interviewers who show up late, can’t find parking at my job, and more

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

1. Interviewers who start the interview late

What’s the best way to handle the situation when the interviewer is late? In three recent interviews, the interviewer or someone on the interview team has been late, two by 5-10 minutes, one by 20 minutes. Although I haven’t let it influence my performance in the interview, it’s frustrating since I know they wouldn’t have seen me if I had been late. I feel it shows a lack of respect for me and my time. It’s been suggested to me that these were done on purpose to “test” me – is that really a thing?

There’s definitely a double standard about lateness to interviews. As a candidate, you’re expected to be there precisely on time, but interviewers aren’t held to the same expectation. In part, this is similar to the manager/employee dynamic, where you need to be on time for meetings with your boss, but it’s understood that things may come up in your boss’s schedule that take priority. And in part, it’s just the convention that has grown up around interviews.

Because of that, I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at an interviewer who was 5-10 minutes late. Stuff comes up — meetings run over, work emergencies come up, etc. Who knows, maybe the last interview ran over slightly or your interviewer needed time to jot down notes about the candidate. You wouldn’t want those things to be rushed with you, so it’s reasonable to extend some grace on that. 20 minutes is pushing it more — but even then, as long as the interviewer apologizes to you, I wouldn’t be too put off by that. But if the wait goes much beyond that, then it’s approaching a point where it’s truly rude and unreasonable.

And no, it was almost certainly not done to test you. People just run late sometimes.

2. I can no longer find parking at my job

I work for a university. My duties are research, teaching, and administrative. Apart from teaching a course, how I define my duties is largely up to me. I have a lot of say about which research projects I take on, how I do them, how I conduct my teaching, which seminars I attend, etc. I also am a mom – of two toddlers. One is in pre-school and the other is in daycare. My job is great, well, was great until two months ago.

Two months ago, my university used a large section of the parking lot site to construct housing. As a result, the current parking lot is overcrowded, and getting a spot has become a race of the quickest. The problem is that, myself, as a mom who has to drop off two children in two different locations, loose, as I arrive a little after 9. Most days when I arrive there is no spot left. Street parking is not an option. Our university is idyllically situated in the middle of a nature reserve which is a strict no-parking zone. The preschool of my eldest opens its doors only at 8:45 so dropping the child off earlier is not an option, nor is changing schools – schools are assigned by the local government. Nor do I have family nearby who can help or can afford to pay anything more on child care. My house is about 10 miles from the university – close but not connected via public transport.

Bottom line, my work has really suffered. On the days that I keep on looking for a spot, I often will have lost 3-4 hours or more driving around (as many others are doing), hoping for someone to leave. I am unable to meet my duties this way, and started to stay more at home, but am then being criticized for not attending the not required but recommended meetings, etc. For the things that I do have to make it in for, like lectures, I often end up too late, sometimes so late that the lecture slot is over. Needless to say, this situation has made in impossible to do my job well. What are my rights? How can I address this situation in a large institution like a university? I am getting concerned that leaving this job is my only option. This would not be great. I have moved countries for this job, sold and bought a house, left friends and started a family here — meaning changing jobs is a big deal. Still, I cannot help but feel that my employer is changing the conditions mid-way, leaving me in a pickle.

They’re not legally obligated to provide you with parking, even if they did previously (assuming you don’t have a contract that requires it, but you probably don’t).

But since it sounds like there are a lot of people in this situation, why not band together, point out the problem, and propose some solutions, like a shuttle? The school can’t want employees spending three hours looking for parking rather than working, and if enough of you are vocal enough, you may be able to get them to come up with other options for you.

3. Should I tell a local business owner about something that’s hurting her business?

I have a question on how to approach a local business owner on something that is hurting her business. I occasionally go to local “paint and drink wine” parties. The business that does this has three instructors: Sansa (the owner), Arya, and Cersei. While Sansa and Arya are very talented artists and their classes are awesome and insightful, Cersei’s classes are awful. Cersei’s other job is a house painter. She has a grating personality and no artistic ability. Because Sansa refuses to list the instructor with the classes, I go far less often than I otherwise would because if Cersei is the evenings instructor then I know my money is wasted. The classes are $35 to $55.

I thought maybe I was the only one who felt this way, but have since spoken with several friends who also sometimes go and a random lady in a grocery store who saw paint on my fingers and started a conversation. The grocery lady had been once, got Cersei, and won’t go back. Same with some of my friends.

Clearly it’s not my business to run this business, but should I tell the owner why her classes might be getting smaller? I have tried to casually hint that I don’t like Cersei’s classes, but that makes her grouchy so I just drop it and don’t show up as often. Which makes me feel bad because the owner it’s very talented and I like her. I feel bad that the size of her classes is dwindling. Is there a way to tell her or should I just butt out? If you were her, what would you want your customers to do?

If I were her, I’d definitely want to hear that feedback, but the fact that she gets grouchy when you hint makes it sound like maybe she doesn’t. Plus, getting grouchy when customers give you feedback is such a bad business strategy that she might just be a not-particularly stellar business person.

That said, I think you could say something like this: “Several of my friends and I have found that we’re attending much less often than we’d like to because there’s no way to know in advance who will be teaching. We really like your and Arya’s classes, but we haven’t enjoyed Cersei’s as much. We’d like to come more often and give you more business, and we could do that if you can list who the instructor will be for upcoming classes. Any way to make that happen?” If this makes her grumpy, well, you tried.

4. A document on the printer says my coworker might be laid off

A few months ago, we had a company-wide meeting where the CEO announced that the entire company would be relocating to a different state by the end of 2017 or early 2018. He stated that further information about who will be invited to join the company in relocating and what the relocation offers will entail would be available sometime at the end of the second quarter/beginning of the third quarter of 2017. This has caused quite a commotion at work, as employees are unsure as to whether they will be relocating with the company or losing their jobs.

I have mostly been able to put this out of my mind as we won’t be receiving any additional information for some time. However, three weeks ago when I was copying something at the department printer I noticed a document titled “Teapot Department Relocation” regarding my department. I couldn’t help but read the document as it would be impacting my future. I was shocked to read that I would not be extended an offer to relocate with the company. Once the shock and anger subsided, I started my job search so I feel that I have that aspect handled.

But while reading the document, I noticed that my coworker was mentioned as being designated to be laid off within the next 2-3 months as part of a reorganization before the move occurs. She has no idea about this and has been talking about an upcoming vacation she has that will occur during the same time period. She’s also planning work projects and events for after she is supposed to be laid off that would benefit from a transition period to transfer the work to the remaining team. The company hasn’t said anything and likely won’t say anything until they lay her off.

I’m torn on whether I should inform my coworker of what I know so she can prepare or if I should keep silent. My coworker isn’t known for her discretion and the knowledge that the company has already made decisions about the relocation could quickly spread through the company before they intended to say anything. What’s the best thing to do in this situation?

Oooof. I don’t think you should, in large part because you can’t know that what you saw was the final plan. These sorts of plans often change multiple times before they’re finalized, and you could end up giving her information that isn’t actually correct.

Throw in that she’s not discreet and the fact that your information comes from a document that wasn’t intended for you, and you have the makings of a clusterfudge.

Ultimately, this one just isn’t yours to act on.

5. Do I have to do a training led by someone who made a crude pass at me?

I work for government. My manager wants me to attend a training session. However, it’s being given by a much older man in another department who made a very crude pass at me on Facebook a few weeks ago (I think this guy may be some kind of foot fetishist).

I blocked him and don’t want anything to do with him.

How do I broach this with my manager, who is a man? I would be totally fine with doing the training, if it was being given by someone else.

“I’d love to attend if there’s a session run by someone else, but this particular trainer came on to me in a very crude manner very recently, and I’m not comfortable attending a session he’s running.” (You could substitute in “sexually harassed me” if that feels accurate to you.)

I know it might feel less than comfortable to say this to your male boss, but just be direct and matter of fact about it. You didn’t do anything wrong, and it’s a very understandable reason for not attending.

{ 493 comments… read them below }

  1. Core*

    OP3 says “Cersei’s other job is a house painter.” I don’t understand how that’s relevant. I know people who are excellent at painting on a canvas and excellent at painting a wall.

      1. Core*

        I think it could be relevant, though. If the OP is talking to the business owner with an attitude of judgement (I’m not saying she is, but IF), it may explain why the business owner doesn’t seem interested in her feedback. Perhaps she should try not mentioning Cersei at all, and she should just suggest that the teachers be listed with their classes.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          This isn’t about Cersei’s basic human rights though. People have the right to not take optional fine arts classes from someone who isn’t the sort of artist they were expecting.

          1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

            This! I sew and still take classes occasionally. I have found that there are certain instructors I click better with, and there are some who have more to teach.

            While I appreciate a strong home sewer, working with someone who has a costuming or fashion background helps elevate my work.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Frankly, Sansa should be able to accept customer feedback—no matter how “judgmental” the tone could be—if she’s the owner of a service-centered business. And it’s difficult to imagine why a business would start listing its instructors with their classes if there’s no reason identified for making that change. I don’t think we have to worry about whether Cersei is getting a fair shake or whether OP has a “tone” when mentioning her negative experiences to Sansa.

          1. Czhorat*

            We coincidentally just did a “paint nite”event. I wholeheartedly agree that the teacher has a very big role in how pleasant the event is, and asking to list the names would be positive.

            I’ll note that it needn’t even be judgmental. While the LW finds her “grating”, some people might mesh better with her personality and prefer her to Arya. Or not.

            If the note to Sansa is framed as “I like certain teachers better, so I’d like to know who will be hosting” it might come across better than “Cercei sucks, so I want to be able to avoid her at all costs”. If they make the change and start listing the teacher, then a drop in attendees for one class or another might help Sansa decide who to keep or not keep going forward.

            1. OP3*

              OP3 here. I wasn’t being judgemental, just put the house painter as a perspective. the other paint night leaders are art majors.

              thanks! I love your wording! Sansa will probs still get grouchy, but it’s softer and I will have told her. Sansa is very talented and likeable but she doesn’t like feedback. I agree it’s not the best thing, but no one is perfect.

              1. Lablizard*

                Who is teaching a class makes such a difference. There is one instructor at the yoga studio I attended whose voice grates on my ears and whose style of instruction puts me off, so I actively avoid her classes. If they didn’t post who the instructor was, I would be irked since it impacts how much I get from the class. Hopefully Sansa will hear what you have to say and act on it.

                1. the gold digger*

                  They actually fired a yoga instructor at my Y because so many people complained about her. She scolded people! She would say things like, “When I was a student, I would NEVER have…” and told me I had to remove my socks. I went to her class twice and walked out in the middle of the second one.

                2. Whats In A Name*

                  My parallel was going to be to a gym as well. The yoga teacher who puts you off could have a huge following of people who like her or her style.

                  Point being listing the names could be a mutual benefit – some people may like Sansa and Arya ‘s styles and not Cersei’s, but there could also be people who prefer Cersei’s and aren’t frequenting because they too often get Sansa or Arya. Granted OP hasn’t met these people but they are likely out there.

                3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  This is what ran through my mind, as well. I kept thinking of all the fitness group classes that exist and how much of a different the instructor makes, and it doesn’t always have to do with competency, but rather, vibe. I would be irritated if my yoga studio started scrubbing information on instructors.

                4. Caity*

                  Yes exactly! I have gone to a fitness class with an instructor who is very conversational while we’re doing the assigned “move”–say we’re doing one minute of squats or whatever, and she doesn’t need to count the whole time–and I love it! It distracts me from how tired I am! But my friend dislikes it, especially if she goes to an early morning class. So when I propose attending a class with my friend, I check the schedule to see if it’s someone we both are ok with. I think this feedback should be quite normal for Sansa to receive.

                5. TrainerGirl*

                  It really does. I was never a fan of dance fitness and/or Zumba classes, until I found a studio that had great instructors and an environment that I clicked with. That doesn’t happen with everyone, so I can understand wanting to know who is teaching before I pay to attend.

                6. BronzeFire*

                  I agree, the instructor makes a huge difference, sometimes indirectly. There’s a group fitness instructor at my Y whom I really like, but half the class is filled with women who are her weird little fan club. While they aren’t deliberately exclusive, it’s clear they like just being with the same group, and going to ALL of this instructor’s classes, at every location. That dynamic was a turn-off for me, but at least the Y always knows they’ll have at least x number of people when she’s listed as the instructor. So, yes, listing the teacher works both ways, and everyone benefits. And if the number of painters increases for everyone but Cersei, that will be tough to ignore.

                7. Rachel Grimmer*

                  In the case of yoga and meditation classes substitution can be not just annoying, but risky. The studio I attended had a habit of making last minute substitutions, and on two occasions I had substitute teachers incorporate techniques I wasn’t used to which provoked extremely unpleasant PTSD reactions.

                  At least that is unlikely with painting classes. I think Czhorat’s way of framing the feedback is constructive.

              2. Dust Bunny*

                My grandfather was a signpainter by trade but a talented artist as a hobby (and not a jerk). One, being housepainter or whatever doesn’t automatically mean she wasn’t an art major–plenty of people don’t work in their majors. And I suspect that not all art majors are that successful at it. And lots of people are good artists and teachers who don’t have a lot of formal training–these are occasional “paint and drink wine” parties, after all, not classes for credit. So what she does for a living is not actually that relevant.

                1. Alton*

                  I think in this case, it’s probably the whole picture. I trust that the OP wouldn’t look down on otherwise good teaching from Cersei if it turned out that Cersei didn’t study art formally, and professional artists can be bad teachers, too. But in this case it sounds like Cersei is not a good teacher and also seems to lack technical knowledge/experience.

                2. Temperance*

                  I imagine, given the context here, that the instructor bios include information about their educational background.

                  These classes are fairly expensive, and, all things being equal, I would probably prefer the teachers with a credential to the one without a credential.

                3. Whats In A Name*

                  I didn’t read the letter as the housepainter being less skilled.

                  I think this is part of a larger picture as art majors might be more skilled in the nuances of teaching whereas house painters can be seen as more skilled laborer and can have a different demeanor.

          2. Fish Microwaver*

            Actually, as a business owner, Sansa should solicit customer feedback in order to better tailor her services to customer demand.

    1. BuildMeUp*

      The OP says that Cersei has “no artistic ability.” I took the comment about her being a house painter to be in comparison to the other 2 instructors, who are both artists.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, it was pretty clearly meant that way; I don’t understand why some commenters continue to want to assign some hidden motives to the OPs when it’s quite obvious why they said X.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            It seems to have recently increased, fwiw. I don’t remember it being as frequent or widespread even 6 months or a year ago.

            1. Czhorat*

              I don’t think it’s always “arguing for the sake of arguing”.

              Sometimes reading the language can give one a different impression of the overall situation; each of us brings not only our own biases but also our own point of view. To ask the OP what they meant by “Cercei is a housepainter” could give all of us a different lens through which to look at it. Personally, I don’t see “Paint Nite” as the kind of serious art instruction in which training of the teacher matters; for the OP it’s apparently different. Where I might not fit in this group is I don’t tend to take questions at face-value, but look a little bit more deeply into the details. It wasn’t my question this time, but “why is it relevant that Cercei is a housepainter” is, to my way of thinking, a perfectly logical question.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                You just did it ;)

                I’m teasing. I don’t think there’s a problem with asking an OP for greater clarification, but I think there has been an increase in the number of comments that hone in on phrases or issues that don’t contribute to the core issues an OP has raised. For example, the issue here is that OP and Cersei don’t vibe and she’s unsure of how to bring this up with a prickly Sansa. Getting hung up on the housepainter comment doesn’t get us closer to helping OP address her primary concern, even if the question is logically related (I would argue it’s related but not particularly relevant).

                There are of course exceptions—for example, when an OP’s question doesn’t logically flow from the rest of their letter (I’m thinking of posts like the one about a branch opting out of a “joint” Christmas party and not making a plate for the boss). But for most letters this habit seems to derail.

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                I should clarify that my comment isn’t intended to chastise or blame you, Czhorat!

                1. Czhorat*

                  I didn’t take it that way.

                  As someone who has participated in one set of comments that got a thread locked and started another thread which got deleted, I acknowledge that I’m still getting myself accustom to this particular comment section and how Alison likes to moderate it.

                  Side-tracking is something I do all the time; sometimes I find that the more interesting question is the one someone doesn’t even know that they’re asking. This, however, isn’t how this particularly board runs; Alison seems to really want to focus on answering the question as asked and gives a great deal of deference to letter-writers. The side-paths, as interesting as some of us find them, don’t really fit here.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It always ebbs and flows and is worse in winters; it’s not worse now than it’s been in past winters, although there is more discussion of it this year.

              1. Kbo*

                Why in winters, do you think? (I’m from where it’s summer all year round, so those nuances go over my head)

                1. Dankar*

                  Seasonal affective disorder makes some feel more depressed and lethargic (me included). Perhaps others get more cantankerous..?

                  If that is the case, we can cross our fingers for a reduction of this behavior post-daylight savings time.

                2. Gaia*

                  We’re all mad because it is cold and horrible outside.

                  Or is that just me? When is it spring again? Where do you live? Can I come there?

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                Oh, that’s interesting. It seems be following the increased armchair lawyering problem (which has been better the past week!). Maybe the self-awareness will encourage less nitpicking as we move slowly into spring…

      2. Whats In A Name*

        Guilty and wrong. I totally missed that – just saw “grating personality” and washed over the other apparently. Guessing OP is an artist, too, then?

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      I took it to mean that she’s not actually a teacher or someone who has received any formal art training. I know quite a few women who run wine/paint nights and they all have other jobs teaching art at summer camps or in after-school programs. All of them have some kind of art degree or pedigree. It’s not snobbishness – it’s about whether you’d pay over $50 to be “taught” by someone without the proper skills and experience.

      1. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

        Sometimes people who want to be professional artists have to take a day job.

        1. A*

          And when they have no artistic talent, it’s great that they have that day job, because being a professional artist isn’t going to happen. That doesn’t mean they should be teaching art.

    3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      I’d think it might offer some perspective about how much Cersei needs or is committed to performing well in this job. If she’s got a reasonably well-paying day job, that’s significant.

      1. OP3*

        OP3 here. If Cersei was a good teacher, I wouldn’t care if she had a degree or not. If I didn’t find myself paying top dollar for an inadequate class, maybe I’d like her. Unfortunately, she has neither teaching ability nor artistic ability. I don’t wish her ill, but paint night instructor is just not something she excels at. Or maybe with more formal training, she could make it work, but I don’t want to be her student unless/until she’s good enough to teach.

        1. Whats In A Name*

          I am confused by your saying she doesn’t have artistic ability but you’d take class from her if she had a good personality? Does she not fit your style of art or is she drawing stick figures? I mean, that’s a whole other level of wonder – why would they employ someone to teach evening art classes if they can’t actually paint/draw? As a business owner that’s seems a little odd?

          1. Chicken*

            The OP seems to be saying that if Cersei was a good art teacher, OP wouldn’t care if Cersei was a good artist or not, or whether she had a degree or not.

            Also, it’s possible to be okay/adequate/not great at something and stil be really good as a teacher for beginners.

