I’m worried I’m in the wrong career, boss posted Hawaii vacation photos right after layoffs, and more

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

1. I’m worried I’m in the wrong career

I am working in a public accounting firm right now and I thought this was “the dream.” In high school, I decided not to pursue my dream of medicine and instead go for business because it was the safe route, and medicine seemed intimidating while math was easy. After three years, I graduated at the top of my class and immediately started working as a bookkeeper. After less than a year, I was already looking for new work and after a year of searching I was hired on by a public accountant. I was so excited about my future in accounting that I spent thousands enrolling in night classes to get a degree on top of my diploma.

The work is interesting and the pay is low but keeps me afloat. The big problem is that my heart has never really been 100% into my work and this new job is no exception. I’ve been here for four months now and I am already looking at the classifieds. I also have the burning urge to drop my university business classes.

My parents suggested that I am just setting my expectations too high, repeatedly emotionally crashing and subsequently feeling as though I need to change my career to be happy. They said I need to stop daydreaming about going to school to be a nurse or a doctor and instead try to dream about being an accountant. I may also just be jealous because my younger sister just graduated and is now working in health care. She works part-time and makes more than what I bring in full-time and is in love with what she is doing.

While their advice makes sense, I can’t help but wonder when you are supposed to make the decision that you’ve chosen the wrong career – particularly when you feel like this periodically throughout the year, every year. I won’t always be in the position where I could afford to take out student loans and go back to school full-time, but I also don’t want to be impulsive and end up with a library of degrees and no actual career.

You’ve wanted to go into medicine since you were in high school. This would hardly be an impulsive decision.

Please don’t let your parents talk you out of pursuing the career you want. You can’t “try to dream” about doing something you don’t like, and the fact that they’re advising that makes all the rest of their advice suspect.

If you’re worried that the reality of medicine will be less appealing than the dream of it, start taking classes on the side. You did night classes in accounting while you were working full-time, so you’ve demonstrated that you can go to school while you work. Why not take some classes in medicine now and see if the appeal holds?

2. Boss posted Hawaii vacation photos right after layoffs

Our company recently had layoffs. I was laid off, along with about 20% of our department. We are all friends on Facebook and less than a week after he laid us off, my ex-boss went on vacation to Hawaii and was posting all these dreamy photos of his vacation to Hawaii. This seems to me to be in incredibly poor taste, given that he knows that several of us are now unemployed and have families we are struggling to support. Do you agree or am I being petty?

Nope, it’s in poor taste. I mean, logically it’s fine that he’s taking a vacation — but he should have been more thoughtful about the way it would be perceived by you and your laid-off coworkers.

It was Facebook so he may have simply forgotten that he’s Facebook friends with you, but if you’re going to Facebook-friend people you manage (and I’d argue that you probably shouldn’t), you’re obligated to remember to think about things like that.

3. How do I explain I need to ride in the front seat without sounding rude?

I just started a new job that I love, and I wanted to ask your advice on a strange problem I’ll be facing. I’ve never traveled much for business and now I’ll be doing so frequently. Much of the travel is by car and while it sounds like I’ll be alone or with one other person the majority of the time, there will be occasions (there’s actually one coming up next week) where three people will be in the same car, sometimes for long periods.

I get VERY carsick riding in the backseat for longer than a few minutes. For long trips, riding in the front is non-negotiable if I want to avoid the technicolor yawn. This is hard enough to navigate with family and friends — I truly hate asking someone else to ride in back so I don’t have to — and I’m worried that with colleagues, it will seem entitled and kind of bratty.

I suppose this is silly, because it’s not like I’m demanding accommodation for a mere preference — and hopefully I can drive most of the time so it won’t be an issue — but if it does come up at some point, how would you suggest phrasing my need to ride in front without sounding rude or entitled?

Just be direct and explain the situation: “I get horribly carsick really quickly when I sit in the backseat, so would you mind if I sat up-front?”

Also volunteering to drive most of the time is likely to make people even happier to accommodate you (as long as you’re a decent driver).

4. Explaining how you know a coworker when you don’t want to share the real answer

A friend of mine had a slightly awkward moment at work and I wanted to get your opinion on it. My friend (let’s call her Serena) started a new job couple of weeks ago and just finished training. Today her former trainer dropped by her desk and mentioned that he had found out that she knew someone working on another floor and asked (in a friendly way) how she knew that person.

The thing is, Serena runs a regular kink discussion group/workshop with a local nonprofit. It’s just adults getting together to talk and learn new things, but it is something sex-related that is not usually discussed at work. She knew the coworker from there.

Serena lied in her answer, claiming she knew the person from university, but I wonder if there is another way to answer this question. (Or any other perfectly innocent question where an honest answer would lead to NSFW topics.)

Vague is good in these situations: “Oh, we’ve known each other casually for a while.” (Few people are going to follow up with “yes, but HOW DID YOU MEET ORIGINALLY?”) Or, “We have some mutual friends.” Or “I can’t even remember now how we met, but I think we hang out in similar circles.”

5. Are my scheduling requirements unrealistic?

I’m going to be job hunting soon, and I want to keep something resembling my current schedule when I get hired. Specifically, I want to ask for the following:

1. Must have two days off in a row (a “weekend”) every week. (I HAAAAAAAAAAAATE split weekends.)
1a. Must be the same two days every week. (Don’t want a random weekend.)
2. Must have one weekday off every week. (For non-work-related things; doctor appointments and such.)
2a. Appropriate manager can select which day.
2b. Must be the same weekday every week. (So I can plan far enough in advance.)
2c. Can be included as part of my “weekend,” or not.
3. I will reject any offer that doesn’t agree to all of the above.

How do I say this without sounding like a jerk? (Am I being a jerk?) When is the right time to mention this, when I apply, or during the interview? (My thoughts are along the lines of, when applying, put availability as “special, will discuss during interview.”) Should I require this to be in writing, especially for jobs without contracts?

You won’t sound like you’re a jerk, but you might sound out of touch and unrealistic. Whether or not you will depends on the norms of the industry you work in, so unfortunately I can’t tell you for sure. Are you in a field where it’s pretty normal for people to have these kinds of requirements, and hiring managers expect it? If so, then great — go for it. But if you’re not — if you’re in a field where this would be pretty unusual — then proceed with caution.

For what it’s worth, though, the way you’re presenting it here makes it sound much more demanding than you actually are. You’re really just saying that you’d like the same two days in a row off each week, and that you want at least one of those two days to be a weekday. That sounds a lot less demanding than the way you’ve written out above, so I’d present it that way if you pursue it.

As for getting it in writing, employers may not care to put this in writing for you, because they reality is that they’re going to want to retain scheduling flexibility if they end up needing it. So they’re unlikely to do something that they might worry would lock them into committing to this forever … but there’s no reason that you can’t send them an email saying “I just wanted to summarize what we agreed to” and then listing it out. That’s not because that will lock them in, but because it can help avoid miscommunications later on about what was agreed to.

{ 451 comments… read them below }

  1. BadPlanning*

    On OP3, if it helps, I sometimes get mildly carsick so I understand needing the front seat and would be happy to sit in the back (my occasional motion sickness isn’t really seat dependent). I would try to ask your fellow travelers before the trip — if you wait until the day of and you have to boot someone out of the front seat, that might not go over well.

    1. MillersSpring*

      Agree. Waiting until you’re at the car risks people being annoyed. I’d go by their desk the day before or the morning of and say, “For our trip, I’ll need to either drive or sit in the front seat. Unfortunately I get carsick immediately if I sit in the back. It’s embarrassing to admit, so I hope you understand.”

      1. Megs*

        Yeah, I was thinking that if anyone pushes back, it should only take one bout of throwing up for them to see the error of their ways.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        I was gonna say. I have pretty severe motion sickness and people are VERY accommodating because the alternative is barfing. And no one wants that.

        I’ve been this way since infancy so I’m not even embarrassed about it. I just kind of joke about it and say I get motion sick on any form of transportation more enclosed than a bicycle, with the very surprising exception of trains, so I need to either drive or sit up front or I’ll become very ill.

        1. Anne*

          Wendy Darling, do you get motion sickness when flying? Or does pixie dust help with that? :)

          1. Wendy Darling*

            Well, only in enclosed spaces… so planes or flying cars will still make me sick, but free-form flying is cool. :D

    2. Bookworm*

      I agree. I totally understand people needing to sit up front to avoid carsickness. It’s a common way of accommodating that.

    3. Lissa*

      I agree with mentioning it early, not because people would necessarily be rude, but because your problem isn’t uncommon, OP3! I would really be worried about doing it day-of that somebody else might have the same, or a similar, accommodation need for the front and that would get bad fast. Having to decide whose need is greater on the spur of the moment between yourselves seems like a recipe for disaster.

      1. Loose Seal*

        Plus, if you discover earlier than the day of the trip that you’re not the only one who gets carsick, you have time to figure out if one (or more) of you can take Dramamine or something. (I know Dramamine isn’t the greatest thing to be taking when you need to be sharp when you get to your destination but it’s probably better than arriving exhausted because you and/or your colleagues threw up the whole way there.)

        I get terribly carsick if I’m not in the front seat looking straight ahead too. Also, mine gets worse if I have to read while the car is moving. So before GPS became standard, not only would I ask to sit in front, I’d have to decline being the map reader (a chore that usually fell on the front seat passenger). I felt bad about that but you can only do what your body lets you do. Luckily, I have always had coworkers that understood and were sympathetic.

        1. Kate*

          I was going to suggest Dramamine too. I get very plane sick, and it’s been a life saver for me. They make a non-drowsy formula now, and I’ve found I don’t feel groggy or anything after taking it. But I’m sure it affects different people differently.

          1. NoSickSickSick*

            Bonine is the answer. I use it all the time – anti-nausea without the side effects. Sold where Dramamine is in the pharmacy.

            1. JessaB*

              Bonine (mecclizine) is less sleepy making than the drug in Dramamine. Seriously. And it can be had for crazy cheap if you buy the house brand wherever you get it.

              1. Wendy Darling*

                It’s also sold as Dramamine Less Drowsy Formula or Dramamine II where I live. I can never find Bonine but I just look on the package to find something that is meclizine.

                It does actually make me feel a bit muzzy. Like it’s way better than anything else I’ve taken but I’m at about 90% after I take it, and the more days I have to take it in a row the worse I get.

        2. many bells down*

          Dramamine makes me feel really weird, and I can’t eat for hours after taking it (it’s like it puts my whole digestive system to sleep), but I’ve had good results with ginger gum. Although that’s probably a better choice for someone who only gets mildly ill; I’m not sure how well it would work if the problem is severe.

        3. PlainJane*

          Scopolomine (Scop) patches are the ticket for me. They’re prescription-only and can make food taste weird, but they are non-sedating (for me) and keep my awful motion sickness almost completely under control. I occasionally have to travel in a state van down about 140 miles of twisty mountain freeway, and I haven’t barfed yet.

      2. OP #3*

        That’s actually what I’ve been worried about – whether someone else will have the same issue!

        I’m very glad Alison seems to think people will be happy to let me drive, as that’s by far the simplest solution. And I’ll definitely mention the carsickness factor in advance.

        Luckily, for the trip we’re taking tomorrow it made sense logistically for me to drive and the others to navigate anyway.

        1. JessaB*

          The way to handle two people with issues is one drives, the other takes the front seat. If it’s more than two try for two vehicles, but for two people that’s not so hard.

        2. Pam Adams*

          I have a disability that makes it hard for me to sit in a back seat, or to climb up into a vehicle like a van. In general, people are willing to let my needs trump their want, when it comes to vehicle seating.

        3. Amanda*

          I hate driving, especially in high-traffic areas and places I’m unfamiliar with. I’m also sensitive to glare (it can cause migraines if I’m forced to look at it too long–which can happen will driving during certain times of bright, sunny days–glare off of other cars can be awful). I would be thrilled for someone else to drive. I imagine you have some coworkers who feel similarly. Best of luck, OP #3!

        4. Vicki*

          “I really like looking out the window” is bratty and entitled.
          “I hate looking at the back of someone’s head for hours” is bratty and entitled.
          “I get car sick if I ride in the back seat” is a medical condition. It s neither bratty nor entitled.

    4. Jeanne*

      The problem is there are 4 of you who will be in the car. You might not be the only one who gets carsick or you could have a tall person who is uncomfortable in the back or whatever. Definitely ask ahead but also talk to your doctor about medicine for this problem.

      1. OP #3*

        Yeah, I suppose it’s time to stop being in denial about this – it’s totally depressing because I can’t go on any fun theme park rides anymore! And this has only become a thing in the last couple of years. What gives, body? :-P

        1. BadPlanning*

          I didn’t get motion sick until I was an adult either. For me, taking motion sickness meds (Dramamine) lets me get back on the amusement park rides.

        2. Jennifer M.*

          Are you nearsighted? I believe that near sighted people are more likely to get car sick. Being up makes it easier to focus on the horizon which can ease the motion sickness. Also if you have wraparound sunglasses that can block out motion on the sides, that can help.

          1. (Another) B*

            I have never heard that, but makes sense to me! I get it too, and I have terrible nearsightedness.

        3. Sydney Bristow*

          Same here! My car sickness only started in the past few years. Last summer while I was on vacation in Australia I got some seasickness pills that were amazing. I wish I had written down what they were. Prevented motion sickness on a boat and in the car but didn’t make me drowsy.

          Luckily I’ve never been a big fan of amusement park rides.

        4. Ethyl*

          For the record, the stuff I got from my doctor (scopalamine patch) works so much better than over the counter stuff, even if it has weird side effects by the third day. I highly recommend talking to your doc about it.

          1. Aphrael*

            I love scopolamine. I was on prochlorperazine for a while, and it works pretty well, but discovering the scopolamine patches was a game changer.

            I only wish it was possible to save and reuse them, since they’re kind of expensive if you don’t actually need all three days.

            1. PlainJane*

              I actually do save and reuse them, and I’ve had no problems, but I don’t know what the official word is on whether that’s a good idea.

        5. JD*

          This happened to me too, I started to get really carsick in my late 30s. But I had this theory about it: for nearly 20 years, I was ALWAYS the driver. (I was single and drove a lot!) So the rare times I have to sit in the backseat, I get really queasy. Same is true for front passenger seat, but not as severe. I thought maybe my body isn’t used to the balance of those seats. I dunno. Just a theory. Uber drivers are so annoyed by me!

      2. SystemsLady*

        Carsickness like this is relatively rare (definitely get it checked out/some advice OP!). I feel mildly carsick in the back and know some others that do, but a trip of sufficient length to bother me and with 4 people usually ends up with enough bathroom breaks that I wouldn’t ever have a problem.

        And on the tall person side, unless you have more than two tall people in your group (in which case there was already a problem), they have the same option of driving and you can offer to pull forward for them. A little squished is probably better than vomiting for the OP, and you can ask to trade for short periods.

        I don’t think OP is being too unreasonable while they’re looking into this, basically. I end up on a lot of 4 person trips and the front almost always defaults to 1) who wants to drive and 2) the most customer/visitor-y person in the group.

        1. SystemsLady*

          (in other words rarely is somebody forced to drive due to being tall *and* the other front seat is filled by a tall person)

      3. JessaB*

        Discomfort is trumped by will sick up in the vehicle EVERY time. Sorry for the tall people. But that’s no contest. Anyone who is not either “gets sick,” or “is disabled and can’t climb INTO the back,” gets stuck in the back by either of those.

        And not everyone can take anti nausea meds and not fall asleep or become unable to appropriately work. Even the less sleepy-making ones, can hit some people badly. And every anti nausea med I have ever heard of has one of those “don’t operate machinery until you’re sure what this does to you,” warnings.

        1. Windchime*

          I am also tall and feel the same way. I’ve only been carsick once in my life and, although I didn’t vomit, it was a truly miserable experience. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and if it helps for that person to sit in the front then I’m more than happy to fold my long legs up into the back seat.

        2. teclatrans*

          Depends on the car. I have been in a few backseats where my head is touching the ceiling, and I feel like the damage a car accident could do to me trumps vomiting, but then I have been in a few bad accidents and am maybe more sensitive to the potential for broken necks, in particular. In this instance I would probably rent a second car on my own dime, though, because I couldn’t really insist that someone with bad carsickness sit in the back.

    5. Elysian*

      OP, you’ll be ok! I do this all the time. I also get super carsick. Usually with coworkers I end up driving – while I hate to drive, it is often the best solution for everyone. When someone else drives, I ask to sit up front because I get sick. That is usually pretty much the end to the story. I also usually take Uber instead of cabs because Uber will let me sit up front and cabs don’t like when I ask that. This has always worked out ok for me with very little difficulty. You’ll be ok!

      I never asked anyone before the trip – I think that would be awkward somehow? I dunno. My coworkers just know now, or they remember when I ask. Sometimes I do kick people out of the front, but its really all in everyone’s best interest that I don’t get sick so I feel like they deal with it ok.

      1. OP #3*

        Luckily, we have a pretty small office (just four or five people I might travel with frequently, at the moment) so I’m sure it won’t be tough to spread the word.

        I’m sorry you don’t like to drive! That’s by far the easiest solution and I prefer to drive anyway. You really, really don’t want me navigating :-D

        1. AnotherAlison*

          I would highly recommend driving. I had a coworker that I drove to lunch on her first day. She had an old neck injury from a car accident that required her to sit in the front, and for cautious driving. It stressed me out worrying if I was taking a turn too aggressively for her.

        2. Gene*

          Yep, one session where someone forces you to ride in the back, and the word will spread quickly. You’ll never ride in back again.

        3. A Traveler*

          I prefer to drive too. I get sick only on long car rides, but I will fall asleep within 20 minutes in a car if I’m not driving, which is somewhat embarrassing. Also, I don’t think I have ever not been offered the front seat when grabbing a ride with coworkers. I don’t even ask. Chivalry is not dead in the Midwest I guess.

    6. INTP*

      Yes, I agree with mentioning it beforehand for a few reasons mentioned above. For one, there might be other people who are carsick, get anxious when they aren’t driving, are very tall and don’t fit in the backseat, etc, and the information could help you distribute people into cars in a non-disastrous way. But also, getting kicked of a seat is sort of humiliating in an irrational but deeply felt way. If I had to get out of the front seat for you, I would totally understand and not hold it against you but I’d also be having flashbacks to getting kicked out of my seat at the elementary lunch table because a more popular kid “needed” to sit there, haha.

      1. Lissa*

        Oh man, you just clarified why I hate it so much when tall people assume they get the front seat over me without asking/saying something! I feel the same way, even though I would totally rationally understand, some part of me would react the same way as if I had to give back food that was on my plate!

    7. Pwyll*

      I get deathly carsick as well. But if you can’t be the one to drive, generally bringing it up in advance seems best. It’s far, far better than having to suddenly say “I need you to pull over RIGHT NOW” and spewing all over the highway (like me. Sigh.)

    8. LCL*

      Talk about it before the trip starts. Speaking from the perspective of someone who never gets car sick, it took me a lot of convincing before I believed it was a real thing. I used to be the person who would laugh and say, uh no, we can take turns in the front seat. I’m still not 100% convinced, but became more civilized and realize when someone asks for an accommodation for any reason you give it to them because that is the most courteous thing to do.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I don’t get car sick either, but I think we’ve had enough people write in about this that it seems more than fair to assume it’s a real thing. Although to be fair, I already assumed it was real.

    9. KMM*

      I get very carsick as well, and sometimes I don’t speak up when riding in someone else’s car because I don’t want to seem high maintenance, but I always regret it later when it takes me two days to get rid of the nausea…my husband thought I was just exaggerating, until I vomited all over his car–so now I do all the driving! Please speak up, what Alison suggested for wording is perfect!

    10. Turtle Candle*

      I’m way late to this, but I’m the opposite of OP3–I have a cast iron stomach and never get motion sick. (I didn’t realize that this was so unusual until I was dating my first boyfriend, and his dad was driving us into the mountains for a hiking trip, and I was sitting in the backseat on a narrow, winding road in a stuffy old van, while reading a book. He was amazed. I had no idea it was a superpower!)

      So I always volunteer to sit in the back, since I know that I can do it without any issue, and plenty of people even who don’t have serious carsickness are mildly unhappy in the backseat. And I never, ever take it personally or get snitty if someone asks for the front seat. I know I’m lucky that I don’t get sick in the back, so I’m not going to hold it against people who do.

      But of course there are other reasons to not want to sit in the backseat (you’re generally more squashed in, for one, and have no control over the air or radio in most cars, and etc.). I always just considered that a fair tradeoff: I couldn’t control the air or music and my knees were kind of squashed up, but I wasn’t going to puke, and it was better that I be back there than the pukey person.

      I will say that in one case where I was car pooling long term with two people who both needed the front, it bought a LOT of goodwill when after a couple of months one of them brought me a chocolate sprinkle donut and some coffee and said “I know it’s no fun being crunched back there, so thank you for being so cheerful and nice about it!” It made me feel like my willingness to cede the front seat wasn’t being taken for granted, and that made me really happy.

