes me boil over.

    1. Anna No Mouse*

      That’s not just in the nonprofit world, though in the for profit world it’s less about being a martyr and more about being the “perfect” employee, who works 80 hours a week, and proving that they work harder than everyone else.

      My biggest problem at work is not having enough to fill up my time. I don’t now how people even accumulate enough work to take up 80 hours in a week. I forage for work to do, email my bosses about needing more to do, and I still have time to hang out on AAM and discuss it.

      1. Kate M*

        I realize that some people really are overworked and probably have reason to complain. But I find that a lot of the people I know working 60+ or 80+ hour weeks goof around at the beginning of the day, are on FB, (or Ask a Manager I guess… :) ), take long coffee breaks, long lunches, and then 5:00 rolls around and they’re all of a sudden hunkered over their desk working furiously so that when the boss leaves (s)he sees them working late. A lot of it is either failing to plan, or just making sure that you put in late hours, whether you really need them or not.

        1. Chinook*

          I do have to give some credit to those in my office that sometimes have to work overtime. Often it is not because they are inefficient but either a)the work ebbs and flows based on the season/weather/mating habits of local wildlife and they still have to make deadlines or b)someone else mismanaged their time and passed of their portion of the work late so that the current employee is putting in extra time to meet the government deadline or c)the higher ups have added a new chunk of administrative work but haven’t bothered to reduce their current workload (because new administrative work is only short term and/or didn’t realize it would actually take as long as it has to complete).

          On the plus side, this does mean that there are times when the work ebbs and people are encouraged to use this time as unproductively as they would like.

          1. MT*

            This is our situation, and I honestly love it.

            We’re just coming out of our CRAZY busy season where I racked in loads of overtime, and now I’m enjoying the novelty of a M-F 9-5 for the summer before the next insane season hits.

            If it was all-go-all-the-time I’d burn out, but if it was summer-slow all the time I’d die of boredom. This is ideal.

        2. Artemesia*

          Absolutely. Lots of people work late because they want to avoid going home, being home or creating a life for themselves out side of work. So many people produce less in 65 hours or more than effective people get done in 35. There are jobs where long hours correspond with productivity but I’ll bet it isn’t most of em.

        3. SAHM*

          I did this on purpose at LastJob because the Boss would find stuff for you to do (even make up things, like take out the trashes when we have janitors who do that every night) just to make sure you were there an hour or two past your clock out time. I was supposed to be 8:30-5:30 and the one time I left at 5:30 instead of 6 or later she mentioned the next day that I “left work early”. It came down to: it didn’t matter *how much* I did but *how long* I stayed. So I goofed off, took afternoon naps, and worked until 7 and all of a sudden I was her model employee. Eye-roll

      2. JeanLouiseFinch*

        Maybe you should get a job in a law firm. I can practically guaranty that there will be more work than you can handle, all day, every day.

    2. Ad Astra*

      I saw a lot of this when I worked in newspapers. They’re not nonprofits, but reporters and editors get into the business because they want to “make a difference” or out of some misguided, noble sense of duty to the community, and then they just work their vacations away. Which is bullshit, because a cub reporter at a medium-sized daily starts at like $35k and works a whole bunch of nights, weekends and holidays.

      1. Rmric0*

        Yeah, newspapers are total garbage for work-life balance. I worked at a small weekly, which meant that pretty much everything happened outside of normal work hours (and on weekends) which made for a thrilling start and very rapid burnout.

    3. Amezilla*

      The coming in sick thing is common where I work, too. We have a really generous and accommodating sick leave policy, but people will still make a big scene about how awful they feel and ostentatiously wipe things down with Clorox. Like, we work with the public, no one wants to be helped by someone wiping snot on their hands and coughing in their face. It inevitably then spreads to everyone in the building. Ugh.

  9. Naomi*

    It sounds like your boss doesn’t want to travel as much as he wants an excuse to feel hard done by. This is why he spends so much time whining to his employees about it and won’t take advice that might actually get him what he says he wants. Some people just seem to enjoy having a grievance.

    1. Leatherwings*

      Yeah, this guy seems like the type who always needs to be the victim of something, even though he’s well off.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      That is true, too. My parents used to say for some people whining is a vital sign. On normal people you’d check for pulse and breathing but on these people you check for whining and then you know they are okay.

    3. Momiitz*

      I had a boss once who said to me, “I’m irritated”. I asked what he was irritated about. I thought maybe I did something wrong or forgot something. His reply. “I have nothing to be irritated about”.

    4. INFJ*


      My heart went out a little to OP for wanting to help boss by explaining logical steps to budgeting for travel, because that would be my impulse, too. However, boss is obviously not interested in logic or an answer to his woes. He just wants to complain.

  10. Jaguar*

    One solution that I’ve often used when I want people to stop complaining about something, depending on your temperament and relationship with your boss, is to go the other direction: start talking up how great it is to go on vacation and have the money for it etc. If someone feels envious of something and is taking it out on you, make it a topic they’ll feel worse about if they bring it up with you. As long as you do it in a joking tone and your boss isn’t a jerk (which it sounds like he might be?), there shouldn’t be any problem with it and it might even help any guilt you feel.

    Be the shock collar to your boss’s whining and they’ll eventually stop whining (to you).

    1. Episkey*

      This is great if you can pull it off!

      Him: It’s not fair that I don’t get to travel
      You: Yeah, sucks, I LOVE traveling so much and I get to see & do so many awesome things!

      1. Jaguar*

        I like it a lot better than ignoring the problem, documenting it, etc. solutions because it lets me work out the frustration of having to hear it. If I was just letting it soak in, it would fester into a worse problem for me.

        Of course, there are people that if you do that with them, they’ll go ballistic, so you have to be careful.