            1. TrainerGirl*


              A few years ago, I had to take drawing and design classes as part of my multimedia design program, so I really was a “stick figure” beginner. I didn’t think that my instructor was the best artist, but man was she a good teacher. I got an A in that class because, at the end, I was far from great, but I had been taught to draw and had gone from stick figures to actual sketches and drawings. People are amazed when they see my charcoals in my mom’s house and find out that they were done by her 100% amateur daughter.

          2. many bells down*

            Those “paint and sip” events aren’t really what I’d call “art classes”. It’s just a set of instructions you follow to produce something like the example painting. “First we’re going to make a big circle of yellow paint on the left side of the canvas”, sort of thing. The ones I’ve been to don’t have any discussion of techniques or anything. It’s like IKEA-assembly art, and it’s a lot of fun to get a little drunk and follow the directions but it doesn’t really teach you anything.

            So I could see that someone without much artistic ability might be able to lead the class. I am a “can only draw stick figures” person but I’ve produced not-terrible paintings out of those events.

            1. Czhorat*

              Yes, that’s just what I was thinking.

              It’s fun, but I agree that to call it an “art class” is overstating a little. That said, personality IS very important. You need an instructor who infuses the event with a spirit of fun. If the OP didn’t like Cercei, then she didn’t enjoy the class and it isn’t worth it.

        2. Rachael*

          I agree with you, OP3. In Seattle you have a lot of people who “teach” things that they have no business teaching. A lot of people “love to dance” or “love painting” and so they advertise that they are “dance teachers” and “artists who give lessons”. If someone is paying money to be taught how to do something then they should get someone who knows how to demonstrate techniques. (either by school training or self taught). A lot of people are commenting that you shouldn’t expect too much from a night school painter but anyone who is advertising themselves as an artist who can teach techniques should know how to teach what is being advertised The bottom line, the OP3 has the right to be irritated just like I would be irritated if I took my Kindergartner to ballet class and the teacher didn’t know anything about ballet. I wouldn’t expect the teacher to know intricate ballet technique, but I would darn well expect her to know basic technique and know what she is talking about when teaching 5 year olds.

        3. Anion*

          OP, you’re a customer. It’s not illegal, mean, discriminatory, or wrong to expect a certain level of skill, professionalism, or education from an instructor (or just the leader of a group). That doesn’t mean such things are always *necessary*–as you said, it’s about skill, attitude, and teaching ability, not credentials–just that there’s nothing wrong with you wanting or expecting it.

          And frankly…I don’t think your intention was to be “snobbish” or whatever, but even if it was, so what? That’s allowed, too. You are allowed to feel and think how you like, especially when you’re paying for a service. Cersei is not your colleague whom you’re dismissing out of hand, she’s a person you pay to teach you things.

  2. nutella fitzgerald*

    Oh, man, I read the second letter and was all set to identify with OP, but I only lose 20-30 minutes a day looking for parking and/or walking from wherever in Siberia I found a spot. 3-4 hours is insane. I currently just spend my mornings hoping someone will ask where I was so that I can loudly announce I was in the garage (the Bridget Jones tactic of mushing up my coat and pretending I’ve been in the office for hours has been similarly ineffective).

    1. So Very Anonymous*

      Yeah, having had your experience at several universities, this struck me as particularly insane… especially if the OP is paying for parking. If the university is going to reduce parking that drastically, they really should come up alternatives for employees — maybe a remote parking area with a shuttle?

    2. Czhorat*

      Yeah. 3-4 hours basically means you’re circling the parking lot until someone takes their lunch break. You’re now working half-days.

    3. OP*

      Yes – I know. I have been working from home a lot as otherwise I am unable to get my work done — as you noted: I am waiting for the lunch break crowd. There are several good suggestions below though – and if the situation won’t change I will try them out: car pooling from my son’s school; or paying a private resident who lives conveniently to use their spot; or perhaps even enroll in the university gym and use their lot.

      1. Buffy*

        You have my sympathies! I work at a university as well, but in my case since permits aren’t enforced in my parking lot and it’s right next to the university’s gym facilities, students take up all the free spots starting in the early afternoon. It’s a nightmare to circle around and around the parking lot if you needed to step out for a lunch appointment, especially when you pay for your permit.

        1. the gold digger*

          I lived off campus my senior year of college but won one of the few, highly-coveted parking passes right by my residential college (think sorority house but without rush). My university is right across the street from the Texas Medical Center and the med center people would park in our lots! And the school wouldn’t do anything! So I would get to school in the morning and even though I had my parking pass, I could not park by the residential college, which meant I had to go all the way to the stadium lot and then run to make it to class on time.

          1. JessaB*

            Honestly it’s these things that make me thankful I’m disabled. When I was a student I had parking, when I was a teacher I had a labelled space. Because as a student they added handicapped parking at a rate of “number of permitted students + a few for guests.” Also if you had an on campus job or you needed a really close space they labelled one. Once I was teaching it was easier, there were enough handicapped spots in the teacher’s lot – firstly elementary kids don’t drive and I taught kindergarten special ed, and parents and visitors had to park in the front of the building by the office not the back door that we had key cards for.

            But when I visited the high school I was so glad for teacher lots because OMG those kids would drive if they literally lived in the house across the street because OMG driver’s licence.

            However for the able bodied, I definitely agree with either a shuttle from a larger lot, or the bicycle on the car idea if you can do that and not look like a mess when you get in.

          2. Ruffingit*

            Did you attend UT Health Science Center? Med center is rough in general, I can imagine what a hassle it was to try and find parking there.

            I attended UH for law school and it was rough there too. You had to get there hours before classes started to even think about being able to find a spot that didn’t require hiking hours to the door (exaggerating, but only a little).

      2. Michele*

        Can you put a bike rack on your car, park a few miles from work, and ride the rest of the way?

        1. Emi.*

          And then you’d get to bike through an idyllic nature preserve, which might help you feel less angry about this RIDICULOUS SITUATION.

          1. Michele*

            Exactly. Plus, I find a few minutes of light exercise can really help put me in the right mood to start the day or unwind afterward.

          2. EddieSherbert*

            +1 (depending on where you live and the weather!; that’d be a very cold and unhappy bike ride by me right now!)

        2. Liane*

          Might be possible & does sound lovely, as Emi points out, but there are a lot of reasons this may not work for OP:
          -She says there isn’t other parking, because it is a nature preserve
          -Money for bike & rack
          -May not be physically up to biking, at least not that distance
          -Safety–dark for part of ride, too isolated, bad cell reception spots
          -Time–even if it is faster than 3-4 hours it still might not be fast enough, or may mean she is late picking up kids & those $X/minute late fees can wreak almost any budget

          1. fposte*

            Nobody said it was for sure going to work, though; they just offered it as a possible suggestion, just like all the others.

            1. nutella fitzgerald*


              It might not work for the OP but it’s actually making me think differently about the occasions when I have to take a longer walk from my car to my desk – framing it as healthy and beneficial exercise rather than a giant PITA…

              1. MegaMoose, Esq*

                I make myself take a ten-minute walk to and from my ride because it’s the only way I’ll get daily exercise in (plus it’s an indoor walk if I want, so I don’t have weather excuses). It’s been pretty easy to adapt to, but it’s been voluntary and I’m losing about a half hour of my day total, not 3-4 flipping hours!

            2. Michele*

              Exactly. I am just presenting an option that LW may not have thought of. I also agree with KJ below that sometimes the dangers of riding a bike are greatly exaggerated, especially in someplace like the UK where more people ride and drivers are used to seeing bikes on the road.

          2. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

            It’s a possibility. So is an uberpool, a rideshare van if the local mass transit agency offers them, approaching the school for a parking shuttle….lots of possibilities.

            1. JessaB*

              There may also be a requirement for a legal remedy. Some locations require x parking spaces per x people or space.

              There’s a wonderful little Arby’s near my house. But it’s kind of run down. It’s situated between two other concerns and they cannot renovate because they are legally required to have x parking spaces (they were grandfathered) there is literally not enough space to put any more. So he’s stuck owning a business that he could really use more space in to seat people, but he can’t do ANYTHING beyond necessary repairs or he’d have to close for not being up to parking code.

              So it’s possible that depending on where you are there may be rules the university messed up on requiring more parking than they now have.

          3. Kj*

            About safety- bike lights are relevantly cheap and, as a bike commuter, I find people tend to focus on the dangers of cycling when the dangers of driving are real too. Neither is risk free and I’d wish people would stop minimizing one and maximizing the other. Rain is pretty easy to deal with too- although ice is not. I live in the very rainy pacific NW and commute via bike. Rain pants and a jacket work most days. If not, have a few extra outfits at the office. If the OP is considering this, I’d be happy to provide bike commuting info. I’ve done it for years and it is perfectly possible to do well and safely.

            I get that this may not be the perfect solution, but it could work and I don’t think it was out of line to suggest it as an idea.

          4. caryatis*

            “-Time–even if it is faster than 3-4 hours it still might not be fast enough”

            It would be about one hour to bike the whole ten miles. Perhaps add in half an hour for changing clothes. As for safety, you can get bike lights, and there’s no reason you would need cell reception the entire way.

        3. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

          Honestly, short term this might not be a terrible idea. But yeah, it’s a RIDICULOUS SITUATION, as Emi notes.

        4. another person*

          That is how my sister bikes to her university job because she refuses to pay money to park at her work, so instead she parks in a dirt lot a couple miles away and bikes in. She finds it very pleasant.

        5. TootsNYC*

          Or a scooter, maybe, if the surface is smooth between the office and wherever it is you can find a parking space. I used a Razor scooter to commute about half a mile once; it cut the trip from 25 minutes to about 11. And was good exercise while we were at it!

          And it would be small enough that it would be easy to store both in the car and in the office.

          1. JessaB*

            Or an actual scooter, or moped, I mean if you can’t drive on, there’s probably room for a bike or a Vespa.

      3. Lora*

        Ugh, my college did this. Their solution was to let everyone park at the stadium parking lot, which was huge but over two miles away for the building where most of my classes were, and they had a campus bus service shuttle people back and forth. My ex’s university did the same. It seems to be the standard solution for “not enough housing”.

        1. copy run start*

          My college did this too. The lot was actually quite small, and there weren’t enough shuttles at peak times to get everyone since the shuttles also served student housing and the affiliated community college campus.

          On campus was worse though. I never wanted to pay $200/year for a parking pass only to have to park at the shuttle lot anyway — there was no parking on campus and they even now continue to demolish what’s left for more buildings. The campus is surrounded by old, historical homes that no one wants to sell so they can expand.

      4. Uzumaki Naruto*

        If you can get a parking space by signing up at the gym, that sounds like a good solution! It sucks that you have to do that, but if it’s between that and not being able to get to work, given all you have invested in this job, I’d probably bite the bullet and do it ASAP.

      5. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

        From the way you said you instruct classes I am assuming you are Faculty. I would definitely approach your Faculty unit rep about this issue. There’s a lot of power there: if you are unable to get to campus and teach classes, the students are paying for something they aren’t getting and the school really opens itself up to liability. I had that situation as a student – the faculty for a core pre-req was routinely 30-45 mins late to a 50 min class and would make students as absent if they left before she finished her 50 mins of instruction. We all complained to the Dean and he had to vacate our entire semester of work so as to not cost us admission to upper level classes. We took the class with a quality instructor the next semester for free.

        It seems like the best way to resolve this situation is by banding together with other faculty/staff for a rideshare or shuttle service.

      6. Floating Balloons*

        Look toward your campus’s transit system, or maybe find someone local who has a better pass and who can work with the ride in, and fall back on Transit if your departure times vary.

        Our transit has a Track-my-ride option, and is free for campus members.

        For the next semester, speak with the chair about scheduling so you are not in this position. Ideally the pre-K will switch to better hours, or connect with a parent who can do dropoff, while you do pickup.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      You have my sympathies, OP.

      I was attending a school that did not have enough parking spaces. I even looked for spaces that were away from the building I needed. Even with being willing to walk for 10-15 minutes I STILL could not find a spot. (I figured a brisk walk for 10-15 minutes was probably a half mile away or so?)

      There was one day where I could not find a space and I could not attend my class. I went home (25 miles between school and home). Once home, I started making phone calls and sending emails.

      I was LAUGHED at for complaining.

      In that moment I gained some insight into why students react the way they do to some things. Basic respect is missing from their picture.

      Unfortunately, my solution won’t help you. I scheduled later classes and arrived hours early so I could find a place to park. I also made myself aware of timing, I tried to arrive just before a class period would be ending so I could watch for spots to become available.
      This led to a tricky situation of trying NOT to follow people to their cars but being able to watch from the side for openings. Ugh.
      This is on my lengthy list of reasons I am disgusted with education today.

    5. Michelle*

      That is ridiculously insane. OP could WALK the 10 miles to work in that amount of time. Actually, would biking be an option? Drop the kids off, take the car home, bike to work? You’d still be late, but not 3-4 hours late.

      1. Katie*

        3-4 hours late is insane! My job is pretty laid back but I’d be fired for this. And we have no parking at all and people are still expected to manage to get to the office somehow (take a bus, walk, cycle, use Uber, whatever, we are adults and are expected to manage our commute ourselves).

        1. MacAilbert*

          Yes, but I presume you live in a place with the infrastructure to get around ithout driving. That makes a huge difference. There isn’t really parking where I work, either, which is fine because I live in a city with excellent public transportation (I actually moved here specifically so that I could not own a car). Complinjng about parking in one of the most jam packed places in America just makes me laugh.

          However, OP works in a nature reserve with no public transportation access. That’s a very different situation. Having not seen it, I can’t say if it’s bikeable, and it doesn’t sound walkable at all. I’m a transportation policy student, and removing parking is something I love (gives you a lot more scarce urban space to work with, reduces traffic, discourages autodependency), but you have to have an alternative in place first. Where I live, we have a good enough bus and train network to justify it. Where the OP is, there seems to be no alternative, and that’s the school’s fault, not OP’s. Seeing as how many faculty seem to be in this situation, the school should be realizing this is the fault of their own poor planning, and any disciplinary action would be ridiculous.

      2. caryatis*

        Or bike with the kids. Even if the weight of the kids slows you down, it’d be less than two hours. Not to mention saving a lot of money on gas.

    6. Visualized Tacos*

      I haven’t read all the comments yet, so this may have been mentioned already. But if you are able to band together with other employees (do you have a faculty representative to the administration? a faculty/staff org?), suggest the university lease parking space off-site and provide a shuttle. My university did that, and it solved most peoples’ issues.

      1. Christian Troy*

        Yeah, I think the OP needs to talk to other people at the university. This seems like a pretty terrible, unsustainable situation.

        Parking was an issue at my university too. I either had to get there before 8am or try to find something during the lunch crowd. I will say, it wasn’t as bad as what the LW describes (thankfully).

    7. Tabby Baltimore*

      In addition to approaching your faculty rep, there’s always the nuclear option via the new friends you will make when you go over and talk to your university’s Parking Services Division: towing. If your university doesn’t already make available different levels of parking passes at different price points, or if you simply can’t afford a pass at this time, then getting the towing company’s phone number from Parking Services is the only way I can see to solving the problem of illegal parkers within 30 minutes or so, and, thus, opening up a space for you. Again, you want to discuss the reporting process very thoroughly with PSD employees, including what, if any, consequences there might be for your for reporting it.

      1. Floating Balloons*

        Enforcement helps. Most send out a warning that it will occur, or have a grace period (first week of class, typically) and then tickets, towing and tempers happen. Improvement does happen. This is how we got accessible parking in shape. First we put in accessible meters. Then we required people with tags to register if they did not want to pay the meter fee. After an adjustment period, campus police looked up the permits.

        Parking Services handles the call on towing, not adjuncts.

    8. AdamsOffOx*

      If there’s no parking and no public transit, the school *needs* to pay for taxi/Uber fares. This is ridiculous.

    9. Callie*

      I used to adjunct at a big flagship state U. The faculty parking stickers were horrifically expensive and the parking was completely inadequate. There were also city parking meters around the edge of campus, so if you didn’t get a parking spot where your sticker was valid, you got the fun privilege of parking at a meter and paying for THAT! It was like paying double. It makes me appreciate that at my current job at a small regional comprehensive institution, I have not once had trouble finding a spot no matter what time I show up… and can sometimes get a spot right beside my building.

  3. Jeanne*

    For #2, I think that you and any other instructors willing to join you need to talk to the administration. They are paying you to be at work and should be interested in why you cannot be at work. You are probably all hurting the nature reserve by driving around for 3-4 hours(!!) looking for parking. Most schools prioritize faculty parking. If there isn’t enough then they should make more. (I know parking isn’t a legal right as such but how can anyone work there if they can’t get there. Over time, they will lose employees.) Alison is right that there could be solutions like shuttles from other parking areas. You know your location best. Good luck!

    1. A grad student*

      Yeah.. at my university there is a big push for more buildings, which translates to less parking spaces. Even still, faculty and staff NEVER have an issue parking because my university prioritizes employees being able to get in with a minimum of hassle. This seems very poorly thought-out on the part of the university… If there isn’t a simple solution she should know but doesn’t, like that there’s an additional parking lot a 20-minute walk away (as a graduate student, what turned out to be the solution to my parking woes). Good luck, OP! University parking is the worst.

    2. Artemesia*

      I am sort of stunned that the organization is not dealing with this. I worked for a big urban university where this was a constant problem and there were always active efforts to deal. At once point when the policies on lots changed and there were pressures on faculty to find parking, they leased a parking garage to provide extra space; it was a long walk away and if you chose that you were locked in — but it did solve the problem. There were also remote lots and shuttles. It is ridiculous where there is not public transport (I am assuming) to expect people to work and not provide parking. We paid for our parking (hunting license not individual spots) and so the school did take seriously making sure it was possible if not convenient to park.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, I’m really surprised there isn’t a remote lot with a shuttle. OP, can you create a de facto arrangement like this by renting a remote parking space in a lot that’s on the public transportation that does run to the school?

        1. Newby*

          That’s what I was thinking. It’s not convenient, but sounds better than losing 3-4 hours.

        2. paul*

          That’s what the place I went to as a student did (and it was walkable if you wanted to walk too–mabye 1.5 miles) for both faculty and commuter students while they were bulldozing and rebuilding a lot of stuff.

  4. Bruce H.*

    #4 I agree with Alison about not telling the targeted employee. However, in the interest of training people who are working with confidential information not to leave things on the printer, I would be tempted to share it with everyone in the company, or post it on GlassDoor or something like that.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Very bad. Like Alison said – things change. That document could have been true at the time it was printed, but may not be true now. Posting about it publicly is only going to cause drama that may end up being unfounded and unnecessary in the long run.

    1. MW*

      I think it might be a good idea to flag up how bad it was that the info was left out on a public printer where everyone can see it. Isn’t that a *terrible* move on someone’s part?

      But sharing it with everyone in the company isn’t how I’d go. I’d approach my manager about it. They can kick it up the chain to whoever’s responsible for leaving it out, and possibly seek confirmation on your fate.

