my boss and her daughter want to move in with me, problem employee lashed out at me, and more

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

1. My boss and her daughter want to move in with me

I’m working for the summer as a seasonal employee in a management position at an arts festival in a rural community. To accommodate the influx of out-of-town employees, the company has a housing department that organizes local apartments that we rent for a small weekly fee for the duration of our contract. Because it’s a not-for-profit and both money and housing are limited, staff can either pay more for a single accommodation or agree to live with other festival staff, who may be requested or are matched by the housing department.

As it’s my first season with this festival and I don’t mind roommates in general, I agreed to be matched, and over the past four months of my contract I’ve had two different roommates, both people with shorter contracts that butted against each other. Having a revolving door on my apartment has been a bit stressful, especially as my position is one with many stresses outside of adjusting to new living partners, but in general it’s been fine and I recognize it as a minor annoyance. But now that my current roommate is moving out my boss just told me that she and her adult daughter may be moving into the apartment with me next week, due to unspecified “life” reasons.

To be fair, it was presented as a bit of an ask, but I don’t feel I’m in a position to say no. I want to preserve a positive relationship with this company for the future, and also it’s very hard to turn away a person who is obviously going through a rough patch. I know a little bit about what’s happening for her right now, and I know part of it is that her daughter is having major health problems, which is certainly indicative that this will not be an easy living situation, along with all the other red flags. When you get right down to it, regardless of any other factors, the fact remains that she’s my boss, the apartment is too small for three adult people, and after four months of hard, stressful work I was really looking forward to spending the last month of my contract relaxing, instead of navigating a complicated and difficult living situation. On the other hand, I only have another four weeks on my contract. Is it really worth stirring the pot over a single month’s inconvenience?

Normally I would take this to someone higher up the chain in the organization, but unfortunately she’s at the top, and I’m directly below her, so there’s no intermediary available.

Ugh, it’s really your call, but I wouldn’t want to do that and you should be able to refuse if you want to — this is your living space, and you’re paying for it. It’s pretty unfair of her to ask you to take on a third person in a two-person unit, knowing that there’s a power dynamic that might pressure you into saying yes.

You could say something like this: “The apartment is really too small for three people. Is there another one available that you could use?” If you’re willing to do this, you could add, “But if there’s a on-person apartment available, I’d be willing to move into it as long as the rate didn’t go up and then you could have this one.” With that option, you’d have the hassle of moving, but you’d get your own place for no price increase.

If that doesn’t solve it, you’ll have to get more direct: “I don’t think I’m up for having three people living here. I’m sorry!”

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Problem employee lashed out at me

I’ve got a low performing employee who last year was told he was going to get a less than standard rating. He worked harder as the end of the year approached, and I fought for him to get the standard rating (in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have). Immediately after that, he lapsed on the hard work, went back to old habits of stretching the work hours (arriving late, leaving early, going for lunch for a long period of time, not putting in his days off). We had a report due which he’d been working on for a month but was getting stuck. I could have done the work for him, but I didn’t (as in the past it hadn’t really helped to have him have no idea of what he was submitting), but I tried to explain stuff to him. A couple of days before the report was due, I sent him an email saying that this report was needed ASAP and if he couldn’t finish it, this particular project would get a lower than standard rating. (He’d made some noises before about wanting to know how he was doing more regularly.)

He basically blew up, went to my manager, and complained that if I knew how to do the report, why wasn’t I telling him, since there was a deadline. He stayed that night until 10 and then sent me an email saying that if 10 wasn’t enough, then what was (I’d have been happy personally with something resembling normal work hours over the past year). He also sent me an email saying he’d have to discuss it with HR and my manager. Apparently, he’d also had one of his pets die the previous night, although he had never mentioned that particular pet’s name to me before – I know all five names of his other pets. So that of course added to the stress. But he has never volunteered an apology for the blow-up.

Basically, I’m a little frustrated. Is that justified? What do you see as the way forward?

In a vacuum, it’s justified — in that everything you describe him doing is wildly out of line. But you’ve sort of forfeited your standing to be frustrated because you haven’t been managing him.

He’s not doing his job, his blow-up was totally inappropriate, and he scammed you with improving for the review and then going back to his previous ways afterwards. That’s all on him. But on your side, you gave him a good rating even though he only improved at the very end of the year, you didn’t address it when he started slacking off again afterwards, you haven’t dealt with his performance issues, and you’ve done his work for him in the past. You need to start managing him! That’s probably going to mean that you’ll end up needing to firing him, but right now you haven’t done the basics and you need to do those.

He’s out of line on numerous fronts. Start addressing them and stop letting him have all this slack, and that should take care of your frustration.

3. I don’t want to be the office hitchhiker

I just started a new job at a company that has a few satellite sites in the same city, and have been regularly booked for meetings at these sites. I don’t own a car (or have a license) and am perfectly happy to take the bus or Uber to these meetings at my own expense. The culture at this company is amazing and I’ve been getting offers from upper management to come pick me up at my site and bring me to back to theirs (even though I adamantly offer to meet them there).

I am a young professional and can’t help feeling like a child being picked up after school. I know I can’t take back the knowledge that I’m a public transit commuter, but is there anything I can do (apart from lying) to politely stop these offers? Or should I just be capitalizing on this and using the time to schmooze with upper management?

Yeah, I’d feel weird about it too, unless the drivers were already on their way somewhere. I think a breezy “thanks but don’t worry about that — I’ll see you there at 3:00!” is the way to go. Breezy is the key — no explanations, no defensiveness, just a friendly tone of “I’ve got this.”

Also, ask your boss if you should be expensing your travel to and from those meetings; in most offices, you would be. You can just say, “When I take public transportation or Uber to meetings at other sites, I’ve been covering that myself — but it occurred to me to ask if I should be expensing it.”

4. Putting a prestigious high school on my resume

I am writing about the standard advice of not including your high school on your resume. I have received mixed opinions on this because I live in a city where everyone knows someone you know and we’re (somewhat embarrassingly) known for asking “so, where did you go to high school?” to suss someone out.

I went to a small, rather prestigious high school and I think including it (1) opens doors professionally when my resume is in front of a fellow alum, and (2) tells others a little bit about me (albeit based on stereotypes about the school, which fortunately are mostly flattering). But I don’t want my resume to look childish; I’m 27 and have enough meat on my resume otherwise.

Obviously I would without question omit this if I applied anywhere out of town, but what is your real opinion on including this information when applying locally?

Don’t include it. If you’re in a city where people ask about high school, then by definition the ones who care will ask about high school and you can tell them then. But it doesn’t belong on a resume because what you did when you were 16 really doesn’t have any bearing on your job qualifications now. And while you might get some locals who are interested, you’re going to turn off everyone else because it’s so not done. In fact, in many ways, that’s especially so when your high school is known as prestigious, because it’ll come across as if you think it carries weight / says something about you … which is not the impression you want to give.

5. Can overtime pay be held until the end of the year?

I work in an industry that requires some periods of intense travel and overtime, as well as regular office hours thought the rest of the year. This is also an industry where the starting salary is $8-15k less than the new overtime law requires in order to meet exempt status. Obviously, there are lots of rumbles about how this will affect the industry.

One rival company has decided to have all employees log hours, but will only issue paychecks that reflect pay for 40 hours per week. Pay for any hours above 40 (which should be counted as overtime) will be given at the end of the year as a “bonus.” I’m not clear on whether the hours would be paid at a regular rate or at a time-and-a-half overtime rate. Is this legal?

Nope, it isn’t. Overtime pay is as much a part of your wages as your regular pay is, and it can’t be withheld for months on end.

The federal government requires that all wages earned be paid on the regular payday for the pay period in which the work was performed. And many states have laws that require full payment to be made within a certain number of days as well.

{ 423 comments… read them below }

  1. NicoleK*

    #1 It’s better to have the awkward “no, it won’t work for you to move in” conversation now then to have the “it’s not working out and you have to leave” conversation a few weeks from now.

    1. Kate M*

      But in a few weeks it’s over. The summer only lasts four more weeks. I agree that OP shouldn’t have to live in this situation and should be able to say no, but it’s just balancing if she wants to take a hard stand over four more weeks. If so, that’s totally fine, but there wouldn’t really be a conversation about “it’s not working” in a few weeks because everyone will be moving out in a few weeks.

        1. Kate M*

          But not long enough for it to be bad for a few weeks to get to the point where you have to say “it’s not working out and you have to leave.”

            1. Sketchee*

              I once had a friend stay in my small studio apartment for a week. The first night was fun. The second night I was ready to live alone. He is a wonderful person, we just had very different preferences. I’m an introvert and like time to myself. He was an extrovert looking for a lot of conversation.

              I just was direct and said “I’m really used to living alone and I’d like some quiet time this evening.” I learned not to have guests anymore for more than a night in my small space.

            2. Kate M*

              I know it can be that bad – I’m not arguing that point. I’m saying that by the time they move in, there’s not going to be enough time for it to be bad, go through whatever mediation/trying to fix the problem the company probably has, and then for the boss and her daughter to move out and find another place. I seriously doubt the company is going to put the boss in another apartment for the last two weeks or something. They’ll say that there’s only a couple of weeks left, so just deal with it.

              And that’s even if it’s seriously bad – things that are just annoying, like too little space, noise, sharing things, aren’t even going to rise to the level of asking someone to move out. That comes with the territory of having roommates.

              I’m just saying that it’s a false choice between having the “awkward conversation now” versus “asking her to move out in a few weeks.” The choice is more “have the awkward conversation now” or deal with it for four weeks. There will likely be no moving out past this point.

          1. NicoleK*

            Four weeks is a long time to have a complete stranger live with you who is having major health issues. Unresolved health issues, major health issues, or chronic health issues may lead to mental health issues. Not to mention that the other person is her boss. OP already said that she is stressed. This is a recipe for disaster in the making.

            1. Becky*

              I agree. Why should the OP put herself through a stressful reality she can see coming before it starts? The time period should not be a factor. There is no “it’s only four weeks” when you’re talking about your own well-being, mental or otherwise. She knows what’s best for herself; now she just has to do it.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah, am I the only wimp that thinks they should just suck it up for this last month? I’d just be so afraid of hurting my boss’s feelings and in the long run that’s not good.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq*

          Hahaha, this is kinda where I’d be at, which obviously doesn’t make it the right choice for OP, but I would just deal with it for 4 weeks. But then, I’ve spent a little bit of time in campaigns, which often means living with random people you also work with and frequently hearing the phrase “you can do *anything* for x weeks,” where x is the number of weeks until Election Day.

        2. Connie-Lynne*

          Ugh, it’s so awkward, because ideally you could say no, but festivals RUN on gossip, rumor, and personal interaction.

          OP shouldn’t have to suck it up, but if she wants to come back next year, she might have to.

          I would float “this place isn’t really set up for three adults, can we figure out another option?” and if there was any pushback, just give up.

          It’s a cant-win.

          1. Willis*

            This would probably be my approach as well. It may also depend on how I generally got along with the boss on a day-to-day basis.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          I’d probably do the same thing. I don’t think it’s wrong for the OP to decline, though. I love Alison’s script, where she points out that this is a 2-person apartment, rather than saying “I don’t want to live with you.”

          1. Lucy Landlord*

            Check with the actual building owners/managers. You may get lucky and discover that your apartment isn’t legally zoned/permitted for three adults, which gets you off the hook. My locality has specific laws regarding maximum occupancy, involving number of “legal” bedrooms, square footage, bathroom access, fire exits, etc. Owners can also set their own limits, as long as they are reasonable and applied fairly. One fairly standard rule is “a maximum of 2 adults per bedroom,” so if this is a one bedroom apartment, no go. Also, I’m assuming these apartments, being short-term rentals, are furnished. Find out where your boss is planning on getting a third bed. Four weeks is a long time for someone to sleep on the couch.

        4. Murphy*

          No, I come down on this side too. And I’m usually all for capital B Boundaries, but in this case I’d suck it up. It’s 4 weeks. I can handle most things for 4 weeks.

        5. INTP*

          My fear is that the boss is already so out of line in asking for/arranging this situation – she’s taking a person who signed up (and paid!) to live with one coworker, and expecting her to live with her boss and an adult with an apparently disruptive health problem, presumably for the same amount of money she paid to live with one roommate – that I just wouldn’t trust her to be straightforward about any other major complications, or be a good person to live with. This could be a hellish living situation for OP, and boss probably wouldn’t tell her ahead of time. We don’t know if the boss is a selfish person with no boundaries, or just a person in a desperate situation (I’d probably screw over a subordinate if the alternative was allowing my sick daughter to be homeless, too), but either way it doesn’t spell out a good living situation for the OP.

        6. nonegiven*

          I think we’ve had the “I had to share hotel room with my boss and I was mortified” posts. This is worse, a lot worse.

      2. Ellie H.*

        I agree. It is a quite uncomfortable situation (I am kind of picky/neurotic about my behavior “at home” – honestly, I think I’m the annoying roommate) but given the unorthodox arrangement and the fact it is just 4 weeks I would probably avoid confrontation and put up with it. I think it would be reasonable to at least push back a little (“I’m not sure it will work out to have 3 people in the space,” ask if you can move into a different shared-roommate house so that boss/daughter can have the place to themselves, even say you’d feel uncomfortable living with the boss – could even say you’re worried it would look like favoritism or something) but if she really, really wants to do it, I’d unfortunately just put up with it. 4 weeks feels like a LONG time in such a situation but it’s doable. Especially if you are not necessarily going to work with the boss in the future.