        1. OP*

          Yeah, I don’t see him taking that response too well.

          At best, he’ll probably take it as an opening to complain more “See, traveling is fantastic, but I’d never be able to because I only get to make $X salary” or as an opportunity to take my words and parrot them at coworkers, “OP just kept going on and on about how great travel is even though they KNOW my travel situation”

  11. Leatherwings*

    The best thing for me when faced with highly annoying and ridiculous things at work is to write it down – not for documentation really, just so I can see the ridiculousness in print. It’s like venting. I did that at Old Job and going back to read that document now is always hilarious.

    Don’t do it if it’ll just make you stew, but it could provide an outlet for you.

  12. anon for this*

    I’d actually stop saying things like “When I try to offer him advice (like “if you save $30 a week for a year, you’ll have enough to fly to another state, and stay in a half decent hotel”. Not only is he not going to listen, but to anyone else listening in who might not know the situation, it could come off as condescending. But I have a knee-jerk reaction to people who say things like that because it’s not always that easy.

    But yeah, this guy is ridiculous and he clearly just wants something to complain about.

      1. Petronella*

        +2 to the stop giving him advice. Stop having these conversations at all. Also, I’m another one who does not respond well to anyone advising me to put aside $30 per paycheque or whatever the advice was. Once when I was a truly broke single parent with no benefits, paying expensive rent and daycare out of my on-call earnings, I had a dental hygienist explain to me in small words that if I just put aside money each week, in a year I’d be able to afford the top-of-the-line root canals and crowns that her office was insisting I needed. As though I didn’t already have 10 places to spend every dollar. Instructing someone (who’s not an idiot like the OP’s boss) how to save their money can sound uncomfortably like telling someone what their priorities should be for their money and it is overstepping.

        1. bridget*

          I certainly agree that this advice is a bad idea to dispense randomly, but OP handles the Boss’s personal finances, and it sounds like the OP watches WAY more than $30/week get pissed away on nonessential impulse buys. In that context, I don’t think it’s necessarily obnoxious/privileged to note that, *for this particular person*, it’s a completely doable goal. I also agree that it’s pointless and will get the OP nowhere so she should stop, but it’s different than what happened to you.

        2. I'm Not Phyllis*

          I agree with you here. Regardless of a person’s salary, it’s unfair to assume that they can afford a vacation if they would just put in the extra effort to save. But even if you’re right, it’s not going to change him.

        3. Windchime*

          I once had a therapist tell me that I should go on a shopping spree and stay in a hotel to cheer myself up. This was back in the day when I literally had to scrape together the five bucks for the visit copay.

        4. OP*

          I’m definitely stopping the advice route, no worries there

          As for being careful who I say it to, or how I say it, I really do understand how privileged I am. I grew up as the kid of a truly broke single parent, and realize that I’m extremely blessed to be able to put anything aside.

          I only gave that sort of “try X, Y, Z” response because I have a really good idea of his financial situation, and because at first it seemed like that’s what he was asking for. I kept giving that sort of advice because I know I’m terrible with words, and sometimes explaining something a different way can clear up any misunderstandings my bad wording can cause.

          1. Artemesia*

            Did you try a bland ‘are you asking me to set up a designated travel account for you? You could have an automatic deduction for it?

            1. OP*

              Not with that wording, it was more of a “If you’d like I could set up a travel savings account for you, and have it auto-transfer from your owner withdrawals” but it just brought on more “I can’t afford to have any of my meager paycheck go towards savings” talks.

              I really do think I’m just going to give in and accept that he’s not asking for solutions, he’s looking for a choir to preach to.

              1. Ultraviolet*

                When I read your letter and one of your comments earlier, I thought it sounded like your boss was looking for acknowledgment or appreciation of how much he’s sacrificing for this business. He could be making a much bigger salary at his old sales job, but instead he’s owning and running this business and can’t even pay himself enough money to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Maybe he was hoping you’d say something admiring/sympathetic/grateful about that?

                1. Ultraviolet*

                  I mean, specifically something about how hard it is to be the owner and how much he’s given up, not just general sympathy.

    1. Turtle Candle*

      Yeah, Boss sounds like a giant tool and it sounds like totally unjustified whining on his part in this case, but in general I’d be cautious of that type of advice (unless it’s genuinely solicited). It can too easily come off wrong even when honestly offered and well-meant.

  13. A grown up*

    Can you ask the boss if he will let you set it up so that he can go on vacation? Do an auto-debit each paycheck into another account that he can’t easily see. Tell him at the end of the year he’d have enough money to go on vacation. He can’t miss what he didn’t have in the first place. No, you shouldn’t have to do this. No, it won’t solve the problem. You might feel better, knowing that he really just wants to whine if says No to your plan.

    1. Rowan*

      I was going to make something like this suggestion, only more facetiously: since the OP clearly has access to the boss’ personal accounts, just go ahead and set up an auto-savings plan, then surprise him with in once it has built up a balance. NB: don’t actually do this! Just daydream about it. ;-)

    2. NJ Anon*

      This idiot is an adult! He can do it himself. We have a saying about my MIL, she isn’t happy unless she’s miserable.

  14. How Did You Know?*

    Ugh, people like this guy really grind my gears. Personal finance is….personal, meaning you get to choose how you want to spend your money and it irks me that others think they have a right to tell you how to spend your paycheck.

    For example, I bought a house last year. At the time, I was single, so a one-income family. I had saved and scrimped for years to pay down all of my debt and accumulate a good sized down payment. I didn’t go on trips, I didn’t go out to expensive dinners very often, and I didn’t go shopping all that much. I lived on a strict budget and rented the cheapest possible place I could so I could set myself up better for home ownership. I got a lot of pushback from friends and family, criticizing me for not spending more on vacations, going out, and clothes. It hurt my feelings but at the end of the day, how I spend my money is my business.