      1. Jeanne*

        This is better. Use the direct approach and tell your manager. Then let it go. You’re better off seen as trustworthy with important info.

        1. Trout 'Waver*

          I think that’s a bad idea. If you let on that you know, and then another leak happens, you’ll be blamed for that leak.

          1. River Deep*

            Why on earth would you assume that? If someone has already shown themselves to be responsible and reliable in managing confidential information, I certainly wouldn’t assume they were the source of any future leaks. Espeically when they have shown that someone else in the organisation is being careless with this information!

            1. Trout 'Waver*

              Who do you think is more likely to be blamed? The lower level person who is going to be laid off anyway or the higher level person?

      2. Tuckerman*

        Terrible to think someone would mismanage confidential information. I’d err on the side of giving him/her the benefit of the doubt, however. Our print network is notorious for throwing error messages and then spitting out the job hours later.

        1. Whats In A Name*

          Had the same thought. I have tried like the dickens to get something to print at the end of the day…nothing. Then come in the next morning and there are 4 copies of it, right there on the printer.

      3. BananaPants*

        Noooo….leaking it would be a really bad idea.

        Frankly, OP4 needs to look out for themselves before anyone else. She has advance knowledge that she won’t be getting a relocation package, and neither will her department and has begun her job search. The more time she has to job hunt without competition from her coworkers, the better. And layoff plans can change at any time, so as crummy as it is, it’s best to keep this quiet.

        I’ve found out twice now that I’d be getting a new manager – and who the new one was – because a print job was carelessly left out on a printer for hours. I kept my mouth shut each time, it’s not my place to leak it.

      4. Anon Admin*

        I have found confidential info on a printers before, several times actually. I always seal it an catalog envelope with a note that says “This was left on the printer” and leave it in the mailbox of the director of whichever department it belongs too.

        Leaking it around the company or on a website will reflect badly on the OP.

      5. OP4*

        This is OP4.

        Once I calmed down I was thinking of approaching my manager about how the document was left on the printer and asking for confirmation. The problem is that my manager is a Director who reports to the CEO. So there really isn’t a a lot of space to kick it up the chain.

        I’m also hesitant to bring it to the attention of my manager as I’m afraid that I could become potentially be designated for being laid off in the reorganization so that the company could ensure the information doesn’t spread. I really don’t want to risk my ability to search for a new job while still being employed so I haven’t mentioned anything to this point.

        1. Former Retail Manager*

          I think your concerns are definitely valid and, in a regular scenario, I’d agree with the other commenters that you should pass it on to management. However, in light of the current circumstances, I too would not pass it along. If you already know that they don’t value you/your position enough to offer you a position after the relocation, I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that they would have no qualms about cutting you loose because you “know too much.” Best of luck in your job search!

    2. Michele*

      I wouldn’t share it with everyone, but I would give my boss, or whoever printed it, a heads up that confidential information was being left on the printer so they know to use secure printing.

  5. Dot Warner*

    OP3, if you’re worried about Sansa getting grumpy with you, you could also phrase your suggestion as “I really like your and Arya’s classes and want to be sure I can attend.”

    1. Feathers McGraw*

      Is it possible she knows people seem less thrilled with the other person’s classes and that’s why she refuses to list the instructor?

      1. Dot Warner*

        Good point. If that’s the case, feedback isn’t going to help because Sansa’s determined to shoot herself in the foot.

      2. OP3*

        OP3 here. Yeah, I was hoping this was not the case. But I look at the reviews for her paint nights and they are either 5 stars and stellar or 1 star with reviewers saying they won’t return. If I were Sansa, I’d wonder why.

          1. OP3*

            Unfortunately not. Most of the reviews are posted by people who’ve only attended one class. Having attended several, certain key words pop out at me that relate to each instructor, like “bubbly” would be Arya. “Cheerfully keeps class on track” = Sansa. “Instructors painting was awful” or “acted nice but could tell it was act” = Cersei. Maybe my bias?

            I am tempted to write a yelp, but I don’t want to hurt Sansa’s business. In addition to providing super fun classes and stress relief and letting participants think they’re artists (if Sansa Or Arya are teaching), Sansa hosts monthly parties where all the profit goes to charity, usually charities that help sick kids.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq*

              You could always post a 4 or 5 star review and note the professors you like and dislike by name. That way, you’re still giving her a good review in aggregate but it will likely prompt some people to call or email to ask about when each teacher is teaching, which hopefully would increase demand for that knowledge enough that Sansa is willing to start listing the teachers?

              1. OP3*

                I like this thanks! But I’m struggling with a way to phrase things so it doesn’t hurt the business or ruin Cersei’s rep. She’s probably a very good house painter and may be a nice person outside of the paint night venue. I don’t like the idea of publicly slamming anyone.

                Maybe I can just use Arya and Sansa by name as excellent instructors and say I didn’t care for others… This is good food for thought.

                1. Visualized Tacos*

                  You can offer criticism without it being a slam. Just present the facts as free of emotion as possible. Point out the things that the instructor did poorly or could have done better, what the other instructors do well. Let other people decide whether or not that’s important to them.

              2. nonegiven*

                No more than 3 stars. You’d put 5 if you could assure which instructor you had but the one that’s awful is a total waste of your fee.

            2. MuseumChick*

              I second Kimberlee. I would give a four star review and basically say, “Really fun (insert several good things about the classes). One star knocked off because while two of the instructors are wonderful the third one is (insert however you want to describe her). It would be really helpful if they would tell you who the instructor was going to beforehand. I would go way more if they did.”

              1. OP3*

                Thanks! I like that wording. It didn’t incriminate anyone but Sansa would know and those new to paint night would ask more questions. Maybe some people would also give it another try and enjoy an evening with Sansa Or Arya.

                1. nonegiven*

                  If Sansa won’t say who is teaching on a particular night, maybe ask Arya when she is teaching next?

                  Do you have to sign up and pay ahead of time or can you stick your head in to see who it is, then come in and pay if it isn’t Cersei?

        1. Newby*

          Can you ask Arya if she can tell you when she will be teaching? She may be willing to post on facebook or twitter so that she can get more clients. I have also heard of some paint night instructors doing private events. If you know a lot of people that want to do it more regularly but want to make sure to get Arya, you may be able to book a special session.

          1. OP3*

            I hadn’t thought of asking Arya! That’s an awesome idea! I wouldn’t have to make Sansa grumpy and I could easily avoid Cersei’s classes!

            Sometimes I do book a special session actually, it costs more, and Sansa gets grumpy when I insist that the host be Sansa or Arya, but it’s always been worth it.

            I guess I just answered my question. I didn’t realize it, but I’ve booked 2 special sessions and both times asked for Sansa or Arya. So, I guess I have told Sansa, and she’s chosen to ignore the feedback. Which sucks, because I really like that business and Sansa and hope they succeed.

            1. Katie*

              Why do you go to classes run by a grumpy instructor? is Sansa had any business sense she wouldn’t insist that people pay for a class with an instructor they don’t want. Even if you are wrong about Cersei’s abilities you still have the right to not pay for classes you won’t enjoy or benefit from.

              1. OP3*

                OP3 here. She’s only grumpy when Cersei is mentioned or specific instructors requested. By the time the actual class rolls around, she’s back to get lovable self.

                1. MuseumChick*

                  It does sound like there is some kind of relationship between Cersei and Sansa, I wounder they they went to school together or something. It could also be that Cersei is charming with Sansa but a terrible instructor or that Cersei.

      3. Lance*

        If that’s the case, she’s doing herself a very heavy disservice. I’d rather have quiet periods with an instructor people don’t care for than various people not showing up at all just to make absolute certain they avoid said instructor.

    2. OhBehave*

      Sansa may be grumpy because she knows she needs to do something about this but is best friends with her or is related somehow. I’m guessing she’s heard this before.

      1. Michele*

        It could be, but I have noticed that sometimes small business owners are so protective of their businesses that they aren’t receptive of any kind of criticism. I used to belong to a locally owned gym and quit because of similar issue. The owner’s level of pride blinded him to problems, and when I complained, he acted like it was my fault for reporting that the pool was filthy or that the personal trainer didn’t show up for a session without notification.

        1. Artemesia*

          There is also a sort of ‘nobody is going to tell me what to do’ attitude in many small business owners who are their own boss because they don’t like to be bossed around.

        2. OP3*

          OP3 here. Sadly, this sounds familiar. I’ve been chalking things like this up to Sansa’s artistic side, as if artists have more little quirks than most but she is very protective of her business.

          1. Lablizard*

            Sounds like she is protective of her decisions, not her business. Someone who was protective of their business listens to customers without getting grouchy and take reasonable measures to investigate complaints

          2. Interviewer*

            Can you book a paint night with Cersei & Sansa? Maybe seeing her in action will wake her up?

          3. Pixel*

            I’m shaking my head here – I’ve been an instructor at a community college (not art, but I still had to demonstrate my lovable personality and bubbly self!), and it was a given that my academic chair would sit through a class each semester, and that the students fill out their evaluation forms. Any and all issues were discussed with my academic chair, and it was made very clear my contract wouldn’t be renewed if my teaching (and yes, personality) wouldn’t be up to standard.

            Small business owners who actively resist feed back just make me wonder.

      2. not really a lurker anymore*

        Or Cersei bought into the business and is a partner. Sansa cannot get rid of her.

  6. Little Teapot*

    3-4 hours?! I can’t understand why anyone would do that. If I can find a park within 10 minutes I give up. No way in hell would I drive for 3-4 hours (!!). Why not call your boss at the 15 minute mark explain there are no parks & ask what they’d like you do to for your lecture starting in 5 minutes? Maybe if you present an immediate issue (no paek / no teacher) they might be inclined to do something?

    1. Hoorah*

      I don’t think that’s a great idea. If one of my staff called me to ask “I can’t find a car park – what should I do?” I would be seriously questioning their capacity to do basic adult tasks, like sort out their own way to work. It’s a completely different situation to raising the car park problem as an ongoing issue to ask if the employer is able to provide a specific solution such as a shuttle or alternative parking in the vicinity.

      1. Czhorat*

        Yes, this.

        Manufacturing a crisis and then crying “panic” is the opposite of a good strategy. Especially if it’s been an ongoing issue.

      2. JMegan*

        I agree that it’s better to raise it as an ongoing issue rather than an emergency. But to be honest, I would also question the problem-solving skills of someone who would drive around for 3-4 hours looking for parking, rather than making a Plan B after a few minutes.

        OP, I know this sounds harsh, but I totally sympathize! I am also a mom of two little kids, who has a hard time making it to the office on time. It’s incredibly stressful. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably exhausted a lot of the time, and fatigue + stress definitely leads to impaired judgement and decision making.

        I think your best bet is probably to do both. Raise it as an ongoing issue, hopefully with other people. Then, figure out your Plan B for when you can’t find parking. Decide how much time you’re going to spend looking on any given day – maybe 15 minutes? Then when you arrive and can’t find parking, send your boss an email saying “Arrived 9:03, looked for parking until 9:18. No spots available, so I am going to work from home today.” Or whatever is feasible for you. But if I were your boss, I would want to see you taking concrete steps to solve the problem – even if I don’t necessarily agree with the steps you’re taking, that’s still better than just driving around for half the day. Good luck!

      3. Katie*

        Agreed, how is your boss responsible for you commute? she is not your mom and you’re not five.

      4. The OG Anonsie*

        That’s assuming a pretty different situation than the LW has here though, which is that the campus is in an isolated area and there is actually literally no parking anywhere the vicinity. Also, this being an academic setting adds other factors, because if it’s affecting the classes the LW is teaching overall then that becomes the department head’s concern as well in a way that wouldn’t be true of most other types of jobs.

        Being dramatically late to lectures because there is really and truly no way to park in the area whatsoever is kind of a big deal that the department head (or whoever oversees this particular faculty group and their associated students) would need to know about, because pressure as a group is the only thing that might create an actual solution. And in the meantime, they need a temporary solution for those lectures, which is 100% the department head’s territory to look into and likely not something the LW is encouraged or even allowed to solve on her own.

    2. fposte*

      In addition to what people have said, you’re not going to get through to a dean to talk about parking.

      1. Sarah*

        I think this is very dependent on the institution. Our deans are very accessible and would 100% want to know about this sort of thing. Obviously schools vary, but I would not automatically rule out running things up the chain of command. At my university the department chair would essentially be as helpless as any other faculty member to do anything about parking, but my dean would both care and be in a position to push some levers of power/funding — he 100% would not want faculty wasting 3-4 hours a day on parking when this time could be spend on research!

        1. SignalLost*

          Mine also would regard this as a major issue, and my department chair would have no power to address it.

        2. fposte*

          I’m not saying the dean won’t care. I’m saying when you’re circling the lot trying to find a parking space is not the time for a dean to take any action, and that at my school they wouldn’t even put you through to the dean for that.

  7. AcademiaNut*

    For #2

    It’s not clear to me if the university itself is not connected to public transit, or if there just isn’t a connection between the university and your home. If it’s the second, would it work to park somewhere else, and then take a bus in?

    1. lokilaufeysanon*

      It sounded like LW wasn’t able to take public transport to work from home.

      1. Lablizard*

        LW2 mentioned not having any family to assist, so there may not be the other parent in the area.

        I would look for Park & Ride lots with public transit connections to the university in the interim and discuss the on campus parking situation with the department

    2. OP*

      To clarify some questions you and others asked. Yes, I live with my husband – but he works till late at night so usually it is just me in the mornings. He does do pick-ups at time. We only have one car though, so drop-offs and pick-ups need to be carefully coordinated. And yes, circling around 3-4 hours is no good for one’s mood or the nature reserve for that matter – I had not thought about that. Moving things around on our end is very difficult – an earlier school drop-off is not allowed and we can’t afford more childcare or get another car – which would at least help. A bit of background on the location: I live in the UK – where parking might be harder to come by. Most parking in urban areas is assigned to residents – by car plate number -or on expensive lots – 15 USD/hour is not uncommon. For now: I am working from home mostly. In the longer term: I will follow Alison’s suggestions and present the issue to the administration. I will take a look at the map and see whether I can spot a non-reserved parking lot which I can use to commute in.

      1. Czhorat*

        I used to live in New York City. I understand parking being hard to come by.

        One thought, if you can talk it over with the administration and/or whatever security staff work the parking lot: laminate some index cards with your office extension. Then you can double-park and leave one of the cards on the windshield. If someone leaves mid-morning, they’ll see the note and call you. Otherwise, you can run out at lunchtime and try to scramble into a better spot.

        1. Tuckerman*

          I would be pretty upset if somebody did this to me. What if I’m parked in and need to leave immediately? I might not be able to wait 10-15 minutes for somebody to come and let me out. Or, the person who has parked me in might not answer his/her phone if he/she is in a meeting or at lunch.

          1. Michele*

            I was thinking the same thing. I don’t want to sit out there and wait someone to show up and let me out of my spot. It would really make me mad if I ended up being late to an appointment because I had to wait half an hour for someone to move their car.

              1. Michele*

                I was thinking of that, too. Of course, it would also happen at a time when I didn’t have my phone on me or its battery was dead, so I would have to walk back to the building, get the perpetually annoyed receptionist (because at a university it is against the rules for the admins to be pleasant) to let me use her phone, and things would only get worse from there.

          2. Justme*

            That would be a good excuse for me to hit someone’s car on the way out.

            Not that I would ever do that.

        2. MK*

          It’s not that bad an idea as an occasional solution, if you know you will be able to drop everything and get to the parking spot to “free” the other person’s car within a couple of minutes. But, every day, while you are at work?

        3. CheeryO*

          Nooo, that’s so incredibly rude. I’ve had people park me in at my apartment building (urban area, little street parking, with a restaurant and a couple businesses nearby), and it makes me see red. As others have said, that’s a great way to get your car towed.

        4. Marcela*

          In the city in Spain where I lived several years, they used to do that in front of my building. There was a very good restaurant and not enough parking, so people would double park and when somebody had to leave, they would honk and drive crazy all the people living around. In several occasions things go very bad and the police was called because the owner of the car did not appear on honk. But I never saw cars towed or anything like it. However, Spaniards there parked in almost any place they could, including corners, something I’ve never seen in any other place.

          1. Mrs. Badcrumble*

            Come to South Philly. Or don’t, actually, there’s no parking, in addition to the double parking (It’s the official Yoantny-style of double parking, as in, when you need your car yelling, “Yo Antn’y! Get out here and move the car, it’s Ma’s Bingo night!”) they also park in the turn lanes, so forget about making a left, ever.

            1. SJ*

              TELL ME ABOUT IT. I drove down to South Philly on a Friday night around 7pm-ish before Christmas to visit a friend at his house — huge mistake. South Philly + Friday night + he lives right near the Miracle of 13th Street light display, where lots of visitors were taking up any available spots in the area = I drove around for about 30 minutes looking for a spot. Nightmare! I hate it.

          2. Alex*

            I absolutely second the fact that Spanish parking is like nothing else. When I lived in Seville, I would pretty regularly see people parking illegally and just leaving their handbrakes off. Because the streets were flat and the cars were tiny, this meant that they could just be shunted further down to free whatever they were parked in front of by someone pushing. Probably not a solution to the problem anywhere else, but they all seemed perfectly content with the knowledge that sometimes you had to move a car and sometimes you’d leave your restaurant and the car would have been pushed down the other end of the street.

            1. Agile Phalanges*

              This is totally a legit parking technique in the garage at the Bangkok airport, apparently. When we arrived and my BIL-IL came to pick us up and we got back out to the car, he rolled a different car out of the way to get his uncovered. So, they have spots perpendicular to the walls, which you park nose-in (or back in, I guess, not sure if there’s a convention/rule), and then there are parallel parking spots in front of those, probably with some no-parking spots marked out every so often (I was exhausted, didn’t pay much attention). And those drivers leave the car in neutral, brakes off, wheels straight, so that other drivers can push them forward or backward as needed. Craziest system ever, but it seems to work.

              I did love the freeway/roadway system they had in the outlying areas of Bangkok–freeways with exits so everyone stays at speed, then the exits go out onto frontage roads that go parallel to the freeway, in the same direction as that side of the freeway. Then if you need to be on the other side of the freeway, there are u-turn overpasses every mile or two. So freeways remain at high speeds, people can get to businesses that line both sides of the freeway, and can easily find their way because even if you miss your exit, or u-turn, there’s another one coming along within a mile or so.

        5. Creag an Tuire*

          I’d call the number on the note: to say “I’ve just called the tow truck. Hurry.”

          This is an incredibly bad idea.

        6. Perse's Mom*

          Yeah, no. The one time someone did this to me when I lived downtown, I called them and threatened towing. The ‘my boss will be mad at me if I leave, can it wait X amount of time’ did not move me – it was a private lot for residents only, there are a TON of parking garages in the area, and my cats were already in their crates in preparation for a long drive.

      2. Colette*

        One thing to remember is that your other solutions may be more expensive compared to what you were used to when there was enough parking, but they may be less expensive than losing your job. If you’re missing meetings or spending half your day circling the parking lot, that will affect your job performance.

