hating your job versus hating working, toilet seat etiquette, and more

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

1. Etiquette of putting the toilet seat down

What’s the etiquette surrounding the office toilet seat when roughly 15 staff members to share one bathroom?

I work in a public library where the staff generally gets along well and about 15 of us share one staff bathroom, including 5 men and 10 women. It’s a single stall restroom, and since we have relatively clean coworkers and a great custodian, it’s usually quite clean. However, I have noticed someone has been leaving the toilet seat up lately. I’m personally not a fan of this, and when I mentioned it to other female colleagues, they said they were noticing it as well. It may well be a man on staff (or not, I don’t want to presume) and I don’t want to start a gender war. We can always use the public restrooms, but the extra privacy of the staff bathroom is nice. I speculate that this is a matter of people being forgetful versus wanting the toilet seat up all the time, but I could be wrong.

How can I address this to my colleagues without being a pain, or is it with worth addressing at all? Is it best to phrase it as “Hey all, please put the toilet seat down when you’re done” or “Is everyone okay with the expectation of putting the seat down when you’re done?” One colleague suggested bringing it to my manager’s attention and having her handle it. I may be overthinking, but I don’t want to force my expectations on those around me.

Don’t bring it to your manager. It doesn’t rise to the level of something she should be involved with.

I think at most you could put up a sign asking people to leave the seat down so that their colleagues don’t fall in when they sit down. The sign will probably improve things at least a bit. But this is sort of like the long-running battle to keep office kitchens clean; it’s just really hard to get everyone to agree on one standard and then enforce that standard. It can be a thing that comes along with the territory when you have a lot of people sharing a bathroom.

2. Hating your job versus hating working

Today my best friend sent me a text message: “Here’s a thing on my mind: I can’t tell if I hate my job or just hate working. How can you tell the diff?”

My first response was to do a quick search of your archives. I didn’t have time to go too deep, but the first few pages didn’t really feel like they hit the right notes. Then I attempted to channel my inner Alison,and I gave her my two cents. Here is what I told her: “Good question. My instinct would be that if you take an average week and can find at least three instances of enjoyment during the workday that are related to work, you probably hate your job. If you’re straight-up listless the whole time, you’re possibly depressed. And if you are actively antagonistic about doing anything work-related the whole time, then you hate working … but I think actually hating working is rare, since there is so much room for things done at work to relate to things you find enjoyable or at least feel good accomplishing. You should take a sample week, and write down every time you feel good and the context, and every time you feel bad, and the context, and then see if you can identify patterns. Might give you some insight into how you can redirect your current role to be more satisfying or help you find something that suits you better.”

The question has stuck in my mind. I’m a “work is a means to an end” person. I don’t really care about loving my job, as long as the environment is pleasant, the pay and benefits are good, and I don’t have to think about it outside office hours. I know there are people out there who do hate their jobs, and I’m glad I’m not one of them — but are there people who hate working, full stop? It just seems like the line between working and the mundane tasks of daily life is pretty blurry, so how would you even be able to define a hatred of working? And to return to my friend’s question, how could she tell if she hates her job, or straight up hates working?

I do think there are people who just hate working, but they’re probably more rare than people who just hate the job they’re in, or the whole line of work that they’re in. There are people who think they just hate working, but it’s because they’re in the completely wrong environment for them — like they’re working in an office when they should be working in a different type of setting.

Of course, there’s a much bigger group of people who don’t actively hate working but don’t especially like it either. They’re doing it because they have to, but they feel mildly resentful toward it or exhausted by it — but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking about.

As for how to tell if you just hate working across the board … it’s pretty tough to know unless you try a bunch of different things. You could hate every office job you’ve had and thus assume that you hate working, but then have a completely different experience working as a park ranger or a teacher. So I’d say to really drill down into what, specifically, you hate about work and try to find patterns — and then see if you can find work that has only a minimal amount of those things.

3. Nail-biting and job interviews

So I’ve recently started applying for administrative jobs in my area, after several years of working in teaching and art, where I’m mainly working independently. Aside from having to update my wardrobe, I have a concern about my nails. I’ve been a nail-biter my entire life and have tried everything to stop, but dealing with anxiety issues makes it worse. They are seriously short, even beyond the quick, and I’ve occasionally had strangers comment and try to suggest I stop! I hate it, and worry that it will look gross or unprofessional to my interviewers. I’ve never had good luck keeping acrylic nails on, but should I try, at least for interviews?

Nah. Unless you’re applying for jobs that expect an extremely polished appearance (for example, some PR jobs or pharmaceutical sales), most people aren’t going to care or even notice.

4. Applying for a job with someone who’s pitching our board of directors for work

I’m on the board of a local, grassroots, small nonprofit. Over the past year, we have evolved a ton (for the better!) and a consulting group was recently recommended to us. The owner of the group gave her background at our last board meeting — it’s EXACTLY the type of work I want to do in my day job. She runs a small company with fewer than 10 full-time employees and a bunch of “flex employees” for large events and fundraisers. I’d love to transition from my current defense industry job to the nonprofit sector and this seems to be an awesome fit for my project management and consulting skills. Only problem — our nonprofit is likely going to hire her team for marketing assistance.

Is this a non-starter? She has many other clients, so I could *probably* avoid work for my nonprofit, but is it too close for comfort? Frankly, if it came down to it, I would be tempted to leave my board position to work full-time with her company. I’m early in my career (5 years out of school) and can have board opportunities in the future.

The bigger issue is that it’ll be awkward if you apply for a job with her while your organization is considering her to do work for them. I’d wait until that’s resolved one way or the other (they hire her firm or let her know they’re not going to), and then apply after that — so that she’s not in the uncomfortable position of wondering if a decision not to hire or not hire you could hurt her chances of getting business from your organization. After that, if you do get hired, you can work out any conflict of interest at that point, by leaving the board or working with other clients (although she might actually see your familiarity with them as a plus, not a minus).

5. Can I ask to see the employee handbook before accepting a job offer?

I recently had a series of interviews that resulted in a job offer. This was a professional position, 15+ years of experience. Not my dream job, but under the right conditions a job that could be challenging and enjoyable. Before making up my mind, I asked to see a copy of the new hire papers I’d be asked to sign in the orientation process, as well as a copy of the employee manual. They sent me the documents but I’m sure it was an unusual request. The reason I asked to see these papers was to help me make a fully informed decision, to clearly understand policies that are important to me — time off, dress code, travel reimbursements, promotions, etc. After reviewing the manual and asking a couple questions, I decided that the culture was much more structured than I’d prefer so I declined the offer. (Just say no to pantyhose, closed-toe shoes, and dresses only.)

Was it okay to have asked to see these documents? Next time I receive an offer would it be wise or foolish to request to see these materials?

I’m actually surprised that more people don’t ask to see those things, considering that those policies can have major impacts on your quality of life at work.

And yes, it’s okay to ask to see them if those things are important to you. The fact that it’s a somewhat unusual request may raise eyebrows, but a company that flatly refuses to give you that information is showing you a pretty big red flag. That said, some companies won’t hand over their employee handbooks in their entirety, claiming that they’re confidential, but in that case you could ask about specific policies that are important to you.

{ 529 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    I have never understood the obsession with toilet seats. Why is it more important to leave the seat convenient for women than convenient for men? We have shared one bathroom in our family of four at one point — 2 males and 2 females — the only things I focused on with the kids was that in the night the girl should check before she sat down and the boy should not pee on the seat, thus raise it before he used it.

    Women can lower the seat as easily as men can raise it. And I have noticed that janitors always leave it up after cleaning presumably to signal that they have in fact cleaned it.

    1. paul*

      We close the lid between uses for odor reasons…but most toilet seats at workplaces don’t have lids so I’d guess it isn’t an issue there.

      FWIW I agree with your general take…check the seat, don’t pee on the seat, everyone chill.

      1. Al Lo*

        To me, it’s a “put together” thing. Having either the seat or the lid (whichever is the “top” layer) down is the most “finished” and “clean” that it can look. Leaving the seat up is like leaving dishes in the sink or the towels bunched up and not hanging neatly. It just makes the room look sloppy, dirty (even if it’s not actually a particularly dirty bathroom/toilet), and untidy.

        1. Artemesia*

          It isn’t part of room decor, it is in a little cubicle. Who cares about how it looks?

          1. Fake Eleanor*

            Well, I do! I agree that it looks … nicer. For a toilet.
            That said, it’s not something I’d complain about regardless.

          2. Al Lo*

            I do. It’s not a hill I’m going to die on, but I care.

            I don’t know about others’ work bathrooms, but the bathrooms at my office aren’t exactly designed like public bathrooms in, say, a nice restaurant — floor to ceiling doors, hourly restocking/wipe-down/cleaning, proper ventilation so that there’s less chance of smelling what the person before me did, etc. They’re fine, and they’re in good repair, but they’re not exactly high-end.

            I know that it’s not a private bathroom, and I don’t have a phobia of public bathrooms, but anything that helps to eliminate reminders that someone else was in there before me is appreciated. Toilet seats are part of that.

          3. Bea W*

            People do apparently. I can see caring about presentation at home, but in the office? That just seems weird to me unless your desk is facing the bathroom. I work in a building with hundreds of other people. I’m just happy when I find the seat is dry and the bowl is flushed. :D

            I prefer the seat down at home not because I care how it looks, but because I don’t want the critters getting any ideas. When I’m at someone else’s house I will leave the seat the same way I found it. At work we have gender specific bathrooms with stalls and no lids. It’s slightly annoying when the cleaning people leave the seats up only because it’s the ladies’ room, and everyone going in there uses the toilet with the seat down. I feel like that should be a no-brainer, but it’s not a big deal. What’s it take, a half a second to put it back down?

            1. Koko*

              Ah, you know, I have a different theory behind the cleaning staff – I am firmly a “lid closed when not in use” person in my home. But I run an AirBNB out of my basement in-law unit, and I always lead the lid and seat up before a new person checks in because I feel that it helps underscore that the toilet has just been cleaned and that nobody else has used it yet. You can see there are no stains on the bowl rim or splatter on the underside of the seat. If the seat and lid were closed then for all the guest knows it hasn’t been touched since the last time the previous guest used it.

            2. seejay*

              Yep, I keep the lids down because a) female; b) I drop stuff and I don’t want it falling into the toilet and c) cats play in the water. It’s habit for me to always shut all the lids no matter what.

              When you catch a cat halfway into the bowl playing and drinking the water, it kind of changes your perspective. :|

          4. Koko*

            I mean, my dishes aren’t part of room decor but I still prefer them to be neatly drying in the dish rack and not piled on the counter covered in food. Tidiness applies to all objects in the home, not just decor.

          5. Sharon*

            Try this out for size, Artemesia. Suppose there was a little room in your office designed for people to take a break and take little naps. It has a couch and a throw blanket. After using the throw blanket, would you a) leave it crumpled up or b) neatly fold it over the couch so it looked presentable for the next person? Well, there you go. Leaving the toilet seat up is the equivalent of leaving a throw blanket crumpled up and putting it down is the equivalent of folding the blanket and hanging it neatly over the couch. The fact that it’s behind closed doors means nothing – it’s a shared space.

            1. Hotstreak*

              It’s really not the same thing. Leaving the seat up means leaving it in the perfect position for about half of the office. Lots of women prefer it down because that’s the only way they use it. Women, of course, are fully capable of moving the seat themselves, just as they drive their own cars and open doors for themselves too. We should not be treating female colleagues like delicate flowers who are incapable or unwilling to perform such a basic task as moving a piece of plastic in to their preferred position.

              1. AMPG*

                Not in this case – the OP says the office is 2/3 women. So if you’re going by the majority preference, it should be down.

        2. Myrin*

          Ha, I love that there are others who feel the same way! Like you say, I can deal with an “unfinished” toilet perfectly fine but I have that niggling feeling in the back of my mind that it isn’t one hundred percent “right”. Not a hill I’d die on but when given the chance, I’d alwas go for the most “put together” look.

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          Aha. This is well put, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why it makes a difference in a lighted office but I felt strongly that it did anyhow.

          (I agree with Alison’s reasoning re falling in, but that only applies if I stumble into the bathroom in the dark with my eyes half-closed, hoping not to fully wake up. Not how one usually uses the work toilets.)

      2. Jerry Larry Terry Garry*

        Agreed- lids need to be down before flushing, if that’s an option, for sanitary reasons.

        1. MechanicalPencil*

          Exactly. I am all about those sanitary reasons. I just need to get that into the SO’s head. I also have two rescue dogs who will (or did) find any means of water available to them (and food, sigh). So while I can’t stop one from hopping in the bathtub, I can at least eliminate the toilet from being an easy source simply by putting the lid down.

          1. Your Weird Uncle*

            Yep – I have one curious cat who luuuuurves to paddle around in water. We got the kids to start putting down the toilet seat regularly (and flush!!!) when I explained that, if they don’t, they’ll have dirty kitten toilet paws on their face in the middle of the night.

        2. hermit crab*

          There’s actually research showing that some enteric pathogens still get flushed into the air even if the lid is down! (Less than if the lid is up, though — and, if I’m remembering correctly, it’s mainly an issue if there’s someone infected with something like norovirus, with an excruciatingly tiny infectious dose.) If you search on “toilet plume” or “toilet aerosol” you can find some interesting papers on this topic.

        3. Natalie*

          I insist on keeping the lid down because I’m damn clumsy and I have dropped multiple things in the toilet. I don’t enjoy fishing them out.

        4. Newby*

          I agree. If there is a lid, it should be closed. If there is no lid, it doesn’t really matter if the seat is up or down.

      3. Yomi*

        Yup, in private homes I honestly don’t understand why people don’t leave the lid down at all times, especially if they have pets. It’s a sanitation issue along with being about looks. And if everybody is putting the lid down every time, everybody’s doing equal work so this bean counting about the toilet seat that always starts the second anybody mentions it can be avoided.

        In offices, here’s my take: it’s not as easy as you would think when you’re in a hurry and have ten things on your mind to actually make a visual distinction between the seat being up and the seat being down, because of the way office toilets are usually designed. Also, in general, you should be putting shared spaces back like you found them when you’re done because that’s basic office etiquette 101 and anybody that disagrees is being selfish (this is my problem with kitchen issues as well, you’re declaring openly that your time is more valuable than someone else’s even if it’s in increments of seconds, and that’s not a thing that leads to a nice co-working relationship).

        There are a lot of things that are just as easy for one person to do as another, but more polite if the first person does them. Holding a door for a few seconds longer for the person behind you doesn’t save them any time really, and costs you a few seconds of time and effort, but it’s just nice. Refilling the paper tray on the copier when it’s low is just you doing it instead of someone else. Wiping up your mess in the microwave instead of leaving it for the next person. Replacing the bottle on the water cooler when you use the last of the water instead of making the person who wants the next cup of water take care of it. These are all things people don’t do as often as they should, but they’re all things that are _the polite thing to do_ and not doing them is generally rude.*

        It _feels_ like a disparity because of the cultural norm that women are the only ones who would like the seat down. But in the end it’s just putting shared spaces back like they were when you came in. You lifted the seat up, you put it back. It’s that simple.

        But then in many offices I’ve worked in, it’s an uphill battle to get people to make sure the toilet flushes properly so what do I know?

        *With something like a water cooler bottle, obviously there are physical restrictions on who is capable of doing it. If a person wants to weigh in on being a person with a disability using shared toilets, then I’m open to that point of view. I’ve not encountered it, the only time I’ve dealt with co-ed bathrooms, the women wouldn’t use them because the men peed on the floor too and never cleaned it up so the seat was the least of our problems.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          Your argument of putting things back the way you found them works both ways. I could argue the default should be toilet seat up and everyone who comes in to use it after should leave it the way they found it with the seat up. Since it is one shared bathroom for men and women, men would also have to lower the seat if they are doing anything but urinating. It is not a big deal and worth mentioning, this is something that really is just personal preference and no right/wrong way of doing things.

      4. Koko*

        yes! I have never understood the seat up/seat down debate. We aren’t savages, close the lid! The toilet is unsightly and according to feng shui all your good energy will go down the toilet if you don’t keep it closed.

      5. Hey Nonnie*


        For the love of all that’s holy: if there isn’t a lid, please install one, and then post a sign that explains how a flushing toilet creates a micro-spray of whatever is in the bowl that can travel as far as six feet and will coat every surface in that range. Faucet handles, door handles, the soap dispenser, any personal items, hand towels, toothbrushes, your clothes, your hair, your bags or purses, your water bottle.

        The reason we put the seat down is because it’s necessary for putting the LID down, which is necessary because I don’t want human waste on me or whatever belongings I carried into the room.

        (Yes, I hate public toilets without lids for this reason, as I often will have a water bottle with me when out, and I have to devise clever ways to cover it with something when I need to flush.)

    2. Cam*

      Men sit on the toilet seat too, it’s not just women. If you have a group of half women and half men, more than half the time the seat will need to be down. If you have a 2 to 1 ratio of women to men, you’re probably looking at more like 75% of the time down. So it makes sense to keep it down more than to keep it up unless there are significantly more men than women. Anyway, it shouldn’t be all that big of a deal. Or just get a urinal for the staff bathroom.

      1. paul*

        It shouldn’t be a big deal either way though, that’s the weird thing. Like…of all the stuff to freak out about, this baffles me.

          1. paul*

            at work, with the lights on?

            I generally check anyway after one too many run ins with pee covered seats

            1. Coco*

              So that’s a no. If you ever do, I think it might be less baffling. A lot of people aren’t used to checking for various reasons. I’m not arguing what the rule should be, I just think it’s not that difficult to understand why people would want to avoid the possibility of falling in the toilet.

              1. nofelix*

                The last time I fell in a toilet I thought “Wow that was silly of me, should have looked where I was sitting and not be so preoccupied with my phone”. The idea I could abdicate this responsibility to someone else never occured…

                1. Bea W*

                  Same. I laugh at myself for not checking (and because falling in the toilet is never not a funny image to me). I’ve never thought to blame someone else for not putting it in my preferred position.

                  I’ve also sat down without putting the lid up in my own house where I am used to putting the lid up before sitting down. Some mornings are just like that.

                2. Jaguar*

                  Yes, exactly. If I ever hear anyone complain that that I left a toilet seat up and they fell in, I don’t know how I would possibly restrain myself from calling them an idiot.

                  Nobody has to take responsibility for you not falling in a toilet (!!!). In terms of personal responsibility, this is just a step above being able to dress yourself.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Given that there are loads of people here in the comments talking about how they’ve fallen in (I’m one of them too!), I think you probably need to revise your assessment that its an indication of idiocy.

                4. Jaguar*

                  Very smart people do very stupid things. The fact that people sit down on a toilet without even looking at it (and since this is work related, presumably this is with all the lights on) doesn’t move it out of stupidity.

                  I’ve not been looking where I’m going and bashed into things (coffee tables, people, doors, etc.). I didn’t turn around and blame that on someone else.

                5. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I mean, it’s super common. So you can choose to believe it’s idiocy or you can choose to believe the huge number of presumably intelligent people who are telling you that it’s a common thing that happens.

                6. Jaguar*

                  My point is that it being common or the people themselves doing the stupid thing being intelligent doesn’t mean the act itself isn’t stupid. I do things all the time that are stupider than how smart I like to think I am – and who knows? Maybe some re-evaluation is in order on my self-perception. I’m interested in and open to the idea that not checking the seat on a toilet is actually wise somehow, but I’ve read through most of the comments here and I’m not getting to that point. At some point, some humility is involved, and if you can’t say “that was stupid of me” when you fall into a toilet, well…

                7. TheX*

                  I believe the above mentioned idiocy referred to the shifting of responsibility and complaining, and NOT to the actual mistake of falling in.

                1. fposte*

                  Yeah, it’s funny, but leaving time on the microwave timer sends me into a rage, while leaving the toilet seat up doesn’t bother me.

                2. LBK*

                  OH MY GOD fposte, I always knew you were a kindred soul. I find people who leave time on the microwave infuriating and I have no idea why.

                3. Rusty Shackelford*

                  I HATE THIS TOO. And you can’t complain, because people will say “So? Just hit the clear button.” And I want to say, if it’s that easy, why couldn’t YOU do it???

                4. Koko*

                  I used to work with someone who didn’t close cabinets. Not like she objected to it so much that she NEVER did it, but it just didn’t seem to occur to her that cabinets should be closed so she ALMOST never closed them. She would open up a couple of cabinets looking for notepads or whatever, and then just walk off and leave the doors open. I’m beside myself even now remembering it. She was surely raised in a barn.

                5. CmdrShepard4ever*

                  When it comes to microwave times I like to hit stop with just a few seconds left. I usually pretend i’m on the bomb squad trying to save the city. It’s the little things in life….

                6. kavm*

                  @fposte I, too, hate when people leave seconds on the microwave.

                  At my office I’m constantly having to close the copier lid. People leave it up all the time and it drives me crazy.

              2. Angelinha*

                When people talk about “falling in the toilet,” do they mean they actually…fall in, so their skin touches the water? That happened to me once when I was a kid but I can’t fathom how it could physically happen to an adult, except for maybe a tiny one (and even then, why didn’t you look?)

                1. fposte*

                  It depends on bowl size and shape, the water level, and the butt dimensions, but it’s certainly possible as an adult.

                2. Mallory Janis Ian*

                  I’m 5’5″, and my falling-in-the-toilet weight seems to be about 110 lbs. I do not currently have any problem whatsoever with my butt falling in the toilet.

                3. Elizabeth H.*

                  It’s not like you fall in and get stuck and need to be cut out with the jaws of life, it’s like you slip on the rim and maybe slide down a bit on the inside of the bowl, and it’s very startling and unpleasant (but not a huge deal).

                4. Recovering Adjunct*

                  It happens. And it happened to my potty training kid and it set her back months. Just put the lid down.

              3. Lala*

                My husband and I used to argue about this until one night, he sat on a toilet seat he’d left up.

                He puts the toilet seat down now.

              4. CheeryO*

                If you’re coming into the bathroom facing the toilet, how would you not notice that the seat is up? I’ve done this in the dark once before and will admit that it was highly unpleasant, but I don’t see how this could be common or even possible with the lights on.