    2. INTP*

      Yeah, agree – plus, it may not even be possible to kick out the boss and her daughter after they’ve moved in. It sounds like the employer is renting the apartments so I’m not sure if the OP has the legal right to determine who can live there. Letting the boss move in won’t save OP from a very awkward conversation, chances are.

      It’s only 4 weeks, but there are fairly realistic circumstances that would make 4 weeks a very long time to try to coexist. (These health issues involve nighttime disruptions that interrupt the OP’s sleep, OP is not allowed to do normal adult things like watch TV at a normal volume when the kid is asleep or watch non-family-friendly TV when the kid is awake, etc.) And even if there’s nothing that makes anyone miserable enough to try to kick each other out, there are guaranteed to be some awkward conversations. “No, I’m not willing to babysit for free, even just for an hour.” “Boss, I really need you to wash your dishes within 24 hours of using them, even if you are busy.” Saying yes won’t get the OP out of an awkward conversation with her boss, just postpone it, so she might as well say “no.”

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        The OP refers to “three adult people.” Doesn’t sound like the daughter is a kid who will need babysitting and appropriate television programming.

        1. Temperance*

          She’s an adult, but we don’t know what her health issues are, so INTP could be right on the money with the daughter’s limitations. Presumably, daughter needs a caregiver for some reason and the fact that whatever her illness is means that they needed to change their living situation … not great.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            If she’s so ill that she needs a caregiver, and the OP thinks she might be put in that situation, that’s a huge issue. Big enough that it would have been the focus of my letter. I’d be screaming “I think I’m going to be asked to be an unpaid live-in caregiver for my boss’s daughter!”

        2. INTP*

          I missed that part, but maintain the same point. There are absolutely some plausible scenarios in which it could be miserable even just for four weeks. Especially since the OP says that the daughter’s health issues would make it a “not easy” living situation, so I presume it’s a condition that would be disruptive to people in her household (and could require supervision or someone at home with her even if she’s an adult).

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            Oh, I’m not denying that it could be miserable. I’m in complete agreement there. Just for different reasons than those associated with small children.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      Or a “Gee, I’m sorry but my sister/Best Friend/College Roommate/mother/ex Boyfriend is flying in for a visit.” Rotate as necessary ;)

        1. Sassyfrass*

          Hi everyone!

          OP of #1 here. Thanks so much for all of your feedback on this! It’s really helpful just to see other people’s takes on the situation on both sides, and just knowing that feeling nervous about this isn’t a crazy feeling.

          Some updates from the original email: even though it’s been a very brief time since I wrote in, there have been changes! For one thing, my current roommate moved out yesterday ahead of schedule, so the move-in is confirmed and happening today. My boss and I did talk about it today, however, and she came across as much more concerned about my comfort with the situation in this conversation, which has reassured me enormously. After this weekend she’s made arrangements for herself to move to a different apartment while her daughter continues to stay with me, which is a much more liveable arrangement for me, and their intention is specifically to remain in the apartment after I move out (which they have cleared with the landlord), which makes the move seem more logical and less random squatting.

          I’m not concerned that her daughter’s health problems are going to require caregiving from me, it’s more that I know it’s resulted in late-night hospital visits and as a non-driver I just didn’t want to end up in a situation where I couldn’t get a sick person to the help they need. After our talk today, though, I feel like there’s been good plans put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen.

          So a situation that seemed panic-inducingly impossible has been downgraded to merely annoying, and I’m totally game to smile and accommodate it. Do I wish it had been brought to me differently? Yes. Do I wish I had a little time to prepare my house for new roommates? Sure! But we’re back in minor-annoyance territory for sure.

          Thanks again for everything, guys!

          1. Adlib*

            Yay! Glad to hear this has worked out to your satisfaction, Sassyfrass! Sounds less panic-inducing now, for sure.

  2. HardwoodFloors*

    #3 I had a job where I used public transportation to be greener for a couple of years. (I had my choice of multiple cars sitting in my driveway.) I didn’t share my public transportation choice for the first six months with my co-workers. But after a year on the job, very often I was offered many rides to go to offsite meetings, lunches, etc. I received rides from a few different people (spread it around) and enjoyed talking to people from different departments and had some lively conversations. Most people do not mind giving rides if they were going that way anyway.

    1. Kyrielle*

      Yeah, the thing that’s weird about #3 is it sounds like they’re offering to come from location B to location A where the OP is, pick up the OP, and go back to location B.

      If it were just someone at location A who was also going to B and offered OP a ride, I’d suggest taking them up on it, but the going-out-of-the-way thing makes it weird.

      1. Melissa*

        Office hitchhiker here! It’s really weird because they insist on the going out of their way thing, like they’ll be insulted if I don’t accept because it’s only a 5 minute drive (20 minute walk, 10 minute bus ride).

        I think breezy responses are things I need to work on, because once those offers come in they don’t go away. I think part of the reason for this is the company is very female-dominated (read: moms) and I look a little young (I’m a 28 yo that’s 5’0 with very curly hair). This kinda adds to the “child after school” thing.

        1. Lily Rowan*

          These sound like people who cannot imagine that a 20 minute walk is pleasant! That said, I’m more likely to accept rides in my personal life if the round-trip in a car is less time than the one-way via transit.

        2. Catalin*

          Hi hitchhiker!
          1) Could they be concerned about your safety? Especially as a smaller female, assuming you’re in a city of some kind, it can be a bit hazardous (from traffic to street harassment).
          2) Do you think you would feel better or worse about the situation if the drivers stopped asking and started just assuming that they will pick you up at 9:20 for that 9:30 meeting at location b?

          1. Melissa*

            1) It’s probably not a safety issue, the area is super safe and the travel between sites never goes into dodgy areas.

            2) I think I would probably mind it less if it was a regular thing or if the person was a peer and not the second highest tier of management.

            1. Specialk9*

              Wait, I’m confused. You’re being given regular face time with the second highest tier of management, ALONE, and you’re trying to figure out how to get out of it?!

              No, there’s no way, I’m misinterpreting what you said.

              But just in case I got that right, don’t be meshugineh, take the damn ride, girl! (And then ask them lots of questions about them, and don’t try to show off.) Organic ways of being a known entity in a leader’s mind are like gold.

        3. Mabel*

          I’d be doing the walk for the exercise, so I’d tell them that, but that may not be the case for you.

        4. Catalin*

          Any chance it’s a safety concern? They may not trust the public transit/pedestrian environment and/or they might fear that if something (god forbid) happens to you between A and B the company would be liable.

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            Sometimes a lot of the people who think public transit is unsafe are people who’ve never had to use it or who have internalized negative stereotypes about public transit and the people who use it.

            And sure, some areas of public transit might not be safe in some cities or areas, but I had people offer to drive me places when I first starting out in the working world because they thought that the bus wasn’t safe for some pretty racist and classist reasons and that I, as a young woman, should get a ride instead.

            If the LW feels safe taking the bus, her coworkers fearing for her safety because it’s public transit and not a private car is more than a little infantilizing and condescending.

            1. sunny-dee*

              It really does depend on the metro area, and even the neighborhood. There are some places that may be fine during the day but are really sketchy and unsafe at night. Or, one issue here, is that public transit doesn’t run as frequently during the day outside rush hours, so there could be hour-long waits between rides.

              1. Specialk9*

                Maybe where you are from, but a lady was stabbed to death at my brother’s public city bus stop at a time he would have been there if not sick that day. My parents found a way to drive him after that. (Granted this was in the 90s, at the height of the crack epidemic. That was a scary time in my hometown. But it’s not that much better now.)

          1. Melissa*

            Oh for sure! It’s a really nurturing environment… The only concern is that nurturing can start to feel a little ageist after a while. My spouse has has the same problem with his work moms leaving him fruits on his desk and telling him to take breaks and eat. I reserve the right to be a workaholic! Lol

        5. Stranger than fiction*

          I think maybe they just feel bad making you take public transport when there’s plenty of employees with cars? And perhaps they know you could realistically expense it so are offering rides instead?

          1. Kimberlee, Esq*

            Yeah, I think the expensing thing throws it off; like, I don’t think that OP can realistically refuse rides from higher-ups and then ask to expense the Ubers.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’d think, though, that the cost of a senior person’s time to drive from A to B and back to A — and then do it again when she leaves — is more than the cost of her getting herself there.

            1. Melissa*

              Hmmm, you’ve given me some things to think about! I really doubt it’s a safety issue as the area is very safe, and the bus route isn’t treacherous. I think the reason these offers persist is because (in their mind) it’s more convenient for the VP to come get me then to bring all 20 of her staff to my site (which has been done on more than one occasion).

              In terms of expensing it, I actually do have the option to take taxi chits get where I need to go, but it’s been so awful each time I’ve done this that I’ve opted to pay for my own rides (I was late 45 mins for a meeting because the taxi couldn’t find me with clear instructions). This doesn’t factor into the VP offers though, they just know I don’t have a car and automatically offers to take me.

      2. Judy*

        When I worked at a company with multiple sites within 20 miles of each other, it was generally expected that if 2-3 people from your team were going to the same meeting at another site, you would carpool, even if everyone had their own car. The only exception was if the meeting was at the start or end of the day.

  3. Vicki*

    I think we need to have a special category for letters where the answer is “No, this isn’t legal”.

    1. Joseph*

      With the implied message of “If your question is not part of this very small category, then it’s almost certainly legal. It might be a jerk move by [boss/company/HR/coworkers], but legal.”

    1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

      That was totally my first thought as well. You better believe Paris still has it on her resume (also, said resume is at least 3 pages long)!

      Oy with the poodles already.

        1. Janelle*

          Accurate! Paris has a lot of prestigious stuff on her resume. She doesn’t need to put Chilton on there. (Besides, she’s already networked that entire alumni base.)

          1. Emilia Bedelia*

            I see it now. Rory is debating about putting it on or not. Paris says no. Emily says of course. Lorelei thinks she should use one of those adorable online templates to make her resume stand out. Jess doesn’t understand why she needs a resume at all.

            1. Kate M*

              Logan posts a joke resume for her. Richard says she doesn’t need a resume with all of his contacts – he can get her a job in a minute. And Dean is still moping around not caring about anything.

              1. Beefy*

                Luke gives her some coffee and tells her to do exactly what she thinks she should do, because that’s going to be right. His sister says Rory can come make jewelry with her. Sookie cries because Rory is just so adorably grown up. Miss Patty tells her if she shows a little skin in the interview, her resumé won’t matter.

          2. Wrong!*

            Paris does not bother with resumes; those are for the people who are, sadly, not Paris. Paris informs others that they will be employing her and dictates her terms. There is no debate. There is no negotiation. There is just Paris.

      1. ThatGirl*

        You’re probably closer to right, but Chilton is a fictional high school from the show Gilmore Girls. :)

        1. The Strand*

          Bronx Science, really? That’s great. I knew it was a good school, I just didn’t realize it was at par with Boston Latin.

      2. SG*

        I’m 26 and I keep my NYC high school on my resume. So far all people I’ve interviewed with have commented on it quite positively. It might be more of a regional thing to keep certain high schools on?

    2. DeskBird*

      The point of Chilton is to get into Harvard (or Yale) – then you put Harvard (or Yale) on your resume.

  4. So Very Anonymous*

    Oh, I bet I know what city #4 is from. And yeah, Alison’s right, leave the high school off your resume and just let whoever wants to ask, ask.

    Reason #5745 for me not to apply for jobs in the metro area I grew up in ( = probably that city). Because I’ve had people ask me the same question and then burst into laughter at the answer. Yeeah.

    1. neverjaunty*

      There are lots of cities where this could be true… and yes, leave it off. It makes it extremely obvious that you are trying to do exactly what you say in your letter. The place to network with alumni is at social and networking events. The place to tell an interviewer about your high school is if it comes up naturally in the interview.

      1. iseeshiny*

        Is it that common? That’s kind of a relief, actually. I was thinking, good job, #4, now everyone knows you’re from St. Louis, haha.

        1. AshleyH*

          Haha, I was “obviously LW4 is from St. Louis!”

          LW4, as a recruiter for a company in St. Louis, a city with very strong reputation of asking about high schools, trust me, we’ll just ask :). Don’t include it on you resume, unless you’re maybe applying for jobs at your alma mater

          1. ebk*

            I’m an STL transplant and struggle with this question! I always answer “I didn’t grow up here” which I think is disappointing to some people.

            1. AshleyH*

              Well, it’s not an “always ask” but it comes up sometimes. Or if you’re just curious. Sometimes you can tell and want to make sure, haha! Just like if I found out someone was Greek and went to my University, I ask what fraternity or sorority they were involved with – maybe we know the same people :)

          2. HYDR*

            haha, my first thought was “You are in St. Louis”! So funny, and obnoxious at the same time. I would recommend that it’s on your LinkedIn page, you are a member of that high school’s ‘group’, etc. so there isn’t much guessing. Best of luck (fellow STL person here!)