        Can your husband take mornings and sleep during the day? Can you pay for parking along a bus route that will get you to work? Can you shift the schedule of when you need to be there?

        I mean, start by raising the issue with your boss, but if that doesn’t work, think through all the options.

        1. TL -*

          Yeah if it’s at all an option, husband driving for drop-off in the morning seems the best option. He doesn’t even need to get dressed or out of the car; just drive everyone around and then go back home to sleep.

          1. Liane*

            It may work, IF husband isn’t too tired to be safe driving with kids. My husband has worked 3rd shift and even when he is very used to it, driving 15 minutes home was all he can do.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      If there is enough land to be a nature preserve, it may not be close enough to a city center to have a workable bus route, or, since she has to drip kids off at school, her morning routine might be too complicated to make bus riding practical. Adding extra stops can make bus rides insanely long. She’s not only negotiating the bus from home to work–she’s dropping two kids off at apparently two different schools in between. Unless they’re magically all on compatible bus lines and schedules, this could be HOURS of riding in the morning.

      1. Lablizard*

        She could look for Park and Ride lots for use after dropping off the kids. In general, universities tend to have fair to decent transit connections from city centers.

          1. Lablizard*

            I know Oxford has them and London, because of surge pricing has them. Not sure about other areas, though

      2. Artemesia*

        when my kids were young my husband took the bus to work; I could have taken a bus too but I had to drop the kids at day care and school and so needed to be able to commute by car. Once the day care run is in the picture, the options drop quickly.

        1. BananaPants*

          Yup, the daycare/school dropoff situation dramatically cuts options for public transit in most areas.

          My undergrad alma mater is in a rural setting and there IS no public bus or other public transit system at all anywhere nearby. The on-campus shuttle bus system is it. If you work there, you basically need to have a car or live within walking distance to get to campus in the first place to be able to use the shuttle buses.

      3. OP3*

        OP3 here: Thank you for sympathizing. You captured the issue well. My life is very well set up to do things by car: the daycare and school are directly on the way to my job – so I can do the whole thing in 30 minutes (in fact we bough the house with this in mind). The issue is indeed bus. Doing the same by bus/train/walk would take me 2-3 hours – possibly closer to 3. The kids (not to mention me) would be exhausted before even starting their day. Yes, I have the same concern about tired husband driving: he would do it, but I do not want it — it is too dangerous to drive on little sleep. However, the group mentioned several great ideas that would work: I will try renting a space from someone in the village near the university (there is no street parking allowed, but a private arrangement might be possible); my husband can try to change his schedule and/or we will see if we can get together with a few other school run people and ask the university to address this issue. The suggestion on this are great as well. Park and Ride is not common here in this part of the UK. However, perhaps it is something that can be introduced. At the moment the nearest parking – apart from the village and nature reserve parking itself – is pretty much my house – which is on the other side of the nature reserve (with no bike trail through unfortunately).

        1. LCL*

          When you talk to the powers that be at your University, make sure to talk to their women’s office especially. You are dealing with an issue that tends to affect women disproportionately. (Yes I know men are active in their children’s lives too, not trying to start a who does more argument.) Your problem is one of those classic infrastructure issues where a service is offered (or not) and on paper it looks the same for everybody, but in reality it has a much greater effect for one group of people. This is affecting your career and may affect your future earnings.

          Until you said you were in the UK, I thought you were in my left coast US city. This is exactly what we are having a big fight about-the agency in charge of roads is taking away parking and general vehicle travel lanes wherever possible, and when we complain about how it affects people with children, people with mobility issues, and senior citizens and shiftworkers, we are told we should be using our excellent transit system. Being in an idyllic natural setting is contributing to the parking problem not because of limited land, but because people that are attracted to that setting and obtain positions of power tend to think private vehicles are a tool of the devil and we should all be riding the bus.

          Ask your university to set up a parking/shuttle system, that is the safest way to do things. As a last resort, will your daycare let you stage a bike there, and park there during the day? So you drop off kids and car, bike the rest of the way? Apologies if this is too far to bike or unbikeable, I wasn’t sure.

          1. Kj*

            As a fellow left-coaster, I get it. I bike commute 90% of the time, but we are thinking about having a kid and I wonder how I will survive the traffic in this town if I have to drive said kid anywhere.

          2. The OG Anonsie*

            Not constructive, but this used to make me rage at some of the crunchy places I’ve worked and crunchy cities I’ve lived in, where having and driving a personal vehicle is portrayed as something only a wasteful and lazy person would do. One job I had actually made me sign a guilt trip waiver when I started working there stating that I chooooooose to drive to work rather than bike in and I should really just sit and think about what I was doing. I lived a good 25 miles and 3-4 hours of buses and miles of walking away from this place. One city shut down a lot of the ways I could get to my job via transit or get into a waiting rideshare safely in favor of adding in bike lanes on my street, and when folks in the neighborhood protested (there were quite a few people with serious mobility impairments on my street) we got condescended to about how we were being selfish and it was for the greater good. I got health problems, I can’t ride a bike, y’all can kiss it with your judgmental nonsense.

  8. Stellaaaaa*

    OP2: Unfortunately this is something that universities often fail to think through properly. Adding more housing or more class buildings generally indicates an increase in enrollment, which means parking will get even more tight. What’s surprising to me is that there’s no designated faculty lot. There’s no way that the students aren’t already complaining, since they’re the ones who are definitely paying for parking. The school needs to work out some other arrangement with the nature preserve or get funding together for a shuttle.

    In all honesty, what would happen if you started parking in the guest spaces for the preserve?

    1. lokilaufeysanon*

      If the car isn’t towed like Edith suggested, LW could get a ticket.

      (I got one when I absolutely HAD to park on the street because the college I went to didn’t have enough parking, and the city didn’t allow for parking between certain hours. I parked there during the banned time. It was do that or not get to class on time and it was the first day.)

    2. OP*

      I have been doing that a bit – but started to feel guilty about this. But for this week I scheduled some meetings in the nature reserve – so that I can legally park there and meet with students at the picnic tables. Fingers crossed on good weather.

      1. Dweali*

        You could also talk to the people who work at the nature reserve to see if they have any issue with you using one of their spots (especially if they aren’t typically full and you occasionally schedule meetings/classes at the reserve)

    3. blackcat*

      My university has significantly increased enrollment without adding any more *classrooms.* They’ve built several new lovely buildings for dorms and research labs that came with zero new classrooms. Remodeling of old buildings has reduced classroom capacity, too, since fire codes changed.

      Want to schedule a guest speaker? A PhD defense? Better wait until after 7pm, or aim for a holiday (in which case, many buildings are locked at the exterior). A friend just scheduled a lecture with estimated attendance of 40 in the 300 person lecture hall, because that’s what was available.

      The administration does. not. care. They don’t see why we need to have sufficient classroom capacity to leave some rooms empty during the day, to be used for special events. University administrators often have serious blind spots when it comes to things like this. The faculty governance is super weak (for example, department chairs are appointed by deans, rather than voted on by the department).

      OP, I know shared governance works differently in the UK, but there it exists in some form, right? Raise the parking issue with everyone you know, and try to get collective faculty action.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Oh my gosh, when I was in university we were in this situation…. I had some classes held in the various gyms/fitness rooms.

        They also over-enrolled one year and had to house students in a local hotel and bus them to campus.

        1. Bostonian*

          Holy smokes! That happened at my alma mater. I thought it was pretty batty at the time, but I guess it’s more common than you’d think!

          1. Anon for this*

            It happened to me, too! A new dorm building was planned to open before the school year started, but it needed a few more weeks of work.

            I’m not complaining, though. The nearest hotel to campus happened to be part of a resort. It was fantastic.

              1. yasmara*

                That happened at my university too (Big State College)! More than once, I believe. But the students were at an Econolodge or something, not at all fancy.

      2. IANAL (I argue nightly about llamas)*

        My school turned a parking garage into a classroom back in the 90’s/00’s. It’s like going to class in a labyrinth echo chamber. Sometimes the solution is almost as bad as the problem! :)

  9. Ferd*

    There can definitely be legit reasons for being late for an interview, but then the candidate has to contact the interviewer and explain. E.g. stuck in traffic, was in an accident, got sick, whatever.

    But what do you do if you are late for an interview because you can’t find the place? And you can’t find the place because the directions they gave you are completely wrong. As in “it’s in {name of street}, across the street from the gym.” But there is no gym. And you try to call and nobody answers the phone.
    It happened to me once. I decided I’m not even going to call to explain and possible re-schedule, because if they can’t even tell me where their office is, I don’t want to work for them.

    1. Ferd*

      Oh wait. I see the question was about the interviewER being late.

      That happened to me many times

    2. Feathers McGraw*

      Honestly, in the age of google maps I don’t think anyone should be relying on the employer to provide directions.

      1. Ange*

        Except that if it’s new construction it can take time to show up on Google maps. I’ve had instances of trying to ge to new estates where the postcode just doesn’t work. And my previous address, which did show up, showed up as the wrong place. People always tried to use Google maps even though I provided very specific instructions and told them it didn’t show up properly.

          1. Sabine the Very Mean*

            Not for many parts of the country. I live in very very rural areas where GTFS hasn’t happened yet. Places where high speed internet isn’t even available yet. They exist in many places.

          2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

            I don’t know, for several years after they built our church, Google listed it as closer to the Interstate and requiring a different turn at the bottom of a hill. We were on the other side of the hill so someone taking that turn would drive out into the country along the Interstate and never find the church, and not be able to see it because of the hill.

        1. Gen*

          One place I worked had a post code that sent people to a random field even six years after it was built. On interview days someone would be sent to the field with a stack of printed maps because so many people ignored the written instructions. We still had a few top level managers just turn around and get back on the train rather than “waste their time further” getting to the proper location, which just made them look petty and childish :/

          1. Michele*

            The image of some poor intern or admin standing in a field with a stack of maps cracks me up. I am also thinking about the conversations they have with their friends and families afterward.

            1. Dweali*

              “how was your work day honey”
              “I got paid to stop and smell the roses”
              …god help the poor person if they are like me and have extreme hay fever..

              1. Michele*

                “How was your day?”
                “I stood in a muddy field all day in the rain passing out maps. I had to go to the bathroom behind a tree. At least I made friends with a cow.”

                1. Gen*

                  The best thing was that this was an animal charity so making friends with a cow would be career development.

            2. Tatiana*

              Oh, come on — it gives the employee the chance to be outstanding in their field!

              I’ll show myself out.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I just wanted to mention that anyone with a Google account (like Gmail) can suggest edits for Google Maps. I do it all the time, although I consider it a hobby, I submit a lot of map corrections for local places. And once in a while they’ll reject edits that you KNOW are correct, which is frustrating, but Google does that far less often than Facebook! (Ask me how I know! :D )

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            Like the map marking for our church has the name of the church that it used to be, but hasn’t been since 1976!!!! They happily took the update to office hours, phone number, and website, and rejected fixing the name….

          2. Gen*

            Yeah this was a few years ago so hopefully that’s fixed. Though my mother’s road has been incorrect for years despite edit requests and signs being visible in street view. Last time I checked they’d just blurred out the signs :/

          3. DeskBird*

            Yes! When my company moved I was in charge of letting Google know so we would show up properly on Maps. I had to send it in a few times but we got it fixed within a few weeks of the move. Google caught on way faster than the post office did.

          4. SignalLost*

            I’m STILL trying to get my local public transit authority to recognize that 35th Ave is not 3 blocks from 42nd Ave, and there is, in fact, a massive hill in the way. :) Not really relevant to your comment, but it amuses the heck out of me now that I’m not using public transit to get to work. It was much more frustrating when I was.

          5. nonegiven*

            I had to do that once for a family party near the lake. The address of the house took you down a road a mile away.

            1. nonegiven*

              There is also an airport marker right on the local pizza hut. I never bothered to try to correct it. The airport is a couple miles out of town, it is also marked as an airport.

        3. Manders*

          Yeah, these kinds of mistakes can keep popping up for years if a business doesn’t take care of their own listing on Google. And sometimes they can fix the problem manually, and then it crops up again because their old address is still in some other database.

          Local SEO is weird. A lot of small businesses don’t have anyone on staff who knows how to fix it.

        4. Lora*

          Yeah, I live in MA where Google Maps is frequently useless. Instructions from any business tend to read, “We are at 123 Main street, but for directions please enter 456 Side street into your GPS, otherwise it will send you the wrong direction”.

          One memorable road in Western MA crosses the main highway six times and the house numbers change at every crossing instead of being sequential, because the towns re-numbered them at the town border and the road crosses several town borders. If you’ve read a lot of HP Lovecraft, this gets fairly spooky to observe at night…

          1. synchrojo*

            Also, in the eastern part of the state, towns are tiny and all named their roads the same thing (but also some sections of the same road different things), s0 you need to be VERY CAREFUL that, for example, you are headed to Washington Street in Boston as opposed to Washington Street in Cambridge, Somerville, or Quincy, and that Washington Street in Somerville gets renamed Kirkland street when it crosses into Cambridge, while Cambridge’s Washington Street is in a different part of town and is only about three blocks long. Even within Boston this can be a problem. As someone who has a professional interest in mapping Boston area and has spent many hours trying to make sure I was geocoding info in the right location, it’s an enormous headache.

        1. Blueismyfavorite*

          Google maps isn’t always accurate, though. I drive daily for my job and use it for multiple trips each day so I know that it just isn’t unfailingly accurate. Recently, I was trying to get to a location of a school that has been there for years and google maps insisted the school was half a mile away. When I finally called the school, the receptionist said that no GPS maps know where they are and she was nice enough to give me accurate directions. My husband’s job isn’t findable by GPS, either. Both of these locations are in suburban but heavily populated areas. I’m fortunate that I usually have a rough idea of where I’m going so I know better than to take 75N when Google insists that I do when I know the exit is actually off of 75S. I encounter Google maps being wrong at least once every week or two.

          1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

            My father drives to prisons for work. GoogleMaps is not sure where one of them is, and apparently “Um, I am at one end of a field, the prison is at the other, how do I get to you?” is a common problem.

            I suspect that the prison not been GoogleMappable is intentional, but still annoying for people trying to get there.

          2. Ferd*

            You’re right. I’ve had some problems with it too, but it’s usually quite reliable. I tried, which is supposed to be the best thing since sliced cheese, but I have found it to be pretty much useless, because when I try to search for a street address, it either tells me it doesn’t exist, or it tells me it’s in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Apparently the maps are incomplete for some countries. I happen to live in one of those.

          3. Meg Murry*

            Also, Google changes up its algorithms every so often and things that *used* to work no longer do. For instance, my in-laws live off of a very long shared driveway off of road ABC, that is just before the intersection of road XYZ. Their mailing address is “123 ABC Road”. But their house is physically closer to road XYZ, and no matter what they try to submit to Google Maps, Google insists on trying to send people down road XYZ and then tells them to turn at a non-existing driveway that would theoretically be the shortest route to the house – if you could drive through the ditch and dense patch of woods to get to their house. Up until about a year ago, the Google Maps directions at least got you to their driveway, but no longer. They no longer can get UPS/FedEx deliveries because the drivers “can not find the house”. It’s really freaking annoying.

            I also had the experience of working at a company where there would be major road closures for 6-12 months, and Google would continue to direct people to those roads, and then they would have to backtrack a loooooong way for a detour – easily adding 15-30 minutes to the drive. It was extremely frustrating, although it became an example of “can you follow directions” because interviewers would send candidates explicit instructions NOT to trust Google Maps or GPS, with a map indicating the closed roads and the suggested alternate routes. Candidates who showed up late with “my GPS got me lost” weren’t taken very seriously since they had been warned both of the extra time it would take *and* given directions.

            1. blackcat*

              You can “report a problem” to Google, and they will fix this. You need to make the report pretty detailed, but I have gotten issues fixed.

              1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

                This. My driveway is off, uh, Assam Blvd, but my physical address is for Darjeeling St, to which there is no connection at all from my house. I submitted a report to Google Maps demonstrating where my driveway was, and now directions reliably route people up my driveway.

            2. SignalLost*

              Yup, Google and Apple maps both insist there is a road running behind my apartment building. What there is is an alley on my side and a very king driveway at the next building, which could connect if you don’t mind driving over some dumpsters, though a twenty foot bush-tree, and down a ten-foot rock retaining wall with an approximate slope of 95%.

              We get about two cars a week that get to the end of our alley and can’t figure out how to turn around because it’s a single-lane alley and all parking spaces are in use.

          4. Delta Delta*

            This. I live in a rural state, and often google maps sends people down class 4 logging roads. There are several businesses near me who clearly say “do not use your GPS, it will not get you here.”

            1. Professional Merchandiser*

              I know I’m dating myself here, but what about MapQuest? That’s still my favorite, and it’s always been accurate for me. I never learned to use Google maps because until about 6 months ago I didn’t have a phone with that capacity. If I’m pretty sure where I’m going and just need to check an exit number I pull it up, write down info I need and go. If I need detailed info I print it off and carry it with me.

              Years ago (before all this came about) my children got me a Tom tom to put in my car because I was driving to so many rural areas to do grocery resets. One day I was following the directions and everything was going well until it told me “you have arrived at your destination.” It was a cow pasture. Luckily, I knew (sort of) where I was going so I kept on with Tom telling me “YOU HAVE PASSED YOUR DESTINATION!!! TURN BACK!!!!!!!” I still had four more miles to go. I discovered MapQuest not long after and gave Tom to my college-age son.

            2. Lablizard*

              My friend works on a Native American reservation. There are no addresses so Google maps is useless, even for large structures like the hospital.

              1. paul*

                ooph, I’ve tried to use Google Earth, and even GPS’s on the Mescelaro reservation and a few pueblos in the four corners region. *not* effective.

            3. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

              Submit reports. It’s the only way Google can possibly get better and ground-truth its algorithms. You need to give feedback for it to work.

          5. paul*

            Yep. About 3-4 years ago a lot of our downtown streets were switched to one way streets–google maps doesn’t always get that while giving directions

      2. Marcela*

        It is very dangerous to think technology is 100% accurate. In truth it never is, and you don’t know it only because they have never encountered the rough edges, but they are there.

        When I lived in Boston, Maps did not have my address correctly. The street had the name of our apartment complex, which has more than 20 numbers (doors of the different buildings). If you looked my particular address, you got sent one block again, but the way the streets around were, it was almost absolutely impossible to just turn and drive that block back. Drivers needed to circle around at least 3 blocks, IF they followed instructions. Most times we would include the right corner when they had to turn, but almost nobody read or listened them. And then, when lost, we would tell them the second set of instructions, which they would ignore because “in the age of Google maps they did not think they should rely on directions”. We had trouble with deliveries, with taxis, with shuttles to the airport, etc.

        1. Mel*

          Moved to Boston last year. Apparently it’s well known that Google Maps doesn’t accurately cover Boston. (I learned this lesson while WALKING extra 30-60 minutes at times.)

      3. LoiraSafada*

        If you Google my former place of employment, the address (and street view that comes up) is the owner’s house.