    1. Amber T*

      Preach! I’m 26, paid off my student loans last year, just bought my own place, and am traveling abroad for two weeks soon. There’s A LOT that got me where I am today, privilege being at the top of the list. But I see my friends who started off in the same ship as me, and now I’m getting a ton of “it’s not fair” remarks from them. They seem to be forgetting the times I said no to meeting them for an expensive dinner, sticking with water or a single drink at bars, opting for movie nights and pot lucks at someone’s place on weekends, choosing to live in an area that’s cheaper than they’re in…

      Like you said, it’s personal. I get to decide what has value to me and what doesn’t, and you get to decide what has value to you.

      That boss is still an ass. A funny one, but still an ass.

      1. I'm Not Phyllis*

        Ugh … I would never say “that’s not fair” about my friends having things that I don’t! And many of them have houses I can’t afford to live in, cars I can’t afford to drive, and vacations I can’t afford to take. Even if there’s an icky part of my brain that thinks it isn’t fair, the bigger part of my brain is happy for them! I mean, they’re my friends, right?

      2. Bethlam*

        Yeah, I can relate. We’re childless by choice. When we started out, we lived in a two room trailer, drove junk, and vacationed at my parents in FL because it was free. Didn’t eat out, saved every penny we could for 7 years, and were able to put 50% down on our first house; put extra on the principal every month, and paid it off in 3.5 years.

        I had to ask for a Saturday night off for our mortgage burning party so my co-workers knew about our accomplishment. Had to listen to, “Boy, must be nice to have a house that’s paid for at your age,” or “I don’t know why you’re working here when you have a house that’s paid for.” I didn’t do the “go out after work Friday and/or Saturday nights” with my co-workers because 1. I don’t drink 2. I’m allergic to smoke 3. I don’t like loud music and I don’t dance and 4. I was married so not looking to pick up a guy.

        But, in the interest of good co-worker relations, I went out with them one night and was amazed/appalled/flabbergasted at the amount of money they spent on liquor, tipping the bartender, playing this electronic darts game, and smoking more than usual because of the bar environment (this was the late 80s). And they did this a couple of times a week!

        I ripped into them afterwards, told them that I was able to afford what I could afford because we had different priorities and if I wanted to spend my money on extra house payments and they wanted to blow theirs on booze and cigarettes, that was their choice, but don’t ever, ever, say anything snarky to me again about having a house paid for.

        We continued to make financial security a priority and are looking forward to a very comfortable retirement when many of my co-workers who are close to me in age, still live paycheck to paycheck. I do understand that you can’t know everyone’s circumstances and there are lots of reasons people are in debt or can’t get ahead, but for many of them it’s poor choices and bad planning.

        Although that was almost 30 years and several jobs ago, I still remember how they made me feel when they snarked about my situation, and how I felt about finally standing up to them and knocking them back a peg or two.

    2. sunny-dee*

      Same here. I saved for a long time, put 25% down on my house 3 years ago, and I’m paying double on the mortgage extra month. There’s not a ton of slack in the household budget, but my husband and I will be debt-free in 5-ish years, which will be an insane amount of freedom. I know other people who eat out every night and others who travel 2 or 3 times a year. It’s all good, because it’s all our own personal choices, for our own personal priorities. (Although, when one of my cooking experiments is, um, less than stellar, I do start questioning my life choices and thinking maybe I should be eat-out-all-the-time person instead of debt-free person.)

      1. Artemesia*

        Speaking as someone in the last act who lived like this for all our working years — we are now somewhat lavishly retired i.e. we live in a big city with fabulous cultural opportunities we take advantage of, travel internationally every year, and are loving our life. We can do this because during our productive years we had no debt except the mortgage until that was paid off and squirreled away money in my 401K and to a much lesser extent my husband’s IRA. It was a little at a time but continuously. Not having debt is such freedom and having enough to live on in old age is such a pleasure. We never made huge money — good middle class money but never big money — but a little at a time and no debt really adds up. Doing what you are doing sets you up to be free to live the life you most enjoy whether it is urban like ours or that little farm in the countryside that is the dream of others.

      2. Overeducated*

        That’s awesome. I like that your comment is very “you do you.”

        I’m on the other side, as someone who gets a lot more side eye for not being able to buy a house and do other things that are symbolic of adult responsibility. It’s not because we eat out often or travel – we don’t. It’s because we’re trying to pay off student loans and save a bit for retirement (not even a lot) while we pay for day care*, and there just isn’t enough money to go around for down payments, big trips, or even a bunch of nice wooden educational kiddie toys. Your choices go up as your income goes up, sometimes I want to yell that at people who think that if you don’t own a home by 30 you must just buy too many lattes.

        *I get that a kid is an expensive “choice,” but always want to remind people that not all pregnancies are planned. Also, probably most of us want to live in a society where reproduction isn’t considered equivalent to a hobby best reserved for the rich, like flying helicopters or something.

        1. Amber T*

          Blargh. No one should be giving anyone the side eye over anything. Some people like to party and live in the now. Some people want to save for a house. Some people want to pay off debts. Some people just have high expenses because they have to. People need to just stop judging!!

          1. Amber T*

            Overeducated, I should specify that comment isn’t directed at you (or anyone else in this thread) but at the people in general who suck. (This is a sensitive topic for me, as I’m sure it is for a lot of us.)