          3. Brett*

            Yep, I immediately thought St. Louis too. Your high school was a very strong determinant of pay at my last employer (people from CBC or SLUH who didn’t finish college were paid more starting than people with relevant PhDs and the same work experience). Because of that, you were definitely asked. I was asked on the application, the background form, the interview (I was asked in the interview if my out of state high school was a private school).
            No need to put it on the resume, if it matters you will be asked.

          4. Specialk9*

            I assumed Baltimore. We do that too. Even in a group in which 90% of the people have advanced degrees, you *still* get the high school question. And then people visibly write you off if you went public or Catholic, etc.

        2. AMG*

          Another St Louis person here! Yep, biggest small town. Leave it off and just talk about it in person.

          1. NotFromSTL*

            Yes! St. Louis was my guess also. I’m a current STL resident but I didn’t grow up here. I’d actually love to know which school OP is talking about (is it really that prestigious????). To someone who didn’t grow up here, the high school thing is a little ridiculous. It really feels like an indirect yet invasive way to figure out your SES/neighborhood. Sure sometimes it leads to making connections but when none can be made sometimes it feels like a bit of a social block.

            Side note: I wasn’t asked about my high school when I interviewed even though I already had a St. Louis address when I applied.

            1. Sunny Days*

              Yeah . . . As someone who’s not from St Louis, asking about high school seems a little too close to asking about demographic info that would fall under protected categories. That wouldn’t apply in all cases, but you could learn about the person’s socioeconomic background, their family’s religion, a disability (if they went to a school for kids with certain kinds of disabilities), and if they were transgender (if they went to a single sex school for their previously assigned gender), all kinds of things. And it wouldn’t necessarily be accurate info. Now I know not to move to St Louis!

              1. NotFromSTL*

                The answer the shuts this line of questioning down quickly is to reply with your university. This signals that you 1) aren’t local and 2) aren’t sharing that information so move on.

                St. Louis has its faults and charms. I like it here very much.

              2. AD*

                Not to be rude here – but I’m a little mystified by the direction this conversation is heading in. St. Louis is the only city/town in the U.S. with distinguished high school(s)? I’m not sold on that, sorry!

                1. NotFromSTL*

                  I don’t think we’re saying St. Louis is the only city with distinguished high schools. What I believe is being said is being asked about your high school experience well into adulthood is commonplace here (even though I believe it to be very rude). This practice could happen in other areas too. I’m interested in their thoughts as well. As always, everyone is welcome to chime in with relevant comments. I believe someone below mentioned Cincinnati.

                2. Natalie*

                  No, it just sounds like they’re well known for asking about high school well past the point that many other people think its irrelevant. I’ve never lived there so I have no idea if that’s unique or not.

                3. So Very Anonymous*

                  No, it’s not that — it’s that for some reason it’s common *in St. Louis* for people from St. Louis to identify/judge other St. Louisans by their high school. I think it’s because St. Louis is so divided by race and class etc. — where you went to school says a lot. But it’s a thing internal to St. Louis.

                4. anonderella*

                  I don’t think Sunny Days said that at all – just making a general observation that asking what high school one went to is a hop/skip/jump away from asking what area of town one grew up in, or if one went to a special-type school, which can lead to those stereotypes about socioeconomic class/Others.

                  I agree with you, Sunny Days. I wouldn’t want to be judged based on where I went to high school. Feels gross and tacky to even be asked that, as an adult – my personal opinion.

                5. (Another) B*

                  So glad I didn’t grow up in a city. (Suburbs of the biggest city in the US, but still suburban). Literally no one cares where I went to high school. And it was public school.

                6. Natalie*

                  @ (Another) B, this is definitely not a “city” thing – many of the “city” people having these conversations grew up in the suburbs of the [City] metro area, not within the city limits itself.

                7. So Very Anonymous*

                  I am from a suburb of STL and this is absolutely also about people in the suburbs as well as the city proper. Even the part of STL County that you’re from can carry implications.

            2. AndersonDarling*

              Luckily, I’ve noticed St. Louisans aren’t asking about high schools as much anymore. I always understood the question as an indirect way to discover social status, and the tactic is finally becoming crass. Some folks just want to find alumni, but that’s what Facebook is for.
              That’s why I agree that the OP shouldn’t include the high school, especially if the intent is to flaunt past “prestige.”

              1. NotFromSTL*

                I agree! It’s been awhile since someone has asked me but I have noticed this particular question being phased out. I’m glad it’s becoming crass. St. Louis is a highly divided community in terms of race and SES. I wish I had the sense to ask “Why would you like to know?” when asked this question in casual social situations. It’s just so rude.

                [steps off of soapbox].

                1. So Very Anonymous*

                  I’ve always hated the question, as it’s always VERY clear what kind of information is being assumed based on it. The only time I’ve found it interesting was when I was in a job interview with a dean and we discovered we’d gone to the same, let’s just say, *unimpressive* high school.

              2. Temperance*

                Seriously, it’s just asking how rich your parents are, and whether you’re well-bred. It’s crap and rude.

                1. Natalie*

                  @ Mike, there’s an additional gross race aspect as many of these private schools were opened as or functioned as segregation academies.

              3. Clumsy Ninja*

                As a St. Louis transplant (for now), I can tell you that I’ve gotten asked by a LOT of people about my high school. I just look at them with a raised eyebrow and say, “I’m not from around here.” (They judge me for my hockey team loyalty instead, lol.)

                1. Cassandra*

                  LOL, I was thinking Raleigh!

                  (Enloe, Class of 199x here. Don’t you be talking to me about Broughton.)

              1. LPBB*

                I was wondering if she was from Baltimore, aka Smalltimore, because at one time that was a fairly common question and I think people assume it still is, even though it’s been phased out over the last couple of decades.

                In Baltimore at least, people ask that question both to figure out your SES background, but also, and probably more importantly, to figure out if you know any of the same people.

                1. Specialk9*

                  I still hear it a good bit in Baltimore. (But admittedly I give off confusing signals about socioeconomic status.)

            3. Salted French Fry*

              Also from St Louis. People will ask. They always do. Also totally guessing that OP went to Ladue.

              1. madge*

                Burroughs was my guess, too. But to be fair, Jon Hamm attended and taught there so…swooooon…

              1. Stuperbolic*

                Oooohh there’s a twist!

                My Catholic brother married my Protestant BFF, after much agonizing and soul searching. As a non-Christian, I finally asked if they *really* cared that much about whether the communion wafer looked and tasted like wafer but was actually magically really Jesus or just symbolically Jesus, and also wasn’t that cannibalism? They both got kinda quiet – I think they hadn’t stopped to think about the fact that their religion Venn diagram was almost a total overlap but everybody just hyperfocused on the floppy edges. Or else they were thinking I was an idiot, one of the two. Either way, they decided on marriage soon after, so I’m going to assume option A.

            1. saralibrarian*

              St. Louis is a great place – I wouldn’t avoid it because someone might ask that question! It is mostly asked innocently by people who grew up here, especially the baby boomers, as a conversation starter (and yes, it reveals a lot about you) but if you just say you didn’t grow up here, everyone moves on. I have lived here 13 years and I have maybe been asked it 4 times.

            2. So Very Anonymous*

              Yep, I don’t think it’d be an issue if you’re not from there. I only get asked it if I meet someone else who grew up in St. Louis.

            3. LW #3*

              I would hate to think my question turned you off from St. Louis, which despite its issues, was a great place to grow up and is a great place to live now as an adult.

              The question I mentioned above IS asked and I disagree with commenters who suggested younger people are starting to ask it less and less, if only because I recently met a group of my boyfriend’s childhood friends and was asked at least three times. I do agree that with more and more transplants moving into the city, more and more people are probably giving answers that don’t carry any meaning for locals.

              St. Louis is a lovely place to live, with incredible old parks, a number of charming neighborhoods and, on the whole, a very friendly population that doesn’t really care where you went to high school (even if, during casual chitchat, they happen to ask). It truly is a big city with a small town feel.

            4. MEB*

              I am born and raised in STL and it’s a great city! I love it. Although the question can seem odd to others, I truly don’t think it’s meant in a bad way. I’ve found it’s used as a conversation starter and “Oh do you know..??” Although, yes, you could draw socioeconomic conclusions from the answers, which I’m sure some do. But I’ve never thought of it to be a rude question – more friendly convo. But that’s just me :)

            5. Brett*

              The high school question really only matters if you went to high school here and in a few dysfunctional workplaces that rarely hire transplants.
              Most transplants are shocked at how interesting and emerging (especially in tech and biotech) the region is right now.
              I think “the question” flourished when the area was contracting and the city was hollowing out. Everyone you met then grew up here. Now, with the influx of transplant (especially in their 20s), the question is less useful and more likely to be perceived for its crassness, leading to its decline.

              1. Specialk9*

                Good to know, thanks! I have lived on all the edges, thanks to military bases, but my knowledge of the insides of the US is sadly lacking.

          2. Simonthegrey*

            Yep – I thought STL. I grew up there but moved before I started high school, but when I would go back to visit family (especially into college), I would get asked. when I mentioned my dad was from there, people would ask me what HS he went to. Funny, and a little weird.

        3. Qmatilda*

          This was my immediate thought. No where I’ve ever lived has been so high school obsessed. Plenty of people continue to leave their high schools on their resume. And honestly, having served on the hiring committee before, the only thing that listing your high school does in this town is allows people to skip gleefully into the high school game, “oh you went to X, I went to y? Were you on crew?” (actual conversation at the outset of an interview)

        4. Janie*

          That’s funny, I was going to say that #4 was probably from Hawaii! Although I can’t think of a high school that would fit the other criteria, so you’re probably right about St. Louis.

          1. Streetiebird*

            I was thinking Honolulu, too! A lot of company bio’s of execs (etc) will list which high school they went to. It is absolutely a thing here too. (My husband grew up here, so one of the first questions asked whenever he meets someone new, is “which high school you go?” :) )

        5. Lora*

          Thank you for explaining this. I have an acquaintance from StL who was very snobby but also very fussed about high schools and I never, NEVER understood why. Where I grew up, the “thing” was if you went to some sort of fine arts academy (Philadelphia HS for the Creative and Performing Arts, for example) then that was considered pretty fancy because you have to be super-talented to get in.

          I went to an all-girls boarding school, but I was a scholarship student so had no money or real social status. Blessedly, it was not very snobby at all and there were plenty of Weird Kids, so we all hung out together and formed a punk band.

      2. the gold digger*

        I was asked at an interview where I had gone to high school, which I thought was odd because I have a master’s degree and who cares where I went to high school, but whatever.

        “The Panama Canal Zone,” I answered.

        “Oh!” replied the recruiter. “I LOVE Florida! But I usually go to Tampa.”

        And dear reader, the interview went downhill from there.

        PS This is the same recruiter who had on his LinkedIn profile that he was “in charge of corporate highering.”

          1. the gold digger*

            Totally, sadly real. I never make stuff up. I don’t need to. :)

            A friend used to work at the company with said recruiter. She called a friend who is still there to ask about him. Turns out his dad and the CEO/owner (it’s a family-owned business) are really good friends. OK. If the CEO wants to have someone in charge of hiring for a 1,000 employee company who is an idiot, that’s on him.

          2. JessaB*

            Yep. It’s so weird but you see things and think nope, this cannot be for real, was this “The Onion?” and then you realise yep, it’s real, we’ve read it on AAM and it happened like that. Oy.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Hahahaha that is terrible. I’m laughing, but it’s horrified laughter.

          He’s probably related to the folks my friends in New Mexico encounter when ordering online, who explain that they can’t fill my friends’ order because they don’t ship internationally, only to the US.


          Wow, that’s some geographical rearrangement.

          1. Specialk9*

            Oh no. No no no. I’m snickering, but in horror. It’s like thinking New Jersey and New York are in the UK.

            1. cbackson*

              I lived in Panama post-handover (on what used to be Albrook, before I moved into Casco Viejo), and I worked out in what used to be your high school gym :-) The ACP converted it into an employee gym and sold memberships to the public (I worked for STRI).

        2. LD*

          I get it, but there is a Panama City, Florida, on the Gulf coast. So he might still be incompetent and ignorant of geography, but mistakenly believed that you meant Panama City.

        3. Specialk9*

          The Panama Canal Zone… In Florida. Oh for heavens sake. Though admittedly I can get hyperfocused in an interview and say dumb stuff. But, I mean, Panama Canal.

    2. Mookie*

      Right. Also, LW 4, consider what you’re saying when you tell Alison that “everybody asks.” It’s highly unlikely that is true, apart from a very privileged minority where “sussing out” fine distinctions between upper middling and plain upper classes matter. It’s nice how flattering it feels to have attended an academy few people have access to, but you probably don’t want to unintentionally communicate to a hiring manager that you believe elbow-rubbing and school ties have equal or competing standing with merit, experience, and skills. If everybody–meaning your social circle and peers–asks, then they’ll do just that. Trying to anticipate that in advance, trying to signal affluence and membership among an elite, is, even in insular communities, kind of an unattractive faux pas.