                1. Koko*

                  Because the human brain tends to go into autopilot when engaging in routine activities that it’s done countless times. It’s why children get forgotten in cars on a hot day – nearly always in those tragic stories it was a day when the child was with a parent who didn’t normally have them. So the parent gets in their car knowing they need to stop by the daycare on the way to work, but because they’ve driven to work 1,000 times without stopping at the daycare, they get 5 minutes down the road and forget that today is different and continue on to the office without ever realizing they forgot to stop at the daycare and forgot there was a child in a rear-facing seat in the back.

                  (Shoot, I don’t have kids but I do a variation on this all the time – I almost always leave my house and turn left at the nearest light no matter where I’m going, but there is one place I go every so often that’s to the right. It’s not unusual for me to turn left and get a few miles down the road before I suddenly think, “Wait, where am I going? Why am I driving towards work, this isn’t the way to the teapot shop!”)

                  If you’ve sat on the toilet 1,000+ times with the seat always being down, your brain is not actually consciously looking for whether the seat is up or down anymore, it’s on autopilot assuming the seat will be where it always is.

          2. Artemesia*

            Most women have , ONCE, then they figure out that even in the dark of night they check first; certainly in the daylight of an office bathroom they don’t sit without looking. I agree it might be nice, especially with more women using the facility, to put the seat down. I just can’t see making a big kerfuffle about it.

            1. Stardust*

              I mean, maybe I’m just particularly dumb but I’ve definitely “fallen into” a toilet more than once. I encounter lid-down toilet seats at least 90% of my time so although I’m generally very observant, that’s just something my eyes just pass right over quite often. (To be fair, I reckon it would be different if I routinely encountered a toilet at work that might have its lid up at any given time.)

              1. Lucia St Vincent*

                I think Artemesia is probably the outlier here, not you. Quick informal poll of my office indicates every woman here has done this multiple times.

                1. JaneB*

                  I’ve sat on the closed lid and started going in the night more often than I’ve fallen in… another outlier, I hope?

                2. Emilia Bedelia*

                  I don’t want to brag about how well I was toilet trained or anything, but this has literally never happened to me.

                3. LBK*

                  This is honestly baffling to me. Unless you grew up in a house that was all female so you’ve literally never had to check it before, how is this even a thing? I would never blindly sit on a toilet, especially a public one where I’d want to make sure there was nothing on the seat first.

                  Truly astounding to me that not only is this apparently a common thing but that somehow it’s the fault of the people leaving the seat up and not the person who can’t take 1 second to make sure they don’t end up with a wet butt…

                4. Myrin*

                  @LBK, your bafflement made me actually think more deeply about why this could ever have happened to me since I’m usually very detail-oriented and unlikely to miss things just in general. I’ve come up with two things:

                  1. I am indeed from an all-female household (grew up in one and still live in one). All of us use the toilet in the same way, I know our toilet is clean/everyone using it and dirtying it will clean it up immediately, so I literally don’t have to check and just go through the motions. So if there happens to be a disruption in the force which for some reason leaves the seat up, I’m totally going to literally fall for it unless something physically blocks my path. Happened to me a few times in the nine years I’ve lived in this flat. I also sat on the closed lid two or three times during that time. I have no excuse for that.

                  2. If a public stall – such as in a university – is reasonably clean when I enter it, my eyes will check to see if the toilet top is dirty but my brain might not register that “the top” isn’t actually the seat but the actual toilet. I see “clean white surface” and decide it’s okay to use. At least that’s how I think it might be – it’s only happend to me a handfull of times in my entire life (and it just occurs to me that maybe this thread makes it seem like something that happens more often than it usually does) and I never stopped to wonder how tf that just happened, but now that your questions made me think about it, I’m recreating such a scenario in my head and I think that’s it.

                5. JB (not in Houston)*

                  @LBK I didn’t grow up in a house that was all women, but as a general rule, the toilet seat was kept down. It was rare that the men didn’t put the seat down. So if I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I just used the night light and didn’t turn on the overhead light, and didn’t bother to check with my barely-opened eyes. And at work, I’ve never worked anywhere that people didn’t leave the seat down as a rule. So although I’ve never fallen into the toilet at work (but definitely at home), I can see how it happens.

                  I don’t think it’s the end of the world if the toilet seat is left up in the office bathroom. But if it’s used far more with it down than up, then if we’re going with a rule based on what’s the most convenient, it’s not completely ridiculous to ask people to leave it down.

                6. Jen RO*

                  In my case, the seat was always down. I’ve actually never wondered how that happened, but I think that my dad and brother simply never lifted it (or were very good at always putting it back down). Now, I live my boyfriend who always sits down, so the seat definitely never gets lifted.

                  Also, I know very, very few people who put the lid on.

                7. LBK*

                  Okay, so if my auto-pilot/muscle memory doesn’t include putting the seat down, why does yours trump mine? FWIW I do always put the seat down, but “it’s just what I’m used to doing” seems like a weak argument when it could apply in reverse as well.

                  I just don’t get how this is a big deal. Living in a household that was half men, half women growing up, having to lift or close the toilet seat sometimes is just part of life. I don’t get why this even bothers anyone.

                8. Risha*

                  Add me to the “done this multiple times” list. There are simply a lot of things that I do while completely mentally disengaged, or more typically mentally engaged elsewhere (I have zero multitasking capability), and sitting on a toilet is one of them.

                  I’ve also sat on a closed toilet seat, but luckily have always realized before starting to pee.

                9. Kelly L.*

                  I almost peed all over a closed lid once. In my defense, it was the middle of the night and I was glasses-less and not very coherent.

                10. Avocado Toast*


                  re: “This is honestly baffling to me. Unless you grew up in a house that was all female so you’ve literally never had to check it before, how is this even a thing? I would never blindly sit on a toilet, especially a public one where I’d want to make sure there was nothing on the seat first.”

                  I grew up in a house with a family composed of a mother, father, brother, and myself (female), where manners and propriety were at least superficially enforced. Which meant I did not even know about this “leaving the toilet seat up or down” debate until I got to college. The seat was always down in my home. Once we got a cat, the lid was down, too, as he was a big fan of drinking from (and sometimes falling into) the porcelain whirlpool.

                  I used to think it was silly and ridiculous to fall into the toilet, and then one day when I was exceptionally groggy and got up to relieve myself (which I never even need to do in the middle of the night!), I accidentally lifted the lid AND the seat, and got a nice cold “kiss” on my tush from the water. It wasn’t even a case of the seat being left up!

            2. NJ Anon*

              I can’t remember ever doing it and I am a woman married to a man and we have 3 sons. I’m with Artemesia here. I can’t believe this is a thing.

            3. Elizabeth H.*

              Seems like it’s the kind of thing where some people have and some people haven’t. People are prone to different weird mistakes and if you’ve never done this particular thing it might seem crazy that others do. Some people lock themselves out and some people never have, some people have accidentally dropped their phone in the toilet and some haven’t. To my mind it falls in the category of “normal yet infrequent pitfall of human existence.” I don’t think we need to say that it’s either totally bizarre or universal.

              My personal take, I have probably done it once or twice in my 29 yr life but I don’t really care about seat being down unless the toilet rim looks gross in which case I want seat down for aesthetics. I feel like people should leave it how they want it after they leave the bathroom or maybe default based on the mode gender of the household. Like when I go over to my ex’s house who lives with 3 other dudes, once in a while I put the seat back up afterwards but usually I leave it down bc it’s NBD.

              Also I read a study once that it takes more mechanical energy to raise than lower the lid so from physics standpoint easier to leave up :D

            4. Quinalla*

              I don’t make a big deal out of it either, but I do think the seat should be down to avoid the small chance of someone sitting down and falling in. I did it multiple times when I was pregnant (yes in the office too in a similar situation where it was a single-occupancy restroom being shared by men and women) because dude when you are pregnant you have to go ALL THE TIME and sometimes it is DAMN URGENT and taking time to look to see if the seat is down is NOT AN OPTION if you want to avoid peeing your pants.
              But yeah, it’s not something where I wouldn’t even raise it, but it does annoy me if the seat is up except right after it was cleaned. I would actually recommend doing nothing as putting up a sign may just cause a bathroom battle and make the problem worse, not better.

          3. Jen RO*

            Yeah, all the time, sometimes willingly (too lazy to put down the seat or the seat looked more disgusting). I never got any sort of disease either (but maybe I just got lucky). After all, it’s my thighs touching it, not my lady parts…

          4. Grapey*

            I have, but only once. I was drunk, it was night, and it was at a man’s house. I always make it my responsibility to prepare a toilet for how I need it…I don’t leave the seat up so a man can use it after me so I’ve never expected men to do the same for me.

            I look at a seat before I sit on the bus and I find it silly not to do the same to a toilet.

      2. Hotstreak*

        “So it makes sense to keep it down more than to keep it up unless there are significantly more men than women.”

        What makes most sense is for each person to move it in position before they use it, then leave it that way when they leave. This is the only system that eliminates unnecessary seat movements.

    3. Book Lover*

      It probably isn’t really an issue at work. At home, I don’t always put the light on at night and I don’t want me or my toddler falling into the toilet when we sit down….

    4. LadyL*

      If it has a lid it should automatically get closed, both to keep spray in the bowl and to keep things that fall from my clumsy hands out.

      1. Artemesia*

        LOL I have a tiny tiny bathroom and the iron law is that anything that falls out of the medicine cabin or from the hand will bounce into the toilet, especially if it is something that is done if it falls in e.g. the toothbrush or lipstick or medication. So yeah, I keep the top lid down too or rue the day. At home keeping the whole thing closed is also more aesthetic.

        1. Red Reader*

          Also, pets. We close the lid so the animals stay out of the (water bowl for dogs and play station for cats).

          (My fiancé’s stupid cat – seriously, she’s sweet as pie and dumb as rocks – has an obsession with drowning her catnip toys in the water bowls.)

          1. Alex the Alchemist*

            Same. My dog doesn’t do anything, but our two cats… The older one likes to drink out of the toilet; the younger one is just very clumsy and has fallen in more than once.

        2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Yes… I’d prefer not to be visually reminded that it’s time to do a bathroom cleaning.

      2. many bells down*

        One of our toilets in our new place had a broken lid. So maintenance took it to replace it … and my daughter promptly dropped her phone in the unlidded toilet.

      3. Misclassified*

        I lower the lid at old dysfunctional job. I got a stern talking to within the first few weeks that “We Do Not Lower the Lid.” Seat put down? Yes. Lid put down? No.

        A couple of years later, one of the owners also threatened to no longer provide paper towels to dry our hands because we were “going through the rolls too fast.” She said if we kept the usage rate up, she would stop buying them and we’d have to bring our own paper towels from home to dry our hands.

        1. Misclassified*

          lowered* I stopped lowering the lid after said talking to. That probably should’ve been the first clue of how dysfunctional it was.

        2. LadyL*

          Why on earth would anyone prefer lid up? Look, in a scale of neat freak to garbage monster I am usually a garbage monster when it comes to cleanliness, but there are absolutely waste particles that go flying when you flush with the lid up. It’s gross.

          1. kittymommy*

            Most of my friends keep the kids up in their homes. It baffles me. We even got into a discussion about it add i put the lid siren automatically and they were confused as to why (and seemingly irritated by it). When I told them about the spray when you flush they were very adamant that I was wrong.

          2. July*

            Oh, man. I have such an opinion on this. We have someone here who clogs the toilet and closes the lid. They do not report the clog, so every closed toilet lid may conceal a horror show. And you just don’t know. Lid up for lyfe.

          3. Allison*

            Honestly, I’ve never thought about it. My lid is almost always up, although my roommate is in the habit of closing it after taking a big, smelly dump. I figured he just did it (in vain) to keep some of the nasty smell contained.

          4. ThursdaysGeek*

            You do realize that any smell is also composed of particles? By the time you flush, lid up or down, you are already surrounded. If closing the lid reduces flying bacteria, then it’s useful.

      4. Blue*

        Yeah, I’m generally not going to fight a battle about the seat itself, but if there’s a lid, it needs to be down between uses. More sanitary, cleaner looking, and the same amount of work for any user.

        1. Sarah*

          Is this a thing in public/shared/work restrooms? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a work bathroom that has a “lid” — it just a seat that can go up or down.

    5. Bee Eye LL*

      The bigger problem in public restrooms is that some men won’t bother to LIFT the seat, either. They’ll just hose it down and move along. That’s way worse!

      1. paul*

        *That* angers me. If you pee on the seat…it happens, I get that. BUT CLEAN IT THE HELL UP. I do not want to touch my coworkers pee. So gross. Yes, I’ll clean it up rather than sit in it, but GROSS. I wind up washing my hands before and after taking care of my business that way.

        And women aren’t immune; I know at least one of my coworkers does this (we have two unisex single seat bathrooms and well, I’ve learned things I never wanted to know about coworkers–please don’t leave pubic hair behind when you’re done).

    6. Augusta Sugarbean*

      Agreed. I’m happy to find the seat up. That increases the chances of it being a clean seat. I don’t care if dudes leave it up just so long as they lift it up.

    7. Gen*

      Personally I think it’s a manners thing. Not all men stand to pee- some cultures actively discourage it, some don’t have the physical ability to do so. So even if the office split was more even it’s probably still going to be up less than half the time.

      Not to go into details some people who are in there may need to do things that should be relatively sterile. Whoever raised the seat and left it like that is forcing the majority to have to touch the damn thing to lower it. Or do the thing with the toilet paper to avoid contact with the surface. It always winds me up when I have to wash my hands, go in the cubicle, realise the seat is up, lower it, wash my hands again etc when the person who decided to raise it in the first place could have just flicked it down again when they were done. It also makes me worried that if they were too lazy to make that gesture did they bother with more onerous tasks like washing their hands?

      1. Howdy Do*

        That’s more my thing, I don’t really feel like I should have to put the seat down since I didn’t need it up in the first place. I’m not even a germaphobe but it does always feel like “uggg you needed it up, you put it down!”

        I think perhaps my butt has always been too big too actually fall in the toilet but I’ve never liked the feeling of accidentally sitting on an “up” seat…I did grow up as an only, female child and had my own bathroom, so no, I never got in the habit of always checking the toilet and every man who I’ve dated has always been good about putting the seat down. I really didn’t think there was any debate to be had about this and that we all already agreed that men should always put the seat down if they’re potentially sharing a toilet with a lady.

    8. Engineer Woman*

      Agree! After I go, I don’t lift the seat back up for hubby and so I don’t expect him to lower it back. As someone mentioned, guys also need to sit sometimes so it’s more often seat is down rather than up (assuming we do the same amount and type of bathroom business).

      For OP#1, considering more female then male employees, there’s a higher probability the seat will be down so that’s a win in my book.

    9. Is It Performance Art*

      About a year ago, we had a big to-do about this at my job. I am a woman and I was utterly perplexed at why it was that important to people. It just never occurred to me that this would be an issue at work. I’m more concerned about whether the toilet seat is clean.

    10. JamieS*

      For me it comes down to two factors. The first is that both genders need the seat down at some point. The second is women generally sit due to necessity since most of us can’t pee standing up but for men standing is a choice since they don’t physically need to stand (possible there are some rare exceptions). For me necessity trumps choice.

    11. NJ Anon*

      I’m with you. It’s like the old debate about toilet paper. Um, I’m just happy there is some!

    12. K.*

      I totally agree. If it’s up, put it down. If it’s down, lift it. I simply do not understand why this is A Thing. I think it’s silly, frankly.

    13. Gandalf the Nude*

      I believe that if something might potentially be needed in an emergency, you should keep it in a state of easy use for said emergency. That means flashlight charged in case of power outages, first aid kit handy in case of injury, and toilet seat down in case of Taco Bell.

      1. Yomi*

        As somebody with a chronic gastrointestinal illness, this actually is seriously part of my issue with this. I always check the seat when I go into a work bathroom because people are generally gross, but there are days where those extra seconds matter way more than people might realize and when I’m in pain and have to stop to clean the rim or use a seat cover it just makes me that much more angry about the whole ordeal. IBS and similar conditions are fairly common, it’s not unlikely that one of your coworkers has it, so putting the seat down is at the very least cognizant of their needs.

      2. motherofdragons*

        Literally just guffawed out loud. Oh Taco Bell, my best friend and my worst enemy!

    14. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I don’t have strong feelings about this, but there are two reasons I do think the seat should be left down:

      1) People of all genders sit down to poo. Which means that the majority of bathroom trips involve sitting. So sitting should be the prioritized activity. Much like: if 75% of folks print on white paper, the people who need to print on yellow paper shouldn’t leave the yellow paper in the main printer drawer. Sure, everyone else could just check before they print, but let’s align the standard to the most common use.

      2) If you lifted the seat before you used the toilet, you already had to touch the germy seat. Why not lower it so the next person (who, as we saw in my first bullet, is likely not to have to lift the seat) doesn’t have to touch it. Ew.

      1. Hedgehog*

        Although I guess for a man coming in to pee at a toilet with the seat already up he doesn’t have to touch it at all, so that’s a plus for him (I’m assuming anyway. I’m a woman, so I don’t have first hand experience here.).

        1. Myrin*

          For me, this has to do with the numbers game I mentioned just one comment below – in the OP’s office, with a gender ratio of 2:1, it’s much more likely for the next person coming in to need to sit down.

      2. Myrin*

        This expresses very concisely what I’ve been thinking. This is mostly a numbers game for me, seeing how the OP’s office is two thirds women; my thinking would be different if the ratio was different. (For an office/work toilet, anyway. I’ve found that I have a pretty strict preference for my personal toilet.)

      3. Daisy Steiner*

        No. 2 is my main reasoning (lol no pun intended) – it’s just a personal thing, but I don’t tend to carry tissues or a handkerchief, so my habit is to blow my nose while using the toilet. If I have to touch the seat first, my hands are dirty and I can’t blow my nose.

    15. Cleopatra Jones*

      I was going to say the same thing! But then again, I work with all men (always have) and my fitness gym is all men. In both places there is a unisex bathroom. The guys leave the seat up all of the time. When I use the toilet, I don’t sit down (cause sitting on public toilets gross me out), so I do the ‘squat and hover’ maneuver and go on with my life. No hills have to be sacrificed for a toilet war. :-)
      And at home, everyone puts the entire lid down on the toilet so stuff doesn’t fall in when it gets accidentally knocked off of the counter or the shelf above the toilet.

    16. Kate*

      Because for 3 of 4 bodily functions males and females perform the lid needs to be down. The *only* time the lid needs to be up is when men pee. Plus, it is considered rude not to put something back in “resting position”. Like the driver’s seat for example.

    17. kavm*

      It’s a hygiene issue. If you flush the toilet with the lid up, that expels a toilet plume (basically aerosolized waste) into the air around you, which then settles on the surfaces in the bathroom that you touch (sink, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, door handle, etc). If you put the lid down, you limit that. To me, it’s not about needing the seat down so it’s more convenient for me as a woman, it’s about putting the lid down because it’s gross if you flush with it up. Washing your hands is obviously a big part of mitigating your exposure to whatever grossness is in a bathroom, but that’s not the only part of it.


      also my experience with janitors is the opposite – once our building’s toilets have been cleaned, the lids are put down.

    18. Sarah*

      Yes, the janitors always leave the seats up in our (women’s) restroom after cleaning them in our office. So, obviously this isn’t a “men leaving the toilet seat up after using it” issue, but does mean it’s important to check! And it’s really not a big deal, you just sort of have to be aware of your surroundings.

    19. TootsNYC*

      My sister pointed out: There is a cabinet above the toilet.

      Shut the lid so stuff doesn’t fall into it. Then it’s completely equal.

      Plus, stuff doesn’t fall in the poopy-germ water.
      In grade school, I went to change out of gym clothes in the girls’ bathroom and set my clothes on the top of the tank, and they fell in the water, because THERE WAS NO LID!

      When I was living w/ a roommate, it made me crazy when she left the lid up.

      Then, when I got married, I had a cat, so I pointed out to my husband that I didn’t want the cat to drink from the toilet. So would he please just always shut the lid? (Plus, we have a cabinet over the toilet.)
      That grossed him out so much that now he always shuts the lid.

      Voila! no problem.

      Maybe our OP should get someone to put shelves or a cabinet over the toilet, and a toilet seat with a lid, and then insist that EVERYONE put the lid down so stuff (like spare toilet paper, etc.) can’t fall in.

    20. Czhorat*

      Men need the seat down for bowel movements.

      Putting the seat down is , as others have said, neater. Also, a man urinating will be facing the toilet and see that the seat is up. A woman sitting down will have her back to it.

      It’s simply considered a polite thing to do, and is SUCH a small effort that I’ve never understood why anyone would have resistance to it.

    21. Recovering Adjunct*

      1. Men sit down to do their business too, at least some of the time.
      2. Many people live in homes where there are no men, so seat-up isn’t an issue.
      3. Many people live in home where there are men who always put the seat down when they are done. I grew up with two brothers and father who wouldn’t dream of leaving the seat up because they felt it was rude.

      I never encountered an issue with this until living with someone who had lived on his own as a bachelor for many, many years. We used to argue about it until our daughter fell in the toilet and she was set back in her potty training. Never argued about it again.

      It’s amazing how much some men push back on this. It’s such a minor thing to insist on that makes life more pleasant for everyone else. Why not put it down? I’d rather see someone explain why it is GOOD to leave the seat of, rather than the argument that others shouldn’t be bothered by it being up.

    22. mrs__peel*

      I shared an apartment once with two male roommates, and I figured it was perfectly fine and logical for them to leave the seat up since the gender ratio was 2:1.

    23. Stranger than fiction*

      I learned a while back you should close it because when flushing the water spray with gross bacteria can spray up several feet, especially with industrial commercial type toilets. That’s why we do it at home.

    24. Jaguar*

      So the people that are saying the seat always needs to be down for you to avoid catastrophe, you realize you’re saying you need the help of others to negotiate the toilet, right? Like, that can be totally reasonable – my dad is 20 years into Parkison’s and leaving the seat down for him is important. If you’re able-bodied, maybe you don’t realize what you’re really saying when you’re asking others to help you use the bathroom?

        1. Jaguar*

          I see blaming others for not checking a toilet seat before sitting down as a shocking abdication of pretty basic personal responsibility. That shock is what’s informing my tone. But I’ll stop.

  2. Is this really an issue?*

    Maybe it’s my male privilege showing, but in every toilet I’ve ever used I can’t see any possible situation where you WOULDN’T notice the state of the seat most of the time. Is it really that hard for the average woman to notice the seat is up before using it?

