my daughter’s manager complained to me about her, weekly meetings at my boss’s house, and more

It’s five answers to five questions, and a sixth thing. Here we go…

1. My daughter’s managers complained to me about her work

My daughter is 19 but lives at home. She has had a full-time job at a local daycare center ever since graduating high school. I dropped by her place of employment the other day to tell her something. All three managers were in the front office. I smiled and greeted them with, “Hi. How’s it going?” I was shocked when, instead of the standard response, I got a barrage of complaints from all three about my daughter’s work performance. Apparently, she’s been repeatedly written up for neglect of safety issues with the toddlers in her care and lack of proper sanitation of her classroom. They gave details as to the disciplinary action and warnings they’d given her in the past six months, how many times she’d been written up, how they were at their wit’s end with her, and how close she was to being fired.

I glazed over almost immediately. Seriously, how is this my problem? My daughter is an adult. It seemed that by sharing these issues with me, they somehow expect me to punish her for her workplace sins. I let them know in no uncertain terms that my daughter is their problem when she’s at work, and it’s their job to deal with her performance issues in whatever way they see fit, including termination. They were clearly offended at my response.

Isn’t what these managers did illegal? Or at the very least unethical and unprofessional? Doesn’t an employee have some expectation of privacy in the workplace? At the very least to not have the contents of their personnel file shared with those without a need to know? Who tattles to an employee’s mommy regarding said employee’s work performance? Am I missing something?

It’s not illegal; in the U.S., there’s no right to privacy with this kind of work information. But it’s certainly unprofessional and inappropriate, and I’m glad you told them they should be managing their employee rather than complaining to her mom. (And really, if they’re that frustrated with her, they have a variety of tools available to deal with that, including letting her go.)

It sounds like they were hoping you’d add to their pressure on her — maybe talk some sense into her or otherwise use your influence to get her to improve her performance. But she’s an adult and that’s not an appropriate thing for them to ask an employee’s parent. (Frankly, even if she weren’t an adult, it would still be inappropriate. They need to manage her.)

2. Should I offer to go to my boss’s house for a weekly check-in?

I started a new job at the beginning of March. I worked for two weeks in the office and now one week from home. Before we began work-from-home, my boss expressed concern at my being so new and not being in the office together.

I happen to live within walking distance of my boss’s house. We are both healthy. Should I offer to go over once a week for a face-to-face meeting?

We have been doing pretty well this week as a team on Skype, but I’m worried that prolonged distance will impede my ability to build my relationship with her.

Absolutely not. Do not do that. We need to be keeping our distance from other people right now. The point of having people work from home during this crisis is to slow the spread of the virus, so that people don’t die (which might not be you, but could be the person you spread it to — or it could be someone else with a medical crisis totally unrelated to COVID-19 who can’t get care if our hospitals are overwhelmed). It doesn’t matter that you and your boss both seem healthy. You can have the virus for up to two weeks before you show symptoms, and you can be infecting other people during that time.

People will die because other people aren’t taking this seriously. Stay home.

3. Does my start-up think I’ll keep working when I’m not getting paid?

I started working at a start-up a few months ago and we opened and had a great start before Covid-19 ruined everything and we had to shut down temporarily. Because we’re so new, we weren’t out of the red yet and we’ve known since the day we closed that we only have one more paycheck for the staff, including myself and the other manager. We’ve been working from home, trying to pivot and keep the business afloat, and we’ve all been working pretty hard on various projects to make that happen.

My issue is, I get the feeling that I need to explicitly say that my last day is the day that next paycheck lands, and that I need to file for unemployment and find a new job after that. There has been a lot of talk about how to tell our teams about unemployment stuff but no mention of me and the other manager returning our computers or anything.

I believe in the company and hope we stay afloat and figure everything out, and I’d come back to work for them in a heartbeat, but I can’t miss multiple paychecks and keep working full-time for them. In order to be eligible for unemployment, they need to recognize me as laid off, and I want to clarify that we’re on the same page. Just in a polite, empathetic, reasonable way.

How do I do this without burning this bridge? I’m really concerned because the feeling I’m getting from our meetings is that we’re all just going to continue going full speed ahead through this pandemic and I can’t do that if I’m not being paid for my time.

Say this: “We’ve talked about plans for the rest of the staff, but we haven’t talked about what this means for my role. My assumption is that there likely won’t be paid work for me after (date), and I should be planning to file for unemployment and look for other work after that date. Is that right?”

If the response sounds in any way like they’re hoping you’ll continue working unpaid or they’re hoping to be able to pay you at some undetermined future date, say this, “I love this work and I’d come back in a heartbeat, but I’m not in a position where I can keep working while missing paychecks. If that’s the situation, I’d need to be laid off with the others so I can collect unemployment and look for other full-time work.” To help preserve the relationship, you could add, “I wish I had the option to be more flexible, but financially I’m not in a position where I can do that.” (To be clear, you shouldn’t need to say that — they should understand people don’t work for for free or for promises that may never come to fruition — but sometimes that kind of language can smooth things over if their expectations are wacky.)

4. Do I owe my friend a personal response on a message I forwarded on her behalf?

A classmate of mine from grad school now works in a research director position. She reached out to me on LinkedIn informally to ask if my market research employer might be interested in a possible collaboration on a project about Covid-19. While outside of our normal purview, I certainly thought it merited a possible look and had her send me an informational email, which I have now forwarded to folks in my organization who have decision making power to pursue this further.

I’ve taken the necessary steps so far to get this information out and it’s up to those people in my company to make a decision. Do I owe my friend a personal response to say “hey, thanks for thinking of us but we will pass” or should I leave that up to others in my org? Anything else I should say to her now?

Sometimes in situations like these, the person in your shoes won’t hear back from the decision-makers at all. It’s possible you’ll just get a “thanks, we’ll take a look” and nothing else or, if the people you contacted get a lot of these suggestions, you might not even get that much.  So unless you know for sure that they’re going to get back to you with their decision one way or another, I would just let your friend know that you’ve passed it on to the right people internally and they’ll be in touch if they want to talk more.

But if the people you forwarded it to do get back to you about it, at that point you could ask, “Is it okay for me to update Jane with your response or are you contacting her directly?”

5. Can I ask for a better chair for working from home?

I work at a nonprofit private school which is 100% privately funded in the USA. I am an administrative manager on the business side; no academic interaction. We are on distance learning and remote work due to Covid-19.

The school provided me with a laptop and I’m able to do 90% of my job. I’ve set up a little office in my kitchen since I don’t have a desk or any kind of office setup in my home. This is day two of working from home. I have found that my kitchen chair is NOT going to work for me sitting in it for eight hours a day. I have nothing that would substitute as a physically healthy chair to work in. How do I ask my boss to have the school buy me a chair to use at home? And do I offer to bring it to the school when we return so it can be used as needed by the organization? I’m guessing a decent chair will cost at least a couple of hundred dollars.

In general, employers should want employees to have work-from-home set-ups that make them productive and comfortable. But that doesn’t mean they’re all willing to pay for it, and private schools often have notoriously tight budgets. But you can try posing the question: “I don’t have a chair at home that works for sitting at a computer all day and will need to get one. Since I am only getting it to work from and because of the current situation, is that a business expense that I could submit for reimbursement? I’d be happy to bring it in with me when we return to work.”

6. Employers are still hiring

Just wanted to let you know that job-hunters shouldn’t give up hope due to social distancing. We just had a candidate accept our offer, and he’s starting on April 13th. It’s true that we interviewed him in person (the day before our office closed), but we’re also desperately in need of another person, and hiring is going forward despite the closure. I for one would be overjoyed to interview folks via video call and find someone we can bring on, and I’ve seen no indication we can’t hire without in-person contact.

In addition, we’re a little worried the stock market situation might inspire a hiring freeze, so we’re motivated to hire NOW. I would encourage job seekers to follow up (in a non-obsessive way) with anyone they’ve been interviewing with to see if they’re planning to move forward during the self-isolation period. I think there’s a real chance teams will want to grab people while they can.

Thank you!

{ 544 comments… read them below }

  1. BeeBoo*

    LW 5– can you bring your office chair home? That’s what I did after 1 day of trying to work sitting on my foldable kitchen chair. Most of my coworkers have also brought their office chairs home, and will bring them back to the office once we are no longer remote.

      1. AndyTron*

        Likewise, I had a coworker borrow a chair and I brought an extra monitor home to make a better work from home setup (both with permission, of course).

        1. Quill*

          I yoinked an HDMI cord for the duration of this, and am actually enjoying the opportunity to type while lying in a yoga position on the floor, especially with my local cold snap. One half of me is at work, while my feet are stuck under a pile of cushions trying to bake the arthritis out with my heat packs.

    1. old curmudgeon*

      I popped in to suggest the same thing. After three 8-hour days of sitting in a straight kitchen chair to work, I was so stove up that I had to call my PT for a phone consultation (she’s awesome that way and got me straightened right out with stretching and exercises). I used an actual office chair to work at the kitchen table yesterday, and it made a huge difference. So see if your employer will let you take your task chair home from the workplace for the duration, and good luck.

      1. old curmudgeon*

        I did discover one interesting side-effect of using a task chair with wheels to work.

        Our house is about 75 years old, and similar to many homes of that vintage, there’s a bit of sagging going on. The floor tends to slope downward toward the center of the house, not dramatically or noticeably so, but if you put a marble in one corner, it will meander its way across the floor to the approximate center of the house.

        So yesterday, as I sat in my wheeled office chair at the kitchen table, I found that I had to keep one foot hooked around the table leg to keep myself from rolling backward across the kitchen floor and down the basement stairs. It did keep me awake, so I’ve got that going for me, which was nice. Today, however, I brought up a long wooden slat to lay on the floor behind my chair in the hope that I can work without constantly rolling backward downstairs, because I got tired of my foot cramping up holding onto that table leg.

        First world problems for sure, just thought I’d mention it for anyone else whose house is similar to mine and who wants to use a rolling task chair.

        1. Jay*

          I moved my desk last week. I usually sit at my home desk for an hour or two a week, so the fact that I rolled to the left wasn’t a huge problem. Eight hours a day? VERY annoying. Moved it to the wall that’s perpendicular to where it was and now if I roll at all, it’s toward the desk.

        2. merp*

          This is a pretty funny image, haha. I had a house like that, where if you spilled a drink in the wrong place you had to act fast, because if it was on a hill, it would run in all directions.

          1. Elitist Semicolon*

            My house is like this, too, and apparently also has a few floorboards with very small gaps between them. I spilled the cat’s water glass one day and 3 minutes later heard something dripping in the basement. When I went down, there was a puddle forming directly below where I’d spilled the water.

        3. LizB*

          I’m having the same issue! I think I might rearrange the office/guest room I’m working in, since it’s still in a work-in-progress state anyway… but I will miss having my desk right in front of a window if I move to the other side of the room. :(

          1. HQetc*

            Depending on how dramatic the slope is, sometimes a low-pile rug is enough to prevent the slide while still allowing the chair to be rolled with moderate effort (meaning it still functions as a rolling chair, you jest need to use a bit more oomf). That’s what I did in my… quaint old house.

        4. The Rural Juror*

          Luckily I had a folding table I could set up in the living room as my WFH space. I brought my desktop home from my office along with my office chair and a power strip to plug everything in. The one thing I didn’t think to grab was the chair mat! The carpet in my living room has a higher pile and it’s difficult to roll my chair. To get up, I basically have to shoooove myself away from the table.

          Also first world problems, but it’s been kind of annoying when you’re used to your chair easily rolling around.

        5. SarahTheEntwife*

          My floor does that too! My desk chair doesn’t have locking casters so I stuffed the wheels full of spare yarn bits until they stopped rolling (it’s my own personal chair; I would try to come up with something more elegant if I were borrowing my work chair).

        6. Mr. Shark*

          Haha, that cracked me up, just imagining you trying to desperate hold on with your foot to keep yourself from rolling down the stairs.
          I’m glad you got it figured out.

      2. Hot Stove*

        Stove up! Are you my mother? She’s the only person I’ve heard (besides you) use that expression.

        1. Usesstoveupallthetime*

          I use stove up all time. I wonder if it’s a regional phrase (I’m from Idaho),

        2. old curmudgeon*

          Heh – I don’t think I’m your mother, unless you are a business systems analyst in Wisconsin? That describes the only two kids I am aware of having, at least!

          I’ve used the phrase “stove up” for as long as I can remember; not sure if it was something I heard growing up or something I picked up from my spouse. I tend to think the latter, as my spouse’s family has a lot of similar phrases. And it is a very accurate description of the way I was moving (or not moving) after three eight-hour days in a straight wooden kitchen chair.

    2. Rebecca*

      My office allowed us to bring home whatever would make us comfortable, so basically, my desk at the office is bare – I have my computer equipment and my chair. I’d ask if there’s some way someone could roll your chair into the parking lot so you could pick it up! Aside, I sorely miss my Swingline stapler, forgot to grab it.

      1. Aquawoman*

        Missing your stapler suggests you can print at home, which makes me immensely envious. I really miss my ability to print.

        1. Rebecca*

          I am very fortunate. I have an old desk (and by old I mean late 1800’s old oak wooden desk with scroll work on the drawers!), my office chair, dual monitors, laptop docking station, little speakers, wireless mouse, my file folder stand – and it’s all set up just like my desk at work to make it familiar. I have a plain Brother laser printer, it’s my personal printer, but I am so glad I have it. I repurposed an old wooden kitchen chair to make a printer stand. I make a lot of handwritten notes on things for my job and yes, I can save something as a .pdf file and add text boxes, but for what I do it’s a bit clumsy. For a stapler I’m using my antique Neva-Clog J-30 stapler! I took it with me when I left my first job in 2002.

          1. AGD*

            Heh! I use a 2″ mini-stapler that I bought in the summer of 2001 at a store that no longer exists. This little thing has outlasted nearly every stapler in nearly every workplace I’ve been in since.

            1. The Rural Juror*

              I had one of those in college! I kept in my backpack for when I was printing from the computer lab on campus. Now I’m wishing I still had it! It was adorable, as things in miniature usually are haha

        2. Quill*

          My job needs a decent amount of printing and I was doing huge batches when I was still going into the office twice a week…

          Now what I miss is the scanner! I have invoices I need to email!

          1. Saberise*

            The acrobat phone app does a pretty good job. I wouldn’t want to do huge scan jobs but nonetheless it works. Its my go to under normal circumstances if I need to scan anything at home. (I’m on IOS but I assume they have it for android as well, if not there are other apps as well)

          2. WorkNowPaintLater*

            Am in the same boat for invoicing – luckily I was able to borrow the portable scanner from my work desk.

            We have a household Brother laser printer here at home as well, which I left at the basement desk in order to make myself get more exercise.

        3. whingedrinking*

          Teaching online has its (many) downsides, but I will admit that I’m glad I don’t have to print 80 bajillion handouts every day.

      2. NerdyPrettyThings*

        I wish I’d thought of my chair. I decided Friday before last to take everything home in case the governor shut us down over the weekend, which he did. I brought home a box of stuff I’ve barely touched but MIGHT need at some point, but I didn’t think about my chair.

        1. Veronica Mars*

          Thats rough. Same here.

          I have a nice-ish desk chair at home, but not nice enough for 8 hour days. I’ve been rotating between standing at the kitchen counter (with laptop propped up higher on cookbooks), and sitting on an inflatable exercise ball.

          Actually, I’m quite enjoying my standing “desk” now that I can wear sneakers instead of dress shoes. Might bring sneakers for standing at my desk when we are back to work.

          1. TardyTardis*

            Yes, and Post It Notes (I knew someone who classified her files with Post It Notes in colors I’d never seen before).

    3. Basically Amy Santiago*

      It’s possible that the LW is not able to get back into the building: I work in higher education and we quite literally have been locked out until further notice.

      1. gotta get by*

        Same situation here – which really took the wind out of the sails of my coworkers who were not taking this all seriously and were joking about ignoring the state government-mandated closure and sneaking in a staff-only door to work together on site anyway.

      2. MCL*

        Yeah I had to get special permission to get into my university building today and I am definitely grabbing my chair and a couple other things to make me more comfortable during the possibly long work-from-home period we’re in. I did not consider my desk chair till a full day of sitting in a dining room chair!

      3. pinyata*

        I’m also in higher education, and while I’ve been locked out too, I contacted a person in facilities at my building and they were able to get me my chair and have it waiting at the loading dock. That might be a possibility for you!

      4. NerdyPrettyThings*

        I’m in K-12. Our buildings are completely locked down. The superintendent sent an email asking to be notified if anyone has a classroom pet. Even in those cases no one gets in; she’s going to make arrangements for off-site pickup. She also asked anyone who left food in a mini fridge to let her know. We’re out until at least April 20.

      5. Librarian1*

        Same, I don’t work in higher ed, but my org has disable all employee’s ID cards so we can’t get into the building anymore.

      6. TootsNYC*

        my floor is off-limits too (though partly because someone from the other side was diagnosed with COVID-19).

        It occurred to me–if no one can go onto that floor, it will probably be perfectly safe by April 20, which is the soonest we go back. They won’t even need to sterilize.

    4. OrigCassandra*

      Another thing to watch out for is screen height, especially for those of us who took laptops home. My current quick fix for this has been a spare USB keyboard and the complete works of Shakespeare.

      Sitting with your head craned down for hours at a time is Not Great.

      1. Aitch Arr*

        My husband put together a keyboard and mouse tray for me made from the leaf of a desk and an old keyboard stand. So far so good!

