work questions from Friends, Gilmore Girls, Jane Austen, and more

After I answered a question last year about how one of the Twilight vampires could keep his true nature hidden at work, I received a bunch of other questions from literature and TV. Here are four of them.

1. Fired for accepting a kickback (Friends)

In a Season 2 episode of Friends, Monica is promoted to buyer for her restaurant. It’s the first time she’s held the position. She makes a deal with an account, and they personally give her five steaks and an eggplant as a thanks. Being so new to the position, Monica accepts them, not realizing that it’s considered a kickback.

When her boss informs her that it is, Monica apologizes, explaining she didn’t understand, and offers to pay for them. Her boss informs her that they have a corporate policy she didn’t know about, and is immediately fired.

I’ve always thought that it was unfair, and at most she should have been written up or suspended. What do you think should have happened?

I agree — it’s overly harsh. They should have explained the policy, reiterated its seriousness, and warned her that it couldn’t happen again. Firing an otherwise conscientious employee who simply didn’t know about the policy (and who is inexperienced enough that it’s really feasible that she genuinely didn’t know this would be a problem) is overkill.

2. Who would be the best management hire? (Jane Austen)

I was thinking about a literary-themed question last night, which I wondered if you would enjoy: If you had to, which Jane Austen man would you hire for a middle-management position? I think Mr. Darcy would be too rude, Bingley would be a pushover, Wickham and Henry Crawford would cause drama, Mr. Knightley would be very preachy, Edmund is an absolute drip, and so on. I settled for Colonel Brandon because he is patient, thoughtful, and experienced.

I also think on the whole Jane Austen’s women would be a lot easier to work with. I would LOVE to have Emma as a colleague.

P.S. To tell the truth, when I say “I was thinking about a literary-themed question last night,” I was actually wondering who I would pick romance-wise, not work-wise. I am essentially Kitty Bennet.

I love your choice of Colonel Brandon. I think Frederick Wentworth would also be good — assertive but not pushy, driven, and straightforward, with a good work ethic. I’m not convinced Mr. Knightley would be so bad, but then I have a soft spot for him and his bossy ways.

3. Getting severance when you quit to start your own business (tropes)

The recent post on literature got me thinking about a fictional scenario you sometimes see on series finales of TV shows or the endings of movies (fake names used to prevent spoilers). Our beloved protagonist Vivi is leaving to chase his dream/start his own business, after a long stint at Lindblum Corporation. He walks into his boss Garnet’s room to announce his resignation and the scene begins:

Vivi: Miss Garnet, I’m quitting to start my own firm.
Garnet: Don’t quit, let me fire you instead.
Vivi: Huh?
Garnet: If I fire you, then Lindblum Corp will pay you severance! (winks)

So Vivi end up with a big check to chase his dream because he was “fired” and the viewing audience loves Garnet for supporting her friend/employee.

My question: How would this sort of scenario play out in real life? Any legal ramifications? Would Vivi have any long-term issues to worry about?

Unless Garnet is the owner of the company, he’s doing something that his employer presumably wouldn’t be thrilled about if they found out — he’s being generous with money that isn’t his.

Vivi probably won’t have anything to worry about, although it would be better for him if Garnet agreed to call it a layoff rather than a firing. But they’re both doing something fairly unethical, particularly Garnet.

4. Gumptioning your way into a job (Gilmore Girls)

I was recently re-watching Gilmore Girls and an episode stood out to me as relevant to job advice. For background, in case you’re not familiar with the show: the main character, Rory Gilmore, got an internship at a small-ish newspaper, the Stamford Eagle Gazette, thanks to her boyfriend’s father, whose company bought the paper. She worked there for the summer but ended up not going back to school afterwards (due to said boyfriend’s father crushing her dreams, but that’s not really relevant here).

In the episode in question (“The Prodigal Daughter Returns”) she decides to go back to Yale and she wants to get a job as well. She calls the editor of the paper to ask him to be a reference, and he tells her he’s happy to give her a great reference because she performed so well. He wishes he could hire her, but they don’t have any openings available. However, Rory proceeds to go to the paper’s office and speaks to the editor, giving him her resume and two encyclopedia-size binders of her work samples, and asks for a job (she says that he sounded so enthusiastic about her on the phone that she felt like he would want to hire her, and contends she will be very cheap to hire). He insists he has no openings, but she says she can figure that out if they talk for a few minutes. He says no again, so she says she’ll wait. She continues to show up in the office for multiple days, inserting herself into conversations to give ideas (good ones, but still) and even going into the editor’s office to put her resume on his desk so that he’ll read it. This last step apparently convinces the editor that she has good work, so he agrees to meet with her and this leads to her getting hired (for very low pay).

As a regular reader of your blog, this scenario appalled me. I’m curious what advice you would give to A) a manager who has a persistent applicant or B) an applicant who wants to be re-hired at a former employer who likes you, but doesn’t have any open positions.


Yeah, bad moves all around, from the encyclopedia-size binders to the repeated refusals to take no for an answer to showing up at his office for multiple days. In real life, that last move is likely to get you banned from the premises and to cancel out your previously good reference. It’s rarely likely to get you hired.

If you want to be re-hired at a former employer who likes you but doesn’t have any open position, your options are to (a) accept that or (b) in some cases, propose a position that you think they could be open to, if that makes sense — but then take no for an answer if they say no to that too.

Generally speaking, people who refuse to take no for an answer and think they can gumption their way into a yes are bad news — at work, in romance, and in life in general.

{ 526 comments… read them below }

  1. Mel*

    Colonel Brandon is really a shoe-in for best manager… as he already WAS a manager in the Royal Army as a colonel!

    1. Lizard*

      I was coming in here to say that–both he and Captain Wentworth had years of experience managing large groups of people with different levels of skill, education, and drive with minimal input into who was assigned to their command.

      I’m gonna go with Frederick Wentworth for “favorite manager” just because of that one little passage in Persuasion where it is noted that he was the only commander to ever persuade Anne’s neighbors’ son to write home without asking for money.

        1. Annonymouse*

          Just thought I’d mention a game up here for all you regency era romance buffs.

          There’s a game for iPhones called “Regency Love” where you get to basically live out a Jane Austen novel.

          Colonel Brandon also is a landowner so would manage an estate as well as the local clergy (evidenced by giving Edward a living).

          I do think he

          Also no love for Henry Tilney as a manager?

          1. Art3mis*

            Henry Tilney is my FAVORITE Austen hero! And he seems like he would be a perfect middle manager – cheerful and a little jokey by nature, but quite serious and proper when it’s called for. Colonel Brandon seems like more of a C-suite exec to me.

          2. Nea*

            I thought the same thing! Tilney is patient and understanding even when he’s actually been inadvertently insulted. He’s the perfect manager.

    2. hazelshadeofwinter*

      Yeah, Brandon and Wentworth have a huge advantage over most of the others as they’re among the minority of Jane Austen heroes who have actually had real jobs! Darcy and Knightley may be good guys overall, but nevertheless they’ve never had more real responsibility than whatever’s needed to manage their own households/families and keep themselves amused.

      1. Rebooting*

        I don’t know – Knightley manages his property, which involves meeting with Robert Martin on at least one occasion. You can’t be in charge of a property the size of Donwell and not be a decent manager, imo, and all his preachiness is aimed at Emma, who is a family friend; he’s much less likely to behave that way with someone under his employ, because the relationship is different.

        Basically, being the master of Donwell -is- a real job. He’s a landlord and he seems to involve himself quite a bit in the affairs of the tenants, in the way you’d want your landlord to.

      2. Kora*

        Darcy and Knightly are both landowners, which means they have tenant farmers to manage, local positions in the clergy they’re responsible for keeping filled, and duties as magistrates. That’s in addition to having the final say in the management of their staff; and in Darcy’s case, given his stated income, he’s probably got investments to keep an eye on as well. Of course, they’re only answerable to themselves, and if they want to shirk their responsibilities and run their estates into the ground they can, but the responsibilites do exist and are actually pretty serious.

      3. Annonymouse*

        Darcy and Knightley both manage estates and Knightleys estate is a farming one.

        This means they have to:
        1) Manage household staff (maids, butlers, cooks and the staff under them)

        2) Manage the estate staff (gardeners, stable staff, the steward, games keepers, the farm staff for Knightley)

        For Darcy:
        He has a house in town so extra household staff
        He is a local landowner. He has to manage tennents and their housing
        He also has a stake in the local churches – do he has to assign who works there.

        All in all they both actually manage a lot of people and in their dealings with the staff they come across as fair, practical and level headed.

        It’s their personal life bed where they have problems.

        Also: no love for Henry Tilney? The guy stands up to his dad when he treats someone very poorly.

        That’s the kind of boss I want.

    3. Fiennes*

      Darcy would work in an industry/office where there are strict rules of conduct and/or legal regulations to deal with. You want someone good with people? Get Wentworth. You want someone who’s going to make sure every i is dotted and every t crossed on your SEC filings? Get Darcy.

      As much as I love Brandon generally, one trait he displays in the book is being very soft on those he likes even when they’re engaging in serious impropriety. Not sure whether that would be a workplace problem or not…

      1. PrettyNicola*

        Darcy and Knightley both (successfully) manage extensive estates though; that’s a lot of people and moving parts! I would think that qualifies as running your own business, which is pretty good work experience.

        1. Fiennes*

          Now that I think about it, the one employee of Darcy’s that we meet, Mrs Reynolds, praises him as being both fair and generous. She even says she’s never had a cross word from him. I think we’re underestimating Darcy’s managerial potential.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I used to think Darcy would be a good compliance officer, but as I get older I feel like he’s too rigidly rules-driven—he doesn’t know when it’s ok to ease up and when an issue is absolutely non-negotiable. He treats everything as non-negotiable, which is not great.

        But yes, I would go with Brandon, as well.

    4. British Dude*

      Point of pedantry: it’s just the Army (or the British Army, if you need to disambiguate). Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, but just the Army. Not really sure why: possibly because historically the Army was more a loose confederation of regiments (some of which did and do have “Royal” in their names) than a unitary organisation, possibly because of its roots in Parliament’s New Model Army during the English Civil War.

      (I know this comment is a year late.)

  2. Jessie the First (or second)*

    Frederick Wentworth for the win, absolutely. He’d be my first pick out of all the men. Elinor Dashwood would probably be who I’d want out of the women (if the Elizabethan era were transformed so that jobs existed for this class of women).

    1. NotMyRealName*

      Elinor or Anne Eliot. Anne could manage anybody, including her crazy family.

      I think Darcy would be fine as a manager, his staff all love him. He certainly shouldn’t do front line customer service though. He has very little patience for stupidity.

      1. DeskBird*

        I think Darcy would be great at upper management or owning a company (Lizzy Bennet Diaries anyone?) but I don’t think he would thrive in middle management. I don’t think he would take direction well and would rather create his own policies rather than enforcing other people’s.

        1. Your Weird Uncle*

          Hurrah for Team Darcy – he has the capacity for self-evaluation and is willing to change his mind and (publicly) admit when he is wrong!

        2. Kheldarson*

          I think Darcy would be adaptable to a middle management position, particularly one that had potential for promotion. Remember, Pride & Prejudice is mainly from Lizzie’s POV and surrounds social situations. The only references we have to his professional type life are that he manages his house well (and his employees speak highly of him!) and that he went to school.

          If you extrapolate from that and the time period, he would’ve had basically a high level internship at the middle manager level already. And obviously did well. But he’s not the type of guy to *stay* in that position.

      2. INTP*

        I think Darcy would be good at upper management, or management involving a particular high-level skill, where results on something particular are highly important. CFO, Engineering Manager, Quality Director, something like that. I don’t see him as having the diplomacy, or tolerance for bureaucracy and tedium, that I imagine in the stereotypical middle management position. (Even though they’re so different, I feel the same about Lizzie, who I would picture as a project or program manager – some position where it’s her job to fiercely advocate for “her” group and project, not play diplomat between upstairs and downstairs.)

    2. AcademiaNut*

      Frederick would also have the advantage of command experience.

      A lot of the women would have their own problems, too. Emma would be constantly egging her coworkers on in ill-advised plots based on her overactive imagination, and Catharine would likewise stir up unnecessary drama. Jane would be the manager who couldn’t bring herself to face her employees’ flaws, wanting to see the best in everyone, Mary would lecture her employees endlessly about minor rule infractions, but miss the important stuff, Kitty would tend to follow the strongest personality around without thinking much about it, and Lydia would be the one having an affair with her boss. Fanny would be completely conflict avoidant, and would avoid situations where she had to disagree with people, or have people pay attention to her, and her employees would run roughshod over her. Anne and Elinor would be the martyrs – doing competent work, but also picking up the slack for everyone without complaint, burning themselves out, and covering up real issues with other employees. Marianne would be the enthusiastic intern, bursting with ideas but not much common sense, and wanting to be personal friends with her employees.

      Maybe Elizabeth – she’d have initial problems making snap judgements about her staff based on first impressions, but would be able to learn from it.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Agreed – awesome analysis!

        Charlotte Lucas would kick ass too, I think. Very pragmatic, and very good at making the best out of a bad situation. She would be excellent at dealing with those terrible coworkers who management won’t fire for some reason.


        Charlotte: I encourage him to be in his garden as often as possible. Then he has to walk to Rosings nearly every day
        Elizabeth: So often? Is that necessary?
        Charlotte: Perhaps not, but I admit I encourage him in that also. And when he is in the house, he is mostly in his book room which affords a good view of the road whenever Lady Catherine’s carriage should drive by.
        Elizabeth: And you prefer to sit in this parlor.
        Charlotte: Yes. So you see, it often happens that a whole day passes in which we have not spent more than a few minutes in each other’s company. I find that I can bear the solitude very cheerfully.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Charlotte is the ultimate hard-working, no-nonsense pragmatist. They really captured that aspect of her character in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, my absolute favorite P&P adaptation.

      2. INTP*

        I don’t see Elizabeth as having the diplomacy for middle management. I would position her as more of a project team leader where it’s her job to advocate fiercely for her own team. I don’t see her as being able to be the conduit between her employees and upper management BS, having to play the bad guy to both sides.

      3. Liz T*

        I think Elizabeth would be a little too snarky and lazy to be fully effective. I think she’d be a great specialist, in a field that really interested her, but I don’t see her happy as an administrator.

        1. Annie on a Mouse*

          I agree that Lizzie might be a little too snarky for her own good, but I don’t think she’s lazy. She’ll go the distance for people she cares about, without worrying about whether someone of her status “should.” After all, tramping three miles in the mud when Jane caught a cold isn’t nothing – and she couldn’t have cared less that her petticoat got muddy as long as she was able to be there for Jane.

      4. Anna Held*

        One thing to bear in mind is everyone’s ages. The women are mostly teenagers; the men are late twenties to early thirties. The older women — Charlotte (27) Elinor (23?) and Anne (27) are going to do better than Catherine (18) or poor Lydia (15!) Elizabeth, at 21, is right in the middle.

        So yes, the ladies tend to seem like the young, overeager intern or clueless gum-snapping retail employee who ignores you to talk to her friend about her boyfriend (Lydia). They are that young, and have very little real world experience.

        I hate hate hate Emma but I was trying to re-read her lately, and one line stood out: she most missed her governess because it curtailed her walks. She literally couldn’t even go out for the long walks in her own neighborhood she was accustomed to without her chaperone. So yeah…girl’s got issues.

        1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

          In Emma’s defense, it wasn’t strictly proper for young unmarried women to walk alone. It’s tolerated in the country (although still frowned upon by high sticklers– look at Caroline Bingley’s attitude toward Elizabeth’s solitary walk to Netherfield to check on Jane when she was sick), but in London, women were absolutely NOT allowed to walk unaccompanied by a maid or chaperone. Given Emma’s social status (much higher than Lizzy’s), the absence of a governess would seriously have curtailed her ability to ramble about the countryside.

          1. Boop*

            This, plus you have to consider what influence her father had on the situation. Given his level of hypochondriacal concern for others/fear of everything, and his reliance on Miss Taylor to basically raise his daughters, it’s entirely possible that Emma curtails her wandering to appease him.

        2. Lil Lamb*

          Here to second Emily’s opinion. You have to keep societal context in mind when reading these novels.

        3. sstabeler*

          To be fair- not having read the Austen books- it sounds like they might well be the kid of rich that today would usually have at least a discreet bodyguard. As such, it’s less ‘can’t do it’ and more ‘would be taking too much risk of kidnap’.