        1. nonegiven*

          I accidentally ran across my dentist on Facebook. I know he did not make that business page, it didn’t give his office address, it gave his home address.

      4. Anxa*

        I think relying on the employer for step by step instructions makes it look like you have no problem solving skills, but it’s also reasonable to confirm the address, parking situation, and make sure there aren’t any construction issues.

        Google maps can lead you astray.

    3. Solidus Pilcrow*

      I’ve had interviews in buildings with no exterior markings to tell you you’re in the right place (typically businesses that need physical/data security, like financial data processing centers), even if you have the right address. Those are fun.

      Or addresses can be misleading as to actual driving routes. Take my apartment building. The address points to XYZ Road, however, there is no driveway, parking lot access, or even entryway on XYZ Road. Google maps/GPS will get you within sight of the building but not to anywhere you can park. You need to turn a block short down ABC Ave to get to the parking lot and entrance of the building. (Oh, and you can’t make a left turn across XYZ Road, you either have to come in from the east or make a block if coming in from the west.) Giving taxi directions is usually “it’s across the street from the Italian restaurant.”

      1. Eden*

        Yeah, I will add my voice to the chorus of responses that Google Maps is not infallible. I work at a large state university, where street numbers are meaningless because buildings are stacked up to the street and frequently are unmarked or have signs in weird places, and not a single building is marked with a street number. I have two offices, one on and one off campus, and I distribute maps/instructions to anyone trying to find either one – what I can’t seem to do is make anyone READ the maps, but I feel like I have done my part by sending.

  10. Chocolate Teapot*

    1. I once attended an interview and the interviewers were 40 minutes late. It turned out they were aware they had an appointment with me that day, but the message from reception that I had arrived hadn’t been passed on.

    My problem was how long to wait before alerting somebody to the fact I was waiting. Still, it all worked out, and I had a job there for 3 years.

    1. JM in England*

      I was once kept waiting over 30 mins with no explanation or apology from the interviewers. This put me totally in the wrong frame of mind to perform at my best. Took this as one of many red flags about the company and afterwards, I phoned the recruiter and told him to withdraw my application. As many AAM readers have commented on other related posts, how an employer treats you as in interviewee is a good indication of how they treat their employees…

      1. LoiraSafada*

        Smart. I had a company founder forget they had an interview with me, and even after being reminded about it by one of their employees, it took them nearly an hour to actually give me their attention and begin the interview. Should have taken that as the massive red lag it was, since it ended up being a positively toxic place to work. Won’t make the same mistake twice.

        1. LoiraSafada*

          (And no one could get ahold of them until 40 minutes after our original time, so it took almost two hours to begin the interview).

    2. Dweali*

      The only time I’ve been kept waiting like that I wasn’t hired (and I think the interviewer had decided that before I ever showed up…at least based on her attitude and snarkiness). I’ve pretty much promised myself to never go through that again. 5-15 min late or even 20 is ok if they are apologetic but any more than that coupled with the talking down to me, not even worth my time (luckily I haven’t been desperate enough to have to choose between job or pride).

    3. TL -*

      I once had an interview where the HR person was late and the directions were bad (I called from the parking lot to ask where their door was – it wasn’t marked); they gave me a 5-10 minute interview and then “went to see if the hiring manager was available.” They weren’t, and the HR person was just like, oh well, we’ll let you know in a couple of weeks. Still mad about that one!

    4. Cinnamon Owl*

      My mom and I sat in the waiting area while my dad had open heart surgery. She had a restaurant-style buzzer that they were supposed to use to signal when the surgery was done, and it never went off. I finally went up and asked, only to learn he’d been done for an hour and I should have just gone up and asked long before.

      We were right there. If no one responded to a page, then someone could have walked into the reception area and said my mother’s name in a clear voice and we would have responded. So frustrating when you are trying to follow the rules of the system and apparently should have made a fuss early instead–it doesn’t inspire people to follow the rules going forward. (The related letter from the nurse who had to park a mile from her job–she got her new job in part through the fluke of a friend realizing that her application had gone astray somewhere and that’s why they never called her and the job sat unfilled.)

    5. DeskBird*

      I was once kept waiting for about an hour in the most cramped reception room you can imagine. Then they finally called me in and told me that based on my resume I wasn’t qualified for the job…. but they still wanted to talk to me because of reasons? Looking back they probably wanted me to challenge them and insist I would be a good fit – but at the time I was confused and upset – I’m sure my interview was awful. I had no idea why I was even there. Probably dodged a bullet though.

    6. Grits McGee*

      I had an internship interviewer who had me wait 45 minutes as well, although he definitely knew I was there. Apparently the non-profit’s president had made a rare appearance, and this was enough of an occasion that he felt justified.

      I’ll admit to a certain amount of uncharitable schadenfreude when I turned the organization down in favor of a paid internship and Latey McLaterson got stuck with the biggest goober in my graduate program as an intern.

    7. Aurion*

      I waited for an interviewer in a meeting room for about 45-50 minutes. By the time I left, the receptionist told me the interviewer wasn’t even in the building (at another site? Slept in? I don’t know). The receptionist was very earnest in trying to keep me there in the “I’m sure he’ll show up soon” way.

      I said, in a very clipped voice, that this was the amount of time I had budgeted for the interview and now I had to go to work.

      The next interviewee (the one after me) was already waiting in the lobby and heard our entire exchange. I always wondered what he thought of it.

  11. Serendipity*

    OP#2 You have my sympathy. I am currently juggling full time work and a preschool and childcare run that is a 90 minute round trip twice a day, and it’s exhausting.

    You mentioned that you have started a family and have two young children, but don’t mention whether your children’s father is still in the picture.
    If he is, is there a reason why the childcare runs are your responsibility? Can his work accommodate the drop-offs, or if it’s a one-car situation can he drop you off at work first? Sometimes it is logistics that mean the child care responsibility is on the mother, and sometimes it is just convention. Your work situation means that it no longer makes sense for you to do drop-offs and maybe you could renegotiate? Do the afternoon pickup instead?

    If you are a sole parent then that makes your situation much harder. I used to work in the city where parking was $50/day but public transport from my outer suburb was terrible – three buses only in the morning between 6.30 and 7.30, and nothing home in the evenings after 6pm. I used to park on a residential street a few km from work and then ride my bicycle the rest of the way. Is that an option? Also, when I was a uni student in Sydney I arranged to “rent” space in the driveway of a local resident during the day (it deterred burglary and brought a little cash for them so it was a win-win). Do any of the new residences have parking spaces that you might be able to privately arrange to use?

    1. Al Lo*

      I live in a downtown condo building, and our parkade is mostly empty on evenings and weekends, and fills up 9-5, when residents rent out spots to commuters. Lots of people who live here don’t have cars (my husband and I do — our work locations and schedules still mean that we need 2 cars, even though a lot is within a convenient walkable/transit distance*), so it’s a nice extra $300/month income for them. Would a community board/Facebook group/buy & sell page/craigslist have parking listings? I know I see them around here fairly regularly.

      *Our unit comes with one space, and we don’t want to pay the extra for a second spot, so we have two Smart cars that we park end to end. Still takes up less space and costs less for gas than one SUV.

      1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        My sister lives in a downtown condo and regularly gets offers to rent her parking space. Secure, inside parking is the Holy Grail here.

    2. OP*

      I will try these innovative approaches you are suggesting – but this is the UK – and people tend to be a bit traditional and not very market driven — but I love the idea so I will give them a shot

      1. Trillian*

        There’s a website called JustPark, which may give you what you’re looking for. Not used anything like it myself, but remembered it from when a similar local startup ran into obstacles.

      2. Huddled over tea*

        Not sure which part of the country you’re in, but I can assure you that this is very common in my part of the UK! People who don’t need their parking spaces or driveways during the daytime make looooads of money renting them out to commuters!

    3. Yorick*

      OP might look into hiring a part-time nanny just for the morning drop offs. This might not be affordable, but 1-2 hours of childcare could be reasonable and might be worth it to be able to get to work at a reasonable time.

  12. Feathers McGraw*

    #1 I think it’s an opportunity to learn something about them. If they don’t give you a super quick apology or explanation, that suggests they don’t fully get that an interview is a two-way process.

    I once had an interview that was rescheduled without anyone telling me. Twice. Now that was rude! (I was offered the job in the end and must confess I took some pleasure in saying no.)

    1. Michele*

      I have had a few interviews where the interviewer was late, but I can only think of once where the receptionist didn’t keep me informed or remind the interviewer.

    2. Liane*

      Yes. Unless the delay involves lights & sirens (or at least “Car trouble on No Cell Reception Street”) the interviewer should at least take 2 minutes from whatever they’re dealing with to have someone call/meet the interviewee and let them know.

  13. PBu*

    OP2 this issue is very common. At my university they recently took out half a carpark for a daycare centre. This was because the existing daycare is being taken out for student apartments. Alison is right in that the university is not obliged to ensure staff parking is available at any time of day. Shuttles could be an option. We have several other sites with shuttles running in between with 2 of the other sites having free parking. Some people prefer this to duking it out at the main campus.

  14. caledonia*

    Another suggestion for OP 2 – do you have any friends in the area? Or someone you can carpool with? But yes, there is no way you can continue to spend so much time trying to find a spot that may or may not appear – I’d argue not as most people are there for the duration of the day.

    1. OP*

      Thanks for the hints. We just moved here (from a different country), so not close network yet. But I will check out carpooling websites – that is a good idea.

      1. Lablizard*

        If other staff are also having the same problem, you could also send out an email arranging a staff carpool or find out if there already is one you could link up with. That way you don’t have to wait until you know people better.

        1. Michele*

          Yes. Back when gas was over $4 an hour, a lot of people at work were arranging carpooling, even if they didn’t know each other.

        2. Emi.*

          Or could you ask the daycare if you could hang up a flier asking for a carpool from the daycare? Maybe someone else at your uni drops their kids off at the same daycare!

        3. K.*

          Yes. At my old job, the company moved offices (before I worked there), and that left a lot of people with commutes that had doubled or tripled. Those with such commutes who stayed at the company arranged a carpool.

        4. Rat in the Sugar*

          If OP has to have carseats for the kids, it might be easier to try carpooling with one of the daycare parents instead of one of her coworkers. Since it sounds like she doesn’t know the other parents well yet, maybe the staff could tell her if they’ve heard other complaints from parents about their situations?

    2. Mary Queen of Scoffs*

      I think you mentioned that you were in the UK in an earlier post. I work for part of a big university here, and since my office sold off some land, we lost half our parking lots. They had suggested using Lift Share ( to find carpooling options from people in your area/workplace. I don’t know if this would be an option for you, but thought it might be worth sharing.

  15. Feathers McGraw*

    #3 Small business owners should understand the power of word of mouth and welcome feedback. Not all of them do. I know someone who responded to a negative review on Facebook by insulting the person. And no, they’re not still in business!

    So I think yes, do give feedback, but give it once and then move on – you can’t save someone from themselves or force them to take your advice even if you know they should. And I’d probably frame it as feedback on why you’re not having the customer experience you want, not as you telling her how to run her business.

    My perspective here is partly informed by a new business owner who sent me a marketing email out of the blue. He had my email from a free trial I had and cancelled with a totally different company he used to work for. I wrote back saying I wanted to advise him that he shouldn’t do this, as he was in breach of UK data protection legislation e.g. using data without permission, not obtaining an opt-in or giving an option to opt-out, etc. I got a reply saying he was just an honest guy trying to make a living. Oh, okay then. Facepalm.

    1. Parenthetically*

      Oh man, there was a local business in my husband’s hometown that was NOTORIOUS for this. The owner would curse at his employees in front of customers, food was 2 hours coming out of the kitchen and often wrong, half the time they wouldn’t have basic menu items — it was a hot mess. But when people would write negative reviews on their facebook page, the owner turned into a rage-monster, insulting their taste, calling them childish, telling them never to show their faces in his restaurant again, that they were lousy people for not wanting to support a locally-owned restaurant… it closed inside of 6 months.

      1. BananaPants*

        I’m always amused when people report bad experiences at local restaurants on the “town talk” Facebook group. Inevitably the proprietor or a family member or friend of the owner shows up to defend them and to dress down the complainer for not supporting local business. Lots of, “You have to contact them privately and give them a chance to make it right before you slander them on social media!” Um, no, it’s not slander to say, “Be careful, I had food poisoning from the shrimp scampi and the owner swore at me on the phone when I called to let them know!” when someone asks whether the food at Bob’s Diner is any good.

        It’s fascinating how “supporting local businesses” apparently means making positive recommendations regardless of one’s actual experience.

        1. Michele*

          Do we live in the same town? Those things happen on our town’s FB page at least once a week.

        2. emma2*

          I get this same kind of attitude from Uber/Lyft drivers. They insist that leaving low ratings is sinful because you are compromising the person’s job security by doing so. Granted, I have rarely had a horrible driver, and I’m not the person to leave bad ratings for nitpicky reasons, but I’m confused by the notion nowadays that people pay money for services purely out of charity.

          That being said, I rarely leave bad reviews for small businesses, since if they are bad, the invisible hand takes them out in no time. It’s when big, well-known companies have bad service that I raise hell.

      2. SignalLost*

        I’m still sad the notoriously incompetent restaurant in my area closed. They weren’t ever rude and the food was amazing, but clearly none of the servers had been trained on anything and possibly had been released into the restaurant as adults who had never eaten at restaurants. The service was so terrible it was hilarious, partly because they were all very nice about it, but they would do things like drop the check before you even got your entrees or forget to bring out silverware even after being asked or bring out 3 appetizers/salads and forget the fourth until the brought the entrees. It was dinner and a show, and if you went in that frame if kind, it was genuinely hilarious. They were just so nice but incredibly clueless as to how restaurants work!

    2. Michelle*

      There are a lot of people who will use the “I’m just a small business owner trying to make a living!” line to excuse any amount of wrongdoing. Especially, IME, people who are selling for an MLM. I once posted on Instagram that I wished “It Works!” reps would stop spamming my account, since I have absolutely no intention of ever using their product. The, sadly predictable, result was having one rep spend two days giving me the hard sell. She started by offering a free sample, explaining that I couldn’t possibly say the product doesn’t work based purely on scientific evidence, without having tried it myself. Then came the guilt-trip about how she’s just a mom trying to provide for her kids, and moms need to support each other. Finally she informed me that by refusing to buy from her I am bringing negativity into her life that she just doesn’t need, and she flounced. Bye, Felicia.

      1. Parenthetically*

        My hometown has had SO many small business go under because it seems like people’s entire marketing plan is, “Open doors, expect people to line up because I’m a small business owner in a small town,” with no thought to whether there’s a market or a demand for their product, to say nothing of its quality. Like no, we do not need yet another “antiques”/baskets/artificial flowers/crap made of crackle-painted pallets/prairie kitsch shop in this town, there are four.

        Re: MLMs, I about lost my marbles yesterday when a reeeeaaally aggressive rant from a friend of a friend popped up in my feed. She was asking everyone in her friends list whether they’d be more willing to buy essential oils/pink drinks/leggings/whatever from Target rather than a friend(tm), and if so, to explain themselves. Thankfully I was spared the necessity of commenting by another person who said exactly what I feel about MLMs — I would rather get dental work than buy something from a salesperson; I don’t need the pressure of feeling like I’m responsible for providing for someone’s kids; I will ALWAYS choose to buy something off a shelf or online because the pressure gives me palpitations. I know not everyone feels that way, but I sure do, and I refuse to feel bad about it.

  16. Chaordic One*

    OP #2. Universities and colleges are especially terrible at providing parking. They think everyone should take public transportation or carpool, even if there isn’t any public transportation or carpools available. Sadly, I don’t have any ideas about what to suggest. Although not at a college, I did once turn down a job offer in an office located in downtown L.A. because they did not provide parking. At the time there were enough jobs available in the suburbs that paid as well and that did provide parking.

  17. Feathers McGraw*

    Hey Alison, I don’t know if this is just happening for me or everyone but on the main page this post isn’t showing. It’s still listing the weekend open thread as the latest post.

      1. Feathers McGraw*

        The cache fixed it – sorry I didn’t try that first, it just hadn’t been an issue before!

    1. Hoorah*

      Please avoid leaving a negative online review on a company – particularly a small business – without first giving the business owner a chance to resolve the problem. When you give bad feedback because of one bad employee, the business owner suffers the most. The employee likely doesn’t care.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        Except the owner was given a chance to hear feed back but instead of listening she got grouchy.

        1. MuseumChick*

          Agreed! Yes, a negative review will hurt the business but unlike right now where Sansa refuses to do anything, seeing a negative review could finally motive her to deal with the problem.

      2. INTP*

        The OP doesn’t have to give a “bad” review. She can give a fair review with all of the information that is posted here – that there are two great instructors that have led her to spend a lot of time in these classes but one poor instructor, and the unfortunate inability to register for a particular instructor’s class. This might even encourage people who refuse to come back because they got Cersei to give it another try.

        I know some people disagree but I just don’t think it’s unethical to write a fair and honest review. If most people have a positive experience at the business, the reviews will even out, and if most people don’t, I don’t think they’re entitled to have that concealed from the public. They always have the option to correct the issue and respond to the reviews with that information.

          1. Newby*

            Owners directly responding to negative yelp reviews and trying to fix the problem actually convinces me to give them a try. It’s even better when someone with a negative review comes back and ups the review because the issues were addressed.

            1. MuseumChick*

              I agree, I’ve seen both companies that respond to negative reviews in wonderful, professional, manners that make me more likely to try them because I know if something goes wrong they will work with me. I’ve also seen companies that respond in an awful, passive-aggressive manner that makes me way less likely to try them.

              1. INTP*

                Same. Even if reviews are overall good, if the owner is replying in an angry, insulting, or passive-aggressive manner to all of the negative reviews, I won’t go. That tells me that if I do have an issue at the business, I won’t be treated fairly. And if there are calm responses explaining how negative comments have been addressed, that makes me more likely to ignore a lower star rating.

            2. Allison*

              Right. There’s a huge difference between “I’m sorry you had a bad experience, please get in touch with us so we can fix it” and “How dare you say such nasty, disrespectful things? We work hard and we’re good people. It’s terrible the things people will say about small businesses just to shut us down. Sorry we’re not the cold, soul-lness Wal*Mart you clearly prefer, we have heart in our business and thankfully we have loyal customers unlike YOU. Have fun being miserable forever.”

        1. Sarah*

          Agree! There’s no special “small business” rule that means you should be entitled to run your business terribly and ignore feedback. I 100% do make more allowances for a small local business than I do for a Walmart (for example, I’m not going to write a nasty review of the local coffee shop if they post a sign on their door saying “Closed for Family Emergency” — it would be somewhat bizarre if a big box store did that!). But at some point, if you’ve tried to give feedback (which OP has) and the owner refuses to listen, I think it is perfectly reasonable to write a fair, honest review. For example, the review could mention what the OP said about the possibility of requesting the special sessions with Sansa or Arya, or let folks know they could reach out to Arya privately to find out when she is teaching. That way you could still even be encouraging business toward what is actually working, while still warning people off of a bad experience.