      2. Liz*

        I’m actually looking for some kind of a stand for my laptop; to lift and tilt it. I have a separte keyboard, so i will be able to use that, and raise my laptop up a bit. Right now its resting on a book, which is ok for a day or so, but not however long this may go for

      3. Data Nerd*

        I’m currently balancing my laptop on a pile of the work I’m going to do tomorrow, which is hardly sustainable. Harry Potter books 5-7 might be just about right.

        1. JBX*

          Several are sharing office setup suggestions, in particular for #5. Luckily, I have a home office setup as I telework 2 days a week. But I never could find exactly what I wanted for a raised platform for my desk. I ended up assembling one my self (and I only have medium DIY skills). I purchased a 12×36 plank (finished, like for a shelf) and added four 6″ legs. My external monitor, laptop, other accessories sit on it. I have storage underneath and use a wireless keyboard/mouse on the regular level of my desk. I ordered a ball chair with frame/back to try out and have found it really more comfortable than my ergonomic desk chair. However, just a loose balance ball by itself didn’t work for me at all. I prefer the frame.

      4. Chinook*

        Ditto or using a standard keyboard when you are working on a laptop. The difference between a standard one vs. what is attached to your laptop is huge if you are typing all day, doubley so if you enter a large amount of numbers.

        1. old curmudgeon*

          Amen to that! I bought an Asus laptop because it had a ten-key adder on the keyboard (I’m an accountant). Silly me didn’t notice that the designers at Asus thought it would be a good idea to put the decimal point of the ten-key above the 9 and put the enter key where every other ten-key puts the decimal point. I ordered myself a wireless standard keyboard as an alternative to flinging the stupid laptop across the room every time I tried to record a journal entry.

      5. RVA Cat*

        I have my laptop on top of a large ring binder so the keyboard angles up and the screen is higher. I’m using a dining chair but started using a throw pillow for lumbar support on day 2.

    5. Hellow Sweetie!*

      My work specifically said not to bring chairs home – we could bring computers, mice, keyboards and extra monitors. But no chairs. A couple of us needed to buy new office chairs and desks since we were not previously set up for long term WFH.

      One thing we realized is that there seems to be a disconnect between “long term” and “short term” between the my group and our supervisor (and above him). My supervisor considers the mandatory WFH to be a short term problem because it’s only 2 months, but we all consider it to be a long term problem because 8 weeks working with poor chairs and desk set ups for full days is difficult. So my supervisor doesn’t understand why we feel the need for new chairs when it’s a short term concern, and we don’t understand why the company can’t buy us chairs.

    6. Damn it, Hardison!*

      If you can’t get a proper chair, you may be able to kit out your current one to help. I got a lumbar cushion on Amazo, which has been an improvement. I also saw pads for the chair seat to make it more comfortable. Your company might be more willing to pay for these even if they won’t purchase a chair.

    7. MAB*

      Keep in mind that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for an absurdly long time (it was detected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers left) when/if you do pick up your office chair.

      1. Aglaia761*

        I work remotely and I’m at my desk all day long 8-10 hours.

        I have an amazing seat cushion that goes everywhere with me. I even fly with it. I also use a lumbar cushion that I swap in and out.

        1. TardyTardis*

          I use a seat cushion to drive in the car, too, because I’m apparently getting shorter every day.

      2. Librarian1*

        Based on stuff I’ve seen from scientists on Twitter, there’s no indication that the virus was still alive after 17 days, though.

    8. RJ*

      OP6, thank you for saying that. I’ve been unemployed due to a restructuring since early February and if not for the coronavirus, I would have had at least two job offers by now. My industry is taking a hit and some of the roles I interviewed for have been completely eliminated. It’s discouraging, yes, but I keep at it regardless. This too shall pass eventually.

      1. BlondeSpiders*

        I work in recruiting for a health insurance company, and we are still hiring for FTE and contractors both. Our company is 98% WFH right now anyway, so new hires show up on Day 1 to get their laptop and WFH equipment, and then are instructed to go home and connect with their manager.

        WA just received a stay home order last night, so I’m not 100% sure how onboarding will work. But companies are still hiring!

    9. Librarian1*

      It’s a possibility, but a lot of organizations have closed their offices to everyone, so it might not be possible to get in right now.

    10. noblepower*

      One of my office mates did this as well, and our manager told us that if any of the rest of us needed to, we could bring our office chairs home as well.

      1. noblepower*

        I should add that we deal with live animals, so are rotating shifts and therefore we can grab our chairs when it’s our turn onsite.

    11. Smithy*

      Not an option for me, but a few days at home and I caved and bought a fancy ergonomic chair because I was dying.

      While shipping is slow with many things, I have found that IKEA can get items to you very quickly if you live close to one. Didn’t get one of their chairs, but if you’re looking for fast delivery, that’s been my best find.

    12. Anon Nonprofit*

      All due respect to you and OP, you are lucky to be able to work remotely and keep your paycheck. Not everyone has that. I really like BeeBoo’s suggestion of bringing your office chair home with you.

      I work for a nonprofit in a higher level position and am so grateful they are trying to keep everyone employed (including way lower level support staff) that working from my kitchen chair never even occurred to me as a problem.

      Then again, I still have to go to court as part of my job because I work in a field that has constitutional requirements, so I only have to sit in my chair 2o out of 40 hours.

      I’m seriously flabbergasted that AAM and others are giving feedback that it’s ok to ask for a better chair.

      1. Anon for this*

        I have a long term injury acquired slowly from sitting too long in the wrong environment.

        Please, everyone, I beg you to take your ergonomic set up seriously, do not assume any niggles will just go away with time. You could have lifelong consequences.

  2. CmdrShepard4ever*

    Op #3 maybe your pay system is different, but usually the day you get paid is covering the previous two weeks of employment. A paycheck on Friday March 27th, is for work period Sunday March 8th through the Saturday March 21st. So if you continue to work until your next paycheck, you will end up being owed one week of pay that the company may not be able to cover.

    1. EnfysNest*

      Yes, I had this concern as I read it, too. Make sure you’re only working to the end of the last pay period and that you’re applying for unemployment as early as you are eligible so that you don’t end up working for a week that you’re not getting paid for. And remember that it’s in your company’s best interest for you to stop working at that point, too, because they could get in legal trouble for having you work for a week without paying you, so you need to be sure that you don’t work beyond what they’re able to pay you for.

    2. Pantalaimon*

      This was my first thought, too. Don’t work for free just because you’re owed a paycheck, LW

    3. TooTiredToThink*

      I’ve worked for a place where we were paid forward, or however you want to call it. – i.e. the paycheck that Friday was for the previous two weeks – not the time frame of 1-3 weeks prior. It meant my first paycheck was delayed :( Our PTO, etc.. was always adjusted on the next paycheck.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        So a paycheck on Friday March 27th was for work done Sunday March 15th through Saturday March 28th?

      2. LW3_24March2020*

        Yeah, our pay system is almost up to the date that the check lands. So for this coming paycheck on March 31st, I’ll be being paid for the work I’ve done from March 14th-March 30th. I last got paid on the 15th. So I need to have the conversation this week and then file unemployment with my first day of unemployment being the 31st, I guess.

  3. actually, my name's Marina*

    LW#6, what industries are still hiring? The courts have closed here, so I’m not certain a paralegal is going to find a lot of work (except, of course, if the lawyer in question is doing wills… I’m morbid, but I also live in New York, my county has 80+ cases of COVID-19).

    1. User 483*

      Tech fields, since much of that can be done from home and the web-based ones are getting a lot of extra traffic right now too. And anything in the supply chain bringing in groceries or medical supplies or fuel especially. And people will still want electric/water/gas/internet all working at their houses.

      1. Krabby*

        Yep! I’m in tech and the product we provide is kind of recession proof (the entire industry for it was invented in response to a previous recession). Our industry is also very boring, and that means that we typically have trouble hiring. Right now though, while other tech companies have their funding pulled and go out of business, our recruitment team has literally never been busier.

        And we’re still losing really good candidates to other employers, so people are definitely hiring.

      2. Karo*

        Yeah, pretty much anything that’s been defined as a necessary industry and has the capability of working from home. I do marketing for a tech company that provides necessary services, and we are still up and running and actively hiring.

        1. Texan In Exile*

          If any of you would be willing to name names for those of us who do tech marketing and who need work (and who can do and have done it remotely), that would be great. :)

          1. Indigo a la mode*

            Try calling Averro! They’re a tech recruiting/biz consulting firm based in Sacramento and Seattle. They do a lot of creative hiring for FB and others, and obviously everyone’s remote at the moment.

    2. RadManCF*

      Here in MN, DOC is hiring for trainee correctional officers. They’ve been pushing to hire more since the end of 2018. As the current situation was ramping up, the governor released an amended budget that included, among other things, funding for continued CO hiring and overtime. While corrections work is certainly not for everyone, it is at the very least, recession-proof, shutdown-proof, fool proof, and 100 proof.

      1. Sunshine Brite*

        The MN DOC has been pushing to hire after horrific events occurred. It’s great to recommend corrections but it’s more than just not being for everyone; it’s guaranteed to have some traumatic experiences. CO work is essential but it’s certainly not easy particularly if someone is coming from an office environment like a paralegal.

        1. DOC Employee*

          DOCs are definitely still looking for COs, but don’t forget there are many other kinds of positions in corrections, including regular office jobs. They have all the types of jobs that more traditional companies have, like accountants, lawyers, IT, etc. Those positions are still being hired for if they’re open, although the search might move more slowly.

          Maybe this was too off-topic but just wanted to give a reminder to look for positions in places that you might not have thought of.

        2. RadManCF*

          Totally understand that it’s not for everyone. I’d point out that for people working in law, depending upon the type of law they deal with, they may have a skillset that would be transferrable to corrections. I’m just finishing up my J.D., and the bulk of my experience in law is in criminal and family law, so lots of experience dealing with agitated, angry, and screwed up people, as well as some investigative experience. Due to family health issues, I decided that practicing law wouldn’t be the best choice, and figured public administration would be a better plan (more predictable, excellent benefits, etc.). I figured that corrections would be a good use of that skillset, since it involves dealing with agitated, angry, and screwed up people, and has a great del of potential for promotion into administrative jobs. I had given some thought to becoming a conservation officer, but my wife wouldn’t appreciate living out in the boonies.

      2. Quickbeam*

        Just a “here too” from WI. Corrections cannot hire fast enough. My husband is working 4 16 hour shifts in a row every week because they are do short staffed. Absolutely solid prospects.

      3. Richard Hershberger*

        The Baltimore police are desperate for hires, and have been for years. No, this is not an endorsement. The best thing that can be said for them is that after working there for a couple of years you can transition to a different department with better working conditions and higher pay.

    3. JKP*

      Paralegals for patent attorneys are still working. Many patent attorneys are fully work from home. I know my BF’s paralegals have worked remotely from different states, as well as the other patent attorneys in his firm.

      1. gotta get by*

        If you don’t mind some gentle prying, does your BF make a comfortable living (I know this is contextual)? My partner is strongly considering going back go school for law next year and loves that their current job is WFH. But they also don’t want to to pick a totally unprofitable sector of law to pursue in part because I work in a nonprofit “passion field” that notoriously underpays for the education required and my partner doesn’t want both of us to be underearning on advanced degrees

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I don’t work in the field, but have worked with patent attorney’s before on a temp basis. My understanding is that they make pretty good money. But what I also noticed was that most if not all the partners (and most associates) in the patent department also had an advanced degree in a STEM field or two. Many had PHd’s in Chemistry, Biology, Physics etc… after all you need to understand the patent in order to properly describe it on an application or to fight/defend it.

          1. gotta get by*

            This is interesting and valuable information, thank you! My partner is currently not using their degree at all (hence considering going back to build on it with a JD) so it’s interesting to hear options.

            1. nona*

              At a minimum you need sufficient science credits from undergrad to sit for the patent bar (if you want to write patents). The patent bar is also the same exam given to patent examiners (those that work for the US Office of Patents.

              To get a job – you probably need an engineering degree or an advance science degree. And I would highly encourage the BF to do some looking into what writing patents actually looks like. What research prior art entails so you can figure out if you have something valid to write.

              I write this as someone with a science background (BA Chemistry) who figured “i’ll do patents”, went to law school, took a patents class (had to wait until 2nd year), and then haaaaaated it (the patent research and writing process felt terrible disorganized and not logical). Ended up switching my focus to tax (regulatory), graduated in 2008, and then spent 6 years on crappy jobs until finally landing in medical device regulatory work (and loving it).

              Moral of the story – know what you’re getting into, especially if he would only be going only to writing patents, before forgoing the income and spending $150k on an education.

        2. Law Student*

          Not the OP but I’m a law student. Anecdotal evidence from my classmates and the school career center—patent work is often very lucrative and steady, but it requires some background in science and engineering.

        3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Patent attorneys have to be good at science and good with words. You wouldn’t get a training contract without a solid postgraduate science degree (I’d say a third to half of my attorney colleagues over time have had PhDs and almost all the rest have had MSc or equivalent – they’ve proven their word-goodness with a thesis). It’s a good use of an advanced degree.

          It used to be the case in the US that many people did their initial training as examiners at the USPTO, then pivoted into patent firms once they were thoroughly trained. HQ is in VA but there are a few regional offices (CA, CO, MI, TX). I don’t know if you can get starting examiner jobs at the regional offices, but at Alexandria they are hiring and appear to start you on $57k.

          1. Fox*

            For pure science an advanced degree helps, particularly bio and chem. For engineering, most of the patent agents and attorneys I know have just a bachelors, including me.

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              Ah, ok. I now work in a specialist biochem firm so it makes sense that I would meet a disproportionate number of PhDs (from California to Sydney and many points inbetween).

      2. Nathan*

        The patent practice area is also one of the ones that firms are willing to train someone from scratch I observed when I was in that field. I decided that patent prosecution wasn’t what I wanted to do, it’s well paid work but really really rote.

        1. JKP*

          This is true. My BF started out writing patents with only a science degree, and the firm that hired him fully paid for his law school.

      3. General von Klinkerhoffen*


        I’m a patent paralegal and correspond with other paralegals and attorneys all over the world. Everyone is working “as normal” but from home, as it’s a largely paperless field anyway. That’s even those of us in locked down states (though many deadlines are being automatically extended).

        Patent law can be *extremely* lucrative for attorneys – many retire in their early 50s if not late 40s; paralegals not so much but comfortably above average income for location. It does depend whether you’re in private practice ie in a law office or industry ie within a big R&D team such as Huawei, Ericsson, GlaxoSmithKline, etc. It also depends slightly on your scientific field – computing v pharma v engineering v chemistry etc as some are more in demand than others.

      4. Richard Hershberger*

        I am a PI paralegal. I am still working. It is a small office under the best of conditions. I am the only one in the office, and we are setting up to have me work from home, if it comes to that.

        On the one hand, PI has the advantage of being nearly recession-proof. People still get in accidents. On the other hand, the roads are now nearly empty. Social distancing undoubtedly increases traffic safety. The upshot is that I am in a stable situation. I have no financial worries for my family. Indeed, we may come out ahead. But I doubt that anyone in PI is hiring right now, unless they had an unfilled opening already and perhaps not even then.

        1. emmelemm*

          My partner is an attorney at a small firm doing PI (and other areas as well). There is a lot of work that he can do from home and things he can still make progress on, but I’m worried for how long courts may be closed and also no “across the table all day” mediations like he does a lot of. He can work on cases, but if none of them can come to settlements for several months, there may be a cash flow problem because his firm is so small.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            I suspect that mediations will end up going video, if this lasts too much longer. It would be clumsy, presumably with private conversations between one attorney and the mediator taking place via telephone, with both going into a different room from the video, or some similar kludge. But it could work, if people want to make it work. As for court closings, I am sure a lot of scheduling orders will have to be redone, but this isn’t really different from any other continuance. For a big case it might delay trial for a year, which would suck. For the run of the mill smaller cases, it would be only a few months, which would still suck but not so much.

            As for cash flow, I studiously avoid putting my nose in that bit of my boss’s business, but I know he has a substantial line of credit. Usually it is for that big case where he will need to spend $20K on experts and depositions before trial, or maybe even before serious settlement negotiations. It will work out in the end, and in the meantime I have no worries about my paycheck clearing.

            1. emmelemm*

              Fingers crossed! I’m just worried because once last year, his boss told him (and the other employees) “Oh wait, don’t cash those paychecks just yet, I have to figure out how to move some money around!” and there was a bit of a scramble. It hasn’t happened since, but it made me real nervous that they don’t have a huge amount on reserve.

      5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Agreed—in general, transactional attorneys are still working and still using paralegal support. Litigation is dicier because of all the court closures and postponements of civil cases. At least in my region (California), folks are still lawyering—we’re just relying heavily on conferencing technology.

    4. Violet Fox*

      Friend of mine was just hired yesterday as a book-keeper, working from home for the duration then to the offices after things calm down.

      Someone I know at work has an interview today (IT), and another in mid April (mutual decision, things have been busy lately for us IT folks).

      1. Severus Snape*

        Some more info- interviewed last week, was offered the job yesterday, and will start March 30. I’m in Indiana, so areas are shutting down now.

    5. Rayray*

      I have an interview over a web meeting tomorrow. I definitely don’t know what the plan is for whoever gets hired. Even an April start date seems iffy.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        Yeah, my now-remote job had someone come in last week to sign paperwork and pick up a laptop, whose official start date isn’t until next week, I think. We have new statewide restrictions as of today, so I’m not sure IT will still be in the building, and I don’t know what they would do with a new person who couldn’t get a work machine…..

    6. MsM*

      My spouse has Skype interviews for a new member of the fundraising team this week. The stock market is scary, but people really do seem to want to connect and invest in ensuring that the world goes on.

    7. Valentine Wiggin*

      Public accounting is hiring! We just made decisions yesterday about our next staff hires. We’re going to need all the tax folks we can get if the laws change again.