  15. SJ*

    I’ve stopped discussing vacation plans to my boss because of the opposite reason — he can’t understand why everyone can’t just pack up and go wherever they want to, whenever they want to. He’s a millionaire and makes a very healthy salary (7.5 times what I make at my very low entry-level salary), and recently he went ice fishing in Iceland, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. I mentioned it to him once (“Man, I’ve always wanted to go there!”) And he said, “Why not just go?” I vaguely mentioned that my current budget didn’t allow for it — I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining, though I’ve continually been denied a raise in the 3 years I’ve been here, despite glowing performance reviews. And he STILL didn’t get it and said, honestly confused about the problem, “Who cares about money? Why not just go?” Uuuugggghhhhh.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Funny enough, two of the people I know who are the least concerned / responsible with money are also two of the poorest people I know. Not in a good, unmaterialistic way — I mean, they really would just buy a plane ticket to Iceland instead of, like, paying rent.

    1. Owl*

      The airlines! They care about money. Practically won’t let you on the plane unless you pay for it! So short-sighted.

      1. LBK*

        Will you believe my landlord wants my rent to be paid in money instead of photos of my vacation to Iceland? I was shocked! It’s almost like he cares more about fulfilling the terms of the lease I signed than how much fun I’m having by traveling!

    2. Katie the Fed*

      One of my bosses wanted me to write an article for our employee newsletter about all the travel I do. I told him no, and he kept insisting because he thought it was SO inspirational that I go see the world.

      I told him no again, because:

      1) I’m a manager myself, which means I’m already getting paid more than most of the workers
      2) promotions have been stagnant so it’s even more cruel to brag about it
      3) My husband and I are DINKs, and our circumstances are unique
      4) When we got married we had about 500,000 frequent flyer miles between the two of us – that makes a big difference
      5) Just no. It’s tone deaf.

      1. Triangle Pose*

        Thanks for getting me to look up DINK. My goal is to be a DINK, go to yoga a ton, hike, travel the world and have all of the dogs.

        Agreed that it is tone deaf and good on you for pushing back on this.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          We’re hoping to have kids at some point, so we’re living it up DINK style right now. I figure I can be jealous of everyone else’s great trips when I’m up to my elbows in diapers.

        2. Sammy*

          I guess that makes me a SINK? Or do y’all like OINK better?

          I travel quite a bit and it used to bother me when people would say they were jealous. Like, I don’t win these trips in contests, you know? They’re a combination of goods and services that I pay fungible currency to experience. But then I realized partly it’s just a thing for people to say, but mostly I am very lucky to have the means to purchase stuff I want and no obligations on my time.

      2. Overeducated*

        That shows some really good judgment on your part, which says something good about your managing ability, I’m sure.

    3. Snargulfuss*

      Who cares about money? The IRS, the utilities companies, and the mortgage holder or landlord to start with!

    4. Artemesia*

      Next performance review say ‘I have been getting good reviews this past 3 years without a raise — I’d really like to go ice fishing in Iceland and am hoping for a raise this year that well let me do that.’

    5. Sparrow*

      Oh man, I get this all the time. I work at a university, and a lot of my coworkers come from very wealthy families. (The old regime used to hire people who were pretty much looking for a hobby job – summers off, no expectations after hours, completely crap pay relative to the cost of living in our city.) I don’t mind hearing about their plans for summering in France, but when they follow it up with, “Oh, where are you going? You’re young and single, you need to take advantage of that.” Uhhh, that’s not how that works. I will be working *because* I’m young and single in an expensive city and no one else is going to pay my rent or put money in my retirement fund, thanks.

  16. Edith*

    I’ve had a similar issue– I make about 60% market value for my work, education, and experience, but I make ends meet by living very modestly, by holding off on having children, and by prioritizing saving. Even though she makes a lot more than me my boss lives paycheck to paycheck in part because she is raising two kids by herself.

    I’ve been hesitant in the past to ask for raises because it feels wrong somehow to argue I deserve more money from someone who is worse off than I am. Obviously my compensation should have nothing to do with my boss’s life choices, but it’s hard to divorce the two in my head.

    The LW’s boss and I have both been ingrained with the notion that a boss should not only make more than her subordinates, but she should live better too, like it’s a given.

    1. TL -*

      Living better is a matter of opinion. Is it better to own a house or travel to far away places? Lots of disposable income or raising kids? To have a large wardrobe and eat out whenever you want or a great savings account? Max out your retirement or invest in your hobby?

      After a certain income level, it’s much less about how much money you’re making and more about what you’re choosing to spend it on. Or not spend it on. But unless you’re truly filthy rich, whatever you decide to buy to enrich your life is going to take away from something else. The hope is that what you decide to spend your money on is more important than what you’re giving up.

      1. Edith*

        Oh, I agree. I just think it’s a weird symptom of how American culture and the idea of the American dream can affect how we think. It’s a strange confluence of self-betterment and knowing one’s place.

  17. Tau*

    Ugh, LW, I am so sorry. No advice, but talk about obnoxious. At least my own whining senior coworker only complains about how little he’s paid.

    Speaking of.

    To all senior coworkers: when it comes to complaining about your salary, people earning less than you will have a very, very small well of sympathy. Even with all the goodwill and justifications and he’s-at-a-different-stage-at-his-career refills I could muster, mine ran dry roughly two months after I started. Now every complaint makes me respect him that little bit less.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Yes Tau, but what if the SENIOR worker is making far less than the junior people he/she works with?

      Been there, done that. Decades ago, I had tickets to one of the popular sports teams (they were CHEAP then) and they were hard-to-get. A big shot boss wanted my tickets to a 7th-game situation because it was his kid’s birthday and he wanted to see that game.

      I politely but firmly told him – my wife and I were using the tickets to that game and we did not have any extras.

      My manager then said (away from the big boss) but it was for his kid. His KID, dammit.