        1. Temperance*

          The only people who ask about my high school are people that I meet now, who are from the area I grew up in, because it’s an easy conversation starter. I’ve never been asked in an interview. Then again, I’m not a fancy rich kid …

          1. INTP*

            It sounds like this is a cultural thing specific to the OP’s city. Just because the rest of us don’t get asked on a regular basis doesn’t mean that the OP is deluded or making this up.

          1. iseeshiny*

            Actually, yes. Surprisingly similar. People use it to suss out a person’s family, town, socioeconomic strata, and as a shorthand for the type of person someone is likely to be. And like Hogwarts houses it is a very silly way to judge who a person is. But I’ve still asked the question occasionally. *Is ashamed*

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              I ask where someone went to high school when I find out that they are from the same city as me. Because there were a lot of high schools, and they all had their own reputation. But it’s more of a “I don’t remember you from my school” thing than a “did you go to fancy expensive school” thing. There were no fancy expensive private schools in my city. Or, if there were, we didn’t have the kind of money to know where they were.

        2. Sunny Days*

          Yeah, I think it’s a regional thing. I grew up in a city where that would be a normal sort of thing to ask. Fortunately, I moved away, so I’ve never had to deal with it.

        3. madge*

          This. Everybody does ask. It’s a great city, I’d move back there, but it has this one horrible habit. There was a pretty funny blog dedicated to it a few years ago.

          But OP, don’t put it on your resume. It seems younger generations are moving away from The Question and that’s a good thing. Everyone needs to do his/her part to get rid of this ugly StL stereotype.

          Now go eat some gooey butter cake for me, please.

            1. starsaphire*

              Mine especially. Probably because we only had one (major) high school. Even the kids who officially went to St. Catherine’s came over to our school for all the electives (shop, music, drivers training) because St. C’s was too small to have facilities for those programs. So “where did you go to high school” would be a non-starter.

              But, TBH, I’ve never heard it in conversation in the Bay Area either…

              1. isolucy*

                Eh, that’s not entirely true about the bay area. It’s not asked professionally, but if someone finds out socially you grew up in Oakland or San Francisco they will ask. We just get so many transplants that the first question tends to be “where are you from?” Instead of “what high school did you go to?”

        4. Rusty Shackelford*

          If everyone asks, let them ask, and then answer. But that doesn’t mean you should put it on your resume.

      1. Case of the Mondays*

        “But you probably don’t want to unintentionally communicate to a hiring manager that you believe elbow-rubbing and school ties have equal or competing standing with merit, experience, and skills.”

        Except in many places, the elbow rubbing and school ties have MORE standing than merit, experience and skills. In parts of New England, people fall all over themselves to have a hire from one of the known boarding schools or super prestigious private schools. Particularly any job where bringing in business/clients is important. Sales, finance, law – they are thrilled that you went to school with a bunch of rich people that might patronize the business.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          I’ll add one other exception – if you went to an international high school as an ex-pat. Makes really easy small talk and employers assume you have more cultural know-how. Having trouble phrasing this but basically, they can send you on an international trip or have you in charge of international clients without you making big faux pas.

      2. Pearl*

        I definitely agree that a lot of times it’s a question about how much your parents could/did spend on your schooling. But I don’t think it’s *always.* I moved out of GA several years ago but anytime I’m talking with someone from GA they ask about my high school – because high school football is so big there, there is a good chance we recognize each other’s schools by name. (My school’s games were televised.) I can’t actually name a private high school but I can name a dozen around the state that I know tangentially through football, and I was never even a sports person.

        Since I live in an area now where high school sports are not regarded like that, I think GA/Southern people are looking to make a cultural connection that just doesn’t otherwise exist now that we’ve moved away.

        1. TL -*

          if you meet someone who grew up in your area, I think it’s a totally normal thing to ask! I would, if there was more than 1 high school/town where I grew up.
          But in an interview/professional context it’s weird.

      3. (Another) B*

        They could just move elsewhere (I know, not easy, but just saying). I live in a city in the Northeast (Not NYC) and I have never been asked that. Ever. I find it so bizarre! I never knew this was a thing.

      4. Specialk9*

        “you probably don’t want to unintentionally communicate to a hiring manager that you believe elbow-rubbing and school ties have equal or competing standing with merit, experience, and skills.”

        I feel like you may have an idealized view of how the world works. That’s exactly how it is.

    3. Lemon Zinger*

      When I was in high school, I was touring a certain college out-of-state (which shall remain nameless). My admissions counselor was from the same state and asked where I went to school and I told him. He laughed and said “Huh, never heard of it. I went to [expensive private school]. I’m sure YOU know about it!”

      His attitude was so rude and dismissive, it completely turned me off from that college and I never even applied.

  5. Engineer Girl*

    #1 – depending on your location you establish residency at one month. After that it takes a court order to evict. That takes months and is full of hassles. It could be a nightmare if Boss and daughter decide that they can’t leave. Especially if she is still sick.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She’s only got one more month left there though so that probably won’t end up coming into play. (Plus the housing is provided through the employer, it sounds like.)

    2. MK*

      I read it as the OP living in a company flat and can’t really choose her roommate. The boss “asks” because she wants to bring her daughter too.

      1. Kittymommy*

        This is how I read it too, possibly because I worked a seasonal job where the job paid for housing, if your ruined with someone, our your could pay the difference yourself and be in a single.

        1. JessaB*

          I wonder, does the company permit family in the units? I mean the issue is not the boss per se but the daughter. If the company is paying the rental is the extra person allowed at all?

  6. Mike C.*

    What could be so prestigious about a high school as to consider putting it on a resume or using alumni contacts? Who actually cares enough about this sort of thing to bother about it a year or so after graduating?

    This feels like the time I found out that debutant balls still happen in the United States.

    Seriously OP, if this is the sort of thing that only matters because a bunch of people paid a lot of money to attend and little else don’t bother. Let your work and experience speak for itself.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Eh, it’s not all that different than the networking that happens through college alumni networks, the Greek system, or all sorts of other groupings of people. The only real difference here is that it’s from a few years earlier than the others. Still doesn’t below on the resume, though.

    2. Overeducated*

      It’s s cultural thing. I guess. I worked in a large city in the northeast with tourists. Once a couple found out they were from the same southern city as another guest and they immediately, first thing, started naming high schools. All adults a good 20 to 30 years out of high school!

      1. Joseph*

        That’s a totally different scenario, because you’ve *already* learned you have a connection being from the same city, so it’s a natural avenue of chit-chat.
        It’s basically equivalent to seeing a middle-aged person wearing your college colors in a city far removed from the university, giving them the chant (OH-IO, Go Green/White, Roll Tide, whatever), then asking about when they graduated. Which, btw, happens *at least* 50% of the time I randomly wear my merch.

        1. Overeducated*

          No it’s not like that, there were no school colors or other indicators. I have lived in 3 states and high school has only come up in one conversation ever (when I randomly met someone in another state who turned out to be from my VERY small hometown where I was in school with her family members). It us not normal to find out someone is from, say, Baltimore or Cleveland and start asking about high school, especially if the age difference is big enough that you could not have overlapped. Focusing on high school is regionally specific, I think.

          1. INTP*

            I think it’s different, still, unless they clearly cared a lot about the answer. When you find out someone is from your city when you are not in your city, it’s a pretty normal question that has nothing to do with the prestige of certain schools. You’re just trying to figure out which part of the city each other is from and whether you might have had any experiences in common. I’ve been asked this and where I am from no one would put high school on a resume. It’s a small talk topic but not a prestige thing.

          2. Joseph*

            “No it’s not like that, there were no school colors or other indicators. ”
            But there *was* an indicator – it came up in conversation that they were from the same city. And it’s pretty easy for that sort of connection and follow-up chit-chat to very naturally lead to a mention of where you went to school.
            B: “And I just moved here from Cleveland”
            A: “Oh, I’m also from Cleveland, what part?”
            B: “Suburbia, you?”
            A: “Oh, yeah, I’m from Exurbsville”.
            B: “Nice. Did you go to Suburbia North or Central?”
            Your mention that it’s 20-30 years since high school isn’t really relevant btw. As I mentioned, if two middle-aged guys find out they went to the same college, they’ll almost certainly ask “what year did you graduate?” even though they didn’t overlap and likely haven’t even been to the college in decades.

            1. Joseph*

              To be clear, though, if you mention your high school as a sort of brag or pride thing, that’s pretty weird. Because that’s just living off old glory.

              1. Specialk9*

                It sounds like you don’t live in the kind of city the OP does, so your understanding of cities that DO operate like that is limited. I come from a city like that, and find the socioeconomic social stratification to be gross… But if the OP doesn’t, and has that arrow in their quiver, sure put it on the resume.

      2. FiveWheels*

        I don’t live in a place with any super impressive schools, but it’s a small enough community that each good school has a reputation. One in particular is known for “the cream of society – rich and thick.”

        I went to a fairly posh primary school, then went to an unrelated grammar school of about the same level but with better academics. My friends who went to the other school immediately assumed I was a snob – it baffled me!

        Many years later when I meet people through work who went to my school there’s an immediate, though small, bond – like realising you grew up on the same street.

        Where it could influence hiring is creating the impression that this candidate went to a “good school”, so grew up in a good family, so knows how to behave with clients. Social class isn’t very movable here and has nothing to do with money.

        So yeah, I can totally see that people would be interested in what school you went to. I say leave it off the resume though – if people care, they’ll ask.

      3. Cath in Canada*

        If I meet someone from my hometown I do ask which school they went to, because my parents are both teachers and I seem to keep bumping into people who know them! My neighbour in university accommodation in a town 80 miles away from home, and someone who worked in the next lab to me during grad school even further away, had both been taught by my Dad for several years; a friend who lives in DC recently mentioned that she works with someone who comes from a town very close to my Mum’s former school, and when asked, yup, former student!

    3. Oryx*

      I think it’s maybe uncommon among public schools, but with prep and Catholic affiliated high-schools it’s pretty standard to use alumni networks.

      But, like Alison said, still doesn’t belong on a resume.

    4. Temperance*

      I had an intern last summer who went to a school that costs $45k/year. More than my entire undergrad degree. Those are the kinds of people who ask.

    5. Jennifer M.*

      I come from a city where they really do ask you about your high school and it isn’t just for the private schools. In the city public schools, there is a certain amount of choice for high school so knowing where someone went to school wouldn’t necessarily tell you where they are from. In the case of private schools it will certainly tell you something – this guy came from a family with money and was a good athlete but wasn’t smart enough to get into the other school; this gal must be really smart, etc. This will be asked in an interview. And if you are from out of town, you learn to figure out “I went to Philly’s equivalent of X”.

    6. INTP*

      My take is, it shows that your parents were wealthy and/or powerful enough to get you into that high school. It’s a way for people to self-select other people with advantaged backgrounds, even if they rationalize it as “It’s a really good school! I’m helping out alumni!” or something.

      1. Alison Read*

        Wait! My baby brother went to Exeter on a full ride. I’m sure he isn’t the only one to go to a “prestigious” school with assistance. People keep mentioning it shows your family’s social status – for some, of course. But for many others it was hard earned and often subsidized. Now to put that on a resume? Nope. But he still has a pretty solid circle of contacts and I can see that mattering in the type of career where bringing powerful contacts with you might be important. (Not in his career path though.)

    7. LitS*

      If a high school is ranked in the top 10 best high schools in the US, it’s worth a resume listing. My experience is that these schools have worldwide recognition in the industries where they are significant. Alumni absolutely get interviews and job offers for listing it, and not just from other alumni.

      1. LeRainDrop*

        I actually asked Alison about this in the comments from a post a few months ago, and she still said not to list it on my resume. It is 100% true that the alumni network for this handful of schools is extremely strong in the US and many international countries and it immediately opens doors with other alums. Frankly, I consider my high school network to be even more advantageous than my college network.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s really not something you list. The issue is that it looks super weird — a combo of naive and pretentious — to anyone not in that network.

    8. anita*

      Mike, public high schools that you have to test into, like Stuyvesant, can be considered on par with Ivies in certain regions.

  7. Austin P*

    Is #4 from a mid sized city in the South? All of my employers from my home town have asked this question.

    1. Goldfish*

      Yeah, I’m in a midsized southern city and whenever I get asked that question, I just say “I’m not from here”. If I had gone to GPS, I’d be wearing the cool class ring, people. Duh. It baffles me how obsessed people are here with the high schools. And then they all graduate from these extremely expensive, extremely rigorous high schools and go to mediocre state universities. Probably because they’re so burned out after all that.

      1. the gold digger*

        Wait. People wear their high school class ring? High school rings even exist?

        The only class rings I ever look for are from my college (I stopped wearing mine a few months after graduation because it’s not that pretty and because I hate wearing rings) and Texas A&M. I am a Texas expatriate and I am always so happy to find another Texan this far north.

        BTW, I have never seen any. I have, however, seen UT sweatshirts, but when I asked the people wearing them about it, none of them had actually gone to UT. Why would you wear an item of clothing promoting a place you hadn’t attended?

        1. shep*

          I went to UT for undergrad! :)

          I don’t wear any burnt orange, though, and I never purchased a class ring.

          Re: high school class rings, I went to high school just outside of Austin and they were a HUGE thing. I never got one because I thought it was silly (um, shouldn’t this wait until college??), but I know a ton of people got really into customizing theirs.