    8. Natalie*

      Medical! Our clinics are essential care, so we’re open for the foreseeable future and will only start cutting hours if we don’t have patient load to support the hours. Administrative functions still have to run as well. In my team (finance), an executive level position is on hold but we have a couple of staff level positions open and are actively hiring for them.

    9. High Score!*

      All the local businesses here are looking for delivery people. New delivery means customers pay in advance, stuff is left on doorstep and then customers are notified when the driver is back in their vehicle so that no contract is made. Pay is going up by the day for delivery staff as businesses compete for them.

    10. Mbarr*

      As someone else said, tech fields are still hiring. Our office (in Canada) is conducting video chats, just hired co-ops, etc. We’re all working from home, so the managers are working with IT to figure out how to get people set up with laptops and VPNs as quickly as possible. Plus now there’s the fun of trying to onboard new employees remotely.

    11. Count Boochie Flagrante*

      I’m in finance and we are hiring like crazy for our client service center because we’re getting bombarded with clients wanting reassurance and attention. Even unlicensed new hires who can’t talk directly about someone’s portfolio performance are desperately busy. Plus, we’re considered an essential service.

    12. Zuzu*

      I’m a recruiter for a finance company and we’re still hiring! We had a ton of open jobs prior to all this that still need to be filled. Plus, we’re bringing on extra HR people to deal with employee relations, all our tech roles still need to be filled, and our call centers are crazy busy. I’m setting up lots of interviews over video and we’re planning to make offers that way as well. Please, everyone continue to job search so I have job security as well :)

      1. PhillyRedhead*

        I work in marketing in the financial services industry. My company specifically works with savings plans (retirement, health and education savings plans), and we are actively hiring despite going nearly 100% remote.

    13. Wintermute*

      Insurance industry checking in, we do mostly life and property but right now we’re bracing for the worst and keeping staffing levels high. If this gets as bad as they say we’re going to be very busy processing life insurance payouts that we all realize are going to be vital to the economy and people’s survival in the medium-long term. We’re hiring right now, in fact, to keep the data center staffed while most of the people go remote because we need 24/7 on-premises coverage but at the same time some of the people that normally would do that need to be remote for their own risk factor/health reasons.

    14. Jules the 3rd*

      Manufacturing and healthcare support – in my state, I’m seeing GE Healthcare, a couple of textile / clothing manufacturers who are switching to PPE. Food delivery – Instacart, pizzas.

    15. Mrs_helm*

      Defense contractors are still hiring many positions. Our entire company was declared “essential services”, and set up WFH (unless impractical).

    16. Parenthetically*

      Our state government is hiring like MAD right now to get people trained on processing new unemployment/SNAP/Medicaid claims. They’ve repurposed a huge amount of their workforce already and still need more people.

      Grocery stores around here are hiring like mad as well, as are Shipt/Instacart/Prime.

    17. Emma Woodhouse*

      Sounds like you’re not in NYC, but I would look at firms that do a lot of debtor or creditor side restructuring work. Not sure how much debtor side work happens outside of major metropolitan areas/big law, but creditor side work isn’t concentrated in the two big restructuring law firms like the debtor work.

      My understanding is that First Day hearings will happen telephonically – not sure if this is in every venue, but I know it’s happening in some.

      1. actually, my name's Marina*

        Thank you! I’m in WNY and plenty of small businesses are running into the need to restructure — or will before long. I’ll keep an eye out for anyone who’s still looking for someone who can work from home. I am unable to physically commute because a member of my household is compromised and I won’t expose my own father to COVID-19, thanks…

    18. Sylvan*

      My state’s unemployment office is hiring; yours may be, too. Any large company that offers delivery is hiring. Basically any company that everyone needs right now is hiring more people to help meet those needs.

      1. Sylvan*

        Also, cleaning companies. New ones have sprung up in the last few weeks. I work in digital marketing and some of our new clients are new cleaning companies. They probably aren’t only hiring cleaners: They need people to handle payroll or answer phones just like any other company.

    19. Turquoisecow*

      My husband’s in tech and he’s hiring for network engineers. Had four (remote) engineers. Three out of four people on his current team work remote, and they do most of their interviewing via video conference, so not much has changed for his company in terms of how much work needs to get done. They can only have one physically person in the data center at a time now, so some of that work has slowed down a bit, but there’s still a lot of remote stuff the rest of them work on.

    20. peachie*

      I work in the data side of medical research and our team is still working at full capacity remotely (and still hiring, I think — not involved in HR so I’m not sure if there’s been a temporary hold in the process, but we’ve been trying to fill the position for a long time and I can’t imagine they wouldn’t happily accept applications). I know there have been a lot of changes to interventional research, but there’s a surprising amount of research that only uses retrospective data and can be done remotely with little interruption.

      And, for reference, this isn’t a field you have to have clinical experience to get into! My undergrad degrees are in the humanities and I don’t have any graduate education; I came into this job with my main qualification being “I learned SQL in my free time.” I’m a bit of an anomaly — although many of my colleagues also don’t have a clinical background, they tend to come from data-centric jobs in other industries — but I think that’s more because folks with my background might not feel like they’re “good enough” to apply. I never would have applied if I didn’t have a cousin on a team doing similar work in the same office (different company). He talked to me a bit about what I knew (at the time, basic-intermediate SQL) and encouraged me to apply. I’m happy to say I’ve been here for two years and have gotten plenty of positive feedback!

    21. Me--Blargh!*

      I’m glad to hear companies are still hiring. But I need to avoid grocery, cleaning, and other jobs that wouldn’t allow me to work from home because I’m currently living with someone who is extremely high-risk. Those don’t pay enough money to get me into my own place, and there is no real way to isolate an infection here.

      I’ve been unemployed so long I’m just getting automatic rejections anyway. Because that means I’m somehow incapable of working? :P

      Giving up for now, I guess. :(

    22. JJG*

      I’m working from home right now and have an interview with another company coming up. I may end up leaving my current company without ever going back to its office.

    23. Not Rebee*

      I start a new paralegal position on Monday. people are still hiring, but unfortunately if you’re a litigation paralegal you may have to just sit tight for a moment. The position I’m going to is an in-house corporate paralegal position within the technology and finance industries.

    24. April Ludgate*

      I am in tech and had a Skype interview this week, more scheduled for next week with the same company. They even said I could start remotely and would mail me computer equipment depending on the virus situation at that point in time. The company was very candid and said they were prepared to weather a situation twice as bad economically. Still a bit nervous about making a move now though!

  4. nnn*

    The devil on my shoulder thinks #1 should contact her daughter’s managers’ parents and complain that they aren’t managing properly.

    1. CmdrShepard4ever*

      Maybe not the parents lol, but I wonder if OP should try and contact any higher up managers about this? If I walked into a place of employment and managers complained to me about an employee I would have a severe case of “WTF?” and contact someone higher up and let them know about what happened. I get that in this situation it is complicated by the fact that they might think that the parent is trying to stick up for their kid, rather than just explaining bad behavior, but even so it was out of line and should be flagged.

      1. Dragoning*

        Many daycare centers are small, local businesses that don’t have upper management like that. It’s entirely possible the owner was in that office.

        1. valentine*

          I wonder if OP should try and contact any higher up managers about this?
          No. It would undermine their perfect response.

          I wouldn’t stop by again and hope it was the first time. If not, it makes sense the managers treated it like a parent stopping by their minor child’s school because many parents don’t respect their child’s turf.

          1. Batty Twerp*

            That’s where my mind went to as well.
            And, the daughter is 19. While that *is* an adult, it’s not a fully formed adult. It’s possible that the managers think, since mom is turning up to daughter’s workplace, she’s not in the “adult” category yet.
            My mind has conjured various possible explanations for why the managers could have taken this approach, but they would be pure speculation.

            Also *multiple* safety violations involving toddlers?!?! I’ve worked at a nursery. You get *one* chance when it comes to the health and wellbeing of under-fours. This girl would have been out on her ear a while ago

            1. JamieS*

              Even if OP’s daughter was 15 and working her first after school job it wouldn’t matter. It’s still not the manager’s place to try to pawn their work responsibilities off on OP or otherwise involve OP in how they manage.

              The fact she’s apparently had multiple transgressions that sound pretty serious and their solution is to complain to OP makes it pretty clear the issue is their refusal to manage not OP’s daughter’s age.

              1. Fikly*

                This reminds me of the letter from the manager who was annoyed at interns who were showing up late, and wanted the college to make the interns show up on time. Not the college’s job/responsibility.

              2. Nita*

                This. There are so many things wrong with this situation. Why is a 19-year-old who is clearly failing to cope with the responsibility, still taking care of a bunch of toddlers? Why is management’s responding by complaining to her mom, rather than firing her? I mean, she needs a job, I feel for her, but it’s not OK for her to be picking up her experience at the expense of the kids’ health and safety.

            2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

              She can join the Army, raise a kid, et. If she can be responsible for a human life, she’s an adult.

            1. JSPA*

              There would be zero risk from the “meeting” itself if you were, say, standing ten feet apart on the front porch and the sidewalk, respectively. And it might provide a greater sense of normality, which also has value.

              People absolutely need to distance, no matter how well they feel. They don’t need to hermetically seal.

              Getting outside, if you can do so without exposing yourself to others, and others to you, is healthy. If getting outside puts you in elevators, dead air space in shared stairwells or face to face with others in your tightly – packed apartment complex, risks rise, and it makes sense to “confine to quarters” as we saw done to great effect in very dense housing in China. But if OP can step into the world through a side door, and the boss has similar direct access to the outdoors, Alison would also ideally answer this as a management specialist (which she is) not only as a public health specialist (which she isn’t). Basically, corona aside, with the understanding that distancing is 100% essential: is this too awkward and informal (maybe!) or creatively proactive?

            2. Yorick*

              That’s not what valentine said – the post said not to stop by again or they will treat the daughter like a minor

    2. Annie*

      It’s inappropriate sure, but… glazing over when golf your teenage daughter who lives with you is an active danger to children?? That’s hardly the same complaint that she’s constantly late or misses deadlines.

      If a member of my family was a danger to children
      I’d want to know for safeguarding reasons.

      1. infopubs*

        I know, right? The LW seemed awfully cavalier about the nature of the complaints. This wasn’t just “Your daughter is always late!” but “Other people’s tiny children are endangered by her!”

        1. TimeCat*

          I mean it’s bad, but the solution here is that the daycare needs to fire her. Not tell her mom.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Yeah. This looks a lot worse on the daycare for not firing her than on LW for not listening to them.

          2. Yikesorama*

            Yes, but regardless of the solution it seems like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I would be horrified to find out my child was such a shitty employee.

            1. Indigo a la mode*

              Whoa! That’s really unkind to the OP. There’s not one shred of evidence that the OP endangers children(!), was a bad parent, or wasn’t horrified by the complaints. In fact, we don’t know if what the (clearly immature) managers said is factual either. This letter focused solely on the managers’ behavior. It has nothing to do with the parent’s.

              1. Jennifer Thneed*

                Thankyou! That’s just what I was going to say: We don’t actually KNOW that the complaints were accurate. And they were so awful that I frankly disbelieved it — it sounded a lot like the kind of hyperbole retail customers engage in when complaining. (eg: I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes! when it’s really 3 minutes.)

        2. Quill*

          I do wonder about LW’s perspective on the severity of these complaints and also with the phrase “Daughter is 19 BUT still lives at home.” (Emphasis mine.)

          Ultimately daughter’s job is not OP’s problem but in non-work-advice-related news, OP might want to realize both the severity of safety and sanitation violations with small children, and the reality that most 19 year olds cannot afford full financial independence, which has been the reality for well over a decade now.

        3. Senor Montoya*

          I think the OP asked the question appropriate to *this site* — she’s not asking for advice on how to deal with her daughter. From the response she gave to the daycare managers, I rather think she doesn’t need advice on dealing with her daughter lol.

          Anyway, we’re supposed to give writers the iof the doubt and to stay on topic. The mom’s response to her daughter’s behavior is not the topic of the letter.

          1. Yikesorama*

            Whatever, this isn’t a court of law and I think someone’s attitude in a letter is definitely up for discussion.

            1. Senor Montoya*

              Benefit of the doubt is not a legal term — it’s right there in the guidelines for commenting.

      2. annie o mous*

        That’s on the daycare management to keep the safety standards of the daycare in line. However as a Mom, I may have a chat with my daughter about work. Ask her how its going, I wouldn’t pry or demand she do something.

      3. Dn*

        Maybe the daycare managers think the rules she is breaking are minor technicalities. There are probably a fair number of things that are technically safety violations but are not actually very risky at all in certain circumstances. Still not a good situation obviously.

      4. Dust Bunny*

        Nope, still not the LW’s problem. If the daycare fired the daughter and replaced her with somebody more responsible, they wouldn’t be dealing with repeat transgressions in the first place.

      5. Disco Janet*

        Agreed! And as a parent whose kids attend daycare (well, they do normally – not right now because COVID19), they’re supposed to have tight security measures. While it’s weird they told OP all this stuff, it’s also weird that OP dropped by to tell her daughter something. Do they not have a phone there? The only adults that belong in a daycare are parents whose children attend the daycare and background checked employees. It’s a bit ironic to me that OP is appalled by their unprofessionalism when this is not a workplace where mom should be dropping by, and doing so was also unprofessional. Especially right now, if this letter was sent recently during the rise of this pandemic.

        Really, it would be nice if anyone in this situation would prioritize the children’s safety over workplace drama.

        1. Amanda*

          This, 100% this! And the fact they recognized LW#1 on sight tells me she drops by frequently. It’s no wonder they turned to her to complain when the mom seems to be such a constant figure in her daughter’s work life.

          1. AKchic*

            *THAT* is what stood out for me.

            Daycare centers are… an intricate patchwork of personalities, to put it mildly. The best-run facilities have little to no gossip coming from the staff, and parents don’t stick around to gossip with each other. The rest… well, you get stuff like this. Gossipy staff, which can lead to gossipy parents. Just because children are there and the families have to trust the staff enough to leave little Veruca and Benjamint with them doesn’t mean that the staff is family too. Nor does it mean that the family of staff can stop by any old time to “chat”. It means that there have to be very hard lines about healthy boundaries and they shouldn’t be crossed by the staff, and the staff needs to ensure that they are enforcing it.

            I used to have my grandpa stop at my office once a week to drop off (unwanted) groceries. The man was a terrible shopaholic who didn’t meet a sale he didn’t like and lived by the mantra of “it was a good deal”. I refused to give him a key to my apartment, so since he had no room in his own freezer, he would just show up to drop off his excess ice cream and whatever other snacks he bought my kids (again, 100% unneeded as our freezers were overflowing with his purchases too). I was literally donating 5-10 cartons of ice cream every week just to keep up with his shopping (I don’t know why he thought three children under the age of 7 needed up to 10 cartons of ice cream a week, towards the end it was easier not to argue).

            Whether or not this is a Mother-Daughter Discussion is moot. The fact remains that Mother has no business stopping in to Daughter’s place of employment for anything less than an emergency. Managers won’t get comfortable enough with Mother’s presence to consider her a valid outlet for managerial complaints if she isn’t there.

          2. Starbuck*

            All it really tells you is that it wasn’t the first time she’s visited, not necessarily that it’s frequent or “constant”. Seems like a big reach.

        2. Ginger*

          This was my first thought as well. She wants her daughter to be treated as an adult (which is totally reasonable) yet she is “dropping by” to tell her something. And the managers all know her so obviously not the first time.

          …and the lack of empathy or concern about the issues really bothered me. I know it shouldn’t because it belongs in the “management should address with employee category” but health and safety of little humans? Uh hello…maybe don’t glaze your eyes over that.

          1. Senor Montoya*

            My husband drops by my office occasionally (when we;re in the office…) just to say hi.
            Does that mean he’s treating me like a child? that he’s being unprofessional or obtrusive?

            No, it does not. Please, stop picking at the OP. It’s really unnecessary.

            1. Deanna Troi*

              You presumably don’t work in an office where the employees have to undergo background checks to make sure they aren’t known child abusers. The security measures in a day care are different than a regular office.

              1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

                Not all daycare/childcares are in freestanding buildings. I worked at a community rec center and summer camp. We all had to be background checked, etc., but there were no security measures for the building at large because it was open to the community and ran multiple simultaneous programs. There might be kids in the daycare or childcare rooms, and random people in the hallways, locker rooms, gym, pool, group exercise studios, etc. It’s quite possible for someone’s mom to drop in that way, especially if she’s taking the 11:00 yoga class before her daughter’s 12:00 lunchbreak.

                1. valentine*

                  It’s quite possible for someone’s mom to drop in that way, especially if she’s taking the 11:00 yoga class before her daughter’s 12:00 lunchbreak.
                  This doesn’t seem more convenient to me than a text or voicemail and there’s still no need to interrupt the daughter at work.

              2. Senor Montoya*

                Very true, but I don’t see how that applies to the comments about this OP. People are accusing her of being a helicopter parent. That’s what I’m responding to. Certainly she can wait out in the lobby or outside the door for her daughter to come chat. Stopping by to see an employee of a daycare is not in and of itself = a helicopter parent.

            2. Librarian1*

              It’s a little different to have a spouse drop by than it is to have a parent drop by…. Especially when the employee is still at that age where both parent and child are trying to figure out their relationship now that the child is an adult. (I mean child in the sense that they are the child of the parent, not in the sense that they are a minor.)

            3. Disco Janet*

              An office is not the same thing as a daycare center. Pointing out why it’s such a problem for OP to do this is not “picking on her.”

              1. Senor Montoya*

                It is the same as an office in that it’s a place of work. Are we now accusing the OP of barging into the daycare without being properly vetted? I don’t see that at all in the original letter.

