updates: the sick leave pressure, the overload of vacation time, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.

1. My boss pressures me to take sick leave, but I can’t afford to

Based on the advice I’d been given, I decided to knuckle down and focus on getting another job – any other job. I know a lot of people suggested I contact Citizen’s Advice, but I was honestly (and still am) a little wary of doing that, as my father has dealt with them in the past regarding a job issue that was a lot more clear cut and wrong, in my opinion, and that didn’t go well for him.

Anyway, it turned out to be really lucky I was looking for other work, as at the start of May (not even a month after I sent my letter!) they laid me off. It was in a really mean way as well, because my boss came up to me at my desk (in front of my coworkers), and said ‘We’re going to have to lower your hours’ and I was like, ‘Okay, what to?’ My boss: ‘Zero.’ And then she laughed.
Yup. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more degraded in my working life. It was as if the whole thing was just a big joke to her. I wasn’t the only person to get laid off that day, but I had also just published their new website days before, so my family and I are pretty sure that played a part in it as well.

Anyway, that sucked, but I had an interview the Monday after for a 6 month full time writing internship. The interview went well – it wasn’t exceptional or anything – but lo and behold, I got the internship!

I’ve now been here a week and it’s amazing. I have holiday and sick pay, and I’m even getting put through their pension scheme! (Though whether that’s worth it right now seeing as it’s just an internship, I don’t know. Any thoughts on that?) I’m also earning the highest wage I’ve ever had! And best of all, I’m doing something I’m really passionate about! Who knew things would work out so well in the end?

2. I got in a car accident because my company insisted I do an event in a remote town during a blizzard

I can’t believe it’s already been 2 years since my letter! To confirm what many people guessed, I was a part-time independent contractor for this company. I shared in the original comments how I told my manager I was in an accident driving home from the event and wouldn’t be able to work for a while. She simply told me to let her know when I could work again and to find someone to cover my upcoming shifts. I tried to push for the company to figure out my shifts but ultimately I had to find coverage myself.

Then I actually couldn’t work for quite some time. By the time I was able to go back to that job, I honestly just wanted nothing to do with them and I quit instead. I mentioned in my resignation how I felt their weather policy is dangerous and they should consider giving the employee some say in if it is safe to drive. My manager didn’t even acknowledge what I said – basically just gave me an “okay, I’ll take you off our lists.”

The funny thing is they NEVER took me off their email list/job board despite several reminders from me. I still get their emails to this day! Most of their emails now are either pleas for someone to take upcoming shifts, about adding/losing clients (they seem to go cycle through clients quickly), offering incentives if you refer a friend to work for them, or sharing that X manager has left “because they couldn’t handle the hours/stress/work-life-balance” or some other kind of aggressive-sounding statement. So, draw your own conclusions there (I certainly have).

But enough about them! I mentioned before that I couldn’t work for a while – it turned out I actually hurt my shoulder pretty bad. I ended up needing surgery and then was in physical therapy for several months. So 2017 was pretty rough.

I have made a full recovery at this point and (finally!) this summer was able to re-join my favorite sport. Plus, my full-time job was SO amazing during this time. They let me work from home while my car was in the shop, gave me all the time I needed for the surgery, didn’t deduct any PTO for my Physical Therapy sessions, and let me work from home on days I was just really sore. I also got a significant raise this year despite all of this craziness in 2017 :)

The whole experience has made me so appreciative of good companies that actually care for employees. In case anyone still needs to hear it: if you don’t put an effort into your people, they’re not going to put an effort into your company!

3. My spouse and I want to be a cam couple

Thanks so much for publishing! You’re amazing and I preordered your new book on apple store. I thought I would finally send you an update. Sorry for how long it is, but I’m a long term lurker and actively commenting is not for me and I know there might be some speculation. I read through your answer and all the comments at length when it published and I haven’t looked again.

Hubby and I decided against cam sex work because of your thoughtful answer, and your wonderful commentariat.