    1. Amber*

      The only time this has happened to me is when living with men and using the bathroom in the middle of the night. I don’t turn the light on and I fall in because I’m so used to it always being down when living alone.

    2. Coco*

      It’s pretty understandable to not notice the toilet seat is down before you sit when you’re not used to checking or when you’re in a hurry. Most of the time you do notice, but it’s pretty uncomfortable and a jolt when you don’t.

        1. Coco*

          Your tone seems strangely hostile to my comment merely explaining that yes this kind of thing does happen for understandable reasons.

    3. INTP*

      It’s a matter of habit I think. When all the toilets that you encounter in your day to day life have the seat left down, because you’re in your own home or a women’s restroom, it’s not necessary to pay attention to how the seat is positioned. Then it’s easy to be on autopilot for something as mundane as using the toilet and not even notice it has changed. You probably aren’t thinking critically about every step when you use the bathroom.

      Of course with time we can get used to checking every time but when the consequence of a woman not noticing the toilet is down are more uncomfortable than a man not noticing it’s up, it’s not unreasonable for down to be the default imo.

    4. MadGrad*

      An extra point: I don’t want to have to *touch* the communal toilet seat at all if it can be avoided, and if you’re down to lift it I’d prefer you commit to both.

      Generally note too that women tend to pee more than men, have additional functions that require bathroom visits more, and that men also occasionally need to sit. Because the times we need the seat to be down vastly outnumber the times we don’t, it just feels inconsiderate when I see it. It’s like an unspoken “well I’m done and even though there’s a 4/5 chance the next person will need this down, I really can’t be bothered”.

      I also grew up in a household of 4 women, to be fair, so dudes and bathrooms generally baffled me (WHY DON’T YOU HAVE GARBAGE BINS IN THERE NOW I’M DOOMED).

      1. MK*

        That’s a pretty crappy argument; you don’t want to touch the lid ever, but men should be doing it twice per bathroom visit?

          1. Loo-d behaviour*

            Or women (or anyone who needs the seat down (or up, actually)) could take a small piece of toilet paper and use that to manoeuvre the seat… no-one needs to touch it.

            But to the ‘men can sit too’ point- this seems to just be pushing the “who shoulders an extremely minor inconvenience” issue down the line. Yes, men can sit. Or, someone who wants to sit can do the not-actually-horrendous thing and move the seat back down. I guess I’m saying it’s not particularly high stakes either way.

            And one other note there- speaking from personal experience, there is at least one good reason why a man might not want to sit, where possible (besides convenience).

            1. JamieS*

              I think you’re missing the point that women don’t necessarily want to sit – we have to. On the other hand men, with some possible very rare exceptions, choose to stand but they don’t actually have to do do.

              It’s also not any more inconvenient for men to sit than it is for women so if you’re arguing it’s inconvenient for men to do so then you’re arguing women are already being inconvenienced without the toilet issue. Otherwise you’re comparing women being inconvenienced with men not being inconvenienced either way.

              Am I suggesting all men start sitting? No but I am saying when there’s a conflict that’s caused by one group’s choice and the other group doesn’t realistically have a choice (at least not without major inconvenience) the group who has a choice should bear the bring of the responsiblility of making the choice.

              1. Statler von Waldorf*

                I disagree that it is not more inconvenient for men to stand than sit while urinating. I can use the toilet standing just by lowering one zipper. If I want to sit to urinate, I need to unbuckle my belt, undo the fastener, then lower my pants and sit down, then do it all in reverse when I’m done. Sure, it’s maybe a minute of my life tops, but saying it is not more convenient to stand is factually inaccurate.

                Our office solved this issue (3 women and 4 men including myself) by declaring one washroom was the guys and one was for the ladies, despite both being unisex. The lid in the guys one stays up, and the ladies one stays down, and everyone seems happy enough.

                1. Carla*

                  How is that more inconvenient than it is for women? Do you think we don’t unbuckle, unbutton, and unzip, too?

                2. Nephron*

                  Yes all of the steps to deal with sitting while using the toilet are annoying, now imagine you have to do all of those things and move the seat because someone else did the more convenient method for them and left you with an extra task.

          2. Oryx*

            If THAT is your argument, I’d point out that women can also stand. There are tools to make that happen and in some non-US countries, squatting for both genders is a thing.

            1. JamieS*

              Most women can’t stand without usong an external device. Men need no device to sit and are just as capable as women of doing so. Men stand due to choice not because they actually have to.

              Squatting is in the sitting category and you don’t need to lift the seat to do so.

              1. Oryx*

                I know it’s not the same and I’m not actually advocating for women to do this. But the argument “men can sit” pushes the onus on men to make corrections to their own behavior while releasing women from having to make changes to their own behavior.

                1. JamieS*

                  It’s not a correction, men already sit at some points. Also given the entire issue is caused by men’s unnecessary behavior​ why shouldn’t the onus fall on them?

                2. Czhorat*

                  That’s a false equivalence; a (cis) woman’s physiology and clothing makes standing a challenge.There isn’t only no such difficulty for a man, but there is an argument to be made that the bladder is emptied more completely if the man does choose to sit.

                  I understand the desire to draw a parallel between treatment of men and treatment of women, but there isn’;t always real symmetry. In fact, there rarely is.

            2. Temperance*

              Okay. Men can sit without having to buy those pee sprayer things. Come on, it’s not the same.

              1. Oryx*

                I know it’s not the same and I’m not actually advocating for women to do this. But the argument “men can sit” pushes the onus on men to make corrections to their own behavior while releasing women from having to make changes to their own behavior.

                1. Rusty Shackelford*

                  You’re ignoring the argument that some men *choose* to sit. Which increases the percentage of times the user will be sitting.

                2. JamieS*

                  Actually it is but I think you flew right over my point. Madgrad said she shouldn’t have to touch a toilet seat, MK replied men shouldn’t have to do it twice (once to put up and once to put down), and the point of my reply to MK was that men don’t actually have to touch the seat if they don’t want to so it’s not comparable to a woman being forced to touch the seat.

                3. CdnAcct*

                  I don’t understand the point of your comment, what’s wrong with changing behaviour if it makes sense for the majority, especially when it’s so simple and has no negative impacts?

                4. anonforthis*

                  Trying not to go down a well, but for men who are uncircumsized, it is better in general to pull back extra skin to keep things neat and clean. That can be harder to do while sitting down, which is one reason it is better to stand.

                5. MadGrad*

                  I mean the behaviour in question for men is to put a thing back where they found it when they’re done. That’s generally considered a polite anyway.

                6. MadGrad*

                  anonforthis I’m not sure if you’re saying that women should be polite by picking up after men as a rule (Which, no thank you) or that women should be polite by leaving the seat up in the statistically less likely case that the next person using the toilet is both a) in possession of a penis/extra device and b) only going to pee.

            3. SwitchyWitchy*

              Not to be gross, but a lot of menstrual apparatus requires sitting; people who experience menstruation can’t easily stand and maneuver them.

              1. Oryx*

                I’m a woman. I experience menstruation.

                I’m not actually advocating women do this, I’m just pointing out that “men can sit” is not a good argument.

              2. Bea W*

                I find certain things easier while standing. I can’t imagine trying to insert or removing a tampon while fulling sitting on the toilet. Is that the normal way to do that? I find pads are easier to do sitting, but also not hard standing either.

                That said, many women have perfected the art of hovering in public bathrooms, at least they did before the invention of seat covers.

                1. SwitchyWitchy*

                  Welllll… since you asked : )

                  I use a small stool to prop my feet up during bathroom stops, to help prevent bacterial infections down there (*). I can comfortably “go” with my feet as high as 15″ off the ground. So, what ends up happening is a sort of semi-recline when I insert/remove menstrual objects. In the past (up until extremely recently) I had a normally very heavy flow, so doing any of this while standing was not possible, unless I wanted to do some floor clean-up afterward, which.. not if I can help it.
                  (* – at work, I keep a good-sized box in the bathroom, stored out of the way atop a shelf when not used. My ‘stool’ kept getting thrown out, so I disguised it.. by using an empty bathroom-products box. Since I am the sole supplies-person at my company, this is pretty easy for me to manage.)

                  I also have bladder control problems, that are mostly tied to diet/hydration but can be stress/other-related, too. I don’t think, with those problems, I’ll ever be comfortable peeing standing up, as I may not have as much control over that function as others, anyway.

            4. Carla*

              Yes, and in those countries, when we switch to Western-style toilets, men often sit to pee. In Western countries I’ve really seen “men sitting to pee” thing become code for emasculated men. Weird.

        1. MadGrad*

          I see it as the low effort version of a roommate pulling a “well if my dishes are so in the way why don’t you just wash them yourself?” argument. I can do it, it doesn’t harm me in any way or take that much time, but it’s unpleasant and the idea that I have to do it because the person who created this problem won’t bother is frustrating on principle.

      2. SwitchyWitchy*

        MadGrad, I am 100% with you.
        Don’t want this to be a crazy derail, but if we’re discussing different expectations of bathroom etiquette at work, then this is very much also where I… sit.

        sorry,I didn’t see that one coming & couldn’t resist. : )

      3. Thinking Outside the Boss*

        I find it odd that people are worried about touching a toilet seat that gets cleaned once a day and may have to use a piece of toilet paper to put the lid up or down. I guess this is a privilege of working in an office that has a single mixed use bathroom and doesn’t have a stall and just a locking outer door.

        But for those of us in a larger office with bathrooms that have stall doors, the most disgusting thing in that bathroom is the stall door and the lock on the stall door that never get cleaned! And very very few people use toilet paper as a barrier when unlocking and opening the stall door after they’ve done their business!

        Those stall doors and locks are the most disgusting thing in a regular office bathroom. I’d gladly trade that for having to adjust a toilet seat.

        1. SwitchyWitchy*

          At my company, our front bathrooms are cleaned twice a week, and our back bathrooms only once a week. Maybe I missed where OP said her company’s bathrooms were cleaned once a day, but I don’t think that’s very common for small companies.

          & oh god, yes, the door latch. All door handles, when you think about it.
          *goes to wash hands*

    5. Fake Eleanor*

      “Is this really an issue” cuts both ways. How many women need to accidentally fall into the toilet before men could say “oh, hey, maybe I should put the seat down”?
      Unless you have a strong objection, I don’t know why you wouldn’t.

      1. MK*

        How many women need to fall into the toilet before the start noticing if the lid is up? And frankly if men suggested that it’s my job to keep the toilet ready for them to use and that their way should be the default, it would become a big deal quickly.

        1. Mookie*

          I count 6 or 7 different commenters who’ve mentioned it thus far (midnight-ish, Pacific time).

    6. Ramona Flowers*

      I explained in more detail below but this isn’t about vision at all but implicit v explicit memory.

    7. Anon for This*

      I’m a woman, and I’ve never understood this. I also don’t understand all the ‘ew, I’d rather not touch a toilet seat’ comments (sorry, but I don’t). If it’s a disgusting toilet, then I’m just not going to use it unless I have no other choice, and if it’s not disgusting, then I am going to use and since I’m going to wash my hands after, no big deal. I also don’t hover, do touch doorknobs with bare hands, and don’t cover the seat with paper, so I guess I’m pretty disgusting (and no, I’m not some super healthy, never gets germs type – just don’t care enough about clean-looking toilets – sorry). However, what I do find more disgusting is women sharing a stall!! Like, that’s just gross (to me). I also don’t understand the not putting the light on at night thing (or the not flushing at night thing – to me, that’s also VERY gross). FWIW, I’ve always thought I was the normal one (just goes to show!)

      1. Myrin*

        I also don’t understand the not putting the light on at night thing
        Wait, is that why some comments say “you should check [whether the lid/seat is up or down] at night”? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what that meant because to me, there’s no difference? Now if people aren’t turning on the lights, that of course makes more sense. You never stop learning.

        1. Jen RO*

          I pee in the dark at night because I don’t want to wake up! If I don’t turn on the light, I can fall asleep as soon as I get back to bed.

          1. Anon for This*

            Ah, I guess we are all different. If I’m awake enough to pee, I’m awake enough to have the light on (but that’s just me!).

            1. CMart*

              If I turn on a light at night I’ll be too blind to go back to the bedroom without hitting every damn wall and corner on my way back. Our solution has been to have a nightlight in the bathroom. And to default to having both seat and lid down so we always know what to expect.

          2. TootsNYC*

            There is really strong science that says “light striking the eyes starts the wake-up process.”

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I’m with you on everything (hi, fellow disgusting person!) except the light on at night. I usually don’t turn on the light because that would jolt me awake, and when I pee in the middle of the night, I try really hard to go back to sleep right afterwards. Turning on the light would get in the way of that. That said, there’s enough light around (from outside streetlights, our modem, etc.) for me to see reasonably, so it’s not an issue for me. I’ve only “fallen in” twice, and that’s my damn fault.

      3. Lady Bug*

        Another gross woman here. I’ve even used a porta potty rather than wait on line for a regular toilet (clutches pearls). I totally do not get the put the seat down arguments. If its up, put it down. The whole thing is some bizarre battle of the sexes.

    8. Emilia Bedelia*

      I’m in agreement here. It is really bizarre to me that other women are taking a stand (heh) that they should not have to look at a toilet before sitting on it. Do you people not check to make sure that it’s not gross?
      Part of being a good co-worker, in my opinion, is accepting that you’ll be mildly inconvenienced at times. Sometimes, Fergus takes the last chocolate frosted donut and there’s only crullers left. Sometimes, Jane is making a bunch of copies so you have to wait 10 minutes to use the printer. Sometimes, the toilet seat is up and you have to put it down. There are many bigger, more important hills to die on.

    9. Yomi*

      With the super simple toilets that are in most offices where it’s just a white ring no matter if the seat is up or down, if you’re in a hurry then it’s extremely easy for your brain to just not register everything in that situation. The average person’s visual acuity is actually not as good as people think, and your brain fills in a lot of what it sees with what it expects to see rather than what is.

      There’s also the fact that I will never in my life understand why this is the hill of impolite actions that so many men want to die on. For every “why is it so hard to look to see if the seat is up” there’s the retort of “why is it so hard to put the seat back down” and both sides are right. It’s not hard to do either thing. But why fight for your right to be inconsiderate instead of just talking it out in individual situations?

      1. Cercis*

        Well, and the point of most public toilet seats being U-shaped is that they DON’T have to be raised for men to pee (since dribbling happens on the front). So why are the men raising it in the first place? Unless it’s one that’s similar to the ones in private homes, in which case the lid should be closed (not just the seat put down) to increase sanitation.

        Luckily, my husband sees it my way and we’ve taught our boys that way. I have no idea if they do it elsewhere or not, but I’d be disappointed if they didn’t.

        1. JHunz*

          Dribbling may happen mostly in the front, but spraying can happen in any direction. It’s not always quite as point-and-shoot as you might think, especially but not exclusively for the uncircumsized.

          1. Cercis*

            At that point, then, the man needs to sit. The cleaners should not be expected to clean up constant spray – that’s just beyond rude.

      2. TootsNYC*

        I think men should just put the seat back down (or the lid, at home), but I can see why they object.

        In a way, they’re being asked to “erase all evidence of themselves,” almost as if they aren’t allowed to be in there. Of course, sometimes that’s considered basic courtesy–wipe down the counter after you’re done so it’s clean for the next person, put all the blocks back in the toy bin so the next kid can use them.
        But there’s a little bit of difference here.

    10. Bolt*

      This just happened to me yesterday in our building washroom. The cleaner left the seat up (white seat and white bowl) and it didn’t visually register that the seat was up. It was an emergency so I just twirled around and nearly fell into the bowl!

      It isn’t something you really look for unless you expect it.

  3. Amber*

    #2 I don’t hate working but I want nothing more than to be retired. I think I just don’t like working 8 hours a day. I’d prefer more flexibility in my time. Hopefully in the long run I can start some kind of work from home business so I can make my own schedule. I’m probably one of the few people (mid 30s) who is so looking forward to being old and retired just so I can stop working. It’s like when I take a long vacation, by the end I’m not itching to go back to work, instead I”m itching to never work again.

    #5 I just started a new job and along with the offer letter, they also send me the employee handbook which was nice.

    1. paul*

      If I won the lottery, see ya work. I’ll give you 4 weeks notice, just so you can make headway on a project we’re on, but I’m outta here. I’ll keep myself productive, sure, but it won’t involve an office at all.

      1. Project Manager*

        Not me, I’d stay in my job. (My husband would quit his in a heartbeat.) I genuinely care about what I’m doing, and there’s no way to do it outside of the work environment. (I don’t mean PM – as a mom, I use my PM skills constantly – but the specific end toward which I am working. A teacher who loves teaching but hates admin could still find opportunities to teach; it’s not like that for me.) Plus, I love project management. It’s a good mix of technical and not, and it allows me to use my best skills and qualities (attention to detail, planning, resource management, optimization) while still providing opportunity to grow in ways that make me a better person, not just a better project manager. I’ve had to become better at making decisions (I’m a ditherer by nature but had to change), better at allowing people to do their own thing (I’m a “my way is the one best way” type but had to let go of that), better at accepting risk and uncertainty, etc.

        The main thing I wish would change in my life isn’t work but my kids’ ages (five and one). I’m ready for them to assume full responsibility for toileting (the 5yo likes to have an audience. By the way, he puts the seat and lid down when he’s done. Just saying), bathing, etc. I know I will miss these days in the future, but right now, it’s hard to get home from work and have three hours of much harder work to do before I can go to bed.

        1. Rat Racer*

          I am also someone who loves to work for the sake of working – but good God do I hate project management and am extensively envious of people who can find joy in this type of work. I’ll sit down on the weekend to work on a powerpoint or a proposal during my down time but project management just gives me hives.

      2. Katniss*

        Same. I’m one of those people who just does not enjoy working. With any job you could tell me about, I can tell you I’d rather be watching TV/movies, reading, or otherwise actually enjoying myself. If I had enough money that I never had to work again I would probably spend some time volunteering, but that’s it.

      3. Oh Rats*

        I sort of fall into the “Office Space” camp. If I won the lotto, I’d spend my time doing nothing. My dream life would be sleeping 12-14 hours a day, watching TV and maybe taking a walk.

        People may say, “Oh, if you like watching TV, you should be a critic.” I didn’t say I wanted to talk about what I watch. I just want to watch and be quiet.

      4. Beancounter Eric*

        Give notice after winning the lottery…probably, but it would be very tempting to courier my keys back with a nice note saying “goodbye forever”.

        Lottery winnings would be seed money for a couple of projects – one to grow wealth, the other to give some away.

      5. CMart*

        I think your point sort of touches on Alison’s answer, which is it really depends on your definition of “working”.

        I was a bartender for a decade before starting the corporate office life, and at my bars we’d often go in together for lottery pools and then spend a day or two discussing what we’d do “when” we won. Me? I’d keep bartending. Maybe not at certain places I’d worked before, but I would absolutely find a place with good hours and great customers and a fun menu and continue to work as a bartender in perpetuity.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          I agree with you bartending is fun…until you get to the working weekends and holidays thing. I think that’s the only reason I left the restaurant biz. That and no medical benefits or paid time off.
          Other than that, yeah, talking to a wide variety of people from all walks of life all day is quite fun.
          So maybe with the lottery I’d buy my own bar and work when I wanted and let others take the weekend and holiday shifts.

    2. Kim*

      I don’t mind working but I hate commuting! I haven’t been able to stop doing that yet but I would like to!

    3. overeducated*

      Similar – I actually do like working but I don’t like working full time, year round, rationing vacation and sick time, and depending on it for health insurance or having to spend a ridiculous portion of my income on it. European style vacation and parental leave, work 3-4 days a week instead of 4, or a job with an academic calendar would all make 40 years of this more bearable. (The problem of course is that I am not European or independently wealthy and I am not sure I want to teach.)

      1. irritable vowel*

        Most jobs with an academic calendar aren’t 9 months of 9-5 and 3 months of vacation. If you’re solely teaching-focused, you’re spending a lot of your non-teaching hours during the school year doing prep, grading assignments, and so on. So your work weeks are a lot more than 35-40 hours a week. If you’re doing research and publishing as well as teaching, that often happens more intensively during the summer because during the school year you’re doing all the teaching-related stuff.

        1. over educated*

          I’m aware of this, having recently made the transition myself and having many friends who are teachers and professors. But people who teach still generally get more flexibility and ability to take time off or travel during breaks than people in organizations that only close one or two days a year, and many non-teaching workplaces also have longer workweeks than 35-40 hours (though it’s something you can screen for in some fields). People who are focused on research and publishing have more flexibility in how and where to do that work – e.g. taking their article revisions with them to visit family over a 2-4 week holiday break, whereas I took two saved vacation days but then had to be back in the office Dec. 28. So I know there are tradeoffs, and I made mine for reasons more related to the job duties themselves, but the academic schedule is one aspect that I actually do think is superior.

          1. Bibliovore*

            As an academic, I can attest to the no time off/ though flexible hours conundrum.
            If I am not teaching, I am planning.
            If I am not teaching, and not planning, I am researching.
            If I am not teaching, and not planning, and not researching, I am writing.
            If I am not teaching, and not planning, and not researching, and not writing, I am revising.
            In between those things, I am answering reference questions, collection development, mentoring, supervising, and returning emails.
            In between those things I am prepping for meetings, prepping for conference lectures, submitting queries for peer reviewed articles, submitting papers for publication, responding to calls for papers, prepping for committee meetings, going to committee meetings, prepping for staff meetings, and wrangling virtual committees.
            And in between that I am project managing special events, providing content for blogs and newsletters and revising and updating my promotion dossier.
            And in between those I am fundraising for my department and wrangling board member friends.
            And interviewing next years’ student workers and interns and supervising graduate students’ capstone projects.
            And for relaxation, I read AAM.
            and yes, if I won the lottery I would still want to go to work and understand what a privilege it is to have it. BUT. I would endow my position and fund a position to teach most my classes.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I’d be happy to work six hours a day, four days a week, if I could get paid like I were working the whole week for eight hours. A job like that does not exist–not for me, anyway.

    4. Kalamet*

      I’m really hoping I’m in the camp of “hate my environment” rather than “hate working”. When I first started this job I loved it and was excited to come in, but now I’m completely burnt out and tired of the toxic nonsense. I’m actively searching for a job with a radically different culture – maybe I’ll hate that too in a few years, but until I experience it I have no way of knowing.