                When I worked near to where my parents lived right after I graduated college, they would sometimes stop in to say hello if they were in the neighborhood. They asked at the reception desk if I was in, which it sounds like the OP did too. Them visiting was not helicoptering, it was stopping by to chat. Everybody recognized them even though they didn;t come by that often. It was a small friendly business, of course they knew who they were.

                I am truly mystified as to the comments that accuse the OP of helicoptering, it is just not there, and in fact, the OP’s own point is that she’s not interested in getting into her daughter’s work issues — that’s exactly what she was asking about!

          2. Jennifer Thneed*

            If someone comes at me with a barrage of complaints that I am not expecting, and that do not apply to me, I will sort of wait out the storm to figure out what’s going on. If it lasts awhile, maybe my eyes will glaze over (or I’ll feel that way). I’ll probably have to ask the person to give me some context and start over from the beginning, too.

            It really did sound like OP was expecting to hear “Hi” and instead got 3 people complaining to her all at once. (Which was rude of them, regardless of circumstance.)

        3. Senor Montoya*

          I don’t think there’s anything odd about the mom dropping by, even often enough to be recognized (which could be once every couple of months). I can think of all sorts of perfectly reasonable, non-obnoxious reasons why someone (mom, spouse, friend, etc) might stop by.

          Really, folks, let’s give the OP the benefit of the doubt and stop whacking at her responses, motivations, values, whatever, especially on a topic that is not the OP’s question.

          1. CatLadyinTraininy*

            Very true! I’ve worked in the business office at a car dealership and my parents would pop in to say hi when they dropped their car off for service. I’ve also had friends who’ve bought cars from my dealership and get their cars worked on there. Not that unusual in some businesses and small towns. Plus, us employees get a kickback when a friend or family member buys a car from us.

      6. Batgirl*

        It’s not a very credible complaint though. If she were really endangering children she would have been fired and told not to come back. The OP cannot possibly safeguard children, or professionally manage her daughter, so it’s too ridiculous for her to believe she’s being asked to do so. Given that, I would either assume the managers are confessing to THEIR failure to safeguard children or, as is more likely, it’s a bunch of more minor complaints they are using hyperbole and pressure to address because they simply don’t know what they are doing.

        1. Cactus*

          Yeah, the complaints don’t sound good, but thinking about them in context, they remind me of a former workplace of mine which was very poorly-managed and full of cliqueishness, favoritism, and backstabbing, where everyone knew that going to the boss’ favorite employee and saying “hey, Lynda, could you please be more careful entering your XYZ reports?” wasn’t going to have any effect, but complaining during a staff meeting that entering the XYZ reports incorrectly could cause injury or death might.

      7. Joielle*

        Yeah, there’s definitely a serious issue here with the daughter’s behavior and how the mom responded to hearing about it (and the defensive/downplaying way she writes about it in the letter), but for the purposes of the daughter’s employment, the LW is right. The managers should just fire the daughter and not involve the LW.

        Personally, if I found this out about a family member, I would be VERY concerned about their character and what impact that could have on the family. I’d be looking to remove their access to young relatives, at a minimum, and probably also vulnerable adults. The fact that the mom doesn’t seem to care is a huge red flag, but that’s completely separate from the work issue.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I would imagine there are levels of safety violations:

          She was on her phone and not paying attention while little Timmy ate a bottle of non-toxic glue that made him sick


          She game little Timmy a bunch of steak knives and told him to start throwing them at others.

          I would hope that even though they have shown to be spineless managers the would remove the emoyee in situation 2, even if they didn’t think removing the employee was an option when multiple situation 1s have occurred.

          1. Used to Teach*

            Also a I will say as a former preschool teacher – no matter how hard you try there is going to be that’s that one kid who just has to taste the glue/chalk/crayons/paper. I had one every year I taught – and one year I had to just get rid of all the glue sticks because of a student who ended up being diagnosed with Pica (the compulsion to eat things not normally considered food). And before anybody asks – I always would alert the parents as soon as they picked up – and always asked the next day if their child was feeling well. Also, with the exception of my Pica student none of them ever took more than a small nibble. What you do is the best you can to guard your students from their natural inclination to put EVERYTHING in their mouth.

            That is a completely different safety problem than the knives in the scenario above.

            All that said – it seems like the mom is wanting to let daughter learn on her own how to handle being a working adult and not wanting to get between child and her manager.

        2. Lissa*

          I think that when people say “danger to children” they mean a very different thing than a distracted worker at a daycare on their phone – which obviously isn’t great, but well, the implications of someone needing “access to young relatives” removed is that that person is an actual abuser, which is likely not the case here considering the staff are complaining to her mom and not firing her or calling the police. So we’d need to know a LOT more about what actually happened here before going that far, I think.

        3. CatLadyinTraining*

          I’d be somewhat concerned to. Also, is the daughter living at home and paying rent and other bills? Is she working at the daycare to save up to move out? If she gets fired, mom may want to talk to her about getting another job, maybe one she is more suited to…

        4. Mia*

          You’re making it sound like LW’s daughter was actively abusing children, but the kind of safety violations a daycare center would write you up (rather than fire) for wouldn’t be anywhere near that level. I used to work with toddlers and have a lot of friends who still do — there are a *ton* of things that fall into the safety violation category that wouldn’t call someone’s character into question or require them to keep their distance from kids altogether. It sounds like she might just be a bad fit for a childcare job.

      8. Nita*

        True. I’ve been an adult for a long time, but if my mom somehow found out that I’m, say, being negligent and putting my coworkers in danger… I’d expect her to say something about it. Not so much because she’s my mom, but just as a human being who’s aware of a big problem.

        I still think this is management’s fault first, if things are that bad, they should fire the daughter.

    3. WellRed*

      No, that’s still involving herself. She could tell daughter and encourage daughter to do something but daughter doesn’t sound like she has a leg to stand on.

      1. Amy Sly*

        Yeah, I agree that the managers need to just step up and fire her, but I wonder if this might have been them trying the last option they had in their frustration. OP1 has apparently been dropping in regularly enough for them to recognize her, and they haven’t shared this information with her until now, even though they’ve been having difficulties with the daughter for half a year. And note they didn’t seek her out to tell her; that makes it sound like this was very much an impromptu “We’re so fed up we’re going to spill the beans to her mom that she’s going to get herself fired and maybe that’ll get through to this kid” kind of frustrated blabbing. Which, yeah, still not professional, but something I could totally see myself doing if I was stuck between keeping a terrible employee on or running shorthanded. Especially if I didn’t have the power to act because different levels of management disagreed on which was worse.

        Personally, I’d tell my daughter that her managers are so fed up with her screwing around that they’re on the verge of firing her. Yeah, her bosses ought to tell the daughter that, but OP1’s choice seems to be tell her daughter that she’s going to get herself fired or have to pretend to be surprised when they do fire her. I don’t see this conversation going well: “Mom, I got fired.” “Yeah, your bosses told me the other day they were thinking about it.” “What?!”

        1. Batgirl*

          That’s..not how you safeguard children as a manager. You don’t brainstorm or handwring or ‘try the last option in frustration’. You act immediately.
          If you are doing these things (for God knows what reason) you could be reported yourself for having no earthly idea how to safeguard children.
          It’s an individual and urgent responsibility. Even if it’s your superior, you are expected to secure the child’s safety by reaching out to the authorities if need be. The idea that a manager can’t protect the kids from a subordinate is laughable.

          1. Amy Sly*

            I’m not saying the managers are a paragon of functionality; clearly they’re not. Just trying to suggest that the particular people OP1 talked to may not normally try to use employees’ parents to manage them and instead this was an in the moment mistake.

            1. Batgirl*

              I see what you mean. I think it’s definitely true to say they made a mistake in the moment. It’s possible the safety errors are minor and that would excuse them not taking stronger prior action. So potentially they know how to safeguard, but they just made themselves look bad in one moment.

  5. kathlynn (Canada)*

    LW1 I feel for you. I used to live and work with my grandma, and rather than talking to me about a problem, I had a manager who would talk to her about it. And it really pissed me off. Because it wasn’t appropriate to “warn” me like that. (I do have a problem adjusting to and from the busy seasons, since being in the busy season you don’t have much time to get away from the till). And I honestly basically disregarded everything my grandma said (I was always trying to adjust and perform better anyways.).

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Oh please don’t leave us hanging. WHY did your boss regret that? Did your husband embarass him responding like OP? Did you give notice and to move to a new job?

        1. Eulerian*

          It wasn’t quite as dramatic as all that – my husband worked at the same organisation (though our roles didn’t overlap), so my boss did know him that way – I didn’t think that made it acceptable however. My husband didn’t really react at all, but I did when I heard about it! Boss claimed he rang my husband to check up on my welfare since he thought I might be struggling in my role (and I was underperforming!), something he hadn’t discussed with me – at all. This also didn’t totally square with my husband’s account of what he was told! I sent a series of fairly scathing emails to him about it, and he did back down.

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            You’re right, your boss was wrong: Just knowing your husband and working at the organisation does *not* justify Boss calling your husband about your professional performance.

            “Welfare check” made me roll my eyes.

  6. Fikly*

    LW1, props for having an entirely appropriate reaction to the situation, and being the opposite of a helicopter parent.

      1. Disco Janet*

        Really? Do neither of you see that it’s off to say someone isn’t a helicopter parent when they are apparently regularly stopping by their daughter’s place of work to tell her something? Daycare is NOT a place where employees should have visitors! And then write in to an advice column about your daughter’s boss? Sure sounds like a helicopter parent to me.

        1. high school teacher*

          I thought that was weird too – “I dropped by her place of employment the other day to tell her something” stuck out to me. My mom would never in a million years do that.

        2. Youth Services Librarian*

          Yes, this. Stopping by a person’s place of work casually is not typical. I am not surprised the managers were equally casual with LW 1.

        3. James*

          I think it depends on the situation. I grew up in a small town (we were excited when we got the second stop light), and it was routine for folks to stop by to chat with each other at work–family or not. When you work three or four doors down from each other it’s easy to pop in at your lunch break and chat. (I don’t think we can assume, absent other information, that this letter came during the current pandemic.)

          We also don’t know what that “something” is. If it’s “I left a casserole in the oven for you when you get home”, yes, it’d be weird. If it was “Your grandmother had a stroke” it would be, not normal, but acceptable.

          As for the letter itself: If the LW had asked about how to deal with the daughter’s relationship with the boss, then yes, that’d be helicopter parenting. The LW didn’t, though. The issue is clearly that the daughter’s boss is behaving inappropriately towards the LW, and the LW wants to know how to handle that. The daughter is a non-issue here; the only role she plays in the LW’s concern is as a point of contact. She could be replaced with a lamp and the letter wouldn’t change (to reference a common criticism in writing).

          1. valentine*

            If it was “Your grandmother had a stroke” it would be, not normal, but acceptable.
            What is she supposed to do about that during her workday?

            Even an emergency could be shared with whoever answers the business phone. (Because, hopefully, daughter doesn’t take calls while working.)

            1. James*

              It depends on the situation, like I said. Some people would consider it very cold to have their parent call “whoever answers the business phone” to be told a beloved relative is in serious medical trouble. And if you’re told during the work day you have opportunities to do things like call substitutes, coordinate with your boss, and make arrangements to be with your beloved relative during their illness. Or she could say “Goodbye” one last time if it came to that; believe me, sometimes that’s all you can do, and not being able to hurts.

              And it depends on culture. I suppose in some areas people are just more distant with one another. In a town like I grew up in, with 1,800 people and three main families that ran the place? Leaving an emergency message “with whoever answers the business phone” is such a breach of normal conduct that it would end your relationship with whoever you were trying to contact. It was expected that big news be delivered in person, even if it’s inconvenient for the company.

              It doesn’t even have to be that big. I remember going to my mother’s job once (as an adult) because I’d locked myself out of her house. I was dealing with some brush, went to grab something to drink, and realized that I’d stupidly not disabled the automatic lock on the door. Since I needed to physically get a key from her, it’s not something I could just leave “with whoever answers the business phone”. Similarly, I’ve dropped keys off or had others drop them off at work when one of us was going on vacation and needed someone to look after their house; people know where you’ll be at work, so it’s easy to find you there.

              My point, to be clear, is not that the way I grew up handling these things is right. I know that there’s a difference between Nowheresville Indiana and a large metropolis. My point, rather, is that culture matters. Whether or not showing up on her daughter’s work to discus something is wrong depends on the culture of the workplace and the region. Without knowing that culture it’s impossible to say, with any real certainty, that what this mother did was wrong. To assume it is wrong is to make a huge number of unsubstantiated assumptions.

        4. Parenthetically*

          Genuinely don’t understand this take. “It’s none of my business; they are adults and need to handle it themselves; was this as unprofessional as it seemed” is very much not helicoptery.

        5. Senor Montoya*

          Where do you get that the OP is stopping by regularly? Where? She could come in once every three months and they’d still be able to recognize her. Because, you know, the employee has been there for several years. People share pictures of their family.

          There are all sorts of perfectly reasonable explanations for why OP stops by, why OP’s behavior is perfectly fine. Why go to DEFCON ONE? Why?

          1. James*

            At one daycare my children were at we were required to give the administration a photo (or have one taken) of ourselves, for security reasons. A good daycare administration knows who’s onsite, why they’re there, what relationship they have with the children, when they leave, etc. And the cops are on speed dial, and routinely drive by throughout the day.

            So yeah, the fact that the administration recognized the mother is not surprising at all. It’s SOP for most of the daycares I’ve done business with.

            1. Disco Janet*

              But she’s the mother of an employee – not the mother of a child who attends the daycare.

              There are not all sorts of perfectly reasonable explanations for it to be fine that OP’s mom shows up at the daycare she works at regularly enough for the bosses to recognize her. A daycare is supposed to be a secure facility. Parents are supposed to be able to trust that their children are safe. The children here are being failed all around. By OP’s daughter for breaking safety rules. By the managers for not firing OP’s daughter, or following commonsense policies about not letting employee’s relatives in the building just to have a chat when those people have not been background checked and approved to be around the children. And OP plays a role in that.

              1. Senor Montoya*

                And….it sounds like OP stopped at the front or reception where the managers proceeded to tell her about her daughter. (If they didn’t, that’s on them for not setting up correct procedures.)

                And again, it’s a small business, the daughter has worked there for several years, it IS perfectly reasonable that the managers might recognize the mom, who does not have to be there all the time to be recognized.

                My husband stops by my office very occasionally just to chat. Everyone recognizes him even though he comes by no more than once or twice a year, literally.

                Truly, the OP does not have to be popping by frequently for people to recognize her. Especially at a business where it’s important for people to know who is coming inside.

            2. Mia*

              A lot of daycare facilities are located in strip centers and have a lobby area where literally anyone could walk in, separate from the secured space where kids are located. But even if it is the kind of facility you’re talking about, the LW’s daughter lives at home, so it’s entirely possible that LW is her emergency contact or something and had to be vetted by the center because of it.

          2. learnedthehardway*

            Not to mention that perhaps the OP regularly picks her daughter up from work and doesn’t go inside the place – that would be a perfectly legitimate reason to be there on a regular basis, to be recognizable by the staff, and yet not interfering with the business or her daughter’s job. (And just because someone picks up their adult child from work does not make it appropriate for the adult child’s manager(s) to discuss their performance with their parent.)

        6. Blueberry*

          Yes, really.

          For example, I recognize my boss’s parents because while they’re out and about they stop by to chat briefly with him, drop off lunches for him, and so on. They’re pretty tight knit family. But they don’t at all meddle in how he runs the business or other matters of employment — that’s why I don’t think they’re helicoptering him. LW#1’s sensible refusal to be stuck between her daughter and her daughter’s bosses also disqualifies her from being a helicopter parent, in my view.

    1. Annie*

      “Glazing over” is not an appropriate response to being told a member of your household is a danger to children.

      1. MsM*

        Given that responding to “how’s it going?” with a barrage of detailed complaints about an employee isn’t appropriate, either, I can’t say I blame OP for taking said complaints with a grain of salt.

        1. Fikly*


          Once someone has demonstrated such clear lack of sound judgement, you have to question everything.

      2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        And telling mommy that her adult daughter isn’t doing their job properly isn’t an appropriate response to a generic “How’s it going?”

        1. Amanda*

          It’s not, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right here. Everyone here seems to be wrong, including OP who shouldn’t be dropping by her daughter’s workplace at all, especially not frequently enough to be instantly recognizable.

      3. Dust Bunny*

        Once again: The appropriate reaction would have been for the daycare to fire the daughter. That they haven’t and are thus still having to deal with this is entirely on them. Not the LW’s problem. The daycare here is at least as irresponsible as the daughter since they know they have a problem employee and haven’t fired her.

        And yes, if this were me messing up, my mother would want to know why they hadn’t fired me.

      4. Count Boochie Flagrante*

        There’s an enormous difference between being bad at handling children as a profession and being some kind of inherent danger to any children anywhere. You’re talking like the daughter is a predator.

      5. Yorick*

        I worked in a daycare for 3 summers. There are a lot of rules that wouldn’t normally be a big deal. Tons of things you have to do (or not do) that don’t affect safety when you’re in your home with your 4 kids. The fact that she’s not properly following all rules is bad, but it doesn’t mean she’s a danger to children. And either way, whether she’s dangerous to children or just not a good employee, the proper response is to address that with her and possibly fire her, not talk to her mom.