  2. Decimus*

    #4 – I met my wife in an ancient Rome themed internet group for online roleplay and writing. We usually just say we met through the internet. Nobody questions it. I would suggest in this case something like “we met on a web forum discussing a mutual interest” is about as detailed as you need to get. If that. Vague really is your friend.

    1. Liane*

      That’s cool! Husband and I met through roleplaying–in a tabletop D&D game when I was in college. At the time, he was the electronics tech for my department, so we usually just say “We met while Liane was at Our State U and Thrawn worked in that department.” Everyone assumes it was in the course of his job & my studying, so yes, “Vague really is your friend,” as Decimus said.

      Note: We met in the late ’80s and the “Dungeons & Dragons Totally Equals Devil Worship & Worse Evilness!!!” attitude was much more prevalent. But even today, we save the full story for people who are most likely to appreciate it–usually those in the same or similar hobbies.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        Yes. I have had internet friends since before it was “normal.” How do I know R? Oh, she used to date a friend of mine…. No need to note that I had met both of them — and they met each other — on a discussion forum.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      If you don’t want to discuss the interest, I wouldn’t mention it at all, because the next logical question is “oh, what interest?” I’d just say “mutual friends” or something along those lines.

      1. OhNo*

        If you do get the “what interest?” question, you can always answer with “politics” or “a political issue”. I’ve used that many times and on every occasion so far it has stopped the line of questioning cold.

        Generally, even the nosiest of coworkers doesn’t want to open the can of worms that is politics in the office.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          But I don’t see the point of inventing an issue when you could just say something that’s closer to the truth – and therefore easier to remember – than “mutual friends.”

    3. Lily in NYC*

      Ha, misread this at first and thought you met your wife in ancient Rome! Which would have been such a neat trick. Sounds like a very interesting internet group – that’s such a fascinating era.

  3. Engineer Girl*

    #2 – I’m going to disagree with AAM. That Hawaii vacation had to be planned months before the layoffs. Its not like the manager laid everyone off and then said “Whee! Let’s all use the money we saved to go to Hawaii!” (That would be poor taste). It’s also reasonable that someone will post vacation pictures to Facebook. The real issue is that the manager was Facebook friends with the subordinates.

    1. Beth Anne*

      Yeah I’m sure it was pre-planned and he didn’t think anything of posting the photos but it sure looks like the manager was all “I laid all these people off now I can go on vacation to Hawaii!!”

      1. Engineer Girl*

        Exactly. It may be thoughtless but it’s not spiteful. And while the OP may not be petty they may be ubreasonable in their expectations on what humans do.

          1. Nobody Here By That Name*

            YUUUUP. See also: when the CEO of my company posted his pics from the penthouse suite of a Vegas hotel the same week folks were laid off for budget reasons. May have been planned in advance, may have even been a Groupon, but it still left a horrible taste in people’s mouths.

          2. neverjaunty*

            And that Facebook has privacy settings, so he can maybe share his vacation photos with his friends and family, a group that probably doesn’t include “all those people who got laid off”.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              The worst example I heard was of a number of redundancies in a local government. Whilst people were dealing with the uncertainty of no job, the division head sent an encouraging message.

              From the cruise ship on which they were taking a holiday at the time.

              1. Clewgarnet*

                I believe it was Network Rail who sent out an email about a big party the high-ups were having to celebrate hitting their target on making stations unstaffed.

                The recipients included the people who’d been made redundant due to those stations becoming unstaffed.

              2. One of the Sarahs*

                This is a true, true story. My partner used to work for a small, let’s say cultural organisation, that basically sold its historical collection to a large institution, and got rid of all the staff that worked with the collection.

                The way the staff found out about it? The Board/Trustees were meeting, and sent one of the soon-to-be-laid-off staff members out to buy them a lot of champagne to celebrate this… So gobsmackingly tone-deaf, and awful for the staff.

                1. Garrett*

                  In my fantasy world, I would’ve gone and gotten the champagne and then accidentally dropped it all off the roof.

                2. One of the Sarahs*

                  Garrett: In my fantasy world, I’d have got the champagne, given it to the staff and staged a mass walkout, leaving no one to undertake the actual collection transfer – but alas, real world salary needs (my partner found another job ASAP, luckily)

          3. LSCO*

            Yes! At an old old job, the CEO laid off a few staff at different locations for budgetary reasons. Less than a week later he was sharing pictures around the office of his new penthouse apartment. I know he’d purchased & completed on the apartment weeks before the layoffs, but it just seemed very tone deaf when everyone else was still reeling from the redundancies and wondering if their job would be next.

            1. INTP*

              Sharing pictures around the office is totally different from sharing pictures on facebook, though. The boss presumably has only one Facebook for all of their family, friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances. Not sharing vacation photos with coworkers on Facebook either means dealing with a PITA privacy filter or not sharing those photos with family or friends in what is now the standard method to share vacation photos with people. That’s unreasonable to expect of someone imo, it’s different from going out of your way to show photos to your coworkers specifically by running around the office with them.

              1. Rafe*

                Agreed. And it seems like it it would even occur to a person who just had to do layoffs to now go in an put filters in place immediately, then the more logical option would be to simply unfriend all of these people — but I’m sure that would be somehow even more offensive.

              2. Sketchee*

                The easy solution is to not friend coworkers on Facebook.

                Second easiest is to just add them the to restricted friends group. You’re officially fb friends altho every other setting treats them as strangers

              3. zora.dee*

                Unreasonable?? No, totally reasonable. if a manager, wants to friend their subordinates on FB, they can take the 2 minutes to set up a separate filter for them so you can filter them out if need be. It’s really not that hard.

                If a manager is that bad at facebook that this is difficult, they should not friend their subordinates.

                Those are two reasonable options.

          4. Spunky Brewster*

            I find the majority of what people post on Facebook to be in poor taste. My solution has been to unfollow people.

            1. Loose Seal*

              OMG, me too. One of the positives about this election year is that I’m no longer procrastinating about thinning my list down to real friends.

              1. mdv*

                I wish there was a way to filter the political junk without necessarily blocking the people — because I miss family posts about family stuff when I block said family members due to their politics! (I’m the liberal cousin in a red state…)

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  You can hide all articles from the websites they post. I’ve found that people tend to share stuff from the same pages over and over. Go to the little drop-down in the upper right hand corner, and click “Hide all from [Site].” You won’t see posts anyone shares from that page anymore.

                  I’ve had to do this. I don’t mind a couple of posts here and there, but the constant, unending political spam is getting annoying. Some of my friends, God love ’em–that’s ALL they post these days.

                  If it gets really bad but you don’t want to unfriend, you can unfollow–but then none of their posts will appear. You’ll still be friends and you can still visit their page, however.

            2. Dulcibella*

              My solution was to inactivate my Facebook account. Too much bother with unfriending, blocking, creating groups, etc. It has been a year now and that took a lot of stress off me. I do keep in touch with my closest friends and family. Sure, I might miss out on a few pictures and pieces of news here and there but it is totally worth it! I didn’t intend for it to last this long actually, but I am waiting until November to decide whether/when to start it up again.

          5. Joseph*

            Regarding optics, where would people draw the line? Since I still don’t really see the issue (but apparently people do), I want to make sure I”m not coming across in the same way in the future.

            1.) If a week is too short (probably is), what would be an appropriate timeline? Is a month better? Or is that still too soon, given that it’s likely many of the staff won’t have new jobs by then?
            2.) How do you do it if this is just Round 1 of a series of layoffs (as is common)? While it’s not great to take a vacation right after layoffs, it’s also probably not good to wait a couple months, then end up taking the vacation shortly before layoffs either. But on the flipside, it’s not really reasonable to expect me to postpone my vacation forever.
            3.) Does the specific location matter or is it any vacation whatsoever? For the cost, there are plenty of other things which I would be just as happy doing as a tropical vacation in Hawaii (e.g., bowl game tickets for my college, renting a lake house, etc).

            1. INTP*

              I don’t think any sort of delay on sharing things on one’s personal Facebook is reasonable to expect, personally. It sucks to be laid off but other people’s lives go on, and it’s on you to block anyone whose good fortune is triggering to you. I think a better answer would be to just unfriend any employees who are fired or laid off. But that’s also not a perfect solution, since a lot of employees would probably prefer to stay in touch for future networking even if it means having to see things that are difficult in the moment.

              But, clearly I don’t really see the problem with this either, so I’m probably not who you’re looking for an answer from, lol.

              1. Natalie*

                As the boss, you could also adjust the privacy settings on the pictures so they aren’t visible to work colleagues.

                1. JessaB*

                  This. IF you are friending people you supervise, then make damned sure that you make a group of them and exclude them from things that they should not see due to tone, privacy or whatever.

                  Yes privacy settings are a pain if you always set them separately and have to individually judge every single post, but you make a group, you stuff all the work people in it and you set the privacy for the group ONCE. Then anyone you add to that group is already set. That’s something that is reasonable to expect someone to do.

                  On the other hand, unless you were friends for a long time and suddenly got promoted, there’s really no reason to be friending subordinates in the first place. And honestly if I got promoted, I’d explain to everyone that I don’t think it’s good to be reading stuff from subordinates and do a mass friend list culling immediately.

                2. INTP*

                  That’s possible but I don’t think it would 100% prevent any situation like this. Some coworkers might have said they wanted to see the boss’ photos, requiring boss to make a new sub-group or just tell them they are filtered. Some people get hurt if they find out they’re filtered from things. While it’s an ideal situation if someone is able to predict who will be upset by what and willing to make filters accordingly, ultimately I think it’s on the user to to unfriend/block/remove from feed if something as basic as a person going on vacation will upset them.

                3. PK*

                  On the other hand, what if laid-off person X is talking to currently employed Y, and Y mentions something about the boss’ photos– some person X’s would get offended at being left out on purpose. I feel like this is honestly a no-win situation for the manager.

            2. Rafe*

              And if this is the new etiquette, would it be more or less offensive for the person who does layoffs to unfriend everybody affected?

              1. Kelly L.*

                Less. Unfriending is pretty unobtrusive–unless you’ve installed a special app, you don’t get a notification that someone has unfriended you. People can sometimes figure it out by noticing “I have fewer friends than before,” or “Huh, I haven’t seen anything from Persephone in a while,” or having Persephone recommended to them as a Person You May Know, but right in the moment, it’s pretty discreet.

            3. Kyrielle*

              Honestly, I would suggest he just put everyone from the job (current AND former employees) in a group called ‘work’ and post everything to friends-except-work as far as vacations or other things that could be taken poorly. (It’s not just the recently-laid-off employees who could take it badly, after all.)

              If he remembers to set it back to ‘friends’ instead of ‘friends-except-work’ for pictures of the new niece/nephew, or a sunset picture taken at a local park, awesome; if not, oh well, not much harm done.

              1. Kyrielle*

                Argh. Terminology issue: a LIST. A list, not a group.

                A list is something that controls how you…partition…your friends. A group is something you invite people to join and they can see it.

                And “group them” is so natural that I say it and then realize that when you go to do it, it’s misleading.

            4. Murphy*

              I’m not sure people are saying the vacation itself is the issue, but rather the posting of pictures on Facebook when he’s “friends” with people he just laid off.

              I would have no problem with my boss taking a vacation if I’d been laid off (well, I might, but I’d understand), but to post happy vacation photos on Facebook where me and my colleagues could see them? That’s just tacky.

            5. Nervous Accountant*

              I strongly disagree with most of the posts here saying that it’s bad of the manager to do that because of optics or whatnot. If I’m a manager, and I’m an active social media user, I’m not going to change what I post. The layoff is unfortunate, I’ve been there so I understand how painful it is. BUT like everyone said, that trip was planned far in advance and hes most likely sharing stuff for his friends and family and general well wishers.

              In my personal experience, I was laid off a few years ago and my then-manager went on vacation a few weeks later. He didn’t post on FB but I can’t imagine I would have thought less of him if he did. And this is more personal than work related but still fits this I think–I’m struggling to conceive and have had 2 miscarriages…does that mean none of my friends and family who know should avoid posting about their pregnancies/children?
              It’s a slippery slope, because then you wouldn’t be allowed to post anything and that’s ridiculous. If you want to opt out of social media thats fine, but dont’ scoff at those who choose to use it.

        1. SystemsLady*

          I think it’s something you have to deal with when friending subordinates on Facebook, though. You have to keep in mind you’re also posting to your employees!

          Either be conscious about it, grouping them and excluding them from posts that are political, overly personal, or, well, badly timed for company culture, or don’t friend them at all.

          1. One of the Sarahs*

            Yeah, grouping is so easy on facebook, I don’t get why any manager wouldn’t do it.

      2. Catherine from Canada*

        I actually switched dentists because of this kind of tone-deafness.
        We were a single income family, six kids, no dental coverage, could BARELY afford the six month checkups, had to be careful to budget the x-rays and the fillings and all the rest.
        And the dentist’s office was plastered with pictures of his yacht and his ski trips to the Rockies, and his kayaking in Nahanni and his Caribbean vacations, all paid for, of course, by our three-meatless-meals-a-week and rationed milk.
        While I didn’t begrudge him his vacations, it irked me that he could be so oblivious to where all that money came from.

        1. Roscoe*

          May I ask, who friend who in that situation? IF you requested him as a friend, its kind of hypocritical to get upset at what he is posting. Its not offensive. Plus, I’m guessing some of his patients are probably well off as well. Rich people go to dentists too

          1. JessaB*

            According to the comment the dentist wasn’t posting on social media, the photos were on the walls of the office as decoration.

          2. Clouds in My Coffee*

            She said the photos were up in his office, not on Facebook. And I’m sure she’s aware that rich people go to dentists, too.

          3. Newby*

            It looks like it wasn’t facebook, it was in his office. There is no way to avoid the pictures if they are in the office.

          4. Roscoe*

            Ah, sorry. I misread this (I was focused on the FB thing earlier). I still can’t see getting upset that someone is enjoying their life, even if its based on money I’m providing.

              1. Roscoe*

                Nope. I can’t. Everyone knows how that dentists make a lot of money. Its naive to assume they aren’t going on these vacations. So if there is a family vacation picture of them on an island, I don’t really see that as any different than a family vacation picture of someone at Disney World. Just like everyone has right to post vacation pictures, people shouldn’t be that sensitive about it.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  It’s not about being surprised or upset that these things are true. It’s about the person seeming tone-deaf to the circumstances of people around them. It’s reasonable to want to see a dentist who understands that many of her clients might have financial hardship, for example, and will be sensitive to that in talking with you. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t take lavish vacations; it means that she thinks about making people comfortable in her waiting room and in her practice more broadly.

                  I think you’d probably say that people shouldn’t be uncomfortable in a waiting room covered in photos of lavish vacations, but the reality is that many people will see that and think “this dentist is not like me and will not understand my financial concerns and I don’t feel as comfortable here as I do with the dentist down the street who never makes me feel embarrassed about needing a payment plan.”

          5. anonderella*

            I think this was a real dentist, not a Facebook dentist : )
            Plus, I don’t think Catherine was offended; she just chose to discontinue putting herself in a place where she was made uncomfortable. Even though she knew the dentist wasn’t intentionally trying to make her uncomfortable, and even though she probably did seek him out as a dentist and he didn’t seek her out as a patient, she has the right to stop seeing him.
            And, regarding “rich people go to dentists too”, I think Catherine’s point was that she wanted a dentist’s office with a more family-conscious feel, which means being conscientious toward all families they care for, including rich and poor families who might not have the same vacation/luxury opportunities.
            Besides, dental work is EXTREMELY expensive without insurance (even with, depending on the work) and it can totally feel like a rip-off until you start getting the benefits of the dental work. I get where Catherine is coming from; it isn’t intentional, but it would still make me uncomfortable.

        2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*


          I’m surprised to find myself on the side of the rich people on this thread. (I definitely have a bias against the rich; I grew up in and remain a radical lefty). But… some people have more money than others. They take vacations. They put pictures of their happy memories at their office, where they spend 40+ hours/week. Are they supposed to pretend they aren’t rich?

          In some cases, I think yes. If, for example, you work at a homeless shelter, you don’t start conversations with your clients by telling stories about your recent vacation. But a dentist? Dentists make a lot of money. We all know that.

          (I felt this way about the recent uproar about Hillary Clinton’s $11,000 [or whatever] jacket. Sure, that was a campaign mistake on her part. But… she’s a rich lady. We all knew that already.)

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            Ack: I SO did not mean to start a political thread, and foolishly realized after I posted this that it could very easily become one. Please don’t! I just meant to comment on the unsurprising reality that people who make a lot of money spend a lot of money.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Here’s how I look at it–I wish I had that kind of money, but I don’t (yet, heh heh), so when I see what people who do are enjoying, I either put it on my list (and even ask them about it) or dismiss it as something I probably wouldn’t be interested in. Traveling to Monaco? Yes. Horse racing or courtside tickets to Wimbledon? Eh, probably not.

              I also don’t see enjoying the fruits of your labors or inheritance or whatever as a bad thing–unless you’re flaunting it to make someone feel bad. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. I think the boss in the question probably 1) was foolish to befriend subordinates on FB in the first place, and 2) is probably clueless about filtering the vacation album audience to only family or close friends. It still comes off as tone-deaf, but I doubt it was deliberate.

          2. Roscoe*

            I think that is where I am. I don’t think its unfair to post vacation pictures in your office. If someone posted a beach picture, would it really matter if it was a beach in Michigan or a beach in Greece? They worked hard to get where they are, and they deserve to reap the benefits. Its not shoving it in someones face anymore than putting pictures of them on their honeymoon is shoving my singledom in my face.

          3. Boss Cat Meme*

            I would TOTALLY hate going to a dental office that was filled with the dentist’s personal display of wealth and excess. Our dentist, as with many I presume, request payment up front, in full, before the work is done. There is no “bill” that can be paid down monthly, so a huge dental expense (even with insurance) means that we are giving something up, like a personal vacation or a generous Christmas, just to have work done. Seeing pictures all over the office of private yachts and tropical destinations would be really irritating, especially when I’m not allowed to make payments on a $1200 root canal and crown. I don’t begrudge the dentist his own wealth or hobbies, but clearly he is not desperate for my payment in full “immediately” instead of over 2 or 3 month period. At least my dentist has pictures of his lovely family with perfect teeth and some landscapes in the office instead of a display of how rich he is. I agree, I think that’s tone deaf and insensitive to the patients he serves.

        3. Astor*

          I’m just adding my voice of support to your decision. My best health care providers are the ones who charge what they deserve (because it’s not just their time and expertise, but their equipment is expensive and they have to pay other employees and consultants) but who ALSO know that their patients come from a wide variety of situations and so work to ensure that they can get the health care they need even when they can’t afford it.

          And there’s a lot of ways to do that, some which are more effective than others. But if you don’t notice that your patients are struggling AND you’re also thoughtlessly bragging about what you can afford to do with your free time, you’re doing a terrible job.

          I’ve dealt with this as someone with my own chronic health struggles, but also from spending some time working in my dad’s dental office. My dad can certainly be oblivious to a lot of things, but I saw that he would get personally involved to ensure that a noticeable number of his patients received discounted treatment or had payment plans. He wanted to ensure that they could get the health care they needed instead of just what they could afford, and balance that together as best as they could. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen other dentists that charge patients on government assistance the full-fees instead of following the suggested fee-guide and taking those reimbursements. That’s legal (in at least some provinces in) Canada, but it’s slimy and reflects on your practice as a whole.

          I hope you are much happier with the dentist you’re seeing now, and that they’ve been able to work out some good options for you and your family!

        4. The Strand*

          I’m pretty affluent, have great insurance and due to their billing mixup (they overbilled me for my first sessions) have had a positive balance at my dentist for two years. I don’t worry about paying for my dental visits — but I don’t want to see ostentatious, constant pictures of my dentist’s wealth and world travels.

          Tone is what’s really important here, as to whether it seems like bragging or an expression of personality and taste. It seems really weird to see someone whose professional business screams “look at me!” from every surface, just like a doctor whose medical office is particularly covered with freebies (such as branded toilet seat covers) from pharmaceutical companies.

          Also, people who have no problem at all with doctors will suffer white coat hypertension (your blood pressure going up when you see a health professional). Many people hate and fear their dentists. The smart money is to put time and thought into an atmosphere that calms nervous patients, and is pleasant for everyone, not that trumpets your achievements and vacations.

      3. Thanks for calling*

        I worked in customer support that was based at the location where the product was manufactured. Although the company was growing in a big way, the office personel were going on several years of being told “sorry, no money available for raises this year.” It was right after being told no one was getting raises -again- that the plant manager showed up to work in his very fancy new sports car that he had bought with his bonus that he boasted about all over the office. Ugh.

