updates: the friend-boss and more

Here are updates from three people whose letters were answered here in the past.

1. Boss, then friend, now boss again (#3 at the link)

It’s been about a year since I wrote for advice, and I’m still not exactly positive about how to categorize our work relationship. I took your advice and decided to wait and see what happened, whether she would pull us back into a boss-employee relationship, whether she would bring up facebook, how things would work now that she was supervising me.

Things have stayed muddled, but I’m not exactly unhappy about it. Both of us having to learn the ropes of a new work place at the same time was an interesting experience, and it was kind of nice to have someone to go to to say “hey, this thing the office does—weird, right?” more informally, and she’s ended up needing a lot of help with her job in a way that I think is really enhancing my own job knowledge. I’m happy with my compensation and benefits, so I feel no resentment about how much of her job I’m helping with, but I do know it’s a little off and definitely not how we handled things when we worked together previously. There’s also been moments where she shared things she shouldn’t have—and frankly I wish she hadn’t—that I know she wouldn’t have previously, but it hasn’t been anything I couldn’t shake. We never did disconnect on facebook, but neither of us are power users, so it hasn’t been an issue.

Overall, I think the wait-and-see approach was the right one to take—there hasn’t been a dramatic enough instance to bring it up, and overall it is working for us, despite rough moments.

Thank you so much for your help and advice!

2. Is it too soon to ask about working remotely or part-time in a couple of years? (#2 at the link)

I don’t have anything huge yet, but since there ended up being quite a lot of criticism about jumping the gun (and my relationship in general) in the comments, I figured I’d offer an update.

When I wrote in, I was finishing up covering a co-worker’s maternity leave. I’ve asked her a lot of questions about what she experienced and have taken note of things since she’s been back. She’s only working about 2-3 days a week in the office and then the rest of the time she works at home. As far as I can tell she does not have a babysitter during the home-workdays and spends a lot of the time with her daughter, but she’s also a solid worker so I’m assuming she’s still getting everything done that she needs to. Sounds like the ideal situation, if you ask me! Also, as of January 1st my company is expanding a lot of their benefits too, including maternity leave, which is awesome.

As for me, I’m still kind of playing a waiting game. The SO and I will be getting engaged sometime before the end of the year (or so he says) but unfortunately his sister decided to start planning her own wedding for the exact month in 2018 we had been eyeing, so ours may end up being put off for a while. But… we decided to start trying for kids already (eek!) You guys are actually the first ones I’ve told that tidbit to! Oh – and the SO ended up moving in with me, so at least I won’t have an hour+ commute for the foreseeable future! You all may call me a “summer child” but I’m glad I’ve finally found someone I can share it all with. Even with our ups and downs these last 15 months, it’s been exceedingly refreshing.

Anyway, since my company has been so great about working with the other young mother, I have to imagine everything will go well for me as well, whenever it rolls around. Doesn’t hurt that I’ve also got a great manager who supports me well! Here’s to hoping for the best!

3. Hitting up references with a sales pitch (#4 at the link)

A week or so after I e-mailed you, an operations manager from head office came to our branch to do some sales training with us because of the new emphasis on sales over recruiting. During the sales training, they really pushed the “references as sales leads” approach. We were encouraged to go on LinkedIn and Indeed, find people who worked for companies that we wanted to get business from with and “entice” them to come in for an interview with us (even if we didn’t have any suitable jobs for them), JUST to get their references so we could have contacts at these target companies.

When I was asked for my thoughts during training, I mentioned that I felt that this would be aggressive and off-putting to both candidates and the references, but I didn’t want to say anything out of line to a regional manager so I left it at that. Afterwards, however, I spoke to my direct supervisor and said that I was really concerned about this. We had a great working relationship and I have no trouble talking to him, so I let it fly (professionally, of course). I said I wanted to do my job well, whatever that was, but that this felt really slimy. I did not feel comfortable asking people to take time off work (and losing wages, paying for parking downtown, using up their leave, etc) to come in for a fake job interview so we could poach their professional contacts. It felt like we were preying on people who trusted us to help them find employment.

My boss did his best to accommodate, and I was tasked with making random cold calls and passing off reference information to other team members to make the dreaded reference calls/sales pitches. The system was working decently, and I honestly did love my team and most of the work I was doing, so I actually declined an offer from another agency (I was concerned about moving into a similar sales -centered role and losing my seniority on top of that). However, within two weeks I was called into his office and abruptly laid off.