I would like to address how horrified some people were when considering the ethics. I was honestly shocked. It made me think I shouldn’t go to strip clubs anymore or participate in any alternative lifestyles (even without being recorded, of course). To be clear: I would NEVER have sex with a patient or client. And, It made me realize how shocked a social work colleague was when I told him that he was obligated to let parents know anytime he made a CPS referral. Even while under licensure and being licensed it seems like a lot of social workers operate in silos. The more you know, right?

Also my husband doesn’t have a college degree. His insurance, as well as mine, is free because our companies self fund. It would require a significant pay raise to get him to leave, because adding him to my insurance would take a big chunk out of my salary and most other jobs on his blue collar level do NOT offer such great benefits. Y’all know this is America and I work in healthcare and insurance is Gold.

Thanks to the advice I’ve been lurking on even more on financial websites and I will try to remember to be grateful that I can mortgage my brain to live the good life. And both hubby and I have opted for decent life insurance payouts in case one of us dies, so we can live the life of our dreams. And if I go first he is instructed NOT to pay my Federal student loans because that’s a great benefit. We have already paid off the loans he cosigned (he had better credit at age 22 then either sets of parents, but regardless it’s OUR debt, not our parents’). I’ve lurked the captain awkward archives and gleaned some good scripts about freeloading family members. I’ve been successful with everyone but grandmas (plural), and we have a loved one on our cell phone bill but that is IT. Someone mentioned divorce and hubby asked me what I would do if I leave him after we pay off this debt. I told him I’d have to pay him alimony, so it would be better for me to keep him around.

4. Can I ask to keep my private office? (#4 at the link)

Long story short, Jane ended up being placed in my office. I talked to my manager about my reasons, explained how a private space contributed to my productivity, that private calls/meetings took place in the office, and that, quite frankly, a private office is a perk that keeps me in this job. One coworker even overheard this conversation and stopped by to express “that it was absolutely ridiculous that I [letter writer] (a manager) would be forced to share an office, but the office admin (where Prudence’s old desk was) had a large, private office just to type meeting minutes and order birthday cards.” The comment may have been harsh, but it’s always nice to have someone else in your corner. At the end of the day, I realize that my manager had to make a difficult decision and, as such, I got a new roommate.

While Jane is a very nice woman and, at times, has provided very insightful comments or suggestions, sharing an office has had an overall negative impact on my productivity. I’ve had to come in early, work after hours, or take extra work home because of her poor behavior. I’ve estimated that sharing an office with her costs me 4-5 useful hours per week. I’ve worked in several office settings, but her behavior is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Jane takes private calls for hours on end each week, listens to webinars without headphones, comes in late, invites random guests to meet in our shared office, and overall demonstrates a poor understanding of how to behave in an office setting. Others in the office have commented to me about the frequency of loud calls that they can hear from 30-40 feet away and I’ve responded by silently nodding and smiling. Have I said anything to her? Nope.

Here’s why (good news!) – I’ve recently gotten married and will be moving at the end of this month to a major city to join my husband. My new job is with a large company, providing many opportunities for advancement and learning with the bonus of an improved workload.

Thanks again for your advice. As a young manager, it was helpful to have support from you and AAM readers as I navigate these sticky workplace situations.

5. I accrue way more vacation time than I can use

Thank you again for answering my question and for all of the helpful suggestions readers gave as well! I walked away from the post feeling a lot better and I had actual concrete ideas to take to my manager, primarily planning my vacation time in advance.

Within a few weeks of writing in, my siblings and I were gifted a one week stay at friend’s beach house next summer. We’ve been trying to get together for a family trip for years and this seemed like a great opportunity to approach my manager with actual dates for 2019 to request off. Despite the week falling during what can be the busiest month for my department, my vacation days were approved! He brought up the fact that because it was such advance notice, there would be no issue accommodating my request and factoring in my time off as we created next summer’s calendar.