    2. Student*

      Agree. I know you’re hurting, OP#2, but his vacation wasn’t about you or your layoff. It’s okay to feel bad about this and angry at your ex-boss, but it’s not reasonable to expect your ex-boss to worry about your feelings regarding his vacation.

      1. Dan*

        I’m with you on this. Manager still has a job. Manager still has a life… And posting vacation pics on Facebook is part of said life.

        The real problem, as has been noted, is that subordinates are fab friends with the boss. Solution: unfriend boss.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Agreed. I’m surprised that Alison thought there was a problem with this.

          I would find it poor taste if the boss shared the pictures at work during the laid-off staff’s last week, or if the pictures were of a lavish work party to celebrate the organization’s improved financial position, but sharing personal vacation pictures on Facebook? That’s what people do with vacation pictures (and it’s OK to take a vacation, even an expensive one, even when you’ve had to lay people off). If the OP doesn’t want to see them, she can unfollow or unfriend the (former) boss.

          1. Mona Lisa*

            I was a little surprised, too, but I think it’s coming from the place where she usually recommends that supervisors don’t connect with their direct reports on social media because it blurs the professional boundaries. If the boss wants to be friends on Facebook with his reports, then he has to take work concerns into account when he posts to Facebook because it’s now become a way that he interacts with co-workers.

            I tend to agree though that the OP shouldn’t be reading too much into this situation and should unfollow/defriend the boss if she’s upset by his posts.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              If the boss wants to be friends on Facebook with his reports, then he has to take work concerns into account when he posts to Facebook because it’s now become a way that he interacts with co-workers.

              Yep, this exactly.

          2. LBK*

            Yeah, I was a little surprised by this as well. I can see the poor optics argument, but I also think that’s giving too much credence to what I would kind of consider an invalid feeling – the boss isn’t going on vacation “at” you, nor do I think he’s intentionally posting the pictures to rub it in that he got to go on vacation.

            1. Anon for a moment*

              I don’t think the feeling is invalid, or that it even matters whether the feeling is valid on the receiving end–it’s just kind of bad manners on the boss’s part.

            2. Megs*

              I really don’t think that calling the OP’s feeling invalid is fair or accurate or helpful. Feelings are just feelings and I don’t believe we should judge them one way or another – it’s what you do with those feelings that has a moral weight. Here, the OP is just asking if other people have the same reaction she does, and many people, including AAM, do. She’s not saying she’s going to go around writing mean comments on her boss’s photos or anything.

              1. LBK*

                Maybe invalid isn’t the right word…justifiable? I know you can’t control your emotions, but you can at least recognize when you’re being a little irrational. I think it is helpful in this case to take a step back and realize that the boss’s vacation was likely scheduled long in advance, that his personal financial situation doesn’t have anything to do with the company’s (ie that layoffs don’t have any bearing on whether he can afford a vacation or not) and that posting pictures on Facebook is a totally normal thing for anyone to do after they’ve been on a trip. I think recognizing that this is nothing more than coincidence helps take the sting off it.

                1. Amy G. Golly*

                  Well, that’s just it: there’s “knowing” that the trip has nothing to do with you and your layoff, and there’s the feelings that come from seeing pictures of your boss’s expensive vacation right after you’ve been given the ax. To me, the issue is that with even a little bit of empathy the boss could have predicted that these pictures would sting for a lot of his former employees, and he did nothing to mitigate that. Maybe he didn’t realize how it would look, but that only makes him oblivious. Whether you step on my foot purposefully or by accident, my foot still hurts!

                2. catsAreCool*

                  I think it’s tacky and inconsiderate for the manager to post the vacation pictures where people who were recently laid off by the company can’t help but see them.

                  If I want to post pics that I don’t want everyone to see, I put them on a private page on Google photos and send the people I do want to see a link to them. It’s pretty easy.

                3. myswtghst*

                  I’m a big fan of the concept of responding instead of reacting, so I agree with the suggestion to take a step back and think about whether someone meant to be hurtful or was just oblivious to the optics. It doesn’t necessarily make it sting any less, but it can be helpful to think about the fact that it’s unlikely the vacation had anything to do with the layoffs other than unfortunate timing.

                  As a side note, I consider myself a pretty savvy Facebook user, and I think I have everyone I work with on a specific list who can’t see most of my posts, but I recognize it’s possible I’ve missed someone who might see something I didn’t intend for them to see, just based on FB privacy settings being confusing. It’s entirely possible the manager isn’t that conscientious and is just oblivious, but it’s also possible it’s an honest mistake.

            3. CMT*

              I agree with you, although I can see why invalid wasn’t a good word to use. Your last thought is spot on.

      2. Anonyhippo*

        I don’t necessarily agree. Managers in a position of authority need to be aware of their image. It is expected that they have demonstrated some sort of judgement and people skills to get where they are. They need the respect of their employees (in most cases) in order to be successful. Perceived bragging about your relative wealthiness or success in front of people who make much less than you does not engender respect.

        It comes off as totally tone deaf and out of touch.

        IMO, go brag to someone on the same level. Shut it down, censor yourself, or at least be sensitive to the class discrepancy/power differential when you are around your subordinates. They will respect you better and you are less likely to come off as an insensitive jerk.

        Now, this particular supervisor was no longer their boss. But they’d have perceived the person instrumental in their layoffs a lot differently if this had been handled with more sensitivity…for sure. Be an adult and think about how you are likely to be perceived before bragging on Facebook!

        1. Roscoe*

          But they weren’t bragging AT anyone. They were putting their vacation pictures online.

          And where does this end? IF these were honeymoon pictures as opposed to family vacation pictures, would it be ok then?

          Again, I don’t know when posting pictures became bragging

          1. mirinotginger*

            Posting pictures on social media has pretty much been bragging since the first picture was posted. Since the first photo was shoved in someone’s face. Since the first hapless neighbors were brought over for cocktails and slides. It’s human nature. It is inherently “Look at this cool thing I did/project I made/human being I spawned who is now doing something cute/whatever”

            1. Roscoe*

              I guess we just see it differently, which is fine. But I’ve never been someone to invite someone over to look at pictures. The good thing about facebook is that you can choose to look or not. Trust me, I see people’s baby pictures often and just go right past them.

              1. Kelly L.*

                I wish I had the ability to mentally delete things from my head upon seeing them. It would do wonders for the animal-abuse stories some people like to post.

                (Sure, you can choose whether to click further into the album and see the other 58 pictures, but the first three just appear in your feed.)

        2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          I think this is a larger issue with Facebook in general.

          Because, in nearly all circumstances and on any platforms (Facebook, a lunch conversation, emails, whatever), we tend to share only what we think makes us look good, we all end up “bragging” one way or another. We’re crafting an image of what we want people to think about us, whether that means vacation pictures (blessed, wealthy, carefree, happy); political commentary (informed, smart, plus whatever our political leanings suggest to us — tough, caring, etc.); humblebragging about our failures-that-aren’t-really-failures (“real,” funny, down-to-earth, etc.), or carefully crafted non-participation along the lines of “I’m on a social media break!” (“above” social media).

          So, yes, I as a manager would not “friend” my team. But I’m still not mad at this manager for sharing her innocuous vacation pics.

    3. INTP*

      I agree. It’s an illustration of why bosses shouldn’t be friends with subordinates, but I also think part of the issue is with the people who friended their boss as well — if you are friends with someone on Facebook, you’re going to see the highs and lows of their life. If that’s going to be especially emotional for you due to the work relationship, it’s on you to not friend them, not on them to censor themselves.

      The way I see it, the alternatives here were for the boss to 1) not go on a pre-planned vacation, 2) not share photos of that vacation with family and friends, or 3) create a filter to block former employees from seeing the photos or unfriend the employees. 1 and 2 are completely unreasonable to expect in my opinion. 3 is more reasonable, but not everyone knows how to make filters and the former employees could feel equally hurt about being unfriended or filtered so I wouldn’t call someone callous or tasteless for not doing it.

      1. LawLady*

        Well actually, you’re not going to see the highs and lows of their lives, you’re going to mostly see the highs. On Facebook most people present the happier aspects of their lives while downplaying the negative. Boss’s wife might hate him, but you’re just not seeing that aspect.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      I agree. There are a few circumstances where it would be in really poor taste for the manager to take a vacation right after layoffs. Like, if the manager was also the owner. Or if the manager was given a pot of money for everyone’s salary, and he decided to give himself a big raise and lay off other people to pay for it. Or if he managed the department so badly that he was the cause of the financial problems that led to layoffs.

      Otherwise, the manager’s ability to take a vacation doesn’t have anything to do with layoffs, and while I can see why it would rankle his former coworkers to see the pics, it doesn’t seem to be his fault that he can afford to do something nice.

      1. Namast'ay In Bed*

        I used to work for a small company my uncle owned. Out of the blue one day my position was eliminated due to budget constraints. It sucked being laid off, but money problems weren’t 100% surprising – the sales department were constantly having their goals expanded to the point it was almost impossible to earn commission, there was talk of other departments’ numbers tanking, manager turnover was practically a revolving door – the pieces were really adding up, and I figured (sorry to pull the nepotism card) things must have been really bad for someone to lay off a family member.
        Well, a little while later I’m at a big family party and what do I hear? My uncle bragging to someone about how his company is doing so well he was able to pay for the whole event himself. Guess all of the budget constraints only affected peons and not the big boss.

    5. LiveAndLetDie*

      I agree. I think the real problem here is that the employee can see the Hawaii pics at all. They should not be friends with their manager on facebook, honestly, but since they are I think the manager erred not in posting the pictures, but in having a lax filtration system for people that work below him. If he wants to be friends on facebook with his employees, then he needs to have a filter for them.

    6. Roscoe*

      I agree here. I’m definitely willing to give the boss the benefit of the doubt. You can’t expect him to not post pictures on FB. If you were mad, you could easily defriend or block the boss. But you shouldn’t think its his responsibility to look out for the feelings of ex employees.

      1. Megs*

        Well I don’t know – to a certain extent, I try and think about the feelings of all the people I’m communicating with. No one’s going to be perfect, but I think at least making an effort to think about the feelings of the people around you is the responsibility of every human being who wants to be a part of a community.

        1. Roscoe*

          I don’t know, I mean I know I make more than many people I’m friends with online. And I also have no problem posting my vacation pictures. If they are too insecure to handle that, then block me

          1. Megs*

            Obviously it’s your call, but I think Kelly L.’s example is a good one: it’s not that you should NEVER post sappy new-relationship pictures, but maybe think about being discrete in certain circumstances. In this case, I’m not seeing anyone arguing that a manager should NEVER post vacation pictures, just that they could have been more thoughtful about it in these circumstances. But again, if you don’t care, that’s up to you.

        2. Kelly L.*

          Yep. I try to be discreet about sappy new-relationship pictures when a breakup with the previous person is fresh, too. It just seems the considerate thing to do.

        3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Absolutely. I wouldn’t, for example, sit down with a friend (or former colleague or whoever) who had just been laid off and show off my vacation pictures.

          I’m learning from this thread that people see FB differently. I think of it as sortof… passive. Information (friends’ news, pictures, shared news stories, etc.) is made available to me; I make information available to others. It’s not directly shared to anyone in particular (unless it’s tagged or whatever). It’s like putting a picture of the night I got engaged up in my cube rather than sending a ring pic to my colleagues.

        4. Boss Cat Meme*

          That would be great in theory, but it should be no surprise to anyone that your boss is going to make a whole lot more money than you, has more job security than you, gets bigger bonuses than you, probably went to a better school than you, knows more influential people than you, married a debutante with a trust fund that you didn’t, inherited a huge wad of family money that you didn’t, has perfect genius sports all-stars for kids that you don’t, doesn’t have the student loans that you have, takes better vacations than you, drives a better car than you, and so on and so on.

          The point is, there is always going to be a supervisor, manager, CEO, company owner, or even a co-worker that has a seemingly much better life than you do on facebook, and probably even in real life too. That’s just part of life, so why compare? If you’re going to be upset to see that on a regular basis, then maybe you should really consider why you friended your boss to begin with. All the more reason NOT to. When you become a boss and are now in the same social circle as he/she is, maybe things will change. A good policy I always follow is to facebook friend people I actually AM friends in real life with first, so I can be happy for their success, not resentful of it.

          1. catsAreCool*

            I think the difference here is that a bunch of people at the same company lost their jobs, and here the manager is showing off a fancy vacation. The timing makes it look bad. If the manager displayed the photos a year later or a year early, it would probably have been OK.

    7. animaniactoo*

      To be fair, Alison said that IF he was going to be friends with subordinates then he was going to have to think about things like this and take more care with them to avoid doing exactly what happened here.

      Rather like the year that I had a lunch meeting with a licensor and one of the owners of my company one year, and he was “connecting” by telling the licensor that every other day there’s a UPS truck at his house with a delivery from the Apple store, and how his wife and his kids were so in love with the devices and were relying on them so much. Having just been told the week before that the company wasn’t going to be giving out bonuses this year because business was rough, I really didn’t need to hear that. No matter if it was all due to previously stored wealth and had no connection to anything currently happening. I still didn’t need to hear it.

    8. Lemon Zinger*

      I agree. It’s his Facebook– he should be able to post whatever he wants. You should never be Facebook friends with coworkers, so that’s really where the issue lies, not in the fact that he posted about his vacation.

      1. Callietwo (no longer Calliope~)*

        It is so easy to put coworkers into a restricted list, and it solves that whole “Our culture is to friend everyone” situation. I never put coworkers, former coworkers anywhere else.

        Our company has a strict ‘do not friend’ direct reports/supervisors, and if you are friends, you are required to unfriend while you’re working there. And we’re a relatively small company but it just makes sense.

    9. Noah*

      Yeah, this is one of the very few times I have immediately disagreed with Alison. My immediate thought was, “sorry laid off employee, it is not all about you”. Sure being laid off sucks, I’ve been there. However, the manager should not have to censor the sharing of their happy vacation photos to prevent you from feeling hurt.

    10. Engineer Girl*

      There are 2 other issues here too:
      * most trips are nonrefundable. Airlines, resorts, etc are pretty much nonrefundable these days without huge change fees. It’s not worth it to cancel, so you may as well go and enjoy what you paid for.
      * most importantly – getting offended at this will only make you MORE unhappy. You’ll focus MORE on the bad circumstances, talk about it longer, get more wound up by it. No good will come from getting upset at the managers posts. On top of that, you’ll get resentful of the person that could give you a good recommendation. Boss was thoughtless but getting upset makes it way worse. Neither the layoff nor the pictures can be undone. Walk away from this one.

      1. Cassie*

        I am the original asker and want to clear up a couple things. I was not in the least upset that he took the vacation. Of course he planned it long ago. I also did not ask to friend him, he asked me and others to friend him long ago. When your boss sends you a friend request you really must accept or problems could arise. Since we work in technology I am sure he knows how to set privacy on Facebook. But the real issue is that when you layoff someone and know that they and their children are now income-less, then to immediately walk over to them and show them pictures of your vacation seems pretty cold hearted and I would not do it were I in his position. Posting pics on Facebook is not different than walking up to people and showing them pic. And no, if I had a friend who had just miscarried I also would not show them new baby pictures. If I had a friend fighting cancer I would not gush about my recent physical and how healthy the doc said I was. Is what he did a crime? No, but I can tell you it didn’t feel very nice to several of us.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          You know what? I worked over 30 years in tech and I wasn’t aware of the FB group settings because that’s not my specialization. I only casually use FB.
          He didn’t walk over to show you the pictures. He posted them on a general forum. They are NOT the same. It wasn’t one on one. It wasn’t in your face. He didn’t do it AT you. Thoughtless? Sure. Intentional, probably not. He’s not an evil villain because he was stupid.
          The real issue is deciding to take offense at this and making yourself wound-up and miserable. No good can come of it. Roll your eyes and walk away. Humans act stupid – a lot!

        2. myswtghst*

          “Posting pics on Facebook is not different than walking up to people and showing them pic.’

          To a lot of people (including a few in this thread), those two things are very different. Walking up and showing you my vacation photos is actively targeting you. Posting my vacation pics on FB is passively sharing them with a (potentially very) broad audience that may include people I didn’t even realize were still on my Friends list. One is actively being awful, the other is probably just being oblivious about who might see the pictures.

  4. Sami*

    OP#5- Are you asking for your two days off (weekend) PLUS another day that’s one of Monday through Friday?
    I agree with Alison- this is very much dependent on your field and workplace.

    1. Expected to pay more than my fair share*

      I think what OP is saying I want two days off together with one being a weekday if I work 5 days a week.
      If OP has the true weekend off (Sat-Sun) then OP needs an additional day off during the weekend giving OP a 4 day work week.

      1. Rat Racer*

        I”m still confused. Is the OP asking for a 40 hour workweek or a 36-hour part-time workweek?

          1. Kyrielle*

            OP is asking for a weekday off, and two days in a row off. If the weekday is part of the two days in a row, that’s fine. So OP will work a 4-day week or a 5-day week, either one.

            So having Sat-Sun off would mean having another day off – but having Fri-Sat, Sun-Mon, Tu-Wed, etc., would all be fine with a five day week.

        1. LSCO*

          I think it’s either – she’d either be happy with a 5 day (e.g.) Tuesday – Saturday 40 hour workweek – as she’ll have one weekday off each week (Monday) and 2 consecutive days off (Sunday and Monday). Alternately, she wants to work (e.g.) Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri, with Wednesday off as her weekday off and the standard Sat/Sun weekend. It’s also worth noting that a 4 day work-week doesn’t necessarily mean a 32hr work-week – OP could negotiate working 10 hour days on her workdays to make up 40 hours per week overall.

      2. LawLady*

        If you work a traditional office job, this might seem odd, but often in shift work people reference their “weekends” as the two consecutive days they’re getting off. When I waitressed I usually got Wednesday and Thursday of, so I called that my weekend. And on Tuesday I might say to my coworkers “It’s my Friday!” Obviously it’s not real Friday, but it’s a translation of regular office hours to shift work.

    2. LeRainDrop*

      Yeah, that’s how I read OP#5, as well — wanting two consecutive days as a “weekend” PLUS one weekday for personal errands, etc. I still agree with Alison’s advice whichever way the OP intended.

    3. Stephanie*

      A woman at my gym is a nurse and works a schedule like this (she does three 13-hour days, I believe). But yeah, I think this would depend on your field. It doesn’t sound like it’s that odd in say nursing.

      1. Newby*

        Don’t nursing jobs usually require a lot of flexibility though? The friends I have had who are nurses have different days off every week.

        1. Anna*

          It really depends on where they work and if they’re unionized. Most of the nurses I know have set days on and off. They still have to do their on-call shifts, but they know well in advance when it will be.

    4. Yay*

      I think they want 2 consecutive days off, with one being a weekday. So it could be friday and saturday, sunday and monday, or even two weekdays, as long as it is the same two every week.

      I think the OP probably works in a job that requires shift work and is trying to make a schedule that isnt shift work related.

      The way to get THOSE schedules is to put in the time and prove your worth, not demand it.

      1. Mookie*

        Yep. 2c explicitly says that the one day off

        can be included as part of my “weekend,” or not

    5. Student*

      You could look for jobs or workplaces that normally employ people on a 4/10 schedule. That seems perfectly suited to what you’re looking for.

      1. Joseph*

        This. There are a few specific industries which work 7 days a week (e.g., retail, hospitals) – in these, it wouldn’t look like an odd request at all. But if OP is in a field that works the typical Monday-Friday workweek, then OP really needs to cherry-pick companies that use the 4/10 schedule.

        Because unless OP is very senior or desirable, it’s nearly impossible to successfully negotiate hours which are drastically different from the office norm. Many professional companies are flexible nowadays, but there’s a huge difference between “shift hours to work 8-4 instead of 9-5” and “working a different day than the rest of the staff”.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, I’ve worked this schedule and it is pretty nice when you need to run errands on weekdays–except it always ended up being overnight or second shift, which sucked!

      2. BananaPants*

        My company allows a compressed work week (4 10+ hour days) but only after an employee has been here for a while and with their manager’s approval. In reality, I don’t know anyone salaried who is approved to work a compressed schedule because it’s discouraged by senior management. I broached the subject once and had no less than three different managers (including mine) tell me that it would make me look as if I wasn’t “dedicated” to my work.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          We have that, too, and it’s similarly approved once you’ve been here a while. We do have salaried folks on it, and I have to admit, I agree with your manager. I recently came out the other end of having a really heavy work load for several months, and it would irritate me to work 10-12 hour days 5 days a week (sometimes 6) while people with my same job title were working 4x10s. You get a lot more free OT out of someone who is there 5 days vs. 4 days. Good for the people who have gotten this arrangement (take back your lives!), but I’ve seen it result in unfairly distributed work load. . .almost parallel to the WFH colleague who doesn’t get those drive-by tasks asked of them since they’re not in front of the manager all day.