I was told that it was because head office was downsizing our region. I was told it was due to downsizing in our region. It could be, but I was the most senior person in our office, had received a raise less than 3 months ago and had a tangible performance record with excellent results and no documented issues. Oh well.

Due to the layoff, I qualified for EI and am now looking for another position. Thank you for your blog and your help!

{ 78 comments… read them below }

  1. Falling Diphthong*

    OP#3, your former company is surely cruising for a spectacular crash on Glassdoor, as people figure out that the “jobs” don’t exist and it’s all a ploy to try to harvest contact data, then annoy your contacts.

    1. Artemesia*

      OP3 should herself post such a glassdoor review; maybe wait until she has a job, but do it. This is incredibly despicable, particularly the fake job interview aspect of it.

  2. Amelia*

    I work from home 2 days a week and I have a toddler. The thought of not having childcare during the workday boggles my mind. In fact, like many of my colleagues, I find it’s necessary to use daycare instead of a nanny or babysitter. It’s just too distracting to have a loud little person in your “office,” even if they have a caregiver.
    In fact, the most challenging part of my day is from 8AM (when I start working) until 8:30AM (when my husband takes the baby to daycare) because babies suck all the professional focus out of the room.
    There have been a few times where I couldn’t take off work and needed to watch the baby. My productivity was about 20% of a normal day.
    I seriously doubt it’s considered appropriate at your workplace to not have childcare during the workday. And even if it were, I can’t imagine it would be good for either you or your baby.

    1. Umvue*

      My daughter is five now, and even at this age, I can only get about half an hour’s work done per hour when I have to watch her (e.g. if she needs to stay home sick). And it was even tougher when she was younger. WFH as childcare is only a reasonable plan if your job requires no actual work (and that situation itself is a short hop from a layoff).

    2. Sunglow28*

      Holy smokes, yes. Maybe your coworker has one of those mystical, long napping, self caring unicorns. But I have to have childcare help to accomplish my very part time job. I think it’s better to be realistic about what kinds of help and cost are really needed because otherwise you may be in for a very unpleasant learning curve.

      1. TheSockMonkey*

        Yup. A lot of companies require you to provide proof of childcare as part of a teleworking agreement.

      2. Traveling Teacher*

        +1 I have several friends who have children like this (napping 3-4 hours per day, up to 4 years old–how?!). For me, if I work from home, I get up very early in the morning (5am) and work solidly until 9, play with toddler til naptime, then maybe get two more hours in, then do two+ more hours in the evening. Works for me because it doesn’t matter when my work gets done, as long as it gets done. Maybe the WFH coworker does the same? However, the days I’ve been able to get a sitter during the daytime have been life-changing and wonderful.

      3. Gen*

        My son did long naps but only physically resting on a person. It’s really hard to type/draw and keep a baby asleep when their head is on your arm!

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        Even those children may just be luring you into a false sense of security, so you won’t be on guard when they learn to crawl.

      5. Rana*

        Agreed. I never had a nap unicorn (2 hours was the best she could manage, and it was often more like 1 or less) but my four-year-old’s very good at self-entertaining. BUT even with that, I can’t work when she’s awake and near me, even if she’s playing by herself, because I never know when my train of thought might be interrupted by her needs. (Even now, trying to type this comment, she’s interrupted me three times.)

        If I don’t leave the house, or wait until after bedtime, there’s no way to do anything that requires sustained, focused thinking.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          High-five on that sustained, focused thinking. If you’re always ‘on’ for sounds of trouble (like, it’s been quiet for 5 minutes, what if they decided to open all the paint and redo the play-doh*?) then you aren’t truly focused on other things. Fine for housework, not for my paid work.

          *Actual example

      6. SarcasticFringehead*

        Apparently I was a bit of a unicorn – my mom cleaned houses when I was a baby, and she said she could do two houses in a day because I would nap like clockwork 10-12 and 2-4. That said, that’s still only four hours of work in a day – I certainly needed as much attention as anyone else outside of naptime.

    3. Fiennes*

      It’s possible the LW’s coworker has non-professional help, like a mom or a sister who either lives with them or spends most of the day helping out. She may have more childcare assistance than it first appears. At any rate, I agree that virtually no one with an infant at home and no additional support is going to capable of working a standard day for many (if any) days in a row.