      6. Felix*

        Exactly. They were in the wrong for sharing the information and not taking their own steps to address the problem, but their shocked reactions to LW’s indifference is not because he doesn’t care about his daughter’s job performance, but because he doesn’t care about the safety of children.
        (I would, however, speculate that he has different standards for safety than a daycare, which are notoriously overprotective with good reason, but I can see a older civilian thinking “that situation doesn’t sound that dangerous to me”)

        1. Sharikacat*

          Except the daycare managers did take steps to address the problem- they wrote up the daughter several times. Granted, the daughter should have been fired by now, so I’d be curious why they haven’t. It’s very possible that they’d rather have a, generously speaking, not good employee than no employee at all (maybe because they’d have to *gasp* do more work themselves! Or maybe they’d have a hard time rehiring in this climate).

          So long as we’re being generous, on the “best possible interpretation” end of things, the daughter, being only nineteen, is very new to the working world. Clearly the direct managing hasn’t worked (could be the managers or the daughter at fault, can’t tell from this), so they thought that the LW might be able to help wise-up their daughter for the sake of her overall working future, figuring the daughter would at this point be more receptive to the parent. Granted, the act was still inappropriate (and horrendously done), but I wanted to at least put some rose-colored glasses to see how they fit.

      7. Mia*

        Someone not being able to handle the very strict rules and regulations of a daycare center (versus like, the kind of safety guidelines you’d have for your own kids/siblings at home) doesn’t make them “a danger to children.” You’re making it sound like she took the job to prey on kids.

    2. Malarkey01*

      Since this place clearly has trouble with boundaries, and since your daughter is at a stage of trying to figure out parent/child boundaries, I think the best practice would be to avoid her workplace. I think this is a good idea so daughter can focus on her job which is already in danger, and because I personally feel like it’s inappropriate to have personal visitors at work (others may not agree).

  7. River Song*

    I’ve worked in several daycares over the years, and theres a certain stereotype of the young, high school graduate who lives at home and thinks working at a daycare and playing with babies all day sounds like the perfect job. Daycare owners hire them, and often don’t fire them, because they work cheap.

    These managers need to learn to manage, and fire OP1’s daughter. (Also the outrage over being told about the health and safety violations and not the health and safety violations themselves just doesnt sit right with me. Not that its OP’s job to fix, and she was right to tell them to handle it, but the outrage seems…. like not a great look to me)

    1. River Song*

      Although, I’m wondering if I’m just bringing my own history into it, having dealt with daycare owners who won’t fix a problem, and coworkers who made dangerous mistakes repeatedly. I totally read OP1 as a helicopter mom, dropping into her daughter’s work to talk. But I see others don’t, so maybe that’s just my bias from old (terrible) workplaces!

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I don’t think OP is a helicopter parent at all, they didn’t say “my child is great she would never do that.” Instead OP essentially told them “You are her manager fire her if you need to.”

        1. River Song*

          Yeah, I may be wrong. I’ve worked in childcare for 16 years, and I’ve worked with a few young women who’s moms “dropped by to tell them something”, so it just sort of automatically reads helicopter-y to me. But I can admit that it may be my internal bias. Either way, the managers suck.

          1. Mookie*

            I think a helicopter parent would be outraged on behalf of their daughter and insist the daughter did nothing wrong. Instead, LW’s reaction is the one you’d expect from someone who doesn’t have a literal, actual child being cared for at this place: “why the fuck should I care, and don’t expect me to do anything about it” + normal, understandable surprise that her daughter’s employers don’t feel up to managing their employee like grown-ups.

            A helicopter type writing in would prioritize convincing Alison and the commentariat that these accusations can’t possibly be true. LW doesn’t offer up an opinion because it’s irrelevant to her question and doesn’t report what her daughter said when they discussed it later, perhaps because LW has no interest in interfering and, therefore, that discussion never happened.

            That being said, these people appear to embody the omnishambles principle, so I partly understand the LW’s question / gripe about the etiquette of sharing negative but presumably factual information about a current employee with anyone other than someone seeking a soft or hard reference; nobody needs to know unless they need to know. But if this how they regularly tell on themselves, they don’t appear to know how to train and manage people, so their opinions seem clouded by their own incompetence. Also, are they doing this candid griping in front of the parents that pay them to watch their children? Fair play for the unintentional transparency, but complaining about an employee’s serious lapses and then revealing you haven’t even fired her yet makes the place sound unsafe.

          2. iambrian*

            My guess is the managers read the situation the same as you did. They are probably so used to helicoptered employees that when mom dropped in they assumed talking to mom was the most effective way to get through to the daughter.

        2. TimeCat*

          Yeahbwoth the caveat that if her daughter gets fired and OP calls to complain, she’s a big ol’ hypocrite.

          Given the daughter is very young, I do think good parenting involves discussing how to be an adult in the workplace. I don’t think that means discussing specific performance issues but more general discussions of how you behave and take criticism. My parents did this with me in my high school and college jobs.

          1. Yorick*

            Sure, giving your kids advice about work is great. But that doesn’t require parents to talk to the boss about their kid’s job performance.

        3. Arctic*

          But why are they dropping in to a daycare, in the first place? Why are they now looking to claim merely talking poorly of their daughter is illegal?

          1. valentine*

            merely talking poorly of their daughter is illegal
            OP rightly thinks their daughter’s performance assessment should be private and, while not illegal, I hope it’s against most companies’ security protocol.

          2. Arts Akimbo*

            That’s not at all what they’re doing, though! This is just like any case of an employer seeking to talk to a family member about their employee’s job performance– it’s inappropriate and unprofessional. They need to take it up with the daughter or fire her, period.

        4. P peace*

          Because that’s the fictional version of a helicopter parent. The reality is there are many shades to an over involved relative. Stopping by to talk? Isn’t wrong but it might be a sign of a relative being over-involved.

      2. Heffalump*

        I think it is your bias. Stopping by to tell her daughter something doesn’t make her a helicopter parent. The managers were trying to put her in that role.

        1. Batty Twerp*

          That may be *their* (the managers) bias because the *other* moms who turn up to talk to the other daycare workers *are* a bit helicopter-y, and bias is just a shortcut our minds go to.

        2. Disco Janet*

          When your daughter works at a place where it isn’t normal to stop by for a chat, yes, it is a helicopter parent move. No adult who isn’t an employee or parent of one of the children belongs at a daycare.

          1. CmdrShepard4ever*

            While I agree generally with your last sentence yes people should not be hanging out at the center who are not employees/parents.

            But a friend/partner/parent stopping by to say you forgot your keys this morning here they are, you ready to go to lunch, or just stopping to have a quick chat on their way somewhere else is not unheard of. This is all assuming the visitor is not being left alone with a child, or children are being left alone without supervision.

            1. Malarkey01*

              As someone who pays a somewhat absurd amount for daycare I don’t like the “stopping to have a quit chat on their way somewhere”. Their attention should be 100% on their job and the kids (and sounds like this employee is already struggling with that). If someone needed to leave forgotten keys at the front desk fine, but if I picked up my child midday and a random adult was there I’d be pretty teed off (and our state licensing board it’s also against regulations to have any caregiver visitors onsite).

          2. Mia*

            For all we know she could have been stopping by on her kid’s work break. Even in the childcare facilities I’ve worked in, it wasn’t especially unusual for someone’s parent/friend/spouse/whatever to stop by or meet up with them during breaks.

      3. hbc*

        I don’t read “helicopter”, necessarily, but I don’t think the image of Independent Adult Worker is bolstered by having a parent who stops by often enough that people recognize her, especially when it’s not retail or a restaurant or something. The managers were over the line no matter the circumstances, but having a parent drop by in the middle of a work day to relay a message isn’t common or particularly professional.

        1. Myrin*

          I think this is one of the cases where one’s own experiences intensely colour one’s understanding of the situation (as can be seen by literally any comment section on here, that’s always the case, of course, but some situations lend themselves to that phenomenon more readily than others).

          As in, I totally get where you’re coming from but it never would’ve crossed my mind at all because I live in my hometown and if I worked at the local kindergarten, the workers there would know who my mother is without her dropping by a single time because most of them have already been there when I was a kindergartener and have seen me grow up in one way or another, even if only distantly (or, in one case, the worker actually went to school with me, so she’s also known my mum forever).
          In the same vein, in my area at least, it wouldn’t seem weird to me to have a relative or friend drop by to pass on a message if they lived close to the workplace or passed it regularly or what-have-you. It’s not something one should strive to do but I generally wouldn’t bat an eye at it unless it happened, like, every other day.

          This obviously needn’t be the case for OP, but the fact that Daughter started working at the daycare right out of high school and lives at home leads me to believe that the daycare is in their hometown so the workers might be very naturally acquainted with OP(‘s family) one way or another and the situation might be different from what you’d expect in, say, a big metropolitan city.

          1. hbc*

            There’s being acquainted with the family, and there’s family interrupting work to pass on info (in the days of smartphones, no less.) This is not a business that’s generally open to the public.

            I think if you’ve got the kind of loose atmosphere where it’s “cool, we’re all one village here, drop by and take attention away from the job,” then I wouldn’t be surprised if management is a little slack about other professional norms as well.

            1. River Song*

              That is really what raised my shoulders to my ears the most. I have a huge pet peeve of people dropping by daycares to chat or hang out. Because really, you call or text, or call the front desk. And there are children, other people’s children, involved. You might think your mom, or bff, or boyfriend is harmless, but how does little Susie’s mom know that?
              I also live in a pretty small community, and I knew, by acquaintance anyway, a lot of coworkers and bosses and parents. But I still think its inappropriate. But owners/managers that allow it are just as bad! (Ask me about the time a coworker had her boyfriend come “hang out” on the playground with her, and shared his drink with other people’s children!!!)

              1. Batgirl*

                I assumed the mother dropped by the front desk? The daycares I’ve worked at, the front desk is available to the public, the area where the kids are is not.

        2. JSPA*

          A workplace where a parent drops in at all, and knows the managers well enough to chat / ask what’s up, is well on the “informal” side of the scale.

          Many people depend on income from their household members (adult kid or otherwise) to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. If the managers consider OP a friend, they may have been warning OP, as a friend, in case OP’s daughter getting fired would put OP at financial risk.

          If she’s lax with hygiene while working with kids, it’s also putting OP at a health risk.

          Kids can be asymptomatic spreaders not only for corona but a variety of viruses that are more serious in adults. The managers do have the burden of managing her at work, but if they consider OP a friend or friendly acquaintance, they don’t need the extra burden of wondering if they’re putting OP at risk, by not firing the daughter (or at least, telling OP).

          Alternatively yes there could be some shaming going on. While we should not hold a female parent 100% responsible for training their children in proper hygiene (and of course, people can take philosophical stances that change their approach to hygiene or can suffer from conditions that lessen their awareness of hygiene, or have grown up without adequate access to running water…caveat, caveat) asking any parent how their offspring came to their shocking unawareness of hygiene is…maybe not entirely unwarranted, if the lines of communication are already open and informal???

    2. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I don’t think OP is trying to down play the health and safety violations but as a parent and a general member of the public it is not her job to deal with the violations. If any manager was upset over health and safety violations at any workplace, and they choose to just complain to an employees parent or a random passer by rather than actually doing their job and managing, I would be first outraged at the complaining and lack of management.

      Violations are important, but even if the parent could force the kid to shape up, spineless nonmanagers would still have an issue with the next person that commits health and safety violations.

      1. Blueberry*

        I don’t think OP is trying to down play the health and safety violations but as a parent and a general member of the public it is not her job to deal with the violations.


    3. Lena Clare*

      Yes exactly.
      I can’t believe they haven’t managed her better for:

      neglect of safety issues with the toddlers in her care and lack of proper sanitation of her classroom.

      I know that’s not the point of the letter, but I’m horrified at this.

    4. Starbuck*

      I’d be kind of outraged too in the LW’s position – why are you telling ME instead of actually doing something about it YOURSELF? Totally unprofessional and ineffective – makes it seem like they don’t really care about doing the work to solve the problem and just want to gripe. What are they going to do about the next unsafe employee whose parent doesn’t stop by the workplace?

  8. Observer*

    #2 – Allison, THANK YOU for your response. People simply do not understand how potentially serious this stuff is and keep on finding reasons that THEIR situation is soooo different that they it’s ok for THEM to follow the rules.

    And thanks for pointing out the ripple effects of people whose treatment is compromised by the fact that the hospitals and doctors’ offices are being so badly over-burdened.

    1. BuildMeUp*

      Yes, I think a lot of people aren’t thinking about what happens to other patients if/when the hospitals get overwhelmed!

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        I am one of those other patients who is currently avoiding medical stuff that I really should be doing in order to stay distant from potential vectors…because extremely immunocompromised.

        I’m basically a step above the boy in the bubble so people doing stuff like this is on my mind pretty hard right now.

      2. Mookie*

        Yes. Absent all context, sure, it can benefit some telecommuters and remote employees to have an odd face-to-face debriefing with a manager, especially a new one, provided it’s convenient and productive. But that is not something that needs prioritizing in these conditions and, frankly, not only are you undermining the public health benefits of limiting ALL physical social interactions as Alison says, but breaking your own employer’s protocol violates the labor-friendly option of working from home as needs dictate.

        Choosing to exercise the right to a possible a work-around on such spurious, individualistic grounds benefits you at the expense of employees who simply can’t risk it and who also probably don’t live down the street from their manager. Shirking hard-fought benefits because you’re the exception who can survive without them harms your peers and enables employers to claw back these accommodations and temporary mandates (designed to SAVE jobs and keep people working and alive, both) when/if they can in future. Personal actions have consequences borne collectively.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Not to mention, you don’t want to be meeting with your boss in her house. That’s mixing business/personal life. Because we are working from home we need to draw that line even firmer. Your boss cannot call you at 9 p.m. right now just because “everyone is working from home” if it was not appropriate to call at 9 p.m. while everyone was in the office.

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        For sure. I just had to explain the practical function behind flattening the curve to my 72yo (healthy as a horse, extremely extroverted and going bonkers not leaving the house, my poor mother) father – he couldn’t figure out why we would want to slow down infection rate instead of just getting it over with. I still don’t think he gets it, but he’s at least staying home while he whines about it. :-P

        1. Fikly*

          Well, he probably grew up in the era where people threw chicken pox or measles parties, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t understand the difference.

      4. Sylvan*

        Yeah. I was thinking of people in emergencies, but there are also, like, people who need dialysis and other regularly scheduled medical treatments. There are a lot of people who need hospitals’ limited resources right now, and the less strain we can all put on the medical system, the better. (I’ve been going out for groceries, but I think yesterday’s trip might have been my last.)

    2. Avasarala*

      Yes! How many letters and comments have we already seen that boil down to “I know this is a global health crisis and we’ve been instructed to stay home and away from others and wash our hands thoroughly. But do I have to stay home/stay away from others/wash my hands thoroughly?”

      Yes. Yes you [expletive] do.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        I realize that in the US we are a very individualistic society. However, we didn’t accomplish what we have over the past couple hundred years without generalized cooperation and buy-in from society to work together for common goals/benefit. This is no different.

        In “The Breakfast Club” the teacher says (paraphrased) “next time I come in here I’m cracking skulks…”

        Yeah… people need to understand that they are not an exception…period, full freaking stop!

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Yes. There was a traffic accident on the road near my house, and I started worrying about the first responders. They can’t stop doing their jobs or people will die– but if the victims were contagious, they will carry it to a self-isolating person who has an at-home accident. Or their co-workers.
      A family member’s friend just died in his early 30s. Stay home.

      1. MsM*

        The messages I’m seeing from the health care workers in my life and their friends about how they’re quarantined from their kids and hoarding the few masks they have and they’re bleakly aware this is *still* the early phase of the curve are heartbreaking. OP2, I get that you’re anxious about making a good impression, but not like this.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          The stories from NYC are particularly horrifying. They’re having to reuse masks and “sterilize” them with alcohol.

      2. Veronica Mars*

        My dad is an EMT and a situation like this forced him to self isolate. He responded to a drug overdose and he and his partner had to do CPR. Only to find out after the fact that the patient was pending a coronavirus test result. [They don’t have enough masks to wear to calls that aren’t explicitly respiratory illness related]
        And just like that, boom, 2 less EMTs available to respond to calls for the next week. When everyone was already working 24/7.

        And that’s part of this. It’s not just about lowering risk of disease. Its about lowering risk of *all the things* that put a strain on providers.
        My mom was backed into at the grocery store this weekend by someone who was just all freaked out. People are frazzled and stressed and making errors while out in public that add up to a bigger toll on emergency services all by themselves, before you factor in “serious epidemic”.

      3. River Song*

        My husband is a police officer, and while they are working less traffic stops and wrecks, they are being called to more domestic disputes because people are stuck inside together. Which means, generally, going inside people’s homes. It stinks, but what can we do?

    4. tangerineRose*

      I also appreciate how Alison pointed out that a person can be infectious and be feeling perfectly healthy. I don’t think everyone is getting that.

    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Agreed—Alison is bang on (per usual). This is a situation where video meetings are an adequate substitute, and the public health risk is too high to ignore. I videoconference with my boss nearly every day (case meetings), and it’s been a surprisingly effective alternative.

      A number of people carrying COVID are effectively Typhoid Marys—they’re completely asymptomatic and can still transmit COVID to others. Which means you may be a “healthy” person and still be contagious. They’re also now discovering that there may be two strains, which may explain why so many young adults who are not in a “sensitive group” comprise nearly half of the most serious COVID cases in the U.S. For the love of humanity, please stay home.

  9. BuildMeUp*

    #2 – Please, please, please listen to Alison’s advice on this.

    I was informed last week that someone I had a small class with on Wed 3/11 had tested positive. Her symptoms were similar to a common cold, and she only got tested because someone she was close to had tested positive. I have been experiencing symptoms over the past few days, but they didn’t start until more than a week after the initial contact.