      I then told my manager “I have an agreement with the big boss. I don’t give two ****s about his kid, and he doesn’t give two ****s about mine! Given what I’m getting paid here.” And, I reminded my manager that big boss is lucky. He is getting to spend his kid’s birthday with his kid. On my kid’s last birthday, I had to go on to my second job.

  18. Kittens*

    BAHAHAHAHHAHA. Thank you for my daily laugh.

    I once had my boss (I wait tables on the weekend) pull a “must be nice to make more than your GM today” comment when she was cashing me out, so laughable because I get none of the benefits she does and she’s always cutting our hours and shifts. Sure I made more than you one single day, but how many times have you cut my shift out completely in the past month? It was so maddening in the moment, but I have definitely come to laugh about it. Some people will NEVER get it, but a good old Carolyn Hax style “wow,” or even better, a 100% ignore and move on method, combined with a personal vow to take it as comedy goes really far. Just remember, he may be ridiculous but thank God you get to be your reasonable rational self and not have to be him!

  19. animaniactoo*

    “he says he hates budgeting and shouldn’t have to do things like that”

    [eyeroll] “Almost nobody likes budgeting. They do it anyway. For the benefits.”

    “I wish I could get away with that! (But I’d be out on the streets if I tried!)”

    1. Kate M*

      Oh man I love budgeting. Sitting down and playing with the numbers at the beginning of the month is my jam. Watching my savings categories fill up is so much fun. I never thought that one of my highs in life would be “My medical category is fully funded so I can meet my deductible if I have to!”

      1. Adam*

        Budgeting is actually kind of interesting when you have money to play with. There was a time when I avoided logging into my bank account for MONTHS on end because the reality of it was too depressing. I was still “on a budget”, but it basically amounted to just live really cheaply/boringly and it’ll work out eventually which it did (perhaps not the best strategy, but I’m good at not being loose with my debit card when I understand I have to be. So I was responsible; just not very organized).

        Once I got to a place that was still lean but much more stable it was actually kind of fun to set aside the money I needed for essentials and ponder what I’d want to do with the rest of it.

        1. Kate M*

          Oh it’s definitely more fun when you have money. Back when I wasn’t making much at all, it wasn’t as fun. But it still gave me peace of mind to know my situation and not have to guess (“well I have enough to cover bills this month and $x [small] amount for either savings/fun/clothes, but not all three”), versus when I tend to bury my head in the sand and not know. (I definitely did the whole not logging into my bank account for a while when I didn’t want to know what was going on too before I budgeted, so I’m with you there).

          But yeah, money can’t buy you happiness, but it definitely gives you less reasons to be unhappy. Budgeting is always more fun when you have money to use in a discretionary way.

          1. animaniactoo*

            And to be fair, Boss’ issue is likely that if he uses a budget that it will tell him that NO he actually CAN’T afford to just do whatever he wants. No matter how much he pays himself. He doesn’t want to hear that.

            1. Kate M*

              So true. To budget I guess you have to be willing to live in reality, which it doesn’t seem like this guy is.

          2. Adam*

            Oh I agree and totally and didn’t mean anything by my comment. My system definitely wasn’t better; it just worked for me in this sense. Every couple of months I would sit down and figure out what my typical monthly expenditures were and then figure out what I had left over for food, gas, and maybe a smidgen of fun. Everything else went to slowly chipping away at the credit card and student loan (Both gone now! Just the car left).

            After those quarterly check-ins I was content to just cruise along until situations changed. From where I sat there was no need to check my bank account because I didn’t want to remind myself that there was basically nothing there. :P

          3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            Getting paid a decent salary AND being able to meet financial obligations are also beneficiary to the employer.

            It removes huge distractions from the table. You’re able to do your own job far more effectively.

  20. Old Admin*

    “However, we have lost a few good employees over the years by giving them the benefits that allow travel (decent wage, three weeks paid vacation, remote work, etc.) and then complaining when they actually use these benefits.”

    In my humble opinion, the OP’s boss is simply working on her, as well as everybody else employed there to not use their benefits! No more, no less.

    Occam’s Razor: The simplest explanation frequently is the correct one. :-)

  21. Belle*

    This reminds me of a boss I had. He was CFO and he wanted to change our payroll schedule for the entire company from biweekly to semimonthly. I thought – okay, there must be a pretty good business reason so I asked the benefits. His response, “I don’t have enough biweekly to pay my bills so this would fix it!” I mentioned budgeting and the months where we get an extra paycheck and he just said, “I don’t really do the budgeting thing.”

    Really? You make 3 times as much as me (which I know since I processed the payroll) and you are complaining about not being able to pay bills because you just bought X, Y, Z new gadget and refuse to set a budget. A CFO who can’t handle his own finances is bad enough, but then to make everyone change since you can’t budget is terrible…

    1. TootsNYC*

      except…it’s the same amount of money in the end. Wow, from a CFO!

      I remember living in a place where we paid room & board every other week. People complained about getting paid monthly, and how things didn’t line up.
      I said, “Just set aside a little, and get ahead of it!”

      Boy was I glad I’d done so, the month I had $5 to get me through the month! But my room and board were paid, so I walked to work and ate PB&J made w/ store-brand components.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I’m sorry. I was wondering that and typed it and hit send before thinking…that’s irrelevant and derailing.

      1. Panda Bandit*

        I was wondering the same thing. I sure hope he runs his business finances better than his personal finances, because this could turn into one of those times where we advise the letter writer to look for another job.

  22. KT*

    I got this a lot when I still was in an office…My husband and I both worked and had no kids (DINK life!). We had a tiny apartment because our priorities were saving tons of money so we could have more financial freedom later on, but also so we could eat out, travel, etc.