      1. Data Analyst*

        Agreed. I recently had my second child, first while employed at current job. A coworker who was pregnant before me worked out an arrangement where she could work from home half the time, and I was all gung-ho like “that’s what I’m going to do too! More time with baby!” but then I realized that she had a family tradition of each set of grandparents living in the home with them for a year and helping out extensively, and that is how she was going to make it work. Makes sense in retrospect–there is no way I could get more than an hour or two of work done per day if I was home with this baby.

    4. Courtney*

      This. I’m currently trying to study for an exam and after three hours I only have like half a page of notes. Because toddlers are incredibly high maintenance. It was a little different when they were newborns who could basically just lay there and took lots of naps. Once they’re mobile, things get significantly more difficult as far as multitasking goes.

    5. Helpful*

      Agreed. Productivity goes way south; it is NOT ideal to work with a child without extra help. It’s not great for the kid, either. Op, plan on bringing on some in-home care.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      This was my experience freelancing. Work happened when kids were at daycare, or my husband was home.

      OP, do not assume your coworker must be working at home at 80% efficiency, baby on one hip, finishing up tasks during all those naps.

    7. Artemesia*

      When my daughter had her first child, part of the deal on working from home part time was child care. She just had her second child and her business all works from home when not working at client sites or attending meetings of the organization; she has a nanny for the baby.

      I cannot imagine a workplace allowing people to ‘work at home’ while doing child care. There is a period with newborns where they are sleeping most of the time (most newborns, certainly not all ) where that would work, but those days are over soon and it is totally unworkable with an older baby or toddler.

    8. LoiraSafada*

      I have had nothing but negative experiences attempting to “work” with people that are “working from home” with children present and no additional childcare. The best part is when it’s a man and his kid disrupts a conference call and everyone assumes it’s one of the women on the call causing the disruption. Fun!

    9. Susanne*

      Put simply, anyone who thinks that working at home is a “solution” to childcare is a moron. You simply have to have a daycare provider to get anything done. That’s why they call it work.

      I think there are a lot of very naive young women who envision “working at home” as playing with baby, punctuated by working at the computer while baby serenely naps.

      Expressing that idea to a manager in the workplace (much less an interviewer) is going to brand one as uncommitted, unserious and just plain naive.

      Plus – how do you know you want to work from home? Some people prefer the separation of the two. You know, it’s a lot harder for a toddler to understand he can’t talk to mommy because she needs to take a phone call, when she’s right there. It’s a lot easier for him if he’s in a daycare and it’s just part of his day and he’s reunited with mommy and/or daddy at 5 pm.

      1. Agnodike*

        Yes!! Caring for a child is a FULL-TIME JOB. That is why we pay people to do it. It’s work. It’s HARD work. And it takes a ton of time and energy.

        I have a seven-month-old. I’m maternity leave, but I have a couple commitments (some consulting work, some board/committee stuff) that I’m still doing. Bub goes to daycare one day a week so I can put a solid eight hours in, and I do maybe another hour a day during the occasional excellent nap (you know, when I’m not doing laundry, tidying, making meals, all the other work that often comes along with being a parent at home) or in the evenings. Working full-time without childcare would not be an option because I am ALREADY WORKING FULL-TIME.

    10. Ann O.*

      I was able to do it with an infant, but I only had part-time hours to get in and they were very flexible hours. It was hard at first and then got easier once she was on a regular nap schedule. I still found life much easier once we put her in childcare!

    11. SchoolStarts!*

      This is the same logic I apply to when people bring in their toddler/preschool/even school age children to work because of a daycare problem. Even with markers, iPads, books, food…you’re just not as productive.

    12. Gloucesterina*

      My husband worked from home with our 2.5 month-old baby for a short period of time (no more than 2 weeks total, and confined slices of time within that – about 3 hrs per day, 2-3 days per week) and that was HARD, not to mention being in violation of his telework conditions. Finding fulltime daycare was a huge plus for everyone–little Grendel gained a new set of friends and lots of stimulation he wasn’t going to get from two exhausted working parents.

    13. CML*

      As a mom of a 15 mo old and a 3 yr old, I’m so glad to read that I’m not the only one that can’t “work from home” when I’m watching my kiddos. There is no way in hell I’d be able to get anything done with them in the house. Brushing my teeth is a full effort, let alone trying to sit at the computer to work. Any time I hear of people working from home while watching their kids, I’m baffled. I always assumed I just had two anomaly children that I love dearly but are complete tornados of neediness. Easy to feel like a failure. Glad that’s not the case.