          Maybe they were somewhat new offerings to high schools and that’s why everyone was so excited? I don’t know. I just thought they were a waste of money. (And of course everyone stopped wearing them once that first college semester began anyway.)

            1. Simonthegrey*

              They were big at my HS for a similar reason; most of the parents of people I went to HS with had not gone to college so their HS ring was important to them. I was really rare in that not only had both my parents gone to college, three of my four grandparents also had some college (and that was prior to WW2 so it was much less of a common occurrence than it is now).

        2. ThatGirl*

          High school rings do exist, they tried to sell them to us at my (public, not prestigious) high school. My now-husband actually wore his HS class ring for a couple years into college, though not anymore.

          Re: sweatshirts for places you didn’t go, some people just like the school. If they’re fans of the sports teams, for instance, they might want a school hoodie.

        3. Nanani*

          I’ve got a high school class ring, but only because a free one was awarded to people graduating with certain distinctions. And I’m not even American :)

          1. Chinook*

            My high school gave a free class ring to everyone who graduated. Then again, we only ever had approx. 150 of us in total, so it was a way for our school board to show their appreciation and pride for us sticking with them. (Eventually our K-12 got split into 2 schools with the older kids getting their own school but no rings).

            The only university rings I ever seen worn up here are from St. FX and I swear they are used to identify fellow alumni in networking situations (like a giant X beacon).

        4. Cassandra*

          Awww. Are high school rings not a thing any more? I bought one, then mislaid it for YEARS until my sister found it (bless her) while helping my dad get the house ready for sale.

          I gave it to my spouse. Who wears it.

          Re clothing from institutions you haven’t gone to: I’ve been given logoed items as speaker gifts now and then. No reason not to wear/use them.

        5. LadyKelvin*

          Weird, where I grew up (Rust belt) High School Rings were a BIG DEAL (I still have mine) but no one got a college ring. My first experience with college rings was the Texas A&M rings which I refused to waste my money on after I finished my master’s. Now I understand that for military colleges they are a big deal, my husband and his father still wear their VMI rings every single day.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yeah, there was a hard sell, and almost everybody got one. Mine is still around somewhere, though I don’t wear it anymore–I still like the style of it, though (it doesn’t look all class-ringy, it’s just a silver band with some curlicues and a garnet) and I’ve bought several rings since that approximate the style without actually being class rings.

            I don’t know anyone who bought a college ring. By the time we were in college, we had more important things to spend our scant money on! LOL.

            1. Rusty Shackelford*

              Yes, I had several high school classmates who bought high school rings, but I don’t personally know anyone of my generation who bought a college ring.

        6. F.*

          I like wearing t-shirts from unusual colleges. I get them at the thrift store, and as long as they’re comfortable, who cares?

        7. Rusty Shackelford*

          Why would you wear an item of clothing promoting a place you hadn’t attended?

          There’s a certain Big Name Football School in my area, and I’d bet real money that less than half the people who wear shirts promoting it have ever stepped foot on the campus. They’re just fans of the football team.

          1. Whats In A Name*

            Sometimes we play games at wedding receptions and amusement parks to see who can guess the number of X Team logo sightings there will be that day. Yes, I said wedding receptions.

        8. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Eh, people identify with schools and teams. Plenty of folks in MN are Gopher fans without having attended the University of MN (and I’m sure that’s just as true elsewhere).

        9. Jennifer M.*

          My sophomore year we had Ring Dance where class rings (if you ordered one) were distributed. Public school.

        10. Unegen*

          “High school rings even exist?”

          That’s funny. Long long ago in the mists of time it used to be a thing to give your/wear the high school class ring of the person you were dating. And by long ago in the mists ot time, I mean well into the 1990s.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            Yep. That or the letterman jacket. Or if you had both, he was really into you, lol. (80’s).

        11. Dynamic Beige*

          Why would you wear an item of clothing promoting a place you hadn’t attended?

          Why do people wear shirts with company or brand names on them? Or pants — with the logo right across the bum — for that matter? Why do people wear shirts for sports teams? Answer is: I dunno.

          I brought a sweatshirt back for a friend of mine who wanted one from Fancy European University because she asked me to. No idea why she wanted it, except it was purple and that was her favourite colour.

          That reminds me, I used to give my grandfather t-shirts or ball caps from places I went to and he told me once that sometimes people would ask him how he enjoyed San Francisco or Cancun or whatever it was and he would just say it was very nice. In his case, he was probably wearing it because it was clean, not because he was trying to impress people or start a conversation.

        12. DoDah*

          I have at T-Shirt the reads “Havard Law” and then underneath “Only Kidding”

          I wear it because it amuses me.

        13. Parenthetically*

          I had mine melted down for our wedding rings, but some of the 60+-year-old board members at my school still wear theirs.

      2. Lemon Zinger*

        I live in Arizona and it even happens here! People assume you grew up here. When I say that I didn’t, they lose interest in my background completely. It’s stupid.

  8. The JMP*

    Don’t put your high school on your resume.

    I had a candidate do that a few weeks ago, and worse yet, he described a high school experience in response to a “tell me about a time when…” interview question. And this is a man with a graduate degree. It was not a shining moment for him.

      1. KSM*

        That’s a substantially different situation. Even then, it should probably only be a two-line mention (place; year diploma awarded) unless you are very young.

        1. Cnon*

          Thanks for reply, but why wouldn’t it look odd to have no Education section?

          I take from from what I dug up on this blog, that High School means nothing to employers these days?

          1. Katniss*

            Not to most employers. The vast majority of people go to high school (in the US) so they wouldn’t consider it much of an accomplishment.

          2. F.*

            Again, it depends (like so many answers in this forum). We hire a number of people with no college, but do require a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED (stated clearly in our ads) for our entry-level positions. If I do not see something indicating this on a resume of someone with no experience in our field, I assume the applicant has neither and is therefore not qualified. For a person with more experience in our field, I would inquire about it prior to scheduling an interview. There are many, many people working in construction-related fields who have neither a HS diploma nor GED.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Nope, it’s normal in white-collar work to just skip the Education section if you have nothing to put there. Putting high school would look much odder.

            This is for professional jobs. As others have pointed out, it may be different if you’re applying for unskilled labor work.

        2. Tuckerman*

          Even if the job description specifies a high school diploma is required? I know some businesses have an online application where that info could be included, but some employers just request a resume and cover letter.

          1. Temperance*

            So most jobs that say you need a diploma … don’t actually check to see if you have one. My BIL dropped out, never did the GED or anything, and almost all of his jobs are HS diploma required.

          2. Chocolate Coffeepot*

            A friend of mine from high school dropped out after sophomore year to start college full-time. The h.s. said that they would issue a diploma when my friend graduated from college. I remember thinking that was funny, because who would care about a high school diploma once you have a college degree?

            I’m surprised to hear that it does matter to some people.

        3. hbc*

          I think it makes sense to include it for unskilled labor jobs if you don’t have any jobs that otherwise prove you’re minimally literate. I see it all the time (as well as GED completion dates), but then, these are not resumes that look particularly professional.

        4. paul*

          what’s the thought on showing some college classes even if you never graduated? I couldn’t manage to graduate (failed 2 required classes multiple times, lost all assistance and couldn’t afford to keep trying), but many places seem to want to know if you have some college, even without a degree, so how do I show that? I’m so out of the job hunting loop these days.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I think it can be a good thing if you got far enough along, but it also raises the question of why you didn’t finish (and obviously I’d emphasize the financial reasons, not that you failed required classes).

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              Thank goodness I’ve never been asked! I suppose because if they already liked my resume enough to interview me, they didn’t really care about the degree. And also, the personal territory that could head into. In my case I got pregnant and was never able to go back, so that’d be awkward lol.

          2. Stranger than fiction*

            I don’t put the years, but I do put the college I attended (name, city, state) as well as some certifications I have. And a lot of the online app systems have a “some college coursework” as an option for highest education level, which I’m always grateful for. So it shows you’ve at least attended some college level classes and continued to learn beyond high school.

  9. Goats*

    #3 – I bike/public transit/walk/Car2Go by choice (I have a car I could drive if I wanted to) and I get this all the time. Coworkers always offer to drive me when they find out and it always makes me feel like I am young/immature (I am 31). I don’t really have any advice, just commiseration. I think people just don’t get why I would want to walk or bike when I could be driving.

    1. Cáilín*

      Time. My employer would rather I spent 10 minutes in a car each way rather than 30-40 minutes walking (the same journey) as it’s their time (money) I’m using not mine. In fact they and any other employer I’ve had would insist I take the most efficient route.

      1. Violet Fox*

        So much this with time. It’s one thing for commuting to the office, where a person is doing that on her own time, but another thing entirely for an off-site meeting for the work day because then the employer is paying for time that could be used working instead of getting place to place. Hours worked is a cost to employeers.

        1. Gandalf the Nude*

          Yeah, I was surprised Alison didn’t address this in her response, actually. Depending on the city’s public transit system, you could be talking an hour or more each way that employer is paying for. It’s the same reason it’s sometimes better to have folks fly to cities in driving distance.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              That’s said, it’s a valid concern with buses, etc. But I wouldn’t think the answer would be “we’ll drive round-trip twice to get you and drop you” but rather someone telling her she needs a faster method (like Uber or a cab).

      2. Whats In A Name*

        I agree time is an issue, but it sounds like the people are leaving point A, coming to point B, then going back to point A for meeting, what about their time? Seems like a trade off to me.

        1. mskyle*

          Yeah, if someone’s driving out and picking her up, that’s one person spending the round trip drive time and another (the OP) spending the one way drive time in the car with them, plus organizing anything with two people takes longer than one person making their own plans…

          Unless it takes significantly more than 3 or 4x the one-way car trip time for the OP to get where she needs to go, this is silly, especially if OP is willing/able to take Ubers. But there are a lot of people who believe that getting around without driving is some kind of hideous sacrifice.

        2. Goats*

          Yes, totally. This is why I shared my experience. I feel like people can be weirdly uncomfortable about other people not driving – in this case going so far as to spend (perhaps more) time themselves going to get her instead of just trusting her to competently get where she is going on her own.

      3. Goats*

        People still often offer to drive me even when time is not really a factor, though. It takes me 10 minutes to walk to the adjacent campus. It literally takes the same amount of time to drive and park. (There is a direct footpath, the streets are less direct.) Or, as I’m leaving work (so no longer on my employer’s dime) someone will offer to drive me so that I don’t have to walk “all the way home” (I live super close.) I’m not just randomly going off for 45 minute walks to get to meetings in the middle of the work day or anything.

        1. Mona Lisa*

          This is my experience, too. I live about 2 miles from my work place, and the campus itself is about 1-1.5 miles in length. People are often shocked that I’d be willing to walk from one place to another, but it would take just as long or longer to drive to work. Co-workers also offer to give me rides home (which is on the opposite side of town from theirs) if it looks like rain, which most of the time I come prepared for.

          1. Whats In A Name*

            Also my experience, though I do drive to work. We have several building in our downtown. It’s actually quicker to walk to a meeting than walk to the parking garage, get my car, drive 3 blocks, park again and get in building. Yes, when I say I’ll walk people look at me like I have 3 heads.

      4. The Strand*

        Yeah. I used to use a less dangerous car route between two satellites of my last organization. It took me ten minutes more to drive, but I felt a lot safer and more comfortable. I didn’t mention it to my boss, though, because I thought they might harp on those 10 minutes.

  10. Chocolate Teapot*

    Maybe this is another of those cultural differences, but I recently read a CV with the name of a fairly famous secondary school on it.

    For somebody in their fifties!

    1. Lyndsey R*

      Your use of “CV” and “secondary school” makes me wonder if this was in the UK. If so, that’s not particularly unusual, assuming the school actually is prestigious (Eton, Harrow etc). The old boys network means that this is actually an effective approach a lot of the time. At least two senior managers here where I work were hired primarily because of their public school background :/

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Ive noticed a number of senior managers/consultant types wearing “school cufflinks” of their fancy secondary school who are in their 30s and 40s. Its a very subtle signaling measure and for the big name schools, that name absolutely goes a long way.

        As an American living here it strikes me as ridiculous that so much is ascribed to people supposedly “of a higher class” for whatever reason, but understand that its a different system and perception and one of the fundamental differences between the two.

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          I saw an American comedian describe the UK class system as an “advanced form of racism, so you can even determinate against people who look like you.”

          1. FiveWheels*

            That American just didn’t understand the system. You can tell someone’s class and breeding from the shape of their ears!

            1. Cyrus*

              For example, people with pointy but normal-sized ears are sindarin, people with pointy but huge ears are quel’dorei. That kind of thing?

          2. Chinook*

            I actually had a Brit (who was more of a “lad” and a jerk) tell me how frustrating it was living in Japan because he couldn’t figure out the class structure and where he fit in it. I looked at him sideways and said, “that’s easy, you are a white foreigner and you rank just above non-whites and below everyone Japanese or who looks Japanese.” He wasn’t impressed at his place on the ladder.