      1. Not in US*

        You might be bored as well. I have this problem after a few years in a job. I like a constant challenge and I like to be busy. I struggle when I’ve been in a job too long or am not busy enough. I’ve been in my current job longer than any other job in my life and I’m in a slow period so right now, so its been tough lately.

        1. JeanB in NC*

          I have yet to work at a job where I wasn’t constantly asking for more work after about 6 to 9 months in. I come in, get everything organized, streamline processes to the extent that I can, write procedures, etc., but then once everything is running smoothly, I get bored to pieces. The job I’m in now took longer for the process but now I can get everything done in about 10 hours a week (I work 35).

          1. Not in US*

            To be honest, I’m in my first job where I wasn’t bored silly after about a year (or otherwise hated my job), so it’s a good job (been here about 4 years) – but I’m in a holding pattern with a lot of things at work right now (outside of anyone’s control) and it’s tough. I would be happy to stay with the company but move onto something else. If you get bored that quickly have you ever looked into consulting or project based work? I have a friend who just moved into something like that because she too gets bored very quickly.

            1. JeanB in NC*

              I have often thought of doing project work or consulting but I have zero marketing skills. If I had someone to find the clients for me, I’d be delighted!

      2. Ama*

        I really thought I “just hated working” for a long time, but it turned out what I hated was both receptionist duties and a job that had no focus — i.e. in any given day I could be asked to do literally anything from arranging for a repairman to fix the fridge in the kitchen to writing up a detailed reports on all our fundraising contacts for the month, and at least every other month some new area popped up that I was just expected to handle. Once I got myself in a job that both had no reception duties and focused on one particular programmatic area I was much happier.

        That’s not to say there aren’t days I have a hard time getting myself to the office, but that’s usually more about needing a break than actively hating my job.

    5. Temperance*

      My ultimate dream is a 4 day/week job. I thought about becoming a nurse because their schedule suits me better. I’d be much happier working a few long days than full time 5 days per week.

      1. mrs__peel*

        I do know a number of nurses who work 3 or 4 days a week– the trouble is that they’re usually expected to do at least some 12-hour shifts, which I don’t think I’d have the stamina for!

        My mother (who’s a nurse in her early 60s) is partially retiring soon and dropping down to part-time hours, but I don’t think her hospital allows less than 35-40 hours a week for most younger staff members.

      1. CMart*

        Yes! This is such a good distinction. Being able to freely choose to do something, even if it’s the exact same thing you’ve always done, really can change your perception of it and liberate you to treat the situation differently.

        My husband’s work life improved so much, even at his same dysfunctional small business, the day I started my “breadwinning” job. Knowing that he could quit, or that we could tolerate him being fired if he pushed back too hard about something, gave him the boldness to actively try to change his situation and he became far less angry about having to go to work every day.

      2. k*

        This so hard. We see it all the time here where someone is sticking it out in a horrible,toxic, boring, etc. job just to get a paycheck until they find something else. It would be so nice to have the luxury to be able to just leave a bad situation.

        I can’t imagine never working again, eventually I think I’d get bored. But it would be lovely to be able to find something I really liked, and maybe do that part time. I think that would be my lottery winning scenario.

      3. LW#2*

        Excellent distinction. How to reframe a mindset to acknowledge that you don’t *have* to work? (Even though for most people that would probably mean being okay if you lose your home and can’t buy your own food eventually.) Is it even possible to have that frame of mind without actually having the circumstances to back it up?

    6. MissDisplaced*

      I think most normal people dream of winning the lottery so they won’t be forced to work for a living. They would then be FREE to pursue other interests: write, create, invent, do sports, volunteer, learn and grow.

      Imagine what the human race could do if all individual material needs were met fully!

      I once had a very long period of forced unemployment. My work was going back to school and getting my degree. I LOVED IT! Learning for learning’s sake. I would do so again if we lived in that kind of utopian society. Or if I won Lotto.

    7. Tuesday*

      I’m currently working very part time in a job that is outdoors, physical, and never boring. I like the work, the place where I work, and the people I work with. But even with all that, I still find myself a little annoyed that I have to be somewhere at a certain time on the days that I work there. Once I’m there I’m perfectly happy to do the work, but it’s that interruption in my regularly scheduled doing-whatever-the-heck-I-want that makes me ever-so-slightly annoyed.

      When I started my last “real” full-time job, we had a rigid schedule for a long time. But the last year or two that I was there, we had some degree of flex time and the ability to work remotely, and I can honestly say I liked my job. So maybe it’s not about the work as much as the feeling like I have to show up and breathe the air in a certain location for set hours that bothers me.

      And commuting. Communting’s the worst.

      I’m currently hunting for a full-time job and I know there’s a pretty good chance I’ll end up somewhere where I have to go into an office from 9 to 5 (or whatever) and it makes me really sad. But that’s life.

      1. Turquoise Cow*

        Same here. I don’t mind working, but having to be in the same place every day at a certain time drives me bonkers.

        My MIL retired after many years at school where she had a long, early commute and restricted hours, to work three days a week at a charter school. She loves the work she’s doing (she’s a speech pathologist) but she hates that she has to get up at 5 (school starts at 7:30 or something like that) and that she can’t easily take a week off to go to their condo in Florida or visit her grandkids (and help her daughter) in Ohio. My husband and myself (and my DIL) keep telling her that she’s retired and doesn’t have to do this, but she likes the work and the money. She also has a few private clients – and could get more – who allow a lot more flexibility and freedom. We’ll see if she actually retires at some point.

    8. Newbie*

      I agree so much with this- I don’t hate working but I do not want to have to do it Monday-Friday for 8 hours a day. I think for me it’s a boredom thing- as soon as I learn all the different processes and procedures (normally around the 6-8 month mark), my enthusiasm and interest drop dramatically down. I have worked for a range of company’s and held a range of responsibilities, and the same thing always happens. I think the ideal situation for me would be working part-time. I’d still be using my days productively but I would also have free time to peruse other interests and just relax. Unfortunately I’m not in the financial situation to be able to afford that and all my bills, but if that level of financial stability ever comes you can bet I’m going to jump on that!

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I can never ever ever retire thanks to student loans and all the interest I could never pay while making shit money. Either the lottery, a rich and generous husband who surprised me, or a major JK Rowling-level book deal is what it would take. None of these seem likely. If I were writing books for a living, that would be okay, since I would do it anyway but I will probably be on my own making shit money until I die. :(

      I wish you could ask about those policies right off the bat. Some companies put a pretty comprehensive list of benefits on their websites, and I guess you could directly observe things like dress code while you’re there, but it would be nice to know more up front.

      1. JeanB in NC*

        I doubt I will be able to completely retire but even working part time is better. My current job is 35 hours and I love it, especially with my 5-minute commute. I feel like the skills I have (bookkeeping and library) both lend themselves to working part time so I figure that’s what I’ll end up doing.

    10. kavm*

      I am in the same boat on your first comment. Long bouts away from work just make it that much harder to go back. I’ve always felt that when people say they’re itching to go back to work after vacation, that means they weren’t really doing much and got bored. I tend to keep pretty busy when I’m away from work, the difference is that I’m doing fun things that I choose to do, not work-related things. Even if I’m not busy in the traditional sense, I’m reading or doing other things that keep my mind occupied.

      I’d love to get into a 3-day-a-week situation or even just flexible hours, but I don’t see anything like that happening in the near future.

  4. Aan*

    Re the toilet seat. I am female and don’t understand why the seat hast to be down. Even at home, in the middle of the night, I have learned to check before I sit. At work, in full light, I don’t even have to check. I can see it. I saw someone post recently as their “inner Alison” and for this one I thought that might be something like, if you cannot see the toilet seat, you might not have the attention to detail to make you the right fit for this job.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I have excellent attention to detail.

      I do not notice when toilet seats are up.

      Why? Because doing an automatic, practised act uses a different part of your brain (implicit vs explicit memory). When you sit on the toilet you don’t consciously think about it. This is like asking people to start taking one step with left, one step with right, and do two left for every right.

      It is not about what you see with your eyes.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, same. Like others said, I guess it would be different if you regularly found yourself in a situation where the seat could be either up or down – in that situation, you’d never know what to expect and probably be more mindful of it in general. But I live in an all-female household (and even apart from that, putting the lid down is a thing that Is Done in my whole family) and the toilets at my work places basically always have the lid down, so this is not at all something I even think to check and it’s a cold and shocking surprise when it turns out I should have had.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          I meant stop in my post above, not start.

          Even if I consciously think that I should check, I still don’t!

        2. Howdy Do*

          It really does seem to come down to the environment people were raised in- women who grew up regularly sharing a toilet with male family seem to be very “who cares, just check first!” and those of us who didn’t are just not as conditioned to do it. Also, most of the time, I’m using a woman’s bathroom and it’s a not something that ever occurs to me. But I have worked in a similar scenario (a public library with a shared staff bathroom) and multiple men worked there and it was still never an issue because all those guys were cool. They work in a female dominated field and at a female dominated location so that kind thing to do is be considerate of the majority of people using that bathroom.

          Currently, I work where there is no staff bathroom so I prefer to use the single stall family bathroom over the regularly dirty women’s bathroom so I go in knowing that the seat might be up. What’s funny is yesterday was the first time after years of using this bathroom that I thought “gee, I really don’t like putting this seat back down” without really putting it together, that men and women are using this bathroom so sometimes the seat gets left up. But since it’s a busy college with an equal number of males and females, leaving the seat up isn’t that offensive to me and more just a very mild hassle that I take a gamble on happening since I prefer it to the multi stall women’s bathroom.

    2. TG*

      This. I consider it my responsibility to make sure the toilet is usable for myself when I need it. You can’t anticipate who is going to use it before or after you and everyone has a different need and expectation.

      Unless the seat is visibly dirty, it doesn’t gross me out to put the seat down. I wash my hands afterward anyway.

  5. Junior Dev*

    I feel for you, OP 3. I finally got myself to cut way down on nail biting by painting my nails. I still relapse occasionally when the paint wears off, and I seem to have picked up other habits like scratching my head to compensate. I have anxiety and my body seems determined to destroy some part of itself no matter what I do.

    1. JaneB*

      me too – managed to give up nail biting in my mid 30s but continue to skin-pick, fidget, chew the side of my finger, pull hair… stoopid anxiety just not happy unless it’s making itself visible…

      1. Blue Anne*

        I wish, wish, wish I could figure out some way to stop the skin picking. I’ve conquered all my other anxiety habits but this is by far the worst one and I can’t seem to beat it.

        1. Jaydee*

          I managed to stop biting my nails for a while…and promptly started picking at my skin. Neither of these are new issues, mind you – I’ve been a nail-biting, skin-picking, hair-twirling (formerly hair chewing), fidgeting, bundle of body-focused repetitive behaviors since I can remember. Now I’m scared to try growing my nails out again because having sores on my face and neck that won’t heal is not any better than having gnawed nails and ragged, torn cuticles. :-(

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Nice to see I’m in good company here! I do these things too and a coworker once called me a monkey!
        If my nails are in bad shape, I just try to keep my hands in my lap as much as possible and not be as “expressy” as I’d normally be.

    2. Happy Lurker*

      I too am a lifelong nail biter. I find if I keep clear nail polish in my nails at all times, that I will pick the nail polish off instead of ripping my nails to shreds.
      I forgot to put nail polish on this weekend and lost four nails.

    3. Anon for This*

      I finally stopped biting my nails by getting gel nail polish. That stuff is much harder to chew off than normal nail polish (and as a plus, it strengthens your nails as well). Although, that said, now I tend to pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows…not sure what is worse!

      1. Lucky*

        What I came here to suggest. Two friends – mother & daughter – were both life-long nail biters and used gel polish (sometimes called shellac) to stop. Mom still relapses, but daughter’s nails look great and she doesn’t always have them polished.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Didn’t it come out that there’s something toxic in that? Otherwise I’d give it a try.
        I’m allergic to acrylic and it’s way too much maintenance anyway.

        1. Zombii*

          No, there’s nothing toxic in any nail polish. Anything that says different is anti-chemical, fear-mongering, scary-sounding-ingredients-are-scary-because-scary nonsense.

          The downside with gel nails/shellac(tm) is that the nail tech files off the top layer of the nail to make it all smooth so the gel will stick, which weakens the nail, especially if the tech does a shit job and files off too much. The layer of gel on top “strengthens” the nail in the sense that a thicker nail is structurally stronger. It’s not the gel (or acrylics) that damage the nails, it’s the process of preparing the nails—and also if you peel it off instead of removing it properly, that’ll rip off more bits of nail and do even more damage. /PSA

    4. Kalamet*

      Yep – when I was in college I finally kicked the nail biting habit, only to start compulsively picking my cuticles. >_< I think it's a combination of anxiety and a need to be doing something tactile with my hands at all times. This week I purchased a "fidget cube" to use at work, and it's already helping.

      1. Annie Moose*

        Heh, this is me.

        It’s a compulsive grooming thing for me, so what finally helped me kick the nailbiting was rigorously using nailclippers to trim off any possible rough/uneven nail, so I didn’t have as much of a compulsion to bite it off. I haven’t bitten my nails in YEARS and I’m still over the moon about it! :)

        Still working on the skin-picking, though… having something in my hands definitely helps, though, as I’m a very fidgety person. (I have a bunch of little things at my current job–a fidget spinner, Silly Putty, and a stress ball. What I use depends on my mood!)

        Like others have mentioned, it’s really a general skin-picking thing with me… my general goal at this point is to minimize it and keep it to parts of the body that aren’t immediate noticeable (in other words: STOP PICKING AT YOUR FACE, ANNIE), and to stop before I accidentally hurt myself (I used to pick the skin around my nails until it bled–not on purpose!–but I’m mostly able to rein it in now).

        Anyway, just to say to the OP: you are SO not alone. Don’t feel bad that you’re having a tough time stopping! Regardless of what other people think, you and I and the others who’ve had to deal with this stuff all know that it’s not really a conscious act, so it’s not that easy to just stop doing it. Hope you can find something that works for you! But in the meantime, my only suggestion is to trim your nails so they’re smooth before you go to an interview (as much as you can–I know it’s not easy if they’re bitten to the quick), and not overthink it.

    5. Oh Rats*

      Manicures and nail polish are the only thing that keep me from biting, but the minute there’s a chip, I will bite them all. I basically need new polish every two days to keep from biting, and that’s an expensive fix.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        The more you do your own nails, the better you get at it, in my experience. It’s a lot cheaper! (And my big tip for cleaning up sloppy edges is to do it after/in the shower — the polish peels right off your skin.)

        1. Oh Rats*

          My left hand is basically useless when it comes to this stuff. I have bottles and bottles of polish at home and have tried and tried, but I can’t make it look nice. And if doesn’t look nice, then I bite. Plus I don’t know how to clean up my own cuticles without cutting off all my skin and bleeding.

          1. ancolie*

            To clean up dead cuticle skin, use a liquid or gel cuticle remover. You do NOT need to go after anything (besides hangnails) with clippers or scissors. The liquid cuticle remover softens up dead tissue; I just scrape it away from the edge of my nail beds with my thumb nails.

            For polish clean up, I dip an angled eyeliner brush in acetone and run it around the nail beds. Cleans up spots or where I used too much and it pooled, but leaves a nice neat edge.

      2. miss_chevious*

        If you have the time, I recommend doing it yourself. Plus it will give you the chance to experiment with polish to find the formulas that works best for you. To make it look professional, get a small eyeliner brush and dip it in remover to clean up your cuticle lines.

      3. Red 5*

        Have you tried nail wraps? They’re much easier to apply than polish, though depending on the brand you like could get pricey. With a good clear top coat over top, they can last at least a week, usually two. Mine will often start to look a little worn on the edges after a week, but I’m hell on my nails in general so my polish and wraps get more worn than most people I know. Some companies have ones you have to heat before you apply, but I get ones you just stick on like a sticker.

        I do my nails at home and I also don’t clean up my own cuticles. If that’s something that is part of you believing it does or doesn’t look nice, I get that but I just let it go because it was too time consuming and painting my nails is part of my self care, so making it a long arduous process makes it do the opposite. When the polish ends up on my skin or cuticles, I do like another poster mentioned and take a shower and it usually comes right off.

        I have oils I put on my nails fairly regularly, I wonder if something like that would help a nail biter? It strengthens the nails and moisturizes the cuticles, but leaves a glossy sheen until it dries and you don’t wipe it off or anything, it’s like lotion in a way. IDK, I’ve never bitten my nails but I know a lot of nail biters and I know they’re all very individual in what does or doesn’t trigger it.

        1. Oh Rats*

          Yeah, oils don’t work for me. I’ll bite through anything, even those nasty-tasting polishes specifically made to keep you from biting.

          I tried nail wraps once and didn’t really care for them. The edges started to get ratty pretty quickly, so I just ended up ripping off the wraps and biting.

          1. Jaydee*

            I got fake nails for prom in high school and peeled them all off shortly after. That glue was stubborn, but so was I, and my nails paid the price.

    6. AP*

      That worked for me for a bit, until I decided that life has so few true pleasures, so why not bite my nails?

    7. TheBard*

      Chiming in as another former nail biter who kicked the habit with gel manicures. I go every two to two-and-a-half weeks, and there isn’t the chipping issue. (I can’t stand chipped polish, and can’t help but mess up regular manicures, so gel is the way to go.) My nail salon does shoulder massages as part of a manicure treatment, and I find the whole experience really relaxing and worth every cent of the $37 (including tip) I spend. I do still chew on/pick at the skin around my nails, but that’s much less noticeable, and at the salon they kind of buff out the edges so they’re less pickable. I actually started doing this because I thought my hands looked really unprofessional, and it’s not something I have to worry about anymore. I feel your pain OP!

      1. Astor*

        Last year I started using a glass nail file to keep everything smooth, and I wish I knew about them earlier. I hated every other nail file I’d ever tried, but the glass ones are gentle but effective. Totally gentle enough to use on the skin around my nail, too. I now keep one in my night-table, one in my office desk drawer, and a tiny one in my wallet.

        OP3: if you have dry skin around those nails, I highly recommend using a good quality cuticle or hand cream multiple times a day and push back any over-grown cuticles etc. (I like the Crabtree & Evelyn brand one.) You may find it useful to get a (no-polish) manicure or use small cuticle ‘nippers’ to clean up any hangnails, etc. Doing this *hugely* improved the appearance of my nails even when I’ve bitten them down.

        1. kitryan*

          Seconding Astor’s comments as the same/similar stuff worked for me. A combination of moisturizing, keeping my nails nicely polished when possible, clipping off potential hangnails and ragged edges (I keep a nail clipper with me pretty much all the time) before I could be irritated with them and bite them all combined to make my nails and finger tips much more healthy. Glass nail files are great to effectively file while being gentle on the nail. I keep one of those in my bag usually as well.
          I also got into nail art, so I’m usually trying to grown my nails out a bit so they’ll be a fun canvas to paint on. Here’s some pics of older designs linked via the link in my commenting name.

    8. CM*

      I disagree a bit with Alison’s answer to OP#3… if her nails are so noticeably bitten that strangers express concern, I think as an interviewer it would be distracting and not reflect that well on the candidate. It certainly wouldn’t be a big factor, but it might make me more likely to think of OP#3 as “the person with bloody nails” than “the person who asked great questions.” I think it would be worth it to see if there are temporary cover-up solutions that you can live with.

    9. Anonymoose*

      I was going to suggest getting FAKE nails, just for a month or so. Whether it’s the old acrylic or the new gels. I used to bite my nails and cuticles to deal with anxiety. I couldn’t find anything that worked – even the crappy flavored nail polish stuff (nothing would deter me). Then I was invited to a fancy event, all us young ladies got our fake nails (this was early oughts, btw) and when they finally came off – or tore off more accurately ;) – I simply no longer bit my nails as an anxiety tic. A decade later, the thought of chewing my nails to the quick is tantamount to wanting to lick the side of my TV screen. Why would I want to do that? I wouldn’t, that’s the point. There’s no…urgency to either action. But in order to get that breathing room, you’ll want to find a way to limit your exposure to your urge, and the fake nails really help with that. Trust me, trying to chew an acrylic nail is not even remotely in the same ballpark as the soothing feeling of decimating your own nails. It’s just not, and I couldn’t ever figure out why. It was like drinking near-beer for an alcoholic, not even enticing.

      So try that, and also chew a lot of gum while you’re wearing the nails. It’ll help with the tiny anxiety ‘demolish-everything’ urges while you’re not chewing your fake nails.

    10. Beancounter in Texas*

      I, am a nail biter. The expense of keeping fancy nails discourages me from getting gel or powder-dip nails, but for special occasions, I use KISS Impress nails. They come plain or fancy and if you’re super conscious of your nails for an interview, this could do the trick!

    11. Not So NewReader*

      OP, I grew up as an incurable nail biter. Like some are saying here it was tied to anxiety. I read a while back that girls who bite their nails have issues with their mothers. Well, that made sense in my life experience.

      I moved out of the house and I stopped biting my nails. I just forgot to bite my nails any more. Continue working on ways to reduce your stress load and work on ways to reassure yourself. Actively console yourself as needed.
      My next hurdle was that my nails broke all. the. time. To the point where I could not convince anyone I was not biting them, so I did not try to convince anyone. Years later I started working on getting my vitamins and minerals up. I had spent a good chunk of my life eating crappy stuff.
      Now my nails grow fairly long but they have odd shapes to them. I don’t expect them to ever look great, but they are much, much better than before. Eating better also gave me new inroads to help myself be less nervous.

      None of this helps you right now, today. I think other people have offered some great tips that you can use now. You might be interested in finding things to do for the longer term also, so I thought I would mention this stuff here. There are things that will help you in the long run, it might take a bit to find those things but keep looking.

    12. Kate H*

      I’m a life-long nail biter too. I remember doing a ballet routine in first or second grade trying not to get blood on anything because I’d just bitten the nail on my pinkie past the quick. I minimize it by keeping my nails clipped and filed short and putting lotion on my hands to discourage that drive to pick at my cuticles instead. (It’s not perfect but I find myself doing it less.)

      Painting my nails can help for a day or two but as they start to grow out, I’ll bite the paint off. Acrylics are a form of torture. I tried to wear a set of fake nails to a wedding. Lost one before we even left the house, bit them all off on purpose at the reception.

      My advice for the job interviews is to just file them a bit. As long as your hands and nails look clean, I don’t think anyone is going to look too closely.