The other great news is that I won’t officially lose any of the excess days I accrued this year- I have the option to add a total of 420 hours (2 full months) to a completely separate PTO bank that is reserved for serious and/or chronic medical issues OR a future maternity leave. This my first full year in my position, thus making me eligible for this “emergency fund”. While it’s not ideal, I do hope to start a family in the next couple of years and I’m glad to have the option to begin contributing to that now.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the readers who shared their own stories of how they manage to use a large number of vacation days, specially those who pointed out that I have no reason to feel guilty for using the PTO I’ve earned! Re-framing the way I viewed all that time off as part of my overall compensation package (instead of just a whole bunch of days I have the option to use) was incredibly helpful. As I mentioned in the comments, the vacation policy was not discussed while I was interviewing because I was so desperate to get out of food service/retail, so it really did come as quite a surprise.

I’m very much looking forward to my handful of long weekends before the end of this year and a proper week long vacation with my family in 2019!

{ 76 comments… read them below }

  1. Antilles*

    I’m even getting put through their pension scheme! (Though whether that’s worth it right now seeing as it’s just an internship, I don’t know. Any thoughts on that?)
    It’s hard to say. As a general guess, it’s often worth investing in the company retirement plan even if you don’t plan to be there long, especially if there’s a company match of some sort since that’s effectively a raise. Myself, I fully invested in the company 401k at my internship and was able to convert it to a normal (non-company) version after I left that internship.
    However, you need to read the documents really really carefully to figure out what happens if you leave the company – there might be some weird requirements or withdrawal/conversion penalties that make it a net loser to invest if you’re only there for a few months. Particularly with pensions, which can be trickier to deal with than a straight retirement account through a third party like Fidelity/Vanguard/etc.

    1. Lord Gouldian Finch*

      Also look at what the fund costs are for the funds available to you. A lot of actively managed funds can actually cost more than you’re earning back in fees if you’re not careful (I had a job where I didn’t put anything into the 401K outside of the safe harbor employer contributions because I consistently lost money every quarter).

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        See if the fund is something like a 401K that you can take with you to roll into your next job or an IRA or something.

    2. Doodle*

      Is it a pension or is it a retirement fund? How long does it take to get vested, what’s the employer match, and is it portable (= what happens when you leave their employ). For instance, I have a small tiaa-cref account from an academic job I had 30 years ago—I couldn’t cash it out or roll it over when I left, but it’s my account, so I can access it when I retire.
      You should look into a Roth IRA. Easy to open, pick one with a decent return and let it reinvest, chuck the max $ into it every year if you can, and let it grow for forty or fifty years.

      1. Beth*

        TIAA-CREF used to be the most notorious custodian for transferring assets out, but they’ve improved considerably in recent years!

        Most TIAA accounts have an annuity component, which is still difficult to transfer but pays a decent return, and a parallel sub-account that’s usually invested in their proprietaty funds and can be rolled over into an IRA. Their proprietary funds are often higher-cost than what you can get at other major custodians, so it may be worth the effort to look into rolling out even a small account.

    3. Beth*

      Most pension schemes will have a vesting schedule for amounts paid in by the company (the match); the industry standard in the US is 5 years to 100% vesting. The employee’s own contributions should be a separate sub-account that can be rolled over into an IRA. I’ve never heard of any retirement plan that would keep the employee’s contributions (and attributable earnings), and I’m pretty sure it would violate ERISA.

  2. BadWolf*

    It was in a really mean way as well, because my boss came up to me at my desk (in front of my coworkers), and said ‘We’re going to have to lower your hours’ and I was like, ‘Okay, what to?’ My boss: ‘Zero.’ And then she laughed.

    This is awful! What kind of terrible person does that? I’m so glad you found new and better employment!!!

    1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

      There’s something wrong with that woman (in addition to the paranoia about getting sick). That is monstrous.

      1. LovesCoffee*

        There is something horrifying about somebody who actually lives their life thinking they are some kind of witty sitcom character without having the slightest empathy about how their management decisions impact REAL, LIVING human beings.
        I’d say you are much better off, OP1

    2. EPLawyer*

      Too bad voting for worst boss of the year closed. This would have garnered a few votes.

      Alison do nominations run from close of the last year’s voting or is it a calendar year?

    3. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Yeah, some people think ‘humor’ softens the blow, and they really are hooked up differently. I worked with someone during a major layoff who told his targeted team, ‘I have good news, and bad news. The good news is, you can sleep late tomorrow. The bad news is, we’re laying you off.’ A bunch of us told him to stop it immediately, and to apologize to his former team. He truly didn’t see the harm in his approach because, hey, he was just trying to lighten the mood. Gah.