    3. tigerlily*

      Agreed, love Elinor Dashwood! Also the historian in me feels a need to point out – Jane Austen and her heroines were actually from the Georgian period. The Elizabethan Era ended 200 years earlier with the end of the Tudors. :)

      1. Jessie the First (or second)*

        As a former English major who focused on Shakespeare and the actual Elizabethan era of literature, I have to hang my head in shame. I can’t believe I typed that!

        1. tigerlily*

          Ha! No worries. Believe me, I have had my fair share of moments where things like that get mixed up and you’re left thinking to yourself “why would I have ever written that? That is just categorically wrong!”

          But not everyone knows the names of the different periods, or when they shift, and I’m all for sharing knowledge. :)

      2. Kathleen Adams*

        Thank you so much for pointing this out. I was trying very hard not to – because clearly it was just a little brain glitch – but I doubt if I would have been able to hold out for much longer.

      3. shep*

        I once made the mistake in one of my graduate writing workshops of saying how much I loved the Victorian-era backdrop of the piece, and then gave some craft thoughts.

        She ignored my craft thoughts and said, pretty dang patronizingly, “It’s Regency.”

        As a shy first-semester grad, I could’ve sunk completely into the floor and it still wouldn’t have been enough to hide my embarrassment. (But apparently this woman was also notoriously grumpy, domineering, and rude, and her own peers went out of their way to avoid her.)

        Which you are totally NOT, tigerlily! Just reminded me of how I once said “Victorian” instead of “Regency” and how mortified I was all those years ago! ;)

    4. INTP*

      I think Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice (Lizzie’s friend that married Mr. Collins) would be an excellent middle manager. She is diplomatic and gets along with all kinds of people, she recognizes a good deal when she sees one, and she’s practical enough to happily accept a potentially tedious position for financial stability. (I don’t mean the latter in a snarky way – as she says, she’s not a romantic, and you want a middle manager that appreciates the job for what it is more than an ambitious person that only views it as a stepping stone on which to position themselves for prime visibility to upper management.)

  3. motherofdragons*

    This was delightful to read on a rainy, slow Friday morning! I would love to see this again in the future, if you get more submissions!

      1. JBurr*

        The timing of this post is bizarre, because I literally have a draft comment ready for the weekend free-for-all to ask folks if they would listen to a podcast of this.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          HELL YES! I could imagine it being short-form, like Grammar Girl, or more story-based and long-form, like TAL.

        1. Buffy*

          haha *or* (if she was paid) whether Buffy would be considered an employee of the Watcher’s Council or a contractor?

      2. A Plain-Dealing Villain*

        My favorite work scenario from Friends is the one where Rachel takes up smoking.

        1. Cath in Canada*

          I also enjoyed Joey’s work personas: Joseph, when he took a job in Chandler’s company, and Dragon, when Monica hired him just to have someone to fire so that everyone else would respect her.

          1. KatieJ*

            LOVED Joey’s work personas, as well as Phoebe’s – I think she was Nurse with Tray on DOOL when Joey was Dr. Drake Ramoray.

            Alison, Friends could provide you a ridiculous amount of prompts – Chandler’s boss slapping his butt, how Monica’s staff treated her, Rachel findings Chandler handcuffed in her boss’ office, what terrible employees the six of them were.

            1. Jane Gloriana Villanueva*

              There was that episode where they were all at Central Perk (I know, bear with me) commenting that their bosses disliked them and speculating why, and Joey said something to the effect of, “Maybe it’s because you’re all hanging out here at 11 o’clock on a WEDNESDAY.”

              Man, they were terrible employees. Think of how often Ross showed up in Rachel’s office when he was jealous of Mark. Although I would be interested to read Alison’s response to Ross re: Subject: MY SANDWICH!

      3. Robin Sparkles*

        This has so far been my favorite of all the posts! Love it. I would have a million Buffy ones… running off to type a few to send…

      4. KarenD*

        I just started re-watching The West Wing (… for … reasons ….) . and I will keep my eyes peeled for possible AAM questions :D

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          OMG, between Josh and Donna, there are about 500. Then if you mix in Charlie, there’s even more, and if you focus on Toby, alone, you could easily write 1000+ columns.

          1. BananaPants*

            I think Charlie’s a bit different because of the unique nature of his role. As Barlet’s body man, he’s basically a combination of executive and personal assistants and accompanies him everywhere. It’s a pretty personal situation, so the blurring of professional/personal lines is IMO less-questionable.

            Josh and Donna are CHOCK FULL of opportunities, though.

  4. Jeff*

    Shout-out to OP#3 for their choice of anonymizing names. (In this scenario it’s all for naught, of course – Lindblum Corporation was absorbed by a rival interest shortly afterwards.)

    1. k*

      The scene sounds so familiar but I can’t place it. I totally respect saving others from spoilers, but can someone at least give a hint to the title or one of the actors?

        1. Jeff*

          Yeah, that was my take – “this is a trope that’s used a lot, but to avoid spoiling a specific version I’ll concoct a scenario using fake names.”

        1. Elle*

          Just rewatched The Office – Dwight fires Jim and Pam when they tell him they’re quitting to move to Texas. I was fuzzy on if Jim actually had a job offer waiting for him (there had just been some drama about him interviewing for a job and Pam objecting to it).

      1. Antilles (OP#3)*

        OP#3 here. The names were just grabbed from Final Fantasy 9 for anonymity, but the actual scenario doesn’t happen there. The actual scenario happens in a bunch of various TV and literature programs – a couple specific examples I was thinking of are The Office (US) and How I Met your Mother.
        —spoilers below—
        Jim and Pam in the Office’s final episode. Jim tries to quit and Dwight tells him, nope, you’re fired. Jim starts to get ticked, the Dwight says “no, for the severance” and it’s a heartwarming moment after all the years of their low-level fighting and arguments.
        A similar scenario also occurred in How I Met your Mother – Marshall fired someone and felt guilty so he canceled it…but the guy was actually happy about being fired so he’d have money to put into starting a business. After some arguments, Marshall ended up firing the guy and the guy was glad for the severance.

        1. gmg22*

          Thank you for posting. It is a thought-provoking window into the vagaries of the human memory that I had persuaded myself this scenario happened on “Mad Men,” and it was Roger giving Don money to go start his own firm. I don’t think any of that ever actually took place, did it?

          1. Natalie*

            Not quite, but they do have Lane Pryce fire them so they can start their own firm. I think they need to be fired to get out of their contracts, though, not for severance.

      1. Mary, Queen of Scoffs*

        Yes, I got a kick out of seeing some love for FF9. I feel like it’s doesn’t get nearly as much love as some of the other Final Fantasies.

        1. Jeff*

          I’m really trying to avoid turning the comments section into a discussion of FF games here, but…!

          It definitely was one I enjoyed less than others in the series, although I still did enjoy it. One of the big turn-offs for me was the sheer amount of items/other content that was missable forever, combined with a terrible strategy guide (their PlayOnline service had just launched, and so most of the strategy guide was vague hints followed by directions to go to PlayOnline and enter a special code to look up the actual info.) That ticked off a lot of players at the time.

        2. Liz T*

          Agreed! It’s one of the few I’ve played more than once in its entirety. (The destruction of Cleyra did not get less sad.)

      2. Searcher*

        Completely made my day, too! FFIX was my first Final Fantasy and this warmed my heart :) totally something Garnet would have done too, I think.

      3. Turtle Candle*

        Same! We should have some Final Fantasy-love chitchat in the weekend open thread. :D

  5. k*

    oooh #4…The first time I watched the show I was young, still in school, didn’t think anything of it. Having re-watched it recently that episode really made me cringe. Also, Rory is just the worst, right? Watching this show as an adult, she’s just the most entitled person ever.

    1. Mona Lisa Saperstein*

      Rory is the WOOOoOOOOooOORst, even when she’s portrayed as a 31-year-old adult in the recent revival! I cannot understand how exactly we’re supposed to believe she’s been gainfully employed as a journalist since college. [MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD,] for God’s sake, she goes to a job interview/pitch meeting with 0 pitches prepared and FALLS ASLEEP while interviewing a source. I love the show, but it’s in spite of Rory, not because of her.

      1. H.C.*

        [[also minor spoilers]]
        Yeah, both examples showed Rory being the worst – professionally (not to mention indirectly blowing off Conde Nast by never finishing that lines story.)

        I’m half-amused at Lorelai’s magical ability to instantly acquire all those things that people were waiting in long lines for, though.

        1. Mona Lisa Saperstein*

          Right, and when they get to the line that’s waiting for nothing, she just laughs and walks away! Even though finding/featuring something like that was basically the entire point of the piece!

          1. DeskBird*

            That drove me nuts too! I was just yelling “THIS! This is what you were looking for! This is the story! Interview ALL of those people”. Epic Fail.

      2. CC*

        1. Rory is absolutely the most entitled child and I just can’t with her. I have this whole theory that the entire series is the story of a child who is born with every possible opportunity and advantage in the world and entitles her way into a life of mediocrity and failure. It’s the only way I can like the series as an adult; if I’m truly supposed to believe that Rory is great and just misunderstood, my brain will explode.
        2. Please tell me your spelling of “re worst” is supposed to be read in Jean Ralphio’s voice.

        1. esra (also a Canadian)*

          That Jean Ralphio gif is one of my favourites.

          Back to Rory being the worst: Someone tells her something kind of work-mean once and she goes off the rails. How was she ever going to handle an actual job. I mean, it was a realistic presentation of how someone who has heard nothing but praise their entire life would react, but I don’t have faith that that’s what the writers were going for.

            1. fposte*

              And then she lived off the Huntzberger teat for another freaking decade, apparently. I guess that “I will follow” part of the theme song was all she could do.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Rory is the personification of New England, old money entitlement wrapped in a big warm coat of white privilege. All her life people tell her she’s special—even when she’s pretty average—and she so internalizes that messaging that she then doesn’t think she has to put in time, effort, or work to merit the benefits that come her way. She goes from working super hard at Chilton the first few years to being a pretty boring, selfish, and lazy caricature.

          And in addition to her maturation into a full-fledged societal parasite, there’s the completely non-credible narrative about Lorelai’s shift from pregnant teen to hotel manager / single mom. Nothing about Rory’s teen years is believable. How do they have so much money to eat out so often!? How could they possibly afford to live in Stars Hollow—communities like that in Connecticut are not affordable? And finally, how much does Rory take her mom’s sacrifices for granted? Why does she suck at being a friend? I used to love Rory when I was a kid because she was earnest and kind and sincere and loved to read. But I really struggle with the series after Season 3, and the reboot did a great job at killing any hope I may have held out for Rory’s redemption.

        1. Amber T*

          YES. As a teen/young adult… okay, you’re still figuring how life is, I can handle that. As a 31 one year old? COME ON.

          1. Chickaletta*

            I had this problem too, and Rory was really slutting it up in the revival too. How many men could possibly be the father of her baby? Three at last count…

            But, the reason I heard that all this happened to her in the revival is because Amy Sherman-Palladino didn’t write the last season of the original series, and the revival storyline was supposed to happen then in season 7 if she had written it. It would have made a little more sense then. But, ‘cmon, it’s a TV show, when was the last time anyone saw a TV show rooted in reality? If a show was completely realistic it would be boring and we’d all turn off the TV and go back to our regular lives.

            1. Jesmlet*

              Nothing wrong with having sex with 3 different guys over the course of one year. What is questionable was having sex with the engaged guy while dating a random guy she just kept forgetting to break up with.

              Seems like ASP pulled a How I Met Your Mother and got so caught up with her original idea for an ending that she didn’t bother to consider how the characters had or should have progressed 10 years later.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Absolutely this. By the time Rory went to Yale, I was really struggling to find redeeming qualities. When she appeared for the reboot, her character crushed any sense of affinity or sympathy I could ever have for her. She’s an extraordinarily selfish, entitled, lazy, and immoral wastrel basking in the excess of rich men who have subsidized her cost of living while she goes on a one-woman bridge-burning campaign through everyone elses’ lives.

        3. Lissa*

          It’s seriously painful and I really have to wonder why the writers were so tone-deaf about the character, and what they were going for. I mean, Lorelai has her flaws, but I always found enough things to like about her, but Rory just got increasingly un-fun to watch over the years, culminating in the revival It’s one of many examples of “if this is what they were going for, it would be brilliant, but we’re supposed to love this person!”

      3. tigerlily*

        To be totally fair about the interview – if I was in Rory’s shoes, I probably would have come to that meeting unprepared also. All we saw from the company showed them already wanting her – why would Rory go to that meeting expecting it to be a regular interview where she needed to sell herself? Especially after she’d turned them down several times before finally agreeing to go? I would have expected to be wooed, would have expected them to show me what they had to offer ME, not the other way around. I think that’s what Rory was expecting and why she came so unprepared. I mean, I wouldn’t have NOTHING to say, but I certainly wouldn’t expect to be interviewed the way she ended up being. To me, that whole company acted very bizarrely.

        Also, to be fair, I don’t think Rory’s the worst. I did very much think the revival was the worst. Every bit about it was terrible.

        1. Mona Lisa Saperstein*

          If I were in Rory’s place, even if I thought the company desperately wanted me and I had the job in the bag, I would also expect them to at least ask what I planned on writing for the site. Since at the time of the revival we’re supposed to believe she’s been a semi-successful journalist for the past eight years, I’m shocked that she didn’t have ANYTHING in her back pocket and couldn’t convincingly BS a few story ideas, or even throw out that “waiting in lines” story idea (which she completely abandoned BTW)!

        2. Erin*

          I completely agree with you on how she came to that interview.

          When I interviewed for my current job, for the second interview, they let me know ahead of time to come familiar with their sites and prepared with suggestions on how to improve them. Rory was given no indication of this.

          I also don’t think Rory’s the worst, although I have to admit the revival does make her a bit more unlikable than she was before.

        3. Julia*

          I agree. I also think Rory is supposed to be in a quarter-life-crisis state during the revival, which I can totally empathize with, although that still doesn’t excuse a lot of her behaviour. (Cheating on her boyfriend???) I kind of feel like all Gilmore women should be in therapy, and not the kind Emily went to in the revival.

    2. fposte*

      There’s a cool article by Hrishikesh Hirway that argues the series is about Rory’s slow downward spiral.

      1. k*

        I’ll have to google that!

        I read a cool fan theory that the revival episodes are the only ones set in reality, and the original series is actually the book that Rory wrote. It explains some of the cracks in the show, like how everyone loves Rory and thinks she’s so perfect, despite her doing a lot of jerky things.

      2. CC*

        People say that a lot, but if you look at her actions on paper without any nostalgia feels, she’s also terrible in the old eps. She throws temper tantrums when she isn’t catered to, thinks her writing is awesome even though she’s told by basically everyone who isn’t genetically linked to her/sleeping with her that it’s not great, she willfully breaks up a marriage, more or less cheats on her boyfriend (and attempts to cheat on another), drops her friends…the list goes on.

        I’ve had friends say that she didn’t “act like Rory” in the revival, to which I’ve replied…if you look at the way she acted consistently for seven years without what we were verbally told about her, she acted EXACTLY like Rory.

        Ugh, she’s the worst.

        1. designbot*

          I think the feeling of her getting worse as time goes on is that when the show starts she’s like 14 years old, and it’s a lot easier to make excuses for her doing things like jerking around Dean than it is to make excuses for her at 31 doing even worse to some guy she’s been seeing for years. 20 year old Rory gumptioning her way into an internship makes so much more sense than 31 year old Rory blowing an interview. Her mistakes and self-centeredness started out feeling natural, but somehow she Just. Never. Learned.

          1. kb*

            I think part of the reason that a lot of people who watched the show initially weren’t turned off by Rory was because we were around the same age as her. I think most people are a bit self-absorbed in adolescence and young adulthood; everyone is trying to figure out who they are, etc, etc. So we related then, but are surprised when we don’t relate now.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          She’s horrible, but I think we’re all willing to forgive mistakes made while “finding yourself” in your teens and 20s. [spoiler alert] That said, from the moment she slept with Dean, it was clear that there was nothing of the old, non-narcissistic-sociopath Rory left.

    3. EddieSherbert*

      Yeah, that’s been my take too – loved the show as a kid, the recent “Year in the Life” resparked my interest, and holy cow, she’s pretty awful.

      *head shake*

    4. Mel*

      I just finished rewatching the series and the revival. Some of it made me feel better, as I’m the same age as Rory and have had some setbacks, and seeing her floundering was nice. But otherwise, Rory is awful. What sticks out at me is during the revival she complained about being broke, but in the next scene was looking for apartments around NYC! Did she forget momentarily that she had a trust fund? The series established that she had a trust fund that would kick in at age 25, so her ability to flit around and afford her lifestyle made sense. In fact, having a trust fund baby as the unpaid editor of the local paper makes perfect sense.