    14. Big Bank*

      My company seems to have a DADT policy about it, but it’s absolutely not acceptable if HR were consulted to use WFH for childcare. It did get to the point where one team had most of their associates watching their babies on WFH days, and they were vocal about the fact that’s what they were doing. I had to pull their manager aside and tell them their guys either needed to STFU about it or they needed to be denied WFH. Luckily I haven’t heard any more chatter, though there’s the occasional unmistakable baby cry on various conference calls.

    15. agmat*

      I don’t even have a child yet and I totally agree. I’m due next spring and looking into daycare for 5 days a week even though most weeks I WFH 2 or 3 full days. A few friends and family have commented “you’ll save so much on childcare with your job!” No, I’m on call to do whatever needs to be done those 5 days, meaning some days I don’t plan on leaving the office, but if something comes up I’m out the door for the field work portion of my job.

      A child at home while working would feel like being in a pressure canner! The main benefit I see is that I can throw in some laundry at least or clean up during my lunch with no child around.

    16. Emily*

      As others have said, you really can’t work from home once your baby is reasonably engaged or mobile. And certainly not with a toddler. Furthermore, infants and young children need face time from adults who love them. They can play by themselves for a while, but not eight hours a day. I think this is something that sometimes gets missed—high quality daycare is good for kids!

  3. Grumpy*

    EI— oh, my. Is this a a Canadian company by any chance?
    Hope the job search goes very well and very quickly, OP.

  4. Umvue*

    OP#3: Your former company is an ethical mess, and I’m sorry. Best of luck finding something better.

  5. neverjaunty*

    OP #2, why do you “have to imagine” everything will be just fine?

    Being realistic and having backup plans shouldn’t kill your excitement about the future. If it does, you should think hard about why.

    1. Victorian Cowgirl*

      I also felt there were too many caveats and metaphorical shrugs to feel as though OP feels confident in her relationship or job, and I hope everything works out. Back up plans are not optional, I agree.

      1. Mary Quite Contrary*

        That seems pretty condescending. OP came here to ask for some specific advice about asking for accommodations at work and somehow you’ve leaped into judging her confidence in both her relationship and job?

        OP, congrats on your LTR that is clearly still going strong and decision to start a family! But you know – if you want to get married, it’s 2017 and you can ask him to marry you if you want! Just sayin’. Good luck!

      2. Bryce*

        Speaking as one, it sounds like the language of an anxious planner. No matter how much I’m all-in on something, I obsess about ways it could go wrong and how to react to that and how likely is it to happen and on and on and on.

        To me, this language says “what have I missed” rather than “I’m covering for doubt”.

        1. Bryce*

          As an example, my brain is currently stuck on logistics to mail a package, get lunch, and then make it to a party across town. The UPS store and lunch are two blocks away, and it’s 5 hours until the party with easy driving directions (get on highway, drive for 30 mins, get off highway), but the brain’s still ticking off every little detail and backup options and such. And that’s just for a small social gathering.

        2. JulieBulie*

          I heard it the same way. Or “I don’t want to jinx myself,” which I say to mean “everything looks good to me, but I don’t want to tempt fate by saying so.”

          1. EddieSherbert*

            +1 to both Julie and Bryce’s comments. I’m an over-planner as well (and totally do the “don’t jinx yourself” thing on top of that!).

          2. SarcasticFringehead*

            To me it sounded like “I’m having a lot of anxiety about this, so I have to remind myself to picture it going well as often as I picture it going horribly,” because that is definitely a place I’ve been in, mentally.

    2. Sarah*

      The advice on the first post was generally to not address this until she is pregnant.

      I would guess the backup plan is making daycare work, like many many people are forced to do. I would not have a kid if I couldn’t afford to either stay home or pay for daycare – even if I hoped for something else to work out.

  6. AdAgencyChick*

    #3, wow, that is so shady. Best of luck finding a new gig at a company with a better sense of ethics.

  7. Helpful*

    Not my business, sure, but I think you should plan your wedding. If having a similarly-timed wedding as SIL would be stealing her thunder (which I why I assume you wouldn’t want to have a wedding), having a baby would be that times ten. Get married along your preferred timeline; sure, you can bump it a couple months out of courtesy. But don’t change your (I’m assuming) preferred order of major life events because a SIL is engaged. It may be way more difficult to plan a wedding once a baby is in the mix anyway. Just a side thiught!