      I’m happy for you, OP, congratulations on landing in a much better place!

    4. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      Honestly, don’t feel degraded, don’t feel bad at all. You were treated like shit by an asshole. Be mad that an asshole treated you like shit. Be happy you don’t have to work with an asshole anymore. Be sure everyone knows she is an asshole who treats people like shit and is not worth their time or thought.

      1. Artemesia*

        I have fired people several times for cause; I was MUCH nicer to them than this jerk was to you. This is all on her and anyone seeing it, doesn’t see you as ‘degraded’, they see her as, well as stated above, a ‘garbage person.’

    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Seriously. My jaw dropped when I read that line—what a horrible, callous, and cruel way to behave.

    6. Beth Jacobs*

      Seriously, I can’t believe someone who is not a cartoon villain actually said that! Is OP writing in from an alternate universe… nope, the boss is just an ass!

    7. MassMatt*

      I agree, this is crazy, nasty, and sadistic behavior. I am very glad you are out of there, and hope that this manager is remembered in the Worst of the Year contest!

      Please give them a review on Glassdoor and include this detail, perhaps you can save others from this kind of terrible experience.

    8. MoopySwarpet*

      I got laid off/fired similarly from a clerk/checkout job that way once. I took a long weekend that was approved in advance and then rescinded the day I was leaving. I had already made firm family plans that I wasn’t going to change even if I could. My boss said fine, I’ll see you when you get back.

      When I got back into town, I stopped there first thing.

      Me: Do you want me to close this evening?
      Boss: Nope.
      Me: I am scheduled tomorrow?
      Boss: Nope.
      Me: When am I scheduled next?
      Boss: Never.

  3. animaniactoo*

    OP #1 – The more fool them. Anybody with half a brain knows you want the creator of your website to be an ongoing resource, especially in the initial period after it goes live. You are well shut of them. Especially as they are likely to blame whatever hiccups happen in future updating on you rather than being cognizant that the hiccups happen to everyone.

    And yeah… who laughs at someone’s sudden unemployment? Psychopaths and jerks, that’s who.

    1. BadWolf*

      Oh yes — if they call you up with questions about the website, do not reply! Do not answer! Do not engage! They burned that bridge.

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        Oh, absolutely do not answer. Voice mail and delete. If your asshole exboss is calling you directly, block the number.

      2. Beth*

        Hell yes! Or require a fat consultant’s fee and a signed contract before you so much as touch a keyboard.

  4. Observer*

    I wasn’t the only person to get laid off that day, but I had also just published their new website days before, so my family and I are pretty sure that played a part in it as well.

    Well, this is obviously someone who doesn’t quite get it in many ways. But if she really thinks that now that she’s got the site up, that’s the end of it, she’s even stupider than I thought.

    I’d say the same about the way she fired you, by the way. Unless the only people in the office who were there at the time are people who have already bought into her awfulness, seeing what she did to you is going to give anyone with options motivation to find a new job. I mean, why would anyone work for someone so nasty if they have an alternative?

  5. animaniactoo*

    OP #2 – I would just love for you to write them back and say “Hi, I regularly get e-mails from you looking for people to fill shifts, despite having made clear a few years back that I would not be available going forward. I have not been interested in working with you again due to your company’s weather cancellation stance/policy – I encountered problems with it during my previous experience. Has there been any change in that approach? I’d also be interested to know if you’ve changed your policies regarding who is responsible for finding coverage on a shift that the contractor becomes unavailable to do.”

    Taunt them just a bit…

    (okay, maybe EvilMe™ needs to go back in her box.)

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would have probably respond ed with “we broke up six weeks ago, are you mental? Get the net.”

      But it’s a throw away position anyways. They don’t treat you like a person let alone an employee, I don’t treat them like jobs tbh.

    2. OP2*

      I just filter the emails at this point. But literally every time someone (manager or an employee) text me looking for coverage (about once a month, I’d guess?), I reply and remind them I no longer work for the company. Hasn’t made a difference. But maybe it will if I start grilling them on their policies! Haha.