    People got really rude with me, with the “how on earth do you afford that?” or “How does the 20-something afford that and I’ve been here 10 years and I can’t?”

    (I never discussed eating out or traveling at work. If people asked what I was doing on vacation, I would vaguely say, “Oh, just chilling out. It was only if they saw me come in after lunch with leftovers from a local restaurant or someone looked up at Facebook pictures after vacation. The amount of comments I got for my new car–a tiny entry level car that’s less than $10,000 brand new–was downright mean, like they thought I sold drugs to get it)

    I tried being polite for a while and saying not having kids helped…but finally I just had to be borderline rude and say “my finances aren’t your concern” to shut the conversation down. Giving tips on budgeting or explaining how you save just seems to exacerbate the issue.

    1. SL #2*

      Jesus. Something about discussing finances just really shows you what kind of person someone is…

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am chuckling that people actually say these things. They don’t even realize how much of themselves they are letting go of. For years, I said “I prefer older cars. You know, the ones that come pre-scratched? That way if I scratch it, it’s not the end of the world.” I would never let on that I could not buy a new car. In the end, I actually do prefer to buy used vehicles, and when I could have bought new, I chose to buy used. Added bonus, it was pre-scratched for me.

  23. Menacia*

    If that is the reaction you get from your boss, when you go on vacation, just don’t tell him where you are going! Say you’re having a staycation and then go off into the wild blue yonder and have a GREAT time! People like him just want to make everyone feel bad (misery loves company!) so don’t fall for it. In my office we talk all the time about the great places we have traveled, will be traveling, would like to travel. I’m one of the top people to travel and I love talking travel, and love recommending places to go. If someone were to rain on my parade, I’d open my umbrella and keep marching!

    1. Interviewer*

      That’s what I was coming here to say. Take vacation time, and if he asks what you have planned, “Oh, I’m just going to unplug and relax.” He doesn’t need to know where any of that is taking place, and he doesn’t get to make you feel guilty about it.

    2. SpaceySteph*

      I agree with not telling him your vacation plans and came here to say so, but I also think that it’s possible saying you’re going on a staycation could backfire. Depending on the nature of the work, staycation may compute as “still on-call if I need you” which could then translate to him bugging you on vacation and/or trying to get you to come in on your day off to handle some emergency.
      I think the best bet would be to be very vague. If pressed for details, keep being vague. You’re going “out of town” or “to visit family” but whether that’s the next town or a nice trip to a faraway place is not his business. Like a broken record.

  24. Student*

    Different take:

    This guy is your boss. He wants something from you when he does this. I don’t know what that is; maybe really he wants to feel superior to you, or maybe the pity party that most of the commentators are suggesting. You’ll have a better read on what he’s fishing for than I do.

    Just give him the emotional whatever that he wants. Consider it an annoying part of your job, maybe even part of networking. In your internal monologue and your notes to blogs, you can make fun, point out the obvious logical fallacies and personal failings of your boss, and generally pat yourself on the back for being better at money management than your boss.

    If you throw his emotional response back in his face, like you have been doing, like many of the commenters suggest, what do you gain out of that? You will certainly put up a wall between you and your boss. You might (but might not) get the satisfaction of not hearing his whining as often. What do you gain from giving him whatever emotional reassurance he wants? You get a boss that likes you a little more because you made him feel good about himself. You maybe get more whining. Maybe you can co-opt the whining entirely by just not telling him as much about your vacation plans, or painting them in a very different light, or lying a bit about them. Make them sound less exciting, less expensive, less interesting so he can feel superior in his head. You know the truth, you still get to enjoy a big vacation, and you make an ally of your boss instead of a rival. Or, do you brag about your vacations to your boss because you like rubbing his nose in this – because it makes you feel superior to him? If so, do you really think that’s a wise play?

    1. KT*

      I don’t think there is any indication whatsoever that she’s rubbing his nose in it. Nor is she throwing his emotional response back.

      People are asked about vacations. “What did you do with your time off” “Oh, I went to Iceland, actually!”

      That’s not rubbing someone’s nose in your joy, that’s answering a question.

      Can we not be so ready to attack the LW and take a step back?

    2. Jaguar*

      Well, the letter writer is writing to asking for advice on how to get their boss to stop doing this. “Encourage him to keep doing it” isn’t really good advice.

    3. Ms. Thatcher*

      You are advocating manipulating him. Sometimes, we do need to manipulate people and it would be wrong (in my opinion) to pretend otherwise. Lots of social niceties are really a kind of manipulation. But, sometimes you want someone’s behavior to stop because it interferes with your quality of life, and playing some little game comes with too great a price. This woman doesn’t want to deal with her boss’ inappropriate behavior, and she shouldn’t have to.

    4. Cookie*

      But how do you know what emotional response he wants? It’d be great if she could just ask, “How do you want me to respond to your statement?” but people don’t react well to such direct questions, which is too bad.

      1. NJ Anon*

        I wouldn’t give a rats hiney what kind of response he wants. Make up something boring like visiting 1your parents or your 95 year old aunt in hospice, or a religious retreat. Use your magination, etc. ,etc.

  25. Katie the Fed*

    “He has me handling his personal finances (paying his bills on time from his personal accounts) so I know he has the money to do basically anything he could ever want to do; he just wastes his cash on impulse buys and poor budgeting.”

    I’m sorry, what?! That’s not normal!

    Second – I travel ALL the time to fabulous places. I tell people I use frequent flyer miles because my husband’s job requires a lot of travel (true, but not always), and we’re really savvy about using AirBnB and other cheap lodging. I travel ridiculously cheap. We also travel to the developing world where things are cheaper than Europe.

    Haters gonna hate!