  6. Rick Tq*

    We have two dogs and a medium parrot at home, so our rule is the lid stays down. Keeps the dogs from drinking out of the bowl and the bird from drowning if he flew in to it. No problems and no surprises at night.

    Our only issue is getting guests to leave the lid down too.

    1. SusanIvanova*

      Cats also. A cat who unexpectedly got wet when their normal launch pad isn’t there anymore is a very unhappy cat.

      1. blackcat*

        Indeed. If any lid is left up in my house, my cat will fall in. He is neither observant nor graceful.

    2. another person*

      I put a large and colorful sign behind my toilet saying something along the lines of “Please keep me closed to keep (DOG) from drinking out of the toilet.” Since then, every single guest has closed the toilet. Before that, none of them did. I was surprised by how effective it was.

  7. LadyL*

    I mean, I do actually enjoy my job and feel like it helps contribute to the world in a positive way, but I’m still not a huge fan of capitalism in general and resent that so much of my life has to be devoted to earning capital just to survive. Life is complicated.

    1. Purplesaurus*

      I feel the same. And on bad days I think about how wolves and otters and larks aren’t driving down the interstates cursing at each other to then sit in a building for 8 hours to earn enough money to be driving down the interstates back home. We’re seemingly really really weird compared to everything else on the planet.

      1. Fictional Butt*

        Well, most animals do spend 100% of their time and energy trying to survive. They just don’t do it the same way we do. I’d rather sit in an office than spend my days searching for food and trying not to get eaten.

        1. Purplesaurus*

          Yeah I’d be terrible at that, but there’s still something appealing about that kind of less prescribed lifestyle.

          1. Fictional Butt*

            Is it less prescribed, though? (I promise I’m not trying to troll, I’m just kind of interested by this thought.) I don’t think of animals as having a lot of choices. If you’re a squirrel, you run around looking for food in your general area, try not to get hit by cars, fight off other squirrels, build a squirrel home in whatever way squirrels build homes, and mate. That’s it–those are your options for activities. It seems pretty “prescribed” to me, in that squirrels are only really capable of doing a limited amount of stuff, and none of that stuff is really optional if they want to survive. When you’re a human, there are so many options: so many jobs, so many hobbies, so many other people to meet and types of relationships to have, so many books and movies and TV shows, so many different types of home you can live in, so many types of food you can eat, so many places you can travel… that doesn’t seem “prescribed” at all!

            1. Grapey*

              I’ve thought a bit about this because I get “it’s so natural to have kids!!!” thrown at me because I do not want kids.

              I’m also a biologist – I know some animals ‘store’ embryos if they know conditions are too harsh to be born into (does, for one), and many others gobble their own young if they’re otherwise unfit. However I don’t know of any other species that make an a priori choice to go “nope, no interest in reproducing at all.”

      2. paul*

        No, they’re trying to avoid being eaten, trying to keep from starving, handling territorial challenges, all that fun stuff.

        *Very* few wild animals die of old age.

      3. JenM*

        I’m watching Springwatch on the BBC and all that animal stuff is hard work. The amount of work that goes into mating, nesting, brooding, hatching etc. etc. It looks exhausting!!

  8. Bee Eye LL*

    OP#1 – Here’s some food for thought…
    A raised toilet seat will not get peed on.

    1. Channel Z*

      Yes! I have asked the boys and man of the house to put seat Up cuz they pee on it. When I went back to work, I discovered women pee all over the seat and don’t wipe it up. GROOOOOOSSS. Give me a raised seat any day.

  9. Pabz*

    #1. Okay, unless you’re blind, or walking backwards into the stall, WHO DOESN’T SEE THAT THE SEAT IS UP?! If a big deal was made about something as ridiculous as this at my work, I’d go out of my way to leave the seat up!

      1. Loo-d behaviour*

        So I’m really sympathetic to the notion that we can miss things when we are on autopilot, or that issues emerge when things aren’t as they normally are in our autopilot environment (when things have been moved around in my kitchen by others, morning coffee gets interesting), but I guess my reaction here would be “the bathroom isn’t a place where you should be on autopilot”. At very least, it seems like somewhere where someone should be more switched on/ conscious of your environment, rather than less.

        Although with that said, I’m open to the possibility I’m being a bit harsh here- that’s just my first thought.

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          If you’re on higher alert when in the bathroom that’s probably sensible of you, but I think you’re fairly unusual. The vast majority of the time both at home and at work everything in the bathroom is in the same place and I’m not doing anything very interesting, so I don’t usually have a reason to be careful.

        2. No, please*

          I have a bladder condition that gives me little warning before I need to get to a restroom. So if I’m on my personal autopilot and rushing to sit down I could fall in, or sit on a gross rim by accident. This is no one else’s problem or fault so I wouldn’t complain to coworkers. At home I’m pretty uptight about the toilet- lid and seat are always down.

          1. SwitchyWitchy*

            Ooh, yes.. I also have a bladder problem that comes up occasionally; I have a semi-permanent scab where my ring or fingernail on my dominant-hand-side is fairly consistently rubbing my hip when I remove my pants for the deed. – That’s – how fast I’m moving.
            The seat is always down at my home, too; family cats/dogs growing up, as well as my current kitty, are always drinking out of the toilet, and since I don’t keep it pristine 24/7 I prefer to discourage that where possible. I also am so grossed out by the aerosol spray of What You Left Behind that happens when you flush. All that, combined with the knowledge that some people (like Pabz above) would go out of their way to passive-aggressively leave the seat up.. yeah, if I was in OP’s shoes, it would bother me too, if it was very common. It does seem lazy and inconsiderate, to me.

        3. JulieBulie*

          I’m on autopilot in my bathroom at home, which I don’t share with others. But around a toilet that’s a shared resource – yes, I check it out before I sit down. I make sure the bowl isn’t clogged and there’s no pee on the seat, and in the process I also make sure the seat is down.

          Sitting on a toilet with the seat up is miserable. Sitting on a toilet with the lid down is also unpleasant. But sitting on pee is the WORST.

      2. Stop That Goat*

        But guys are expected to notice that it’s down in the middle of the night with the lights off.

        There’s a weird sexism to the toilet argument that men should have to be attentive (and touch the seat) and women shouldn’t.

        1. SwitchyWitchy*

          I don’t think it’s men (some people may, I do not) that have to be attentive; my argument is if you have to touch the seat to lift it, why not touch the seat to put it back down? Its not about being considerate to women, but considerate to the next person who may not need to touch the seat at all, if not for you lifting it. To me, if you take the gender argument out of it, it just seems like common sense and considerate to the next person.

          1. LBK*

            But that assumes the next person with either be female or need to sit down. If you put the seat down and the next person is a man who’s using it standing up, he has to touch the seat to lift it back up. So there is a gender component to it: more men = more likely that the next person will want the seat up, more women = more likely next person will want it down. Even factoring in varying bodily functions I’d think that would hold pretty true.

            1. LBK*

              And actually if you argue that the seat should always be put down before leaving, men will be the only people who ever have to touch it, unless for some reason women are lifting it back up. How is that not gendered?

              1. Yomi*

                If men are the only ones who require it to be in the state where it’s up, then why spread the responsibility to others and make it their problem as well? Why say that the women who don’t actually _need_ the seat to be up in any situation should have to touch it because you have to…spread the annoyance? I’m not sure how to frame it.

                If you’re using the printer in your own office, should a co-worker without a printer who never prints anything stop by once in a while to refill the tray for you because it’s not fair that they don’t have to refill a paper tray?

                Not that I care all that much either way, but it’s only a gender argument if you make it a gender argument, it’s really more about needs and responsibilities and where you fall on that spectrum.

                1. LBK*

                  Not that I care all that much either way, but it’s only a gender argument if you make it a gender argument, it’s really more about needs and responsibilities and where you fall on that spectrum.

                  Oh come on, this argument gets used all the time by sexists when the situation is reversed. To say this is about “needs and responsibilities” when there are very clearly different needs between genders in this case is glazing over the issue.

                  It sounds to me like you’re basically saying that women could potentially never have to touch a toilet seat if men would cooperate, so that should be the goal so at least people of one gender get to avoid touching the seat. It seems to me that if we can cope with touching the seat every so often you can suck it up as well.

                2. SwitchyWitchy*

                  LBK, I do see your point; why make one side change when it’s really their inherent fault for being inconvenient to the other (thinking of how in most cultures, menstration is kept hidden away so as to not be offensive)?
                  However, I think THIS is very common sense, and doesn’t NEED to be about gender. I very much agree with Yomi, “it’s only a gender argument if you make it a gender argument, it’s really more about needs and responsibilities and where you fall on that spectrum.”

                  I’m going to argue from these points:
                  * toilet seats are inherently gross; no one *prefers* to touch them.
                  * people who lift the seat to “go” are doing so to avoid dirtying the seat; meaning, the rim is now the bearer of that dirtiness. The bare, exposed rim, with pee/etc on it, for everyone to see/smell/potentially touch or fall on/and just generally be aware of other people’s bathroom functions. Argue that how you want; it’s gross to have to think about someone else’s bathroom business.
                  * it is not the norm for people who do lift the seat, for whatever reason, to wash their hands before touching/wiping the genital area when using the bathroom.

                  My personal argument : It makes my hands feel/seem incredibly dirty after touching the toilet seat to put it back down, but based on my time limit/need to use the bathroom, or how the bathroom is arranged, I may not be able to wash my hands after putting the seat down to “go”, until I’m out of the stall or near the sink. That means I’m potentially contaminating myself with whatever germs are on the toilet seat. Since it’s in the upright position before I can set it down, it may be wet or otherwise dirty, and I won’t see until I touch it, toilet-paper-guard or no.
                  So, in that situation, the person before me could have used the bathroom, touched the seat to put it down, then washed their hands and left; but they didn’t, they put me in a position to feel like I needed to wash my hands twice during my visit. And, again, based on my assumption that people who are touching the toilet seat to put it up in the first place are *not* immediately washing their hands before using the bathroom, they wouldn’t encounter that need.

                  Another point that I really do think merits saying is, I don’t think the differences in genders is all that clear anymore (I personally think that’s a good thing, though arguments like this will be par for the course). I’m not assuming on the gender presentation of my coworkers, because I like the idea of living in a world where it doesn’t matter.
                  On that note, I 100% don’t care if a “woman” stands to pee and raises the seat to do so; I want that person to put the bathroom back to a considerate, put-together, more hygienic state when they’re done. If you’re raising the seat, you’re doing it for a purpose; why make someone else be a participant in your dirty business?

                  now.. off to lunch : )

                3. Hedgehog*

                  But doesn’t the same argument about not wanting to touch genitals after touching the seat hold for men, too? They’re not wiping but they are aiming (one hopes).

                4. LBK*

                  SwitchyWitchy: You understand that everything you describe is what men have to deal with pretty much on a daily basis any time we have to use a stall, right? My work bathrooms only have one urinal each so I end up using the stall pretty often and yes, that often involves having to touch the seat. It’s not the end of the world.

                  This is interesting to me as there’s been so many conversations here about what women experience all the time that men have a blindness to. Rare to have an example of a situation that’s reversed. And yes, gender identities are becoming more fluid, but this accounts for a very, very small percentage of the population; I still think it’s a pretty ridiculous argument to say this has nothing to do with gender when at least 90% of the time if not more, people in offices are going to be cis people using gender-specific bathrooms.

              2. Howdy Do*

                I’m fine with saying, yes, it’s gendered but sometimes that’s okay. Y’all have the ease with which you can pee standing in all kinds of situations which is an advantage. Women almost always have to sit, which is inconvenient, and we have periods, which is a whole other terrible bathroom ordeal. So like, just think of a nice way to even out the biological hand we’ve all been dealt and just be cool and put down the seat (if you think it would be appreciated, plenty of women on here don’t seem to care either way and if you’re sharing a bathroom with her then leave it up! But lots of us would appreciate it.)

      3. Elsajeni*

        But equally, someone on autopilot who had the seat up might not think to put the seat down after using it. It seems weird to me (as a woman, and also a person who has inattentively sat down on a seat-up toilet) to say that men need to change their autopilot settings to make sure they always check to put the seat down afterwards, just so that I never have to change mine to make sure I check that it’s down before sitting. I understand the mathematical arguments that it makes more sense to leave the seat down, and I get the appeal of having a general standard you can expect people to follow most of the time; I just don’t think it’s anyone else’s job to save me from my own autopilot.

    1. Braxton*

      I check the seat before I sit down. I also put some toilet paper on the seat so that my skin doesn’t make contact with it. I also check that the bowl is clear. There’s no way that I could sit down without checking the toilet and toilet seat first.

  10. Stelmselms*

    Granted this is in an office setting, but think for just a moment how far the “spray” can go from a toilet flushing if the lid is left up. Onto toothbrushes, etc. Yeah, Eww with a capital E. Our toilet lids are always put down in every bathroom.

    1. Artemesia*

      I have never seen an office cubicle bathroom that has a top lid so this is a moot point.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        They do exist! They’re certainly rare, but in a stroke of weirdness, 3 of my last 4 workplaces have all had lidded toilets in the staff-only restrooms (and these are institutional offices, like office buildings and courthouses).

        But at home, yes—our toilet lids are always closed, primarily for public health and pet-safety reasons.

        1. Alice*

          My SO and I actually leave our toilet lids UP for pet-safety reasons–so that in case we’re both killed or rendered uncommunicative in an accident, our cats will hopefully have enough water to survive until someone finds them. I did the same thing when I was single and lived alone.

        1. NewReader*

          Our very small staff bathrooms have toilet lids. My default is always lid down when flushing to keep spray contained.

    2. Jubilance*

      Yes! I’ve read studies where the spray from flushing can go like 20ft – yuck! If a toilet has a lid I always close it before flushing. It really makes me hate public bathrooms where the flush is powerful and there’s no lid.

  11. SusanIvanova*

    #3 – Don’t worry. I’m a guitarist, and if I saw someone with very short nails, I’d think “musician” before anything else.

      1. esra*

        Or you’re into baking. So many reasons to keep your nails short, mine are for uke-strumming and pie crust making.

        1. Red 5*

          These are all good examples. I have several friends who keep their nails very short for various reasons, or who have weak nails for one reason or another and keep them super trim because otherwise they break and that can get painful.

          I keep my nails long most of the time, but if one breaks or they get too long, I cut them all very short to start over and keep them even. Nobody has ever noticed.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yeah, I think short is less problematic than ragged and torn-looking. I wouldn’t notice the former, but the latter would make me wonder if they were hand-feeding wolverines outside the office, or something.

          2. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

            I keep my nails short because my typo ration goes way up when they get too long. Also wrong notes when playing the piano.

    1. AMPG*

      True, but that assumes they’re clean and neatly-trimmed. OP #3, I definitely think you’re OK with extremely short nails that look well taken care of, but definitely take the extra time to make sure they never get ragged looking.

  12. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, be careful because you can also run afoul of federal and state laws regulating nonprofit conflicts of interest, which can be thornier and more complex than the kind of conflicts you’re describing. You really don’t want to look like you’re engaging in a quid pro quo; even if everything is on the up and up, just the appearance of impropriety can be trouble.

    If you’re this excited about trying to work for this consulting group, then in addition to Alison’s suggestions (which you should follow!), I would recommend you recuse yourself from all votes/decisions related to this contract.

    1. paul*

      I guess I’d advise that OP to speak with an attorney about that; I know if I have *any* reservations about a possible conflict of interest I run it by our board first, but I’m kind of flummoxed by what they do if they’re not sure now.

      I’ve been told a few things do emphatically present a COI; like I have our kids in a daycare my organization works with and funds some programs with so I can’t touch any of those grants/reviews/evaluations.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I’m giving this advice as an attorney with a nonprofits practice ;) But generally speaking, it’s a good idea to run all conflicts by the board, even hypothetical/potential conflicts.

        What OP has described isn’t a direct COI yet, but it could easily become an indirect (or direct) COI. There are two legal issues at play: self-dealing (inurement) and the private benefit doctrine. OP has not violated either of those, yet, but the cleanest way to avoid those problems is recusal. The Stanford Social Innovation Review has a helpful article on these sorts of issues.

    2. Elle*

      Hello! OP #4 here–

      Do you suggest I recuse myself from a vote prior to even applying or approaching the consulting position? Should I inform my board of my potential interest and rational for recusal or just recuse myself without further explanation?

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Hi, OP#4!

        This really depends on how certain you are if you’re going to approach/apply to the consulting position and how quickly after the vote you would approach them. If you’re certain and are going to approach the consulting group, then I think the most risk-averse option is to recuse yourself before the discussion and the vote and refrain from participating in the discussion. If the others ask for an explanation, you can say that you do not believe you have a financial conflict with respect to this specific contract/vendor, but that out of an abundance of caution, you’re being proactive.

        If you approach the consulting group after the contract with the nonprofit expires, then you probably don’t have to recuse yourself (but it sounds like you’d want to talk to them sooner than that). Regardless, I don’t think you have to give them the long answer about your interest in working with the consulting group.

        Good luck!

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Disclaimer: This is not intended as legal advice! Just general information about nonprofit conflicts, which you can also find in the IRS’ guidance on the private benefit doctrine.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Hi, OP, I am on a couple boards. While this is not legal advice, it is the advice of a very cautious and careful person. If you have a board member handbook, check there. Perhaps you have a website that you can reference ethical conduct for board members on the site.
        Your board may have people who advise them and it would not cost you or the board anything for you to ask them how to handle this.

        With the two boards I am on I have to announce any business affiliations I have. Not a big deal really, all board members have work or other groups they belong to. Pretty normal stuff.

        What I would do in your shoes is ask the president or other respected long term board member what their advice is. I would probably recuse from voting (and I have done so when there was a chance that someone would be confused by my motives). And I would disclose my intent to apply for work with this company. Then I would ask if anyone felt I should step down from the board if I became employed by this company. (I am guessing they will tell you to stay on the board, but in asking the question you put all cards on the table.)

        The time I recused from voting the board and the attorney informed me that I did not have to recuse. I still chose to recuse because outsiders might misunderstand my actions. Since what we were voting on was not a big deal, I felt why make it into a big deal? The board could very easily and capably make the decision without me and they did.

        I am a big fan of saying things up front before they happen. There are too many misunderstandings and needless problems out there. Speak up and be transparent. If you have a fairly healthy/normal board they will be fine with it and perhaps just ask you to step back from voting on anything that involves your new employer.

  13. INTP*

    I think I hate working. I mean, I deal with it and I have a good work ethic at work, but I think nothing would make me happier than not having to work for a living even with a modest lifestyle. My brain struggles with structure, schedules, focusing on things I’m not interested in, especially if it’s repetitive and not novel at all, etc, and I feel like I spend most of my emotional and mental energy every day just doing all of that, and then have nothing left for other pursuits. And I have a flexible, independent job! And pretty much any job I dread on a daily basis after long enough, even if I’m given room for growth and all, it just gets old. I don’t expect work to fulfill me or need to be passionate every moment, I think the issue for me is really just having to spend so much time doing certain things at certain times, timing the rest of my life around those obligations.

    It’s always confused me when people say they’d be bored without work, because I’m never more bored than when I’m working. What’s to be bored about when you can do anything you want in that moment? Focusing on something that doesn’t immediately interest me feels far more boring even than sitting there not doing anything.

    1. paul*

      If I had significant money I don’t think I’d be bored for years. I’ve got a *long* list of federal and state lands that I want to visit and hike out, probably enough to occupy my family for a number of years (how many miles of trails ar ein Yellowstone again?)

        1. Zombii*

          Seriously. “Funemployment” is only fun until the emergency fund balance gets dire. :(

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I don’t get bored when I have free time (I actually think a lot of people use ‘bored’ when they mean ‘indecisive’) but I like working because I seem to benefit from doing meaningful things. I have a job that feels meaningful and for me personally that has boosted my wellbeing.

      But you need enough tasks you enjoy in your work day, and you need enough of a balance between work and other things – if you feel robbed of your time then how could you feel satisfied?

      1. JaneB*

        Like Ramona and INTP, work takes nearly all of my “good energies” and leaves me little over for things I want to do. I like parts of the activities involved in my job, and if I won the lottery after a long holiday I’d probably work out ways to keep doing some of those things – maybe by working part time on my terms, maybe by volunteering, maybe just purely for the sake of it. But I would have no problem usefully and enjoyably filling my days without work, and would definitely be healthier mentally and physically…

      2. Turquoise Cow*

        I’m an advocate of letting kids be bored and figure out what to do on their own. I’ve always been at my most creative when I have nothing to do and might otherwise be bored – I come up with a number of creative pursuits, or read, or whatever. I have to think on my feet. So many people I know, if they haven’t got an electronic device to provide something like that, just have no idea what to do with themselves. I think people who don’t know what to do with themselves if they’re not working are like that. They’re used to a structured environment of school, then work, and don’t know what to do outside of that.

    3. boop the first*

      Same, about the boredom issue! I think some people genuinely don’t have hobbies or interests outside of work? Or they’re mistaking “boredom” for “societal guilt”?

      I don’t think I hate working, but rather I hate jobs. It’s some kind of control issue. I hate when people make and change my schedule on a whim, regardless of what I want. I hate that I can’t sign up for events that would benefit my side business because I have to give my paying job dibs on my own life. I hate being bored at work when I could be doing something useful at home. I hate that all of these people who control my life are wealthy and couldn’t care less if I jumped off a bridge. I hate interacting with customers because they are much of the same. Jobs blow.

      1. misspiggy*

        I hate those things too, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a career that doesn’t have any of those features. Although I did have to work my way up through much of that stuff as a junior person. So maybe there is something in Alison’s view that the field is more often the problem than work itself? Or possibly the level? I always knew I could get to a level where I’d get the working conditions I wanted, so sucking it up was fine for a few years.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I was un/underemployed for four months, and I was never bored. I love the domestic arts– cleaning, straightening, baking, cooking, etc. (I’m not a great organizer, but working on that.) I took on a retail job for a couple of months to get out of the house (I also like interacting with people). I have always said that if part-time retail paid well, I would do that forever, because I like knowing exactly what to do, helping people, and going home. And having my own time to do things that make me really happy, like pickling and watching documentaries. But then, I also like managing people and having responsibilities. Hmm.