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        Did you ask why they are looking for subs? Aren’t the contractors supposed to find their own?
        How’s that working out for them?

      2. animaniactoo*

        At the very least, you’d be as annoying to them as they are to you? “Are you available for a shift on [X]?” “Has your policy about weather-related cancellations changed?” “Are you available to cover a shift on [X]?” “Has the policy on weather-related cancellations changed?”

        I might start blocking the managers at this point. Or just don’t respond at all. It’s been two years. For employees, tell them once that you don’t work for the company anymore and then stop responding to requests for coverage from that employee after that. You’re not required to keep responding and it may be part of what’s keeping you “active”.

      3. nonegiven*

        Text, “STOP,” every time they text you.

        Probably every thing else is updated but nobody takes former contractors off the email or group text lists.

      4. vonlowe*

        One thing if they are still emailing you when youve asked them to remove you from their mailing list – they could be breaking data protection rules

      5. Sacred Ground*

        When they call to ask you to work a shift, try this instead: “Sure, no problem!” Then don’t go. Because you don’t work there and haven’t for years. Then when they call you in an angry panic to find out if you’re coming in or not, tell them no, because you don’t work there and haven’t for years. At least that will be one manager who gets the message that YOU DONT WORK THERE.

        Me, I’d be tempted to accept the shift, show up, and cause as much chaos and trouble and damage as I can. Sow strife among coworkers. Drive away clients and customers. Make absurd promises to clients and vendors. Maybe break something expensive in some plausibly accidental manner. Then shut down any reprimand by saying, “oh wait, I DONT WORK HERE AND HAVENT FOR YEARS” and walk out.

        Do not take career advice from me.

        1. animaniactoo*

          It sounds like your EvilMe™ and my EvilMe™ would have a lot of fun together. Or be a pair of holy terrors. Tomato, tomahto….

  6. animaniactoo*

    OP #4 – please tell me that somewhere during the exit interview, you’re going to mention how Jane’s proximity impacted your workload. And that it would likely be problematic for whoever they get in the role next.

    1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      And Jane will bragging how she got rid of an office mate and got the place all to herself. Because she will think she chased you out.

      1. animaniactoo*

        Eh. It’s not clear that Jane would have wanted that. But if she did and would brag? Let her. It won’t reflect well on her and will just push the point that Jane is a problem even if she is a community treasure.

    2. your favorite person*

      It’s interesting to me that the OP never said anything to Jane. There seemed to be plenty of times OP could have said something but chose not to. A frank conversation or two may have prevented her feeling like she has to leave the job.

      1. Leenie*

        She was moving anyway, so decided it wasn’t worth the effort to try to fix the situation as a short timer. Seems reasonable to me.

        1. your favorite person*

          Her initial question was sent in over a year ago, so at the very least, she probably dealt with this for six months or more. Her office mate was showing a real lack of consideration so it would have been well within reason for her to say something. I am assuming that maybe she DID say something and there just wasn’t a change so she gave up.

    3. WellRed*

      I was a bit disappointed by this update. Is it that hard to ask someone to not, oh, do conference calls without headphones or not to hold meetings in shared space? Also, Jane was obviously bothering other people, judging by their comments about loud calls. The writer may not have been Jane’s mgr, but she should have spoken up, at least for the sake of all those who come after her and have to work with her. #manage

      1. Mainly Lurking*

        Yeah, I don’t see much evidence of the OP actually attempting to “navigate these sticky workplace situations”, and I’m genuinely wondering what kind of manager she herself is: others in the office were affected by Jane’s behaviour, but the OP just smiled when they complained to her?

  7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’m so confused about what #3 is trying to say…it feels like after the “we decided not to” a whirlwind of addressing random comments picked up and dusted our faces.

    I’m glad you got your finances settled without resorting to entering the sex industry…?

    1. Basia, also a Fed*

      I don’t find it to be confusing – she told us what they decided, then she followed up with responses to some of the comments on her original questions. In my opinion, this is exactly what an update should contain. I’m not sure what you mean by “dusted our faces” – it is sort of coming across as a criticism, like you think her update is inappropriate.