    6. (Not an IRS) Auditor*

      I hear what folks are saying about scheduling flexibility, but IME, for retail or medicine or many similar 7 day workplaces, saying you’ll work EVERY weekend in return for the same two weekdays off every week would be very attractive to a lot of managers.

      1. LQ*

        Absolutely. I think this will be very field dependent.

        But I also want to point out that in my job I can absolutely schedule doctors appointments in advance (I schedule my dentist visits 6 months out!) and I don’t have a regular week day off. I just either schedule them for a day/time when I don’t have things happening, or I schedule far enough out that I can block my calendar. If it was a regular weekly appointment that didn’t take all day I’d just talk to my boss about “I have a weekly appointment at 4 on Tuesday, can I leave at 3:30?” And either take sick time or ask if I could flex time. If I had something that took all day it might be an FMLA thing?

        1. Jadelyn*

          I used to do that with therapy appointments – it was on my calendar and everyone on my team knew that on Thursdays, I’d be out the door at 4:30 instead of the usual 5.

          As far as FMLA goes, you can take intermittent FMLA in smaller chunks – I believe 2 hours is the minimum – so you could use it for half days if you wanted. The only thing FMLA does for that is classify it as protected time, so you can’t be disciplined for “absenteeism” for being gone half a day twice a week (or whatever the schedule is). And of course the times off would have to all be related to a single serious/chronic health condition requiring ongoing treatment, blah blah blah etc. – you couldn’t just take FMLA for your normal dentist appointments.

    7. Tuckerman*

      “2c. Can be included as part of my “weekend,” or not.”
      I read that to mean a Sunday-Monday weekend would fit both requirements (needing a weekday off and needing two days in a row off).

    8. BananaPants*

      If I’m confused by these scheduling demands, I have a feeling hiring managers will be as well. From what I can tell, OP5 wants two consecutive days off every week, at least one of which has to be a weekday. That may be workable in some fields if you have the experience and skillset to get weird scheduling as a perk, but my guess is that if a business says the workweek is Monday through Friday, 8 AM-5PM, that’s what it is. OP5 might consider if a traditional workweek with the option of flextiming during the week for appointments and errands would suit her needs. I have that kind of schedule and it’s great!

      My husband works in the pharmaceutical industry. He was hired for a very specific schedule that includes one weekday off every week and alternating weekends; everyone in his small department has this type of schedule. Candidates are told about the scheduling requirements during the first interview and if they can’t make it work the company won’t proceed any further.

      I know that weird shift schedules are a pain in the ass, but in some fields (retail, food service, hospitality) they’re part of doing the job and you just won’t be hired if you make these kinds of demands. In health care you may work a weird schedule but at least it’s probably more consistent over time (unless you’re per diem). Professional/office work is probably hit-or-miss as to whether they’ll allow such a schedule. Even if an employer did agree in writing to such an arrangement, there’s nothing stopping them from changing it down the line.

      1. Michelle*

        I also feel that hiring managers are going to be confused by these requirements and it may take OP out of consideration for some jobs. I’m sure there is a job out there that will be ok with that, but most places are going to want more flexibility.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Eh, there are lots of fields or roles with these kinds of schedules. Anywhere where consistent coverage is needed: servers, call centers, health care, DV & homeless shelters, property management, hospitality, etc. etc. ec.

        2. Emilia Bedelia*

          If the employment application asked for availability at all, I’m assuming it’s retail/other shift work. I don’t think I’ve ever filled out an application for a 9-5 office type job that even bothered asking for availability.

      2. Liane*

        It is not really a problem in retail (or fast food) IME. I worked for years for Big Retailer and my college kids both work for Big Grocery. When you apply/are hired on you enter times you are available to work into the computer and the computer’s scheduling program or manager can’t schedule you then. Some systems allow for odd recurring days off, like “First full weekend of the month,” “Every other Thursday,” etc. You can also change these permanently, for example when your class schedule changes, or request specific days off at least X days ahead.
        How specific you can get depends on the company. At some, you enter hours you are available (e.g., Sunday 1-10pm, Monday 6am-5pm…), at others you are limited to selecting no, one or more shifts for each day. Now how many hours you get IS affected by your availability and the position. A cashier who is only available a few hours every week &/or times (Early morning/late night) when only 1-2 registers are open is probably not going to be scheduled for as many hours as a cashier who can work, say, most daytime shifts plus several evenings.

        1. Anon For This*

          Conversely, when I hired and did scheduling for a large retail store we had trouble with anybody who had a rigid schedule – people whose availability sucked off the bat just didn’t get interviewed (as in “I can work 9-5 M through F, no weekends.”) We’d get a lot of applications like that, often from people who thought they could self-select out of the crappy shifts.

          Retail needs a degree of flexibility and honestly I would have a hard time even promising OP 2 consecutive days off as that wasn’t even something we could promise our managers. We worked around plenty of college schedules because generally morning/afternoons during the week were very lightly staffed anyway, but we’d almost never hire someone who couldn’t work nights or weekends.

          Not saying it’s not crappy, that’s just kind of the reality I saw when I was scheduling 50+ people a week.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq*

            Yep, this is my experience also. Not sure what OP’s field is, but when I worked fast food, the application process was competitive enough that we didn’t even interview anyone that had less than full flexibility.

        2. BananaPants*

          My dad spent almost all of his career as a restaurant manager and in most cases anything less than full availability from an applicant meant the application went straight to the circular file. Why waste time on an applicant with a bunch of scheduling demands when he had plenty of applicants without those restrictions? And managers work truly crazy schedules; if you’re a GM and your assistant manager calls out, guess who’s expected to go in and work?

          My husband had similar experiences in retail. Actually, the constantly-changing work schedule is why he got out of retail – it was not conducive to our family life. He works 2nd shift and alternating weekends with one weekday off every week, but it’s always the same hours and always the same days off rather than changing every 2 weeks in what seems like an entirely arbitrary fashion.

          1. Jadelyn*

            And this is why I got out of retail, too. The demand that people be able and willing to put absolutely everything in their lives on hold for work so that they can be scheduled whenever the manager wants, is pretty damn unreasonable IMO. I do work occasional overtime and weekends for my job, and I have to be available by phone/text after hours unless I’m on vacation, but the key is that it’s occasional, due to critical situations, and most of the time (except emergencies obvs) predictable at least a few days in advance.

            1. Boss Cat Meme*

              Same here! I didn’t mind the “work” in retail at all, or even the worst of the customers, but the constant upheaval in my life just became too much! I could work months of holiday eves, Friday night, Saturday night, early crack of dawn Sunday morning weekends, week after week, coming in “on call” at the last minute, picking up shifts from other people, but if I needed a weekend off for my sister’s wedding 5 months away well then it was like asking for the moon! One year the store I worked in (major mall anchor) just decided, just like that, it would do a special two weeks before Christmas where the store would be open 24 hours a day! Just like that, I was expected to show up for a number of midnight to 4am shifts, never even taking into consideration what my transportation situation was. Since I had the lowest seniority, I got every sh$# shift possible, after everyone else cherry picked all the hours they wanted. I spent three years of my life telling my family, my boyfriends, my friends, “Sorry, I won’t know know if I’ll be free until one or two weeks before.” I can’t imagine a brand new hire getting her list of demands fulfilled.

    9. SystemsLady*

      OP may have thought it would be assumed they’re except and working 10 4s. That’s how such a request would be immediately interepreted in my industry. It’s uncommon, but not that uncommon.

  5. Engineer Girl*

    #3 – No one wants you to barf near them. Speak up! They’ll be happy to accommodate you. Really.

    1. Xarcady*

      This. Just the words, “I get carsick,” would have me running for the back seat. I have no major desire for the front seat that trumps the prevention of barfing.

    2. Nobody*

      Yeah, I think #3 might be overthinking this. Just say, “Can I sit in the front so I don’t get carsick?” I highly doubt anyone will argue or have a problem with this request.

    3. (different) Rebecca*

      And if this is “hard enough to navigate with family and friends” I…just…what? What kind of friends do you have?? Why are you still talking to family who would rather make you sick than accommodate you?? What is even happening here??

      1. Jeanne*

        When I was a kid, my sister claimed car sickness and “needed” to lay down on the back seat and I rode the turnpike on the floor between the seats (before seatbelts were in fashion). Some of us have bad experiences. But the real problem is you can’t have 3 carsick people in the front seat.

        1. OP #3*

          Yup, Jeanne hit it. My friends and family are glad to accommodate me but it’s tough when I’m not the only carsick-prone person in the car. Which happens.

          There’s also an age-related component; to me, manners dictate that you give the front seat to the eldest person if you can. So this gets awkward when the carsick people are me and my twelve year old niece and we’re riding with, say, my mom. Especially if it’s her car!

          I just don’t enjoy asking for the seat that most people prefer on a regular basis, even for this reason. I appreciate everyone’s suggestions for dealing with it at work – though it wouldn’t be the first time I overthought a situation here :-) I’m only three weeks in and after a long job hunt, it almost feels like this job is too good to be true.

          1. hbc*

            If you’re also the person asking for the special meal and the special schedule and the special desk lamp, you might run into problems requesting the front seat. Otherwise, 99.9% of people will believe that your needs trump their preferences, or will consider their conflicting need as equal to yours and figure a way around it (like taking two cars.) Show a similar concern for their well-being. The other 0.1% will never be happy with what you do if it has the slightest impact on them, so there’s no use worrying about it.

          2. Friday Brain All Week Long*

            OP3 I sympathize. I’m a carsick barfer too, have been all my life (but it finally is starting to get a little better in my 30s). And it’s embarrassing, especially when I was the youngest/newest in the team. I’m also a terrible conversationalist in cars because the drivers usually want to make brief eye contact multiple times (what! Look at the road!) and I am a strict “eyes on horizon” person. So no matter how you slice it, I’m going to Look Rude. I’ve made peace with it. And I’ve been in situations with multiple barfers/other front seat needers and I drive myself in those instances. Usually with someone in the group (with a sound stomach/no disability) making noise about how wasteful it is to take two cars. Oh well!

        2. Boss Cat Meme*

          This was my little sister too, whenever it was “convenient” for her or she just wanted to be a pain. She would be stretched out across the backseat on a big fluffy pillow with a blanket and I would be riding the hump on the floor while she occasionally needed to stretch her legs and kick me in the back. Funny how quickly she “grew out” of her carsickness once she was told to sit in the back with a bucket in her lap, holding her moist towelette packets in her hands.

          But that’s clearly family drama issues, and certainly your co-workers are not going to be about drama and games. I would give them a brief heads up the day before just to make sure you ALL don’t need to ride in the front, or if you want to make other driving arrangements. Your co-workers are going to be fine sitting in the back if they are aware that there may be barfing incidents or accidents.

        3. Emily*

          It’s definitely true that three people can’t sit up front, but some people who are prone to motion sickness might still be fine sitting in the middle seat in back, which isn’t so bad if you have the whole backseat to yourself. Also, sitting in the back means you’re off the hook for navigating duties, which is a common carsickness trigger, but might be fine for some as long as they’re sitting up front.

      2. Mando Diao*

        Carsickness is incredibly common. It’s annoying when one person constantly calks shotgun in someone else’s car while someone else drives. OP is right to be thinking about this ahead of time. Id advise her to steer away from calling it an “accommodation,” if she doesn’t want to open the door to a conversation about why she accepted the job in the first place.

        1. (different) Rebecca*

          Pretty sure “I vomit in the backseat and need to be accommodated” falls under the ADA…

          Plus, vomiting person overrides annoyed person every time.

          Seriously, I don’t know why this is even a discussion–one person says, I need this because carsick, the other person says okay, fair enough, my knees may hurt for a while but I’ll take one for the team in order for you not to vomit and the rest of us to not experience you vomiting.

          And while having bad experiences in your childhood is regrettable, it doesn’t change the fact that adults in a work setting can generally be trusted to self-report their own needs (unlike sisters in childhood? I guess?) and should be taken at their word that they do in fact really NEED the front seat.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            As a former child who occasionally concocted elaborate ruses to situate myself in luxury relative to my siblings, I can attest that I am now a trustworthy co-worker who would never knowingly deny anyone a needed accommodation. I know some adults who still go through life claiming the best for themselves and everyone else be damned, but most people are far more reasonable than that.

          2. Elysian*

            No, probably would not fall under the ADA. Carsickness is not a disability under the ADA. It is very unlikely that it substantially limits a major life activity. It is a minor limitation to a minor life activity. Let’s not get carried away.

            1. OP #3*

              Agreed! I definitely don’t want to get into murky ADA territory. I should have chosen my words more carefully; I didn’t mean accommodation in the legal sense. To me, this definitely doesn’t rise to disability level.

          3. Mando Diao*

            Honestly, I would not be willing to regularly be in pain or discomfort as a result of someone else’s needs. That not something that can be reasonably be expected and I don’t think it’s selfish or unkind to throw that out there.

          4. Lissa*

            It’s a discussion because, I think, it’s not just between “carsick person” and “annoyed person” but “carsick person and other carsick person” or “carsick person and disabled person/chronic pain sufferer” etc. And mentioning it ahead of time allows for any issues like that to be sorted out in advance.

        2. I'm a Little Teapot*

          “Why she accepted the job in the first place”?!

          If you’d really rather make someone sick than not get to ride in your preferred seat (unless you have the same problem), perhaps you should examine your priorities.

          1. Liane*

            I hope Mando Diao is just bringing up an attitude the OP may encounter and not stating their own opinion of the OP’s situation.”

            1. Mando Diao*

              Exactly. Carsickness is not a protected disability and this is a job that requires frequent car travel. It may progress to a point where people wonder why OP took this job.

                1. Anna*

                  I felt the same way. It’s such a weird place to go with something that is basic and can be easily accommodated.

              1. Kyrielle*

                “This job will require frequent car travel” and “This job will require car travel with 3+ people in the car” are different things, however, and the latter is unlikely to have been said. Since the OP does okay in the front seat, frequent car travel might not have seemed like an issue – and only sometimes are there 3+ people in the car, at which point the need to drive or occupy the front passenger seat comes into play.

                The good news is, there are plenty of people who don’t want to have to drive in the first place, or don’t mind if someone else wants to at least, so taking the driver’s seat will solve the issue in a good many cases.

    1. Whippersnapper*

      Dramamine is a godsend. You can get it in non drowsy if you’d like, and most people will only need half a pill at a time (true story: decided I must be old enough to take a whole one last summer and was CATATONIC in the back for all eight hours of the trip. 1/2 is enough!)

    2. Gem*

      If OP is anything like me that’s not enough. I take pills, wear these probably placebo wristbands and I still have to sit in the front and will still be nauseous, but I won’t actually be ill.

      Also travel sickness pills tend to make me drowsy, so that might be an issue for the OP on a business trip

    3. Elysian*

      As a person who gets carsick, I am constantly explaining to people that Dramamine doesn’t work for me. It makes me more sick. It’s kind of an annoying conversation to have every time I tell people I need to either drive or sit up front. :(

      1. Dorothy Lawyer*

        Me too. And I don’t actually vomit (unless I’m on a plane and there’s turbulence), but I’m pretty much miserable for the rest of the day if I have to sit in the back seat of a car. Or if I have to sit in the front seat of a car when my boss is driving… I avoid riding with her at all costs – wonderful boss, terrible driver…

    4. OP #3*

      I haven’t tried them yet, but I will if it turns out there’s a fellow barfer in the office and we have to ride together enough that it becomes an issue.

      I got lucky this time; for tomorrow’s trip, my colleagues prefer navigation to driving anyway, so it didn’t even come up.

    5. Mona Lisa*

      As someone who gets motion sick, the pills only really work for me if I’m already planning to sleep for most of the activity because, even with the non-drowsy variety, I’m going to end up passing out and waking up groggy. Also, the pills have limited functionality depending on the type of vehicle and terrain that I will be on. My best coping mechanism, which I developed as a kid, was to just sleep as much as I could for the drive/flight/boat ride and hope for the best.

      A bit OT but to illustrate my point: when I first met my husband’s parents, it was on a week-long vacation to a lake cabin rental. After ending up incapacitated for 3 hours after a spontaneous 20 minute boat ride on the first day, I started taking “non-drowsy” Dramamine every morning almost like a vitamin in case they sprang another one on me. I slept through 75% of the vacation, and I remember hearing in my catatonic state my now-FIL say to my husband, “She seems like a nice girl, but is everything ok with her? She sleeps an awful lot and is always sick.”

      1. OP #3*

        Sounds like me with Benadryl when I was younger! I used to be horribly allergic to dogs and I slept through more than one Thanksgiving dinner because that was the only way to control my exposure.

        If I go with medication, I’ll definitely test-drive it (hee) before a business trip to make sure it doesn’t make me drowsy.

        1. Liane*

          I was going to suggest a test. So many OTC allergy or sinus meds, day or night versions, make me sleepy or inattentive enough that I only take a full dose when I am really sick and can rest.

        2. CAA*

          If you’re like me and find that even the non-drowsy formula knocks you out, try taking the regular 24-hour pill the night before. The drowsiness won’t last for the full 24 hours, and if you take it right before you’re going to bed anyway, you won’t care if it does put you to sleep. This trick saved a cruise vacation that turned out to be in much rougher seas than I expected.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            That’s a really good idea. I’ll have to remember that if I ever go on a cruise. I’ve never been seasick on small boats, but there’s a first time for everything.

      2. Marcela*

        That gives me an idea for my FIL’s next visit… It would be so fantastic if I could sleep 75% of the time he is here, boat or not boat.

    6. pieces of flair*

      Some thoughts on dramamine from a fellow motion sickness sufferer:

      1. There is no non-drowsy version of dramamine; there is “less drowsy” formula which still makes me inconveniently drowsy.
      2. Dramamine is not particularly strong/effective if the motion sickness is severe. It works fine for me on a car trip or relatively non-turbulent flight, but it’s not enough for me on a very turbulent flight or on a boat. For those I need the prescription motion sickness patches, which fortunately don’t cause drowsiness. Those things are a godsend.

    7. Hrovitnir*

      All the medications I’ve ever tried made me feel worse – I still felt like death only now I also had horrible dry mouth. If anything actually *worked* on me, even if it knocked me out (if I didn’t need to be awake), would be amazing.

    8. CarrieUK*

      I am another motion sickness person and I can’t take the pills because I get really drowsy, even with the “non-drowsy” ones. I once memorably took some before a team meeting and someone had the bright idea to have a “guided meditation” session during it. I fell asleep and fell out of my chair during it.

      I get that people are trying to be helpful with this suggestion, but having to constantly justify why I travel the night before (my business travel is on trains, so I go the night before when I can take the pills and sleep it off) or can’t do something (ride in the back) for someone else’s convenience over my not-vomiting is pretty annoying.

  6. Former Usher*

    #2 – On a day that several employees were “restructured” (I was given a choice of 60 days severance pay or continued employment but with a pay cut of 30%), our executive director kicked off the department meeting telling us all how much he enjoyed his vacation and how wonderful his vacation home is. OP, best wishes for landing a better job soon!

  7. Patsy Stone*

    #1 – I would also suggest, if you’re able, to do some volunteering at a local hospital or wherever it is in the health care area that you feel particularly interested in. When I made the decision to switch careers after 20 years and go into nursing, while I was waiting to start nursing school I became a volunteer at a big trauma hospital, and got to see a lot of what went on there from a nurse’s perspective. I also got the opportunity to really talk to some of the nurses and unit clerks, and they were a wealth of information and advice. Yes, medicine and nursing is incredibly hard and intimidating, but it’s worth the struggle in the end. If you’ve been thinking about this since high school, then that tells me that this isn’t just a whim that you’ll grow bored of in another couple years.

    1. jm*

      Totally agree. Find a way to get a first-hand look at a hospital or health care center. Consider obtaining a Certified Nurse Assistant license as a way to get your foot into the door with an entry-level position. I work in a public school system, and we have a program where our high school students can obtain a CNA license before they graduate — it’s pretty quick and easy to obtain the license, and not too rigorous. CNAs do the grunt work around hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, etc., but they’re in high demand, and the ease of obtaining a license means you can work in the medical field for a while before committing to a four-year degree path (and student loans).

      1. Not the doctor*

        An talk to lots of doctors and nurses in lots of specialties, asking them questions about the realities of their profession. Becoming a doctor is HARD and a lot of people burn out or quit – far from the “dream job” experience they hoped they were getting into. There are a lot of ways to make a difference in the world while making good money other than being a doctor/nurse.

    2. BananaPants*

      OP #1, if you want to do this, now is the best opportunity. Don’t wait another decade or more to do it. I know several people IRL who majored in other areas and then went to nursing school after a year or two (or even several years) and are very happily working as RNs or APRNs. There are traditional associate’s degree programs, but also accelerated BSN or graduate entry to nursing programs that are around 1 year of full-time study and clinicals.