        2. Michelle*

          I actually think it’s better for a business to have these things worked out in the online reviews than handled quietly. Personally, I mostly skip over positive reviews. I want to see the bad reviews and get an idea of what the problems were, are they things I’m likely to encounter, are they things that shouldn’t have happened or things that you have to expect to happen occasionally, and most importantly, how did the business handle it?

          To me, the best reviews are either saying they had a problem, but it was fixed in a satisfactory way, or a negative review with a response showing that the business is ready and willing to resolve the problem.

          1. INTP*

            This is a good point. And in this case, it sounds like the business already has a reputation from this one bad instructor. Sansa can’t exactly announce on the company facebook, “Cersei has been fired! Please give us another try!” But she could respond to a review like that with a comment that says “Thank you for your feedback. The instructor that you mentioned no longer works with us. We’d love to see you again for another class!” and get the word out that way.

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        As others have pointed out, the OP has already tried to raise the issue with the owner. I’d also like to add that an honest review does not necessarily equal a bad review. If I were the OP, I’d be leaving a review stating that I adored two of the instructors, but felt my money was wasted when I was assigned the third, and warn people to avoid her if possible. The more people that ask to not be in her class, the more pressure it puts on the owner to finally grow up and manage their business properly by responding to customer complaints.

        1. MuseumChick*

          Agree with INTP and The Cosmic Avenger. All the OP has to do is be honest. My guess is her review on yelp would be either three or four stars, which based on her experience would be fair. She can explain what she likes and does not like, it’s not like she is going to give one star with no explanation.

      4. Temperance*

        Eh, I disagree with this. My neighborhood is strongly pro-small business to the point of never, ever saying anything negative about a business. It’s silly – I received more flack for openly complaining about/recommending against the tree service company that tore up my yard and cracked my driveway than the dude did for destroying my property.

        If this woman wants a successful business, she needs to list the teachers ahead of time and listen to the negative feedback about Cersei.

          1. Temperance*

            You obviously know that there is no way for me, or for OP, to know that. I was simply sharing.

    2. INTP*

      Came here to post this exact suggestion. It doesn’t need to be a scathing or one star review, just an honest review with all the information the OP told us. If the owner decides to respond by handling the problem, then the review gives her a forum to alert the public in the form of a response (whereas it would be pretty awkward for her to just post on the business Facebook “Give us another try, I fired the bad instructor”). If she decides to do nothing, well, it’s only fair for the public to be aware of the type of experience they’ll have.

      If OP is opposed to Yelp reviews, another type of written feedback like an email or message to company social media might work. Sometimes it’s just really hard to receive criticism in a conversation when you aren’t geared up for it, leading to knee jerk defensive or avoidant responses, but in written form you can take it in on your own time.

      1. Mirve*

        What about feedback stated positively, like I would attend more classes if I knew who was instructing? Make it clear she is losing business by not listing the instructor.

    3. Parenthetically*

      Yelp sucks. Please don’t support their exploitative, predatory, anti-small-business “review” machine.

      1. INTP*

        I know individual small businesses may have legitimate issues with Yelp, but overall it definitely increases support at small businesses. Their ratings are vastly inflated compared to chain businesses in every city I’ve lived in. I don’t know how many 5 star cafes I’ve been to that were completely mediocre in every way (or chain stores and restaurants with 2 star ratings and an experience that was completely typical and adequate for that company). For the most part, people want to say good things about and support small businesses.

        1. Parenthetically*

          I just have way too many friends who’ve been hassled to the point of extortion to buy ads (with a veiled “or else we just can’t do anything about those negative reviews!”) by Yelp employees. I won’t use it, ever.

  18. Hoorah*

    I bet you Sansa would want to know about the negative feedback that’s affecting her business. It’s likely she doesn’t know how bad Cersei is.

    I once sent negative feedback about a nurse who was incredibly rude during my consultation with her. Her manager called me to apologise and appreciated hearing my experience. She said she has no way of knowing these things unless patients take the time to contact her. Same with businesses.

    1. MK*

      That’s not always true, though, and in this case the OP says Sanaa hasn’t been receptive to feedback. It depends on the business owner’s attitude; sometimes they aren’t very professional and concerns like the OP describes especially are often run more like a club than a business.

      1. Trillian*

        OP said that she has hinted that there is a problem. I know I get irritated when people drop hints instead of saying outright what their concern is. I am not a mind reader. So I’d say that until you have actually come out and said it, you don’t know how it will be received.

        1. tigerStripes*

          Hinting drives me crazy too. I can usually think of several things the person might mean, and I don’t know which it is.

    2. Temperance*

      This is not universally true. I once called a local cab company to report that one of their drivers had followed me in his car, flipping me off and screaming obscenities out the window, and the jerkass who answered the phone also started fighting with me, and told me that it was “100% my fault” because I had to be in his way for him to do that.

      1. Allison*

        Yup. I remember digging out my car when a van drove by and all the guys inside wolf whistled at me. I noted the company name on the side of the van, and looked them up, but they seemed like such a small company I was too scared to call them, in case whoever answered the phone defended the guys and yelled at me for not knowing how to accept a compliment. What if the guys were related to the owner, or worse, the owner was inside with them?

        1. Michelle*

          A friend of a friend (this was verified as actually happening, not just a rumor) called a tree-trimming service to complain about the company vehicle being illegally parked in a handicapped space. The owner answered the phone, and it turned out he was the one who’d parked there. He cussed her out over the phone, and then again online when she called him out on Facebook (with a photo of his truck in the handicapped space). Apparently, he was “only going to be in the store for a minute.” As a parent of a physically disabled child, this drives me crazy.

          1. tigerStripes*

            What is wrong with that owner? Sounds like someone who is going to lose a lot of business. I wouldn’t want to do business with someone like that. What a jerk!

      2. cataloger*

        As a teenager, I took a free online course about DOS and was surprised that the instructor managed to work in so many snarky comments about women, and suggestions that computers were only for men (“a 3.5 inch floppy disk is exactly the size of a man’s front shirt pocket, which cannot be a coincidence”). I wrote him a concerned note, suggesting that he was adding to the problem of women being discouraged from working with computers, and he wrote me back a really nasty note!

        Around that same time, I wrote concerned notes to Applebee’s for serving me raw chicken and to Barney the Dinosaur for depicting kids opening the front door to strangers without even looking through the peephole first. (The Barney folks wrote me a really nice note back, explaining that Barney was the adult in the situation, so it was okay.)

        1. Anxa*

          Oh my goodness,

          I had a physics instructor who was awful about this. I couldn’t feel too insulted, though, because I really WAS kind of bad at physics. It was requirement for something else, but I was shocked at the things he would say. I live in the US, and I think that if he had been a native citizen or a white man something might have been done about it, because the deans would seem concerned and they were aware this had been a problem, but they didn’t feel like there was anything they could do. This person was a part-time lab instructor and definitely didn’t have tenure and wasn’t pulling any great big grants in, so I’ll never really understand how he kept his job. He would never let the women answer, make jokes when we got questions wrong, and split us up into different groups to spread the stupid. This was in 2007, so not that long ago. I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t have found a better replacement.

          1. Michelle*

            When my husband was in college, he took a maths class where the professor talked about nothing but the Holocaust. Every class, the whole time, on and on about the wrongs done to Jews. Which, yes, is important and we should all remember and learn from it. But not when you’re paying to learn math.

  19. Anastasia*

    I feel you, OP #1! I was once made to wait 30 min for an interview. I might’ve forgiven them if I hadn’t been able to hear their conversation through the door, and it was what they wanted to get for lunch and their plans for the weekend. And, of course, no apology when they finally DID get around to interview me.

    The actual interview was terrible as well! Such a waste of a day.

    1. Freya UK*

      Gosh, if that would’ve been me I wouldn’t have given them the pleasure of interviewing me.

      1. Liane*

        Well, I might have gone into the interview and said in the first 2 minutes, “This job isn’t a good fit, based on the panel delaying my appointment for discussing lunch plans, so no reason to waste more of anyone’s time.”

  20. cncx*

    re OP1, just another vote for an interviewer being more than 15-20 minutes late being a yellow flag, and a red one if other stuff is not ideal.

    The worst job i ever had i was kept waiting almostan hour for one of the interviewers. i agree that managers’ time is at a premium, but it sets the tone for how the employee gets treated by that manager and she was the worst manager i ever had.

    never again, not even if i am desperate to put cat food in the pantry.

    1. Ferd*

      One time I waited an hour for the interviewer to show up, only to be told that he’s in a meeting an hour away, and he will only leave there in 30 minutes. So I was expected to wait another 90 minutes! No. I just left. Another time an interview was scheduled for 5pm. When I arrived there was only 1 car in the parking lot. I tried calling, nobody answered. After a while someone came out and I asked him if so-and-so is still there, because I have an interview. He said the dude went home at 4. Some people just suck.

      1. Michelle*

        Ugh. Not an interview, but once when I was in the hospital, I had a doctor keep me waiting all day (I needed to talk to him about my medication, and he kept sending word that he’d be there “soon), and then go home without seeing me.

    2. Sparrow*

      I had a company that was ~15 minutes late for a skype interview, which made me a little panicky. A couple of minutes wouldn’t have worried me too much, but I started to get concerned that we’d miscommunicated the details or something. If someone had shot me a quick email me that just said, “We’re running late; hang tight,” I would’ve been fine, but instead I started imagining scenarios where they were trying to call me at a different time or at the wrong skype name and then concluding that I no-showed on them. In this case, it was definitely indicative of the company – the interview went well and they offered me the position, but they were so scattered, disorganized, and thoughtless that I turned it down. Working there would’ve been a disaster for me.

      1. Green Goose*

        I work at a large nonprofit that has many branches and clients that can have a last-minute need to speak with another colleague. Because of this, my own interview was late (with no message so I also was panicked I had made some confirmation/timing mistake) and I’ve seen it happen to other people. Unfortunately it is just the nature of our business, but very frustrating for the interviewee. I actually had to interview someone last week, and lo and behold the VP needed to talk to me ten minutes before the scheduled interview time. I sent a quick email to the interviewee letting them know that my meeting “might” go over so there was a possibility I would have to call 10 minutes past our scheduled time.

        I think sometimes orgs really can’t control meetings being late, but just letting the other party know (especially when they have a lot riding on that meetingl) is a courtesy that should be done.

  21. Hoorah*

    Losing 3-4 hours a day!? Seriously? If it took me that long to find a car park I would just park much further away and walk/bike. Driving around all morning until you find a car park is not a solution to your current problem. No wonder your work’s getting grouchy!

    Asking for a university shuttle may work. But in my experience of dealing with large organisations/cost sensitive bureaucracies, this is going to take a long time to organise, if it gets organised at all.

    In the mean time, it sounds like you just have to suck it up and pay for another option – either park further and Uber, or pay for a babysitter so you can leave earlier in the morning. Obviously that’s not as convenient – or free – but if you’re not entitled to a car park from your employer and everything else before that (changing day cares, public transport, etc) is not going to work, that’s the next best option.

    1. Nan*

      That’s what I thought! If I’m burning through 3 or 4 hours of gas in my car, I want my mileage for tootling around campus reimbursed.

    2. Michelle*

      I honestly don’t know how it’s not costing a fortune to drive around the parking lot for 3-4 hours a day. Especially since — if I’m not mistaken — gas prices are higher in the UK than my home in Texas. (Yeah, I just checked. I pay about $2 a gallon. Google says the average price of petrol in the UK is £1.17 a litre, which comes out to $5.42 a gallon. How are you not going broke, OP???)

  22. MommyMD*

    I think letting coworker know she may be in for a lay off will blow up in your face in a very big way. I’m so sorry you are dealing with losing your job but I would tell no one what you read from a mislaid confidential memo. If you do, you may end up without a paycheck much quicker than you expect. Let your coworker deal with her own issues. Good luck.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      If you do, you may end up without a paycheck much quicker than you expect.

      This is a strong possibility.

    2. OP4*

      This is OP4.

      That’s been my concern as well and why I haven’t said anything. But I know that I would appreciate it if the positions were reversed wit my coworker and she let me know. At this point, I’m just hoping that maybe the company’s position has changed and they’ll say something sooner rather than later.

      1. Zweisatz*

        I’d assume the difference is that you can keep things to yourself while your coworker, as you said, can’t. So “if the situation was reversed” wouldn’t actually mean the same.

  23. MommyMD*

    I would not be put off waiting 20 minutes for a job interview. People run behind. I would definitely arrive on time, and I wait, I wait.

    1. Trillian*

      Nor I, stuff happens. But what would put me off immediately is not having their full attention when they do show up.

    2. Pineapple Incident*

      The problem that I have with waiting extra for an interview just to start is when previous communications scheduling the interview include things like “please allow 1.5-2 hours for the interview” and then go way beyond that because your interviewer is late. 20 minutes might not always be a big deal, but when the interviewee only planned on clearing an hour (+parking/transport time) for an interview because that’s what was conveyed to them in advance (and might need to be back at work) it’s a problem.

  24. Wing Girl*

    #4: I agree that telling your coworker what was contained in the document on the printer is a bad idea. You have no way of knowing if her layoff is a final decision or may change. Are you close enough to this coworker to plant the suggestion that this may not be the best time for large financial purchases, such as vacations?

    Since the company has already advised that some people will be losing their jobs later this year or early next year, I would be the type to be hoarding all my savings in case I lost my job as part of that move. But not everyone thinks that way, figuring it’s months away.

    1. lulu*

      I would do this. Mention that there is a lot of uncertainty and that there might even be layoffs before the move. And let her make her own decisions based on that.

      1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        The co-worker already knows layoffs are in the future and is still planning a vacation. It’s not up to the OP to save her from herself.

        1. Trout 'Waver*

          That’s not really fair. If the company is both telling her that relocations/layoffs won’t be until the end of the year, and details will come at the start of the 3rd quarter, as well as giving her long-term impactful projects, it’s reasonable to assume she won’t be laid off in the next 2 months.

          1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            All bets are off when layoffs are announced “in the near future”. She can take her earned vacation days but spend them at home, not away burning money. I’ve seen people return from vacations and being laid off before their tan has faded.

            1. Lablizard*

              She could be using the vacation for interviews. I did that when the company I worked for was bought by one I knew I didn’t want to work for.

            2. Kyrielle*

              Or it could have already been paid for before the original announcement, or they might be able to afford it regardless, and she might have shrugged and made the decision to keep going with it. It’s entirely possible that she would still take the vacation on time even if they laid her off today.

        2. Lablizard*

          Or she is trying to burn up vacation time. Sometimes there is a cap to how much an employer will pay out for unused vacation. My work is 80 hours, so if my balance was above that and I knew layoffs were possible, you better believe I would be taking the time off.

    2. Zip Silver*

      Or OP could ask her how her job search is going, and if coworker gets confused, just casually mention that OP would like to relocate with the company, but wants to have a backup plan, just in case, and that coworker should too.

    3. OP4*

      This is OP4.

      That’s a good idea. Our team is fairly close so I may try to slip it into a conversation about how it’s risky to take vacations at the moment considering we don’t know what will be happening in the next few months.

      A problem is that vacation does get capped at our company so she may be trying to use her vacation to ensure she doesn’t lose it. I’m also not sure if she’s already paid for the vacation. I’ll try to see if I can casually bring this up the next time she starts talking about her vacation.

      1. Katie*

        I’d be quite careful, just in case the plan has changed and you give her a fright for no reason. It would be quite bad to tell her she is going to be laid off only to find out that your information is out of date. it’s a difficult one!

        1. OP4*

          Instead of letting her know, maybe it would be better to subtly suggest she wait until we have more info before she takes a vacation. If she’s not capped, then perhaps I could see if I could hint she push her vacation back until things become more finalized.

          1. SignalLost*

            I don’t think you need to hint at her specifically; if your team is close-knit, you could talk about it generally. I don’t know what your relationships with the rest of your team are, but you seem to be suggesting that you need to target this advice to her and that seems really strange to me to think about how that might play out. I think you could have an open general conversation that you just aren’t comfortable using your vacation time because no one knows who will be laid off, but dropping hints that she should not do this sounds like it might be insinuating that you know what you think you know (and I’m only qualifying it because as others have said, their specifics may change.)

            1. dawbs*

              yeah, saying “wow, that sounds great. I REALLY would love to take vacay, but…the rumblings about layoffs have me to nervous. I want to hoard cash for a bit, just in case. ” is the same warning without ‘bossing’

      2. chomps*

        I don’t know… I don’t think it’s really a coworker’s place to tell another coworker how to spend their money, regardless of the job situation.

  25. Fresh Faced*

    I remember being interviewed for a university place, I was kept waiting for almost an hour in a room that was empty besides me and the receptionist (who didn’t do anything after I told her my concerns after 30 minutes had passed) . When I finally got called in there was no apologies and there was a “lets get on with this” attitude about the whole thing. Needless to say I didn’t go to that university. What baffled me the most was that there were 3 people interviewing me, either they were all late or some of them arrived on time and waited the hour without notifying anyone or starting without the straggler.

  26. Em too*

    #2 I thnk the university needs to manage its remaining parking much more tightly. You could suggest it reserves some spots for staff who absolutely need to be in at that time (for teaching!) and has better home working options for other days (eg teleconference facilities for recommended meetings – not perfect but better than nothing).

    1. OP*

      Hey all: thanks for your feedback. I love some of these ideas and will try them out. Indeed: most students live on campus, so they do not need to get there. Also the lots are for students and staff alike, so de facto most parking spaces tend to go to students as they would leave their car overnight or come in very early. I did hear talk of that being changed though. If so, that might solve the issue as well.

      1. caledonia*

        Where I used to live the hospital in my city had notoriously awful parking – they ended up bringing in permits for visitors and staff (UK).

      2. blackcat*

        Yes, I think this is a good solution. Every university that I have been has some spots limited to some people. My current university as four color permits: faculty, staff, commuter student, and resident student. Lots on campus have big signs with which colors are allowed, and they are logically assigned (my building’s lot is faculty and staff. The lots near the dorms are resident student only. The giant lot a half mile from campus allows all four, since it is near nothing). Visitors are supposed to park in our parking deck, and if they are there for official business, they get a voucher for parking.

        For all my complaints about my university (see: classroom space rant above), they handle parking really well.

        1. blackcat*

          I meant to add that my experience is not US specific. I’ve spent time at two EU universities, including one in Ireland (so not UK, but culturally close), and those two also had faculty/staff parking zones.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Granted we tend to have more space here in the US, but a community college in my area has been growing by leaps and bounds. They had to change many, many things in the process of this growth.

        A very cool thing that they did was re-stripe the parking lot. Any spots striped with X color were meant for faculty. (This worked out to be a couple rows closest to the buildings.) If a student or visitor is caught parking in those spots they get ticketed or towed by campus security. Not only does security have a list of all plate numbers for students and employees, each group has their own color coded parking permit. It does not cost anything to get the permit but you had best have one and be in your correct area or you will be ticketed/towed.

        As a student, I did not mind that the faculty were allowed to park closer, that only made sense because they work there. Needless to say, the community college campus was an enjoyable experience unlike the other experience I was talking about upthread.