      I apologize if I’m reading your comment wrong, but I’m not sure what value your comment has.

        1. animaniactoo*

          ? Sex is sometimes relevant, as it was to this submitter’s question in relationship to their work. Their answers and the expansion here also relate to how much it is “safe” for them to have those hobbies to begin with in terms of their potential effect on their job/career.

          If that’s NSFW where you work, you might want to choose a different viewing/reading method as this is not the first time sex in relationship to work has come up here, and attitudes and information are explored in the comments. Alison has been pretty open to that and from that perspective, I would say that it’s likely to continue and you should adjust your expectations to account for that.

        2. Basia, also a Fed*

          My apologies – I didn’t mean for it to come across as sniping. I was trying to show the OP that I thought her update made sense to me, but it came out differently than I had intended. I’ll be more careful in the future.

          And since I didn’t say it in my first comment, good for you, OP #3!

    2. Budgie Lover*

      I found that response a bit scattered as well and the language overly cutesy. Maybe they were trying to address every notable comment on the original post and got into oversharing territory (divorce alimony?? Wud).


    OP3 – good for you working on your finances. Since you’re paying for grannies, how about exploring the senior phone plans? For instance ATT offers a 55+ Unlimited plan for $50 and $20 for additional lines. If you have to carry them , you might as well take advantage of the senior opportunities.

  9. Likeaboss*

    OP3- I’m a social worker. At least in the state I live in you have no obligation to inform parents or any AP’s that you’re making a CPS referral. I have made referrals to Adult Protective, Disabled Protective and Children’s Protective. I use my discretion about whether it is appropriate to tell them that I’m required as a mandated reporter to make the referral. There also times where I know that if I say that I am, then that theraputic relationship is trashed, or that I’ll be in danger, or the victim might be in more danger. In my state, the only people who will ever know your name is the Protective worker and possibly the prosecuter. It’s otherwise 100% anonymous

    1. Casper Lives*

      Yeah, I’m confused about that part of the update. I thought anonymity and privacy are part of protection for reporting complaints. Not to derail, but while it can make it frustrating if the complaint is frivolous (real life example: trying to win a custody dispute), it protects everyone from threats of violence. I don’t know what the laws in my state are for social workers.

    2. LCSW*

      Yep, this. It’s not hard-and-fast in California. If you can safely inform your client and / or the relevant parent(s) and / or guardian(s), it’s generally the ethical and responsible thing to do, but it’s not a legal mandate to inform them you are reporting to a protective services agency.

      1. Washi*

        Yeah, this has been my understanding as well. I’ve had to make a few APS referrals and have told the person/their guardian as a courtesy, but when I’ve made a referral, I’ve always been asked if I would like to remain anonymous.

        I was also pretty confused about what that part had to do with the rest of the update – was it that social workers have odd views of things, ranging from cam work to CPS reports?

        1. LCSW*

          Some of the comments on the OP suggested that OP3 could jeopardize her license if she is engaging in sex work, probably under an unprofessional conduct clause. I think that was the connection – OPwas originally thinking more in terms of professional reputation than professional ethics, and was “shocked” by the comments that shifted her perspective on sex work (and more broadly, engaging in “alternative lifestyles”), and she shared an additional example of a time that a colleague was apparently “shocked” by OP’s input about transparency around reporting. I think it was just pointing out that we all have blind spots? Which is true, and is why consultation, supervision, and even personal therapy are such important part of clinical practice.

    3. Arctic*

      That is odd. In most states, parents are entitled to know an investigation is under way and a summary of the results (heavily redacted to protect information like the reporter.) But the person making the referral is not usually the one obligated to inform them. Every state is different. But that seems like a very problematic law.

      1. LCSW*

        Which part seems odd / problematic to you? Many social workers are not employed by protective agencies. Many LCSWs are psychotherapists, case managers, advocates, or otherwise have nothing to do with children in their typical day to day. The social worker who is submitting the initial report to a protective agency has no further role in the investigation and usually is not even informed of the disposition. That social worker’s name would be, exactly as you said, among the heavily redacted information – they are the reporter, not the investigator.