            1. Specialk9*

              Ha ask a dumb question. Did he do any research at all? Oh man I’m just imagining his face. But but I’m white, and British, and a man. Does not compute

        2. Hellanon*

          My first husband was English & while the family was solidly middle class, he’d been sent to posh schools and made friends who lived in the family castles. We did a couple of trips there and it always surprised me to see the class system in action – we were in our 20s, had no money to speak of, and we’d walk into these country pubs in anoraks and hiking boots and, between his Brideshead Revisted accent and me sounding like I had an American Express card pinned to my jacket, we’d either get glared at or be bowed to tables in the best part of the restaurant.

          1. FiveWheels*

            The trick to pulling off a push facade is to simply not care. Dress nicely but feel nervous in certain company and they’ll spot you as an outsider immediately. On the other hand I have fond memories of staggering into a very, very upmarket cocktail bar during a weekend drinking trip that went slightly wrong.

            My clothes were literally beer stained, I obviously hadn’t showered in several days, and I generally looked like I’d been dragged backwards through a hedge.

            But my accent passes for upper middle /lower upper class and I acted like being in such a place while in such a state was entirely normal.

            Everyone assumed only a top tier toff would have the confidence to walk in there looking a total mess, and I enjoyed some very pleasant refreshments ;-)

      2. Daisy*

        Well, but on the other hand a good proportion of people will be massively turned off by a public school background, so I’m not sure it’s a good idea in the UK either. The ‘old boys network’ is about using contacts; it would be weird to apply to a job cold and just expect the boss to be an Old Harrovian or whatever.

        1. FiveWheels*

          Absolutely. Reverse snobbery is a big thing. My workplace is a very conservative city law firm and if someone went to Eton that would be fine… But telling people you went to Eton, thinking others should care? Gauche to the point of vulgarity!

  11. Abbi Abrams*

    Ugh, I went to a prestigious high school that is well-known locally and my mother is HORRIFIED that I don’t put it on my resume (I finally lied to her and said that I did). Another reason parents shouldn’t be involved in your job search. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Alison.

      1. Hellanon*

        My mother, at 84, still feels it necessary to drop the name of her prep school into conversation, despite the fact that she has lived the last 60 years 3000 miles away from any name recognition it enjoys. I think the hallowed tones she uses to speak its name are probably intended to people they should be impressed, but mostly she just gets confused looks…

      1. Allison*

        Yeah, seriously. I do kind of get people wanting to brag about attending prestigious private schools, even well into their adult; you have to apply and usually interview to get in, the courses are much more rigorous than they tend to be in public schools, and they cost a lot of money! If you graduate from a place like that, that’s totally something to be proud of!

        1. fposte*

          I think sometimes people struggle with the difference of being proud of something and needing it on their resume.

        2. valereee*

          On her first day of her first class at her highly-selective liberal arts college, my (public school educated) daughter’s prof told the class, “Those of you who went to public schools are going to find the work here challenging.” My daughter ended up with a 98 in that class; the prof later told her that’s the highest grade he’s given in that class in five years. You go, public-school girl!

  12. JM*

    As someone who also does seasonal arts festival jobs, I’m SO curious which one you’re working for, OP #1. It’s fun to find another (presumable) festival nomad on here!

    That type of seasonal work breeds a little bit of “camp” mentality and really blurry lines between friends and coworkers (especially when everyone is cohabitating, and even worse between friends and managers/supervisors, so I truly see how it would be difficult for you to say no to someone that you’re going to work with every day. I still encourage you to push back! I wonder if you can talk to the people in charge of accommodations and get the scoop if there is an extra room (or rooms) somewhere else, so you can go back to your manager and say you’ve already figured out a solution. (From your letter I’m assuming your manager isn’t that person, maybe I’m wrong.)

    I’m also curious if your manager was apologetic or acknowledged the awkwardness of the situation when she asked you about it? The more it seems like she realizes how potentially weird it could be, the more confident I would feel in just saying “yeah, I don’t think that’s tenable for a month.”

    Good luck! #festlifebestlife

    1. The Strand*

      Alison, I would enjoy one or more of these seasonal folks (the OP, JM) being interviewed about this type of work.

      1. JM*

        JM here – I would love to talk about what I do! It’s weird and a lot of people don’t understand our lifestyle. I will send Alison an e-mail!

        1. ArtsNerd*

          A question I have right now – do you have different steady work for the off-season? Or do you just seasonal job-hop? Like “Jacob’s Pillow is wrapping up, got a slight lull before Nutcracker, then it’s APAP in NYC…”?

          1. Sassyfrass*

            Hey ArtsNerd! OP #1 here!

            At the moment I freelance, so it’s a lot of job-hopping like you described. BUT as I’ve been working in this field for a number of years in the same community, I’ve developed relationships with companies which lead to fairly regular annual contracts (same festival every January, same theatre company every year), and I just recently signed on to PM a whole season for one company. It really just depends.

            I love freelancing because it gives me lots of opportunities to do different jobs with different people, which I find really rewarding, and also the ability to be flexible about my time so I can pursue my own arts practice. I mean, I still haven’t taken a vacation in five years, but that’s obviously my fault.

            This contract I’m on right now, at 5 months, is pretty much the longest I’ve been in one place for five years or so.

          2. JM*

            A lot of us build a “circuit” of steady work, but I find it’s not uncommon to have slight lulls between the job hopping. Echoing Sassyfrass, the longer you do this work (4+ years for me) the more you develop relationships, return to the same organizations/contracts, and are called on for other gigs as they come up.

            I have freelance, remote work that I can return to whenever I have a long lull, and I know other folks that pick up barista or retail work in between gigs as needed, but mostly folks are just diligent hustlers who know what their year is going to look like and plan financially as best they can.

        2. Sassyfrass*

          OP #1 here! Totally on board for this too! It’s such a different workplace with unique challenges and dynamics; one of the reasons I love reading Ask A Manager is that conventional, corporate businesses are so alien to me!

          I was planning to send a thanks email, I’ll just follow this up as well.

    2. Sassyfrass*

      Oh hi, fellow arts worker!

      Guess what? My boss is definitely the person who arranges housing, which is why I think she felt kind of free to do it. And when it was presented (and I wrote the letter), there was a distinct lack of acknowledgement about the awkwardness, which is what made it a huge red flag. Since then, we’ve chatted about it, and there’s been a heck of a lot more consideration, and now only one of the pair are living with me long-term (coin flip on which right now), so everything’s become much more reasonable.

      One of the reasons why it felt so weird is that while there are no limit of blurry relationships around here, she’s not really part of that network, as one of the handful of full-time year-round staff and a local to the rural community we’re in.

      1. JM*

        You’re touching on that full-time-year-round vs. traveling/seasonal staff dynamic that can be so difficult to navigate sometimes and is a whole extra layer of this situation, so I’m so glad you were able to talk about it and come to a reasonable solution!

        P.S. A regular festival in January, eh? There’s only two I can think of. I’m beginning to wonder if we know each other!

        1. Sassyfrass*

          Well, at the risk of sacrificing my anonymity, I’ll tip that I’m writing from Canada…

          1. JM*

            Hm. So many Canadians on the circuit. Are you one of the lucky ones that hops back and forth over the border? I’ve always been too hesitant about visa stuff.

            Maybe our paths have crossed! Maybe we remain a mystery to each other for now. This is all very “You’ve Got Mail.”

  13. Suzanne Lucas*

    #5 there is a bonus loophole. In order to be salaried, they only have reach the salary level of $47,776 (or whatever, not verifying) through salary and QUARTERLY bonus. The quarterly bonus must be paid within 1 week of the end of the quarter and must bring the people up to the $900ish (not doing math) per week paycheck for the quarter.

    So, technically, they could do it as a quarterly bonus as long as it brings up to the salary level. Not that it sounds like they are doing that, but if they wanted to approach it as a bonus, they could do it this way. I’m pretty sure they’d have to pay out the “bonus” if someone quit part way through the year too, although don’t quote me on that.

    If the bonus wouldn’t bring them to that level, they have to pay the overtime.

    1. Boo*

      I really don’t get how a company can call this a bonus when it’s overtime which is owed. Cheeky toerags.

      1. OfficePrincess*

        I read this as the LW’s employer was trying (and in this arrangement, failing) to use the bonus to keep them exempt.

      2. KS girl at heart*

        Totally off the subject, but Cheeky Toerag is my new phrase when describing people.

    2. asteramella*

      The bonus can only account for 10% of the threshold, though. The rest has to be base salary. And the bonus has to be non-discretionary; this doesn’t describe the LW’s situation.

      1. Catz*

        Does non-discretionary mean it can’t change from quarter to quarter? Or can they decide one quarter to pay overtime below threshold and one quarter to pay lump sum up to threshold? I’m so confused why this is even allowed.

    3. anonykins (OP5)*

      Interesting. It’s possibly they’re planning to do something in this vein rather than a year end bonus – my information is secondhand, so I’m sure I haven’t gotten all of the details. But now that asteramella has jogged my memory on the 10% part of the equation it seems unlikely as they’d have to give many people significant raises anyway.

      I’m mostly floating this question in case my employer gets any bright ideas from competitors! Luckily, my employer doesn’t seem interested in stretching (or breaking) the law, so we’ll have to see what happens.

      1. Pwyll*

        There’s a minimum salary level to be exempt from overtime. You can still be paid a salary and make less than the ~47,000, but if you work more than 40 hours per week the employer will need to calculate your effective hourly rate, and pay you overtime at time and a half for each hour over 40.

      2. fposte*

        Yes. And right now it’s very low ($23,660 per year) but by the end of the year it will basically double ($47,476). There are a handful of jobs to which this doesn’t apply–lawyers, doctors, and teachers are the most famous–but for most of the rest of us, we have to be hourly if we’re under the threshold.

        1. fposte*

          Whoops, Pwyll makes a good point about being hourly not required; there are other ways to comply with FLSA. But hourly is the usual outcome.

          1. Pwyll*

            Yup, it’s certainly easier for the employer to calculate overtime when the employee already has an established hourly rate.

    4. Tammy*

      This only works if the job duties would otherwise qualify the employee as exempt, right? If you’re doing a job that doesn’t fit into one of the statutory exemption categories, all of this contortion won’t help you avoid having to pay overtime – which makes me wonder why it would be worth the bookkeeping headache for the employer.

      1. Natalie*

        Yes, other than lawyer, doctors, and teachers, you have to meet both a duties test and a salary test.

  14. Leeza*

    I’m from St. Louis- one of those “where did you go to high school” cities. In case any other St. Louisans are reading this- Parkway North. :-)

  15. Christy*

    I once saw an acting/theatre resume for a 60-year-old who had a day job/career as a lawyer who proudly listed his top-14 law school, his prestigious college, and Choate Rosemary Hall (his high school). Talk about irrelevant!

    1. post from a newish lurker*

      When the NFL does player introductions on TV – some of the players opt to use their High School instead of their college. It’s a headshot or 10 second video of them saying their name, position and their school. I don’t know if the NFL has guidelines on what they can say.

      1. Natalie*

        It’s possible, although not common, to make it intoto the NFL without going to college, so some of those players may not have an alma mater.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Maybe, but I think it’s mostly just their choice (and I think it’s cool as a shout-out to their high schools).

      2. (Not an IRS) Auditor*

        I think they have some latitude in what they say as long as it isn’t effective. I confess to getting a kick out of the ones that use it as a shout out to their momma: “Mary Jane’s baby boy,” or the like.

    2. BuildMeUp*

      I also see non-acting schooling listed on actors’ resumes on occasion, and it always confuses me! Was he inexperienced and just trying to fill up space?

      1. JM*

        I was always taught (by acting coaches) that there is merit to including your degree, no matter what it is for, because it shows your ability to commit to something and follow through with what you start. If you didn’t go to acting school, some degree can be more valuable than nothing.

        I also didn’t really pursue theater past college, so I could be WAY off base on what is useful and appropriate here.

  16. Anononon*

    My takeaway from the comments today: asking where one went to high school is an extremely common question. :)

    1. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Anyone else hear the “rule” that people who move around a lot in childhood are considered “from” the town where they graduated high school?

      1. Jax*

        I always have a hard time answering “where are you from?” Grew up in two cities on the East Coast (birth-5 in city A, 5-11 in city B a couple states north, then 11-17 in city A) did college on the West Coast and went to the Mid-West for graduate school and have stayed (for now.) It’s hard to say I’m “from” city A when I haven’t been back in 10 years, but it feels like a lie to say I’m from cool West Coast state. So I go with “a lot of places.”

        1. the gold digger*

          I just say “Air force brat” unless pressed. Then they get the whole bio that includes ten schools before I graduated from high school and nine cities since college. That bores them into submission.

        2. LadyKelvin*

          I use “well I grew up outside of [City] but I just moved here from [other way more awesome city]” mostly because since I graduated college I’ve moved cities every 3 years, so there is a very good chance I’ve just moved. And then I say “but I really miss [other way more awesome city]” because leaving a place you love sucks when you move somewhere you kinda hate for “love”. (I love my husband, but gosh this city sucks).

        3. Kelly L.*

          I’m from a blue-collar suburb across a river from a major city, and still part of the metro. People who are actually from the city itself, or who are from the rich suburbs, don’t consider being from my suburb as being “from City.” But to people from a long way off, the name of my suburb means nothing. So what I tell people depends on where I’m meeting them. If I meet them in City, I’ll be precise and tell them the actual suburb. If I meet them in, I don’t know, Disney World, I’ll just tell them I’m from City, or from the City area, because the distinctions aren’t likely to mean anything to them.