        1. SignalLost*

          My CCs use hang tags for parking (different colors for different categories of pass) which is useful if you’re like me and have a car in the shop and are borrowing one. There is definitely enough inconsistency in the vehicles people drive to make having plates impossible for my schools.

      4. misspiggy*

        In my experience with UK institutions and parking, they often do change the parking arrangements if enough people kick up a fuss. There must be some kind of union for academic and/or administrative staff. Even if you’re not yet a member, the best route would be to approach them for help in putting your needs across to management, and for canvassing others.

      5. smthing*

        I once worked at university (also in a nature reserve, coincidentally, but in the US) where parking was so tight the university shelled out for valet parking in one lot. That way the valets could stack park cars. It was offered as a free service with no tipping. No one had to use it, it was really just for overflow parking. It did the trick until another parking structure was built.

  27. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

    My city has a major university and a teaching hospital next to each other. The university is constantly building on parking spaces (shiny new recreation centre) and the hospital is a regional one with patients from out of town. As a result parking is either non-existent or very expensive. I turned down a job at the hospital because of the costs of parking. The job hours started before bus service began in the morning so that wasn’t an option. I wish institutions like this would take parking more seriously. A friend who works at the university is encouraging me to apply for jobs there but I can’t because it’s virtually impossible to get there from here. The city isn’t helping, they strictly enforce a 2 hour limit on street parking and parking at a further less expensive lot means a 20 to 30 minute walk to work.

    1. Brett*

      I suspect there is a huge premium to living on campus, and students keep their cars parked at their on-campus housing all day until after the daytime commuters leave.
      (Which is probably why the university took away half of OP2’s lot for housing in the first place, increasing demand for housing from students who want to live on campus and not deal with the horrendous parking situation.)

    2. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      There is a large student ghetto around the university and many lived there or withing walking distance. There is also lots of on-campus student residences. The bus service is good if you are a student, not so much if you need to be at work at 600AM. Many students have lots of discretionary income and consider parking tickets parking part of the cost of going to school.

    3. SarahTheEntwife*

      If it’s a primarily residential campus, parking may not be as much of an issue for students.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      Many of them probably aren’t. But if the students aren’t living on campus, most of them are still locals to some degree. It’ll be a long walk, but they’re doing it.

  28. HannahS*

    #2, I don’t know if this is a possibility for you, but when I was in high school, some students would pay local residents for the use of their driveway during school hours. Like, if Sarah the worker leaves the house at 7:45 am and comes back at 6 pm, then Louise the student would pay to park in her driveway from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm.

    1. Justme*

      Not just houses, but my church rents spaces in its lots for university student and staff to park in.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        A friend of mine lived next to a church in the city, where parking was tough — he had an agreement with the church that as long as no one used the lot on Sundays, friends of his could park in their lot as needed. (Friend himself didn’t have a car to deal with.) It was a pretty nice arrangement.

  29. RP*

    #1 I have worked at Universities for decades – and this happens everywhere. I think if your work place is located in a major Urban space- you will be expected to find alternatives. This can include purchasing a spot nearby and taking public transit.

    However, most likely, you are not in an urban space with mass public transit. The University should offer an alternative. At least two institutions I worked for rented out parking lots at private businesses for spill over and offered a shuttle that was encouraged for staff with 9-5 schedules. In addition, proposing a more liberal work from home policy for those who can – should be proposed. Bring this to your HR office ASAP and if you are part of a Union – them too.

    In the meantime, something that may be helpful in the short term, contact local businesses and look at craigslist for a parking spot rental in them meantime. Perhaps there is a supermarket nearby or a restaurant with spare space.

    1. RP*

      I would also add, when speaking to HR, to see if there are exclusive parking spaces that may become open. Normally there are separate faculty and staff lots, separate residence life lots, even separate sports parking. HR might be more open to something like that as it is a fast no cost solution for now.

    2. OP*

      Thanks – these are very useful suggestions. I will try gumtree – which is our local equivalent of craig’s list. You are correct – we live in the country and the university is in the countryside as well – so even though there are buses from nearby cities going to uni – there is is not direct connections (less than 2 hours) between my house and uni.

  30. MuseumChick*

    OP3, could you and some of the other review the classes online anonymously? “Really love Sansa and Arya! Don’t really care for Cersis’s classes. It would be really helpful if they told you ahead of time which instructor was teaching.”

  31. Not Today Satan*

    A few months ago I was offered an interview. To pick an interview slot, they shared a google calendar with me with back to back 45 minute interview slots. I thought–I really hope they don’t plan to actually have all these interviews back to back. I got there, and lo and behold, they were “running late.” I was seen 25+ minutes after my scheduled time.

    It was a start up, and the whole thing seemed indicative of a lack of organization/planning to me. They didn’t select me, but if they had I would have been pretty wary to go along with the process. I almost left before the interview as it was.

    1. hbc*

      My company did that when we were first hiring our sales person (though didn’t share the schedule) and you are exactly right in what it indicated. The appearance of planning with no regard for reality–especially with a hiring manager who’s never run an interview in less than 45 minutes, needs regular smoke breaks, and hiring for a position known to be attractive to people who like to talk.

      There would have been some mitigating factors, but I wouldn’t have faulted anyone who read the situation as you did and noped on out. As it was, we got lucky with a mid-day cancellation, or we would have had candidates stacked up in the lobby.

    2. Jade*

      My current job did the back-to-back interview thing, and yes, I should have taken it as a red flag for their terrible organization skills in the future. They even cut me off at the point where it was my turn to ask questions so they could get on with the next interview. I still took the job, and now I have to deal with plans being made right before (or even after) deadlines, no contingency plans for when people are out, etc. It’s a hot mess, and I wish I had taken the cues from my interview as a warning.

  32. Pwyll*

    #4 – So, a few years ago I was involved in the planning of a divesture where we split the business in half and relocated a large chunk of the staff. I can tell you that the plan for doing so changed dozens of times, and the pendulum swung widely across the revisions (one plan would have effectively laid off everyone, one plan would have kept everyone with generous relocation and a significant hiring spree in the remaining business, with everything in between). When it came to actually designating people, the names were added and removed to the lists between every meeting (of which we did 3-4 per day) based on various decisions of management, tax implications, and the requests of the buyer. We even added people to the “retain” list 2 weeks after it was marked FINAL just before we announced the process.

    Someone was clearly being careless with the printer, but I would be very, very cautious about taking anything you read as gospel. There’s little way of knowing at what stage the report you saw was at. Though I would echo what others said about potentially letting your boss know that such sensitive materials were left out in the open.

    1. OP4*

      OP4 here.

      Hopefully that will happen in this case. There’s still quite a bit of time until the specified time they are supposed to release further information about the relocation. It’s just difficult to have potentially seen a draft since I know that my coworker would appreciate advance notice to look for another job.

  33. Trout 'Waver*

    In regards to #4, I would find a way to tell the employee. If the lay-offs talks are going on already, and the company is letting people believe the lay-offs won’t happen until the end of 2017/early 2018, then they’re not treating their employee in good faith.

    Although you have no obligation to tell your coworker, it would be kind to do so. And, I slightly disagree with Alison; I think this is already at the clusterfudge level.

    1. OP4*

      I definitely want to. But I also know that anything that I tell her will most likely get around to the rest of the company. If that happens I’m not sure the company will take it well that the reorganization plans got spread early or what their response may be.

    2. LoiraSafada*

      Part of me is skeptical that the document wasn’t left in a public place on purpose.

      If it were me, I would really want to know, but I also don’t have a big mouth and would keep the info to myself while starting my job search just in case.

  34. Roscoe*

    #4 I would disagree on. Now I don’t think you are obligated to tell them, but I think it really depends on the nature of your relationship. If you are frends, or even “work buddies” I don’t know that I could stay silent about this. If it is just “Jan in accounting” who you never actually talk to, it could be different. Now I agree that it might not be the final plan, but I think at least giving her a heads up that what you saw was the plan at some point, and then letting her make a decision from there. When it comes to people’s livelihoods, I really have a hard time just sitting on damaging information. I mean, at this point you know you are being laid off at some point, so any loyalty you would have to your company is probably gone. But I’m looking at this from a “human” side, not necessarily an employee side.

    #1 I’m with you. There is nothing more annoying to me than tardiness. So I do get annoyed by late interviewers. However, it depends on your situation. If you are unemployed and desperately need a job, then I say suck it up. But if you are just casually looking at other things, I think its in your right to be a little more up front about the rudeness.

  35. Thinking Beyond the Campus Parking Lot (aka Jean who seeks to be Ingenious)*

    OP #2, what about hiring a student to meet you at work, drive your car to a suitable parking place off-campus, and return it to you at the end of the day? If you could cancel your campus parking permit*, you could apply the fee to the necessary student labor morning & evening + parking fees to park in the new location + bus fare for the student to travel between the parking place and the campus). In fact, I could see someone starting a small business to provide valet parking service for other university employees in your circumstances.

    If this idea sounds good, but you don’t have enough cash on hand to get started (if the university won’t refund your permit so you’re stuck paying out the rest of the year), can you find help from a community organization that helps working parents, or the Clergy’s Discretionary Fund of your congregation (if you have one :-) ), or a Go Fund Me self-run fundraiser? As a last resort, can your husband switch his schedule or at least be your morning and evening chauffeur (come home, drive the family to work, go home to sleep, then wake up to get everyone home in the evening)?

    It stinks that you’ve got this problem, but it sounds better to solve it than to lose the job for which you’ve made an international move. It’s already hard enough to work full-time and get two young children to and from their daily locations. I’m sending you support and problem-solving vibes. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    *If the university won’t give you a complete refund for your annual permit, ask them if they can give you a pro-rated refund, or help you to transfer the permit to a different person (who pays you for however many months are left in the current year’s worth of parking).

    1. Just Jess*

      That’s pretty damn creative. How many businesses have you started and are you hiring?

      1. Thinking Beyond the Campus Parking Lot (aka Jean who seeks to be Ingenious)*

        Thanks for the compliment! None started yet. I daydream occasionally but don’t want to add the required time and attention onto my existing responsibilities (child in high school, spouse dealing with medical complications). Being overextended brings out neither my sweet nature nor my soothing vocal tones. ;-D

        Years ago I had a boss who was ingenious about hiring child care help for odd-but-critical-parts of her current daily or weekly domestic routine. She really opened my eyes about defining areas in which to delegate. Of course, one still needs to have the necessary funds and a pool of suitable potential employees–all of which can be enormously complicated depending on the current mix of income, logistics, timing, and/or the specific nature of one’s child(ren).

    2. OP*

      I love this idea — hiring someone. In fact – for the amount I am paying the university I am sure there will be likely candidates. Yes, I agree, giving up the job or moving house seems all too silly. Surely another solution can be found. Yes, my husband and I are also thinking of applying to a change in his schedule – if we have not found another solution by then.

    3. Mel*

      However, in the UK all drivers of a vehicle must have insurance specifically for them. You can get short term insurance for 1-30 days, so that’s an added expense. (I don’t know how valets work in the UK, because I never came across such a service when I lived in Scotland.)

  36. Government Worker*

    I don’t know how it works in the UK, but I’ve been around several major universities in the US and they all had transportation/parking/commuter offices that were responsible for managing carpooling programs, shuttle buses, tax benefits for parking, bike facilities, etc. If your university has such an office, they may be able to help you understand your options, like a carpool sign up list or a lot across campus with a shuttle bus.

    It’s a perennial problem – everyone wants the classic university campus with a nice quad and buildings close to each other, and physically it’s just hard to put a lot of parking close to the spot that everyone wants to be. Building garages is really expensive, and universities often want to grow but have a fixed amount of land. But there should be someone dedicated to thinking about this for your university, in some sort of transportation or planning office. And if they aren’t hearing about the tight parking situation, they should be, so definitely give them a call.

    If students live on campus and use the same lot, they may need to move to a (higher) parking fee for students who want to have a car on campus, or prohibit first-year students from having a car (common at US colleges with tight parking), or find a spot for a student lot farther away to let the people who need day-to-day parking use the primary lot.

  37. Brett*

    #2 While there is nothing to say a business has to provide parking to employees, there often are planning and zoning rules that require a business to require adequate parking for its daytime population.

    In the US, part of the reason you see the awful parking problems with universities is because universities are often exempt from such authority and do not have to follow planning and zoning rules as they apply to mandatory parking spaces. Since this still has a strong negative effect on the closest cities and counties, they often do fight back by stringently imposing planning and zoning authority on buildings owned or leased by the university which do fall under their rules, and the negotiating with the university for a better overall parking and transit plan.

    This would make me wonder, then, if there is an entity besides the university that the OP and her co-workers can go to. Is there a government planning and zoning commission with approval over some or all of the university’s planning decisions? Or even if they just have to approving building permits (and could potentially deny or strictly enforce permits because of poor parking planning)?
    Is there an entity responsible for transit planning who could run new routes to the university?
    All of these require the same level of banding up AAM mentioned and a bit of research. Not sure how government interactions normally work at this level in the UK, but even just 3-4 people who can speak at a public meeting can be enough to get action taken.
    (I might even suggest talking to the board or managing entity of the nature preserve. The university’s decisions are impacting them, but they might not be aware of the degree of the parking problem. They might have the pull and local institutional knowledge to apply pressure to the university to fix their parking.)

    1. paperfiend*

      Ironically, at my particular university in an urban area, the city required the university to contruct LESS parking than they wanted to.

      The university applied for the permits for constructing a new building (not residential) to go where parking lots had been. The plans submitted by the university included adding a parking lot where another building had previously been demolished. The city, which is advocating for better use of the extensive public transit system, would not issue that permit. They told the university that the total number of parking spots on campus had to be REDUCED by x before they’d approve the building permits.

      The university ended up renting extra parking spots for anyone who needed them, about a 10-15 minute walk away from campus. There’s also some street parking (free or metered) available and paid parking ramps nearby, plus park and ride options. But it’s a pain for people who need to drive for schedule reasons or who live far enough in the suburbs that even park and ride doesn’t make sense.

  38. BTW*

    OP #1 – I agree with Alison. Let the 5-10 and even the 20, slide. I once waited almost an hour for an interviewer then once it actually came time I was horrible. I’m not sure why I didn’t just walk out of there. If it happened to me now I wouldn’t think twice but at the time I was working retail and really wanted out of that job.

    Op#2 – That’s really not fair in my opinion. You’d think they would have done some sort of analysis of what kind of effect building the housing was going to have on parking. I think if you’re not the only one having this issue then you should all get together and address it collectively like Alison said. I’m surprised they don’t have any sort of designated employee parking areas. I don’t think you should have to switch your children’s schools or anything drastic like that over a parking space. They need to come up with a better plan to accommodate their staff.

  39. Grey*

    #4 – I’d leave that document somewhere your coworker would “accidentally” find it.

  40. Sandra*

    OP2 – I work at a University in the UK so may be slightly different in terms of resolution but we have a similar problem. We have an agreement with a local car park for some slightly discounted parking that comes out of our pay slips now but it got tricky beforehand and a few people left because of it. We took it to our Estates team who worked on our behalf.
    I also have a lot of friends who work at a local hospital with a similar issue and they ended up having a complete parking overhaul so that people could only park if they lived so far away or could prove that they needed their car on site. They also have carpooling options so that if more than two people were coming together there was other parking that they could use. Don’t know if any of those suggestions would help or if they’re even an option where you are but I completely understand your troubles!

    1. Sandra*

      Oh I forgot to say as well – get friendly with security and your service team. There may be parking you don’t know about or that you think you’re not allowed to use. Our Halls are a ten minute walk from campus but knowing the manager helps on days when we can’t get parked! We also have some visitor parking that one of my team members told us about because he knows the security guard. Worth a try!

      1. OP*

        Thanks, Sandra. These are all great suggestions. You guys have collectively come up with a good bunch of ideas that I can try out.

  41. Nina-Marie*

    #2 I too, feel great empathy for OP#2. I went to a metro university where parking was a premium and always a hassle. In fact, it was the biggest hassle of my college career. That said, when my daughter was looking at schools, I made sure she checked out the parking situation on every campus since she was going to be a commuter. She first laughed when I said it should be a big factor in picking a schools, but then when touring and she found out where lots where or lack of parking, she changed her tune. When giving feed back to admission counselors why she made the choice she did one of the reasons was there was ample free parking. (Which makes a commuter’s life much easier). For an employee to have to deal with this is just terrible.

    1. Anxa*


      These little things add up in your day-to-day. One school I was affiliated had two campuses: a main campus and a health science campus. They were building a rec center for the med/nursing/allied health students, many of whom were graduate/professional students. I kid you not, the mock up had a f*cking slide on it. A slide. Because the school thought it was more important to save those steps walking downstairs, but not important to improve the parking and shuttle services. I know, I know, a rec center might not be as expensive over time, but it’s no fun having to scramble for parking and transit everyday, either.

    2. Parking Lady*

      Parking was the biggest problem for me in college, too. My school built a huge new building in the middle of the parking lot, and shocker, parking became a disaster. I missed an exam once (0%!!!) because I couldn’t find a stupid parking spot.

      I feel really bad for OP.

  42. Ann Furthermore*

    #2: You have my sympathies. I dealt with this at my last job. The old CEO was forced out, and the parent company put another guy in charge who was very old-school and didn’t believe in working from home. If you’re not at your desk with your butt in your seat, then you’re not really working. So he issued an edict saying everyone had to start coming to the office every day. However, the facilities group had been dealing with the parking and office space issue by encouraging managers to let people work from home one day a week if they didn’t need to be in the office every day. So if no one could work from home anymore, where was everyone supposed to sit? Or park? The parking lot was a nightmare for awhile because people were parking along the sides, and on the outsides of the median things, so the parking lot was much harder to navigate, and more dangerous. I even heard a rumor (unconfirmed) that 2 people got into a fistfight over a parking space. They finally rented some space from another building up the street for overflow parking. There was a shuttle, but I didn’t mind walking when the weather was nice; it was a chance to be outside for a few minutes and helped me up my step count for the day. Then they were going to be cheapskates and stop the shuttle, until one person who was using a walker-type thing – one of those things with wheels where you rest your knee on a support and then push yourself along with your other foot – had to use the overflow lot one day and nearly injured himself getting to the office, as the overflow lot was up at the top of a hill from the office. What a cluster.

    #4: I know you have the best intentions, but it really is best to stay out of it. Like others have said, you don’t know that what you saw is the final plan. And, any time I’ve ever opened my mouth and stuck my nose in where it didn’t belong has backfired spectacularly, even though my motives came from a good place and I was trying to help someone out or thinking I could help improve a situation. It blows, but really, the best thing is to just keep that information to yourself.

  43. textbookaquarian*

    OP #2, I feel your pain. My employer made similar bad choices when it came to parking a few years ago. They took out a lot to create a “nature preserve” style walkway area between the two buildings. Then they tried to cram additional employees from the closure of another building into the five remaining lots. They also have a town hall space that gets rented out for events. Needless to say, the parking situation quickly turned into chaos. Folks were using emergency lanes and blocking others out of desperation. Emails were sent asking those who could work from home to do so during town hall events. They’ve since added a small section to one of the lots. Word is they’re also buying an additional lot from a company adjoining the property.