    Unless you’ve been tested, there is absolutely no way to know that you’re both healthy. Please keep working from home and practicing social distancing.

    1. Jo*

      More than a week you say… I’m not in the US so forgive me for not knowing CDC recommendations, but in Europe and Asia they determined the incubation period to be up to 14 days. So with a week plus you would still be very much in the window. Just saying, maybe be careful…

      1. Pepper*

        The incubation period in the US is also up to 14 days. I’m not sure why you think it would be different.

        1. Jo*

          Sorry, this is why I said I didn’t know. I read this differently, as if she weren’t worried because it had been more than a week since exposure. I was not trying to say she was not looking out for others. But recommendations can be different between agencies, I was not trying to say anyone was not being careful. Please don’t make more out of caution than there was.

          1. Librarian1*

            She’s saying that her own symptoms didn’t start up until a week after she had initial contact with the infected person, which means she thought she was healthy, but was still spreading the virus (people are contagious before they show symptoms).

        2. Dahlia*

          Jo is saying THEY didn’t experience symptoms for over a week, personally. They’re talking solely about their own experience, not how long anything takes.

      2. Julia*

        I think BuildMeUp is advocating for social distancing and being careful, so I’m sure she understands. :)

      3. CupcakeCounter*

        I think that was her point…BuildMeUp knows they were exposed and now has symptoms but they didn’t start for more than a week highlighting the fact that the incubation period is quite long.

      4. BuildMeUp*

        Yes… my point was that the OP could be sick without knowing, as many people don’t show symptoms right away or at all. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    2. MtnLaurel*

      Instead of “healthy,” I try to think of myself as “asymptomatic.” that helps me to not be tempted to put others in danger.

      1. Ama*

        Yup, I’ve been trying to act on the rare occasions that I do go out, as if I myself am an asymptomatic carrier — I wash my hands before I leave the house, try to touch as few things as possible, don’t touch my face, etc. It is entirely possible I have been exposed because I live in NYC and was taking the subway up until two weeks ago.

        There is an episode of Mythbusters where Adam demonstrates that the easiest way to prevent spreading disease is for the person who is sick to take all possible precautions not to touch other people or items that are going to get passed around. It’s available on Hulu (I believe it is in Season 8).

        1. Spreadsheets and Books*

          Also NYC. Also taking the subway up until two weeks ago. And my husband is a doctor who has worked directly with COVID-19-positive patients, so I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time for me.

      2. Quill*

        Yeah, this is the reality with a very large number of viral diseases: lack of symptoms does not equal lack of transmission! In fact, the asymptomaitc spread is one of the main reasons that COVID has become a pandemic.

        1. Annony*

          Yep. Also, not everyone develops symptoms at all. We don’t know what percentage remain asymptomatic but contagious. That is why social distancing is important for everyone, not just people who know they have been exposed.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        This is the current recommendation; just assume you have it, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        I don’t think it’s nitpicking to point out a grammar error. The bold face on #3 is confusing.

      2. Viette*

        It’s okay, Alison usually welcomes simple, obvious grammar/spelling corrections to her posts — it’s more don’t nitpick other commenters’ grammar/spelling, or really anyone’s word choices.

      3. BuildMeUp*

        I don’t think this is a nitpick! But fyi, if you head to the comment box at the bottom of the page, there’s a link to report a typo issue, and I think Alison sees that faster than a comment!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thanks, I fixed it. (The best way to report that stuff is with the Report a Typo link below the comment box since I don’t always see all comments.)

  10. Iron Chef Boyardee*

    Regarding #2 (Should I offer to go to my boss’s house for a weekly check-in):

    Although it’s reasonable to presume that under normal circumstances the letter writer would not be working from home at the present time, I’m curious to know what your response would have been if the coronavirus was not a factor.

    1. Viette*

      I do wonder at the answer to that as well. In the absence of a public health situation, I’d still argue that there’s not a good reason to go over to your boss’s house for face to face meetings, and plenty of good reasons not to do so. Physically being in the same room is not critical. Video chatting, yes, or one on one phone calls, but being *in* your boss’s *house* to do work, even if you work from home yourself, seems kind of weird and inappropriate.

    2. PollyQ*

      I think if, say, the office had to close down due to some kind of building issue, and if all parties were amenable, a weekly meeting in someone’s house wouldn’t necessarily be a problem.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      If the coronavirus were not a factor they would see each other at the office. Or meet at a coffee shop, or a co-working space, or a library, or any of a variety of options – they wouldn’t need to go to the boss’s home. And right now, the advice isn’t about the boss’s home, it’s about the need to minimize contact with other people to the absolute minimum to slow the spread of the disease.

    4. MK*

      I may be focusing on a small point of etiquette, but I think in any case it is an overstep to invite yourself over to someone else’s home for a meeting. Especially for a very junior person.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        That’s interesting, because of course inviting yourself to someone’s *home* is rude, but at work, it’s safe to assume that a one-on-one meeting will be in the senior person’s office.

        1. MK*

          Sure, but they aren’t at the office right now. Let’s assume that there wasn’t a pandemic going on, and they had all switched to remote work for, say, an office remodelling. If a manager had expressed a concern about not being able to train a junior person who had just started work, it would be fine for the newbie to say “Do you think it would be better if we had a weekly meeting? If so, where would it be convnient to meet? I live in X”, and then the manager might suggest her house is she wanted to. But for a junior person to say “I can come at your house, no problem!” strikes me as gauche.

    5. Greige*

      I’ve trained six people entirely remotely. Granted, the work is all computer-based. I don’t know what you do, but it sounds like there isn’t anything your boss needs to touch or smell to know whether you’re doing it right. Share screens, have the boss check your work. Build rapport with a little chitchat if you feel that’s missing. People are teaching cooking classes and conducting medical appointments online. There’s no need for physical proximity, especially now.

    6. Jedi Squirrel*

      In my three+ decades of working, I have been to a boss’s house exactly once. He hired me to help with the catering at his daughter’s wedding reception, and we had to pick up some tables he had in his garage.

      Your boss is not your friend. Work and personal life are two different things. Don’t cross those streams.

    7. learnedthehardway*

      I can’t imagine it would be an issue without the coronavirus situation, but if it were – this is a good opportunity for recognizing that there are some boundaries that you shouldn’t voluntarily erode. While we need to make workspaces and homes equivalent for the time being (and while a lot of people do work from home regularly), it’s important to maintain professional boundaries, and keep your private life private.

      I work from home. I meet clients elsewhere – at restaurants or coffee shops, or in their offices. I don’t invite clients into my home unless they are also personal friends, and even then, I am very, very selective about it. Similarly, I have only been in two of my clients’ homes – and one of them has never been in mine.

      Some other self-employed people have home offices where they regularly see clients – eg. accountants might have their own office at home. That’s their choice. When I have used a self-employed accountant, I notice that most have a very clear “office” area and a very clear “home” area, and they keep them separate. It’s a good idea.

      For this employee, seeing as working from home will NOT be the rule, I would not want to make the suggestion that either their or the manager’s home is a place to meet up. For one thing, it calls their judgment into question and may make their manager uncomfortable (too personal an ask or if the manager is properly self-isolating). For another, the very last thing you want as a new employee is your manager thinking you’d be okay with them dropping by YOUR private space.

  11. Impy*

    Out of curiosity, why on earth do private schools have ‘tight budgets’??? I don’t approve of them morally anyway, but surely if you’re gouging wealthy parents, you can buy the admin staff a chair?

    1. Paperdill*

      Because some private schools (and, granted, I am speaking from and Australian perspective here) are established based on particular principles such as religion or learning models not on money.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          THey’re private schools. They don’t get public funding. They have to pay teachers, etc., somehow.

          ALso, they’re voluntary; nobody *has* to send their kids to private schools.

          1. SomebodyElse*

            Just a point to add to this… in some states and circumstances private education can be eligible for public funding.

            Public school dollars can be used if a public school cannot adequately educate a child with special needs.

            Some states (WI is the one I’m thinking of) has school choice where a parent in some circumstances (limited to the number of kids allowed in the program) get ‘vouchers’ for private school tuition.

            All this being said… yes, private schools vary as much as society varies in relation to wealth of the student families, from the very poor to the very wealthy. And often trade off by keeping overhead low and discretionary spending low, hence not being able to authorize a work from home work chair.

            1. Quill*

              Private schools have many of the same funding problems as public schools: their funding is dependent on the income of their students’ parents. (Public schools in the US do this through local property tax, private schools via tuition.)

              So in a rich area of town you get well funded private and public schools… and when you get upper middle class flight from public schools in an area where they’re not as well funded, you end up with a decently funded private school but a poorly funded public school, which pretty much continuously ends up leaking students who can afford other options.

              1. valentine*

                education that is available in your country for free?
                The idea is that it will be a better education, alongside and largely limited to, their socioeconomic peers.

        2. Amy Sly*

          It’s not free … but yes, parents who don’t use the public school system (whether homeschooling or private schooling) end up paying twice for their kids’ education: once in taxes, the other in materials and fees.

          It’s not easy to afford, but the parents wouldn’t do it if they didn’t think it was important.

          1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            True, but by that logic I’m paying once for their children’s education, even though I have no children of my own. As is my mother, whose children both finished college in the last century. There’s no tax refund or lower rate for not having school-age children.

            1. Quill*

              Your property taxes sent to schools aren’t for your kids, or other people’s kids’, education, they’re essentially paying back for YOUR opportunity to go to public school. :)

              1. Imprudence*

                Also to train up people to be doctors and nurses and carers for when your are old. And to be able to train up people to grow food and run shops and cafes and make TVs and TV programmes for you. And to work and pay taxes for road maintenance and libraries and refuse collection and parks for when you are old.
                No one is an island. Even now, when we have to live as if we were on a desert island. Everyone wants to live in an educated community.

              2. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

                I also personally prefer my neighbors’ children pursuing education and the opportunities that come from that, so I’m perfectly happy paying my property taxes to support schooling even though we’ll likely never have children.

            2. No bees on Typhon*

              A well-educated population is in everyone’s interest, regardless of if they have kids

              Signed, childfree and more than happy to pay taxes for public education at all levels

        3. so annon*

          My parents sent me to a fairly inexpensive private school for a couple of years when I was fairly young because the teacher I had in the free public school was well, mean and scary. I think this was the only way they could get me out of her class. Usually people have more options though.

        4. Clisby*

          I guess that depends on the country. In the U.S., a religious education is not available for free in public schools. In plenty of places, you could not get a Montessori or Waldorf education for free in a public school.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Happens in America, too- I went to a Quaker school for a while. That one was possibly a weird case, though, because it was really so heavily entwined with the associated church that extra church money would be used for the school and vice versa.

    2. SRWG*

      I used to work in a private school that charged a hefty sum. But we had A LOT of students there on full scholarship and the school covered the cost of their food (breakfast & lunch), equipment (all students had school-issued laptops), field trips (including study abroad trips), etc. Anything related to the staff ran on a shoestring budget in order to increase the number of scholarships offered each year. So yes, we had terribly uncomfortable desk chairs, but we were ok with it if it meant giving opportunities to more low income students.

      1. Glitsy Gus*

        The private school I worked for was the same. Tuition was high, but easily a quarter of the kids were on some kind of financial assistance, many a full scholarship, and that tuition covered everything, including meals and field trips. Plus, depending on how the funding set up goes, that tuition also needs to pay for the electricity, water, garbage, and other general expenses of just keeping the building operational.

        It is really crazy just how expensive a school really is, plus a lot of private schools do operate on a system of charging those that can afford it a little more so they can help out those who aren’t as well off. All of this added together does add up to a teaching budget that is pretty similar, and sometimes more strapped, than a public school budget.

    3. Airy*

      Probably because they prioritise spending that impresses the wealthy parents and makes them feel they’re getting their money’s worth and giving their children a competitive advantage over poor kids. They neither see nor care about the admin staff’s chairs.

    4. Private School Teacher*

      This comment area is usually very good about not indulging in prejudice and stereotyping. Can we extend the same courtesy to private schools? We don’t all only accept the children of the 1%. My school (and I’m sure my school is not an anomaly) does not “gouge wealthy parents.” We’re struggling to provide an education to local students who are not all wealthy and cannot all afford to take off for an exotic vacation at the drop of a hat. And, like many private schools these days, we are seeing a smaller pool of applicants and are tightening our belts.

      1. infopubs*

        Agreed! My brother and SIL run a small private school for kids with special needs. There is a large, very expensive school nearby with a similar charter, and they wanted to provide an alternative for families that couldn’t afford the pricey one. B & SIL run on a shoestring budget, and even the shoestrings are fraying.

        1. Impy*

          If you can afford to pay for education, you have more money than people who can’t. How is acknowledging that a ‘prejudice’?

          1. Leah K*

            Or your child qualifies for scholarship. Or you rent a tiny apartment and live on rice and beans in order to prioritize paying for your child’s education.

          2. Anon4This*

            My child attends a small private school that serves special needs students, and I know for a fact that a number of the kids are there only because their parents have taken out massive loans and/or take second jobs to send them there on top of the substantial scholarship funding available. They also take a limited number of public placements, but those are really hard to get. Full tuition for a year exceeds $40K, and other options are both limited and in the same price range.

            It is incredibly difficult to send your child to public school every day when they are miserable, not being treated well, and not learning anything except that their peers and teachers don’t like them. Some families choose to prioritize that spend, including incurring major debt or lifestyle choices none of us would make in normal circumstances to do it, when the situation in public is that dire – they can neither afford it nor afford not to do it.

            To stretch oneself that thin and then get lectured yet again about how “privileged” you are to do what you see as a bare minimum of removing your child from what has become an abusive babysitting service is always a joy.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              Oh, for sure. My private schools weren’t exactly paragons of disability rights but public school would have been so, so much worse (well, hopefully not as bad as the one teacher who regularly suicide baited me and semi-regularly locked me in a closet, but I can’t even be sure of that). Not traumatizing your kids is worth the private school tuition, especially when homeschooling is not an option.

          3. Phoebe*

            Or perhaps they just have different priorities than you do. I fail to understand how attending private school = rich. Plenty of people sacrifice a lot to send their children to private schools, but the fact they do this doesn’t mean they’re rich.

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              Or the child sacrifices. My private school “scholarship” ended up as a hefty proportion of student loans, which I myself was the one who paid.

          4. MCMonkeyBean*

            1) you’re painting with an extremely large brush
            2) there is a world of difference between “acknowledging” and what your comments are doing

      2. Amy Sly*

        Amen. The private school I went to in middle school could only survive because the associated church heavily subsidized it. (Membership in that church was not required for attendance.) The local public schools were so dangerous that they had a security officer live on campus, and my parents could barely afford the private school. They certainly couldn’t afford to have one parent stay home to homeschool us, and trying to homeschool by having them work full time jobs on different shifts was destroying their marriage.

        Today, that county spends $8513 per year per student. The private school I went to charges $8350 per year for a high school student and less for lower grades. Nationwide public school average is $12K, with New York spending $23K per student on the high end. Meanwhile, the average private school tuition is $9K for elementary and $14K for high school. All of which is to say that many privates schools are trying to make do with less money per student than the public schools which most people consider underfunded. So yeah, a second office chair may indeed be out of the school’s budget.

        1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

          Considering that church makes total bank on no taxes, very little scrutiny, and uses tons of public facilities like roads, emergency services, etc while giving little in return, I’m glad to see it’s doing something.

        2. Veronica Mars*

          Similar story for me here. There were bullet holes in the walls of the private school I went to.

          And for the record, the next town over pays to send all their kids to private school. My town funds its own, small, public school system. Our price per child is 25% higher than the private school. Public schools can be incredibly inefficient in their own ways.

      3. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Yup. I went to private school and it was far from an enclave of rich kids. I always knew that scholarships and aid were plentiful but I never knew who received it. My teachers were (still are) excellent, overworked and not very well paid. I remember not getting the latest textbook or tools because there was no room in the budget, yet my public school friends never had that issue.

        1. Pepper*

          Why would your parents pay to send you to a private school if the free public school had better text books and tools?

            1. Amy Sly*

              I mean, are folks always whining about how now in public schools the teachers spend all the time on standardized test prep instead of creative learning? When you don’t take public money, you don’t get public strings. So you can customize curriculum to the class and do something more like Montessori or other unconventional teaching techniques. You don’t have to bother with Common Core. Your lunch program doesn’t have to get the pink slime from the USDA or follow the other federal rules for student lunches. You can expel a disruptive student.

              1. SomebodyElse*

                I went to a private school when dinosaurs roamed the earth… we didn’t get school lunches more than once a week (at a time when it was the norm for public schools), and the once a week hot lunch was cooked and served by mom volunteers.

                But yes, there are lots of reasons why parents would choose to send their kids to private schools, and honestly they shouldn’t be second guessed or derided for their choices.

                And to bring it back to the OP, one of those reasons is that they want a school that prioritizes direct student spending of those tuition dollars instead of extra chairs :)

                I feel for the OP, it took me awhile to get my wfh setup to a comfortable and productive space. And even if it’s not the typical desk/chair setup (I currently have a couch/table setup) it works for me for long periods of time. We have desks and office chairs, but I don’t like the basement room that they are currently set up in.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            They had their reasons that went beyond text books and tools. I’m not here to defend those choices. Would I have done ok in a public school? Probably. Do I appreciate the education I received, both in and out of the classroom? Absolutely.

          2. Sylvan*

            I’m not the person you’re asking, and my parents kept me in public school in the end anyway. But the free public schools were not exactly safe, comfortable environments. There were a lot of fights, bullying, harassment, two kid-brought-a-gun incidents, etc. The local private schools were generally safer.