          1. Mirve*

            That follows the “further away you are, larger area you provide” rule. If talking to someone in town, give neighborhood, in a nearby state, give city, farther away but still in North America, give state, in another continent give US.

          2. So Very Anonymous*

            I have recently had the extremely weird experience of suddenly having my particular suburb become EXTREMELY WELL KNOWN. For years and years I’ve always just said STL because no one had ever heard of the suburb I grew up in. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve heard of it now.

      2. Marillenbaum*

        I hadn’t. I grew up in the same town until my senior year of high school, and then we moved and I graduated from a different school. My family still lives in that second town, and I usually just say I’m from there, because it’s easier.

    2. Mreasy*

      Only one high school in my small hometown, so this line of questioning has simply never occurred to me. Ha!

    3. Agnes*

      In my southern city, “where’d you go to school?” means high school, not college, and you can’t be considered a local unless you went to high school here.

      1. the gold digger*

        I lived in Memphis for several years. I would ask people, “Are you from Memphis?” and would get answers like, “No. I’ve only lived here for 35 years. I’m actually from Greenville/New Orleans/Little Rock.”

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          I don’t understand what you’re trying to say about this answer. Were you actually meaning to ask these people “do you live in Memphis?” Because otherwise, how is their answer incorrect? The way you asked it, I think most people would interpret your question as “did you grow up in Memphis?”

          1. the gold digger*

            I meant, “Do you consider Memphis home or have you just moved here in the past two or three years?”

            Once you have lived in a place for 35 years, you are from there.

            1. Janelle*

              There are pockets of the country where this isn’t true. I believe some parts of New England are notorious for people being “outsiders” for a couple of generations.

            2. Rusty Shackelford*

              Huh. If I’d lived in Memphis for two years (or two months), it would be my home, because I lived there. But I wouldn’t say I was FROM there unless I’d grown up there. Same words, different language. :-)

            3. HannahS*

              I don’t agree. If you’re traveling and people ask you where you’re from, then yeah, the city where you live is the answer, but when people ask adults where they’re from, they’re asking that person where they came to this city FROM. My dad immigrated to Canada in his 20s, but he certainly doesn’t consider himself “from” here, and frankly neither does anybody else.

              1. Myrin*

                I’d understand it exactly like that and would very carefully guess that Germans in general understand it that way. My mum has lived in my hometown (where I was born and raised and still live) for 28 years now but she would not ever consider herself “from” here although she’s actually lived here longer than in her own hometown by now.

        2. teclatrans*

          As someone who has moved a lot (16 homes when I graduated at age 17), I wonder if your confusion at this comes from not having a solid “from.” I personally claim the area of town I lived in a) longest, b) at the most influential part of my young life (but then I add in that I graduated from X high school, since I lived there for a similarly long time — 3yrs — and it seems like a more solid marker if where I am from).

          All that said, I think “where are you from” usually signifies “where did you grow up?” and so folks who have been in Memphis 30 years but moved there during or after high school probably won’t claim it as their “from”?

        3. LD*

          It’s pretty conventional in the south that “where you’re from” is where you grew up and your family lived, not where you moved to at any later point in life. So it’s not unusual for people to assume you are asking where you and your family are from. It’s an old convention but it still exists.

        1. Brett*

          And your not a native if your parents didn’t go to school there (my dad went to Clairemont and I was raised in Escondido).

    4. I'm Not Phyllis*

      I didn’t realize this either! The only time I ever get asked that question is when someone thinks I look vaguely familiar.

  17. Nobody*

    #5 – I didn’t know overtime has to be paid on the regular payday for the pay period in which the overtime was worked. My company doesn’t do that. They pay overtime in the next pay period. The current pay period goes from 8/8 to 8/21, and we get paid 8/22. Overtime worked between 8/8 and 8/21 will be paid on the 9/5 paycheck, because 1 day isn’t enough time to process time sheets and pay the actual hours worked. I don’t mind waiting an extra two weeks for the money (I wouldn’t want to wait until the end of the year, though!), but it makes it a nightmare to keep track of whether I’m being paid correctly.

    1. KR*

      This is a weird way of doing it. Our finance admin has no troubles doing all of our payroll in a day, but she gives herself two days for emergencies. So our pay period will end this coming Sunday, the payroll report is due before noon Monday. She’s usually done by the end of the day but Tuesday is her chance to catch up if need be. Wednesday the direct deposit goes through/the checks get mailed.

    2. Gaia*

      If you are in the US that is not legal unless they are paying you in arrears and that check on 9/5 is actually for the hours worked 8/8 – 8/21. If it isn’t enough time for them to process it, they need to change that. They are violating labor laws.

      1. Amtelope*

        Many businesses do pay hourly employees in arrears, though — if the pay period ends 8/21 and you get paid 8/22, your 8/22 check is often for the 7/25-8/8 pay period, because it often isn’t possible to process payroll instantly.

        1. F.*

          Check your state’s Department of Labor website. There are state laws requiring how quickly and how frequent paychecks must be issued.

        2. Nobody*

          The pay statement for the 8/22 paycheck says it’s for the pay period from 8/8 to 8/21, but the overtime from those dates will be on the 9/5 paycheck.

      2. fposte*

        That’s actually a state determination. Feds just say “wages required by the FLSA are due on the regular payday for the pay period covered.”

    3. Lindsay (Not a Temp Anymore)*

      Mine works this way too. We’re essentially salaried with any changes in salary (PTO, OT, etc) accounted for in the following check.

  18. BRR*

    #1 if you can’t get out of your boss and daughter moving in you should at least ask to pay less in rent for the last month. That’s with the assumption the apartment is a two bedroom or its states where you signed up it would only be two people. I don’t know if any of that would apply but if you told me I would have one roommate and I ended up with two, I’m going to fight back on pay

    1. Happy Lurker*

      Can’t help but think maybe the boss asked because they were hoping OP would move to a smaller unit and leave the 2 bedroom to Boss and Daughter…kinda like what Allison said as a potential solution.

  19. Temperance*

    LW #1: that sounds so difficult. I would follow Alison’s script here. Living in cramped quarters with your boss sounds like a nightmare. Reading between the lines a bit, depending on what the daughter’s health issues are (severe enough that they impacted her living situation), living with her could be very, very unpleasant for you, even if the place was sufficiently large so you could have a bit of privacy.

  20. Allison*

    #4, you’re already in your mid 20’s and you have work experience, at this point your high school might still help boost your candidacy at the interview stage, but most likely won’t help you get in the door. Either you have the skills and background they’re looking for or you don’t; if you’re not qualified, where you went to high school isn’t going to compensate for that.

  21. OP #2*

    The employee I described did not only improve at the very end of the year, but in the second half.

    It’s a little fuzzy where “telling someone how to do a project” ends and “doing it for them”. We write code. You either say what you want done, or you spell it out.

    1. Leatherwings*

      You certainly shouldn’t be doing it for him, or hand holding him through it either. Does he just not have the coding skills you need him to have? I would start there – if he legitimately can’t do the work I would take steps to fire him. If he has the skills but just… won’t do it(?) I might put him on a short PIP and stipulate that he needs to sustain improved performance throughout the year, not just until the PIP is over.

    2. themmases*

      That makes his question about why you weren’t telling him how to do the project even more ridiculous! There are usually multiple ways to get the same thing done in code, it’s not like there is a single solution that you are withholding from him.

    3. Anon Always*

      As his manager did you help him or provide guidance when he was stuck? To me that seems to be kind of the sticking point. He was given a project and you knew he was stuck and it appears that you didn’t provide any guidance or assistance. Now, granted he should have come to you to ask and judging by your letter he didn’t do that at all.

      But, there are ways to help someone learn how to work through a project versus doing it for them. When he performing poorly last year did he go on an official performance improvement plan? It may be if he didn’t go on such a plan that he felt that there wasn’t much wrong, and that as his supervisor you were just being picky. So he stepped it up for a bit because he didn’t want it hurting his paycheck and then reverted to type because there were no real consequences for his behavior.

      1. Leatherwings*

        Yes. When these kinds of questions happen in my line of work and someone gets stuck, I’ll usually ask 1) What they’ve tried already 2) What they think the issue might be 3) What specific questions I can answer to help them.

        There are ways on most projects to help someone over a hump rather than ignoring them. This guy sounds like a PITA, but I think you can be doing more to manage him too (if you don’t just let him go).

      2. OP #2*

        I gave him lots of guidance.

        No formal PIP but it was pretty clear we thought there was something wrong.

        1. Leatherwings*

          Hm. I can’t quite put my finger on it, OP but a lot of your replies seem really defensive here. I totally get that having a bunch of people who don’t work in your industry or know your situation comment on it can be difficult, but I really encourage you to take AAMs and some of the commenters advice to heart.

          1. OP #2*

            I totally do take it to heart.

            The thing that I try to figure out is how much guidance this guy needs. I can be helping him out 3 times daily with different stuff when the others need 1 time. And then this guy says he feels like he needs more guidance. It’s hard to figure out.

        2. Anon Always*

          Honestly, for some people unless they have a formal PIP or negative review they don’t really pay attention.

          When I first started working, I had a job that had a few meetings where my boss thought that she was providing me negative feedback but I thought she was providing me positive feedback. For example, at my 90 day review I got exceeds expectations for my formal file and then I had three of four duties taken away from me. Now I’d know that was a bad thing, but at the time I didn’t think anything of it. Then about eight months into the job they approached me about potentially transitioning to another role in the organization, and I was completely blindsided. I had no idea that I had been reprimanded about three months earlier. I ended up resigning and taking another job that was a much better fit.

          But, I still remember being told that I had been warned about all these things, but I never heard any of those warnings, and everything in writing was exceptionally positive.

          1. Specialk9*

            Wait, they gave you exceeds expectations and thought you’d magically get the message they were unhappy? That’s some dumbass managing there. That is so not in you.

        3. fposte*

          Why not a formal PIP? And was he ever told in so many words that his job was in danger?

          This isn’t stuff that managers know right out of the box, so it’s not surprising if you didn’t. But it looks like you’ve been nonspecific because you assumed he’d get it or because it felt harsh to say “Your job depends on doing better”–and that’s a recipe for disaster, as you’re finding out.

    4. Temperance*

      Is he just not getting it? I’ve worked with people who, for one reason or another, can’t understand simple verbal or written instructions. I’ve never worked with coders, though.

        1. MommaTRex*

          The thing that I try to figure out is how much guidance this guy needs. I can be helping him out 3 times daily with different stuff when the others need 1 time. And then this guy says he feels like he needs more guidance. It’s hard to figure out.

          From what you said above, my gut says this guy is NEVER going to get it.

    5. Kate M*

      But don’t other coders do it without a lot of hand holding? I don’t know anything about writing code, granted, but there’s got to be a way to describe what you want done without doing a project for them. Otherwise there would be no point in managing anyone.

      1. Anon Always*

        I don’t work with IT people, but based on my conversations with our Director of IT (and in meetings with him), he often has to provide suggestions of how to potential code something. And not everyone is a creative thinker. For some people they tackle something one way and can’t see how to approach it differently. I think that is when a good manager is invaluable because they can help you think of a problem from a different perspective and help you tackle it differently.

        1. Kate M*

          Right, but there’s got to be a middle ground between telling someone to just do a project and “doing it for them.” I’m sure all coders need some direction, but this guy obviously isn’t meeting the basic level of even that if he wants his manager to do it for him.

    6. Sketchee*

      The link in the answer is pretty great on describing the middle ground between telling and doing:

      Be direct and factual about what the issue is. Describe what success looks like and the difference between that and what is happening. For example, tell him clearly if there is a problem in writing the code, he needs to seek help before the deadline hits. (A lot of people don’t know to ask for help and will wait until a consequence from a manager to have this discussion.)

      Ask what issues he’s having in completing those tasks. Does he need more training? What is your view on priorities and what is his? Are you on the same page as far as outcomes?

      Talk about actions he needs to take. Then follow up and discuss how he implemented these actions. Break it down in steps. Unless you say the steps, you can’t be sure if he knows what they are.

      After all of those conversations have happened, give consequences. What are the requirements of the position? If he isn’t meeting the requirements, mention that this may lead to having to end his tenure as your employee.

  22. OP #2*

    It’s a learning process where we are. You’re not expected to come in knowing code, but you are expected to catch on. He didn’t catch on as quickly as others. (He says he shouldn’t be compared to the others because they’re all young geniuses and he’s middle aged.)

    It was my fault for not addressing the showing up late and leaving early sooner. But he’s always asked for it like this: “I need to leave today just to take care of a doctor’s appointment” and in my office we’re pretty flexible with that sort of thing, although I should have been stricter since his performance was suffering. It’s hard to say “You’re not doing the work, so you need to keep strict hours. Other people are, so they can do what they like.” Should have said it though.

    1. Leatherwings*

      To me, it sounds like this is a seriously struggling employee. If he hasn’t learned the code you have to decide whether to keep coaching him or to let him go. Given some of the attitude issues, it might just be better to let him go. But I don’t think you can just keep getting frustrated at him for getting stuck – that’s on you.