      1. SMT*

        Some of her floundering in the revival I found totally relatable (I’m turning 31 in a few weeks and just started a professional role related to my college major at the end of last year, after 7 years working food & beverage at a theme park). The show’s creator apparently believes that type of floundering is a choice by Rory (and my)’s generation, rather than the way we’re surviving the cirucumstances of graduating college amid the Great Recession.

        Even to have her doubt her career choice would have been perfectly reasonable (I’ve changed mine at least three or four times since I was 18), but her suddenly failing at Adulting was annoying.

        Also I’m mad at Logan reappearing as he did….

        1. The Rat-Catcher*

          The not-so-subtle attacks on Millennials in the form of the Thirty-Something Gang really ruined the third episode for me. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear the creators go on a rant about “kids these days.”

          1. Mona Lisa Saperstein*

            Oh, they 100% have. In interviews, Amy Sherman-Palladino (the showrunner) has also basically said “Of course Rory have a hard time getting a job! This is just how journalism is! It’s a dying industry! ” But like…what we see on the show is Rory getting plenty of opportunities and blowing them because of her own incompetence, not getting laid off because the publications she’s working for keep folding.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              1000% agreed. This will sound awful, but what the reboot did for me is kill any appreciation I may have had for Amy Sherman-Palladino.

              1. grace b*

                SAme, though check out her new Amazon Pilot, Ms. Maisel — it’s actually pretty good and her writing totally belongs in the 1950s!

          2. INTP*

            I was really bugged by Rory’s snobbery about the Thirty-Something Gang. She’s literally the quintessential Thirty-Something Gang member and she thinks she’s too good for them.

            I know she’s supposed to be the worst but I’ve been increasingly in BEC mode with Rory since season one, so I had to vent that.

            1. CM*

              Yessss. So hypocritical.

              Have to disagree with SMT at how she was “suddenly failing at Adulting.” Read all these comments. Rory has always failed at Adulting: dropped out of Yale and abandoned her dreams because somebody (Mitchum) was mean to her, sex boat, cheating with Dean, stint at the DAR, blew off her GQ article (or “Conde Nast article,” whatever) in the revival, etc., etc.

              tl;dr Rory is a garbage person

              I am so happy I get to write about this on a Friday afternoon. (I hope this thread is meant to be more in the “fun open thread” vein than focused on work questions.)

              1. INTP*

                Totally agree. Rory is able to succeed at following clear-cut rules for clear-cut rewards. But when interpersonal, introspective, or moral skills are required in any remotely nuanced way, she has always floundered. It’s weird to me that Lorelei called Rory “moral” when really she’s just good at following rules that have immediate consequences. And that makes her sleeping with sources and married men and other transgressions worse somehow, it’s not like she’s a well-meaning person that lacks impulse control, she has total control of herself when expectations and consequences are spelled out for her.

                1. TL -*

                  There’s a really good critique in there that a lot of our primary education system does teach you to succeed by f0llowing clear-cut rules for clear-cut rewards. And Rory is definitely a prime example of a someone who is good at being a student and not much else (and even then, she’s good at being a primary school student; I don’t thinks she’s nearly as good at being a college student.)

                  I definitely ran into a lot of that attitude among some of my more privileged friends – doing X should get you Y rewards and that is just the way that life works, all the time, always. Learning that that was not true is hard and the later in life you learn it, the harder it is to accept.

                2. LPBB*


                  I found myself liking Rory less and less as the series went on and really disliked her by the end of the reboot, however I was somewhat sympathetic to her during the reboot because I was that kind of person who was smart and found school easy because you just had to follow the rules and then flailed about terribly after I left school and no longer had clearly defined rules or a defined progression of steps to follow. But I tried various ways to reboot my life, including multiple bouts of therapy, I didn’t just mope around expecting to leverage my [non-existant] connections into insta-success.

                  It would have been nice if the show had given her the self awareness to recognize this and figure out a way to move on in life without Jess (ugh) coming back and handing her the idea that (possibly) turns it all around for her. She really is not at all a self-reliant character and has very little in the way of resiliency. So disappointing to me after the promise of her first-half-of-the-first-season self.

                3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  But the other problem is that people constantly tell Rory that she’s so special and amazing, and she quickly abandons hard work and expresses diminishing levels of grit and creativity as the series progressed. She’s not great at even following clear-cut rules—by the time she goes to Yale, she’s constantly seeking short-cuts. It’s like she thinks someone will pick her from the crowd, hook her up, and let her flit around while she writes the next Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (except she never writes it or turns it in because she’s focused on doing nothing with her life, resources, or privileges except being a spoiled and self-centered brat). Rory is indeed a garbage person.

      2. Folklorist*


        I’m the same way (same age, journalist, floundered, broke for a while, finally landed on my feet at 31 after lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of dues-paying). Agree that watching her flounder the same way I did was nice, but no one who actually had a future in the industry would ever do anything she did.

        And you’re right–I forgot about her trust fund! I think Amy Sherman-Palladino did too! The whole “poor, broke Rory” thing really got to me because she still had people enabling her terrible behavior/decisions. Grrrr. I would have been homeless under a bridge, not wearing unreasonable pumps and flouncy designer skirts to “on the street” interviews!

        1. Lily Evans*

          I have to wonder if she burned through a good part of her trust fund keeping an apartment in Brooklyn while flying back and forth to London all the time. Especially if she had been leaning on it since turning 25.

        2. designbot*

          I think Amy Sherman-Palladino purposefully forgot about anything that happened in the final season of the show. She also conveniently forgot that Logan actually wanted to marry Rory, and from the looks of it she could have changed her mind on that any time she wanted.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I’d read that she didn’t watch the last season, and was ignoring its existence.

          2. Jessesgirl72*

            My theory is that she did in the reboot everything that she intended for the final season.

            So what makes some sense for a 22 yr old fresh out of college makes way less sense for a 32 year old who allegedly has been in the working world for 10 years.

            1. So Very Anonymous*

              This is my theory too. Also, a 22 yo having a hard time separating from her mother is easier to give a pass to than a 32 yo who still needs her mommy in the same way 10+ years later.

            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              That was my take, as well. Since she wasn’t around for the final season, I think the “forgetting” is deliberate. It’s her effort to ret-con the story from her perspective as though she’d remained the showrunner for the last season.

          3. CM*

            I didn’t think she forgot that. It seemed like Logan was willing to have Rory on her own terms, and they both knew that didn’t include marriage.

            1. TL -*

              She’s never seen the 7th season (on record with this) and she doesn’t know what happens in it. She’s not really forgetting; she just never knew.
              She comes across as quite bitter about it, actually, and I think her attitude is doing the fans a disservice but there ya have it.

        3. Jen S. 2.0*

          I actually haven’t watched the revival (I’ve read several reviews of it), but I rolled my eyes as well at Rory claiming to be broke. Not only does she have a trust fund that probably had stipulations about how much of the principal she could use (and I would not be surprised if Lorelai had one as well), and not only did her grandfather pass away and likely provide for her in his will, but she literally is surrounded by LOADED people who would be more than delighted to help her out. I mean, even Luke had tens of thousands of dollars sitting around — liquid! — to loan Lorelai to fix something in her house, and he plunked down cash for a mansion at some point. Lorelai is a successful business owner. Christopher inherited pots of money. Logan is the quintessential smarmy rich kid with an AmEx Black Card. If she needs money, she can get money.

          1. Julia*

            SPOILER: It seems like Luke is paying for April’s education. There is one scene where Lorelai asks him if he’s okay financially with April going to grad school etc. and he brushes her off, but it didn’t seem like Luke was still as rich as he miraculously used to be.

            1. One of the Sarahs*

              I really hated that part too – where Lorelei is berating Luke for spending his money on April’s trip to Europe, when she wouldn’t blink at doing the same for Rory – AND coming from a place where Lorelei had just inherited from Richard too. It was like Luke had completely taken on Rory as his step-daughter, but April wasn’t connected to Lorelei in any way, and she shouldn’t be helped out.

          2. sstabeler*

            Bear in mind that “broke” often actually means “I can’t afford the lifestyle I am used to” as well as the fact that I wouldn’t be surprised- not having watched either the revival or the original show- that if she asked someone for help, she’d need to shape up.

      3. kb*

        Yeah! I wasn’t turned off by the idea of Rory floundering– just watching her be immensely successful would have been boring and not relatable. I was turned off by how little she cared about anything and how enabled she was by everyone around her. Say what you will about Logan and his astounding amount of privilege, but it appeared he showed up to his job every day and took it seriously. Rory couldn’t even hold it together for one interview

        1. The Rat-Catcher*

          I’m definitely done blaming Logan for Rory’s behavior. She could just, you know, STOP FLYING TO LONDON all the time and concentrate on making a life for herself where she wanted to be.

          1. Amber T*

            To be fair, I got the sense that Logan was flying her out.

            For the longest time, I hated how Logan broke up with her at the end of the series. Rewatching it as an adult, however… he’s definitely a spoiled rich boy, but he calls her out on her crap a lot. I ended up really liking Logan my last time watching it through. (Not revival Logan though)

            1. TL -*

              I really liked Logan! Especially because he’s genuinely generous and generally kind to people. He has his issues but you get the feeling he really is trying to figure out how to be a good person.

              1. Jen S. 2.0*

                Logan was always my favorite of the Rory boys. I do. not. get. all the Jess love. Ugh.

                1. Jessesgirl72*

                  Oh me either. Or Dean! Blech! Logan has issues, but at least he owns them, and he was the only one who was any good for Rory.

                2. kb*

                  Jess was not a good boyfriend to Rory at all, but Milo Ventimiglia made a compelling case for the bad boy intellectual with inner turmoil.
                  I think at a case can be made for him in his later appearances. He was a good match intellectually to Rory and a grounding force. Frankly, adult Jess seels a bit too good for adult Rory.

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                OMG, Logan represents everything that is gross to me. The only boyfriend worse than Logan is Dean. Jess is just a nutjob and is not great, but he also seems to transform into a credible human as he gets older. The same can’t be said for the other guys.

                1. kb*

                  I can give young Jess a little bit of wiggle room because he was a kid with a lot going on in his family life. I mean, his mom kind of just shipped him off to live with his uncle in a diner. He never knew his dad. That doesn’t make him great– he was a terrible boyfriend to Rory and a bit of a menace to the town, but he grew up alright. He appeared to work hard and be grounded by the later seasons and especially in the reboot.

                2. TL -*

                  But Logan was always there for Rory and always willing to share what he had. He definitely had his issues and made his mistakes but I don’t think you can really blame someone for having privilege. He was also aware and grew more aware throughout the series of how much was given to him just because he was born to the right parents.

          2. kb*

            I hated that people always blamed other people everytime something happened to Rory. I understand kids and teens are impressionable, but by the time she was in college… College kids are still young, naive, and prone to doing stuff not in their best interest, but by that age you can’t really blame someone’s peers. People seemed to blame Logan for making Rory steal that boat, but it was Rory’s idea!

        2. phil*

          Foundering, foundering!
          While there is an obscure usage that makes floundering possibly correct, you mean foundering.

          1. The Rat-Catcher*

            Huh! “Floundering” is in common usage in my area as kb used it. I’m always fascinated to talk with other readers here and learn about language differences.

            1. Turtle Candle*

              Yep–in my locale both ‘floundering’ and ‘foundering’ are used, and ‘floundering’ is perfectly acceptable in the sense that kb used it. (“Floundering” is metaphorically thrashing about like a beached fish, and “foundering” is metaphorically limping or starting to sink.)

                1. k*

                  Same here. I’ve never heard someone say foundering in this context. Perhaps I have heard it on TV but misheard or assumed they were saying “floundering” since that’s what I’m used to.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                Yup, agreed (and agreed that I hear people use “floundering” much more often than “foundering” in common speech).

          2. bridget*

            This is a hobby horse of language mavens that is, in the opinion of many, incorrect. :) At best, it’s a word mix-up that works perfectly fine in terms of conveying the intended meaning, because often the sentiment of struggling (floundering) is close enough to the sentiment of totally failing (foundering) that the sentence works either way.

            And sometimes, I really do mean just struggling, not utterly failing, so floundering is more appropriate.

          3. kb*

            No, floundering is actually exactly what I meant. Foundering would work too to mean sinking, as Rory could also be described as doing that. But I do actually mean Rory is staggering helplessly in the water of adulthood.

            1. sstabeler*

              floundering would be when you are struggling, but can make ends meet. Foundering would be when you’re in an inexorable slide towards bankruptcy, and there’s nothing that can actually stop it.

          4. Rachel Green*

            Both flounder and founder would be correct. gives the definition of flounder as “to struggle clumsily or helplessly” and the example sentence is “He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.”

          5. Boop*

            Whenever I see “foundering” I think laminitis.

            However, according to, it looks like they can be used fairly interchangeably in common parlance, although founder describes a more dire situation.

            Founder: to sink; to collapse or fail completely
            Flounder: to blunder about; to be in serious trouble

            I think we can all agree that both work nicely to describe Rory!

            1. Charisma*

              Haha… I posted (or am trying to post) the same link. Whenever I use “floundering” I’m talking about struggling as well. I almost NEVER hear people use the term “foundering”.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      And can’t you see the letter to Alison from the employer’s point of view?

      Dear Alison,

      Our former intern, a bright student with strong skills, recently approached us about hiring her for a post-graduation position. She initially got the job because the paper’s owner is her boyfriend’s father, but, despite her “must-hire” status as an intern, she did a good job during her internship.

      Unfortunately, we do not have any open positions, which we conveyed, along with the fact that we would keep her in mind for any jobs or freelance opportunities that arose. She just won’t take no for an answer! I think that some college career counselor must have advised her to be persistent and find novel ways to get our attention, though you’d think that a career counselor at an Ivy League school would know better. Since this conversation, she has repeatedly shown up at our office and mingled with the staff (including throwing out ideas and pretending like she works there), dropping copies of her resumes on the editor’s desk, and bringing in two enormous binders of her writing samples in an effort to convince us to hire her. Frankly, she’s harming her chances that we might hire her in the future with this odd and aggressive behavior, and, since she and the owner’s son have broken up, we’re under no obligation to hire her at all.

      Since we liked her during her first tenure, we’d like to find a way to let her know how inappropriate and off-putting her behavior is. If she is this aggressive about a job, how is she going to treat sources and interview subjects? How can we say this kindly? Should we even consider hiring her at this point, if an appropriate position comes open?

      Thank you,
      Beleaguered Small-Town Paper Editor

      1. Antilles (OP#3)*

        This is the time to be more direct. You have certainly tried to be polite in letting her know you have no positions available, but she has refused to get the message and is continually going beyond it. Frankly, at this point, it’s long overdue for you to sit down and tell her directly she is no longer welcome on the premises and have your security escort her out. If you want to give her general career advice about how this comes across, you can certainly feel welcome to do so, but unfortunately, someone who’s this dead-set may not take it. If you decide to give the advice, please make sure you are crystal clear that this in no way will change your mind, but is purely advice for future jobs (i.e., NOT HERE).
        Also, many college career counselors have never actually hired someone in their life and are completely unaware of how this comes off. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.

    6. kb*

      I could write a book on my thoughts about Rory Gilmore. Watching it in hs, I aspired to be Rory, but now I’m just so frustrated by her character. I think part of that lies in the fact that the show just assumes Rory is wonderful at everything and all the plotlines and her interactions play off of that, but we never see Rory be especially great or work all too hard at anything. I’m not sure if the writers intended for it to come across this way, but it seems like Rory benefitted a lot from being really gorgeous (not necessarily in academia or her career, but in her personal life and interactions with people). Maybe that’s true to life, but as an average-looking person I found it super frustrating to watch.

      1. The Rat-Catcher*

        I always thought she was meant to be a contrast to kick-ass, worked-her-way-from-the-ground-up Lorelai.

        1. kb*

          The contrast was definitely there and added an interesting element, but it didn’t seem intentional, or at least not for most of the show. When Rory dropped out, joined the DAR, and lived with her grandparents, I think the contrast was intentional and at the heart of the tension between Lorelai and Rory. But Rory was resting on her laurels for most of the college years and everyone around her seemed to be cheering her on for it, you know?

      2. Purest Green*

        I have always liked Paris so much more. Even though she doesn’t get as much air time, she’s a much better character than Rory.