      1. gmg*

        I don’t think I’d be bored, either — I have had pretty much an adult-life-long dream of “having enough time to finally get organized.” But I don’t know whether, if I actually had said time, it would happen, and now that I own a home for the first time, various home-improvement projects have also been mentally back-loaded onto the “organization” list. Add all that to low-level but continual financial strain (I live pretty much EXACTLY within my means, with a cash-savings cushion but also some credit card debt I am constantly trying to shrink) and worry about an aging parent and you get one distracted worker bee. (Background/explanatory note: I’m an undiagnosed but likely sufferer of some level of ADHD — am working with a therapist who specializes in this area.)

        Though I am passionate about my organization’s mission, well-regarded by my colleagues, and there are parts of my job I do really enjoy, I spend a lot of time battling with myself to get the boring, dreary bits done, and am not as effective as I think I could be. I also spend a lot of time trying to “multitask through meetings,” which in practice actually becomes “zoning out through meetings.” And dreams of personal leave (I can’t call it a “sabbatical” because, let’s be real, I wouldn’t spend any of it studying our subject area beyond following it in the news) and early retirement float through my brain on the regular. Six months to sleep 8 hours every night and stay in bed until 9 am, plan healthy meals, get regular exercise, garden, do some painting and DIY stuff, and hang out with friends and family would be an honest-to-God fantasy come true. I don’t even want to spend any of the time on travel, and I used to love travel. I just want to hang out and putter around. (Not to mention that it’s dawning on middle-aged me that travel is expensive.) But in the paradigm we have built for ourselves, that is not supposed to happen for me for another 20 years. And of course I have a mortgage now, so there’s that — six months off wouldn’t be too fun if I had to spend the entire time worrying about money, which I would.

        A friend was between jobs once for about four months and referred to it as her “Summer of Me.” In short, I would love a “Summer of Me” someday but ideally with severance pay. :-D

    5. MissDisplaced*

      “have nothing left for other pursuits”
      This is the crux of work in a modern capitalist society. Our ‘work’ takes a good 10-12 hours of our day, maybe more if you count commuting.

      1. Butch Cassidy*

        I’m so happy other people feel this way. I’m new to the workforce so I thought this would be normal and people learned to deal with it, but after spending 9 hours at the office (my hour-long lunch doesn’t mean much when there’s not much to do within a short walk of my building) and 45-60 minutes commuting by bus each way, I get tired and don’t feel up to doing things I enjoy, like writing.

        In my ideal life I either wouldn’t have a job at all (but somehow still have money to support my gardening, decorating, travel, etc.) or I would have a job that let me devote my life to spiritual things. The latter is actually attainable, but I have to put years of work (and take on more debt) to achieve it. :/

    6. Antilles*

      I’ve never understood the whole “I’d be bored without work” thing either. There are just so many things you can do. Even if you’re not super-wealthy (say you win the $10 mil lottery not the $400 mil one), you could still find tons of free or cheap things to do – go to the gym during weekdays*, take nature hikes, get a library card and read a book a week, take up a new hobby, volunteer during the day, get a pet, etc.
      *Side note: If you’ve never been able to do this, it’s absolutely incredible. If you show up to a gym on a workday at an oddball hour like 10 am or 2 pm, there’s basically nobody there. No waiting for machines, no hustle and bustle, no background noise of others. Just you and the weights.

      1. gmg*

        When I worked evenings, I hated not being available for social stuff with friends, but I LOVED being able to go to the gym at 10 am or 2 pm.

        I think this might be a generational thing, too. My grandparents (Greatest Generation), when they retired, RETIRED. No more work. Trips to Florida, vegetable gardens, hanging out with the grandkids, that was it. Now I watch Baby Boomers like my mom and it’s like they CANNOT LET GO of work. Some of this is down to a poorer financial picture, some of it to the improvement in life expectancy — but some of it is cultural for the time period, I think. I am betting we Gen Xers will turn it back around, and retirement will be more fully savored again.

      2. Another Librarian*

        I wouldn’t be bored, per se, but I thrive on having a schedule to follow. It took me years to not hate weekends, because I couldn’t handle not having a fixed schedule for two days in a row. So while I certainly have my share of bad days at work, I really do enjoy working ; also, I’m fortunate enough to have a career/job that I love.

    7. JustaTech*

      I’m pretty sure I would be bored because I was bored to tears (and depressed) when I was unemployed (which is very different from retired/ funemployed). But! I also work in the sciences, which is (usually) a pretty stimulating job that keeps either my hands or my brain engaged. (Usually.)
      Also, I’m a person who really likes/needs structure, and I’m not great about building it for myself.

    8. Turquoise Cow*

      I think some people focus so much on work that they don’t develop personal hobbies – this why people work until they’re 70 or 80 years old.

      A former coworker of mine developed cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. She was tired and had to take a few sick days, but refused short term disability and almost all attempts to get her to relax. She had been the primary breadwinner in her household for so long – her husband worked part time and stayed home with the kids – that she’d never taken up hobbies like knitting or painting or reading or gardening or whatever – when she was home she would be cleaning or doing household chores, or watching television. There’s only so much television you can watch, even with Netflix and all those things.

      I wouldn’t say I wasn’t sometimes bored on the occasions I was out of work. And I do like feeling useful and accomplishing things. But I generally find things to do at home and prefer not working to working in a toxic, draining environment.

      1. gmg*

        I definitely know some family members who could and probably should be retired but aren’t, for whom this is true.

        Then there is my mom, who is 71 and still works at least three days a week as a substitute teacher and school nurse. She is terrible at saying no, and will run herself ragged to take any work request that is thrown at her — UNLESS it interferes with her twice-weekly tennis matches. When I get frustrated seeing her overextend herself, I have to remind myself of this: Even she has a line, and it’s an important one to reserve time for something that brings her joy.

    9. Annie Moose*

      Honestly, I would love to work half as much as I do. (and I’m fine with being paid half what I currently am–I’m a single person who lives very frugally and makes a good salary, so I really don’t need as much money as I’m paid) The problem is, nobody wants to hire a half-time employee! Especially not if I kept my benefits. So, what’re you gonna do? I like what I do, I just would be totally OK with doing less than 40 hours a week of it.

      I’m aware this is a very first-world problem that I’m extremely lucky to have! And I’m still early in my career, so maybe I’ll get more excited about working 40 hours a week later in life. (the magic 8-ball says… doubtful) But as for right now, meh. Every once in awhile I get this crazy desire to quit and go travel frugally for a year or something… but I’d never do that for real.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I never really figured out if I hated working or hated the job. Well, I was sure I hated that particular job at the time, but I also questioned if I hated working.

      I never answered that question. I ended up scolding myself and giving myself an “I need to adjust my thinking spiel”. There was no money tree in the back yard, so going to work was not optional. I thought it might be easier in the long run not to think about it too much.

      Even The Job of My Life, had bad days. And that job demanded a lot out of me physically and mentally. I came home pretty drained and I loved that job. It’s good that I had that job so I gained reference points with later jobs. I shed the idea that I could love my job again, this was actually helpful. No more rose colored glasses for me. What I found is that crappy employers had some nice coworkers and good employers had some crappy coworkers. Every job had parts I did not like. Most jobs had something that kept me awake nights. Every job had something that I excelled at and there were things that I was not good at, also. I got better at looking for opportunities with each job, I believe in a lot of cases we create our own opportunities. I know for a fact that I have learned things on the job that I never would have learned any other way. I feel good about what I have learned.

      It took decades but I finally landed on, I will keep working for as long as I can. Whether I like it or not is moot, there are too many advantages to having a job. It goes in my favor in the long run.

  14. Kheldarson*

    OP3: Try nail wraps! I bite my nails too, so before interviews I do a quick buff of the nails and put on the wraps. Then my nails look nice and uniform for a while. Added bonus of I don’t chew or pick at my nails in the meantime.

    1. JustaTech*

      I love my nail wraps. At the very least they give you something to pick at that isn’t your actual nail. If OP3 is looking for suggestions on stopping nail biting (or for anyone else) I’ll recommend STOP! nail polish. It tastes unbelievably foul, and it doesn’t wear off. (I used to be a thumb sucker, which is a billion times worse in the workplace. I finally kicked it with a set of acrylic nails and a brand new job where I was desperate to make a good impression.)

      My favorite nail wraps are from Espionage Cosmetics (they’re online). Great quality stickers, but the prints are generally outrageous and over the top fun, so not exactly what to wear to an interview.

    2. AMPG*

      A friend of mine kicked the biting habit by using nail wraps – they last long enough between changes that she was able to grow them to a reasonable length and maintain from there.

    3. Heather*

      Can you put them on nails that are really short (like, do not extend anywhere near the end of your finger)?

      1. kitryan*

        You do need to be able to trim them with clippers or nippers or nail scissors and then smooth the edges a bit with a emery board once they’re placed on the nail to finish the application. If you could run a file on the edge of the nail, you could probably apply the wraps, even if you didn’t have any free edge (nail coming past the edge of the finger).

      2. RJBP*

        Yeah, I just measured, and I’m really working with nails that are 4 – 5 mm long. There’s not enough nail to support a lot of these solutions.

  15. Chocolate Teapot*

    5. For my last job, I got the contract and the handbook sent together. However this might partly have been becuase various clauses in the contract were given in further details in the handbook.

    1. Karen D*

      Aanother thing for OP 5 to try … if the corporation is big enough (ours is) there’s a good chance that the handbook is posted somewhere searchable on the web. To access our handbook from our own corporate portal is laborious and requires two separate logins, but a quick Google and bang! There it is.

    2. Anon for this one*

      I really wish that more companies would volunteer this documentation even when not asked. (I really think it’s their responsibility to share it, rather than making their desired candidate ask for it.)

      This has come up for me in temp work on at least three occasions. Generally in temp work I expect to be treated like The Temp, and I typically don’t have to sign employee paperwork for the client (I’m not their employee, after all), so it doesn’t occur to me to ask. And for whatever reason, it wasn’t mentioned until I’d already been working there for at least one and up to several months. And if they HAD mentioned it up front, I could have told them that there were several clauses in this paperwork that I couldn’t agree to — mainly having to do with my agreeing not to run a business, market a business, or do work for other companies on my own time (uh, too late, remember I’m a contractor?!).

      So then they’re stuck because they want me to stay to complete the project, but here I am refusing to legally bind myself to things I can’t agree to. Thus far it’s worked out fine for me, aside from having to reiterate on at least a weekly basis that I found 12 clauses in the first 5 pages that I can’t agree to because I was in violation of them before I even started working there since they’re not my only client. Apparently dealing with a re-hire was worse to them than having an unsigned worker in the office. But it’s kind of extraordinary to me that, if this contract is so important to them, that they don’t bring it up before extending the offer.

  16. Treecat*

    LW #2, I don’t necessarily hate work but I bone-deep resent having to sell my labor to someone else in order to survive. With regards to my working life I’m actually very lucky, I have a good job in a good environment with decent pay and fantastic benefits, in a profession that reports extremely high levels of satisfaction. Nonetheless, I would quit in a heartbeat if it became financially feasible to do so. There are so many more things I’d rather spend my time doing than going to work. I want to paint again, I want to learn to play the violin, I want to travel, I want to sew clothing, I want to read way more books than I currently have time for. There’s nothing that depresses me more than realizing what a huge portion of my life is being squandered doing tasks I’m fundamentally indifferent to in the name of earning cash. Oh well. It is what it is, and I’m far better off than many, so I try to count my blessings.

  17. The Wall of Creativity*

    OP1. The real problem here is that you have mixed toilets.

    In the ladies, the lid always goes back down.

    In the gents, lid down is mancode for a clog and jog.

    Two populations with different etiquettes being thrown together is asking for trouble.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I don’t want to derail, I do feel it’s worth saying that – however jokingly you meant this – what you describe is not the ‘real problem’. There aren’t just two gender populations. Dividing things into ‘male’ or ‘female’ can exclude some people.

      1. Myrin*

        And even if there were, there’s no need for segregation – we can live together in our differences and find compromises.

      2. Alton*

        Yes, working in a building with single stall, gender neutral restrooms makes my life easier! Even if I’m okay with using the women’s room, I’m out enough at work that I worry about it being awkward. A lot of people know that I’m non-binary.

      3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

        I’m beginning to think that splitting bathrooms by seat up and seat down is the way to go. Leave gender identity out of it entirely.

        1. Red 5*

          I’ve always thought we should split them by “I clean up after myself” and “I don’t” but this works too ; )

          1. Hedgehog*

            Good point. I’d much rather put down a clean toilet seat than accidentally sit on one that’s been sprayed on by someone who is just too prim to let her honey touch the seat.

  18. Nea*

    OP#3- For what it’s worth, I once interviewed while missing the tip of a finger and got the job. So I think it’s not as big a deal to them as it is to you. If someone does bring it up in the interview, I see other commenters are giving you your pick of hobbies to claim to have.

    Good luck, with both the job hunt and managing your anxiety.

  19. Kristine*

    Question for the readers regarding #2: Has anyone here found out they hate working in an office and transitioned to something else?

    I think this is my problem. I’ve worked multiple office jobs in different industries, environments, and company sizes. I’ve hated them all. Even my current one, which is my best one by far in many ways. Alison’s point resonated with me and I suspect I’m just not an office job person.

    But I don’t know what other job I could transition to. I’ve been an AA/EA/office manager for 10 years. I don’t have any trade skills and the non-traditional environments I could switch to like retail or restaurant don’t pay enough to make ends meet.

    Has anyone successfully made this kind of career switch?

    1. Myrin*

      I reckon that I’m not particularly cut out to work in an office. I have never worked in a traditional office (I’m in academics at the moment, and that only with a part-time job that can be done mostly from home) but the jobs I do are the most office-y ones out of everyone in my family. My folks are all tradespeople and I feeling that heritage in my bones much more strongly lately than I used to – I’m a “doer”, and had I not become an academic, I would’ve learned to be a gardener (which baffles people whenever I tell them because these two are just so far apart). I have another part-time job at a local inn and while it’s running and hefting stuff around most of the day and it leaves me with aching bones at night, I often find it more fulfilling and also generally more pleasant than my uni job – time flies whenever I’m there, I don’t have to think a lot (or rather: I have to think more in practical terms than theoretical constructs) and I feel like at the end of the day, I’ve done something.

      All that is to say, I feel you, friend. I’m also now realising that I’ve already been rambling your ear off and haven’t even gotten to the point.

      As for your question: I have three friends who have made this kind of switch successfully.

      Now, I don’t know if this can be easily translated to a US experience. I my country, if you want to “become” something (a profession, I mean, like a gardener or librarian or nurse), you actually have to “learn” it (there are a lot of quotation marks here because there literally aren’t any English words for it), which means go to school for it for two or three years. After those years, you are the thing and can go on to work as it. It’s basically a complete re-start from scratch. Of course it’s harder the older you get because the usual route is to do start those schools right after school (so, at 16 or 18/19 respectively) and people who did something else for a longer time can feel like outsiders among all the youngsters, but I’ve actually heard that it’s been okay more often than not.

      Of my three friends who, funnily, all went on to become a librarian or a bookseller and were all 27 or 28 at the time of the switch, all were successful and happy with their decision to change their paths. I’m still close with one of them and she’s very happy in her new environment (and even really likes the aforementioned school, although they often have bad reputations and she’s a decade older than most of her classmates) and said she suddenly feels so fulfilled and productive, which isn’t something she was used to in her old environment.

      I don’t know how helpful any of this is to you might be relieved to hear that I know several people this went really well for, so I believe you can do it, too!

    2. Alston*

      I am in the process and I’ve got two friends who did it.

      Friend one switched from copy editing and journalism to being a pastry chef. She went to night school for a while, and then eventually worked part time in a kitchen while keeping her old job. Eventually she switched to her current pastry chef job.

      Another friend wanted to work at Yellowstone. She was a travel agent. She got involved in hiking groups in the area. Eventually she started leading hikes and teaching some hiking/camping classes. This made her a competitive person for the seasonal Yellowstone jobs.

      I am in woodworking school now. I was a research tech for a number of years. I took a couple of small woodworking and upholstery courses, and decided I probably wanted to pursue it further. My job was flexible enough that I was able to work evenings and​ weekends while doing a three month woodworking class. (I wanted to make sure I was really into it/had some talent before signing on to a two year program) After that I decided to enroll in a two year furniture building program. I kept my job for a year while doing school full time but eventually had to quit because I wasn’t getting as much out of the program as I wanted.

    3. Alston*

      Also, could it be you hate being an EA? Are there other types of office jobs you might hate less?

      For me I always liked tinkering with things and building things. I got my start with continuing education classes. What sorts of things do you like to do, not at work. Or what type of jobs look cool from the outside to you?

    4. Bea W*

      Maybe start by asking yourself what jobs do you like you would like to transition to, and then find out what kind of skills and training you would need to make that happen. I have known a number of people who transitioned by going back to school or a specific training program while they still did their office job, and then start to transition once they are able to start doing actual work in their new field.

      This includes people who have decided to go into business for themselves. While they are in that awkward transition they will take/keep a steady part time job to help make ends meet or just for access to benefits. For instance, I had one friend who worked a couple days at Starbucks because it was one of the only places that gave part time workers access to health benefits. She actually found she really enjoyed it and continued to do it even after she was getting enough clients in her own business and could get health insurance through Romney Care.

      If you find something where you could go in business for yourself, you might continue to work your regular job and start building your business on the side. I’ve seen people do this particularly with things like becoming a massage therapist and creative endeavors like jewelry making, wood working, landscaping/gardening, and graphic design.

      I’ve known some people who transitioned into teaching in areas where there is a need for teachers and alternative teacher certification paths to get skilled people into the classroom without having to start completely from scratch in a full 4-year education degree program. Sometimes you can get a provisional certification so you can start working while you complete additional education and training requirements needed for the full certification.

    5. LW#2*

      LW#2 here…thanks for asking this. I get the feeling my friend is coming to terms with the idea that she just doesn’t like office work, but is a) unsure of what other options would be both practical and more enjoyable and b) a little hesitant to make the leap into an unknown. Maybe some of the responses you’ve received will help her with those.

    6. nonymous*

      Depending on your savvy in supplemental fields of knowledge, consider looking into PM work. You might excel at construction management, which can require a lot of job site visits to coordinate subs. Companies that contract new store openings might be a good option too. I had a chance to work a new store open for big blue once and they had a crew come in who went around the country setting up new stores. Basically their job was to supervise/organize the effort of us locals who had never been through the process before – like make sure all the shelving was ordered and assign staff to tasks in the correct order.

    7. A Nonny Mousse*

      I am about to start this transition next month. Like you, I’ve worked in multiple office jobs in multiple different capacities (although I’ve stayed in the same general industry, the exact work has varied greatly) at companies big and small, etc. and hated them all. I finally realized that office jobs/the “white collar world” is not for me, and I’m starting cosmetology school next month and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s not going to be easy financially (have to take out loans, I’m leaving behind a very well-paying career for one where I might be making minimum wage for a while starting out, and my husband will be supporting us on his salary alone while I’m in school and starting out), but after wanting to do this for years, it feels so worth the sacrifices.

      Like others have said, the best thing to do is look at the industries you want to get into, and see what specific jobs you would want, and if they require any formal training. There’s a ton of variation in both retail and restaurant, and you may not earn much starting out, but working your way up (or even just as time goes on and you get more experience) your earnings can increase.

  20. RJ*

    I thought for a long time that I just hated working. I would get up every morning and dread the next time I would have to go to work, whether that was in an hour, ten hours, or two days. I resented the whole idea of working, when I could think of a dozen other things I’d rather be doing. I’d worked in a couple industries at that point – mental health and retail – and hated both of them.
    Then I got a job in a bank, and a lot of those feelings just…stopped. I still look forward to my days off, but not with the same kind of exhaustion as before. Turns out that most of the things I hated about my previous jobs were industry specific, and now that I’ve left that behind, I can even find satisfaction and fulfillment at work.
    I guess my two cents would be – if you hate your job, by all means, look for a new one. But be open to trying something radically different, since it might just be the solution.

    1. KR*

      This a million times over. Also, it makes a difference in public vs. private vs. educational vs. small business vs. big companies I was in municipal government support services and now that I work for a large spread out company where things are just done differently and more efficiently, I’m so much more content at work. I also work in renewables right now so I am happy at work knowing my efforts to make our team successful are actively reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, so it may be useful to look into what issues you care about and see if you can work in those industries.

  21. JHS*

    OP#3, I know you didn’t ask about stopping biting, and Alison is right, it won’t be an issue at interviews except for some jobs, but I know from experience that it can be a confidence boost to have neat nails. I’m a chronic nail picker, but I’ve gone about a year without picking my nails (after 30 years of doing it). I did it after reading an article about trichotillomania (which is picking at hairs, nails, and skin. Do not google pictures). The article talked about a form of therapy where you start with making notes of when you’re doing it, and then after a week or so, you start to notice by yourself. Then you give yourself a new behavior, like tapping fingers (or playing excessive phone games for me). I’ve found paying attention to the behavior the best solution for me, because whenever I followed the “don’t think about it” advice I’d always end up back to it.

    What I also found helped was keeping my nails short and filed smooth (you probably know that growing them out at first means you have weak nails that break quickly), and there’s no temptation when there’s very little nail to work with. The final result is short nails, but they’re neat, and I’m a lot more confident about my hands than I was a year ago. Keep a file in your bag and use that to neaten up your nails if they get damaged and that’ll help too.

    In the meantime, cheap false nails (which you should trim till they are just at the ends of your fingers so they won’t feel awkward) are your friends for interviews if you are feeling self-conscious. They’ll stay on for the day, you’ll feel a bit more confident, and since no one will be looking at your hands that closely, no one will know.

  22. Jennifer*

    In my experience of people who hate working in general, they tended to be in and out of jobs a lot. The reason they’d be out of jobs, well…I think a lot of them were being passive-aggressive about it. Like suddenly they keep showing up late until they get fired, or they get in a fight with the boss, or in one guy’s case he managed to “slip, fall, and hurt his knee” on the first week of almost every job so he could go on workman’s comp. (I knew of him lasting longer than that in one job, and that one lasted a month before he quit.) And of course they hated every job they had, but they also worked in crappy retail or food service jobs too.