    1. Pwyll*

      It’s actually not all that uncommon for smaller closely-held businesses. The last two I worked in had our finance team manage most of the owner’s personal finances, including their mortgage and car, and all of it was accounted for as a draw from the business.

      1. Pwyll*

        (This included paying personal bills from their personal accounts too, in addition to assets owned by the company for their personal benefit.)

        1. Katie the Fed*

          That seems really…weird. Aren’t you not supposed to mingle your personal and business finances because of taxes and liability and other things?

          1. Pwyll*

            I’m not an accountant, but anything personal coming out of the business is treated as compensation to the owner, I think.

            It’s a really terrible practice for risk mitigation, though. I tell clients not to do this all the time because a savvy litigator can point to the personal transactions and say the company is just an “alter ego” and, thus, should offer no liability protection. Not a slam dunk for either party, but it’s generally a best practice not to co-mingle.

          2. Triangle Pose*

            Hmmm…I assumed she meant she was logging in to pay personal bills from the personal checking account of the boss and she has access because usually the online portal less you see the personal and business account of the account holder.

          3. Margaret*

            It’s better to transfer money (as salary or distributions/dividends) to a personal account, and then pay personal expenses from there, but it’s not uncommon to just pay personal stuff out of the company. It doesn’t mean they’re trying to deduct it as company expenses – (if they’re trying to be above board) it gets booked as salary or distributions, just instead of a check made out to the owner it was to the IRS or the mortgage company or whatever. As long as the records are kept as clean as possible it’s not a huge deal as far as liability and taxes and such.

    2. OriginalYup*

      Ditto Pwyll, it’s not uncommon in small privately-owned business for a bookkeeper or accountant to manage the owner’s personal finances in addition to the business’s. It should be disclosed in the hiring process as part of the job and they should be compensated accordingly, but it’s not abnormal.

      1. Pwyll*

        100%. In the one job, the bookkeeper even had a separate contract with the employer for the personal stuff, even though she did them all at the same time and in the office.

      2. SpaceySteph*

        I was a general purpose administrative assistant in a small business (owner, 2 employees including me) and the owner had me doing all kinds of personal business for her. One memorable time I spent 30 mins on hold with a plumber to schedule a sink delivery for her house.
        It was a weird position to be in, and I’m glad I only had that job for a summer between HS and college.

    3. Triangle Pose*

      Not that uncommon in large organizations either! Senior people often have their assistants do small personal tasks for them – handling personal cell phone bills and generally lots of process tasks which facilitates the senior person to do their work. I am continually shocked at others expressing shock. Interesting…

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Well, in government it would be a huge misuse of taxpayer money, so that’s probably why it’s so strange. I can understand an assistant picking up dry cleaning or something. But managing my personal finances – so strange.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      This could work into an open thread discussion of money saving tips for travel.

  26. Adam*

    I come from a family where there were several small business owners, so I understand how tight finances can be when you are the business owner and when your employees who (presumably) have fewer financial obligations and constraints might have an easier time saving up to do things they want. But owning a business is a choice, a very adult choice. Wanting to buy whatever you want whenever you want regardless of reality is a toddler’s eye view of the world. You can see how these two povs might be at odds with each other.

  27. naser*

    I’m not associate controller, however something personal initiating of the business is treated as compensation to the owner, I think.

    It’s a very terrible follow for risk mitigation, though. I tell shoppers to not do that all the time as a result of a savvy party will purpose to the private transactions associated say the corporate is simply an “alter ego” and, thus, ought to supply no liability protection. Not a slam dunk for either party, however it’s typically a best follow to not co-mingle.

  28. moss*

    This reminds me of a joke. Two economists are walking down the street. A Porsche drives by. One economist says, “I’d love to have a car like that!” and the other one says “Obviously not.”

    [explanation: If the first one really wanted a car like that they’d budget and plan and get the car. Since they don’t have it they obviously don’t really want it.]

    Priorities… we all have them.

    1. Alli525*

      That is probably one of the nerdiest jokes I’ve ever heard, and all my friends are total nerds. I love it.

      1. Artemesia*

        I had never heard the joke before but have used that exact line ‘obviously not’ when someone has said ‘I wish I could (do a thing they could obviously do if they committed to it.) We all do what we want to do once we move beyond minimum subsistence level. Barring personal calamity or extreme poverty we travel if traveling is what we want to do, we write if we burn to write a novel, we spend time with our kids if we really want to spend time with our kids. What people do is in the final analysis what they want to do.

    2. Adam*

      Ha! Fun joke that gets the point across. If you’re not in financial dire straits you’d be surprised about the things you could do if you were patient and disciplined. You just have to take an honest look at what you spend money on and figure out what you’d be willing to give up for it (ex. the guy who complains how he never has extra cash and yet he gets Starbucks everyday).

      Now that I think about it, that sounds like a joke a guy I know would tell. He’s a bit of a stickler for words…

      Person 1: “I can’t wait until that movie comes out!”
      Stickler: “Well actually you can wait. It’s not like you’ll spontaneously combust or something before then.”

    3. RVA Cat*

      Cute, but I prefer the one that asks “what’s the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine?”

  29. Juli G.*

    He should just be able to buy whatever he wants whenever he wants it

    I had no clue my five year old was a business owner.

    1. Cristina in England*

      I had no clue my ex-husband became a business owner! Seriously though, the surprise was that he actually did become a business owner after we split up, the same man who said “I want to earn enough money that I never have to think about money”. Uh, that’s not how it works…

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger*


      It doesn’t get totally better for a while, either. I took a bunch of nine-year-olds to the zoo a few weeks ago, and at the end of the day they got do-everything-itis. “Can we ride on the train? Can we get ice cream again? Can we get popcorn? Can we get something at the gift shop?” I told them we could have popcorn OR ride on the train because there was only money for one of them – from the blank looks I got, you’d think I said it in Portuguese.