  10. Beth*

    I’m even getting put through their pension scheme! (Though whether that’s worth it right now seeing as it’s just an internship, I don’t know. Any thoughts on that?)

    Even if all you can do if stash $20 a month into the pension account, DO IT. If they offer a match, move heaven and earth to get as much of the match as possible. Put it into an index fund or a retirement-date fund and leave it there.

    The younger you start putting something into pension savings, the longer it will have to grow. A tiny amount right now is worth a hefty multiple of the same amount years later. Both the habit of saving and the money itself are best started as young as you possibly can.

    1. CoveredInBees*

      Not necessarily. It really depends on what the pension is offering and what the restrictions on the cash are.

      In a previous position, I opted to continue paying into an 401k instead because the pension was offering very little and would have tied me to that job for a long time for no real benefit, short or long-term. I also had the disadvantage of being hired *just* after they ended eligibility for the previous pension program, that was actually worthwhile.

  11. Carol*

    OP #3 – It’s my understanding that your student loans (along with any credit card debt etc) would have to be paid out of your life insurance benefits as that money would be a part of your estate.

    1. lawyer*

      Federal loans are discharged when you die. Only private loans are still due from the estate. However, life insurance is usually paid directly to the beneficiary and not to the estate.

      1. Artemesia*

        Remember Enron. I read that Ken Lay had huge life insurance policies that went to his wife and in spite of his owing his victims enormous amounts of money in damages from cheating them his estate didn’t have the money because it had been manipulated and the life insurance money was not considered available since it went directly to the wife. Of course the cheating had paid for those policies and her lifestyle — but his victims still were not able to access the funds. IANAL and this is just based on news stories of the time, but it does suggest that life insurance not paid into the estate may not go to pay the claims on the estate.

  12. Phoenix Programmer*

    Yes this reminds me of my crappy roommate when I lived abroad. On my last day in the country the dude comes and knocks on my door says “Get out of Australia” then waits.

    Since my lights were off and I had a super early flight i pretended to be asleep but he waited a good minute listening at my door to see if I would respond.

    People like that are cruel for cruelties sake.

  13. Ok_Go_West*

    OP#3 — Perhaps this was said already in the comments last time, but I read your previous letter and you mentioned wanting to get student loan forgiveness for working in a nonprofit for 10 years. Please look into this program very, very carefully to be sure your payments qualify for this forgiveness program. Many people believe they are making qualifying payments, but in fact are not, and will be responsible for paying down their entire balance–it’s gotten a lot of media attention in the past few years, so hopefully you and others are already aware by this point. My husband was originally hoping to take advantage of this same loan forgiveness program, but after looking into it further we decided it was too confusing and risky to count on and we opted to re-finance his loans on the private market instead to get a much more favorable interest rate (for those not familiar, you can’t refinance privately and also qualify).

    1. WellRed*

      I don’t know too much about the whole thing but agree to look carefully. My understanding is most people aren’t actually qualifying for forgiveness, esp. Given the current climate and head of edu.

  14. WellRed*

    Good lord! Did commenters really think you’d have sex with clients because of sex cam stuff? Sorry. I am pretty unadventerous but the leaps some commenters make never fail to astound me.

  15. michelle scott*

    My company offers sick pay, I have a employee who left early Friday, called in Saturday and did not say one word to me about using any sick time until this afternoon after payroll was submitted. Am I to assume this person wanted to use it when theyare no mention of it?

    1. Observer*

      Is that a serious question? If an employee calls in sick why would you expect them to NOT use their sick time? If you do have some reason to think that, you COULD have asked them – it’s the obvious thing.

      1. LGC*

        It depends on the availability. I usually ask because my team usually gets the state mandated time (up to 40 hours yearly – so 6-7 days in our case), and depending on the ailment they might not want to use it. And payroll and management have given conflicting information on usage in the past.

        And yes, I’ve had people bank their sick time!

        1. Observer*

          I know that people may bank their sick time. But unless you have reason to think that that’s what they are doing, it’s just not a reasonable assumption to make. And, as you note, you can just ASK.

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