        1. kb*

          I would be really frightened to work for/with Paris, but she is so much more interesting of a character than Rory! It’s not like Paris didn’t have an immense amount of privilege, but she committed 200% to absolutely everything.

          1. Jen S. 2.0*

            I would be terrified of Paris as a colleague. But I’d love her as a friend / someone on my side. Just don’t piss her off.

        2. fposte*

          I was thinking about Paris and Emily, and how the most abrasive characters on GG are my favorites. I loved Emily in the reboot–just amazing.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Emily might be the best thing in the reboot. (it’s certainly not the bizarre and completely uncharacteristic effort to send Lorelai on her own personal “Wild”).

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Particularly by the time we get to the reboot—Paris wins for most fascinating. She had the opposite trajectory from Rory for me: as the series continued, I liked Paris more and more. She’s definitely neurotic, but she’s also passionate and hard-working and fierce. I don’t know if I’d want her to be my boss or even in my department, but I really appreciate her as a character in the story.

          1. TL -*

            I love Paris but I hate that she a) went into a fancy money-making practice instead of an intensive, competitive surgical residency and b) they completely ignored a realistic timeline (medical degree+law degree+residency from 22-32? That’s….highly unlikely.)

      3. Jamie*

        I don’t know if the creators planned for her character to go this direction but I think Rory’s character eventually evolved into showcasing what happens when someone grows up facing very little hardship. Her entire life was spent with everyone telling her how great she was then when she faced a little bit of opposition in the form of Mitchum Huntzberger she flew off the rails. What may be the worst part is in the Netflix revival it was shown that Mitchum wound up pretty much being completely right. I wasn’t surprised though given her reaction to criticism that, quite frankly, I didn’t even think was that bad.

        There was also an element of the downside of a parent being a friend first and parent second. Admittedly Lorelei did put her foot down at times but she was also quick to blame others ‘bad influence’ (see: Jess and Logan) instead of holding Rory responsible for her bad choices.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I don’t think that was their intent, but I agree 100% with your analysis and reflection.

          1. Jamie*

            I doubt that was their intent when the series first started but I suspect they started knowingly pushing the character in that direction in later seasons (college years).

      4. Julia*

        I think the same goes for Lorelai as well. Would people tolerate the same behaviour from Average Janes like me and (as you say) you? (I’m not calling you average!!)

        1. kb*

          Haha, I wouldn’t have interpreted it that way, but I accept the label. :)
          Although I occassionally wish I were astonishingly beautiful and afforded the accompanying societal benefits, I think in the long run I’m better off as I am. Having to try a little harder and proove you’re good/ worthy (rather than have people assume your pretty face reflects internal goodness) is good for me. I also don’t have to worry as much about my worth to society changing if something– whether it’s time or something more sudden– affects my appearance.
          It can make dating frustrating. College was a disappointment on the dating front compared to Gilmore Girls, but I had so much time to focus on my studies!

    7. Snork Maiden*

      Oh gosh, I thought it was just me who couldn’t stand her, because all my friends LOVE the show. I tried to watch the revival and turned it off at the tap-dancing at midnight scene.

        1. Snork Maiden*

          Yeah I think it’s one of those things you have to watch when you were younger – without the nostalgia, it’s just grating. I tried to watch One Tree Hill because my younger sister liked it, but I ended up breaking out in hives instead.

          I’m perfectly OK with other people liking it, I’m happy when people find shows they enjoy – everyone does. It’s just not for me, and I enjoy sitting on my lawn with the other curmudgeons, shaking our fists. I used to be really into Felicity and the O.C. when I was younger, so I’m sure there are other curmudgeons shaking their fists back at me.

      1. Jen RO*

        I liked (and still like) the show, but I never loved any of the characters in particular. (Except maybe some of the secondary one – Michel’s snark is the best!) Were we supposed to always think that Rory is the best? I saw all of them as flawed in their own way.

        As for the revival, I really can’t fault Rory-the-character too much. It seems to me like ASP decided to “forget” 10 years had passed and, in her head, Rory was still in her 20s, which makes the behavior much more understandable.

          1. Anonygoose*

            Well, you know, he’s French… true or not, there’s that ‘rude French service person’ stereotype that people find charming, for some reason…

              1. krysb*

                The actor that plays Michel actually from Quebec, but the character is supposed to be Parisian (if I remember correctly).

      2. Jamie*

        I still enjoy watching the original Gilmore Girls from time to time but the revival was seriously lacking.

    8. LawBee*

      That episode, and the early one where Lorelei and Rory went to Harvard and Rory crashed a class. I hated that episode so much!

    9. Io*

      Rory is awful. Pretty much everyone on that show was awful and I still don’t know why people like it so much.

    10. DeskBird*

      Even when I was a kid I didn’t really like Rory much. I loved Lorelai to infinity – but was meh on Rory. Once I watched it as an adult I realized how awful Rory was – and my friends think I am way too easy on spoiled characters since I still kinda side with Sarah in Labyrinth.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        I love Sarah in Labyrinth, but part of the reason why is that her whole arc in that movie (in my opinion, anyway) is about her learning to take responsibility for herself, to stop going “it’s not fair!” and “why does everything happen to meeeeee” and to start taking responsibility for herself and her actions. (I could write So Much about Labyrinth, but I will spare y’all the derail.)

        I think I never really could get to like Rory because I didn’t feel like that was where her arc was going. I gave her a chance in the early seasons because she was a youngish teenager and emotional maturity is something you develop over time for the most part, but… IMHO, she didn’t get better, she got worse.

        1. Charisma*

          I totally agree! A character that grows and becomes a better person is someone you can respect. Rory just refuses to learn her lesson and has basically remained her 14 year old know-it-all self just now in a 30-something year old’s body. And worst of all her world views and perspectives are horribly outdated/skewed, and somewhat insulting. How she handles the job market is just a fraction of the problem. I know plenty of people IRL who are more “dysfunctional” than Rory and their lives are WAY more put together than hers. Maybe this IS meant to be a cautionary tale of what happens when you just hand somebody everything without them really having to work for it?

    11. PhillyPretzel*

      I actually only find Rory to be the worst in the revival. I first watched the show as an adult, and my take on Rory is that she makes plenty of questionable choice in the original series and is fundamentally self-centered…which seems about right for someone who is 16-22 and has grown up in a household where things pretty much revolved around her. But the fact that she hasn’t matured by her early 30s is A Problem.

      1. Purest Green*

        I find it pretty unbelievable that someone as attractive and wealthy as Logan would still need to be involved with Rory. Speaking of which, I also don’t believe Jess is still so in love with his ex-girlfriend from 15 years ago just because she’s Rory Gilmore. Has this man not taken a look at himself in the mirror ever? Just because Rory still has the emotional maturity of a teenager doesn’t mean those two charters shouldn’t have been able to move on. I don’t buy it.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Oh he doesn’t need to be- he is having his cake and eating it too. He is marrying (or was going to) the prize. He’s just having the occasional weekend in bed with the side piece.

          Jess didn’t seem all that into her anymore, either.

          1. Purest Green*

            No, he doesn’t need to be. So I don’t get why it’s still going on. We’re supposed to believe that the maturing Logan at the end of the series who wanted a real relationship is still putting any time into Rory? He had to have found better side piece options in the mean time, if that’s what he wanted.

            As for Jess, I read his longing gaze through the window during the reboot as “into her” but maybe that’s just me.

            1. k*

              I think a lot read his longing gaze through the window as still being into Rory. Maybe he had really just caught a reflection of his now very buff bod and was admiring himself :)

          2. Allison*

            And I hated Rory for knowingly being his side piece. I don’t care if you are convinced you’re the one he “really loves” and he’s just marrying her because he has to, he’s getting married, get out of his bed! I felt bad for hid fiancee, girl didn’t deserve that.

            1. NLMC*

              But she knowingly broke up Dean’s marriage, thinking she was the one he really loved. It’s par for the course with her.

            2. Jamie*

              I won’t give my opinion on side pieces and infidelity since I know most people would strongly disagree. However I will say that I’m not surprised at all she became his side piece. She’s previously shown she doesn’t particular care about promises/vows a guy she wants made to another woman and, bad as I know this sounds, I think Rory is actually better suited to be a rich man’s ‘fun on the side’ than she is to be someone’s upper class wife.

          3. kb*

            I think the two of them being invloved in an affair together makes a lot of sense with their personalities and history. Rory said no to Logan’s proposal and he’s not used to being denied, so this way he doesn’t have to think of her as the one who got away. Rory gets a certain amount of validation from being Logan’s true love and the one who got him to commit for the first time. As the other aspects of her life continue to miss her expectations, I’d expect her desire to hold on to Logan to grow stronger– he’s her constant and reminder of her potential.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              Logan is the Christopher analog. The Palladinos have admitted to this.

              Lorelei kept sleeping with Christopher, no matter who else either of them were involved with over the years. It’s not surprising that Rory grew up to do the same. In a lot of ways, Lorelei’s smug talk over the series about how she never brought men into her daughter’s life (until Max) shows just how damaging that really is- so the only relationship Rory ever really saw her mother have was the dysfunctional one with Christopher. Who also wanted to marry her several times, and Lorelei refused- until that stupid final season where it made no sense.

              1. kb*

                Another great point! Their affair in the reboot totally shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, but I’m still disappointed.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Rory is definitely the worst (Logan is a close second) in the revival—there’s no excuse for someone in Rory’s position to be such a crap person once you’re past your 20s. But I also hated Lorelai’s storyline; it makes no sense, is completely out of character, and contributes nothing to the story.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          ASP should have gone on that Wild hike and left Lorelei in Stars Hollow. ;)

          Although, I don’t think it was that far out of character. She packed up the car and Rory and took off for a car trip of the NE after she left Max at the altar. The character did have a habit of running any time she smelled commitment.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            The running makes sense—it’s the form of running that didn’t make sense. Camping/hiking? Seriously? Lorelai spends the entire TV series actively avoiding “the great outdoors” and all “nature-y” activities. But now she wants to hike with a group?

    12. Emelle*

      This episode is what made me hate Rory. She should have been escorted from the building and told to never come back. And it still pisses me off that she was rewarded with a job.

      And revival Rory is an awful awful person.

    13. all aboard the anon train*

      I’ve only seen bits and pieces of GG when my friends would be watching episodes in high school and college, but I couldn’t stand the characters for a lot of the reasons people describe in this thread.

      To be honest, I usually find the characters you’re supposed to root for in shows like these to be unbearable. They’re so often horrible, selfish, entitled people who are awful to those around them, but the shows act like we’re supposed to identify with and like them because of it. This is probably why I enjoy shows where it’s made clear that you’re not supposed to like the characters because they are awful or flawed people.

  6. Artemesia*

    It totally agree and yet I think of Bob Woodward who worked for free, hassled the editor etc etc until they hired him as a rookie reporter with no experience and the rest is history. Maybe this sort of thing actually worked before the age of the internet.

      1. Folklorist*

        I actually saw Bob Woodward speak at the National Book Festival a few months ago, and it was really interesting–he only got the scoop because he was the low-level reporter on the clock doing scut work at a time when no one else wanted to be on and got sent off on a wild goose chase of a minor break-in story late at night.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yep. My dad worked at the Post at the time and they called him to go report on the story, but he was out playing basketball so they called Carl Bernstein instead (I think Woodward got pulled in later, but I might be remembering that part wrong). No one else in my family seems to think this is at all interesting, but it is!

          1. Folklorist*

            Yep, you’re probably right about Woodward getting pulled in later–as soon as I posted I wondered if I got the two mixed up!

            How can they not find that interesting?! I mean, imagine being in your first job as a junior employee who is basically there to make copies and inadvertently ending up taking down a presidency??

              1. Folklorist*

                Good point. Also, sorry for your dad! Does he regret not being there? Did he get to work on any of the story? That’s a really crazy “what could have been” thing for your family!

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  He never seemed particularly regretful about it — he enjoyed telling it as an interesting gossipy fact more than anything, I think. (I am regretful about it though. We could have been quite rich!)

                2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  OMG, Alison, if I were your dad I’d tell that story all the time, too. How fascinating!

          2. Sue Wilson*

            Is your dad mentioned in All the President’s Men? I know they mention a lot of the politics writers.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Not that I know of. But I think he was a Metro section reporter at the time, not on the national desk. (The story was so small in the beginning that it had gone to Metro to cover.)

          3. Businesslady*

            That is an AMAZING story.

            I can’t remember if this ever came up in any of our exchanges, but both of my parents were reporters before I was born (for a downstate Illinois paper though, not WaPo).

            They told me about Watergate–and the concept of “the coverup is often more damning than the actual crime”–after catching me in a lie I told to my babysitter when I was like 8. (I spilled some soda that I wasn’t supposed to be having in the first place, then tried to hide the rags I’d used for cleanup.)

            And so I had to resign from being their daughter, reputation indelibly tarnished…

        2. cleo*

          I love stories like this. There’s a similar one about Alphonse Mucha. He was working on Christmas Eve at a printer’s shop in Paris when the most famous actress of the era showed up, needing a poster for a play she was directing and acting in. He was the only there so he created a poster that became a huge sensation – as a result, he landed a 6 year contract with Sarah Bernhardt, became internationally famous and is one of the big names in Art Nouveau.

  7. ShoeRuiner (possible Gilmore Girls spoilers)*

    That episode/story arch of Gilmore Girls bothered me too, and then further bothered me because we don’t ever actually see her go to work at that job! The show goes through all that to get her a job, then we never see her work there? Also wasn’t she taking like 20 credits or something that semester to get back on track? No time for a job, let alone one off-campus.

  8. Jerry Vandesic*

    #1: “Firing an otherwise conscientious employee who simply didn’t know about the policy …”

    I took this to be about firing an employee that didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. It’s pretty fundamental, and certainly something over which you could be fired.

    1. bridget*

      I don’t think that the ethical ramifications of kickbacks are immediately obvious to otherwise honest people at first blush. Once you sit down to think about it, you realize that dishonest people could use things like steaks as a way to line their pockets at the expense of their employers, but if you don’t it just seems like an innocuous thank you. Service providers give their clients thank you gifts for business all the time, and it’s usually fine if it goes to the business as a whole. And in some industries, it’s totally fine for that gift to go directly to the individual who manages the relationship. Things like that are not always unethical, and even when they are it’s not always clear to someone who doesn’t know about the policy and reasons behind it.

      1. Government Worker*

        I think it points to a pretty egregious lack of training in the new role, that she wasn’t aware of the corporate policies and how things are done in her industry/company.

        1. Jeff*

          I work for a municipal government, and one of the things in our first day of training was about the city’s policy on gifts from vendors and other institutions. They strongly emphasized the importance of it and how people had been let go for violations. If it’s so critical to the scenario business that they’d fire someone for a first-time unknowing violation, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t bother to include that in the training somewhere (yes, yes, narrative drama, we get it.)

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yep, my workplace has similar training, and a Monica who worked here could make it right by donating the value of the steaks and eggplant to a 501(c)3 organization afterward.

        2. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

          This! When I worked in advertising, I occasionally had vendors and clients send me gifts, especially around the holidays. There were very clear policies about what we could and couldn’t accept – it was generally based on the value of the gifts. I couldn’t accept something like a new car or a diamond ring from a client, but food gifts were usually fine. (At one company, a vendor I worked with that was based in New Orleans would send king cakes to all their reps around Mardi Gras. SO YUMMY.

        3. Office Plant*

          She’s an unusually highly paid chef. How else could she afford such a nice apartment in Manhattan, such nice furniture, a stylish wardrobe, and frequent trips to Central Perk? She must be in high demand even if she’s new to the profession. She should have known better.

          1. Anonygoose*

            They did try to explain the rent a few times – it was Monica’s grandmother’s rent-controlled apartment. Over the course of who-knows-how-long, Monica had been living there under her grandmother’s name, with evidently insanely cheap rent.

          2. Meg Danger*

            It was her grandmother’s apartment… rent control. As for the clothes, IDK, maybe her BFF Rachel had some kind of friends and family discount with Bloomingdale’s?

          3. Jen S. 2.0*

            Mostly what I wanted to know about that character is…when did she ever go to work? A head chef, even at a place that is only open for dinner, does not have that kind of coffeehouse time and bake-at-home time. I can let the steaks and eggplant go because she’s just barely an employee at that place.

        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Yes re: lack of training. Which again, is on the employer and not the employee. I think very honest people can still make mistakes re: kickbacks if they’re not given a full picture of why the policy exists and what kickbacks look like. Some folks are truly that naive, but I don’t think that makes them bad people—it just means they should receive rigorous and thorough training.