    1. Book Lover*

      Personally I am deeply confused about the planning to get engaged while looking at wedding dates and trying to conceive. By the time you are looking at wedding dates, doesn’t that meet the definition of being engaged, whether or not there is a ring? Anyway, I am irritable today, so I think that is all the commentary I should allow myself.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I wouldn’t worry too much about thunder stealing, but often the overlapping extended relative/friend groups don’t want to travel for weddings held 3 weeks apart.

      1. Temperance*

        THIS. One of the meanest things that I’ve seen someone do (not me!) is schedule their wedding for 2 weeks before another family member’s long-planned wedding, in an effort to snag the out-of-town guests who would have to travel.

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          My SIL did this but it back fired on her since everyone decided not to change their plans.

      2. Helpful*

        Sure, but I think you can do your best and everyone get married and not put their lives on hold. But I’m assuming a lot of good will which I know is entirely case-specific.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I don’t advocate putting your life on hold. Just, if one large gathering of the far-flung clan is planned and you want them to gather for you, too, you give people a chance to accrue vacation time and budget. Or you have a small wedding.

    3. Circus peanuts*

      Maybe let the thought of a double wedding cross your mind if you all get along. Your costs could be slashed if you are flexible. I have only seen this in movies however so it might be as mythical as a unicorn.

      1. SignalLost*

        Miss Manners lays out how a double wedding works in her Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour, in case anyone is curious. They are a real thing, and they were invented for financial and family-travel logistics reasons!

      2. JulieBulie*

        I do like the idea of a double wedding! But my first thought was to get married right now (or very soon). Why wait, unless you’re really determined to have a big wingding? In which case, the double wedding would really be appreciated by a lot of the guests who will attend one event instead of two.

        But do look into the Miss Manners advice (and others) before tackling a double-wedding. Wedding planning is hard enough when it’s just one couple making the decisions.

        1. Optimistic Prime*

          Or you could get married right now in a small event and then have a big wingding a year later for your anniversary (or whenever, really).

          1. JulieBulie*

            Good point – my sister had a small private ceremony, then a big party later when she was in a better position to deal with one.

    4. Temperance*

      One of my SILs honestly hates me because she wanted to get married before me. It’s really stupid – Booth and I were together for like 9 years, whereas she was with Booth’s brother for like, not even 2 – but she thought that I should cede to her because she was over 30.

      So I definitely think that LW and her dude should probably chat with her SIL and SIL’s partner before locking anything down, just so there is no drama … but yeah, throwing a baby into the mix is not a great idea.

      1. Optimistic Prime*

        There are certain cultural practices that people get so weird about. Weddings are one of them.

    5. Sarah*

      Agreed, it is dumb to put your life on hold just because another family member also plans to get married the same month. It’s way harder with kids or while pregnant. Plan your wedding when you want, just not on the same day as his sister; just don’t necessarily expect people to come to both weddings (that is okay, you’ll still see them at her wedding).

      Also, that definitely qualifies as an engagement (just without the ring and without calling yourselves “engaged”).

  8. Edina Monsoon*

    #3 I’ve been on the receiving end of the fake interview so they can harvest your contacts from many a recruitment agency and it is sooo frustrating. Good for you for speaking up and I’m sure you’re better off out of there, I don’t think it would have done your reputation any good to stay at a company like that, goodness knows what their next big idea would be to get leads!

    Ps I’m wondering if they ever managed to make any sales that way?

    1. Candi*

      Probably a tiny fraction of what they could make with more legitimate tactics. And that’s before word gets around. The grapevine is a powerful force.

      Of course, those legit tactics take more time, money, and labor… You know, effort and expense. So they don’t appeal to those who want maximum return for minimum effort.

  9. Product person*

    but I was the most senior person in our office, had received a raise less than 3 months ago and had a tangible performance record with excellent results and no documented issues

    In my experience with layoffs (both when I was spared = 3 times, and was included = 1 time), more senior / higher salary people are the first to be included — unless they are considered critical for the continuity of the business.

    This is because with the same number of layoffs, you can report much higher savings for the company, even if in many cases the decision is based on misguided assumptions, such as “the three spared junior employeess will be able to absorb the work of the two senior employees we’re laying off and allow us to operate at half the cost of the original team”.