  30. Schlobotnik*

    One idea that I haven’t seen mentioned here: what about not responding at all? I don’t mean walking away in a huff or anything like that. Just look him in the eye, politely, but blankly, when he makes these remarks, and say nothing. If you don’t engage AT ALL, that might take away whatever reward he is getting for this behavior. Sometimes I think we fail to realize that we don’t have to react to what people say.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Who knows, maybe Boss won’t even notice that it’s just him talking to himself…

  31. HRish Dude*

    I feel like at every job, any time I’ve taken a vacation to, well, anywhere, there’s always that one person who throws out, “Must be nice!”

    I’ve started to learn that that person is an ass. Every one has the same benefits and how you choose to use them is your business and yours alone. Seriously, what does he expect you to do? Not go on vacations?

  32. AK*

    Join in. He’s complaining about not having something that you (and most people) don’t have. So commiserate if it will make things easier, and it might throw him for a loop.

    Boss: “It’s not fair that you get to travel all the time”
    You: “I know, I wish I could travel all the time too, but I just can’t manage it with all these constraints – you know how it is.”
    Boss: “Well, it’s easy for you, because we apparently pay you enough to travel, I’m not that lucky.”
    You: “Yeah, I wish it was easy, but the budgeting and saving takes so much work – you’re definitely right that it’s difficult on salaries like ours!”
    Boss: “No, you don’t understand, I want the principle of cause and effect to not apply to me, because I’m special and want the same things you have without the trade-offs and sacrifices you make!”
    You: “Me too! I wish I could just travel whenever I want.”
    Boss: “Must be nice to travel to X. I don’t get to travel to X.”
    You: “Yeah, it sucks to just not be able to have everything we want hahahahaha! I want a new car and X (general type of thing boss buys. Do NOT actually mention any purchases you know he’s made – it’s not the point and just perpetuates this type of things, be general!), but I can’t afford them and it’s just not fair!”

  33. Not So NewReader*

    Some random thoughts, OP.

    “Boss, when you are ready to solve that problem we can sit together and build a plan.”

    “Gee, Boss, you mention this a lot. I see it’s a concern for you. I think you should do something so you can enjoy travel.”

    “Yes, Boss, you have mentioned this before. What do you think you can do to remedy it?”

    “Okay, Boss. Let’s fix this. Right now. Where would like to go this summer? We can start figuring it out.”

    The theme here is that you are his ally, his co-conspirator in vacation planning. You want him to win this one. This puts you on the high road and it also throws the responsibility back to him.

    I had a friend who is always short on time. This is my friend and fellow adult so I am doing a balancing act here. I stayed away from specifics- because that is the road to no where. I use things that are big picture perspective. “Well what do you think you can do to save time?” or “Ask yourself if you really need to do a given task right now.” or “Try to figure out how long things actually take you and is it worth it to you? Maybe some tasks are not necessary or they are redundant.” My friend wanted help so Friend spent a lot of time thinking all this over.

    One last thought, some times when people complain about something and they seem inconsolable, the Thing they are telling you, is not the Real Thing they are upset over. And this could be the reason why you are not gaining any inroads on this subject with your boss, because the real topic is not vacations. Just something to keep in the back of your mind as you go along here.

    1. TL -*

      Oh, your last point is a good one. Boss may be just tired of thinking about money and having to plan and budget (even if he’s not great about it) because he runs his own business and didn’t use to have a put a lot of thought into finances but now he does.
      Thus, when OP is able to just “randomly” go on vacation whenever they feel like it (in his eyes), it just reminds him of all the stress and worry of going on his vacation.

      There’s probably nothing you can do about that, OP, except maybe call his attention to the things you’re giving up to go on vacation. For instance, if he invites you to lunch, you can say, “No! Gotta think of Romania!” (or wherever your next travel destination is.)

  34. Willis*

    I usually do a big vacation once a year with a couple friends, and we’ve all run in to this attitude from other friends, coworkers, etc. Ultimately, I think a lot of people like the idea of traveling more than they actually want to do it. It takes effort to save and plan for a trip, and means there’s other things I don’t spend money or vacation time on. But, it does sound exciting to talk about a big trip, and I think people just react to that without thinking of what the trade offs might be and whether they’d actually want to make them.

    I agree with the suggestion of minimizing any response to the Boss’ vacation complaints, even to the point of no response if you can get away with it. And continuing to take your full time off. Happy travels!

  35. Fish Microwaver*

    Any chance you can surreptitiously change his ring tone to Queen’s “I want it all.”? :)

  36. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Been in the same position. It wasn’t so much the boss – it was co-workers, resentful of the fact that I managed to take a Florida vacation from Massachusetts every year.

    What they DIDN’T know is that I was staying with family, and my only major expense was airfare or – gasoline, if we drove, which we often did.

    I learned – don’t let that bother you – there will ALWAYS be some people who are just miserable – but you should live as best you can, within your means.

  37. Juanita Delacruz*

    You do his finances? That’s crazy! I don’t want to know what my boss or coworkers make, none of my business.

  38. JeanLouiseFinch*

    I had a boss who scheduled me for a lot extra stuff for the week before my vacation and then told me that this was the price I must pay for taking a vacation. I told her that if she was telling me that I couldn’t take a vacation, then she had unilaterally cut the benefits that were part of the compensation package (she wasn’t the head of the firm.) She told me that she hadn’t gone on vacation for seven years. I responded, “You can either take vacation now, or you get to take it later in a box.” She looked a little shocked that I pointed it out, but the following year, she took a long vacation and went overseas for several weeks.

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