      2. Squeeble*

        Absolutely. I had no idea this was an ethical issue until well into my first professional job. I think particularly if you are a conscientious worker who’s just made what they felt like was a good business deal, it doesn’t necessarily feel icky to get a gift afterwards–it’s very easy to just think “Oh, how nice of them,” rather than consider that they’re trying to pull something.

      3. Turtle Candle*

        Yep. Granted, I was still in college and had no experience with professional environments yet when I first saw that episode, but that was actually where I first learned that something of that nature could be considered a kickback. I mean, something like “start an account with us and here’s a shiny new car, wink wink,” yeah, but I would have had no idea where the middle ground was between “at most companies, nobody minds if you pick up a vendor’s ballpoint pen at a conference” and “a car.”

      4. INTP*

        I agree, especially in this particular context. Her professional norms come from a history of working in restaurant kitchens, so they’ll be different from someone that worked their way up to making major business purchasing decisions in a more traditional corporate way. It’s easy to see an honest person that isn’t familiar with corporate anti-corruption policies thinking, “Oh, it’s just some meat and vegetables they’ll otherwise have to throw away, so nice of them to think of me!”, assuming that the anti-bribery policy just means “don’t take bribes,” and not “don’t accept anything that could possibly be misconstrued as a bribe when warped out of context.”

    2. Kristine*

      I used to manage client accounts at a large tech company, and sometimes would receive thank you gifts. Chocolates, gift cards, things like that. The company was totally fine with it and saw it as a perk I earned for being a good account manager and building a relationship with my clients. If I were Monica, I would have taken the steaks and not thought twice.

    3. Karanda Baywood*

      I think accepting the eggplant pushed this scenario into an entirely different realm.

      Steaks? Okay, maybe. But an eggplant? That’s beyond the pale.

    4. Tomato Frog*

      But it’s not fundamental at all! A lot of places have caps on the monetary value of gifts, implying that accepting gifts is reasonable up to a point. If it was so basic — taking gifts is bad, not taking them good — policies wouldn’t need to negotiate around it.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          But that doesn’t matter if his expectations and the corporate policy isn’t communicated to Monica. I understand why he fired her, but I think it’s on the employer to ensure people are trained on their policies. Anytime I have worked anywhere with a gift policy, they provide training on it very early on (like, during orientation).

    5. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      I think for me this would depend on when the gift potential was known. If it’s “go with us and we’ll give you stuff” then it’s a lot easier to determine they are trying to entice you into taking the deal. But if you make the deal and then they say, “oh here’s a thank you for doing business with us” that doesn’t seem like a kickback to me.

      Either way, she should have been told of the no gifts policy during on-boarding.

      1. sstabeler*

        that was my thought as well- not having seen the episode, it sounds like she made the deal, THEN they brought up giving her a gift. That’s not actually a kickback- it’s often banned anyway, but a) wouldn’t be a firing offense, at least the first time(the employer would keep the gift instead) and b) is banned not because it is illegal, but to prevent people being tempted to want a kickback. A kickback is specifically when the gift is a condition of the decision ( To use an example, say you had the authority to decide who the company’s electricity supplier is. If you chose them because they agreed to get you a bottle of wine, say, that’d be a kickback. If you made the decision, THEN out of the blue they sent you a bottle of wine, it wouldn’t be a kickback, but still not likely to be permitted.)

        More basically, it seems harsh to fire someone when it’s true ignorance for what isn’t as serious a mistake as it looks at first glance. (she didn’t make the deal because of any kickback, it’s dubious if it actually counts as a kickback anyway, she legitimately didn’t know the company considered it to be a kickback)

    6. The Rat-Catcher*

      She didn’t view her actions as “wrong.” I think she would have recognized that to award them the contract BECAUSE they gave her steaks and eggplant would have been wrong. But she knew it was never a factor in the decision, so she didn’t see it as a problem. And really, I might argue that it *wasn’t* inherently wrong to accept the gift. It just looks bad because of the implications and that’s why it’s against policy. But in this case, the implications weren’t true. I understand why an all-across-the-board rule is needed, but I wouldn’t argue she did anything wrong.

    7. Nervous Accountant*

      I love any and all things related to Friends and career/work. My favorite career moments have to be from when Rachel interviewed at Ralph Lauren, and thought that her interviewer was trying to hit on her, and how she bounced back. I wonder how the people here viewed that, but I thought it was pretty cool. Don’t know how that would play out in real life though.

      I do have to be honest, I’m still not sure how the steaks were kickbacks. Can someone (gently) explain? :(

      1. The Rat-Catcher*

        It only qualifies as a kickback in the most technical sense, I think, because she was given a gift as a “thank-you” for awarding that contract/deal to that company. For a true kickback, that would have been negotiated between Monica and the vendor ahead of time. Monica’s intentions were good, but the vendor’s might not have been. I imagine the restaurant just has an across-the-board policy because if it ever went to court, they would have no way of proving that Monica acted in good faith.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        My favorite is when Rachel is on the job interview over lunch and her current boss is sitting at the table behind her.

    8. Emelle*

      My thought was, she is a chef, she needs to know what the stuff she is buying tastes like. If it is awful cuts or mealy veggies, she doesn’t need to use them.

  9. Shiara*

    For #2, I’m leaning toward Colonel Brandon for the same reasons as everyone else, although I think that both Darcy and Knightley shouldn’t be entirely written off. Darcy’s employees speak quite highly of him as a manager, and seem to be producing high quality work, so if it was a middle management position whose reports had low turnover and with limited outside the company interactions required, he’d probably do quite well. Knightley seems to be pretty good at both the praise and calling out areas in need of improvement, which is useful in a superior.

    Henry Tilney’s sarcasm might not be the most well suited for middle management, and Reginald De Courcy would be far too easily manipulated by an unethical employee.

    1. JayeRaye*

      Thank you for not forgetting Mr. Tilney! I’d love to have him for a manager. His sarcasm goes well with mine.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I always thought that Mr. Tilney wasn’t really sarcastic, but that he was doing an affable, ironic affectation of sarcasm. I think I would like him as a middle manager.

    2. Parenthetically*

      I agree, Darcy is SO beloved by the people on his estate! Wickham and Elizabeth are the only ones with bad opinions of him.

    3. Xarcady*

      Yes, I think Knightley would be good at encouraging employees to improve their skills and focus their work efforts on those things that they do well.

    4. designbot*

      Darcy just seems like someone who shouldn’t have a boss. I think he’d be a great boss, but would bristle the moment someone else told him what to do.

      1. MK*

        I don’t know, I think a lot of it is context. We never see him with anyone who has any legitimate authority over him, so it’s a stretch to say he would bristle. Lady Catherine, who assumes authority she doesn’t have over him, is treated with decorum and patience.

  10. Turtlewings*

    Mr. Knightley is, in canon, considered an excellent boss! He spends a great deal of time and energy on the running of his estate, which certainly not everyone did, and has a great relationship with his tenant farmers. One of them, Robert Martin, lacks a father to consult on the matter of marriage, but trusts and respects Mr. Knightley enough to come to him for advice. Mr. Knightley, in turn, is happy to advise him but freely acknowledges that Mr. Martin does not need his permission to marry. Yay for appropriate boundaries!

    1. Elizabeth H.*

      He is such a great character. Emma is one of my favorite novels of all time. I seriously laughed out loud while reading it more than I have reading any other novel.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Agreed; it’s one of my favorite novels (and Clueless is probably my favorite adaptation of a “classic” work). And in both, my favorite character is Mr. Knightley. He may be my favorite male lead across all of Austen’s novels.

        And yes, Emma is a hot mess. She’s not my favorite character, but she becomes increasingly endearing as she realizes how much harm her meddling causes (and then tries to improve herself).

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          I love Clueless, too. (but Ten Things I Hate About You edges is out as classics go)

          However, I must say, the older and more open Gwyneth Paltrow gets, the more we all realize that her casting in Emma was typecasting. ;)

    2. MK*

      I agree. And he isn’t generally bossy or preachy; he treats Emma that way, but they have an implicit mentor-like relationship that allows it. Generally he is all about leaving people alone to run their own lives.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        He also admits when he is wrong, and gives people appropriate coaching to improve themselves- he was a good mentor to Robert Martin, and eventually to Harriet, as well as to Emma.

        In fact, the one thing he objects to the most in Emma, was her not leaving people alone to run their own lives!

  11. BookCocoon*

    Any Emma Approved fans here? I was thinking I’d much rather work with Knightley than Emma from that adaptation!

    1. Boop*

      I had no idea this was a thing…weekend date!

      Knightley is a good manager of his estate, and he’s only really preachy with Emma (because she needs it, which I can say because I AM Emma). He would probably be a great manager, although I’m not certain he is terribly ambitious – he seems happy in his little corner of the world, but I’m not sure he wants to spread his influence. Conscientious is the word for Knightley. And hot.

      Darcy is also shown to be an excellent and well-liked manager, but I do have concerns about his ability to be in middle management – he may not enjoy having someone telling him what to do. Perhaps upper management is where he belongs. Rightly.

      Wentworth is pretty much the definition of middle management. He is a captain in the navy, so he is accustomed to being in charge and responsible for lives, can make fast decisions in moments of crisis, and lead a crew of, ah, lonely men. But he is also accustomed to being told where to go and when to be there, courtesy of the “upper management” of the Navy – admirals, etc.

      Any thoughts about who would be the worst manager? Wickham, obviously, but I think John Thorpe is a pretty horrendous person too.

      1. Sherry*

        Mr. Elton would be an awful manager. He’s full of himself, obsessed with status, and has a mean, petty streak. And possibly a sexual harrasser, too.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Absolutely. Wickham is, in my opinion, criminal. But Elton is an extremely small, narcissistic and cruel man who has no problem using any authority he may (or may not!) have to foist himself on the less powerful. If Wickham’s a criminal lawsuit, Elton is a civil one.

      2. Cafe au Lait*

        Lady Catherine would have been the most fantastic of managers, if she had only learnt.

    2. Artemesia*

      Emma is pretty awful; not my choice for a colleague. If a micromanaging boss is awful, a micromanaging colleague is worse. I like Colonel Wentworth and agree that Colonel Brandon would be a good manager.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        Agreed that Emma would be a pretty terrible coworker as she is in the book. (Although I admit I have always held hope that she would be one of those people who grows up a little, matures, and then ten years later posts in those “Share your embarrassing stories from when you were a new employee” threads with “I decided to matchmake my coworkers AND THEN IT GOT WORSE. #oldshame”)

    3. Shiara*

      I really enjoyed Emma Approved, and in general I agree that I’d far prefer Knightley to Emma as a manager. I love Emma, but she would be far too interested in my personal life.

    4. DeskBird*

      I LOVED Lizzy Bennet Diaries but haven’t made it through the rest of the series yet! Does it hold up?

      1. emma2*

        I liked LBD better, but I think EA is excellent. Harriet plays her assistant – it’s perfect.

        1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

          Joanna Sotomura and Brent Bailey (the actors who played Emma and Knightley) got together in real life towards the end of the show’s run. Not sure if they’re still together now, but I went to a convention where they attended (actually, I moderated a panel with them, plus the actors who played Robert Martin and Harriet Smith, and the head producer, Bernie Su) before the end of the show’s run and they walked around holding hands the whole time and were basically the world’s cutest couple. They were also in a Kay Jewelers commercial together.

          They totally had great chemistry. EA grew on me, for sure, but LBD is still the bestest. They’re doing a 5-year anniversary rerelease of the LBD soon, did you see?

    5. emma2*

      Yes! I mentioned it in another comment. I thought it was a perfect modern interpretation of the character.

    6. hazelshadeofwinter*

      I really loved Emma Approved, more than LBD even. I think turning the story into a work-based one actually ups the stakes a lot for Emma’s failures–she’s not just screwing up because she’s overinvolved in her friends’ lives, she’s screwing up things for people she’s committed to help–and then makes her final realizations of how she can be better more rewarding. And yes, Knightley is a *very* appealing character in that adaptation, not least because of his stellar work ethic.

  12. H.C.*

    #4: Despite loving GG, I’m generally appalled by the career decisions Rory (and to a lesser extent, Lorelai) made throughout the series.

    Without spoiling too much, at least Rory got a professional comeuppance in the Netflix reboot.

    1. Kristine*

      I was rooting for Rory’s downfall throughout the entire reboot and I don’t even feel bad. She’s the worst.

      But I was totally on Lorelai’s side with figuring out what she wanted from life and expanding her business. She has her flaws but at least she’s more self aware than Rory.

    2. Boop*

      Rory’s love life decisions weren’t shining examples for the youth of today either. She’s sort of a bad person, really.

      I could forgive some of Rory’s behavior in the original series because she was so young, but everything she does in the reboot was BAD.

      1. H.C.*

        There’s a theory that the reboot was what the Palladinos originally envisioned for Season 7, but there is such a big difference between Rory making those mistakes (professionally and personally) in her early 20s vs early 30s.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          It also doesn’t help that the publishing/journalism world wasn’t on its deathbed 10 years ago, like it is now.

      2. Allison*

        I may be an awful person too, because I didn’t realize she was awful until people pointed out all the awful things she’d done. I didn’t think she was perfect, but still

        1. Allison*

          Although sleeping with her married ex was bad. Having been cheated on myself, I was pissed at her for doing it and then defending her decision. That alone makes me kinda hate her now.

    3. DeskBird*

      What really bothered me is it seemed like she just expected something to drop in her lap. Apply for a job at a darn paper or something! There are plenty of them out there, and you should have built a name for yourself by now. A little. Hopefully.

      1. kb*

        Lol, every time she was in a scene with Rory I was like, “Girl, the most riveting story you could possibly write is right under your nose.”

  13. Kitty Bennet*

    My question was featured! I feel like a literary hero.
    I will allow that Knightley was exactly what Emma needed, but can you IMAGINE him giving you a “badly done” reaction at your end of year review. Heartbreaking.

    1. Shiara*

      Definitely heartbreaking, but I still think that mostly highlighted his management. If a slightly more professional version of that speech was both deserved and something I hadn’t realised, it would probably be better for me in the long run to have him pull me up on it, and then comment later that he had noticed and recognised the effort I’d been making to turn that around

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      It would be heartbreaking, but it would break your heart because you would know that it was a fair and honest assessment, and you would feel horribly disappointed in yourself.

  14. BookCocoon*

    The Gilmore Girls episode reminds me of a story from the book Love Does in which the author sat outside the Dean’s office of a law school for a week until the Dean agreed to admit him. (That whole book, IMO, is just a collection of stories about white male privilege and wealth being passed off as cute metaphors for God.)

  15. sam*

    A real life version of #3 sort of happened to my dad – not with a layoff, but with retirement. He had been at his company for many years, and had watched round after round of folks get really nice layoff/”early retirement” packages over the years, but he was never offered one, basically because he was too valuable for the company to let go (but at the same time, he could never get promoted beyond a certain level because he didn’t have a college degree – so he was outperforming all of these MBAs who would first get promoted ahead of him, and then inevitably get laid off).

    He finally, 19.5 years into his career there, when an opportunity came up for him to start his own business with a friend, walked in and basically quit. They didn’t want to lose his brain, so they offered him a deal where he “consulted exclusively” for them for the final 6 months (for much more money) until he hit the 20 years he needed for full retirement vesting. The health benefits that came with the deal turned out to be the most important part of the deal – my mom got diagnosed with cancer not that long after this happened.

    1. Meg Murry*

      Yes, the only time I’ve seen something similar play out like #3 in real life is when a company is already going through rounds of layoffs, and a person pretty much volunteers to be one of the people laid off in order to get the severance/buyout package so they can go do something else they want in life (like start a new business or be a stay at home parent, etc) and save someone else from losing their job.

      I also have a family member that would get “laid off” by his employer during the slow season. The employee would then apply for unemployment and other aid programs, and then the owner would have him come back and work only a few hours here and there but pay him cash under the table for those times so he could keep claiming unemployment. It was shady and my family member hated doing it, but it was a rough time in our part of the country with super high unemployment rates so he didn’t have a choice if he didn’t want to out on the street with his kids – and the employer would always hire him back for the busier season. He looked for another job for years and never found anything beyond part time minimum wage, so he was pretty much stuck.

    2. TootsNYC*

      With #3, my thought was: This would be IMPOSSIBLE in real life.

      Firings (of a specific person) don’t come w/ severance, usually.
      Layoffs usually mean the position is eliminated, and they often some w/ severance.