      I let my mother talk me out of majoring in nursing in college (or going pre-med) and regret it very much. I would love to go to nursing school – but at 35 years old with a mortgage and two kids it doesn’t seem to be a viable option. The problem is not so much the loss of my income for a year to do an accelerated program, but the significant pay cut that I would take in going from being a midcareer engineer to an entry-level RN; my salary would be cut in half or more. I’ll make the final decision when I’m around 40ish but unless my husband is earning quite a bit more by then it won’t be financially possible to actually make this career change when I’m still young enough to do it.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        At my house, it was a battle between medicine and engineering, only my mom was pro-medicine. She lost.

      2. The Strand*

        I suggest that you look at infomatics, and health care management – maybe you can move into health care earlier than you think, but with your core skill set now.

    3. Dot Warner*

      I agree. I work in health care and I tell students of all ages that classes are fine but the only way to know whether health care is a good fit is to get firsthand experience. Sometimes I see young naive students come in telling me how passionate they are about this career and that fades away when they realize that what their professors have told them is not reality, and sometimes I see students who didn’t really understand how much they liked this field until they had a chance to experience it.

      OP1, I’d also suggest you read the forums at StudentDoctor.net. They started out as just forums for medical students and residents, but over the years they’ve expanded to include a number of other health care professions. Good luck!

    4. AMT*

      Great advice. And OP should note that there are awesome healthcare careers outside of medicine and nursing! I’m a psychotherapist (M.S.W.) and work at a hospital. PAs do well, too. Pharmacy, dentistry, podiatry, optometry, physical therapy, occupational therapy! Physiology! Behavior analysis! Dietetics! Research of all kinds!

      1. BananaPants*

        My husband’s a certified pharmacy tech, but his actual job is as a specialized customer service role for a large specialty pharmacy company. In the last year he’s had two coworkers move on to working for insurance companies. There are a lot of jobs in the health care field!

        One of the coolest, and probably hardest, healthcare careers I’ve heard of is as a child life specialist. They work with children and their families in hospitals to help them cope with the challenges of major illnesses/disabilities and hospitalization. Our older child has a minor medical condition and I can’t say enough good things about the child life staff who work with her (and us) during tests and clinic visits.

    5. Hannah*

      OP #1–I agree with all the advice given here. Either getting a paid job or doing some shadowing in health care settings (or both!) are important for helping you to decide if this career is right for you. Furthermore, Admissions Committees, if you decide to pursue an MD degree, will likely look specifically at whether at the types of health care-related experiences that you’ve had (shadowing, volunteering and/or paid work). I served on a College of Medicine admissions committee for 3 years, and we put considerable weight on those experiences, in addition to grades and MCAT scores.

    6. Anonymouse*

      I am a DO in residency who took night classes during her full-time career before entering medical school. It CAN be done (although I’ll admit that those night classes were draining, and also ultimately not super pertinent to overall medicine.) Just FYI, a lot of DO schools are super friendly to people who have worked after graduating from college, and we’re essentially equivalent to MDs.

      My decision to become a doctor was made after I did a medical mission trip to Mexico, where I was able to work one-on-one with multiple healthcare providers including MDs/DOs, RNs, pharmacists, technicians, PAs, and others. It was a great experience in that I was able to see both the good and bad that comes with being in healthcare. I also got to see which role I liked best, which ultimately helped me pick medical school.

      One caveat: if you choose medical school, be aware that it will become the #1 most important part of your life for many years whether you want it to or not. You have to be 100% sure this is what you want before entering.

      Feel free to email me if you want more info!

    7. OP1*

      I have applied 3 times for our only local hospital in the past 2 years to be a volunteer – there are just so many high school and nursing school students who needs hours during evenings/weekends that they don’t want to give those hours to someone who just wants to help and get a feel for it. Sadly the same goes for the other organizations in my town… if only I could somehow manage to get a job with a 4 day work week I’d be all set.

  8. mehowe*

    I kind of prefer sitting in the front, but I *really* prefer that nobody barf in my presence. You would be doing me a favor by taking the front seat. We will both be much happier.

  9. Seal*

    #1 – My biggest regret in life is that I let my parents pressure me into taking the “safe route” rather than pursuing my passions. It took 7 years to graduate from college with mediocre grades becasue I wasn’t all that interested in what I was studying. I spent almost 20 years living paycheck to paycheck in “secure” jobs that were occasionally interesting but never exciting. Although I finally got my MLIS a decade ago and have had a fair amount of success as a librarian, I am reminded on a daily basis of where I would be career-wise if I done so 10 or even 5 years earlier.

    Trust your gut and ignore your parents – pursue your passion. If you’re unhappy with your career now, imagine how you’ll feel a few years down the road. Trust me – you don’t want to be that person.

    1. Jack the Treacle Eater*

      Absolutely second, third and fourth this. Parents are not necessarily objective about this. They worry about you being financially secure and having a reliable income. That’s no bad thing and it’s because they love you, but it does mean their input isn’t necessarily reliable.

      I had two real career choices when I was young. One was not possible for health reasons; the other had very high, expensive barriers to entry, was very exclusive and I was steered away from it as I ‘needed something reliable’. Ever since I have thought ‘what if’, particularly as I now see that career would have opened doors I never would have imagined at the time.

      You have had a dream since high school, and that dream was medicine. Yes, it’ll take a lot of work and more investment in your future; but it is your dream; accounting is someone else’s. Once you’ve put the work and investment in, it’s a potentially lucrative career with a secure future; and if it doesn’t work out, you’re in no worse position than you are now; in fact, you’ll have more career options.

      Don’t be that person who looks back and thinks ‘what if’. Do it.

      1. BananaPants*

        My mother is a nurse and steered me away from both nursing and medicine. When accepted to my alma mater I was offered guaranteed med school admission in a special program, but I turned it down because my parents thought I should go into a field where I could earn a good living in a 40 hour workweek with just a bachelor’s degree – and I listened to them. They didn’t want me to have to work as hard as they did to support their family. I don’t dislike engineering, but this was not my dream.

      2. Marillenbaum*

        THIS. I’ve wanted to go into a certain career since I was 17 and a favorite teacher told me it existed. Nine years later, I’m officially on that path, and I feel so excited and lucky to do what I do. It wasn’t a straight line, but it was so worth the wait. Good luck!

      3. OhNo*

        Exactly. Plus you have the benefit right now of having a relatively “safe” career, that gives you a good jumping off point for trying something new. You can take medicine classes at night and if you decide it’s not for you, you have something to fall back on. Depending on your work schedule, you could even get a second part-time job in the field to try it out and make sure it’s what you want (I’m thinking EMT, nurse assistant, or hotline worker if psych is more your thing – they seem to have odd-hour shifts that you might be able to fit in around another job).

        It may not be the typical way to go about getting into the field, but that doesn’t make it bad. If you still want to go into medicine after all this time, that’s a pretty good sign that you should at least give it a shot. And if your parents keep pushing the “safe” option, remember that just because they’re your parents doesn’t necessarily mean they know what’s best for you. They don’t know you as well as you know you.

    2. Anon13*

      Seconding this! I am actually in the process of filling out my MLIS application now (not right this second, but I’ve been working on it at night). I graduated from college in 2005 and have been working jobs that are occasionally interesting, but definitely not for me, since then. I have been volunteering at the library and I love it. I feel like I wasted ten + years and I really wish I had made the change much sooner!

    3. Captain Radish*

      Yes, I agree with this myself. I ended up with an English Literature degree because I wanted to be a mechanic. I had no idea what to do at a liberal arts school. I’m reasonably happy with my current career as a cctv tech, but no thanks to my worthless degree!

    4. OP1*

      I started therapy recently and that was something that she really drove into my skull… I can’t be happy when I am just following what other people want/expect me to do and ignoring what I want. I know my parents want what is best for me but they clearly don’t know what is best for me. They are the kind of people that never pursued higher education and think any 9-5 office job with weekends off is automatically heavenly.

    5. Batman's a Scientist*

      @Seal: Out of curiosity, did you have experience working or volunteering in a library setting before getting the MLIS? I got an MLIS degree in 2010 without any experience in a library and I haven’t been able to find a librarian job. I have a related job, but it’s not at all what I wanted to do when I went into the degree.

  10. Stephanie*

    #1 – Trust your gut! I’d at least talk to some doctors or nurses just to get a realistic idea of the field. And even if you didn’t take all the premed classes, there are post-baccalaureate programs that are geared toward career changers (and a couple offer acceptance into the med school program after completion).

  11. Stephanie*

    #3 – “Technicolor yawn” is a great phrase, btw. But yeah, speak up. It’s not that unreasonable of a request.

  12. Hotel worker*

    #5 This isn’t a crazy request, but don’t present it as a list of demands. Just say you need Sunday+Monday or Monday+Tuesday off or whatever.

    1. Jennifer*

      I’m guessing #5 works in retail or some kind of business where nobody has set shifts. From what I’ve heard, that sort of thing is…unlikely to happen because managers will schedule you at their convenience, not yours.

      This might vary depending on the business, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up about it.

      1. BlurBlur*

        Yeah I got the retail vibe too. Which this would be a deal breaker for I assume most places. If this is retail this just isn’t how that stuff works.

        1. Raine*

          Yes, my experience in retail with putting in your availability in the application process is pretty much this: Your application pretty much will be rejected (sight unseen?) unless you put down that you have open availability (could work any shift any day). I don’t want to discourage somebody — but at the same time, I know what it’s like to need a job and want advice on how to fill out those stupid auto forms without being kicked out before even considered.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        From what I’ve seen of retail, there are a very few people with a set shift like this, but they have earned it by being the best employee, long-term, at the same place. Even a great employee would have to start over, shift-preference-wise, at a new place. Retail is very seniority-based.

        1. A is for A*

          Even in health care it is unrealistic to expect that you will have the same two days off every week unless you’re in management (and even not then typically). Because these positions require shift work, they often times have rotating weekend schedules that require each staff person to work weekends every so often. If I had someone who sounded this rigid apply for a job in my department, I would never hire them. Typically health care facilities, like so many other types of workplaces value flexibility. That’s not to say that your time should belong to work, but being flexible and working unusual schedules is a part of the job.

          1. Meeeeeeeeeeee*

            But it sounds like OP is willing to work every weekend as long as they get any two sequential weekdays off. Wouldn’t that be appealing? (Genuine question, my field is not like this)

            1. Mona Lisa*

              It would really depend on the store, their coverage needs, and the availability of other employees. Yes, in some places or store cultures this might be more desirable, but in others, it wouldn’t. For example, my first retail brand preferred to schedule you for fewer days with longer shifts, but my current brand prefers to schedule you more days of the week for shorter periods so they don’t have to give out as many breaks. It really depends on the company’s culture.

            2. A is for A*

              It could be, if that’s what’s needed. Typically, if I’m hiring (in health care), it’s to fill a specific schedule that is already pre-determined. Hiring outside of that schedule would be very inconvenient, and would possibly require me to have to hire another person part-time to fill gaps in the schedule resulting from an out-of-the-box schedule that doesn’t fit in with my needs.

            3. Kimberlee, Esq*

              It’s kind of appealing, but TBH in my experience people who work every weekend still want the occasional Saturday or Sunday off, because those are the days that, like, the rest of the world takes off, so that mitigates a lot of the appeal! If I were specifically struggling with weekend coverage, it would be different, but if things were mostly fine and I just needed to fill someone’s role who was leaving, I would probably skip over OP. (but that’s for fast food! no idea about other fields.)

        2. Mona Lisa*

          This was the vibe I got, too. I’m able to work part-time on only days I want because I’ve been with the company 4+ years, but the college students who are just starting have much less flexibility with their scheduling than I do. If the OP is looking for a first full-time retail job or transitioning into a new company, I think it would be difficult for her to make those kind of demands initially. It might be something the manager would consider transitioning to eventually, but it’s difficult for most retail employees to get a “weekend” right off the bat.

      3. Liane*

        See my post at 9:28 am on providing availability at least some major retailers.

        TL;DR = OP could put in Not Available for any 2 days of the week she wanted as her weekend–Sunday & Monday, Friday and Saturday. Heck, she could block out 2 weekdays.
        And no, the managers wouldn’t be able to schedule you anyway. Now they might ask you if you could make an exception.

        (In fact many of those retailers it is done by a computer.)

      4. Murphy*

        Ditto for other non-standard hour work. Banking, hospital work, etc. all have weird shifts that tend to fluctuate. This would be a hard sell in any of those environments, especially as a newbie.

    2. Lia*

      In my retail experience, you’d either need seniority at the employer (which at some places might take years) or be willing to work a very, very part-time schedule (i.e., you might get Sunday-Monday off, but you’ll only work Thursday and Friday in return, instead of a FT schedule).

      That said, most of my retail bosses tried to keep people on a somewhat regular schedule if possible, but sales events, inventory, etc took precedence.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      A list of demands… or a logic puzzle. I mean, that’s a lot of numbered items to simply convey that you want to work the same five days every week and are flexible on what two days you’re off as long as at least one is a weekday. A more positive way to spin it would also be that you’re willing to work every weekend, if that’s a bonus in your field, for the same two weekdays off.

      Capping it off with the whole rejecting any job that can’t accommodate the schedule comes off as weirdly adversarial, regardless of industry, too. I would cover how scheduling is handled in an initial phone screen or interview so that you can decide whether or not continue. Listing a bunch of conditions up front like that would make me not want to bring you in at all, less because of the schedule and more because of the way it’s conveyed.

  13. Student*

    #3 – I had a co-worker with this problem. Just be matter-of-fact and explain what you need (and remind people proactively; we’ll forget accidentally, not out of malice). Everyone wants you to not get sick on the car ride.

    1. SS*

      I had a new coworker bring this up a couple months ago! She was just straight forward about it, no one in the office minds and we always volunteer to sit in the back. It’s not nearly as big of a deal and the letter writer thinks it is. I’d much prefer to sit in the back then to have a sick coworker.

    2. LizB*

      remind people proactively; we’ll forget accidentally, not out of malice This is so important! My brain sometimes goes out the window when I’m traveling, especially if I’m leaving early in the morning. It’s totally possible I would forget that one of my coworkers got carsick and just head straight for the front seat, but if you remind me, I would switch with no problems.

  14. Rahera*

    #4 when I took part in an LGBT support group thing a few years ago, they suggested that to protect other group members from accidental outing, the best thing in a broader social context was to say they were a ‘friend of a friend.’ Very simple and seems to work fine.

    1. Loose Seal*

      When I world as a social worker, That’s what I would tell my clients in Alcoholics Anonymous to say if someone asked them how they knew someone that they had met at the AA meetings so they wouldn’t blow the anonymity of the other person. It wasn’t even lying; they all were a Friend of Bill.

      (Bill was the name of one of the co-founders of AA.)

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        For a minute there I thought you meant Bill Clinton. Is “friend of Bill” a national phrase about him, or is that just because I’m from Arkansas, and people from here who “knew him when” are called “friends of Bill”?

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Yeah, there was a thing in the first campaign (and maybe then bleeding into his presidency?). FOB as a shorthand for “yes, we’ll take this call,” or etc.

    2. NotASalesperson*

      A common tactic among the New England kink scene is “we met through mutual friends” and/or “we met at a meetup”. When pressed, the meetup was a board game one, since so many of the people in the New England scene fall into the nerd category as well.

      1. SystemsLady*

        That’s a good idea! My husband and I work in completely different fields and have met at least one board game nerd everywhere we’ve worked…long story short, we’ve gotten into board games ourselves.

        (In my industry I’d almost say you need to come up with a favorite game too!)

      2. Anon for this*

        Why are so many New England kinksters into board games? Unfortunately, we don’t all speak the same language. I’m an IT nerd, and I’m not familiar with the games some of my friends play, and it’s not really my thing, so I feel a little “on the sidelines” when the board game conversations come up. Not a big deal – I was just noticing this trend also.

    3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      “Oh, how do you know him?” “Mutual friend, name of Dorothy.”

      (Very old joke, but I couldn’t resist.)

      1. Pwyll*

        That always reminds me of a story (not sure if true) that back in the 70’s the FBI kept trying to find who this Dorothy was, as if she were some kind of mafia ringleader.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if that was true. IIRC the 70s were a pretty weird time for a whole lot of people, including government agencies.

  15. YRH*

    Related to #1, what’s the best way to go about changing careers if you really don’t want to go back to school and already have an advanced degree?

    1. Melissa*

      I think the answer depends heavily on the target career. Becoming a doctor (for example) isn’t going to happen in the US without the education and training. But bridging the gap with your current skills to enter the overarching field of health care (again, for example) might be enough to scratch the itch. Also flexibility of skills. What skills can you apply from accounting to health care (ditto)? Sell those when applying.

    2. hbc*

      Be prepared to step way, way down in terms of salary and responsibility?

      Okay, you can maybe side-step your way in a bit by, say, moving from a law-firm to becoming a lawyer at a pharmaceutical company to being the person who organizes the patent process with the R&D teams. But you simply will need more training to be in R&D (because you can’t just pick up the skills to be biochemist) unless you’re okay being a bottle washer.

    3. Loose Seal*

      I’ve had four discrete careers without going back to school, except to take an occasional class for personal enrichment. I got hired in each career by being meticulous in pointing out how my experience in X made me an ideal candidate for the position. Of course, I didn’t career switch into something that required a degree or license; that would have made a huge difference.

      I only worked in my degree field for two years before I moved on to something else. OP, if you want it, you can do it.

    4. Jubilance*

      I was able to switch careers (laboratory chemist to retail project manager) by highlighting my transferable skills, and I also found a company that values core skills over a specific career path or degree.

    5. YRH*

      Thanks for your thoughts. To give you a little more context, I’m currently working as a health care attorney and would like to be in a public health role. I can’t seem to get any traction for the program-type jobs I want but I’m starting to for policy positions so I’m hoping I can get one of those and think that a move from a policy position to a program position might be a little easier. Gotta love the JD scaring people off.

    6. Kathy-office*

      Depends on the field, but self-study and networking are the cheapest ways if they’re feasible for the field. As long as you spin your “story” so others can understand the switch, then you can explain yourself to potential employers.

  16. Liz*

    #4 — When members of a good friend’s church community asked how we met, we said it was an online writing group. Much better and easier than explaining that we used to write Harry Potter fan fiction and had a troubling obsession with Severus Snape.

    Of course, we both had original projects that we could safely discuss without scandalising people. You could tell people that you met in a now-defunct book club. (Defunct because otherwise people might be wanting to join.)

    1. NotASalesperson*

      HA! I love the thought of having the kink community be former Harry Potter fanfic writers.

      My community commonly says that we met via board game meetups.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        “Is that a magic wand in your pocket or are you happy to see me”? Sigh, I don’t think I’d cut it as a fanfic author.

      2. Renee*

        OK, I regularly run board game meetups and now I’m wondering if people think I’m actually a member of the kink community.

    2. Liane*

      Oddly, one of the people who knows we met in a D&D game is a member of our church. She’s played RPGs and is a fan of Harry, Star Wars, Dr. Who and at least as many other SF/Fantasy things as I am. She’s also a writer and at least one of her projects is X rated.

    3. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

      . . . I think I might know who you are. In HP fandom, that is. We have mutual friends.

      1. Liz*

        Very likely! I use my real name a lot these days, and anything that might raise eyebrows in terms of content is under a pseudonym.

        1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

          I was Wahlee, back in the day. You know RJA and Teri, right? Both old friends.

  17. Cas*

    OP1, I agree with all the suggestions to check out the industry and maybe do volunteering or night classes to get a sense of whether you’d enjoy the work.

    Another option is to think about whether you want to actually be a medical/healthcare professional or whether you would like to be in that industry. You could certainly use your existing skills in the health industry easily so there are some options there as well.

  18. KWu*

    #1 – the thing that gives me pause is your usage of “dream.” While it seems your interest in medicine is an enduring one from high school, and I could see being intimidated by the coursework, do you have more specific experiences to draw on for why you’d enjoy that career a lot more? When you’ve been bored with your current and past jobs, have you taken a deep look at analyzing why that is?

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t go for it (I have a friend who started post-bac and med school in her mid-20s after being very sick for awhile herself), but bear in mind that taking classes on some topic is not the same as doing the work as a job. I think it helps to try to get as close as you can to experiencing the real thing, from informational interviews, to shadowing, to volunteering, etc. It’s certainly not too late to get into the field! But make sure it’s an informed decision, not just a starry-eyed one. What will be different this time around to not scare you off when it might be hard or boring?

    1. Captain Radish*

      Don’t forget as well that tastes change. I thought I wanted to be a proofreader for a while but ultimately decided I utterly lacked the patience for it. Unfortunately for me that wasn’t until AFTER I got my English Literature degree. I ended up installing CCTV cameras for a living and like it considerably better.

    2. Ife*

      Yes, I saw a lot of myself in this letter, and I regularly need to give myself a serious reality check that the grass is not in fact greener everywhere else. So OP, I get you, but at the same time, make sure you think this through.