          3. James*

            Where I grew up the public schools were a joke. If you wanted your kids to be literate and able to do math, you sent your kids to private schools. (I went to a private grade school, and my family was anything but rich; most of my classmates were children of modest farmers and factory workers.)

            Remember, in the USA schools are funded by the district. If you live in a rich district, public schools are likely to be well-funded. If you’re below a certain threshold you can get grants from the state/federal governments. But there exists an unhappy middle ground where you’re too rich for grants but too poor to fund the school properly. And sometimes grants don’t come through.

        2. Quill*

          The private school I went to the first 3 years of my schooling was about 50/50 scholarships vs. rich kids. (I was partial scholarship: we weren’t exactly poor but we lived in an area where the local elementary school was a demonstrably unsafe place for a kindergartener.)

      4. Impy*

        Nope. Maybe the situation’s different in America, but in the UK we have an excellent, free school system. Objecting to schools choosing to charge obscene amounts of money in order to establish havens for the wealthy elite – havens that are well connected, in practice only open to certain social classes, and directly funnel into the best universities – that’s not a ‘prejudice’, it’s a moral principle.

        Private schools reinforce the class system, provide wealthy children with unearned advantages and block meritocracy. They also typically racist.

        And FYI, if you can afford to pay any amount for primary / high school, you may not be 1% but you can’t exactly call yourselves working class either.

        1. Amy Sly*

          “Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!” — George Bernard Shaw.

          1. Impy*

            Yeah, pointing out that people who can afford to pay for education have more money than people who cannot afford to pay for education definitely makes me a complete ignoramous who thinks the world is the same all over.

            And I don’t know why you think your examples of utter outliers in any way disprove the reality – not stereotype, just reality – that paid for education is typically the preserve of the wealthy.

            1. Amy Sly*

              Utter outliers? I’m giving you the facts of what public vs. private schooling looks like in America. Private schools here aren’t Eton clones. They’re primarily subsidized by churches, philanthropists, and businesses (thinking here of a charter school I worked at). They charge less per student than the public schools and have to make do with older textbooks, few poorly stocked science labs if at all, small campuses, few extracurriculars, and lower level of technology. They are not gouging wealthy parents; they are charging as little as possible, and many exist to give lower and middle class parents alternatives to the violent and low achieving schools their kids would otherwise be forced to go to. No, they don’t get a refund of the school taxes they pay, which means they must make severe sacrifices. They end up living in smaller houses, don’t take vacations, don’t go out, and otherwise cut back on all the discretionary spending to free up the extra few thousand per year to have kids who can actually read and do basic arithmetic while not needing to go through metal detectors every day.

              Of course, this kind of budgeting is possible because as a Forbes article entitled “Britain is Poorer Than Any US State: Yes, Even Mississippi” notes in the title, even the folks living in the poorest parts of America have more purchasing power than Britons. (Not linked to avoid the filter.)

              1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

                Ah, public schools are free in the USA. Also, churches mainly support schools to reap a new generation of worshippers. (You skipped over that nicely!) And yes, business sponsored schools often do the same (more consumers!)

                1. Amy Sly*

                  Public schools are tax supported, which isn’t exactly “free,” but yes, a public school does not charge tuition.

                  Yes, churches support schools to get more members. Most of the parents sending their children to those church supported schools are members of that church and want their children to remain part of that church. (Of course, that means that they end up paying part of their tuition through donations to the church.) It’s almost like Christians are doing what their faith tells them they’re supposed to do: make more Christians. Funny that.

                  And as for the businesses, I think they were less interested in getting more customers than getting tax write-offs and graduates well-educated enough to become employees, though better educated people are more likely to become customers. H&R Block isn’t going to find many people educated enough to work for them coming out of the Kansas City public schools (nor are those drop outs and graduates likely to need much in the way of asset structuring to minimize their tax burden), but the charter school grads might actually understand enough math to be hired or go on to become wealthy enough to need their services.

              2. Pepper*

                This is a little misleading. Public schools in the US don’t “charge” anything. They’re not allowed to. I assume you’re comparing the cost per child at a public school, which is covered by taxes, to the cost of tuition at a private school. In the vast majority of the US, parents can’t opt out of paying taxes for public school because they send their kid to private school, so those parents are able to afford the cost of paying taxes for public school that they are not using and paying tuition for the private school.

                1. Amy Sly*

                  Sorry, I missed a word in that sentence to “they charge less per student than what the public schools spend

                2. University admin*

                  Also, all the people who don’t have children at all are paying taxes for the local school system as well. It’s considered a public good, like having bridges, and we all pay for it.

                3. Sunflower Sea Star*

                  In some states, public schools can and do charge all kinds of fees. Around here, they don’t charge anything until middle school.
                  I have a high schooler this year, and I just looked it up. This year, for her *public school* I paid the following mandatory fees:
                  Activity fee: $50 (Charged for all students, not optional w/o a waiver)
                  Locker fee: $5
                  Textbook rental fee: $30
                  Online tech support fee: $10
                  Fees specific to classes (like a lab fee for chem, etc.) $110

                  I also paid for things like a choir dress for her choir class ($96) that are not *technically* required, but you can’t fully participate without them. If I don’t buy the dress, she can’t perform what they learn AND has to do a make up assignment for the concert she missed. She’s in two choirs this year, thankfully one of them is using the same dress as last year.

                  (And another $300+ for extracurricular activities and clubs. Including $110 for a choir festival that was just canceled and will not be refunded. Technically we are supposed to pay another $50 towards that by April 1, they better not still try and collect it. Fun times.)

                  Public education may not charge tuition, but it’s not exactly free, either. My poor friend has triplets in high school right now!

              3. Pepper*

                There are plenty of families in the US that end up living in smaller houses, don’t take vacations, don’t go out, and otherwise cut back on all the discretionary spending and STILL can’t afford to send their kids to private school. It’s a privilege to be able to send your kids to private school. I don’t understand why you’re so unwilling to acknowledge that.

                1. Amy Sly*

                  It’s a choice. As noted by Anon4This parents have taken out massive loans and/or take second jobs to send them there on top of the substantial scholarship funding available sometimes that choice involves sacrifices most people wouldn’t consider. My point is that it’s not a choice limited to the “wealthy” or the “privileged” or the “not working class.”

                  Yes, my illegal immigrant student who lived in a one bedroom apartment with her parents and couldn’t afford to eat better than cans of soup didn’t really have the option of a private school. (Of course, the provisionally accredited high school was still better than what she could get in Veracruz.) But the kids down the street from her who had citizen parents and the slightly better paying jobs that allowed could afford to go to the local Catholic private school.

                2. Pepper*

                  Being able to make a choice about about your kids education is a privilege that a lot of families don’t have.

                3. Amanda*

                  You are correct, and it is a privilege. I think though, what Amy Sly is so hung up about is the idea that private schools are only for the very very rich. Sure, the very poor can’t afford one, but middle class, even slightly below, might. Some families prioritize different things, and that’s ok. And in some countries, there are legitimate reasons to prioritize private schools for a child, it’s not just a status symbol.

                4. Amy Sly*

                  Thank you Amanda. Yes, that’s what I’m trying to explain. I get that people think private schools are Eton-esque super expensive and luxury status symbols, but a $4500/yr tuition (Our Lady of Hope Catholic School in Brooklyn, just chosen as a random example) is easily covered by a second job, even at minimum wage. If that’s what a parent really wants to spend their time and money on, it’s not out of reach for most people.

                5. Pepper*

                  You’re right that private schools are not just for the very, very rich. They are for anyone who is privileged enough to afford them. Having privilege is not something to be ashamed about, so I don’t know why you’re so afraid to admit it, but insisting that it is not a privilege is disingenuous and insulting to people who genuinely don’t have that privilege. 

        2. Moonlight Elantra*

          I think the US and the UK definitions of “private school” are not at all the same thing. I went to a “private” elementary school, a Catholic school that was definitely not for wealthy people. The school itself was pretty crappy.

          1. Amy Sly*

            As one example of the difference, Catholic schools in England are state funded, whereas in the US they are private schools funded through donations and enrollment fees.

          2. Quill*

            Yeah, the thing that we need to get through here is that US public schools are the tax funded ones that must take all children in the prescribed area, whereas private schools charge tuition, which is a different setup than the UK.

            1. londonedit*

              Public/private school is the same thing in the UK (though ‘public school’ tends to refer to the very posh ones like Eton and Harrow). State-funded schools are called ‘state schools’ here – they’re the ones that are funded by taxes/government and that take children from a defined catchment area. Private or independent or fee-paying schools (these terms are all broadly interchangeable) are the ones where the parents pay the school directly in tuition fees for their children’s education, and the fees are expensive, which is why they’re widely regarded as the preserve of the elite (though of course there are plenty of middle-class families who prioritise school fees over other parts of their lifestyle, and there are scholarships for gifted children whose parents can’t afford the fees).

        3. Anon for this*

          Experiences are going to vary depending on school and country (I live in a city full of private schools, which range from “we cater to kids who don’t learn well in a classroom” to “Christian-left” to “tiny experimental outdoor learning program in Spanish”). But this is what resonates with mine. My family was middle-class, and my classmates were mostly from an enormous amount of money, to the point that I found it hard to locate common ground with them. One of my classmates in elementary school had a 7th birthday party so elaborate that it must have cost their parents thousands of dollars. Nearly everyone lived in a huge house (and one of them had a custom dollhouse that was an architectural 1:12 scale model of theirs). The second everyone turned 16, there were competitions over who had the newest and most expensive car (I didn’t buy a car until I was in my 30s). Almost every single student was either white or Asian or a mix (as in, I can think of exactly one Black kid, and they were in a different grade). There were a few low-income kids who got scholarships, but they were paraded around like lottery winners and constantly told how grateful they needed to be at all times, so everyone knew who they were (plus they were usually from extremely underrepresented groups). The teachers and programs were excellent, and most of them were compassionate and thoughtful, but in a smugly privilege-saturated environment, it was nearly impossible to learn about inequality; no one talked about it, except as a thing that happened in far-off countries that was really a bit of a pity I suppose. Some of it was getting pretty close to propaganda, now that I reflect on it. You can probably guess which end of the political spectrum the school’s board and major donors were closely tied to – I should have guessed from one of the big name guest speakers they nonchalantly brought in when I was in high school. Several alumni are now in power and lashing out at marginalized folks. It’s very easy to pretend society is a meritocracy when you live in a bubble that has so very, very little to do with social reality.

        4. Bananers*

          Wow, where to begin……
          1) The US also has many excellent, free schools. It depends on where you live, and no education is one-size-fits-all, so having schooling options is a good thing. (And I am 300% sure that not all the schools in the UK are excellent. That’s not the case ANYWHERE)
          2) Many private schools (hey, like the one I went to!) are not “havens for the wealthy elite” or racist. They have students from different socioeconomic strata, different ethnicities, different walks of life. In fact, my private school did a much better job of intentional education around the importance of diversity than the more diverse public school in my area.
          3) There is a middle ground between working class and 1%.

          I don’t know what your damage is around private school, but you’re carrying an awful lot of bitterness and anger, and being wildly judgmental and…..wait for it…..prejudiced. Especially since, by your own admission, you’re not actually familiar with the school systems in other countries. If you have or want children, you certainly don’t have to send them to a private school, but how about cutting way, WAY back on the holier-than-thou attitude.

      5. Dust Bunny*

        My best friend was a scholarship student (her parents worked in a grocery store) at one of the best private schools in her home state, and she deserved every penny of it.

      6. Middle School Teacher*

        I got paid $24000 the year I worked at private school. The kids who went there were not super-wealthy. Well-said on all your points, PST.

    5. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I went to a private Catholic high school and my parents were not wealthy. Stereotyping and judgement is not a good look.

      1. Impy*

        If you went to private school, and weren’t on a scholarship, you were wealthy. I know AAM readers skew upper middle class, but ffs, poor people *cannot afford* to pay for schooling.

        For goodness sake, understanding economics and material reality – in this case, that people who can afford to pay for education have money – is neither a stereotype nor a prejudice.

        That’s like suggesting that it’s ‘prejudiced’ to suggest that people who shop at Chanel have more money than people who shop at Primark.

        1. mustang76*

          No, I can confirm. I went to a Catholic elementary school – we were by no stretch of the imagination wealthy, but the church (which we also attended) kicked in a ton of money to the school to keep attendance costs down. So much so that they later had to merge several of the local schools into one multi-campus school supported by the Archdiocese, because the churches couldn’t individually afford to keep supporting the schools but they didn’t want to have to drastically raise prices on the church community who were sending their kids there (often stretching to make ends meet because a religious education was important to them).

          A private school is simply a school that is not supported financially by the government, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have support from somewhere else and that all costs are covered by the tuitions paid by wealthy parents. There is a spectrum and the schools on the lower-funded end of that spectrum probably are not refreshing office chairs annually.

        2. Oh No She Di'int*

          Please, please stop trying to tell people what their experience is. They know their own lives better than you do.

        3. Cat*

          There is a concept called “middle class”? Not everyone who can afford to pay for something that isn’t strictly necessary for survival is wealthy.

          That said, I think people are eliding the fact that there are private schools in the US that are havens of the wealthy and elite. But the Catholic school down the street that charges $3k a year is not one of them.

          1. Parenthetically*

            Yep, this one. There are private schools in my city that charge upwards of $50k/year and brag about their students going to Ivy League schools and are bastions of inherited wealth and privilege. The private school where I taught for 10 years (making $24k/year at the MOST) has full-price tuition under $5000, and 80% of students received financial aid. Between grants, donations, and other aid, many of my students’ families paid under $100/month for their education. Could a person in absolute poverty afford that? Well, no. But neither did the families have to be hereditary nobility or to be able to attend my school.

        4. OdoLicious*

          No. We sent our daughter to private school for Prek through 4th, until we moved to a better area. 4k a year we saved to send her did not make us wealthy. My husband and I were making less than 40k a year when we were sending her.

          You’ve got some issues around this topic that are neither fair nor kind.

        5. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          You’re making assumptions, and stereotyping me when I simply said I went to private Catholic school. There are many situations that could lead someone whose parents aren’t wealthy to attend a private school, which is the point I’m trying to make.

    6. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      In addition to what was already said, here in the US, it costs more to live in a district with high-ranking public schools; which in turn contributes to the class division and racial segregation that you mention. But some of the low-ranking public schools are just really really not good or safe. It is what it is. So I’ve known some middle-class and lower-middle-class families who lived in cheaper areas and sent their children to private (typically parochial) schools. My own children went to public K-12 schools in what is considered a “mostly good” school district. It is not outrageously expensive like the “really good” school districts, but again I’ve known families that had to move out of our district and take their children out of the schools my children attended, because they could not afford to live here. It’s not all black and white.

      1. Amy Sly*

        Yeah. Given how belonging to a good school district can so dramatically increase the cost of a house, it can be much more affordable to buy a cheaper house in a bad school district and spend the savings on the private school tuition. In a very real sense, our good “public” schools charge tuition just as much as the private schools; you just pay it with the mortgage instead of a separate bill.

      2. Quill*

        Same, went to the local private school for years because my “home” elementary school was, quite frankly, a danger zone. Then we moved crosstown to a place where the school was safer and I got pulled out to attend public school.

        Got real mad at the first teacher who made me retake all my math standards because at the private school they’d just send people across the hall to the next grade up for math if they finished everything for their grade.

      3. Glomarization, Esq.*

        This was my experience the last time I did the math — a few years ago, when my child was in their last year of private school. It all kind of evened out. That is, the cost of private school while we lived in the city was about the same as the additional costs of living in a suburb with the state’s “best” public schools. I could pay either private school tuition, or I could pay higher property taxes, more utility costs (sewer and trash were free in the city, not so much in surrounding communities), higher transportation costs (car + gas + insurance in suburbs versus transit pass in city), and so on.

        Also, while a lot of the kids at my child’s school came from money, that’s not a problem that we would have necessarily avoided in a suburban public school.

    7. Anon4This*

      Yeah, I didn’t “approve of them morally” until the public school system completely failed to meet the needs of my bright but autistic kid, and they continued to fall further and further behind in a classroom of 30 children. I sent the public school a happy, ahead-of-grade-level kid and they returned a below-grade-level kid who was being bullied by the class jocks because they were quiet and different and easy to pick on. Our blue-ribbon public school cared only about it’s accelerated academics kid and basically just babysat anyone in not in that track, so I got over my moral aversion and found a private school that has been a godsend for my kid, despite the sacrifices it took to do it.

      I assume you are not in the US and have never experienced a school that failed your child to the point you were concerned for their personal well-being and future.

    8. Jedi Squirrel*

      Why do you assume that only rich kids go to private schools?

      Why do you assume that private schools are gouging wealthy parents?

      Why do you assume?

  12. RUKiddingMe*

    OP1: Stay home, stay home, stay home! The entire point of this thing is to keep people distant from each other until it’s under control.

    I realize you are concerned about your relationship building with your boss, but you have a moral and ethical obligation to the greater good. As we all do.

    1. BuildMeUp*

      Wow, this is based on a lot of assumptions.

      The OP is not her daughter’s boss. Accusing her of being “deficient” without any evidence to suggest that in the letter is really rude. I don’t think checking out of a conversation like this reveals anything but someone who understands boundaries.

      If there is an issue with her daughter’s work, it needs to be addressed by her daughter’s manager. And many teenagers have a bit of a learning curve when they first get a job with actual responsibilities and consequences. That’s obviously not an excuse, but to draw conclusions about the OP’s parenting based on this is, at the very least, against the site rules.

    2. Arts Akimbo*

      Yikes. This is pretty mean to the OP, and completely beside the point of the question.