      Some companies may use severance to make firings less harsh (better for morale overall), but that’s pretty rare. And this might mean there’s a “not eligible for rehire” on the records, which isn’t a smart thing for an employee, even if they plan to start their own company; they may still need that reference. Or they might want to come back to work for the company later.

      And severance is a big chunk of money–it’s really only in the budget if there’s a payoff down the road (like, eliminating the position completely, or downgrading it to one that pays far less). So you have to come up w/ the budget to pay it.

      Unless someone owns the company, they’re going to need HR and budgetary sign-off on the money. So, they’ll lose the position (layoff), or they’ll have to justify the firing+severance agreement.

  16. Rincat*

    Col. Brandon is the kindest and best of men, so he gets my vote. Also because I love Alan Rickman (I’m still sad about his passing!). But really, out of all the Austen men, he stands out to me as someone who is conscientious, kind, smart, and learns from his mistakes.

    If I had to pick an Austen woman to be a manager…out of the books I’ve read, I’d choose Lizzy Bennett. I think Emma would be fun but she’s rather steam-rolly so I don’t know if I really want her as a boss. Or Mary Bennett. What hidden talents does she have??? I always thought Mary just needed to be given a chance.

      1. Rincat*

        I actually had a boss like that once – I did an overseas internship at a non-profit after graduating college, and the director kept trying to set me up with local guys for some reason, even though I was in a long-term relationship, which she knew about. So yeah, no Boss Emma for me!

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yeah, Emma would be the definition of a boundary-crossing, inappropriate manager. And honestly, I wouldn’t want her as a coworker, either. I think she’d be fun to hang out with socially, but you’d have to know that she’s going to gossip and meddle in your life, so keep her at a distance.

      3. Leticia*

        Damn, I’ve had more than one boss like that. How appalling is that that some bosses think it is appropriate to set up their employees? Besides trying to “improve” the way they dress or make up. For non-public facing positions, let us make that clear.

        Those are actually the main reasons why I prefer to work for men. Women tend to blur the line between mothering and being a boss (or maybe that’s a thing in Latin countries like Brazil). I will take direction on my work, but I’d rather manage my personal life myself, thank you very much.

    1. Artemesia*

      For Rickman fans, his small vanity project ‘A Little Chaos’ with Kate Winslet is charming. He plays Louis XIV in it and it is a fiction about the building of the ballroom fountain at Versailles. After seeing it we made it a point to go to the Versailles gardens on a fountain day just to see it.

    2. DeskBird*

      Charlotte! She’s good a managing people without them even realizing they are being managed! Such a soft touch but firm. She would be my pick!

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      I think I’d pick Charlotte or Mrs. Gardiner because they’re both level-headed and call Lizzy out on her bs. As much as I like Lizzy, she sometimes is pretty critical of those around her, to the point of being mean, and sometimes those comments are about her friends and family.

      Oh, or Sophia Croft. I think she’d also be good. Anne Eliot would be good, but having Sophia Croft for her mentor would make her a great manager.

  17. C.*

    This is probably beside the point, but Rory Gilmore’s existence is incredibly problematic. I think the show does a fair job of conveying why she feels so entitled (literally everyone worships her and says how special she is all the time), but yikes… the recent Netflix revival of the series only compounded her extremely questionable behavior.

    1. The Rat-Catcher*

      Rory is what the authors apparently believe to be the stereotypical Millennial. And we were told that if you worked hard in school and went to a good college and got a degree, everything else would work out for you. Even if it took tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt to get there, it was okay because we’d make enough money to make those payments, no problem. Our parents, the Boomers and Gen X-ers, started at the bottom and worked their way up, and they wanted us to start from…the middle, I guess? Only it doesn’t work that way, as we found out when we graduated and floundered and got rejected from jobs for every reason from “no experience” to “overqualified.” Meanwhile, our peers who started working in retail when they were 18 were now store managers with benefits and salaries to match. The ones that started in the workforce right out of school (which we were told was A Bad Idea) turned out to have had The Right Idea.
      That said, at 31, Rory should probably have some sort of a backup plan by now.

      1. Anonygoose*

        Right? I was wondering the other day why so many of my high school classmates owned houses. I’m 25 and the idea of owning a house is laughable. Then I remembered… I am one of only 8 people from my high school who went to university… Working in factories/trades/retail etc. has worked out a lot better for them than my masters’ degree has for me.

        1. NotMyRealName*

          To be fair, at 25 you are only a couple years out from your masters and your age mates spent the years you were in school working. You need to compare where you are now with what they were doing at 20.

          1. Anonygoose*

            Oh exactly! That was my point :) Education is certainly never a waste, and may increase future earning potential, but it certainly sets one back a few years.

        2. kb*

          I know this applies in my case, and it sound like it may for yours too. The real estate market in rural areas is looking much nicer right now for buyers than more urban areas. I know I’m spending on rent just slightly less than my peers’ mortgage payments. It’s heartening and disheartening in its own way, lol.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I read an article where they basically said what you’re describing, and all it did was solidify my dislike (ire?) of the Palladinos… especially Amy Sherman-Palladino. In the paraphrased words of Dar Williams, she’s no sister.

    2. INTP*

      I always felt like they should have given her a crushing romantic rejection as a storyline. It could have been pretty powerful to show how such a spoiled and fawned-over character deal with being truly rejected in a deep and emotional sense. I guess they tried it with a few career events but those all amounted to her getting a mediocre performance review from a notorious ahole with an ulterior motive, not getting an incredibly competitive internship, and being only half-successful in an incredibly difficult industry. None of those really count as true rejections/failures/setbacks imo.

      Instead (revival spoilers ahead), all of her relationship problems are caused by too many guys loving her too much, and even 10 years later, Logan is still cheating on his fiance with her, Jess is still gazing wistfully through windows at her, and I guess Dean wasn’t fawning over her but he’s perfectly friendly.

      1. Purest Green*

        Yes to everything in your last paragraph. As I said in a thread above, it seems unrealistic that any of these guys would still be falling over themselves for her. Surely some of these people are able to move past their teenage loves.

      2. Lissa*

        Yes yes yes. This is actually a problem I have with a *lot* of particularly female protagonists. They seem to think that having every man in the area have her as the “dream girl” is somehow appealing and relatable, and I just don’t get it. It’s like they’re afraid that if they show any guy not fawning all over her the audience will think she’s not cool/sexy enough or something. Instead it usually backfires for me because all we see is everyone telling a normal person how amaaaaazing they are all the time for seemingly no reason.

      3. kb*

        I want somebody (besides Lorelai ) to call Rory out on her lack of responsibility to anything/everything. I was really bothered that Rory was crashing at Lane’s place occassionally in the reboot. Lane sacrificed a lot, worked really hard, and didn’t get chance to pursue her dreams unencumbered like Rory did. I would be irritated if my friend with a trust fund was like “I don’t want to spend money on a dwelling anymore, I’m going to spend my time flitting around not really doing anything, can I come crash at your place with your children?” I wish Lane would have knocked some sense to her.
        Or, like you said, some potential romantic partner turning her down or telling her to get her life together! How was Rory able to string along Paul for so long?? Why has Jess not moved on? Logan is a bit different in that he’s cheating on his fiancee with Rory, not leaving her for Rory (not saying this is admirable, just not catering to Rory’s whims entirely (to be clear, I think Logan cheating is incredibly scummy)). Maybe romantic interactions are different for people as stunning as Alexis Bledel, but nobody would put up with me if I acted like Rory!

  18. Pops*

    Oddly enough, I was wondering the other day what advice you’d give Rachel from Friends in the episode where she worries that she’s been left out of decisions at Ralph Lauren because her boss and colleague talk them over on their cigarette breaks and she doesn’t smoke. It’s never really resolved on the show after her attempts to start smoking/get them to quit fail and seems like something that could be a genuine issue in non-sitcom offices.

    1. Professional Sweater Folder*

      I actually submitted question one with the sentence “don’t worry, this isn’t about Rachel.”

      I honestly think you could do a full post on Rachel’s bad work decisions and experiences. In addition to the smoking there is:
      *My boyfriend is being intrusive, sending me outrageous gifts, and thinks my boss wants to sleep with me
      *My best friend is sleeping with my boss
      *My boss promised me a promotion, and then was killed in a car accident before telling anyone
      *My maternity leave replacement is trying to edge me out of my job
      *I accidentally kissed my boss at the end of our interview… And then made things worse
      *I hired my assistant because I’m attracted to him
      *I lied to my friend that my boss wants to buy my baby, and he confronted my boss
      *I was interviewing for a new job in a restaurant, and my boss was seated at the next table

      And I don’t doubt there’s more.

      1. A Plain-Dealing Villain*

        So many great workplace horror stories from Friends. There was also Ross’s sabbatical.

      2. INTP*

        Rachel’s coworkers too.
        “My coworker’s creepy boyfriend is showing up and trying to make picnics in the office. He seems really unhinged and I’m afraid of him.”
        “My creepy boss is sabotaging potential dates because she wants to sleep with me. Should I just date her instead?”

        1. Pops*

          I do know someone who was told on the first day in her new job that she owed one of her co-worker’s money for a retirement present for someone she’d never met who was leaving that week. My response was: “Ooh, like that episode of Friends with Ross and the apartment janitor.”

          1. INTP*

            When I was a summer intern, I was informed of a collection for a “get well soon” gift card for someone who was out on medical leave for cancer since long before I started.

            They didn’t pressure me intentionally, it was just “we are collecting for this, you can contribute if you want,” but it’s still a bit tone-deaf to even propose the idea of an intern (making a lot less money than anyone else) giving money to a person they had never even met, I think.

      3. Turtle Candle*

        I would LOVE to see a response to a letter that went, “My employee is telling people that I tried to buy her baby.”

      4. CM*

        I thought the worst was when Ross begged for Rachel’s job back, and bargained away something (a valuable fossil, a nighttime trip to the museum, or something? can’t remember), and the boss finally gave in and agreed to give Rachel her job back. But she didn’t want it!

        1. Professional Sweater Folder*

          I’m sorry but telling Joey her boss wanted to buy her baby has got to be worse than that. Especially since in the end she had to have a meeting with HR where she didn’t even own her error, and in fact ended up getting extra weeks of paid maternity leave as a result.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            The baby was the worst overall. That said, Ross’s intervention was definitely the most jaw-droppingly bad behavior by a (current or former) significant other or spouse.

            1. Lissa*

              I think Ross feels worse to me because it’s . . . more realistic? Like a lot of Ross’ behaviour, I find it horrifyingly realistic whereas many of the other Friends’ bad behaviour choices were just too cartoony for me to really invest any ire in. I never forgave him for the way he acted about Mark, tbh.

  19. Enya*

    When I saw that episode with Rory, I was appalled that she actually got the job after stalking everyone on the paper. She was so damn spunky (and like Lou Grant, I hate spunk), it was nauseating. I’ll just stay here until you give me a job. What the what???? I would have called security immediately, and wouldn’t have minded if they accidentally banged miss spunkys head on the door on the way out. She often repulsed me with her I’m too cute for words bit, but this was the worst. I wish the only job she could find was scrubbing toilets at Luke’s diner.

  20. Kaybee*

    While I adore Austen’s protagonists, I would not enjoy having Emma as a colleague. Unless she majorly turned over a new leaf, that’s way too much drama for me. Give me sensible Elinor Dashwood who excels at keeping her personal feelings to herself.

    1. Rincat*

      Elinor might have a problem with not being forthcoming with her bosses about issues, though. I could see her keeping it all to herself and trying to fix it without getting noticed. P.S. I love Elinor and totally identify with her so this is not a slam! :) She is very sensible though and knows how to manage a household.

    2. Parenthetically*

      Yes, if we’re going for protagonists only, Elinor Dashwood all the way. Though someone above mentioned Charlotte Lucas, who would be absolutely perfect.

    3. Tex*

      Emma?!! No, no, just no.

      I can just see her as the befuddled intern that was mentioned in the earlier post today. Butting into conversations that are none of her business. Oblivious to business norms. Forming mean girl cliques. Trying to engineer coworkers’ romantic lives. Class snobbishness.

      I love the character, the book and the movie but … Worst. Employee. Ever.

  21. Government Worker*

    It’s been a long time since I read the book or watched a movie version, but wouldn’t Emma be that young, enthusiastic employee who thinks she knows a better way to do things and doesn’t get approval before implementing changes that she doesn’t have the authority for?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! We’re not intended to like Emma so much — if you read closely, she’s supposed to be a little self-delusional and very self-absorbed and not always considerate of other people’s emotions.

      1. Elizabeth H.*

        I agree with this characterization of her, however, I think that Emma genuinely learns from her mistakes by the end of the novel, which is an incredibly valuable (and rare) quality. Also, it’s impossible for me not to conflate it on an emotional-reaction level with Clueless in which the character ends up finding suitable venues to direct her talents for charitable ends. I actually think Emma would end up being a great businesswoman in the long run.

          1. Parenthetically*

            Yes! In a letter: “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

          2. Sue Wilson*

            Oooh, I really like the fact that Austen wasn’t trying to sweeten unlikeable female protagonists, that’s kinda ballsy.

            1. Gumby*

              This is really really out of date but maybe someone will still read it:

              For an astoundingly unlikable Austen protagonist (antagonist) check out Lady Susan.

        1. emma2*

          I really don’t think Emma is the most unlikable character, because she does have a conscience and learns from her mistakes. I’m much more contemptuous to characters like Lydia – who was hopelessly selfish, or Mary Crawford and Caroline Bingley (and definitely the male villains.) Emma was just raised spoiled, and empowered from a young age to run her own house, which boosted her ego.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Definitely not the most unlikable, not by any means! I actually like a lot about Emma (and the book is my favorite of them all). But I always think it’s interesting how it’s easy to gloss over her pretty significant faults.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I think we’re meant to dislike Emma but to grudgingly appreciate the sincere changes she makes to her life. My all-time fave Emma adaptation is Clueless, and my feelings about Cher Horowitz are pretty much identical to my feelings re: Emma. By the end of both stories, I find myself appreciating that Emma has begun to understand that her meddling has real consequences and that a life well-lived requires more than witty ripostes and gossip—it requires compassion, service, and consideration.

      2. girlscientist*

        I always read Emma as someone who is very, very bored. If you look at her actual job setting, which is taking care of her dad 24/7, everyone agrees that she does an excellent job!

        1. DeskBird*

          She also acted as mistress of the estate – so she planned meals, directed the servants and looked after all the tenants of the estate. She actually excelled at everything she put her mind to that didn’t relate to matchmaking.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Emma is kind of like a “lady who lunches”—affluent but aimless, with all her time devoted to maintaining her household and her father (which is hard work, but also very isolated/insular work that keeps her divorced from reality). That said, she’s hard-working and genuinely cares about people; she’s just extremely bad at demonstrating that care in a way that’s respectful of others’ feelings and personal ambitions.

    2. paul*


      I rarely hate a protagonists as much as I hated Emma. Made me swear off Austen entirely. Fingernails on a chalkboard to me

      1. Parenthetically*

        I hated her SO MUCH until I realized that she is me, I am her, we are each other. I read it again with more sympathy for her humanity, and by that point having realized she was written to be unlikeable, and saw her in a very different light.

      2. emma2*

        We don’t like Emma because she is one of the few protagonists who is not an underdog. She has everything – looks, money, social approval, happiness – it makes her hard to relate to. I actually admire Austen for taking a character who already seemed to have everything and still finding a plot for her character growth.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          She also- as Austen (Knightley) says, does suffer from having been the cleverest person in her family- and really,all of her sphere, and only Knightley willing to call her out on anything.

          Given her upbringing, it’s only a wonder that she was as likeable and capable as she was. Emma does have her own morals and It was far more likely her temperament would be more like that of Lydia Bennet or Fanny Dashwood. Or Lady Catherine.

          1. emma2*

            Emma is spoiled, but a good person at heart, which is what leads her to improve. She has more of a conscience than Lady Catherine or Lydia.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’d argue it’s not that stuff — that stuff can be appealing as escapist fantasy — but that it’s her self-absorption and disregard for others’ feelings. (For example, when Mr. John Knightley warns her that she’s probably been leading Mr. Elton on, I think he’s likely right. To say nothing, of course, of poor Harriet.)

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            I don’t think it is intentional, though. Having grown up with her father and sister, it’s very likely she doesn’t recognize the subtleties of other people expressing dissatisfaction in normal ways- both of them make their opinions and feelings known very loudly and clearly. She is so careful of them both, and was upset that she’d disappointed Mr Knightley – and hurt Miss Bates. She grew up in a rather ridiculous environment with ridiculous people. Had Miss Taylor been more strict, she’d have been better off- but her father never would have employed anyone strict!