      What is it specifically that you don’t like about your current job/career? Will those things actually go away if you change fields? And, what additional challenges will being in the healthcare field pose (the ones that come to my mind are working weekends and evenings, and dealing with difficult patients)? What is the cost to get your degree (tuition, books, lost income, moving, time, etc)? Can you afford that on top of any current debt?

      Now if you go through this and you are still enthusiastic about the work, and you ideally have a little bit of experience volunteering or at least have talked to some people doing the work you want to do, then I think you can start planning on going back to school. But take it with a big grain of salt that you may end up just as dissatisfied with the medical field.

    3. OP1*

      My therapist pointed out to me that I had idealized going into medicine way back in high school and now that I am unhappy, the dream of being a nurse/doctor is all I really have to go on. I’m still exploring what attracted me to that and I am a bit fearful that I had got it all from a comedy I had watched when I was a kid and just ran with it… it was a dream that I had for several solid years!

      This is a huge reason for why I am not just enrolling in the classes I need and starting all over.

  19. Stephanie*

    #4 – I met a couple of friends off Craigslist (this was pre-Bumble and “friends only” settings on dating apps). I had just moved to a new city where I knew like one person, got bored one evening, and wrote an ad in the Platonic Friends Only section like “Hey, I’m new in town, promise I’m not a serial killer, like doing x, y, and z. Let me know if you want to grab coffee.” I tried to make it clever. Admittedly, I did get a couple of unsolicited nudes (*sigh* it is Craigslist…), but I made a couple of friends I’m still in touch with today.

    So one adds me on Facebook and turns out we have a mutual friend (her from middle school, me from college). Mutual Friend posts on her Facebook wall like “Whoa, how do you know Stephanie?” I think she said we met at a book talk at a bookstore (which is something that would have been fitting for both of us).

    Another friend, I think I just said we met through a engineering organization like SWE (which wasn’t that far fetched and we had attended events together before).

    I remember admitting this to someone, like it would be very scandalous, and he’s like “Oh, I did that once. Haha, it’s not as strange as you might think.”

    1. Ellie H.*

      Me too! I love Craigslist – I’ve gone on a couple Craigslist dates, had a missed connection posted for me on Halloween, AND I made a friend through an ad. To be honest, it wasn’t a platonic ad (my posting title was something like “I want to meet a graduate student,” except the word wasn’t actually “meet”) and the text also included the specification “(no MBAs).” (In hindsight I’m chagrined to admit this flagrant bias.) Someone emailed me bc he just thought the “(no MBAs)” was hilarious and we somehow started emailing back and forth. It was pretty clear immediately that it was a platonic thing but we both were the kind of people who like to write LONG emails and talk about lots of stuff. We even met up for coffee once before he moved to, I think, CA to take a job. He had just taken the bar and I think a lot of what we talked about was legal and ethical issues which I was interested in at the time. Craigslist is the best.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I’m finding that Facebook is good for this–someone who liked a comment I made on a British website (I think it was the Metro blog, actually) randomly friended me, and I accepted the request. I don’t usually do that. I found out she has a friend who has the exact same name as me, haha, and we friended each other. It’s hilarious when we talk on each other’s posts–it looks like we’re talking to ourselves!

      Also, they live in Yorkshire in England, which is absolutely on my visit list. Gorgeous part of the country. I wish the world weren’t so big sometimes, but the internet can make it seem smaller. :)

      I haven’t managed to meet a friend who lives nearer me, but one of my other internet buddies actually made a friend in our chat room who worked right down the street from him!

    3. zora.dee*

      Yeah, I did this, too. I had two tickets to the opera, and the friend who said she would go with me months earlier when I bought the tickets cancelled on me about 2 days before the performance. They were expensive and I was annoyed about going by myself, so I posted on craigslist that I was looking for a woman to go with me, was very specific that I was not looking for a date. And a great woman just my age wrote me. Turned out she had recently finalized her divorce, and was worried about spending too much time alone, so that’s why she was in the platonic section of CL. We are still friends!

      And we have told people the real story of how I met, but the first time I was telling the story in front of her, she got pretty red, so I think she feels weirder about it than I do. So, we have also just said “met on the internet” bc that’s pretty common in the SF bay area.

  20. BlurBlur*

    OP5: it’s hard because you don’t list your field. There are definitely some places were what you’re asking isn’t out of the norm at all! But I’m getting retail vibes (maybe some of my own weirdness after 8 years of retail and 3 as a manager) and if that’s correct this is very much not a thing. It’s lucky if you get two days off, impossible to consistently get the same two days off through your entire stint. I get it, it’s not unrealistic because it’s so hard to work a shifting schedule but if you’re looking for a retail position it’s just not how schedules get made.

    1. Elizabeth*

      I second that. Even as a manager…I work in a dept. store and my schedule is all over the place. We get one weekend or two days off together a month, and not working more than five days in a row is a big deal.

    2. Amtelope*

      Yeah, this might be a reasonable ask in many fields where offices need to be covered seven days a week but it’s typical for people to have consistent schedules. But in retail? This won’t be possible. Asking to have two days off in a row once a month or so might be doable. Getting the same two days off in a row every week? Not going to happen.

      1. Laura*

        If it’s part time retail and you have to give your availability (and you have a good schedule grimlin who pays attention), you might have better chances to at least pick your weekday. I’m mostly unavailable two non consecutive days during the M-F workweek due to transport issues. But I can pick up or swap a shift on those days provided I have time to arrange for somebody to take me in.

        Whole thing is heavily dependent on where you work, so…

    3. mskyle*

      Yeah, really depends on your field. I used to work in libraries and museums, and regular Tuesday-Saturday or Sunday-Thursday schedules are pretty common for public-facing FT employees in those environments. But I don’t know of any other field where that would have been the norm.

      1. Renee*

        Many years ago I worked in hotels, and I had a Wednesday through Sunday schedule when I worked in Reservations. I worked for a good chain and they did seem to make an effort toward regular schedules with two days off in a row, especially if you were willing to work both days of the weekend. As weekend coverage was necessary and predictable in many departments, they were pretty happy to reward people that cheerfully took those shifts with a regular schedule.

      2. Renee*

        Hotels. I had a Wednesday through Sunday schedule when I worked in Reservations. I worked for a good chain and they did seem to make an effort toward regular schedules with two days off in a row, especially if you were willing to work both days of the weekend, as those requirements were pretty regular in a lot of departments.

  21. AcademiaNut*

    I don’t mind sitting in the backseat if someone is prone to carsickness *if* the car is designed so that adult humans can fit comfortably in the back seat. I’ve been on a few road trips where I could barely walk after a couple of hours in the backseat with my knees up around my chin, when someone else had 100% claim on the front seat, and I’d volunteer to take a Greyhound bus rather than do that again.

    1. Talvi*

      Related to this – OP, if you end up riding shotgun, consider moving your seat forward a bit, so the person sitting behind you has a little more leg room.

      1. OP #3*

        Good point, and no worries on that score. My legs are pretty short so I always bring the seat up pretty far anyway.

        1. jhhj*

          If you aren’t driving, you should be bringing the seat up as far as possible — the person behind you shouldn’t be squished, even to the point that you are a little squished. But if you can drive, that will solve a lot of problems.

          1. fposte*

            Why would it be fairer for the person in front to be squished than the person in back?

            1. jhhj*

              In front there’s just more room, and if you’re taking the better seat (for a good reason!) you need to accommodate the people in the back and make things less painful for them. In a normal situation, you can trade seats so that everyone shares a bit of everything.

              I’m short so I can sit with the seat all the way up and have people sit with the seat nearly all the way back — though not leaning back also — and be fine. But I have tall friends and I don’t see that their pain while being squished is less important than other people’s nausea, even if it is less gross.

              1. fposte*

                But if there’s more room, you’re not squished. You said the person in front needs to make sure the person in back isn’t squished, even if the person in front is. I don’t get that. (But then I also don’t think the front seat is any better than the backseat.)

                1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

                  Agreed on all counts.

                  Anyway, every car is different. Just be nice to each other and try to make it as comfortable as possible for all involved. This doesn’t need to be a big complicated negotiation.

                2. Mike C.*

                  Link below, but this is a 2+2 seat configuration – the two seats in the back are there for insurance purposes and for occasional use. Thus, you’d need to move your seats forward for an adult to be comfortable sitting there.

                3. fposte*

                  @Mike C.–yeah, I think I’m getting stuck on what was not only a tangent but an unintended meaning. I agree that people need to move seats–I thought jhhj was saying that it was fairer for the person in front to be squished (not just to move their seat) than the person in back, which didn’t make any sense to me.

                4. Friday Brain All Week Long*

                  Also, airbags. Sitting too far forward can make a bad accident worse if the airbag deploys on you. Front passenger safety trumps back passenger comfort!

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Yeah, amen. I’ve got a friend who has to ride shotgun for the same reasons OP does… but then I have ankle & knee problems, so while I don’t quibble with his front-seat dibs, at the same time it’s pretty rough to unfold myself from the car and have to wait several minutes before I can actually get out because my joints are so badly locked up.

    3. Mike C.*

      Yeah, this isn’t an issue unless we’re talking about a 2+2 coupe or something.

      /Or as I like to say, “I have room for one person I like and two that I don’t!”

      1. Noah*

        I used that exact phrase in high school when I drove a teeny-tiny Saturn coupe. At 6’2″ it was a tight fit for me in the driver’s seat, and I had to have the seat all the way back, which means it almost touched the back seat. Those poor people who got stuck in the back.

    4. Captain Radish*

      My Mother-in-law owned a Chevy Cobalt once. I couldn’t put on my seatbelt without opening the door and my head kept rubbing the ceiling. That was a miserable car.

  22. AcademiaNut*

    For OP #1 –

    One possibility might be burnout, if you’re working full time and attending night classes. You might consider stopping night classes after this semester, and see how you like your job when you have your evenings and weekends, and time for hobbies and friends.

    You could also spend that time thinking about what you would want to do if you did change careers. “Medicine” is a big field. If you’re thinking about becoming a doctor, you’re looking at about about ten years of school ahead of you, and a lot of debt to go with it, which is a really big step to take as a second career. But there are a lot of other medicine related careers – research them, talk to people who work in them. Look into doing some volunteer work that gets you into the less academic end of health related work to see if you like the reality of the job. Then, when you’ve got a better idea of what you want to do (and if you like it), you can make the next step.

    1. OP1*

      I was certainly burnt out earlier this year just after starting this job… I had just started this new ‘wonderful’ job that was supposed to be the jackpot and went from 35 hours/week to 40 hours/week. On top of that I was doing close to 36 hours/week of evening classes because I severely underestimated the workload.

      When I initially written in I had been off of my classes for a summer break (almost didn’t even take one) so I at least was recovering a bit… but my hate of this career path just grows. The more free time I have to actually think, the more I realize that this isn’t for me. The basic bookkeeping isn’t too bad to grind though to get my pay but it is the year end financial statements and corporate tax returns that suck the life out of me!

  23. Kat*

    OP #1. I also started out in a different career – a BS in Math (math is fun!), and I worked as a computer programmer for many years. I had considered a health care career, but my parents talked me out of it. I finally decided to follow my heart and become a nurse.

    While still working, I needed to get some prerequisites for nursing. Think anatomy, physiology, microbiology, etc. I did this at a community college (make sure these credits will transfer to a 4 year college, I know some pre-nursing students who had to retake some courses because they weren’t “approved” by the nursing program.) This was easy to do in the evening. It also had the benefit of putting me around others who shared my dream. Most people from my computer programming days thought I was nuts- I was leaving a well paying job for one that would pay a lot less. Also, most of my colleagues looked down on nursing (you are too smart to be a nurse, you should be a doctor; or eww, bedpans! But, rebutting these comments is for a different blog post.) Many also pointed out that I would be 34 years old (!) before I would be a nurse. Well yes, but I want to be 34 years and a nurse, not 34 years and a computer programmer.

    So I did it. I have now been a nurse for over two decades, and I don’t regret changing careers. I love being a nurse. I work in a pediatric intensive care unit, and I make a hands-on, meaningful difference in the lives of my patients and their families.

    So I say “go for it.” A few details to think about:
    1. I recommend a four year degree.
    2. It sounds as if you have a bachelors degree. If so, consider looking for colleges that offer a “bachelors degree in something to Bachelors of Science in Nursing ” program or a “bachelors degree in something to Masters of Science in Nursing ” program. I did the latter.
    3. People who tell you it’s too hard to go back to school as an adult. Ignore them. It was hard, but it was worth it.

    Good luck OP #1. If you have any questions for me, just ask. I will check the comments here later in the week in case you do.

    1. OP1*

      Nursing is still something that is on the table for me and I found out that getting the prerequisites I missed from high school is an extremely cheap and simply process – a lot easier than taking a year off work for a year of full time prep classes!

      It is really inspiring to hear that you did not let age get in the way. It can be discouraging to map out a sample timeline and realize that I’m not going to be as young as most people just starting out!! A friend even laughed at me when I had a med-school plan in place and said that I’d be almost 50 by the time I was coming out of residency so there was no point to even go that route.

      One thing that really worries me is what it is like to be doing shift work. I remember doing wacky shifts through high school and college but it was never really the same level as a nurse. Right now I am content with having the same schedule for every evening and weekends but it seems like shift work could have its benefits.

      1. Kat*

        Turns out I like shift work. I work 7am to 7pm. So, three days a week. I didn’t like it as much when I worked nights – 7pm to 7am. If you work in an around the clock facility (such as a hospital), you have to work nights when you are the new person. But, I also know a lot of people who like working nights. It is a different kind of work flow. Anyway, three twelve hour shifts a week (and working every other weekend) works out great. More days off per week! And, I shop on Wednesdays when the stores are practically empty!

  24. Kat*

    An addendum to my above comment. Don’t go into nursing thinking of hand holding and fluffing pillows and warm fuzzies. It is hard, demanding work. I say this because I want you to be realistic. Oh, and nothing you see on TV about nursing is true. If it were, I would have large breasts and would spend parts of my work days snogging a doctor in the supply closet. But seriously, go for it.

    1. Solidus Pilcrow*


      My mom was a registered nurse for over 20 years. Very hard physical work lifting and turning patients, sometimes handling violent patients (and rude patients – sick people are grumpy at best), long shifts on her feet and often not being able to take a lunch break or bathroom break, cleaning up bodily fluids. Not to mention the co-workers and managers who apparently never got out of the middle school mentality.

      And the time when a female nurse and male resident doctor were caught in the supply closet, the nurse got fired and the resident got a slap on the wrist. Double standards are alive and well.

      1. Liane*

        Second this. Be sure you are up to the physical demands of the area in nursing you plan to enter. This is true for men, not just women, considering nursing or other healthcare fields where you do a lot of hands-on patient care.
        A guy we’ve known for close to 30 years is a nurse. He’s always been a big, fairly strong man, but as he neared his 50s, the physical demands of floor nursing became hard. First it was the knees and, I think, back. He also developed some heart issues. About ten years ago he started working in an addiction counseling program and that was a lot easier on him.

  25. Kat*

    Another addendum for OP 1: oops, I wrote my post as if you wanted to go into nursing. Obviously, you could become a doctor, nurse, physicians assistant, a respiratory therapist, a speech therapist, or any of many other health care careers.

  26. Mish I.*

    #OP1. I got a bachelors degree in Computer Science with a focus on programming, which I loved. But after school, I had to take a job that involved a lot of writing which is a career choice I hated, but well, jobs were scarce. I could write quite well actually, and got a lot of praise for my works, but I hated it so much, waking up hurt.

    Recently, I got a job that involved tasks relating to my degree, including programming, and I now look forward to Mondays. If you hate your career, change it. There’s no excuse for doing something you hate your whole life.

  27. Dangerfield*

    OP3, I am always delighted when one of my colleagues has a good reason to sit in the front because it means I can sit in the back and read my book while they chat.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I sometimes say “I’d rather not sit in the front; I didn’t bring sunglasses and it’s too bright.” When what I really mean is “I’d rather not sit in the front; I don’t want to have to make small talk.” ;-)

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      I have volunteered to drive because it meant that the other people would have time to answer e-mail on their phones. It really made the most sense because they were able to work and I didn’t need to in that way.

      The one time it happened that we were carpooling and the one person was severely motion sick, she just claimed shotgun and said as an aside that she was sorry but if she didn’t sit in the front seat, she would get really sick. The rest of us just demurred without question.

    3. SJ*

      I miss being able to read in the car. When my brother and I were kids, we’d be silent for hours and hours on long car trips because we’d just be reading a stack of books. My parents loved it. I get too carsick now. :(

    4. Roberta*

      I get very anxious riding in cars and sitting in the back is much better for me, so I, too, would be delighted to let you sit in the front.

  28. Talvi*

    OP #1 – Definitely take a very close look at the admission requirements for med schools if you decide to go this route (instead of, say, nursing) before you start taking prereq classes. At least in Canada (and this may be a non-issue where you are from), med schools often have really stringent requirements, such as requiring you take a full full-time courseload (i.e. 5 classes, not 3 (which still counts as full-time)), that sort of thing.

    You don’t want to take all your prereqs out of the way only to find out that you don’t meet the admission requirements because you took them part-time or during the summer or some such!

  29. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*


    Um, I love business and I am passionate about math and I’d never last as an accountant. I even took accounting classes as an elective (for fun!) in high school and college, and I’d never want to be an accountant.

    IDK why your parents are being weird about this but don’t let them map your life. Healthcare is an interesting, helping field with decent to good pay and a demand for jobs that will never end.

    Be prepared for all of that accounting knowledge to pay off, btw. I use stuff from my accounting classes all the time, 30 years later.

    Just not as an accountant!

    p.s. and for the record, I think accounting a cool profession, I get it, for people who want that to be the thing they do all day

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I was going to say something similar. A lot of doctors are not great at running their practices. Your business and accounting background could be very beneficial if you did go into medicine and had a private practice. This could lead you into consulting opportunities or other things you couldn’t even imagine now.

      Also: Stephanie mentioned post-bacc programs above. When I was poking around med school ideas 7 or 8 years ago, I found there are actually fewer prereqs for med school than for nursing or other health careers. In med school, you learn your anatomy there, whereas if you were going the PA route, you need to have that course in undergrad. If you have a bachelors, the post-bacc course work will take a year or two, just due to sequencing (chem 1, chem 2), but you will need that time to volunteer and demonstrate why you are admissions-worthy anyway. It sounds like you’re still well under 30. This is perfect. Many med schools actually like students who have a few years of life experience and went down a different path first but decided they HAD to do med school. (I spent about a year doing post bacc work, volunteering, and talking to med school admissions and community college advisors who work with post bacc students pursuing med school. Then my parents almost got separated, 7 relatives died in 5 years, and I had a lot on my plate. I was >30 with a husband and 2 kids, and deep into an engineering career anyway. I wanted to do an MD/PhD. It was something I didn’t have enough support to do at the time. Now I’m really ancient, but you still have time!)

    2. OP1*

      Accounting is one of those very unglamorous jobs that loads of people seem to gravitate to and few seem truly happy in – I’ve been watching people in my office and even they don’t seem like they want to be accountants!!! It kind of explains why mistakes pop up so often…

      My parents mean well – they see the 9-5 office job as the trophy everyone is fighting for. They want me to get to eat supper at the same time every night, have my weekends off, buy a tiny house with a picket fence, and then go live happily ever after. They come from a culture where you didn’t do what you wanted for a living, you did what you had to to do make a living whether you liked it or not.

      I am so glad though that I do have the accounting knowledge. No one can really take that away from me and it can be incorporated into so many things that do not involve being an accountant!

      Here’s to not being accountants in the future!

  30. LSCO*

    To add to AAM’s excellent advice – in the meantime, can you transition into an accounts-type job but at a hospital or healthcare facility? I realise that pursuing medicine can be a long road, but maybe using your current skills within the medical field will help to quell the itchy feet you get in the jobs you just aren’t interested in.

    1. Dot Warner*

      This is excellent advice too! And if OP works at hospital, it might be easier for them to find volunteer/shadowing opportunities in the field(s) they’re interested in.

    2. OP1*

      That is what I am aiming for. I just got turned down for an admin position at a long term care home because I did not have any prior experience with scheduling in a long term care home. Sadly I am in a small town for now and we literally have only a small handful of organizations where I can do that kind of work.

  31. BRR*

    #1 Definitely explore it. Medicine isn’t a field where it’s terribly difficult to get a job. Not saying it’s not competitive, just that it’s not something like trying to be a Broadway star.