  10. Confused*

    I’m confused as to why it’s a problem that the sister [who is already engaged] is planning her wedding for the month LW 2 wants when LW 2 is not even engaged yet, and judging by the way she said “so he says”, might not be engaged for a while. What is she supposed to do, hold off planning until LW 2 gets engaged? I don’t get it. I also don’t get why it matters when the sister’s wedding is. A wedding is one day, not a month. I can see it causing drama if she were to pick the same day or a day within a week or of her, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s not “unfortunate” she is planning her wedding when she is already engaged. I wish LW 2 nothing but the best and happiness but everything in her update confuses me.

    1. Optimistic Prime*

      It becomes an issue if a significant number of family members has to travel for both weddings; most people don’t want to (or can’t) travel twice less than about a month apart. But I agree that there’s nothing preventing LW from pushing her wedding out by 4-6 weeks and just doing it then.

      I spent a lot of time when I was engaged thinking of perfect cutesy dates/months with meaning to get married. We ended picking a random day with no particular cutesy numbers or anything…the day and month you get married gains meaning by the simple fact that that’s when you got married.

      1. Ten*

        I remember when I was engaged being crestfallen when I discovered that people mostly choose their wedding day based on when they can book the venue they want. It just seemed so pragmatic and un-fairytale-ish to me. (Can you tell I got married pretty young?)

        In other words, +1 to the idea that your wedding date becomes something special, even if it started as merely the day the banquet hall was available.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      It feels you are are being deliberately confused as a weird attempt at criticism. There’s obviously nothing wrong with her future SIL planning her wedding already but it is reasonable for the LW to feel a little bummed that she chose a month the LW was hoping to pick. And for many families it would be an issue to get married that close together because it is hard for people to plan and pay for the travel to two weddings in such a short time period. My step-brother and I got married in consecutive months and it meant some people couldn’t come to both weddings, and we also ended up not going to each other’s weddings because it just would have been too difficult logistically and financially.

      1. Samata*

        Even in the same town, 2 wedding in a month can get expensive if you are giving gifts, or paying for childcare, potentially need a hotel room, etc.

        1. Teacher*

          Agreed. LW is being considerate to her guests and is not expressing anything more than mild disappointment (and expressing it only to us, not to her SIL).

  11. Been There, Done That*

    LW3–I’ve also been “interviewed” for non-existent job, which in retrospect looked like a ploy to get my personal information for God knows what. I needed a job badly at the time so I was furious on multiple counts. I also once had an interviewer push and push me for the names of cos. I had applied to. I didn’t, because a) it was none of her business, and b) since it became obvious that she wanted the names as prospects for her own sales, I felt if she wanted me to generate leads for her, she could bloody well hire and pay me to do it.

    I’m so sorry you lost you job in the aftermath, but it takes such a toll to work with dirty dealers. Best of luck finding a better spot.

  12. Hard-working parent*

    LW2, you mentioned that you’ve asked your colleague who’s just back from parental leave lots of questions, but you also say you “assume” she’s meeting all her work objectives and that she doesn’t have childcare “as far as [you] can tell.” If this is something you’re interested in, these are questions I would really encourage you to get explicit answers for. How is she getting everything done? What are the challenges she’s faced? What would she do differently? This is the kind of planning that you really want good info for; relying on speculation and assumption is probably not the way to go.

    It’s also worth noting that kids aren’t interchangeable. What works for your colleague might not work for you, because your baby might have a completely different temperament. I can’t say this often or emphatically enough: even with an “easy” baby, childcare is a full-time job, and it’s a demanding one. If you’re planning on working full-time hours from home with no childcare, you’re planning to condense the work of two full-time jobs into one. (I hope your partner’s come around on that score – in your last letter, you mentioned that they didn’t think much of people who stay home with kids, and that’s often an indicator that someone doesn’t see childcare as “real work.”) So make sure that your plan is realistic about the amount of work that’s involved.

    Honestly, I’m a bit worried for you. I was married for ten years before I had a baby, and I literally provide healthcare to mums and babies for a living. I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. Please make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about what constitutes real work, how much of it there’s going to be, and who’s going to do it before you embark on this. I wish you the very very best of luck and I’m hoping that in a year’s time you’ll be happy and well.