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Definitely not intentional! And that’s part of the whole issue, I think, which is that she’s a bit self-absorbed and oblivious. But there is much good in Emma too.

      3. hbc*

        Yep, it may have been intended for her to be unlikable, but that intention doesn’t detract from the fact that I’m spending a lot of time with an unlikable person. And if I’ve spent several hundred pages cringing at her, there need to be significant pages devoted to her not being a jerk for me to come around and cheer for her romance.

        1. paul*

          And she wasn’t that interesting to me. I’ve read plenty of historical works involving deeply unpleasant people but when I’m reading fiction I want to have *someone* I don’t despise to relate to. They sure don’t have to be perfect and it’s boring if they are but good lord when all I want to do is throw my hands up and tell the protagonist to just being them…I’m out

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          The thing to know about Austen is that she’s poking fun at many of her characters; if you can see it as humorous, you might like it more.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            Not just her own characters. She’s poking fun at society, especially the lower to mid level “landed gentry”

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I was going to say this. When read as social commentary, Emma can be really funny. That said, sometimes a character is so grating that it’s difficult to read about her, even if you know the book is satire.

      4. Dee-Nice*

        I really hated Emma when I first read the book as a teenager, and then grew sympathy for her as I got older and realized that she is no more self-absorbed than the average 21 year old who has never really suffered in life. It’s just that her entire village is her high school. I also saw, on re-reading, that she is really a very lonely person. The person she looks to as a mother moves out and starts another family (nothing wrong with that, but it’s still hard on Emma), and there’s no one for her to really be *friends* with aside from Jane Fairfax, that one girl who’s better at everything than you are and your parents are always thinking you should hang out with because she’d be such a good influence on you. None of this excuses Emma’s behavior but it does make it more understandable. It’s a common theme in Austen that empathy and good fellow-feeling are learned qualities, and Emma doesn’t have much reason to learn those things until this point in her life.

  22. Folklorist*

    SPOILERS for Gilmore Girls Reboots!

    “Generally speaking, people who refuse to take no for an answer and think they can gumption their way into a yes are bad news — at work, in romance, and in life in general.”

    Yeah, and we all saw in the reboots what a “quality” reporter Rory ended up being! No story ideas for potential jobs, sleeping with sources, falling asleep in interviews. Boy, I can’t believe that people aren’t falling over themselves to hire her all the time! (Ugh, as a journalist who is the same age as her character and grew up loving that show, I was SO MAD at her!)

    1. Jamie*

      In her defense I don’t think a Wookie can ever be considered a source under any circumstances.

  23. Pescadero*

    “If you had to, which Jane Austen man would you hire for a middle-management position?”

    Uncle Gardiner

    1. Jessesgirl72*


      The worst would be Mr. John Knightley. He had a mercurial temperment and was always micromanaging Mr. (George) Knightley’s decisions about the property.

  24. gwal*

    What are the taxpayers’ concerns with an employee leaving with severance as opposed to quitting? In the public sector I can see it, but in a private company aren’t such “golden parachute” deals acceptable for extremely-high-level contributors? If it’s good for the head honcho geese, why not for the middle management ganders?

      1. Natalie*

        Although the company probably wouldn’t be able to prevent the person from collecting unemployment. I doubt the state would buy “we fired a quitting employee so they could get a severance package” as a contest.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s what I meant by originally saying it wasn’t fair to taxpayers — that the person would be collecting unemployment under false pretenses. (But then I realized from gwal’s comment that the question was just asking about severance, so I removed that.)

  25. Lusca*

    OP#3: This isn’t related to the issue at hand, but I love that you chose fictional names from FF9! I’m playing FF9 for the first time right now and completely adore it :)

    1. Antilles (OP#3)*

      OP#3 here – Thanks. It’s one of my favorite games of all-time – despite the (intentionally) cartoon-ish graphics, it gets pretty deep emotionally.

    2. Purest Green*

      It’s one of my favorites from the whole franchise. It has a good balance of depth and humor.

  26. Lily Evans*

    I was a teenager when I first started watching Gilmore Girls and I remember watching that scene and wondering if that was actually how things were supposed to work. But now when I rewatch it I have to fast forward through that part because it makes me cringe so hard! It was also one of the first examples I thought of when this topic came up last time, I’m glad someone else submitted it!

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      This may account for why so many young OPs (or subjects of OPs) have such wrong ideas about what gumption should look like!

      1. Lily Evans*

        I actually wouldn’t be surprised! When I applied for my first job in high school, all of the adults in my family who were working had held the same jobs for almost my entire life and their advice wasn’t exactly helpful, and as a super introverted kid I’d picked up a lot of behaviors based on TV and books. I got lucky and got the first job I applied for then and by the time I started my first professional job search I’d found this site and knew not to listen to my dad’s gumption talks.

      2. Rincat*

        I’m pretty sure my sister went to law school because of Ally McBeal. (she’s a marketing coordinator now)

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Oh dear, I hope not. I was a teenager when GG came out, and neither I nor any of my friends saw Rory’s behavior as something to emulate. (but I am also not an OP, so perhaps I’m not the target audience for gumptioning :) )

    2. JayeRaye*

      Oh my, I thought so too! I was Rory’s age when the show first appeared, and thought everything the GG’s did was marvelous and the way things were supposed to go. Now that I’m the age of Lorelai’s character when the show began….I want to slap them both. I couldn’t even re-watch the series – although I did find much more sympathy for Emily.

      1. Lily Evans*

        There were a lot of things in real life that disappointed me based on my expectations from this and other shows/books, but the worst one was college dorm rooms! The suite that Rory lived in her freshman year was a far cry from the tiny forced triple dorm room I got and I was not a happy camper comparing the two.

      2. CM*

        But I still want to eat like they eat. Five kinds of take-out with half a dozen desserts sounds great.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Their commitment to takeout is like Carrie Bradshaw’s NYC studio + shoe collection—how can someone with Lorelai’s job possibly afford all of that takeout??

          1. JKP*

            I always thought that they ordered all that takeout on a Fri/Sat night and then had leftovers from the takeout the rest of the week. I mean 2 people can’t eat that much takeout in one night. So really, it’s no different than ordering in 1 meal every night.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              Naw, dude! Have you seen how much they say they eat? There’s no way that’s primarily leftovers (but even if it were—one meal a night is prohibitively expensive in many places!).

    3. Jamie*

      I was 15 when that episode aired and I remember being gobsmacked that not only was she not escorted out by security but she actually got the job.

  27. Jessesgirl72*

    I want to defend Mr Darcy! He was only rude to his peers- and even that was being changed by the end of the book.

    His housekeeper said she’d never had a cross word from him, and she’d known him since he was a boy. The way he conducted his personal life was different than he conducted his business life, and he was known for being a good and fair business person (Lord)

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Also, why are we only considering the women? Elinor Dashwood was a fine manager, with very limited resources and temperamental people she was working with. And the characters in their respective books couldn’t manage at all without Anne Elliot or Fanny Price!

        1. Lunch Meat*

          Have you seen the 1999 adaptation? It makes a lot of her internal monologue explicit, and they even give her lines from some of Austen’s journals.

          1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

            Yeah, they basically changed her entire character to make her more palatable to modern audiences.

        2. Parenthetically*

          But for a job where she could be competent behind the scenes without having to make a lot of decisions?

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            I think that if she’d come up through some ranks, out from under her family, she’d shine.

            But maybe she’s best as the most perfect AA ever.

            I honestly dislike Anne Elliot so much (I have read the book only twice I think)

            1. BettyD*

              Fascinating! What makes you dislike Anne? (She’s one of my top Austen heroines, but I love a good Austen discussion.)

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                It just bothers me that Anne lets herself be talked about of the marriage to begin with, and goes on and on helping people who don’t deserve to be helped or really even appreciate it, and then, in the end, marries Wentworth, who I also don’t like, particularly.

                She’d have been better off in a nunnery or by becoming a governess somewhere!

                I also dislike Northanger Abbey- but then I hate the Gothics (I can tolerate Jane Eyre, but that’s it!) and I know she was being ironic and intending to mock the Gothics, but the novel is still too Gothic for my taste. I know, Catherine is supposed to be silly until she learns better, but she’s still too silly for too much of the book for me, on top of the dark Gothic-y setting.

                1. BettyD*

                  Fair enough. I felt that way about Anne’s refusal when I first read the novel, and a bit of it still lingers. The more I reflect/reread, I think she did the best she could with the information at her disposal even if it makes me crazy; it really might have been a disastrous match, and Lady Russell gave the closest thing she had to a mother’s advice. I admire the strength of her conviction later on when she says she may regret the results, but not the choice. At her station, she could never have been a governess, only dependent on her jerk relatives for the rest of her life. (See also: Charlotte Lucas and her matrimonial choices.) I think we sometimes fail to recognize the degree of constraint on women in that era.

                  Same for me on Northanger Abbey. I get the intent, but wow is it a struggle to read, esp Catherine being taken in so completely by the Thorpes.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Fanny Price is why I hate Mansfield Park. It is the only Austen novel in which I can find no redeeming qualities.

  28. Elizabeth H.*

    What I remember most from Friends is the episode where Rachel gets injured, goes to the hospital and pretends she is Monica to use her health insurance because she doesn’t have her own. I was really young when I saw it and I can’t remember whether I just figured it out from context or if I asked my mom any questions about it, but that was when I learned what health insurance was, how it worked and why it was important to have it and bad if you didn’t. I think about this all the time and was just thinking of it yesterday afternoon, again, as health insurance is omnipresent on the news. It’s funny the things we learn about how the world works from random TV shows.

    1. EngineerInNL*

      The heath insurance plot lines on American shows always used to baffle me as a kid/teenager, as a Canadian I never understood why insurance was so necessary (and how you could get away with it? I’m assuming you can’t and it’s just a TV trope?)

      I’m pretty sure I remember one where Joey (he had a hernia I think?) was using Chandler’s too maybe? Or am I just making that up in my head lol

      1. Turtle Candle*

        It may vary by location, but yeah, in my experience it’d be difficult to impossible to actually cheat and use someone else’s insurance. When I start treatment at a new clinic, they always take both a photo ID and my insurance information and make sure that the photo matches me and the names on the ID and insurance card match each other. You’d have to find an ER or clinic that didn’t bother to do that to be able to say “oh yeah, I’m totally Monica and this is totally my insurance card.”

        (Joey’s was a bit different–he wasn’t using Chandler’s insurance. Instead, it was that he was originally getting insurance through the actor’s guild, and he hadn’t gotten enough paying work to be a member in good standing of the actor’s guild, so his insurance through them lapsed. So he had to manage to do one job with the hernia so he could re-join the guild so he could get back on the insurance, at which point of course Hijinks Ensued. I have no idea whether that would work either, but at least it seems more plausible than Rachel-uses-Monica’s-insurance.

        Apparently my brain is ENTIRELY TAKEN UP with details of random sitcom episodes.)

          1. Natalie*

            My regular clinic does, but it’s a quite recent change, maybe only the last 4 or 5 years.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Even when I had Giant Insurance HMO (in an area known for undocumented workers with no insurance) who had it printed everywhere that you had to show card and ID, I only ever had to show ID – that was as recent as 4 years ago.

          Here, I have to show ID only for the first visit, where they scan it all in. I had to re-show my ID when my insurance changed., so they could scan them in together.

          1. Alli*

            My orthopedic surgeon’s office now has these check-in machines that scan your driver’s license AND insurance card before every appointment.

          2. Turtle Candle*

            I only have to show ID for first visit, but at least one of the clinics’ systems brings up the ID image when they check you in so it’s right in front of them. (I happened to be standing at an angle where I could see the screen. I have no idea if the other clinics/etc. have similar systems.)

            Interesting that this varies so much! I can’t remember what it was like before I moved to this area, but it’s been pretty consistent here.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              I assumed they bring up my picture when I check in each time after the first, yes. :)

        2. Allison*

          When I was in high school I attended a seminar about how to “survive” freshman year in college, taught by the school nurse. She told us it was important to have health insurance in case you end up in the hospital, and if your friend or roommate ends up in the hospital with no insurance, you could probably get away with letting them use theirs, but there’s no guarantee they’d pay you back for your part of the bill. Looking back, I have no idea they told us this was a thing we could do. And it’s heartbreaking that it would even need to be suggested.

          This was years before Obamacare, although our state had an individual mandate.

      2. Sualah*

        It would be insurance fraud, so, you know, don’t do it ;) but if it’s a one off ER/urgent care type visit…probably? They would just ask Rachel for her insurance card, she would give Monica’s, and Monica’s insurance company would get the bill. If it’s a sprained ankle or whatever, there’s no reason for the insurance company to think it isn’t Monica, so they’d probably just process and pay it. A more involved or chronic illness would be different.

      3. Kristin*

        I mean I guess it could work in a lax hospital that doesn’t check ID and if you had immediate access to the person you were “borrowing” from for key details like your Social Security number, etc. that you would need to use. Insurance cards do not have pictures but typically at doctor’s offices and hospitals they photocopy your ID and insurance card.

        The ramifications for getting caught would be pretty serious I think? But yah our healthcare system is awful! I have never heard of anyone trying something like this in real life though I am sure it happens.

        1. sstabeler*

          I’m not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice, but the consequences depend largely on the situation. For example, in the Rachel using Monica’s insurance example, did Monica allow Rachel to use her insurance, or did Rachel just take the card?

          As a rule of thumb, though, if you let someone else use your insurance- without them being on the policy as a covered person- you would probably lose the policy at a minimum. I doubt you would get into legal trouble in the sense of being arrested, though if it’s egregarious, I believe it’s theoretically possible. (that would generally take all but letting all and sundry use your insurance, though)

      4. Notorious MCG*

        Joey had a hernia but he had to work because his health insurance through either the Screen Actors’ Guild or Actors’ Equity Association (not apparent which, since he worked on stage and screen) had lapsed because he hadn’t worked enough recently. So he had to do a job while he still had the hernia so that he could get his insurance back.

      5. Julie Noted*

        Australian here; similar confusion. Why are people filling out pages of forms at the emergency department? Why is anyone talking about money at all?

        1. JoJo*

          People fill out forms at the ER to get treated. If you don’t have insurance, the hospital will turn the bill over to collection agencies. Even if you do have insurance, you’ll have to pay a copay.

    1. Alda*

      Mr. Tilney would be a good manager, well liked by most, and then one day he’d go along a bit too far with an office prank and it’d blow up in his face.

    2. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

      I think Henry Tilney would be excellent! He’s got a well-developed sense of honor and fairness, he’s forgiving to people when they make innocent mistakes (especially when he himself contributed to them), and he’s got a great sense of humor (it’s snarky but not mean-spirited). He’s also very loyal. And he knows his grammar!

      Of course, I have a soft spot for Henry Tilney. Of all the Austen heroes, he’s first on my list to marry (Darcy is waaay down, but not as low as Edmund).

      1. Lirael08*

        I have a soft spot for Henry Tilney too, and I agree with your analysis of his character.

    3. Fiorinda*

      So long as he wasn’t working at his father’s firm, pretty well, I think! He’s a clergyman and a minor landowner, so he’s got to have people skills and organisation on his side. Plus, he sees the funny side, and he can take responsibility for things.

  29. SleeplessKJ*

    Re: Gumption #4, I actually have a good friend that did exactly this (nearly identical scenario actually) and landed himself an editing job at Random House. He’s now a thrice published novelist and loves to trot out that story when he’s giving talks. :)

    1. OP#4*

      I think that’s why this gumption advice still gets passed around – it works for certain people in certain scenarios very rarely (see the comment thread about Woodward above too), so people assume it will work for everyone. But for 99% of folks, showing up at an office and demanding to get a job would get you thrown out, not hired!

      1. Lissa*

        Yes! It’s like the stories that get told that go like “I knew that I’d marry her as soon as I saw her, so I pursued her even though she was with another guy/said no etc….and now we’ve been married for 50 years!” You never hear about the times somebody saw someone, “just knew” they’d be with them forever and it didn’t work out for them.

    2. Finn*

      How long ago was this? I feel like it’s a generational thing. My grandfather gave me this kind of advice when I was in high school, and even then I had a sense it was outdated.

    3. cleo*

      I had a professor in grad school that had a similar story of targeting a company and calling them once a week until they gave him the job (in product design). This was in the 90s and he’d retired from the industry, so he was probably gumption-ing his way into a job in the 60s or 70s.