  32. Allie*

    I am going to be the person who urges LW1 not to do anything impulsive, because I have a close friend who quit an well-established engineering job to go to medical school and then regretted it later. It is a lot of work and debt. To be fair, that friend switched proposed career paths all the time. I think LW sounds totally burned out right now from both work and studying and should try taking a bit of a break. I also think if LW hasn’t done some volunteering or shadowing to see how the actual field feels, that’s definitely something to do first. The medical field, depending on what you do, can be very challenging and if it’s something LW may not have a clear picture of, since this dream goes back to high school. I am not saying don’t do it, but slow down and test the decision before blowing your career up.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      And especially consider the debt! You say “I won’t always be in the position where I could afford to take out student loans”, which means you may already have some loans or you’re at least considering them. Student debt can be crippling. The current Consumer Reports just had an article on how student debt has ruined some lives. I’m not saying don’t consider changing to some medical field, but do so with your eyes wide open, considering both the benefits and the costs.

  33. TheBeetsMotel*

    #5 It strikes me that any field which doesn’t already have set days off (retail, medical, etc) is not likely to take super kindly to demands for a “cushy” schedule right off the bat. Perhaps OP is in a position to be picky and not take a job that won’t fulfil those requirements, which is all well and good, but it would be a shame to miss out on an otherwise great job opportunity because they couldn’t offer you the schedule you wanted right away. Especially in retail (I know others are getting a retail vibe from this writer) – such demands may well come across as tone-deaf and you might find yourself being passed over for more flexible candidates.

    Would it be possible to negotiate for a more attractive schedule after a probationary period instead? That may “soften the blow” a bit and make you look a little less demanding to a potential new manager. You can still get it in writing – “OP’s schedule will be XYZ upon completion of ABC Company’s 90-day probationary period”, or something like that.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think it is a cushy schedule for most places in retail, hospitality, etc.–she’s offering to work weekends, which most people want off. It’s just that her framing that makes it sound like a privilege.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        I think it’s the idea of having two days off in a row guaranteed that makes it difficult (even if those days at both weekdays).

      2. Anxa*

        I don’t think that the way she is framing it makes it sound like a privilege.

        In a lot of industries (or at least to a lot of employers), the ability to set aside time for anything else like a class or health care visits is absolutely considered a luxury and a privilege. Offering to work weekends may be seen as a plus in some cases (but not all–sometimes weekends are highly coveted shifts), but that may not be enough flexibility.

        (In my experience “flexible worker” means that you’ll have open availability and roll with any changes to your schedule and job duties, not that you can ask for every Tuesday afternoon off in exchange for giving up weekends or being available for the rest of the week–usually you have to wait until they’ve invested enough time to start taking classes or seeing a doctor)

        1. Anxa*

          On second though, if you’re referring to the idea of having a ‘weekend,’ yeah I think that might put it over the edge.

        2. Elsajeni*

          I think the way the OP frames it in the letter, as a list of requirements that build on each other, does make it sound more demanding than it really is. That said, if we’re talking about retail work, I would pick a specific day to ask to have off — “I can’t work Tuesdays” is an announcement about your availability, where “I need one weekday off every week, but I don’t care which one” is just a demand (and also makes it clear that you don’t actually have a standing commitment or schedule conflict on any particular day, you just want a weekday off).

  34. Spot*

    LW1: I was encouraged to pursue my dream job (the one I dreamed of from age 12). Went to a prestigious college for it, did very well, interned at a local place. Then I got a job doing it and… It was nothing like what I’d dreamed of. It was awful. I was out inside of a year because I emotionally couldn’t handle it. So really, really think this through. After a few classes, I still thought it was my dream. It wasn’t until I was out in the real world that things fell apart for me.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      An occupation is different from a field, though.

      Something you describe can happen easily in graphic design/art, culinary (actual cooking), writing, where the thing that you love to do turns out to not be what you want to do for a living when you’re facing 40 hours or more a week of doing it.

      Fields have a ton more flexibility than “crap, turns out I DON’T want to stand on my feet 75 hours a week cooking creations”.

  35. Anon Accountant*

    #1 Talk to others and see how you feel from there. If you are still are interested go for it! Decades of working is too long to be unhappy.

  36. Polka Dot Bird*

    LW1, I would devote more time to thinking about what it is in medicine that attracts you. I know nurses and I know doctors and those two jobs, while similar in some ways, also have some significant differences in terms of what you do, what skills are required, and what your career will be like. Alison’s advice to research the actual work is so spot on here as your dream sounds a bit vague at the moment.

  37. KT*

    For number one…I normally am all about pursuing your passions, but your use of “dream” gives me pause.

    No matter how much you love your career, it’s going to sometimes feel dull, boring and frustrating. While you love your job 99% of the time, there will be days where you consider quitting and buying a tiny house and becoming a modern-day gypsy (or maybe that’s my dream).

    And I know the modern thing is to only do what you love–but that’s a very luxurious point of view. I’d say the majority of the population has jobs they endure because it pays the bills and gives them the opportunity to afford other things on their leisure time.

    If medicine is something you truly always wanted to do, but were scared off–I’d really examine why. I know you said math was easy–so does that mean the science courses weren’t?

    Before returning school full-time, I’d really consider taking just one or two night classes to see if it’s really interesting to you. There’s nothing worse than racking up student loan debt to pursue yet another degree if it turns out you hate it.

    Good luck!

    1. Trig*

      Thank you for this! I read all the way down here wondering when someone would chime in with the “you don’t actually have to love your job” point.

      I have a job that I like ok. I’m not changing the world or profoundly impacting people. I’m not passionate about it. But the pay is decent, the benefits are good, the hours are flexible, the coworkers are great, and the work itself is at least mildly interesting. It offers growth and challenges. I don’t love it. But I don’t hate it. It doesn’t bring me joy, but neither does it inspire hate and dread. And it does let me enjoy my leisure time.

      There /are/ things I love doing, but would absolutely not want to do them for a living. The instability would drive me nuts, and converting something I love into something I have to do would suck some of the joy out of it. Being able to pursue one’s dreams and work for joy instead of stable income and benefits is nice and all, but involves a certain degree of privilege that’s not realistic for everyone. OP seems to have that privilege, which is good!

      That said, I’ve never been someone who had a dream career. Ask me what job/field/career I’d be passionate about, and I come up blank. So a job that I like ok is ok for me. I’ve also only been doing this for ~4 years now; maybe 10 years from now I’ll be so bored it’ll drive me to hate.

      I also know people who work where their passion is and are dedicated and excited and… insanely overworked and unable to shut off. So loving your job is not always a good thing… and not loving it is not always the end of the world.

      1. Dan*

        I have my dream career, but I’m not a poster child or ambassador for it. The thing is, I spent my 20’s figuring shit out in life, working low wage jobs. I went back to grad school in my late 20’s, and started my “dream” career at 29. I’ve got a good paying job, working 40 hours a week, doing work I really enjoy, that gives me a month of PTO every year. I don’t hate Mondays, and could see myself retiring from here.

        But I don’t jump on the “do what you love” bandwagon, at least in terms of advice to others, because I didn’t know what I loved until I had several false starts and low wage jobs introducing me to the industry I now work in. Professionally, in some ways, I feel like I lost my 20’s. Those are things I wouldn’t necessarily advise others to do.

        The advice I would give? Do what you need to do for yourself. If that’s a good paying job that you’re meh about, then fine. If it’s being a starving artist because you can’t imagine life doing anything else? Fine too.

      2. JB*


        My job is good and it pays well enough. It gives me financial stability and time to enjoy my life. I couldn’t be happier or luckier.

  38. Yetanotherjennifer*

    Op 1, I live in a community with a med school and training hospital and among my friends are doctors who studied medicine in foreign countries, doctors who went back for a second residency, and ones who became a doctor as a second career and are finishing residency at 50. It is not too late, but do some exploring as others have recommended before committing to a specific path because it is a long slog. Good luck!

    1. Yetanotherjennifer*

      And by my first point I meant Americans who studied medicine in another country.

  39. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #2 – seen that too many times. To understand this – you have to think the way a manager, who did the layoffs, might think.

    After layoff day – he’s gone through stress, but “gee whiz it’s over. What’s for dinner, honey?”

    While those being laid off – have to worry about, well, everything, because losing your job can be a radical life-changer in this day and age.

    Layoff boss’ life didn’t change all that much, but it is going to for those laid off and to a degree, those co-workers left behind. His part of the layoff process is over. Time to let off steam.

    At one company I was with, we had something like this happen – the company hit dire straits, and there was an announcement – an all-hands audio meeting, about upcoming layoffs. The big honcho did the audio from some south Pacific isle, where a small group of sales reps were being rewarded and a “think tank” session (yeah right) was taking place.

  40. MayravB*

    #1, From your letter, it sounds like the main thing that’s holding you back is that you’re worried that you won’t like medicine. I’d echo others here, saying that shadowing and volunteering at hospitals or clinics is a great way to see what aspects of a healthcare job you would like or dislike. Changing your career is so hard, and I really admire people who do it!

    On the practical side: you might have to take a bunch of pre-requisites before applying to medical school, depending on your previous coursework. Doing it at night sounds like its an option (given how driven you sound), or you could go back to school full-time, or could do a combination. For myself, I’ve found it’s easy to get sucked into the “but if I start now, it’ll take 3 years before I can even apply and if I get in the first try it’ll be 4 years before I graduate and then I’ll omgOLD by the time I graduate and THEN 3-5 years of residency!” Someone said to me in response, “Yeah, but whether you do it or not, you’ll still be omgOLD in 10 years..”

  41. the_scientist*

    LW1, if you’re really serious about making a career change, it’s probably better to do it when you’re younger and have fewer financial responsibilities. If medicine is your dream, start looking into shadowing clinicians in specialties that you’re interested in, to get a feel for the day-to-day. Look into volunteering at a local hospital to start building your resume.

    However, be warned that medicine is *incredibly* competitive, and that if you decide to go to medical school, you’ll be competing against people who have been preparing for admission since early high school. You need impeccable grades, top-notch MCAT scores, and an impressive resume that shows clear dedication and commitment to the field.

    If you’re in the USA, there are Post-Baccalaureate pre-med programs designed to give people switching into medicine from a different career the undergraduate prerequisites they need. These programs also prep you for the MCAT and the application process and hook you up with great “glide year” opportunities to build your resume. Most importantly, they’ll also give you a REALISTIC assessment of what the likelihood of getting admitted is, based on your resume and your undergraduate grades. They want to keep their acceptance rates in the high 90s, so if they don’t think you have a good chance, they will discourage you from completing the program. You can even book informational interviews with admissions officers, I think- this is something you should definitely look into!

    Finally, “medicine” doesn’t necessarily need to mean “MD”. Have you considered nursing, paramedic/EMT, physician assistant, respiratory therapy, genetic counselling, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietetics? Many of these are just as hard (or harder) to get into than medical school, but they are shorter programs and allow you to work in the medical field. It all depends what exactly you are interested in.

  42. OP #3*

    Alison, thanks for answering my letter. I’ve always appreciated your willingness to answer minor, even silly-seeming questions along with more serious ones on this site (which I recommend every chance I get) and this time I directly benefited from that generosity.

    You and your commenters brought up a few points I hadn’t considered and I feel much better now. As I mentioned upthread, I’m only a few weeks into this job after a lengthy search. It’s no stretch to call it, so far, the best one I’ve ever had. I’m incredibly excited about it and also a little wary; it almost seems too good to be true. So little things like this are weighing on my mind more than they normally would, I think :-)

    In any case, thanks again for your awesome advice and for building such a stellar community.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You are very welcome! And it’s often the stuff that seems more minor that’s the most interesting (for me) as it’s the stuff that tends not to be addressed anywhere.

  43. Fiddlesmurfs*

    When is it too late to change careers? I went back to school to study veterinary medicine at thirty-four and during my vet school interview, the professors suggested I not reapply since it’s so expensive to earn a DVM and I’m older. Now I don’t know what to do.

    1. fposte*

      Figure out the money. How old will you be when you stop paying on your loans? What effect will that cost have on any family plans? What kind of income will you likely have for the hours you work, and how many years will you earn that? Is it going to mean trouble for your retirement? If you’re ready for all those financial challenges, I don’t think age should stop you. But it’s reasonable to be realistic about paying off loans 10-20 years later in life than other vets.

    2. waffles*

      I know of current students and recent grads in their 30s and 40s. It’s entirely possible to do, but it’s more difficult if you’re older and on your own. I wouldn’t let those comments discourage you, though you do need to have a more well thought out plan than a bright-eyed, bushy tailed 22 year old. And it’s a little worrisome that the adcom would say that to you.

    3. AnotherAlison*

      I think there’s a difference between “when is it too late to change careers” and when is it too late to become a vet. I only have anecdotal evidence from an uncle and a friend of my sister, who are both in the field, but I think it’s even more competitive than med school. I would talk to a lot of vets and a lot of vet schools. People hesitate to do this, but it’s worth a few weeks of your time to hear a lot of different opinions.

      Now, regarding general career changes, this is so tough. I am 38, so I’m a few years older than you, but I struggle with this about every 6 months. On one hand, in 10 years, my kids will be out of college and my house will be paid for. On the other hand, I still have ~25-30 more years to work. Your 40s are supposed to be your prime earning years, so it’s not the best time to abandon a well-paying career (if you have one!) and start fresh. On yet another hand, if you can shift to something you enjoy more and are better-suited to, that would take only some minor retraining or schooling AND could leverage past experience, it seems worth a step back for a couple years for something that makes you happier.

    4. College Career Counselor*

      I once encountered a post-bac pre-med student who was applying to med school at the age of 52. He got a lot of the same pushback (why now? how long will you actually practice? Do you have the energy/stamina to do this school?). He did get into med school and if he persisted, he’s finished his residency. All of which is to say this N of 1 means it’s possible, but your need to weigh things carefully (as fposte says below) for your particular situation. Not to mention the fact that vet school is way harder to get into than med school (there are only about 40 vet schools in the US), so you’ll need to consider how competitive your credentials are.

      1. waffles*

        If fiddlesmurfs made it to the interview stage, it’s a safe bet that his/her credentials are fairly competitive. Admissions formulas vary a lot, but with the schools I’m familiar with, academics/experience/recommendations make up the criteria for the first cut, and the interview is more about soft skills and a holistic view of the applicant. Some schools weigh the rest of the application even during the interview stage, but others wipe the slate clean at that time.

        Fiddlesmurfs, I assumed from your post that you had probably done a file review with the school. If you haven’t, I recommend it. Most schools are very good at telling you exactly what you’d need to improve in your application.

        But of course the greater question is the money. It’s hard to say without knowing what your individual situation is, but like I said, there are students and new grads out there in their 30s and 40s who are making it work. You’re a little more limited in your options (no $20k/yr zoo internships or $30k/yr equine jobs, for instance), but it’s doable if you plan ahead.

    5. Anon for this*

      Fiddlesmurfs, my great ex-boss (owner of the veterinary practice I worked in for 13 years) went back to school to start her DVM at 32. She encouraged me to do the same for years – but I learned from working in the field that I really didn’t want the debt or the hours or the responsibility that the DVM degree entails. I was happy as a tech for a long time. I moved and changed careers at 46 and two years later I am very happy in my new role as program manager of a university research program. It’s never too late, depending on what your expectations are!

  44. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    #2 – Ugh, I feel you. My whole office is going to be closing in a few months, a couple hundred people laid off all at once thanks to an acquisition that makes us redundant… and we have a loop video playing all over the office of all the great ways our company has innovated and expanded this year. It’s pretty bitter, and I really wish they’d knock it off. (That, and the other loop, which is celebrating the hire anniversaries of people hired during the month, which pretty much turns into “Ah yes, so Jane’s been here X years… that means she gets Y months of severance when they close the doors.)

    1. Cassie*

      This is OP#2. Sorry that is happening to you. I was at my job 10 years and in addition to the Hawaiian vacation my boss never even spoke with me about the layoff. We were on the phone with HR where I got laid off, then I never heard from him again. Ever.

  45. Bronx MD*

    OP#1: There are many of us who had other careers prior to a career in health care; this is no longer unusual in the field and can be a great asset. In addition to all the great advice you’ve gotten so far, I strongly suggest you find opportunities to shadow health care providers in fields you think you are interested in. Contact your primary care physician and explain your interest and see if they have a process that would allow you to observe their work day. Call the volunteer office of your local hospital and see if there is anything the offer that would get you access to a health care environment; they often have weekend volunteer positions open if you’re not available during the week. See if your sister works with anyone she likes and trusts who would be willing to let you follow them around.

    If that’s not possible, speaking to doctors and nurses directly about their experiences, either in person or by phone, is an excellent way to get a sense of what those jobs are like, what additional education you need, and whether you think health care jobs would be a good fit for you. Good luck!

  46. waffles*

    LW #1:

    My story is similar to yours. In high school, I loved medicine and wanted to study it, but I was intimidated by some aspects of the hard sciences and was drawn away by other fields that seemed interesting enough and “easier” for me. I liked those other fields for some time, but the shine ultimately wore off, and the thought of continuing on that path became more and more awful.

    I left a career in the humanities to pursue veterinary medicine and am currently in school. The fields are a little different in that it’s easier to get a little bit of animal handling experience than it is to even volunteer in a human healthcare setting, but it still took a long time to make the move. I spent 3 years working in a veterinary hospital as an assistant while taking the science pre-reqs. Most vet schools require at least one semester of full-time study to prove you can handle a full load of science courses, so I did some semesters full-time and others part-time. But my main goal was to start getting experience ASAP because only that will tell you whether this is something you want to do.

    I highly recommend that you find a way to shadow healthcare workers. Volunteering is also a good idea, but it’s more difficult these days to really get access to the things you’d want to see. You need to get a sense of what the daily reality is for people working these types of jobs. This is really vital for figuring out if this path is worth pursuing.

    It’s a long hard road to even get into medical school or any of the major health professional schools, and that’s just the first step. You need to give yourself the chance to really, truly examine it and make a solid decision for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be falling into the sunk costs trap and thinking that you already invested XYZ in changing careers and you’ve already spent this much taking even more classes, so you might as well force yourself to finish even though you’re miserable.

    As for the coursework, it’s not as simple as just taking classes related to medicine to see if you like it. To prepare for admission into a health profession program, you need a basic foundation in the sciences. Requirements will differ for various programs, but as a rule of thumb, most of the coursework will have little to do with medicine and will tell you next to nothing about how fulfilling you’d find a health professions career. It’s important to enjoy at least a good amount of that coursework, since medicine and the more general sciences are inseparable, but don’t assume that because you hate your physics class and find organic chemistry to be torture that you’d hate being a nurse or PA or doctor or whatever.

    Post-bac programs are geared towards people medicine and are a good resource. The well known ones, like Bryn Mawr and Scripps, will want to see evidence that you’re sure you want to go into the field. You’ll need to show them that you’ve made this decision based on understanding of the profession you’re interested in and you’ll need letters of recommendation. Although the post-bac programs are convenient and often help you with direct connections to schools, they’re also a lot more expensive. If cost is a concern, it honestly makes more sense to stick to a state school near home.

  47. baseballfan*

    #1 – I have worked in public accounting for 20+ years. Early in my career I worked with a guy who decided, after two years on the job, that he really wanted to be a doctor. He quit the firm, went back to school (since his degree was in business, he had to spend a couple of years in leveling courses before he even thought of taking the MCAT) and on to medical school. He’s now been a doctor for about 15 years. I think he’d say it was well worth taking the plunge.

    #3 – If you offer to drive, people will love you.

    #4 – I have a group of girlfriends who I’ve been close to since the early 2000s who I met when we were all engaged to be married and planning our weddings and got to talking on an internet chat board. Many of us have met in person since then. A while back a few of us were at a baby shower and someone asked how we knew each other. I think our response was along the lines suggested, something like “oh, we have some mutual friends…..”

    #5 – I don’t know what industry you’re in, but if you’re in an industry where schedules vary, I’d say you are asking a lot. I do think you can frame it as a request/preference, but if I was managing an organization such as retail or restaurant, and someone presented me with those *demands*, there wouldn’t be an offer to reject.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      You have my deepest respect for making it 20 years in public accounting. Bravo!


      1. baseballfan*

        I left twice for in-house jobs, both of which I stayed in only a couple of years. Just not a good fit. I like the action of client service. There’s always something new to challenge you, and someone is always coming up with a great new idea to sell. And there’s a surprising amount of flexibility. At my last in-house job, they were very big on face time. Remote working was possible but discouraged unless in the case of bad weather or some such, and everyone noticed and commented if someone wasn’t in office. Now I come and go as I please as long as I’m accessible and get things done. I work more hours but I feel like I have more flexibility and balance.

  48. LF*

    I really disagree with Alison on her advice. Medicine, as a career path, has a lot of ins and outs to it that people outside of medicine are generally not aware of.

    Don’t take classes on medicine part-time to see if you like it. You are smart and hard working, so you’ll probably be able to pull through medical school. Getting through school is not the point, though. Volunteer at a hospital and see if you like dealing with patients. Medicine is really thankless in a lot of ways and requires a lot of sacrifices. Medical school is just the first step; you need to know if you have the willingness and ability to deal with cranky and unhappy patients 60+ hours a week.