  23. Catalyst*

    OP #5 – I agree with Alison, after taking my most recent job, I have decided that looking at these things before accepting is important. For example, my company offers three days a year of sick time OR bereavement. So if you have a sick spell and then have a death in the family (or two, which happens unfortunately) you have to use your vacation time to cover it or go unpaid. This is not something that I ever thought about until my grandmother died of cancer last year and I had to use a weeks vacation to travel to another province for her funeral. I could have understood them saying ‘we give x number of days for the death of a grandparent, can you make up the other x days?’ But to me this is insane, and shows that my company is not in tune with creating the good culture that they often say we have.
    Also, I love that bracket in your first paragraph: Just say no to pantyhose, closed-toe shoes, and dresses only. I totally agree.

    1. RVA Cat*

      I know, right? That dress code sounds like a relic from the Mad Men era, so it makes you wonder what else is up with their culture.

    2. CM*

      I’ve never thought about asking for these documents, and I think it’s a great idea to ask for them. To make the request seem more normal, you could explain that seeing these documents gives you a better understanding of the company culture and expectations.

    3. FindingMyWay*

      Catalyst, I’m sorry for the loss of your grandmother. And I’m sorry that your employer wasn’t flexible when you needed it. I’m LW #5. One of the nice things about any policy is that the company may be flexible in how strictly the follow and enforce each policy. One might imagine the pantyhose rule is outdated and, therefore, flexible. I was told, when I asked follow up questions, there was no flexibility in that policy. Catalyst, like you, it wasn’t until I needed it that I learned to find out about bereavement leave.

  24. K.*

    #3: I only notice bitten nails if they look like they hurt, like if there’s blood on the cuticle – and even then I just think “ouch.” I wouldn’t worry much about it. (I do notice well-groomed hands on men I’m interested in – my ex was a hobby guitarist and had beautiful hands – but that’s different!)

    1. (Different) Rebecca*

      I would only notice them if someone took their fingers out of their mouth and then shook hands with me.

  25. neeko*

    I think people are confusing seat and lid. Seat meaning the U shaped seat that you sit on while doing your business. Not lid as in the completely covered part that tops the whole thing off.

      1. LBK*

        I saw a couple that raised sanitary concerns about not putting it down before flushing, but most public bathrooms I’ve been in only had a seat, not a lid, and putting the seat down isn’t going to do anything to help that situation.

  26. Alton*

    #2: I think you have to be honest with yourself about the nature of your complaints, and whether they’re things that could be helped by changing jobs or fields.

    I also think you have to be realistic about trade-offs. I don’t think there are many issues that can’t be helped by changing jobs, but that might require compromise or sacrifice. This is something I struggle with–I like my job pretty well, but can think of things that might be a better fit. But I have good benefits at my current job and some jobs I might really love may have less job or income security. At the very least, making a change can sometimes require you to accept that a field or type of job you thought you’d really like isn’t that great for you, after all.

    1. LW#2*

      Exactly this. Introspection can be difficult, so people often put it off.

      I’m now wondering if there is a website/resource somewhere that lets you type in something you hate about your job and it will give you a career option where you would likely deal with little to none of that. And the opposite, something you love and it gives jobs that have lots of that.

      1. Alton*

        I wish there was something like that! I did take a decent aptitude test in college that took things like work preferences and styles into account, but things like that should be more widely available, especially after you’ve been in the workplace for a bit and realize that you don’t actually like certain things that you thought you would.

        1. LW#2*

          I googled a few phrases, and nothing like it came up…maybe this is yet another idea I can put on the back burner for projects I’ll never have the time or skill set to complete. If anyone else wants to set up a program like it, please come tell us about it!

          1. leukothea*

            The site O*Net (O Net Online Dot Org) has a bunch of functionality around this, describing broad characteristics that tend to be associated with certain positions. For instance, under “Accountants,” they list:

            “Interest code: CE

            “Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

            “Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. ”

            I think it’s worth taking a look at different jobs on O Net to get a rough sense of the types of mindsets, work interests, etc. related to positions. It also lets you search by interests (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional).

  27. eplawyer*

    #3, I bite my nails. Almost as bad as you. Even now if I’m bored in court, I will sit and chew on the cuticles. Never cost me a job. They care about your skills, not how your nails look. And if you are doing admin work, long nails get in the way anyway, and you will have papercuts, etc.

    I am more concerned that you are transitioning from independent work to admin work. That is going to be an adjustment for you. You will have other people telling what needs to be done and when. Not all admin work is rigid. But make sure it is the right admin work and not something were you pretty much have no control over how you spend your time. Worked as admin right out of college. One reason I am a lawyer and self-employed.

    Which transitions to #2. I liked my jobs as a paralegal somewhat. Then I went to law school and wound up going solo as an attorney. I work from home. Turns out what I hate is getting up at the same time every day, having to get dressed and going in to the office. So I work from home. I am still stuck on the court schedule and I hate the days I have court in a row because it doesn’t give me any “flexible” time. But it goes with the job and I love being in court when I am there. I’ll probably never have a traditional office with minions because of my work preference.

    1. Olive*

      Agreed, that is a very valid point. I actually worked in admin jobs, non-profits, temp agencies, etc for many years before I quit to go back to school and try something different. I love teaching and my pottery, but I weirdly miss working in an office. I also miss things like large paychecks and health insurance, lol.

  28. Rebecca*

    Re #2: Full disclosure: if I could find a way to get a paycheck and health insurance coverage without working at a job, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I do a good job while I’m at work, but I feel like my life is being sucked away every single minute I’m here. Sitting in a windowless cubicle, for days, weeks, months, and years on end is miserable for me. I stare at the same computer monitors, answer the same emails, do the same things over and over and over with no end in sight, and I hate it. I spend a good deal of time every day thinking about things I’d rather be doing, or what I’ll be doing after quitting time.

    So yes, if I could get money without going to a job, I’d absolutely hop on that train. There are tons of other things I’d rather be doing, like volunteering for the SPCA, walking, hiking, biking, learning new things, reading, talking classes, etc etc.

  29. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #1

    “…is it with worth addressing at all?”

    My opinion is it’s not worth addressing at all. This battle will never be won by either side. Women typically like the lid down, while men usually like it up; this is how each gender typically uses the toilet. I highly doubt someone wouldn’t check to make sure it’s up or down before they sit and it takes all of one second to raise or lower it.

    1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      Agreed. And, as evidenced by the reaction in the comments, it is a weirdly contentious issue, so it has the potential to cause an office kerfuffle without really changing anything.

      1. Rebecca*

        :) :) :)
        This made me smile, as I envisioned what would happen if they malfunctioned – I see the seat flapping up and down while the poor person who has to pee stands there trying to figure out how to make it stop!

        1. LBK*

          I imagine at some point you just wind up and the pounce on it, then hold it down with your body weight. I’m picturing it similarly to Hagrid’s students wrestling the Monster Book of Monsters shut to stop it from biting them.

  30. Misquoted*

    There is of course a ton of research out there on job satisfaction and related topics (motivation, happiness, etc.). The books that come to mind for me are The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile, Drive by Daniel Pink (I’m thrilled to have met both of them), Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and a lot of the Patrick Lencioni stuff. There’s a TON more, but those are my starting points.

  31. mreasy*

    Hello all. The issue of the toilet seat is not the inconvenience of the actual raising/lowering. The issue is that ciswomen & those with similar anatomy have a particular need for clean hands when dealing with their business. This is the case not only for “#s 1 & 2”, but and especially for anything involving menstruation. UTIs and yeast infections can result from dirty hands when wiping or administering menstrual products. So – asking a woman to touch a dirty toilet seat before using the bathroom is, in many cases, asking her to lower the seat, wash her hands, and then get to business. If you have single-sex stalls with sinks outside the stalls (thankfully rare), imagine what a small calamity this could be! Perhaps none of my fellow women commenters are unlucky enough to be sensitive to the bacterial nemeses of our plumbing, but I’m thankful that I don’t have toilet seats to deal with at work or at home for that reason – not worry about falling in (which I have certainly also done).

    1. Jen RO*

      …or we can use a piece of paper when touching the toilet seat. Yes, having the seat already down would be better, but I just don’t think this matter is so important to warrant an actual discussion in the office.

      (And are American toilets bigger or something? I haven’t ever seen a toilet into which it would be possible to fall!)

      1. mreasy*

        Toilet paper doesn’t actually protect from germs – though it does act as a psychological prophylactic. It’s something perhaps most don’t have to worry about, not being sensitive to infection. American toilet bowls are sometimes better than at least British ones! I travel to London a lot for work & as a child of drought, I look longingly at your small, water- economical loos!!

    2. No, please*

      This is so true. I don’t want to the seat unless I came in to clean it, with gloves. The underside of toilet seats are pretty disgusting sometimes and I’d double hand wash.

    3. fposte*

      The odds of contracting an infection from a toilet seat are really vanishingly small, and you’re already touching the same stuff by going through the door.

      1. fposte*

        For further reference, healthsite.com has a surgeon debunking the chance of catching a UTI from a toilet, and the CDC says you can’t get bacterial vaginosis that way.

        1. mreasy*

          There’s a difference between sitting on a seat only and touching a seat long enough to put it down, then, say, using an applicator-free tampon. True about the door handle – should wash after closing the door. I guess if it’s the right kind of bathroom you just remember to put the seat down before your post-door wash. Just seems like a bummer of mental gymnastics to me. Overall, though, I agree with those who say it won’t be resolved by an office directive, and that isn’t the right approach. If the cismale & those with relevant anatomy members of staff haven’t learned to put down the seat by their age of employment, that will not fix their habits at this point.

          1. fposte*

            I get there’s a difference–it just doesn’t seem to be medically significant in either case. You’re really not going to give yourself vaginal E. coli from a toilet seat any more than you are to get an STI from one. I think you’re talking about psychological taint more than actual risk from microorganisms.

      2. Stop That Goat*

        We grew cultures off of various surfaces in a science class in college. The bathroom door handle was far worse than the toilet seats. That doesn’t mean it’s the case everywhere but it certainly stuck with me.

        1. mreasy*

          I have read studies agreeing that the door handle is the grossest part of the bathroom. If you’re dealing with delicate business you definitely wash after touching it.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Is it possible to provide small bottles or dispensers for hand sanitizer? Seems like that would at least solve part of the problem. And I would think men have the same issue with having to touch the toilet seat, just not having to touch bodily areas or handle items quite as much.

  32. WellRed*

    I’m confused about #4. Is this tiny non profit even hiring? It sounds like LW has decided it’s her so called dream job, based on little. And we all know about dream jobs. Regardless, the job is …not vacant

    1. OP #4*

      OP#4 here– the consulting company is not a non-profit; they are a for-profit business. I’m not sure if they are hiring and that is certainly someone I’ll need to investigate.

      And you’re so right, “dream jobs” aren’t real…. however, it did make me realize how much I REALLY want to get out of my current field of work.

      1. CM*

        In addition to waiting until this person is already working for your nonprofit or you’ve hired somebody else, I would review your nonprofit’s conflict of interest policy to figure out what you should do.

        If you don’t have one, here’s a sample: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i1023/ar03.html
        It talks about potential financial gain (like trying to get a job) and when to disclose your financial interest to the rest of the board and recuse yourself from votes.

  33. MissDisplaced*

    Thoughts on hating working: I’m 51, and I can’t wait to retire (even though I probably will never be able to do so). While I don’t hate ‘doing work’ I find I have become so tired of the whole going-to-a-job process and putting up with SO MUCH CRAP just to make a living. But I think this is pretty normal. If you asked, most people would say that if they were in a financial position to NOT work, they wouldn’t. I never get bored when I’m not working… But if I suddenly had the means to not ‘have’ to work to pay the bills, I would still work at ‘something,’ but that something would be something I felt like doing such as writing, art, crafts, etc., that are not currently part of my job or spending some time volunteering.

    Thoughts on hating one’s job: For me, it’s this: I generally like and enjoy the work I do as it’s fairly creative, but I can’t seem to stay at a company for more than 3-4 years, often less. I don’t leave the work, I leave the company.
    I’ve left companies for various reasons, bad managers, poor pay, commutes, dumb policies, and sometimes not by choice due to companies closing, etc. I don’t know why, but my dissatisfaction seems to set in around the 3 year mark, and usually this is due to changes within the company I don’t like or agree with / don’t want to put up with anymore.
    In my current case (I’m looking again!) it is because the final straw was that the company decided to move to a big-city-downtown office that requires a hefty fee on the part of the employees to pay to park and/or get a train pass (and worse, our previously liberal work-from-home privileges will be curtailed as new CEO want to fill that fancy expensive office space with bodies and force a “culture” upon us). I am vehemently opposed to employees PAYING to work somewhere chichi like this, so I want out!
    I admit it’s kind of making me hate my job lately.

  34. AndersonDarling*

    #5 I don’t think we have an employee handbook anymore. If we do, it is just a promotional booklet about our culture. We are clinical, so all our policies are in erecords that track updates and sign-offs. It would take hours to print off all our policies for someone outside to review. So it may not always be possible to see all the policies up front, but you could probably ask for the few that are important (merit increases, non-compete, dress code) and those could be provided. But they could change at anytime.

    1. AnotherHRPro*

      This was my thought as well. I am surprised that companies still have employee handbooks. We haven’t had one in well over a decade. Everything is online so there would be no way to share a copy of it.

      I do know that if someone is interested in specific benefits, rules, policies, etc., we are happy to share that information, but we would not be able to turn over a handbook or all of our policies/procedures.

      1. Amber Rose*

        We’re required by occupational health and safety to have one. Half the time I forget it exists, so it’s a bit outdated, but technically it’s part of the paperwork our safety program is audited on.

    2. FindingMyWay*

      LW #5 here – thanks for that info, AndersonDarling. It seems that I have to be prepared for those companies that wouldn’t have tbe docs available in a format that I could access, or wouldn’t give me access to them.

  35. ZSD*

    Years ago, when I was doing a series of interviews related to my academic work, my favorite quote from the whole set came from a woman who had a history of working for a while, then getting bored and not working for a while, then getting bored and looking for a job: “Some people might say I’m lazy, but I just don’t like to work.”

    1. Oh Rats*

      “It’s not that I’m lazy, I just don’t care.” – Peter Gibbons, “Office Space”

      I will fully admit to being lazy. When I say that, people don’t believe me because I can put on a good show, but deep down inside, I am a lazybones and would prefer to be sleeping 90% of the time.

      1. NotEnoughFlair*

        I’m the same way, I tell people I’m lazy and they say I’m so productive. Yeah, because I find the most economical way to do something so that I can do as little work as possible. That looks a lot like productivity because I’ll still do the task you put in front of me, and do it quickly and well, but I am not streamlining things everywhere I go for the better bottom line for the company.

        I’ve had so many people say that retiring or winning the lottery and quitting their job sounds boring and they’d need “something to do” and I just sit there like “first of all, have you tried naps? And also, I’m very good at entertaining myself.” If I won a ton of money tomorrow, I wouldn’t quit my job immediately, but I certainly would stop taking on any side hustles. And that’s _only_ because I really like my coworkers and boss right now, not some imperative to work.

    2. anon for this*

      That reminds me of my old next door neighbor who told me he’s not a drug dealer he just has more than he needs so gives it to people in exchange for money.

    3. anon for this*

      That reminds me of my old next door neighbor who told me he’s not a drug dealer he just has more than he needs so exchanges his stash for money.

  36. MommyMD*

    I think many people do notice bitten down chewed up nails and it can paint the picture of anxiety and the possibility of you doing this at work. Do anything you can to stop. Even a ten day growth will make a difference. Good luck.

  37. Hannah*

    I think most people hate at least parts of working–even if it is just the obligation to go to work every day! I think most people would rather have things in their life that are optional rather than required.

    Personally, I hate my job, and I doubt I will have a job I don’t hate at any point in my life. But that doesn’t mean I hate working. It just means I did Life wrong and put myself in a situation where I am not qualified for anything that would be enjoyable!

    1. The Other Dawn*

      “I think most people hate at least parts of working–even if it is just the obligation to go to work every day! I think most people would rather have things in their life that are optional rather than required.”

      This is me, exactly. I actually like my job. I just hate having to be somewhere at a somewhat specific time everyday to do a specific job. That’s never going to change.

  38. Shadow*

    This whole toilet lid thing reeks of a “youre being rude by not making things more convenient for me” attitude. It’s a unisex bathroom. Men will have to lift it and women will have to put it down. That’s what happens when both sexes use the same bathroom.

  39. Ashley*

    I wish I could be content in a decent job. Part of it is internal uneasiness. My sister trys to tell me that no one loves their job and part of it is just dealing, but that doesn’t seem right to me.

    ENFJ here and chronic over-thinker and I am starting to realize that I might not love my work until I am doing my own thing, in control of myself. Or maybe there is another job out there for me that would be a better fit?

    In all fairness, I never am looking for a great fit. I am looking for a new ANYTHING, and I jump at the chance. I tend to stay places way to long and then I am miserable.

    I try to adopt the mindset that a job should not fulfill you and it’s only a piece of my life. But I spend the most time and energy there.

    Obviously, I think about this a lot. And no I don’t have an solution, yet.

    1. LW#2*

      Are you the friend I mentioned?? Because your comment mirrors many conversations she and I have had over the years.

      It feels like it might take a lot of mental energy just to work on convincing yourself that a job doesn’t need to fulfill you (at least if you don’t already feel that way). I hope you find something you like enough to ease that!

      1. Ashley*

        I don’t think so – but just to check, are you TN?

        I think it is a common problem. Thanks for the well wishes! Great topic – I think about it a lot.

        PS: I know how to spell tries.

        1. LW#2*

          I am not, but it’s nice to know there are people out there having nearly identical conversations and not finding a solution either.

  40. EvanMax*

    I once read an (absurdly) in-depth study in to toilet seat efficiency, and the conclusion was that it is most efficient for people to leave the toilet seat as they last used it. Even as gender differences

    That said, the rule in my house is that you put the toilet lid down when you are done using it, because it looks “nicer” that way. I always find it interesting who gets mad about a toilet seat being left up, but will refuse to put the lid down themselves. I think there is just a resistance among some people who don’t want to touch the toilet at all. I can appreciate why, but when you are asking others to touch it twice as much so that you don’t have to touch it at all, that’s just silly. Hence my home policy: everyone has to touch it twice, whether they are raising and lowering just the lid, or both the lid and seat.

    Since most office/public restrooms don’t have lids, though, I do think that a toilet looks more “put together” with the seat down, and folks should strive for that, but if a seat is left up I don’t think it should be treated as any more of a “problem” than if a seat is left down and the next person going in needed it up.

    Look before you pee (this goes for everyone. Don’t pee on the seat or sit in the bowl)

  41. Mes*

    I love working. I’d die of boredom if I was just sitting around the house doing hobbies or whatever. That gets old really fast.

    1. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      Whereas my hobbies are the things I love and could do 24/7, and my job is merely the toil which allows me to afford them. If I won the lottery today I’d never work again!

      1. Amber Rose*

        Hear hear.

        At the very least, if I won the lottery I’d probably go back to school, learn some new things, explore the world, volunteer a lot. Interesting stuff. Hobbies aren’t the only way to fill time.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I get tired of being in the house all the time, hobbies not withstanding. I need to get out. I would rather have a job where I can work from home if necessary, but I want to go into the office because being at home all the time with no other humans around is like being in solitary confinement.

      1. kavm*

        but… if you didn’t have a job you wouldn’t be confined to your house? we’re not discussing house arrest here. you would have the freedom to leave your house literally any time you want to do whatever you want. i just don’t understand this comment lol

        1. fposte*

          Leaving for a purpose is different. Sure, some people head out of the house on the regular because they’re movers, but when you look at retirees, for instance, there’s a lot of strategizing ways to ensure you have social contact. For a lot of people, it doesn’t just happen.

  42. JeanB in NC*

    I hate working. I always have. I can remember being 15 or 16 and thinking, oh my god, I have to do this for another 50 years! I don’t know where it comes from because my parents (and my extended family, for that matter) are very hard workers. I have a very spotty job history because I would just quit when I couldn’t take it another day.

    I’m 55 now and still counting the time until retirement.

  43. Bow Ties Are Cool*

    #5—Wait wait wait. There are still employers that don’t allow women to WEAR PANTS?!?!

    1. Justme*

      First of all, love the name.
      And second of all, I’m in shock with that too. Other than a religious employer. I am wearing a dress today because it will be unbearably hot, but 95% of my wardrobe is pants (it also gets unbearably cold here).

      1. Bow Ties Are Cool*

        I hear ya, I’m in MN and while it’s totally skirt weather now, in the winter I wear All The Pants.

          1. FindingMyWay*

            Dress codes can be nuts. I worked at a grocery chain’s credit union as a financial analyst – no customer contact. Because the chain allowed its cashiers and staff to wear shorts w a logo polo shirt, the credit union employees could also wear shorts w a company logo polo. HOWEVER, if you weren’t in shorts you have to have on slacks, with hosiery and closed toe shoes, or a dress with pantyhose. The truth? It’s the only job I got fired from. It was a bad fit, to say the least.

    2. JeanB in NC*

      I also like the username. On most boards, my username is related to the 10th doctor.

    3. FindingMyWay*

      Yes! (This is LW #5.) I was applying w a regional bank. Conservative bank, conservative part of the country. There’s a large company (think admin/clerical/Acct/business – not manufacturing or other industry where there are safety issues) here that requires of women closed toed shows and “hosiery” with pants, and pantyhose with dresses. And jackets at all times. (I’m looking to relocate to a less conservative part of the country!)

      1. Bow Ties Are Cool*

        I recommend Minnesota, the Twin Cities region in particular. Our economy is doing better than most, white-collar jobs are plentiful (compared with much of the country, at least), and cost of living is low in relation to wages. We do have a bit of a housing shortage, but that’s true of many places. And the winters really haven’t been that bad since the global warming kicked in.

  44. Lauren*

    AAM – Have you heard of companies adding in non-compete clauses in the employee handbook? Requiring signing receipt of the book, taking the book away so you can never reference it again, then threaten the non-compete clause when you leave? Asking for a friend. No seriously, this just happened to him. He didn’t sign a non-compete, but he did sign the employee handbook. Basically, he left – client wants to follow him, and old boss is threatening the non-compete section – which he won’t even give to my friend to prove there was a clause in there. I told my friend to call the bluff, and get a lawyer to send a letter asking for them to disclose the signed agreement.

    Even if the clause is there, is this legally valid? When I had to sign it, I specifically remember signing a piece of paper, not being allowed to read the whole thing, and being told by the office manager that I can always go to her office to read passages. Copies per employee weren’t given.