    I know you live in the UK, so university norms are different there. In my area of the US though, one of the big name universities does not allow 1st & 2nd year students to have cars on campus. Not sure what the reasoning is besides easing parking issues. Yet that may be another suggestion you could bring up to the administration if they’re favorable to ideas. Good luck! :)

    1. automaticdoor*

      At my alma mater, no one living on campus was allowed a car! It’s in the middle of a major city. There was barely parking for faculty and staff.

  44. Rusty Shackelford*

    #2 brings back some awful memories. I once worked as a full-time employee at a residence hall on campus. The university had parking lots zoned for students and for staff, and even that was broken down into “you can park in the blue staff lots but not the green ones” and “you can park in this residence hall lot but not that one.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t enforced well, and the small staff lot next to the residence hall, where I was supposed to park, was usually full of student cars when I arrived. Adding insult to injury, the parking authority decided that since staff weren’t using that lot, we must not need it, so they reclassified it as a student lot. The joke was that our expensive sticker wasn’t a parking permit, it was a hunting license. And there was no public transportation available at the time. It was awesome.

    1. None Of This Nonsense, Please*

      Oh, ick. My experience with university parking was while I was trying to take a class while working(I went to uni at a small school/town, everything was walking distance)….If I could find one, I had to park at a metered space with a two hour limit, which since I was 10 minutes at least from the classroom and the class was about an hour and a half long meant it was veryy tight. I ended up with several tickets, and just gave up on the class; I couldn’t afford it, and traffic was so bad I just couldn’t leave early enough to get there and still get my work done. Later, I found out that the university got in big trouble because they’d sped up the clock on the meters…’two hours’ on the meter was really about 1 hour 50 minutes!

  45. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

    OP#1. If an interviewer is anywhere from 5-15 minutes late, and if someone (a receptionist or admin assistant came out and told you that the interviewer was running a few minutes late), I definitely wouldn’t sweat it. I once had an interviewer who was an hour late. That was bad enough, but what made it worse was that when I was in the lobby, the front desk called the person’s office and told them I was downstairs and they said to send me up. When I got upstairs I think someone should have been there to let me know that the interviewer was running late (and perhaps even periodically come out to let me know the interviewer was still running late). Had I been thinking straight, I probably should have suggested that we reschedule. But at that time, I was desperate for a job so I did not let my frustration show. And incidentally, the interviewer did NOT apologize for being late nor did I get that job.

  46. Lynne879*

    #3: I say bring up that Cersei isn’t a great teacher (Or at the very least, ask which teachers are teaching which classes), but be warned that just because a business owner receives customer feedback doesn’t mean that said owner will comply with their requests (I know this from personal experience). If that’s the case, there is nothing you can do to solve it. If the owner continues to be stubborn, let them be stubborn and have their business fail.

  47. Here we go again*

    3 – 4 hours?! That is absolutely insane! I would make a point to focus on the overall issue, instead of your personal reasons for arriving when you do. Your letter focuses heavily on your kids and why you are responsible for dropping them off, but I think that can come across as looking for special treatment because you are a parent. I would stick with “Several people, including myself are driving around looking for parking for hours because there isn’t enough space. We need a feasible solution for this.”

    1. Mephyle*

      It might be worth her saying though that she has logistical reasons – without going into detail about what those reasons are – for not being able use certain other solutions such as coming in earlier.

    2. Thinking Beyond the Campus Parking Lot (aka Jean who seeks to be Ingenious)*

      Here we go again,
      This is a really useful comment for those of us who get so stymied by The Reasons that Cause Our Work-Related e Problem that we can’t describe it succinctly. In other words, thank you for giving me a lesson in avoiding TMI.
      Your comment is almost perfect for this situation. I would just add a few words to stave off the inevitable response of “why can’t you get here before the parking lot fills up.” Thus (my edits in italics): “Several people, including myself, are unable to get here in the very early morning hours before the parking lot fills up. As a result, we drive around looking for parking for hours because there isn’t enough space. We’re all working on short-term personal solutions but in the long run the university needsa feasible solution for this.”

      Note to compulsive copyeditors everywhere: You know you’re obsessed when you start rewriting other folks’ AAM comments. No disrespect to Here we go again–this is my problem! Sigh.

    3. Rusty Shackelford*

      I like this, and I wouldn’t go with the rewrites that mention logistical reasons for coming in late, or being unable to come in early, because none of that is the point. If the LW comes in early, that means someone else is unable to park. The problem isn’t that people who show up at 9:05 can’t find a parking place. The problem is that there are not enough parking places for everyone who has to be there at the same time.

    4. Bananistan*

      Yes. The first time I read OP’s letter, the only thing I actually picked up on was that she missed her own lecture multiple times because she had to drop her kids off, and I wondered why the f$&@ she was still employed. Focus on the parking problems, not your own problems.

  48. Jessesgirl72*

    OP2: Nothing really to add, other than to say that university parking is a universal issue, but in the US, at least, they definitely prioritize faculty parking over student parking and it’s strange that this isn’t the case in the UK.

    But this is why, when my husband got his Masters degree, we moved to a rental a mile from campus. He’d leave work for an afternoon class, park at home, and walk or bike to his class rather than the alternative of paying $200/semester to circle to find parking and eventually have to park in a spot that was almost as far from the classroom as our house!

  49. Lady Blerd*

    OP2: is public transport not an option/is inconvenient? Not that you’d need to take the bus /train from your home but from the closest to your kids’s kindergarten and use public transit to get to work.

    1. De Minimis*

      I was wondering about that too. I understand that the OP’s home is not served by public transport, but I wonder if there’s transport that serves the school and if so, that there might be some kind of park/ride option. That’s generally what I use. I don’t know how it would work with the kids’ school situation though. I know for me I have to leave super early to be relatively certain to get a parking spot at the transit station.

  50. Hiring Mgr*

    On #1, it could be a test to see how you react to unexpected situations. When I interview senior level candidates, I’ll often use the laundry test. Before the interview, I’ll place a load of laundry fresh from the dryer in the conference room, but I will be 10-15 minutes late. If the candidate folds and sorts the laundry while waiting for me, I know they’re a team player and will probably get an offer. If not, it’s good to find out upfront like that they’re not a fit for our culture.

      1. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

        I’m with you, Lablizard– I hope that response from Hiring Mgr was a joke. :-/

    1. SarahTheEntwife*

      0.o What a bizarre test. I would fail that test, since clearly your office culture isn’t a good fit for me — I prefer employers who don’t expect mind-reading. Is this a job at a dry cleaners where there’s some universally-understood protocol for how laundry should be folded and sorted? Otherwise that’s the kind of thing where I know people tend to have strong opinions about how it should be done and I would never presume to know what they are without asking.

    2. BTW*

      What? I’m a “team player” but there is no way I would touch someone’s unidentified laundry that is somehow inexplicably in a conference room. Probably not even if the job was in a laundromat. Perhaps you are selecting for people who like to fold laundry and don’t mind getting up in a stranger’s business? (just seeing the laundry would put me off the job…wondering, do people ever get to go home? Why are they doing their laundry in the office? Do personal/professional boundaries exist here?)

      1. BTW*

        Ok I should have LOLed at that.Blame it on Monday. Now wondering, do you have cameras in the room? This would make a job episode of Punk’d or something like that. I would totally watch videos of people deciding what to do with the laundry when they were expecting a job interview.

    3. Here we go again*

      This seems like a mind-reading test and not a “team player” test. Maybe also a “how does this person handle boredom?” test. Nothing about folding laundry involves a team, unless it is working together to fold large sheets.

    4. Turanga Leela*

      That’s… very strange. I’m helpful, proactive, and don’t mind taking on unusual tasks, but I would never touch someone’s laundry without the person’s permission. Years of using public laundromats has taught me that.

      It’s entirely possible that I wouldn’t be a good cultural fit, but this is a strange way to test that.

    5. Emi.*

      That’s bizarre. I would specifically not mess with other people’s laundry because (a) that’s weird, (b) that’s personal, (c) that’s not what I’m there for, (d) that’s weird.

      1. Lablizard*

        I would wonder if it was clean or dirty laundry, something that isn’t always obvious at first glance. Not for love or money would I touch it

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Meh. I think this falls under “If you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny”

          Also, if this person does it repeatedly, it’s safe to say it’s done on purpose, and is trolling.

          1. fposte*

            I still think it’s just a really dry joke; plus Alison has requested that we not levy accusations of trolling.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              Yes, it was an attempt at humor…However I have seen things not too far off. For example CTO at a large public tech co I used to work for would leave a cup of water on the table as the interview was wrapping up, and would then see if the candidate threw it out or not…Don’t ask me what this was supposed to reveal..

    6. Temperance*

      That’s …. something else. Unless you’re hiring for a laundry, that’s hands-down the weirdest thing I have ever heard of as a test to prove that someone is a “team player”.

      I think we should make a bingo card with these phrases, because, holy shit.

    7. Rat in the Sugar*

      Guys. I’m pretty sure this a joke and not an actual “test” that Hiring Mgr does to their candidates. gave me a giggle, at least. Do you intentionally hide several unmatched socks, to further test the candidate? If they try to sort them with the closest match, it shows a willingness to compromise, but if they leave all the unmatched ones in a pile, clearly not a good fit for the team.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah. I recognise the username as someone who often makes these really dry remarks and everyone takes them seriously although they’re so over-the-top. Probably goes to show what kind of bizarre stuff people have already encountered in their lives.

          1. Kelly L.*

            I did recognize the username, and I’ve always thought every single comment of hers was serious, so I guess it’s been flying over my head all along!

            1. Myrin*

              I think many people did because I actually remember that a discussion about it came up before (that’s why it stuck in my head so thoroughly).

    8. Allison*

      That’s . . . really weird. The candidate doesn’t work there, so why should they feel even the least bit obligated to help out like that? If your office is one where people pitch in with tasks like laundry, the way to assess whether someone is a culture fit is to say “We have some office tasks we expect everyone to help out with around here, regardless of job title, is that something you’d be willing to be a part of?” and pay attention to how they answer.

      Out of curiosity, what kind of laundry do you do at this office?

    9. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      I dearly hope this is a joke, because if you can read AAM enough to have a commenter account and still think this isn’t lunacy, I……actually, not gonna lie, I ain’t even mad, I’m impressed.

    10. Kelly L.*

      Then nope, I’m not a fit. I was raised to leave other people’s personal belongings alone if they didn’t specifically tell me I could mess with them.

    11. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

      I’m trying to decide if Hiring Mgr works for an assisted-living residence, salon, spa, or some other establishment where laundry is part of the daily routine.
      But yes, that’s bizaare. What’s next? Setting plastic vomit on the floor to see which candidates look for paper towels?

  51. Turanga Leela*

    OP #2, is it affordable to use a cab or ride-sharing service to get to work? I’ve started doing this recently—I periodically have to work in an area where parking is crazy, and I realized it’s about $10 roundtrip to use a ride-sharing service. I have to eat the cost, but it’s worth it to me not to spend 45 minutes looking for a parking space.

    At any rate, that might work as a short-term solution while you work on getting a shuttle figured out.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      You can pool an Uber ride with the rest of your office, and cut that $10.

      Can I confess that I’m a little curious as to why OP is still circling for parking rather than taking any of the multiple obvious options suggested in the thread?

      1. Turanga Leela*

        Eh, it’s not that surprising to me—most of the proposed solutions cost money, and you never know what’s available in the OP’s specific situation. Also, in a lot of places, it’s so ingrained that you get to work by driving and parking that people really don’t think of other options at all.

        1. Michelle*

          I think OP is going to end up having to spend money on her solution, and I know she’s said that money is tight. But I wonder if she’s really calculated out how much she’s wasting on fuel driving around the parking lot for hours every day. As I mentioned above, that has to be costing a fortune!

      2. JMegan*

        I agree with Turanga Leela. And as I said above, I have a hunch that the OP is probably very tired, in addition to being stressed out about the parking situation. These things have a way of interfering with your brain’s ability to do, well, pretty much everything. I know for me, decision-making and problem-solving skills are often the first to go! I can absolutely see myself in a situation where I’m faced with a problem and don’t know what to do other than keep doing what I’m doing (driving around looking for parking) until a solution presents itself.

        1. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

          Good call, since she moved recently, lives with two young kids whom she shuttles between home and two different organizations, and lives a split-shift, diametrically-opposing-schedules life with her husband when she’s not running between home, work, and the kids’ two different child care/preschool facilities.

          Ouch. Those days were not easy and we only had one child.
          I realize that people who don’t have children still have family or personal concerns that complicate their routines. Ailing parent? Sick puppy? Sibling or close friend with XYZ challenges…? It can be really hard to manage one’s life while also holding down a job (never mind doing really well at same job).

      3. fposte*

        I’m not sure I really understand the question. A lot of letter writers have problems that could have been solved before they wrote in. But that’s why they wrote in–to find out how to solve them.

        1. Dot Warner*

          I agree, but I do wonder why she was circling for 3-4 **hours** in the first place.

      4. LCL*

        Cause she has 2 little kids, a shiftwork husband, and only 1 car. Things get exponentially more complicated when kids are involved, and when shiftwork is involved, and you only have 1 car. My parents managed, but my mom didn’t work outside the home. My solution to the campus parking issue was to get a fast motorcycle, but I don’t think that’s an option here…

  52. Millie*

    You mentioned that you thought about renting a local resident’s space – have a look on parkopedia if you’re thinking about doing this as I know that people list their spaces on there. Normally schools have breakfast clubs for this reason so it’s a shame that your child’s doesn’t!

  53. Wendy Darling*

    I think an interviewer being late becomes relevant if it’s part of a pattern.

    For instance, I was recently interviewed by a manager who was 20+ minutes late to his phone interview with me and 15+ minutes late to our in-person interview. He also made a mildly sexual joke during the interview (rated PG, but that’s still about six miles shy of interview-appropriate). Any of these in isolation would not be a big deal, but all three together paints me a picture of someone who is unreliable and unprofessional. If this guy can’t even show up on time and be on his best behavior for ANY of our interviews, what’s he going to be like as a manager?

  54. Mel*

    Re: Late Interviewers
    Sometimes you can predict who will run late if you’re in a specific field of work. I had an interview last Wednesday, and I was warned ahead of time that everyone would be coming straight from a faculty meeting. And the first person I was to meet with was the head doctor of the department, so I was very much not surprised that they were running late. I completely understood and was fine being flexible, as running late for meetings is the standard practice for the doctors I work with.

  55. Sarah*

    OP5: you might want to look into your agency’s rules around reporting of sexual harassment before you mention this to your supervisor. In the agencies I have worked for your manager would be required to escalate any sexual harassment reports up the hierarchy. If that is the policy where you work and you do not want that to happen, you may need to phrase this vaguely and avoid the term sexual harassment to give your supervisor an out.

    1. MEMEME*

      It can be difficult to toe the line, but she’ll be ok if she puts her best foot forward and avoids any arch comments. (Sorry)

      On a far less silly note, it seems prudent to review the sexual harassment policy before moving forward, agreed.

  56. Jack the Accessibility Guy*

    Re number 5: I had a similar situation a few months ago and flagged it with my boss too. He found it helpful since he could then keep in mind that No-Go Trainer was a bit of a creep and to avoid trainings with him in the future. (Or, in this case, putting his two LGBTQ employees in trainings with No-Go.)

  57. percy*

    OP 2 – Here is what I would do. Go buy yourself one of those big orange parking cones. It has to be a big one, like 3 feet tall. Them go by the university parking lot in the evening when it’s deserted and place your parking cone in a nice spot that you would like to use the next day. When you arrive the next morning, pick up your cone and take your parking space.

      1. Dankar*

        Yeah, when I was a student, I would put the cone in my trunk and replace it when I left for the day. This was a pretty well-known trick that the resident students used to keep their spots clear near the dorm.

        I doubt that would work for more than a week.

    1. Mrs. Fenris*

      People did this once in awhile when I was in grad school. I was surprised at how long it always took before somebody just moved it. I was the person who finally moved the thing, many times.

  58. marmot*

    Just wanted to say I worked at a place that intentionally started interviews really late. Like offensively late – upwards of an hour.

    The owner bought into some goofy business development plan that was loaded with terrible strategies straight out of the 80’s, and that was one of the recommendations. I think the idea was to put the interviewer in a position of power. It was super weird, and obviously the exception that proves the rule, but I’ve witnessed it.

  59. Steph*

    OP #2: I find it incredible that you are waiting 3-4 hours for a spot after the university got rid of a whole car park and that the university is unaware of the issue? Surely, surely surely there must be other people in the same boat as you, and that they have already been made aware of the issue? Is there not talk of it amongst staff or in university wide emails, newsletters, etc?
    I’m sorry, umm not offering any useful suggestions, here, but I am finding unbeliveable that the university is not addressing it (even if they aren’t actually doing anything).

  60. Barney Stinson*

    #4: what did you do with the document you found? If you left it there at the copier, then I’m guessing there’s a 100% chance this info is out without any help from you.

  61. The Rat-Catcher*

    “She’s also planning work projects and events for after she is supposed to be laid off that would benefit from a transition period to transfer the work to the remaining team. The company hasn’t said anything and likely won’t say anything until they lay her off.”

    OP #4: This part sounds like it’s 100% on the company. If they’re not planning on giving any advance notice, then of course there won’t be any time to transition or benefit from your coworker’s knowledge on the wrap-up. I recognize that I have a strong bias toward thinking that last-minute notification is crappy, so let me acknowledge that they may have legitimate reasons for not notifying her until it happens. But every decision has a cost, and that is the cost of this one.
    Best of luck to you in your job search!

  62. mockingbird2081*

    OP 1: I interview so many people but as well as interviewing I manage a huge office with a lot of people. I try very hard to be on time for the interviews but I am so thankful for those candidates that are patient if I am running 10-15 minutes late. Often times I am heading to meet the candidate when something urgent comes up I need to handle right then. I work in the medical field so things often move quickly. I do think over 20 minutes it is just fine to ask how long it may take.

    And no one should ever wait for an hour…at that point that is just so rude it would be a big red flag.

  63. Ghost Town*

    OP2: I also work at a uni where spots are gone be 15-5 minutes before 8am! We do have a few less conveniently located lots we can usually find spaces. Also, they started a really expensive permit where you reserve a specific spot 24 hrs a day or between 7am-5pm. (creates a whole slew of other issues where the lowest paid employees use it bc they have to leave on their breaks to take care of family, etc. and can’t find a space when they get back)

  64. saffytaffy*

    #2. “The problem is that, myself, as a mom who has to drop off two children in two different locations, loose, as I arrive a little after 9.”

    I get so embarrassed for people whose letters get published as-is, with errors. It creates a hurdle (not an insurmountable one) towards respecting their position. Is there any way letters could be lightly proofed before publication? Maybe that would take away from the sense of authenticity, but I know they’re sometimes edited for length, so it seems like proofing could be a possibility.

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