    The remuneration to cost ratio (at least in the US) is really not as rewarding as people think it is, unless you specialize and sacrifice six or seven years of your life to residency training. If you are still motivated even after volunteering with patients first-hand, then consider looking at a post-bac program.

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      YES!!! I agree with you 100%. A career in medicine takes a great deal of dedication and sacrifice at all stages and a mere “interest in medicine” may not be sufficient to see you all the way through. As so many others have said, please do your due diligence, talk to people in the profession at the level you want to be at and potentially above that level, and don’t make any rash decisions. Pursuing a career in medicine for a time and then abandoning it is a VERY costly endeavor with the potential to financially cripple you for decades should you rack up huge student loans and then not practice medicine.

      As far as your current position…I have some expertise there. If you are working in public accounting but barely making enough to scrape by, I assume you are not a CPA. If you truly find accounting (not just public accounting, because they can be very different) soul crushing then you should definitely develop a plan to leave. If you don’t like it at the lower bookkeeper (i.e. easy) level, you likely will not care for it should you get your CPA and have to work 60+ hour weeks during busy season. I have known a couple of folks that did what you did…played it safe and got accounting degrees and entered accounting careers with job security in mind. Their job satisfaction never increased. In fact, it only got worse. Those individuals have since made career changes and while they make much less, they are much happier. I think you’re right to recognize that you may never find fulfillment in this career, but please plan your next moves carefully.

  49. OP1*

    If I had not slept in this morning I would be replying to every last person – can’t wait to do that tonight – but the amount of typing required would tip off my boss that I am not drafting emails or doing my work!

    A lot has actually happened since I wrote in a few weeks ago… I’ve gone to a few therapy sessions and sorted some issues out. I am still not 100% on going into medicine (my plan was a nursing degree and then med school) as it is possible I am just reverting to my old plan now that this one hasn’t worked out – right now I enjoy my evenings/weekends and don’t want to just throw that away and rush into years of training/debt and then maybe find out that I’m not cut out for that either!

    My therapist told me that this line of work was making me very depressed and a number of my health issues can be attributed to the stress. She said it was normal to get stressed at work, but this is excessive stress being caused by the fact that accounting just isn’t for me – I am basically repeatedly jamming a square block into a round hole. Just accepting that takes a lot of pressure off. I have been on auto-pilot for 6 years now just taking the path I was expected to take and just doing what it took to get through.

    Right now I am trying to focus my efforts into finding a similar paying admin position while I figure things out. Just functioning at work zaps my energy. I did rediscover my passion for design and instead of taking 36 hours a week of business classes, I am taking 8 hours a week of web/graphic design… I am hoping to open my own side business next year. That is not a permanent solution for me (I don’t think this is a career option I could live on) but it could help give me a chance to explore my options and could be an income source throughout future schooling.

    I do plan on taking some medicine courses once I am less stressed out and in a better place, I don’t want my problems to either cast a negative light on the class or make it seem like a savior. I’ve also sent out yet another round of volunteer applications (but no one needs evening/weekend volunteers) and actively looking for admin positions in hospital/care facilities – fingers crossed!

    1. fposte*

      It’s really tough to know what’s right when you’re in a place that’s wrong. Sounds like you’re working hard to figure this out and are aware of the complexities–I hope you find something that you absolutely love.

    2. Kai*

      Good luck, OP! Sounds like you are being very thoughtful about this and taking good care of yourself.

    3. sparklealways*

      Hi OP –

      I’m glad to hear that you are getting some help. Having a job that is physically making you ill is horrible, but sadly very common. I’ve said this on some threads before and I will reiterate it… In our society, we make such a big deal of what kind of career we should have, but we really need to work backwards…. Start with the kind of LIFE that you want and then figure out a career that fits within that lifestyle.

      Ask yourself: 1. How much money would you need to make to be happy. 2. How much flexibility/PTO/work-life balance/etc. would you need in a job to be happy. 3. When you are not working, what do you see yourself doing and would your chosen career path provide you that opportunity and time to pursue your outside passions?

      After you determine these things, then you can ask yourself if medicine is truly a. something that you are interested in and b. will allow you to live the life that you envision. Also ask yourself if there are there other career paths that will help you realize the same dreams.

      Good luck!

    4. Alton*

      I’m glad you’re seeking help and that your therapist has been able to help you put things in perspective more. Sometimes it’s hard to confidently identify what’s wrong and trust your instincts.

      I spent two and a half years studying engineering because everyone thought I’d be good at it. I got so depressed and burned out, but it took time for me to trust my instincts. I totally hear you on not wanting to take a big leap right now. You’ve invested a lot of time and possibly money in the path you’ve been on. It may not feel right to try to go back on the path you might have taken straight out of high school, because circumstances change. Buy I think you can definitely find a path that will make you happier than what you’re doing now.

    5. Liana*

      I’m happy to hear you’re talking to a therapist about it. I hope she’s helpful.

      I think looking for hospital admin positions is a great first step for you. I work in one now! I’m an administrative assistant for three different surgeons, and while this is definitely not what I’m looking to build a career on, it’s a great way to get insight into the world of healthcare, especially if you’re in a patient-facing role. There are two other admins in my department who are planning on applying to med school next year, and are using this job for exactly the same reasons you want to, so it’s not that uncommon to see.

      Best of luck to you and your mental health. If this is something you’re passionate about, then I support you going for it 100%.

    6. Sunflower*

      Just wanted to say it’s okay to not have the answers right now. Life is long(hopefully) and you have the rest of it to work. There is plenty of time for you to go into medicine if you decide that’s what you really truly want to do. It’s cheesey but life truly is a journey- not a destination. Don’t focus so much on trying to figure out the right answer.

      I graduated with a degree in hospitality and hated the idea of working at a job most of my classmates were going into. Since high school, I had always wanted to do counseling of some sorts but my parents told me it didn’t pay enough and required too much schooling. I started looking into grad schools and I read every book on counseling there was. I probably would have went to grad school right away if it wasn’t so dang expensive so I decided I should work for a year or two before commiting to the debt of grad school. 5 years later, I work in corp. event planning and haven’t re-cracked open any books on grad school. It’s something I still really want to do down the line but I’m content in what I do for now. I’m 27 and have no commitments so I see working in the corporate world as an experience. I figure once I get a little older and maybe settle down(or bun out) I might want to get into something not so fast paced and I can revisit counseling then.

      Tihs might not be the case for you but just realize just because your dream is to do something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it right now. I learn something new about myself and where I want to go everyday- even though I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, what I do and don’t want is becoming very clear to me and I can use that to decide if a job or field is a good next step for me. You have a good plan and I would defintely continue on with that but don’t force anything. If you’re still not sure in a year or two, just take what you’ve learned(you’ll have learned a lot) and work off that.

  50. Roscoe*

    #2 A lot of people are talking about whats appropriate to put on Facebook if you are friends wiht your subordinates. Problem is, I don’t see it as inappropriate at all. If he posted something like “I cut a bunch of dead weight at work today, lets drink!” That is inappropriate. Posting pictures of his pre planned vacation isn’t. You and any other employees are free to unfriend him if you want. No one probably would have blamed you for doing it the day you were laid off. But his life goes on. At this point you are FORMER co-workers. Your feelings aren’t his responsiblity.

      1. Roscoe*

        I still don’t see it as inappropriate though. We can just agree to disagree on this I suppose. I’ve read people’s thoughts and it just seems a bit over sensitive to me. I say this as someone who was laid off a couple of years ago. But I just can’t be upset that someone else is going on with their life just because something unfortunate happened to me

  51. AF*

    OP1 – just wanted to offer my full support for you to go after what you want! Parents want you to be safe, and that’s fine, but I totally agree with Alison. Please keep us posted and go get what you want!! Also, an accounting degree might come in handy as a medical professional – it may help you understand the business side of medicine, and shows you have strong attention to detail. Best of luck!!

  52. Looby*

    For #4, I’d be interested in how the former trainer found out about the connection. Perhaps the coworker isn’t as “in the kink closet” as the friend? They might want to get their stories straight.

    1. Anon for this*

      I was wondering the same thing. I met someone through the kink community, and my ex knows her, but I make sure I never mention to my ex that I know her because I can’t explain how. If it was important, we’d come up with a fake scenario for how we met, but that hasn’t happened yet. Funny story – I was going to a play party at my new friend’s house, and someone I know from a completely different area of my life lives right across the street! For that one, we did come up with a “cover story” in case the other friend saw me on her street (didn’t happen, thank goodness, because I’m not a good liar).

  53. MaggiePi*

    OP #1 One idea, that may not be the right one for you, but possibly something to consider if you decide you want to pursue medicine, is to look for a job at a local clinic/hospital, either with the qualifications you have now, or maybe with a CNA certification.
    If you can get hired at a bigger hospital/clinic, many have tuition reimbursement for any employees pursuing degrees that were relevant to any of their jobs, whether it be nursing school, med school, even HR, business, or HVAC/maintenance type degrees. After all, they employ a lot of different people!
    I also have friends that quit their other-industry jobs and did the CNA certification in a few weeks, and got jobs right away (if you aren’t picky about hours or clinic/hospital). Even if you do it for a year or two, it would let you get into the field and see what it’s really like on the ground day to day for nurses, docs, and other medical professions that you may be interested in pursuing from there. Some of them then went onto become RNs, or PTs, or radiologists, along with the help of the tuition assistance.

    1. MaggiePi*

      And some of them discovered they love being CNAs and would rather do that than be more ‘advanced.’

    2. KR*

      Seconding the suggestion to go for your CNA/LNA license. My mom was one and she had a very rewarding career taking care of people in nursing homes and being a visiting nurse. She loved it. It’s a reasonably priced way to see if health care is for you.

    3. Windchime*

      Another idea is to become an EMT. I know a couple people who have done that as a career and they found it really interesting and fast-paced. I don’t think the pay is great, though, so that’s something to consider.

    4. Noah*

      Yes, I was going to suggest CNA or EMT. Both are short 4-6 week courses that are generally $1k or less in cost.

      I became an EMT and later paramedic while in college. Originally I was a biochem major, premed student. Working with patients and in a ground ambulance helped me figure out that wasn’t the path for me, despite the fact that I said I wanted to be a doctor since I was in kindergarten. I ended up in aviation safety, which I love, but it was quite an interesting path to get here and my parents certainly did not approve of me changing my major to business administration after my second semester of college. While I finished college, working nights on a ground ambulance was a great job with lots of downtime for sleep or studying. The pay wasn’t great, but it was better than food service or retail. As a paramedic I was making $16 an hour, as an EMT it was almost $9, and this was in 2002-2006.

      1. Noah*

        Also, several of my friends who were paramedics have gone on to nursing, physician assistant, or medical school. Prior healthcare experience makes your application look better and can make up for imperfect grades in undergrad or prereqs.

  54. Liana*

    Oooh I deal with a variant on #4 all the time! I used to LARP, and while it’s not sex-related, it’s definitely something that’s gotten some side-eye from people in the past, so I’ve gotten used to being pretty circumspect about it. However, a big chunk of my friends are from the LARP community, and when people ask me how I know so-and-so, or how I met my ex-boyfriend, I answer in a way that doesn’t mention our shared hobby at all. Most of the time I just give a vague “Oh, we’ve known each other for years”, or I say “We met while I was in college”, which is technically true, as I WAS in college when I started LARPing. If all else fails, “We have mutual friends” has worked every single time. I think most people are reflexively asking just to be nice, so a vague, cheery answer will satisfy them without inviting any additional questions.

  55. Language Lover*

    OP #3, I sympathize. I can feel seasick watching scenes on a boat on TV or in a movie. For action films with a very mobile camera, I will often bring dramamine in my purse ‘just in case’ and sit way in the back. I get it bad.

    Dramamine is an option although I have found that it doesn’t always work for me. Or at least it doesn’t work for me alone. I also have peppermint and/or ginger candies available. They’re known for calming the stomach.

    I’d also recommend something called “Sea Bands.” You can buy them in any pharmacy. You wear them around your wrist and little nubs apply pressure to acupressure points under your arms below your wrist. There are even versions that emit an electronic pulse. (The best I ever felt after a plane ride was wearing these.)

    But all of these things can’t replace the feeling of being in control, for me. I can still feel woozy with interventions but if I’m in control of the vehicle, I’m better off. That’s why I’d definitely recommend seeing if they’d be willing to let you drive. Or mention why you want to sit in front. It can be awkward so when I’ve faced this dilemma, I’ve pretty much said that I have to drive myself for…reasons. I do it too, even if I won’t be reimbursed. Better safe than sorry.

    1. caligirl*

      Aye aye on the sea bands! I call them my magic wrist bands and they even have fun colors now.

      1. Lori*

        Sea bands work wonders for me! They look a little goofy, and I’m not fond of the indentations they leave if I have them on for long periods of time, but I’m willing to put up with that for the sake of not getting carsick. I do have to remember to put them on *before* we start moving, as I’ve noticed they work best to prevent it as opposed to stopping it once it starts.

        My carsickness is thankfully limited to cars, and only at certain times, but I’ve been one who’s been shoved to the back because of others’ carsickness despite having my own issues :(

  56. Effective Immediately*

    OP #1: If you want to dip your toes into direct patient care but aren’t sure if you’d like it, I would suggest EMS. You can’t get a basic EMT certification in a few months, then volunteer. I used to joke that it’s like a crash course in public health; you’ll see all manner of patients, from every walk of life in every conceivable situation. It’s also a good way to gauge whether or not you want to deal with the less-pleasant aspects of patient care, like people vomiting on you, combative patients, losing patients. Of course, there are areas of medicine where you rarely/never encounter these things (I’m sure the risk of losing patients in podiatry is overall pretty low), but you’d have to do clinical rotations where you’d see this stuff at the very least, and I think it’s useful information to have about yourself before you proceed.

    Direct patient care isn’t for everyone, so if you can find a small way to experience what it’s like, I would definitely try it out before you commit.

    If you do find it’s not for you and decide against medicine, there are also other types of accounting work that might be more fulfilling (*not an accountant, don’t play one on TV). Medical offices and non-profits need accountants, too!

  57. Anon's Coffee Mug*

    OP #1 — Follow your dreams!!! I too want to be an RN. I think Med school may be out due to recent health complications. If you are still young and find yourself daydreaming about medicine all day, I think that is your queue that you would also LOVE working and doing it….all day long :). I know I will when I get there. I did not discover medicine at all until I was 25 and already out of college and working, too.

    OP #3 — Just let them know. I think your team will just default the front-seat to you and in fact, that makes the “battle for the front seat” a forgone conclusion, putting everyone really at ease about the whole thing. It might even be a plus for them to just know that it’s going to you.

  58. Mimmy*

    Several readers suggested shadowing professionals in the field – how easy is that to arrange?

    1. The Strand*

      It depends on the person and field, but I can tell you that without it, some programs – not only MD and DO but in nursing, allied health, etc – would not even consider accepting someone.

      http://www.studentdoctor.net/2008/03/pre-med-preparation-the-importance-of-physician-shadowing/ is a good link (the Student Doctor network is indeed, as someone said upthread, worth its weight in gold, also if you want to be a nurse, PA, OT, etc…they have their own boards.)
      http://www.uwmedicine.org/education/md-program/admissions/applicants/shadowing has some great resources linked.
      https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/what-its-be-medical-scribe/ talks about becoming a medical scribe while preparing to apply – I think this would be a terrific thing.

      AAMC is a solid resource overall.
      I would also check out http://www.amsa.org/ and http://www.snma.org/ – the latter even if you’re not from an underrepresented group. Warning though, people can be pretty trollish on the subject of underrepresented populations at StudentDoctor.

  59. The Strand*

    OP #1 –

    There’s some great advice here, but KWu, KT, and Kat’s comments were in line with what I was thinking. Get as much volunteer experience as you can. Most schools and baccalaureate programs want to know that you shadowed someone for a while, and that you sought out and completed experiences that gave you some firsthand insights.

    While it’s important to explore your dreams, I want to point out that many, many people become sad and stressed in medical school, especially in the transition between their 2nd year and the clerkship and rotations, when you’re not doing as much didactic stuff, and now working with real life people. You’re kept so busy that sometimes you don’t have the chance for really considering whether you like what you’re doing, and what it is you’re learning.

    That’s not to say, don’t do it, but to understand thoroughly what aspects of the healing professions are attractive to you, because like the law, many grads find that the practice of medicine isn’t what they thought it would be. Maybe you would be happier as an occupational therapist, maybe being a pharmacist or optometrist would be more fun – for you. Maybe you want to do nothing but operate on hernias (there’s a Canadian surgery group, Shouldice, that does this), maybe you want to provide health care in a remote and underserved community. Maybe you actually want to spend more time teaching medicine or doing research. Maybe squeezing in time to track down a journal article on this rare condition one of your patients has, between 10 minute appointments where you see people with five medical problems each, still sounds exciting and worth it.

    Since you said your plan was nursing then med school… that to me suggests you want to do a lot more reading and shadowing and informational interviews. Medicine still tends to be less holistic, more “fix the disease” than nursing. Culturally and in a lot of other ways, they don’t exactly flow into each other. Consider also the PA – Physician Assistant – programs. Many of the opportunities of medicine, very good pay, but much easier to integrate with a family and personal life. For cost-cutting purposes I expect PAs and CNPs to have a less rocky road long term – I think radiologists in particular are headed for harder times as automation rolls in. Consider allied health professions too.

    Consider also, moving into the field sideways. I hope you make it there, whether you become a practitioner or do something else, and that you find something that is deeply satisfying!

  60. stevenz*

    #1. You make the decision that you’re in the wrong career as early in that career as possible, especially if you’re certain of it. You sound like you are, even if you haven’t admitted it to yourself. Take Alison’s advice and start working on the “next” or “new” or “right” career now while supporting yourself with steady work.

    But first, think through why you want to be in medicine. There is no right answer, only your answer, but you should be confident of your decision this time. Keep in mind, to be a doctor takes an awful lot of work, it’s hard stuff to learn, very competitive, you take a lot of abuse (it’s not fully accommodated itself to females yet), and it seems an endless slog til you’re a real doctor. You’re also dealing with sick people, hysterical families, infectious pathogens, bodily fluids, the occasional dead person, massive hospital and insurance bureaucracies, and, well, doctors. Watch TV shows about doctors/hospitals, etc, and when you see the bad parts understand that that’s what it’s like. When you see the good parts, remember about the bad parts.

    I think I would have really liked being a doctor but I know I couldn’t have gotten through the science and math requirements to get into med school, so it’s a moot point. I just say that so you know that I’m not dumping on the profession or doctors; I would have been there if I could. All that said, go with your dream. If you don’t like being a “doctor”, there are dozens of other good ways to use a medical degree.

    #2. I make it a point to never friend a work colleague on facebook. That’s what Linked In is for.

    #3. I’ve known lots of people who have admitted they get car sick. Almost everyone will be glad to accommodate you. The alternative isn’t too pretty, so they will appreciate the opportunity for you to be comfortable.

    #4. It’s really none of his business how you know each other, so “lying” isn’t at all out of line. The university story is fine, you didn’t have to know each other *well* at university, you just knew each other. Nothing more needs to be said. In fact, lying is better than being evasive or vague. The person will have his question answered an immediately forget about it. If he senses a smokescreen, he may persist until he gets a straight answer, and you’ll have to be more direct than you want or need to be.

    #5. Say that you’re willing to work Saturdays or Sundays. That would be a good opening. If that’s interesting to them, refine that to your weekend preferences – Friday/Saturday, or Sunday/Monday. Or, if mid-week is the only option, give them a definite preference, like “I would like to have Tuesday and Wednesdays off”, then go from there.

  61. i don't know*

    #4. “the first rule of fight club is… oh, sorry, err… church. Yes, I know her from church.”

  62. Lindsay J*

    For #4, someone screwed up here.

    In every kink related group I have been in, there has been a blanket rule that you do not acknowledge other members in public for exactly this reason; you don’t want to say “hi” to someone on the street and leave them scrambling to explain to their mother or someone like that (like their boss!) how you know each other. Also some people go by scene names that you wouldn’t know are scene names (I know a Namyr* who goes by Noah* in scene) for extra anonynimity so you also don’t want to leave people trying to come up with a benign example explaining why that person kept calling you Noah when that’s not really your name.

    1. Anon for this*

      Exactly! I only knew my new friend’s kink name until we discovered her neighbor was my friend. Then she had to tell me her real first name, but I would never use it or acknowledge her in public.

  63. Mr. Mike*

    OP #2 When I was younger with a new family and struggling just to eat every week, I worked for a guy whose wife simply “had” to show everyone the Brand New Mustang her husband, my boss and owner of the company, bought her… “With Cash”…. She really looked confused when I walked away and wouldn’t experience her NEW CAR JOY…..

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