    1. EvanMax*

      I’m not a lawyer, but if a firm is pressuring people to sign a form stating that they have read the handbook in its entirety without letting them read the handbook, then that does not sound legal.

      And if the signed form just says you have received the handbook, not that you agree to everything within it, then I don’t think that would be enforceable legally (enforceable internally is another matter, as in disciplinary action for breaking internal rules.)

    2. Rick Tq*

      Non-competes for general employees are black letter law forbidden and unenforceable in California. My employer tried to add the clause to our handbook and multiple people refused to sign it to this day, and nothing has happened to us.

      Also, my understanding is all parties to a contract are supposed to receive copies for their records to freeze terms to what both parties agreed to at that time.

      Trying to hold you to sections of an employee handbook you don’t possess (and the employer can change at any time) should also invalidate any lawsuit..

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I can’t see an employee handbook meeting the legal description of a “contract”.
      I think your friend should check in with the DOL in your state to find out more.

  45. Recruit-o-rama*

    Personally don’t care if the lid is up or down, I arrange the seat however I need it, it takes a second. What I DO hate are the toilet seat hoverers in public women’s bathrooms who PEE ON THE SEAT and then don’t clean up after themselves. Sit on the damn seat and get your pee in the toilet, your cheeks are not that special, they will survive touching the seat, ladies.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      You know, I see people complain about this all the time, and I have literally never experienced it. It’s weird. Like, is this not a thing in the states I’ve lived in? Less common in cities (where I’ve spent most of my life) as compared to suburbs or rural areas?

  46. Amber Rose*

    I hate working. I resent spending 5 out of 7 of my days away from the people I love and the things I like doing. I feel like I’m literally wasting 90% of my life in a place that I tolerate just to be able to pay for stuff. As far as I’m concerned, the day the robots take all our jobs and we can move on to doing more interesting things can’t come soon enough. Imagine what we could accomplish if we didn’t have to pick our jobs based on whether we could use them to pay the bills.

    Even if I liked my job now (which I sometimes do), I still hate working, for that reason. It’s such a waste of everyone’s time.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Sure, but my ideal is something like the Star Trek universe, where they eliminated currency and just work to better themselves and mankind. People take on the jobs they find fulfilling, instead of the ones that pay bills.

  47. Princess Carolyn*

    Um, you put the toilet seat down because that’s the closed position! Same reason you shut cabinets, put up the dishwasher door, close closets, etc. If you want to leave your toilet seat up and your dresser drawers open at home because it’s more convenient, fine. But in public, we don’t leave stuff on the “in use” setting when it’s not in use.

    1. Lucia St Vincent*

      Toilets are used by some people with the seat up and by others with the seat down, so both are an “in-use setting”. We’re not talking about the lid here – most such toilets don’t HAVE lids.

  48. Nonprofit Lady*

    OP 5 – I would also add, if there’s a specific policy that you’re concerned about, maybe you should ask around to people you know who work there to see if they’re actually observed/enforced (I’m looking at you pantyhose!). I know there are places that require hose if you have bare legs (my grandma actually owns a business and this is still their rule, and I am constantly trying to convince her that it is a policy that should go), but there may also be places that haven’t updated their policy manual in 15 years, or have it in there but it’s an obscure thing that no one really does. Following policy manuals to the letter is not the norm at each employer. Things like PTO are important to fully understand, and I would guess that those items would be practiced in line with the policy manual.

    1. FindingMyWay*

      I agree w you completely. Getting an idea of how closely policies are followed is just as important advice knowing what they are.

  49. Former Retail Manager*

    OP#3….Alison is correct….your nail’s appearance will likely not cost you a job. However, if you’d still like to address the issue there are a few options:
    1. There is a clear polish that you can put on your nails that tastes AWFUL if you bite it. Can be purchased on Amazon or maybe even at Sally Beauty Supply (can’t say for sure on Sally’s). And it’s pretty affordable.
    2. Gel polish, as others mentioned above (not my personal preference, but you might love it)
    3. Dip powder – I used to always have acrylics, but switched to the dip powder. It’s about the same in terms of cost, but better for your nails and more durable than acrylics if applied properly, and I can make mine last about 3 weeks before getting them filled/redone. It has the same effect as acrylics from a nail biting perspective. You simply can’t bite your nails with it on.

    Best of luck! I’m not a nail biter, but my sister in law is and she too gets self conscious about her nails from time to time. Trust me, people really aren’t paying that close of attention.

    1. Oh Rats*

      I am an industrial strength biter. I have bitten through the nasty-tasting stuff (it stops tasting so nasty after three or four nails) and I have bitten my way through gel. If the gel chips even a little bit, I will use my teeth to SCRAPE the rest of it off and start biting.

      I’ve never had acrylics, though don’t you need decent-length nails to begin with? I have a hard time getting my nails to a length where even gel polish makes sense.

  50. Fronzel Neekburm*

    I thought I hated working itself until I got a job I loved, then had to quit. Find a job you love otherwise yes, workign is a waste of time.

    As for toilet seats, you are not children, nor are you a 1980’s comic. Look at the seat. If it’s up, lower it. If it’s lowered and you need to put it up, put it up. Seriously, dedicating any more mental power to this than that is a waste of time and energy.

  51. Jaybeetee*

    Regarding LW2, I also think there’s a large category of people who don’t mind work in and of itself, but get really worn down by “the grind” – waking up early, commuting, putting in 40 hours, etc. I know for me personally, I’d love to be able to work part-time instead of full time, as I’m just a lower energy person, and I find after a full day’s work and commuting, I just don’t feel like I have time or energy for much else (and I don’t even have kids!) It’s like…I don’t mind working, but sometimes it really grates on me to HAVE to work a certain set of hours each day (and here I am on AAM during work hours…)

    1. LW#2*

      You and I are on the same page. I don’t mind my job, it’s fine, I get to leave it at the office and think about other things, and there are times I actually want to get things done and have that sense of accomplishment. But having to do it on their timeline? Blah. It would be great if I could hop on and off whenever I felt like it, keeping in mind deadlines. I’m pretty sure I’d still get a full or close to full 37.5 hours in, and I’d definitely see the things that don’t actually need to ever be done fall off my to-do list.

      1. Editor*

        I loved working part-time. It left me with time for my kids, community involvement, but kept my skills sharp. But that was also because the job itself was flexible.

        I had one part-time job that I heartily disliked. The work could not be done in the time allotted, the supervisor was erratic, and management had a budgeting process that amounted to cuts every year to benefits and equipment maintenance and replacement while limiting or withholding raises because of “shareholder value.” When I worked there, I felt like I hated working. Unfortunately, too many jobs offer that lack of autonomy and respect, and those kinds of jobs are increasing with computerization.

    2. Alton*

      Yeah, this is a lot of my problem. I’m not very high-energy. Even going out after work more than once a week on average is too much for me, so my social life and hobbies are somewhat limited. If I could afford to work part-time, that would be ideal. Not to mention there are some pretty cool jobs that are part-time, like some positions with non-profits.

    3. Cercis*

      For me, I really loved my job, but the hour plus commute each way killed me. It was extremely stressful (driving on infrastructure designed for less than half the number of cars on it means there are constantly traffic accidents and too many near misses). It was doable when I was only doing it 4 days each week (with a Saturday) because working a 10 hour day meant that I missed a lot of the traffic and my commute was more like 30-45 minutes each way and a lot less near misses, but when the new boss decided that I really needed to work 6 days/week, on her schedule, it was too much. No amount of doing what I enjoyed balanced the stress of that commute (and there was no way to take public transportation or carpool).

  52. Coalea*

    To OP #3, I agree with those who said that your nails should not affect whether or not you are hired for a job. I was a terrible nail biter for many years and was able to be hired and succeed in the workforce even with nails bitten down to the quick.

    I tried for years to stop biting but was never able to until I started getting artificial nails (at various times I had acrylics, silk wraps, and hard gel overlay). That helped me break the habit and now I’m able to get by with just gel polish over my natural nails. I keep them very short to reduce the urge to bite. I have an anxiety disorder, and I know how hard it can be! Good luck with whatever you decide to do with your nails!

  53. Nervous Accountant*

    I feel like I’ such an outlier in terms of work. I genuinely enjoy working–I may not enjoy my job or certain tasks every single day but you know what I enjoy? Having a routine, seeing reasonably pleasant people every day, planning my outfits to wear to work. I like the autonomy of being able to go to lunch whenever I want, being able to sit at my desk and use a good working computer. And of course getting paid.

    When I first started working at age 19 (late bloomer), I used to think I just had a shitty work ethic and/or hated working, was lazy etc. But I realized that what I hated was the uncertainty surrounding seasonal/temp worker. I hated being the “new” person and having to learn how to deal with coworkers. I hated physical work (getting equipment or walking to the store carrying heavy boxes etc).

    I’ve been working FT for 2.5 years now, and as crazy as it sounds, I feel like working FT has changed me for the better. I used to joke that I can’t wait until I have a job so I can complain about Mondays but I haven’t done that yet. I like Mondays! I love going on vacations but I don’t get depressed coming back to work. I don’t get the Sunday blues.

    It’s not so much that I <3 my company or line of work or job so much as….,.just having a decent job? Its so fashionable to say "I hate my job" or "I hate working" or "I hate working at this company". Whatever I wrote above, I don't say these things so openly, but I just felt like sharing my thoughts. Maybe I"m happy because I'm not as ambitious and the things that most ppl I know are dissatisfied with don't dissatisfy me, but for now, I just stilll remember how it felt to be unemployed. *shrugs*

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      Also an accountant and I feel the same way, although my personal situation is slightly different than yours in terms of background. And I totally LOVE planning my outfits for work! I was a longtime retail manager before finishing my degree and transitioning to accounting. The nature of accounting work is just better suited to my personality than retail, which is a great contributor to my loving my current gig. I too disliked many of the things about retail that you did. Glad you’ve found your niche!

    2. Optimistic Prime*

      I feel the same way. In fact, once I started working full-time, I was actually retroactively sad that I had spent so much time in graduate school when I could’ve been working. I love Mondays, I like the routine of work. I think it helps that I love my company and coworkers and the work that I do, but that’s not it – even when I was a postdoc and I had a more regular routine I enjoyed that, too, even when I didn’t really love the work.

  54. Kat*

    Re #2: I love the work that I do, but I hate the daily grind. I’m currently trying to figure out how I can transition to another role or type of work. The issue is that I have great benefits and pay and am not sure I could have the same if I move somewhere else. I think ideally I’d love to work from home and have my own schedule. I hate the 40 hour work week concept. I am super productive for about 4 hours every day and then the rest of the time, I browse the web. I would much rather be able to do other things during that time but my job requires that I be here.

    1. Manders*

      This is exactly my problem! I need to work 8 hour days to get the insurance and the income I need to keep living in my area, but I’ve never found a job that could reliably provide 8 hours of stuff to do every day. I actually feel better when I’m consistently productive, but I’ve fallen into a pattern in my last few jobs where I’ll be so desperate for work to do that I’ll organize a decade of mess in the back room/clean the fridge/do stuff totally unrelated to my job just to feel like I’m working.

      If I could work part-time without having to give up my insurance benefits, I’d do it in a heartbeat. There just aren’t many part-time jobs with benefits around here.

  55. SSS*

    Each person should be responsible to put the toilet seat in the position they choose to use it in. There’s a 50-50 chance that the next person will need it in the same position. If you force the seat to be always up or always down, you make it a 100% chance that a specific group of people (either male or female depending on the up or down decision) will always be forced to change it which is NOT an inclusive work atmosphere.

    Every time I see the argument about demanding that a toilet seat be defaulted to a position for the benefit of one specific gender, it really makes me sad. Remember this concept of equality? That means one’s preference should not override the other’s preference if it based solely on convenience for a specific gender.

    I notice many comments discuss about the toilet “lid” in their comments and discuss sanitary reasons. However, the letter mentioned the “seat”, not the lid. Most of the toilets I’ve used in offices don’t have lids so that’s a different discussion. If there is a lid, and the lid is lowered, then both genders are equally ‘inconvenienced’ to have to change the configuration before using, which is fair.

    For those who don’t want to “touch” the seat…. someone has to, so why does it always have to be 1 specific group. Each person should share the unpleasant possibility…. You’re washing your hands afterwards anyway, RIGHT???!!

    1. Yorick*

      It’s not a 50-50 chance though, because sometimes men need to sit. It’s also not completely split by gender, for the same reason.

      If it’s up, women will always have to put it down and men might have to put it down. If it’s down, men might have to put it up.

  56. Kelly*

    LW #3 NAIL BITER: I used to be a nail biter, too. I had a nice function to go to and decided to get artificial nails and noticed that I didn’t bite my nails at all when they were on. I ended up keeping up that habit for many years. Last year it became an expense I had to get rid of when my income dropped… guess what? I’ve gone so long without biting them that I now have nice looking nails and no desire to bite them.

    If you can afford it – even just for the time you are interviewing and it will boost your confidence – you may want to consider having yours done.

    Good luck on your job search!

    1. Optimistic Prime*

      Or a gel manicure, which has a similar texture but sometimes is less expensive and a little less damaging on the nails over the long term.

  57. KatiePie*

    #5, my company has had one or two requests for the handbook and/or health insurance details prior to job offer acceptance. We will email those to candidates if they will first sign a non-disclosure agreement.

  58. Kobayashi*

    We wouldn’t provide our employee handbook via email, but we would gladly answer any questions about policies and practices. (On the other hand, if an applicant were in the OFFICE and wanted to look at the handbook, but not take it with them, we’d not have a problem with that).

  59. AnitaJ*

    I actually disagree slightly with #3. As a former EA and someone who has been on many interview panels for EAs…we notice. As an EA, you’re representing the people you support as well as the firm in general, and it’s imperative to present yourself in a professional and polished manner to both internal and external clients. When you’re not, especially in an interview where we assume you’re putting your best foot forward, it’s something noticeable.

    Now–do I think you SHOULD be hired based on the state of your nails? Absolutely not. That’s not something on which you should be judged during your interview. Your candidacy SHOULD be assessed on your ability to perform the duties and tasks of the position. But if your nails are bitten to the quick so severely that strangers have noticed (and commented!), then your interviewers will notice as well, and possibly be put off/grossed out/confused as to why you did not put a little effort into cleaning them up. I’m not saying this is fair, but I am saying this has been my experience.

    If you’ll be sitting in a back room not interacting with people throughout the day, this may be a different matter. But putting thought and effort into your appearance–fairly or unfairly, personally it pisses me off–often translates into people taking you more seriously as a coworker. (Especially when it comes to admins, who are often thought of as ‘just an admin’. Which really grinds my gears.)

  60. Jady*

    Like #2 I hate working.

    As a disclaimer I have severe depression and am on medication/treatment.

    I hate working as a general concept. I’m trading my limited lifetime for money. It surprises me more people don’t loathe working in general, as I think most would value their life higher than their salary.

    I hate working in practice. As a society, our base needs as human beings can go unmet. Society says we need to work to get food, water, clothing and shelter. It seems immoral to me that homelessness exists at all. I heard about some news piece stating that more vacant homes exist than the number of homeless persons.

    I hate working at the jobs I have/had. I’ve been in a handful over nearly 10 years. Each introduced varying amounts of miserableness depending on bosses, coworkers, environment, etc.

    All of that said though, I deal with it, at least better than #2-OP it sounds. I think work’s a big contributor to my depression (but not the sole contributor). But that aside, life in general is full of bull—t and people have to cope. There would still be health insurance (USA), there would still be taxes, there would still be regulations, so on etc.

    It’s not possible to escape everything that one hates.

    I’ve threatened to quit once. I’ve cried at work a handful of times. But I’ve never yelled at anyone, I’ve never had an anxiety attack, never shook from it.

    We live in the world we live in, and there aren’t any attractive alternatives (for me anyway).

    My goal in work is to find a job that is tolerable. A job that treats me like an adult, a job with as much pay and flexibility as I can get, a job that doesn’t make me angry frequently, etc.

    I hate work, but I don’t necessarily have to hate the workplace or co-workers.

    So to OP#2 that would be my advice, along with seeing a therapist, because the reactions sound like an anxiety disorder to me. Figure out the specific elements that can be improved and make those elements priority when considering new jobs.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Are you doing work you like at all?
      Getting into a field you like definitely helps make it tolerable, even if you hate “work” in principle.

      It would be nice maybe if people just didn’t have to work SO much.

    2. Dana*

      “I’m trading my limited lifetime for money.”

      Yes, exactly. I feel resentful and angry at work all the time because I can feel my most productive, active years dripping away while I do pointless labour to accumulate capital so my boss can win at the money-points game, all so I can eat and sleep indoors.

      Pointless labour in my mind is anything that wouldn’t need to be formally organised in a communist society – so really, anything other than direct work on logistics, agriculture, public infrastructure, repair, environmental reparation, health services and manufacturing makes me feel like I’m wasting my time .

  61. Matilda Jefferies*

    #5, I would ask specific questions about what you’re interested in, rather than asking to see the employee manual. In my organization, we don’t have anything called an “employee manual,” but we do have over 1800 policies, procedures, and standards that apply to various groups of employees. And this is not including orientation material, or corporate policies that apply to us but that we don’t own. They’re not confidential exactly, but I can guarantee you don’t need or want to see all of them in order to make a decision about working with us!

    So if you asked that question in my organization, you’d be required to drill it down to specifics anyway. And I think probably lots of other organizations would prefer to answer a handful of specific questions than just turn over a whole bunch of documents that may or may not be meaningful to you.

    1. FindingMyWay*

      Thanks, everyone, for your comments and suggestions in response to my question (#5). Honestly, I was expecting to be told by Alison that I’d overstepped with my request for the new hire and policy docs. It’s a relief to know I hadn’t as I got a lot of benefit from having read those materials. And, from your comments, I learned that I need to put more thought and research into all the policies that are, or may become, important to me. No doubt I’ll miss some but I want to try to catch the big policies, that don’t flex, and would apply to me. Thank you for the great input! D

  62. Hedgehog*

    Toilet seat up or down, maybe this is another possible meaning for company culture fit.

  63. Mimmy*

    #2 – I thought that I would love working again after having been out of work for several years (but staying active in my field through groups). However, my current job has me wondering if I “hate” working, or just don’t care for this particular environment. I work in an instructional setting (a residential rehab program), which can involve unpredictable schedule changes due to staffing levels. There is also an “us vs. them” vibe between students and administration, and even between some instructors and administration. So I ask myself, “Is this what working is like everywhere nowadays? Or is it just a product of a state-run program?” If it’s the former, I want no part of it :P

    I also find myself wanting to do other things, but not knowing where to begin, or even finding the time to do it. Once my hours decrease this summer, maybe the picture will become clearer.

  64. RB*

    Kudos to #5 for turning down a job due to the overly restrictive dress code. That dress code sounds like it hasn’t been updated since the 1950’s. It would be seriously out of date in my region of the US and 90% of my coworkers would be out of compliance 90% of the time. And I’m not in an overly casual office.

  65. Ruth*

    Toilet seats should be in a down position by default. Men can use it either up or down but women can realistically only use it in the down position. Men may not want to sit or to have to wipe the seat when done if it’s down, but that’s not making it virtually unusable the way it becomes for women when the seat is up. The seat is also clearly designed as having a top and bottom. Had upright been intended as a default position, it would have been designed with a more reversible look to the seat. Lift it if you want! Just put it back down when you are done.

  66. L*

    Wow there is a surprising amount of comments about toilet seats.
    I often think about whether I hate working in general or hate my job. When I tend to think is that I actually hate the constraints that working puts on day to day life.
    You feel owned on business days and now it’s often even after hours so work limits your life/simple pleasures (not being in rush hour, taking time to drink a coffee while sitting,etc) but of course this limitation means that you’re making money to live.
    I’ve always strongly believed that if we could change work structure to be more common place to work part-time or perhaps in blocks (ie: 6 months full time, 6 months off or whatever interval) it would due quite a difference in peoples mental health and well being.

  67. Dana*

    I would wager that I fall into the category of legitimately hating working. I have a disability that makes it extremely difficult for me to conceptualise time, so I feel stressed any time that I need to be at a certain place for a set period of time or need to arrive exactly on time anywhere, which is a requirement for almost all jobs. I am very very productive and active when I’m allowed to work whenever I want, as much or as little as I feel, and I’m very happy to do labour when I think it serves a larger purpose, so I’m not lazy. Left to my own devices, I work around the clock for a few days, sleep for a day, relax for a few days and then work for another few days while taking catnaps. It’s more that when meeting my basic needs for food, water and shelter is contingent on my ability to show up at a certain place at a certain time or be appropriately apologetic for missing a narrow arrival/departure window by a small margin of error, and then expected to do crappy busywork because you’re never allowed to relax while “on the clock”, I feel angry, resentful and held hostage by whoever I’m working for.

    It also doesn’t help that at my last 2 jobs, my bosses and managers were 1) a literal actual neo nazi 2) a 105 year old Italian fascist who yelled at me in Italian constantly, got mad at me cause I don’t speak italian and sexually harrased me 3) a holocaust denier who wasn’t a neo nazi who also sexually harrased me and 4) a 19 year old stoner who disparaged cyclists even though we worked at a bike shop, constantly made transphobic jokes and mocked me for being disabled

    So my experience has been soured.

  68. Optimistic Prime*

    My mother is one of those people who doesn’t especially like working. Even when she’s in an environment that she likes, in which she likes the people, the work, the tasks, the commute, etc., she still feels at least somewhat resentful that she is stuck working instead of doing…pretty much anything else. Right now she’s got the ideal job for her. She’s a school nurse at the elementary school my brother and sister attended. It’s a less than 5-minute drive from her house; she works 8 am to 2 pm; she’s off for three months in the summer to travel as she pleases; she absolutely loves kids and she likes her coworkers. And she’s still just miffed in general and counting down the days to retirement (she’s got several years, as she’s only in her mid-50s).

  69. Gina*

    Question # 1 – I have always preferred the toilet seat up. That tells me that male who used the bathroom before me had the courtesy to lift it before peeing. I would much rather land in a clean bowl of water than sit on a seat with someone else’s pee on it. I know my answer is a bit crude but as the only female in my office there were times before we moved into our new space that I had to follow a guy after he had used the single bathroom we had. I absolutely prefer they leave the seat up!

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