      As a side note, I would say that you shouldn’t restrict people from going to the doctor on occasion. If it’s happening too often, that’s something to address – not just keeping strict hours.

      1. Anon Always*

        I agree. But, I have to admit I’m a bit alarmed about any employer who doesn’t expect their coders to know any code. I realize that we all learn on the job to some degree, but if someone is a programmer, they should at least have the basic programming/coding skills and it seems like setting people up for failure if you hire people who don’t.

    2. Observer*

      He actually said that he shouldn’t be held to the same standards as the other employees? And you just let that slide?!

      No. Just NO. If your other staff are, in fact, picking up the work at a faster rate (and not doing this all “off the clock”) then you need to start holding him to the same standard as the others. If he brings this up again, tell him that just as you don’t hold him to a higher standard due to his age, you won’t hold him to a LOWER standard. And start documenting your head off. This guy is lawsuit material. He’s already shown this in his threat to discuss with HR and your boss.

      1. Purest Green*

        I agree 100% with holding him to the same standard as the other employees. Why wouldn’t you? (And that age comment, what?!). I hope the other employees aren’t being impacted by him, because that’s a whole extra problem that he and you, OP, might be creating.

    3. J.B.*

      So maybe I can give some specific ideas, as a non-IT professional who has taught myself a lot and now needs to teach others. Some people get the process intuitively and others don’t. I tend to start with general instructions and throw a new person in the deep end. A lot can only be learned by doing and for some people that’s enough. Others start to get really frustrated and shut down. For the latter I give specific assignments of things to build up skills. (Find these pieces of data for me – which can be done by using a basic select statement and then processing in a spreadsheet but streamlined by using aggregate functions, subqueries, etc.) These are set activities that I know how to do then we talk about the results and the process.

      It depends on your situation and the exact composition of your job to decide how much effort to put in. This person seems to be shutting down. You need to decide whether going through this kind of exercise is worth it. The “I can’t get it because I’m old” sounds especially defeatist to me, but there could be potential with a different approach. Regardless you start by setting the specific expectations. Yes, it is more work for you. But that is the deal with managing.

    4. fposte*

      Well, it gets easier :-). But I don’t think you necessarily have to say that anyway–you can address the productivity without requiring policing of arrivals and departures. If he can’t fix it without your policing, then all you win is an employee you have to police, which is no prize.

  23. Cyrus*

    Ugh, this “where did you go to high school” culture is alien to me.

    I lived almost entirely in rural New England until my mid-20s. Probably half the towns within 30 miles of my home address had no high school, and of those that had high schools, none had two public schools, and I think there were only two private schools in that area. (If your town had no high school, your parents drove you to a nearby town that did have one, and if it was in the same district, tuition was probably covered.) Where I went to high school was on my resume just because when I lived there I was applying to entry-level stuff, but people only knew of other high schools for their sports teams. I currently live in a major city (not among the top 10 in the US by size, but it’s still pretty big), with over 15 public high schools in the city itself and tons more if you count private schools or schools in the suburbs. One of those private schools is famous enough that I know of it, and there are probably a couple more that well-to-do people know of but I don’t, but then again this area is full of transplants so I can’t imagine it carries THAT much weight around here.

    The only reference point I have for “where did you go to high school?” is Hogwarts house rivalries.

    1. Not Karen*

      I’m in the same boat. I’ve been asked a couple times, and I’ve had to answer, “??? [town name] public high school…” confused, as if there were some other option.

  24. Employment Lawyer*

    5. Can overtime pay be held until the end of the year?
    One rival company has decided to have all employees log hours, but will only issue paychecks that reflect pay for 40 hours per week. Pay for any hours above 40 (which should be counted as overtime) will be given at the end of the year as a “bonus.” I’m not clear on whether the hours would be paid at a regular rate or at a time-and-a-half overtime rate. Is this legal?

    Yes, albeit under very limited circumstances. Here’s the TL/DR: You have to be paid minimum legal salary and you have to be properly exempt. But everything above minimum is optional and the employer can usually do it how they want so long as it is disclosed in advance.

    First of all, you would need to be properly classified as exempt under both state and federal law. Whichever one is better for you is the one which prevails. In theory, that would mean you’re not entitled to pay for more than 40 hours. However, it would be INCREDIBLY unusual for “all employees” to be exempt unless you have a tiny company without any low level staff; that alone would probably kill this.

    Second, you’d need to properly be treated as exempt throughout the year. You’d need to meet the new minimum earning standard; you’d need to get paid for 40 even if you work 38; you can’t get docked time in small increments for things like lunch or pee breaks; etc.

    Third, you would probably need an employment contract which spelled things out. If the employer was smart they would not promise a specific hourly rate bonus, but whatever works.

    In that circumstance, it would be legal. The minimum weekly wage would satisfy the law so you would have no weekly claim for unpaid wages.

    1. Employment Lawyer*

      Just to clarify: The situation is completely illegal for anyone who is NOT exempt, i.e. anyone who is paid, or must be paid, on an hourly basis.

    2. anonykins (OP5)*

      Thanks for the input. My impression (and I’m getting all of this secondhand, I so can’t verify that this is what is definitely going on) was that they were hoping to 1) avoid salary/hourly rate increases by keeping people well below the minimum legally required weekly wage for exempt status and 2) avoid paying overtime until the end of the year. We definitely meet the duties test for exempt status, but are for the most part currently well below the new minimum pay. The new pay system sounded super sketchy to me which is why I wrote in. Based on what you and Alison wrote, it sounds like this is not, in fact, legal.

      1. Employment Lawyer*

        It’s nice to meet the “duties test,” but an exempt position must usually meet MULTIPLE tests. I’ve seen otherwise-exempt and properly-paid folks win wage claims for strange reasons. For example, having an employer who messed up calculating non-full-day sick time breaks, thus losing exempt status and owing back OT and multiple damages.

  25. The Strand*

    I thought caring about/asking what school you went to, before university, was mostly a British thing (e.g. Eton).

    I went to a school that periodically would get news coverage outside the state, but no one ever asked me in a job interview about it, except a hiring manager at an early job (age 18) who had hired another kid from my school.

    1. Anon Always*

      I think even in Britain it’s only a thing if you want to public school or you went to a grammar school.

      No one cared about the local comprehensive that I went to!

  26. Rusty Shackelford*

    I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I had a coworker who decided one of our colleagues hadn’t graduated from high school, since he didn’t list it on his resume. My opinion was, if that were true (much eyerolling here), it just made his master’s degree (which he did list) that much more impressive.

    1. Specialk9*

      Oh lawd, I’m gonna guess your coworker was an all around drama llama. That’s ridiculous to think, much less gossip around the office.

  27. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

    My region (Twin Cities) definitely does the “where did you go to high school” thing, but my impression has always been that it’s about seeking shared connections more than determining one’s class/etc. But that may be because I’m from the city and went to (highly unprestigious) public schools.

    1. Marie*

      Same here. They don’t call it St. Small for nothing — a frightening amount of people know each other. I also went to a prestigious/peculiar high school (we have a few here!), and it’s something that often comes up in business conversations and everybody gets a kick out of asking me about it. But I also work in a field very involved with kids, so much of the time the conversation immediately goes to, “oh I was thinking of that school for a kid of mine, tell me more.” I also went to what I guess is a prestigious elementary (I did not know that at the time) so have even ended up in business conversations about that. As if my 30 year old experience would bear upon the school today!

      I think it might just be a weird Minnesots nice thing sometimes. Where are you from, what do you do, what school did you go to, how about that snow there.

  28. Observer*

    #5, the employer you mention sounds like one of those places that “don’t do overtime”. You can’t unilaterally decide stuff like this.

  29. jaxon*

    I’ve worked on the full-time staff at multiple arts festivals in multiple rural communities, and the housing thing is always a huge issue. I am so grateful my job has never involved figuring out artist housing. It’s incredibly, incredibly stressful and situations like the OP describes are so common.

  30. nonegiven*

    My son worked a 5 minute walk from his apartment in Cambridge but had to travel to Framingham once a week for a meeting. He didn’t have a car so they sent one for him and sometimes had a limo drop him off afterwards, on the way to pick up an exec at Logan.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I’ve had situations like that before, and generally the school I’m working at will comp a rental or ZipCar or even an Uber or Lyft.

  31. Anonymous Educator*

    The only exception I can see for #4 is if you went to an independent high school and want to teach at an independent high school. You don’t have to have gone to a private school to work at a private school, but many private schools will definitely take a second look at an application from someone who went to another private school.

    Other than that… I can’t think of any reason to put it on your résumé.

    That said, if you have a strong alumni network, I don’t see what that has to do with your résumé. Network! Reach out to the alumni you know and say you’re looking for a job in X industry and see what leads you get.

    1. potato battery*

      And even then, that would probably be better to mention in a cover letter, not put on the resume.

  32. LW #3*

    Well there seems to be consensus!

    I am going to politely ignore the comments that seem to jump immediately from “went to private school” to “must be rich and/or snobby,” except to say that while my school was really nothing like Chilton, I did truly enjoy the Gilmore Girls diversion upthread.

    I have received a lot of conflicting advice about this — my dad has told me to definitely omit it, but other individuals I know and respect in a professional setting have implied I am doing myself a disservice by not including it when a lot of Important Business People in, yes, St. Louis, have a connection to the school. I do encounter fellow alums (but much older, so not those I would know otherwise) occasionally in my work and I do think where I went to high school has benefited me beyond just providing an excellent education!

    I think AAM clarified my thoughts when she noted that it was sort of like including your sorority or other affiliation on your resume. I do understand the question “Where did you go to high school?” is problematic when it’s being used to sort out some socioeconomic code, and I try my best to avoid asking it — it’s like a tic with us, though, really!

    My intent in asking was just to confirm that the resume conventions still apply despite these circumstances*, and to make sure I wasn’t missing out on some obvious opportunity that everyone else knows to take advantage of.

    Now I’m off to go stuff my face with Imo’s pizza while I count my trust fund dollars ;)

    *I really thought the high school question was a St. Louis thing, interesting to learn it happens so many other places, too!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Just to be clear, I don’t think it’s like including a sorority affiliation on your resume, which is a thing some people do in their recent post-grad years. I was using that as a comparison to explain to Mike C. when he asked, “What could be so prestigious about a high school … Who actually cares enough about this sort of thing to bother about it a year or so after graduating?” I was pointing out to him the similarities in why people might care … but the difference is that high school still can’t go on your resume where as a sorority can (for a while).

      1. LW #3*

        Hmm. I would feel even sillier listing my sorority on my resume, personally, because in my mind that is even more tied to “what can I afford to be a part of” than a school I was accepted to at 14 years old (which I agree has no relevance to what I’m capable of now).

        Your comment still clarified my thoughts in my mind, however, and I wanted to respond that I was thinking of it more as a networking opportunity than as some achievement I’m immensely proud of years after the fact.

        1. Kyrielle*

          I hear you, but – consider that some private high schools may cost upward of $10k a year. Those schools can indeed signal what you can afford. (So can not-as-expensive or even possibly public schools with sufficient reputation, if what’s required to get into them usually requires resources to reach that point, academically or otherwise.)

          Other schools may signal positive things but not (your parents’/guardians’, anyway) socio-economic status, but certainly some can.

          1. Judy*

            I’m in a small city in the midwest, and the leading private school here charges $17k per year, starting in Kindergarten. (And they don’t have any before school care, and you have to pay extra for the after school care.) It’s certainly a symbol of economic status, although a former co-worker’s kids got scholarships to the high school.

    2. madge*

      Imo’s is the best.

      I commented upthread but wanted to add that I can understand why you’d ask and why there are people telling you to include it. As you mentioned, it definitely opens doors with older people. If you happen to know for certain that there’s a high likelihood a fellow alum would see your resume in the beginning stage, it’s probably fine to include the information. Best wishes on your search!

    3. Brett*

      I mentioned this upthread, but I have found that for hiring managers here in St Louis where it matters, they will ask you where you went to high school. There is no need to put it on your resume.
      Similarly, when you get into the workplace, people will ask if it matters to them. (For men, they will often wear ties with their school colors to signal this if they went to one of the prestigious all boys schools.)

      The important thing is that not all hiring managers here grew up in St Louis. And those who didn’t are often well aware of the high school question (having been likely subjected to it at some point), and will know what you are trying to do by listing your high school. In that situation, listing your high school could actually hurt you rather than help you.

  33. Laura*

    #3 – Did you know you would have to go to various sites when you applied for a job? The expectation when I have been in similar jobs is that you will have a car to provide your own transportation. Unless you are in NYC where it’s common to not have a car, I can see six months from now those same people will not be happy that the bus was delayed for some reason and you are late.
    #4 – I had wondered if you were from Cinti, actually. Honestly, I worked in a department where all the guys bonded over their Catholic boys school. Having gone to one of the highly ranked public schools in the state, it’s a “How cute, you think that’s going to impress me.” reaction on my part.

  34. valereee*

    Re: the prestige high school — In Cincinnati, this is also a common first question, especially on the west side of town. Your high school tells people here a LOT about you, and not just the private schools. We have public schools here that are extremely competitive to get into and very prestigious. But even here, putting it on your resume when you’re ten years out of school would look either pretentious or naive.

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