  13. KimberlyR*

    #2: An anecdote for you-I just had kid #3 and my kids are in school or daycare, since spouse and I work full time. I have a coworker who just had her 1st kid and is working from home full time while taking care of her baby. The baby is 4 months and my coworker is exhausted, sounds frazzled when I talk to her, and told me that “luckily ‘baby’ has only had a screaming fit once so far” while she was on the phone. Her baby has just finished the time of life when she’ll sleep the most. She’s about to get mobile (rolling over) and more vocal. My coworker will not be able to sustain this, honestly. She thought she could but as time passes, she is seeing how hard it is going to get. Be honest with yourself about how much work a baby is, and how much work your job is and multiply those together.

    1. EddieSherbert*


      As lovely an idea as it is, I realllyyyyyy think you should reconsider your plan, OP. I don’t have children, but I worked in daycare for years before moving to an office. If your kid ends up being really colicky or something, this plan might not even work when they’re an infant, let alone older.

      I have occasionally tried working from home with my toddler-aged nephew – it’s pretty much impossible to sustain. My job is extremely flexible (like get in your eight hours at any time during this 24 hour period), so for me, work was mostly naptime and then after he went to bed…. and then he wakes me up at like 5am when I worked until midnight or so… and there’s no way that’d work long term.

  14. Melissa D.*

    #2, I also am very concerned about/for you. Your letters read as someone who is not only very young, but also immature and lacking in critical thinking skills. Not so much about working while also having a baby at home- plenty of people who fallen into the trap of thinking babies are easy and y0u can TOTALLY make it work (you can’t). It’s that coupled with all the other alarming factors in your letters. The emphasis on THE ONE in your original letter. The overenthusiastic focus on planning the details of consequences from life events that haven’t happened yet. The delving into the work/home aspects of the coworker-back-from-maternity-leave, but failing to ask if she has outside help and just assuming that her work hasn’t suffered. Eyeing wedding dates while not even engaged yet, and apparently having some doubt that your SO actually WILL propose on the timeline he seems to have suggested. Harping in on the fact that his sister decided on the same month in 2018 you’d been eyeing as an excuse as to why your wedding might be put off for a while (you’re not engaged yet, and a 6 week delay would be perfectly sufficient to distance yours and his sister’s wedding. And this is the kicker- trying for kids (the ULTIMATE LIFE COMMITMENT) before having an engagement commitment from your SO.

    There are so many things that stand out to me as the LW being 19 vs someone in their 30’s. It’s not a bad thing to be young, enthusiastic about life, and inexperienced. But when you start adding kids in the mix things get real serious, real quick. And this is coming from someone who met her husband, married him, bought a house with him, and had a kid with him within the span of 3 years. I highly advise taking things as they come instead of planning your future on the promises of a man.

    1. Samata*

      Calling her immature and lacking critical thinking skills is kinda harsh to me. Sure she’s excited but why is that bad? She might be overly optimistic but she isn’t inherently doing any harm to anyone. She’s not plotting revenge against someone in hopes to hook a guy – she is just excited about her future.

      I have had a few quite intelligent friends underestimate the need of childcare on their work from home days when they had their 1st child – and one of them was 37 when her first child was born. I also think if she and SO have discussed and date and timeline & moved in together I am not sure their partnership isn’t close enough to engaged status to consider what a future with him might look like.

      Plus, she didn’t ask for relationship advice.

      1. Kate 2*

        Because when you see someone merrily heading towards a crash it is human nature to want to try and prevent it?

        For what it is worth I got the same vibe.

  15. kierson*

    OP #3 – I worked in a position so similar to yours that I am curious if we worked for the same company. The fake interviews, flipping references into sales, poaching people on LinkedIn – I hated it all. I couldn’t morally sit across the interview desk from someone in need of a job and lie about why I brought them in to meet. I eventually left for a job where I could be honest and helpful (and the branch eventually saw 100% turnover, including management).

    I hope you find something you love soon!

  16. Noah*

    #3–are you over 40, because that sounds a lot like age discrimination if you weren’t fired for not wanting to do the cold call thing.

  17. Midwest*

    LW #2, please please please reconsider your child care plan. I’m guessing you have no earthly idea how your colleague is making it work — or isn’t. Child care is a full-time commitment and having help while you work is NOT optional. At least it isn’t for the long run. Having a baby around will kill your productivity and concentration. You can’t guarantee that your child won’t wake up early from a nap, just when you needed to join a conference call. I have occasionally worked from home while tending to a sick baby or toddler (who sleeps waaaay more than a healthy one), and let me tell you, my productivity plummets. I end up feeling like a bad worker and even crappier parent.

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