      I was very shy in grad school and I remember thinking that there was no way I would ever call someone once a week to get a job.

      I do think it’s generational. The economy just doesn’t work like that now, if it ever did.

  30. Mary, Queen of Scoffs*

    I actually had a question fermenting in my mind about a recent episode of Modern Family (which I think has gone downhill since the earlier season, IMO). Clare is now working at her father’s company and it’s basically the most dysfunctional workplace ever that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for the sake of comedy.

    1. The Rat-Catcher*

      That recent episode with Alex being promoted to assistant manager at the coffee shop and the resulting fallout was far-fetched, but the premise might be letter material!

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      Yes. I’ve stopped watching Modern Family. It’s gone too far to the farce for me.

    3. Nervous Accountant*

      I LOVE Modern family, but I have to say I really felt bad for Claire when her coworkers were being awful.

      There was a recent episode where she had to make budget cuts and downsize. Right after her meeting with the employees, Gloria surprised her with an in-office massage and pampering day for her birthday. At some point Claire said “let them eat [the surprise birthday] cake!” for that Marie Antoinette effect.

    4. Bellatrix*

      I don’t know how to feel about Modern Family. They’re trying to make “successful businesswoman” Claire’s arch, but it all seems a bit implausible and irritating.

      She doesn’t make good business decisions (although I suspect that’s often just to make the plot funnier) and boy, is she a poor people manager.

      It’s like they realised having all the women stay-at-home moms is not modern at all, so they made Claire into this terrible carton cut out of a career woman. But none of the things in her storyline make sense. Her time management, her family always wandering unsupervised through the office and warehouse, the lack of any delegation of responsibility at all… no company would stay in business. And she’s always super busy for her arch, but still has time to participate in her husband’s shenagigans with no notice on a weekday, unless of course her being busy is the joke. Ugh.

  31. Io*

    I hope someone has written in about any one of George Costanza’s interesting job situations!

    1. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

      Or Elaine’s! And Kramer had a couple too. Heck, you could do a couple columns based on Seinfeld alone.

      1. It's Business Time*

        LOL! Yes, Bizarro Jerry episode with Kramer – TCB – Taking Care of Business……”It’s almost as if you have no business training at all”)

  32. Collarbone High*

    I’ve worked at a handful of newspapers, from tiny community papers to major dailies, and all of them had some type of security or screening system that prevented non-employees from just walking into the newsroom.

    Newspapers attract a lot of angry people who want stories written about their ex-spouse/mean boss/alien abductors/really big tomato, or who don’t like a story that was written, or who want a job. Even a paper that doesn’t care about the safety aspects will set up a security system the first time the top editor gets waylaid by someone demanding a five-part investigative series on why his neighbor’s fence is one inch over the property line.

    (OTOH, maybe Rory ended up being the incident that led that paper to set up a security system …)

  33. kristinyc*

    Re: Rory

    Also though – after she finally got the job they NEVER mention it again. Never show her going there, never have her say “Oh, I have to go to work…” Nothing. Then a month later she becomes editor of the Yale Daily News. Because of course she does.

    Based on her writing background [REVIVAL SPOILER] – the probably actually might have done well at Sandee Says if she had pitched something. The only writing of hers they ever talk about during the original run is a snarky article about Logan’s rich party friends, and a snarky article about a ballet dancer. She’s the worst. #teamparis

    1. TL -*

      She wrote an amazing article about a parking lot in high school, too! One of the few times when we’re believably shown that Rory is actually really talented.

      (For what it’s worth, I think she’s incredibly sympathetic for a high school kid, and not terrible in college, but awful as an adult.)

    2. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

      I actually think she should take Headmaster Charleston’s advice and teach. She’d be a great English teacher! She’s always wanting to learn,she loves research and reading and talking about books, and she is good at mentoring/improving other people (just not herself, apparently). And it’d be a nice, steady job, and she needs some stability given the Final Four Words.

        1. kristinyc*

          I think if the final four words had happened when she was 22 like ASP intended, it would’ve been a bit different. She had a Planned Parenthood poster in her dorm room….

  34. emma2*

    Everyone go to YouTube and watch Emma Approved, the webseries. You will see exactly how Emma acts as a businessowner! (I thought the interpretation was spot-on.)

  35. gmg22*

    Nobody mentioned Frank Churchill yet, but boy, would that guy be a terrible manager. He’d be sleeping with one colleague, flirting with another, pretending random relatives are sick to get out of travel, and scheduling his hair appointments to coincide with every 9 am meeting.

    Since we also considered Austen’s heroines in this light, it got me thinking about some of my favorite supporting female characters. Mrs. Croft would be great to work for, having fearlessly sailed halfway around the world and repeatedly made sure her husband didn’t crash his carriage, and Mrs. Jennings would drive you crazy with office gossip but would stand up for you no question when the big boss tried to pin some mistake on you.

    1. Rincat*

      Oh Frank is the worst! I imagine he’d also be one of those people who quit his job every few months because no one “understands” him and he wasn’t being “challenged.”

  36. Mrs. Fenris*

    I hope this isn’t overly off-point, but it is about TV shows relating to real life work situations. If you ever saw the Mad Men episode where Peggy gives Don her resignation, my resignation from my first professional job went exactly like that. I mean, without the whiskey or the hand-kissing, but the sequence of emotions was absolutely the same.

    1. designbot*

      oh, the Peggy/Don relationship is so on point for creative jobs. When Peggy is whining about how underappreciated and she is and Don’s like “THAT’s what the MONEY is for!” I think I’ve been on both sides of that now. And when he thought she’d finally learned when to ask for a raise and she’s like, “no, I’m leaving.” it was perfection. And then when he realized he should be grooming her to take over for him and knew when to step back… The timing between them was always just a little off, which is so much of how it is, especially when you and your boss are a little codependent.

      1. Mrs. Fenris*

        And my boss and I kind of were. God, I love and hate that man. I’m still overjoyed to see him at professional meetings and wish him nothing but the best, but I could never ever work for him again.

  37. chickflick*

    I don’t think Rory is entirely the worst, but I do always wonder where she gets her ideas about how you get jobs, and what to do once you’re working there. Then I remember that this show is written mostly by people who have only worked in TV writing – a world where you could foreseeably get a job by arguing your way into it.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      People who have only worked in TV, and who are known for not being the easiest to work with (in a world of temperamental people!) …

    2. Bookworm*

      Those techniques wouldn’t fly in television either. I think the waiting in an office every day just makes for a much more dramatic story than Rory sitting alone, working on applications.

  38. MsChanandlerBong*

    It’s funny that you posted this today. I was watching Friends the other day, and I thought about writing to you to ask how you would handle Ross’s breakdown after his boss eats his sandwich. The one with the “moistmaker” in the middle.

    1. Squeegee Beckenheim*

      I generally hate Ross, but that was one instance where I felt for him. I made that sandwich last Thanksgiving and it’s a really good sandwich!

    2. Rincat*

      If I was Ross’ boss, I might put him on a PIP or fire him, because you know that was just one incident in a long line of overreactions! Plus he made a lot of questionable and unethical decisions at all his jobs (and in life) such as when he dated one of his students but kept trying to rationalize it. Full disclosure – I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character more than Ross.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Ross is the worst, but I think it’s a testament to David Schwimmer’s acting ability that so many people hate the character. He did tons of unprofessional stuff, including having sex with his girlfriend in one of the museum displays!

        1. Nervous Accountant*

          I must be the only weirdo who liked Ross a lot. I thought he was a terrible boyfriend (jealous, possessive) but a really good father and brother and friend. He had some great moments during the Rachel pregnancy storyline and I felt like he was really treated unfairly by his ex wife.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            The interesting thing about Ross is that he’s one of vanishingly few fictional characters in popular culture who’s a scientist just as their job, not as their raison d’être in the show. Usually the role of a scientist in a movie or TV show is to either cause or save the world from some kind of apocalyptic plague, or they’re in something like Big Bang Theory that’s “about science”. With Ross it’s just his job, handled the same way as Monica being a chef or Joey being an actor. It makes being a scientist look “normal” in a way that most depictions of us in fiction don’t.

            It’s really a shame that the poster child for “being a scientist is a totally normal and mainstream career choice” was such a horrible controlling jealous boyfriend, but yes, I do have a certain amount of sympathy for him, especially when his friends started pretending to fall asleep every time he talked about science!

            I read an article recently about how the other characters treated Ross and his geeky interests. It’s called “How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization” :D I’ll link in a separate comment

              1. Nervous Accountant*

                Lol I read this and agreed to every word!!!!!

                Sometimes I watch Friends and wonder how most of the things throughout the show would fare today. Watching it from a 20+ years later lens, it’s hard to believe that things like “are you gay now?” or “slut” would be appropriate on TV. (I was really young when it first came out and didn’t start watching until I was 12 or 13 so to watch it as a 30 year old is really fascinating).

                1. Adlib*

                  They were then, but probably aren’t now. I love the show, but I am fairly sure that some of the jokes would have people’s jaws on the floor now (for better or worse).

  39. lcsa99*

    Ha! This is hilarious. My husband and I have been watching old sitcoms and were actually talking about some tv examples the other day that don’t lend themselves to questions, but are great examples of what not to do.

    On the Bob Newhart Show, Bob gets a horrible interview at a college for a new job. The panel obviously had no idea what they were doing, and Bob flubs spectacularly but still lands the job (but thankfully decides to turn it down.)

    On the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ted is interviewed to be a game show host, gets the job, and on his last day he is talked into staying. This one made me think of the game show producers, who suddenly lost a candidate who had already accepted (and had probably cut loose their other options) AND the person they must had hired to replace Ted (since he would have had to start the next day), who would suddenly have his job offer yanked!

    1. fposte*

      But then you get to hear Lou Grant venomously hiss “Quizzzzzmaster.” It’s a fair trade.

    2. JoJo*

      I’d like to see the follow up episode where the replacement guy sues and wins.

      That scenario reminds me of the “We need to sell our house” plot. The family decides their house is too small, sell it, the new buyers show up and announce their redecorating plans. This fuels outrage that the (absolutely unremarkable suburban dwelling) will be ‘desecrated’, and ending with the family deciding to stay in place. Um no, that’s not how real estate contracts work. You’d be sued up the wazoo for breach of contract and damages by the buyers who presumably sold their old house or terminated their lease.

  40. SadieMae*

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a corner office and a key to the executive washroom…”

    1. Cath in Canada*

      Heh, we were just talking yesterday about how to incorporate this and other Austen quotes into grant proposals! e.g. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a health authority in possession of a genomics centre and a hospital must be in want of a clinical genomics infrastructure”

  41. mamabear*

    I’d like to read some advice to Ross when he’s dating Elizabeth the student, not believing it’s against school policy. I can hear him now: “Mmm, it’s just ‘frowned upon.'” Followed by advice to Elizabeth when she dumps him by pouring a bucket of water over his head, throwing flour out the window, and shouting “You suck!”

    1. Cath in Canada*

      I’d advise Ross to take the George Kostanza approach of listening to your gut instinct on what to do in any given situation, then doing the opposite.

    2. Professional Sweater Folder*

      Actually he breaks up with Elizabeth because she’s too immature, and then she throws water balloons at him.

  42. Amalyia*

    Thank you to question 3 for using names and references from Final Fantasy 9! It is one of my favorite games of all time!

  43. cleo*

    I hope someone’s asked about the movie Nine to Five. (or I suppose I could rewatch it and write in). I recently heard Jane Fonda talk about all of the incredible stories of harassment she collected from secretaries while working on the movie.

    1. MsChanandlerBong*

      Let’s see: Nearly poisoned the boss, held the boss hostage, forced the boss to wear bondage gear, forged signatures on policy changes, sent Roz to a foreign country so she wouldn’t find out that the boss was missing. The list is long!

      1. cleo*

        Hah, yes. I just imagine Alison’s “What, no!” response to Violet or Judy writing in, trying to justify their behavior.

  44. Cath in Canada*

    Any other Bates Motel fans on here? Sooooo much material on why it’s a bad idea to work for a family business… not to mention how to frame your experience in the drugs trade into transferable skills in an interview for a legitimate job.

    (It is SUCH a great show, but hardly anyone I know watches it. I was skeptical about the concept at first, but we watched the pilot because my husband worked on it (he got to make the iconic Bates Motel neon sign!), and were instantly hooked. Both leads are excellent and should be winning way more acting awards than they’re getting).

    1. emma2*

      I actually started watching it years ago and really liked it, but life happened and I fell off the wagon. I should restart it…

  45. SusanIvanova*

    Another literary office situation that doesn’t even come close to reality: this blog has been doing in-depth deconstructions of Ayn Rand novels, and this week hero Roark nearly gets fired in The Fountainhead

    ” The problem, you see, isn’t that Roark is too bad, but too good. He’s too noble and pure for this harsh world, and Cameron doesn’t want him to throw his talent away by staying with him in a dead-end job” (From the POV of the author, of course. In real life… not so much. He’d be the one whose managers would be here asking how to manage him out.)

  46. Cheryl Blossom*

    No ones talking about Colonel Fitz William! He was one of my favorite male Austen characters: friendly, warm, calm, professional, charming, able to get on with everyone. . . perhaps too trusting of everyone but an all around stand up man. ( Also he was a military man so able to give and take orders).

    I think he would be a great coworker and could potentially be a great boss!

  47. gov anon*

    Lady Catherine de Bourgh would be the most micromanaging boss ever. Not only would she micromanage your actual work, she’d also attempt to micromanage your health, diet, wardrobe, family life, and vacation plans. She’d exhaustively quiz you on your symptoms every time you call in sick. And sadly, her admin assistant would probably be someone like poor Fanny Price who she could just steamroll right over.

  48. Tex*

    “Love and Friendship”, based on one of Jane Austen’s first novels, is on Amazon Prime video streaming. The cast is wickedly on point.

  49. Amezilla*

    I actually Tweeted my frustration about a TV work scenario at Alison last fall. On one of my medical shows a doctor beat the crap out of a resident (outside of work, but still), nearly blinding him, and the administration basically just…put him on paid leave for a few weeks and then moved him to another part of the hospital. Then the resident “pressed charges” against his attacker and everyone was like “WHAT A BETRAYAL”. I stopped watching at that point, because I was getting so angry, but it appears that the doctor in question is now back in his position and the two are working together again? Can you IMAGINE if that happened in real life?

    1. TL -*

      I mean, if Grey’s anatomy happened in real life at all, Seattle would be a malpractice lawyer’s dream come true.

  50. nnn*

    I think if I were in Monica’s situation, I would have assumed that the steaks and eggplant were for the restaurant, not for me personally, as a sort of “free gift with purchase” thing, and put them in the restaurant fridge without mentioning anything.

    I wonder how Moncia’s boss would have responded to that?

    1. Professional Sweater Folder*

      It gets a little effy when you consider the eggplant was for Phoebe who is a vegetarian. That means that the supplier had to have offered the steaks, had Monica specify the number (she got exactly six items, one for each “Friend”) then inform the supplier of the dietary restriction, and work out the whole eggplant substitution.

      1. Daisy Steiner*

        I always assumed the steaks were a gift but Monica bought the eggplant herself so Phoebe was included.

    1. Charisma*

      WOW… I could barely read the full article because I was so completely infuriated that she was fired for making such an innocent mistake and not given a chance to atone for it. What is wrong with people? That manager/boss must have been a horrible person to work under if they really didn’t bat an eye or care about the possibility of extenuating circumstances.

  51. Thatgirlwiththeglasses*

    I may be lame for picking a woman instead of a man, but Charlotte from Pride and Prejudice hands down for middle management. She’d be worth her weight in gold. I could also see Anne being in a managerial job.

  52. Ayshe22992*

    I was watching Gossip Girl a few months ago and I was very upset with this scene! I almost wrote in haha. It reminded me of the one letter writer who had a guy who she repeatedly told would not get a position because he had no training so he went and paid for it then was upset when she still wouldn’t give him the position

  53. DevAssist*

    I may be alone here, but I LOVE Gilmore Girls! Much of it is the nostalgia, just each character is so interesting and the writing is excellent. Rory really did become a horrible character over the years and I wouldn’t call her a role model by any means, but I do love the show in its entirety. The revival was weird, but I did still enjoy having characters I grew up with back in my life for a day or so.

  54. Volunteer Enforcer*

    As the OP of the vampire question, it tickles me that this got posted on my birthday of all days.

    1. Linden*

      This is a year and a week late (I suppose that makes it only a week late), but happy birthday!!

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