    3. Paperdill*

      Given the lack of professional judgement shown by the managers in going on such a tirade to their employee’s mother, I am included to question their judgement all round.
      OP is asking about the manager’s behaviour, not their daughter’s work performance, here, so that is the topic we discuss.

  13. MistOrMister*

    OP5 I feel for you. I learned a couple od hours in that my perfectly comfortable for having a meal kitchen chairs are torture when used for more than a couple of hours. Even with couch cushions added. I am fortunate that I have a computer chair that I was able to swap out. If your school won’t buy you a chair and you can’t take your chair home (good suggestion by some other commentors!!), would you be able to rent a chair? I’m not sure how economically viable that would turn out to be, but for a couple of months it might be cheaper than buying. Or can you check thrift stores? They’re so hit or miss but you might be able to find something. I was looking at the back support cushions that have a padded seat last week before I remembered my computer chair, but I have no idea if those go far enough to actually make a non-work chair comfortable. Hopefully you can find something that works for you. It really is a particular kind of torture using a non-computer chair for a length of time when you can’t move around.

    1. SteveHolt!*

      Also try freecycle, if you’re not too worried about wiping the chair down with sanitizer. I got an office chair in really good condition just a few weeks ago by posting that I needed one. Someone had one sitting in their attic and now it’s mine!

      1. LizB*

        Agreed. We had three office chairs in our household of two people (artifacts of roommates past), and I was able to freecycle away the one neither of us liked last week to someone who needed it for sudden remote work… at which point my SO realized he needed an even better WFH chair and invested in a fancy-schmancy gaming chair. So now I am back to three decent chairs in a two-person household. Thanks to all the time we’re spending at home, it’s become very very obvious what objects we actually need in the house and which ones are extraneous — I bet your local freecycle or Buy Nothing group has something for you! (If you’re in the Twin Cities MN, OP5, hit me up…)

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      When I’m working from home on my laptop, I work on the couch. It is a million times more comfortable than at a desk no matter how comfortable the chair is. I’m sure this is not for everyone since I suppose there are people in the world who need to be at a table/desk in order to feel like they are working, but this could be a possibility for OP. Also it depends on how comfortable you are sitting on the couch; I know that not everyone likes their couches either.

      Another option: move around and work in different locations in your home. I think Alison or someone else mentioned this last week for the person who was having a hard time with the isolation, but it is a good idea for everyone so that you use different muscles and postures and don’t get tired or injured from being in the same position for eight hours a day.

    3. AYFKM*

      You might also try an office liquidation store. Most major metro areas in the US have them – I bought a Steelcase Think chair here in Denver (after one day of working at my dining room table & wooden chairs – ouch!) for $147, that normally goes for around $900 new. Mine is vinyl, but I imagine fabric could be “cleaned” with a heavy dose of Lysol.

  14. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    LW3 – Unemployment insurance can be for temporary layoffs. If it’s everyone’s intention that you’ll come back, then UI can be a safety net until they’re back in business.
    Ask some clarifying questions about whether you should hold on to your work stuff in the meantime or if they’d rather you turn it in. Get it in writing and check in about it if circumstances change.
    And if you’re not sure the business will weather this storm, feel free to look elsewhere, just like you might if you were in the office and feeling iffy about the place.
    But don’t work “for free”. It’s not appropriate, and could jeopardize UI payments if you’re receiving them.

    1. Glitsy Gus*

      Yeah, I know a lot of states have expanded their unemployment coverage to give folks who are temporarily furloughed due to the virus. You may not need to be formally laid off to be eligible, so check with your unemployment department.

      1. LW3_24March2020*

        @Glitsy Gus – I just checked again and I don’t believe my state has done this. Pretty sure I need to be completely laid off instead of furloughed to claim Unemployment benefits, so I’ll push for that when I talk with my bosses.

    2. LW3_24March2020*

      LW3 here – I will ask about our unemployment insurance and whether or not myself and the other manager can be furloughed. Thank you for the advice about my work computer and stuff, that’s a good point about getting it in writing.

      I am already applying to other jobs just in case we do go out of business completely. And I’m applying for unemployment as soon as I can and won’t be “working” for the start up after that point.

  15. Lisa Large*

    LW2 what part of INFECTIOUS disease control do you not understand. “Healthy” people can be carriers of disease…. remember Typhoid Mary? Please just stay home for a while, this too shall pass.

  16. Alex*

    Despite the infectious disease that is going around, LW2’s idea of going over to the boss’s house has some issues. The biggest of which is setting professional boundaries with those you work with. This should be an absolutely not even if the WFH was based on fumigating the office or something else.

    1. WellRed*

      Except they likely can’t meet anywhere else but a private home. Let’s not overlook that things are weird now. However, I agree with everyone saying stay the hell home!

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        They don’t need to meet though. The OP is concerned with relationship building to the potential detriment of everyone else.

  17. George*

    I agree about bringing a chair home from the office… Especially if the office has been vacant for a few days so any lingering germs had a nice chance to die off. I check in about it first though.

    1. Annony*

      You’re still going to want to spray it down with clorox or something. They have found that coronavirus can survive for days on some surfaces.

  18. Rayray*

    I was laid off a couple weeks ago (not virus related) and I was super worried about being hired anytime soon. I had a successful phone interview on Monday and an interview with their team on Wednesday over a web meeting. I’m not sure what the actual plan is for hiring though. I don’t if it will be a delayed start or what. My state hasn’t shut down fully by government order, but I have a feeling it could happen soon. I’m also curious if April is too soon.

  19. Retail not Retail*

    Op2 – holler from the sidewalk “i’m still working! You still working?”

    Op3 – yes, they expect you to work with no pay

    Op5 – i’ve only seen one of my wfh friends in action and she moves all around the house, finding whatever seating arrangement works for her body and the cats. My other one whose arrangement I’ve seen in pics has the whole desk set up.

    But my friend here is hourly so she’ll work X hours in the morning, take a long break “off the clock”, record more hours in the afternoon and evening. While still being available for scheduled whatevers. If you’re working from home and your job wasn’t “answer emails/calls from 9-5” do you have to work 8 hours straight?

      1. OP two*

        OP 2 here – thanks for this! I’m officially offered as the punching bag for lots of fear and emotions for folks and a little laugh is exactly needed. My boss would probably die laughing too if I did that.

        And just to be clear with everyone… I had this passing thought on Friday afternoon and emailed it to an advice columnist. I am not going to my boss’s house and did not suggest it to her. I’ve been in my house for the last 10 days with only trips to the grocery and walks around the neighborhood.

        Remember, millenials are not on spring break at the beach, we are trying to teach our co-workers to Skype, get our parents to stay at home and homeschool our children. Those kids on the beach are Gen-Z.

        1. Retail not Retail*

          I understand a passing thought on Friday being caught as something bigger – and your question does have broader implications.

          It also helps other readers working from home come up with professional scripts about boundaries!

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Delivery services are enormously overloaded right now, so I’m not sure about that myself…

            1. Starbuck*

              Yeah, I’ve seen directives to actually not do that if you’re assuming you’re healthy so that those services can be available for the sick, elderly, disabled, immuno-compromised, and any others who absolutely cannot break quarantine.

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          I know a lot of the comments seem a bit harsh here for your passing thought, but just keep in mind that for advice columns like this the answers/comments are both for the person who wrote in *and* for other people who have the same or similar questions! And so many people (myself included!) are having these hopefully passing thoughts of “well maybe I could just…”, and then unfortunately quite a lot of people are still actually acting on these thoughts that should have passed. So it needs to be put out there in no uncertain terms for the benefit of everyone reading that this would not be a good idea.

          Hope you’re doing well and that your new job is going alright during this super awkward/scary time! I myself am hoping to start a new job soon and have been thinking a lot about how that might go down and how super weird it will be.

  20. WellRed*

    I love how OP 1 told her daughter’s employers it was their problem to deal with daughter (and I’m horrified if daughter is providing such horrible care). But I’m strangely disappointed that the question devolved into “is this legal” territory.

  21. Hello*

    #6 I work for a fortune 100 company and right now we have a hiring freeze at the corporate level…so I’m glad to hear not all companies are shutting down hiring

  22. Lyudie*

    #3 Please tell the staff about the situation ASAP if you haven’t already…maybe you already have, but you just mentioned conversations about how to tell folks. Please tell them so they can prepare as far in advance as possible. They might see it coming but uncertainty is awful, especially now.

    1. LW3_24March2020*

      The staff already know that this upcoming paycheck is their last from us, we’re just planning an email out to them with instructions/guidance for filing for unemployment benefits and to say thanks for working for us. Thank you for your concern though!

  23. Valentine Wiggin*

    L6 – Yes! Public accounting is still hiring. Large firms aren’t letting up, and even smaller firms are still putting out offers. The downside is that you’ll be working in public accounting, but the upside is you’ll be working.

  24. TimeTravelR*

    Similar to LW6, husband interviewed for a new position right before offices started full time telework in light of recent events. He was offered the position and was sent the new hire packet (background check paperwork, etc.) and things are progressing. They are still working, even if from home, and are proceeding with the hire. Depends on the industry I suppose but I know he, for one, is glad things haven’t slowed down his on boarding!

    1. Never Been There, Never Done That*

      Same for me-I was given a tentative offer by the Feds for a new job I really want. I am working on all that paperwork right now. I think I will be hired but I have to get a physical and some blood tests done before the final offer will be made. Who the hell knows when I will get that physical.

  25. Jim Bob*

    LW2: I’m going to make myself popular here and disagree with the majority. Even the CDC guidance doesn’t say to avoid all contact unless you’re showing symptoms or have been traveling. You’re not throwing a spring break party, you’re meeting one (1!) person once a week at a crucial time in your career. I say go for it.

    That said, inviting yourself to your boss’s house is weird. Maybe suggest a neutral site?

      1. Amy Sly*

        Provided a neutral site could be found open … I wonder if there’s like a nearby park or something where they could meet over a picnic table just to have an in person talk.

    1. Ms Mash*

      Curious what a neutral site you would suggest that would have no possiblity of virus transmission. Possibly a park? Nature preserve?

    2. Rayray*

      It is risky, but I agree that two people meeting isn’t the most dangerous thing to do right now. It is worth considering though if the boss has other people in the household who are either at high risk or have been made to go into their workplaces. Maybe even if the weather is nice and there’s a place to sit outside, it’s a little safer.

      I’d try to avoid it unless there is something critical that can’t wait or absolutely must be done by meeting in person, but if you must meet up, definitely take precautions like washing your hands and wiping down your phone and laptop with a disinfectant. Maybe even bring your own wipes so a table surface could be cleaned. Don’t touch, and then wipe everything again as soon as you’re out the door.

      1. valentine*

        isn’t the most dangerous thing to do right now
        Perhaps not for themselves, but it’s an unnecessary risk and thoroughly foolish, if not ultimately fatal for anyone. The fact there’s no good reason to do it is enough not to do it. And avoiding new people and environments is as critical as preserving distance, hence the orders to stay home, not to have a family or other reunion somewhere else.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        The problem is that if literally only two people in the whole world were meeting, sure that would probably be fine. But if *everyone* thinks to themselves “well it’s only two people” then you have lots of people meeting all over. Then some of the people from those meetings will go to the grocery store later. Then others might be even more reckless and go out somewhere and interact with a bunch of people.

        Any unnecessary contact with anyone adds unnecessary risk that can contribute to the virus growing exponentially. Don’t do it.

    3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      It may be only one person, but how do you know they have cleaned their house properly? The boss could live with several people, and one or more of those people are continuing to go out in public. Unless it is essential to living, we really need to stay home and limit our contact with others. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

    4. londonedit*

      No way. It’s not worth the risk. We’re now subject to ‘lockdown’ measures here in the UK, and they specifically state that you should not visit people in their homes, or meet up with people who are not part of your own immediate household. People may be thinking ‘Oh, but we don’t really have many cases here, it’s fine’ but that’s precisely how it spreads. Everyone thought it was ‘just in China’ to start with, didn’t they. And here, we’ve had people thinking it’s ‘just a problem in London’ because (obviously, it being the biggest city in the UK with a vast amount of transport links) London is the centre of the UK outbreak. But no, it’s not just a problem in London, or Italy, or New York, or anywhere else. It’s a problem everywhere.

      Everyone should be isolating themselves in their own homes and avoiding contact with other people as much as possible, even if the authorities where you live haven’t yet locked everything down. You are not immune.

    5. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      My current figuring is (or includes) that if you’ve been told to work from home for COVID-19 public health reasons, you shouldn’t be looking for loopholes. Your job either can be done remotely, or isn’t short-term essential (much as I would like to be able to get my hair cut).

      1. Jedi Squirrel*


        Jim Bob is (deliberately, perhaps) missing the point that this kind of contact would be inappropriate regardless of whether a quarantine is in place or not.

    6. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Hi Jim Bob, I think you are quoting old CDC guidance. Newer guidance is to avoid contact even if you are not showing symptoms, since you can be asymptomatic and still carry the virus and spread it to others.

    7. Annony*

      I don’t think the OP should be the one to suggest it. I would not be comfortable with someone asking to come to my house right now. If her boss suggested it, then maybe. But only if the rest of the household was also being diligent about social distancing. If anyone in either household is high risk, it isn’t worth it. If anyone in either household is working in healthcare or another essential field, it isn’t worth it. Overall it just doesn’t seem worth it.

    8. Turquoisecow*


      Even if both of you are asymptomatic, you could be sick. OP doesn’t mention if she or Boss lives with anyone but if they do, they’re putting those people at risk as well as themselves.

      Also, if they’re staying 6 feet apart, how useful is the training in person going to be?

  26. Blue Eagle*

    #1 – I think you are missing the point here. Your daughter lives at home with you, her managers are saying they are close to firing her and if they fire her she will be YOUR problem living at home with no job. They are giving you a heads up with something that will affect you if they fire her. And if you are OK with her being fired, well, that’s on you.
    By the way, I probably would agree with you if she didn’t live with you.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Actually you are missing the point here. The managers have no business ranting about her daughter’s performance at work. If they have reason to fire her, they should fire her. Mommy doesn’t need to be involved and whether daughter lives with OP or not is irrelevant.

    2. EPLawyer*

      If she wasn’t living at home and her roomates dropped by with something she forgot at home, would the managers have given the same barrage? I doubt it. This is poor managers who want mommy to solve their problem for them. It was not giving her a heads up. Besides, if they are really frustrated why should they care if she becomes someone else’s problem?

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      So…? It’s still not appropriate to complain to a mother about an adult child. If she does get fired, well, she gets fired, and THEN they deal with the fall-out. The mother’s home situation is none of the employer’s business.

    4. Observer*

      The OP is pretty explicit that they expected her to take care of daughter’s misbehavior. And that they were *offended* by her saying that this is their problem to deal with.

      If it were just about a “heads up”, they would have not gotten offended, they would have shrugged with a “whatever, we tried to help” attitude.

      1. Amy Sly*

        I don’t know, I could see being annoyed if the daughter has been causing problems by playing the “not my job” card when things were her job and then when you try to tell the mom how bad the problem is she turns around and plays the “not my job” card as well. No, it’s not OP1’s job to manage her by proxy for the day care center, but it was OP1’s job to raise a daughter with a work ethic.

        Seriously, OP seems remarkably cavalier about the fact her daughter is a terrible employee. Maybe it’s just my background, but I’d be dying of embarrassment if my work behavior was so bad someone complained to my mom. Sure, that should never happen, but because it should never happen, if it *did* you bet I’d either reform or quit to avoid showing my face there again.

        1. SomebodyElse*

          Obviously the daughter doesn’t have the same work ethic or ability as others since it’s not a secret to her that she’s not doing a good enough job (write ups and performance plans).

          Not the mom’s place to stick her nose in it. Nothing to point to Mom not doing their best to raise a work ethic child… at some point children grow up and are responsible for their actions.

        2. Observer*

          Really? The OP says that they would understand if they fired Daughter. That’s not cavalier.

          1. Amy Sly*

            I think we have different impressions of what cavalier means and what OP1’s comments about “glazing over” suggest about her attitude. OP1 seems to be saying “Oh, yeah, my daughter is a terrible employee. Go ahead and fire her; I don’t care.” Huh? I get a mom saying “Well, if that’s what you have to do to keep kids safe, then do it.” But OP1 seems to think that her inability to raise her daughter to be a decent employee is just no big deal. She’s 19; if she were in the military, she’d be old enough to kill people. She’s definitely old enough to have a work ethic if one was ever expected of her.

            1. Observer*

              The OP doesn’t have any comment at all about “her inability to raise her daughter to be a decent employee.” You also have no idea whether Mom did all the right things, all the wrong things or a mix.

              The bottom line is that the employer (or at least some of the supervisors) are trying to slough off their job onto Mom and are offended when she says that it’s not her job – and that she will NOT get in their way of doing whatever they feel they need to do!

              The assumption that Mom can and should do something at this point about her daughters (supposed) failings as an employee is not based on any facts or anything in the letter.

            2. DonnaMartinGraduates!*

              “But OP1 seems to think that her inability to raise her daughter to be a decent employee is just no big deal.”

              Yes, that’s the part that really bothered me (although I’ve come to agree with everyone that the managers should not be talking to the mother about their employee).

              1. Starbuck*

                What on earth is this attitude? Some people are gonna be bad fits for certain jobs, regardless of how they’re raised. That’s not a failure of LW’s. Holding parents accountable for a child’s behavior makes sense to a certain extent… but that’s more relevant for the parents of the actual toddlers and not the parent of someone who is now an adult and responsible for their own behavior!

        3. Betty (the other betty)*

          She’s 19. She’s old enough to learn that her actions and sub-par work performance have consequences. And those consequences should come from the workplace.

          If the daughter/employee is causing health and safety violations, the managers are responsible to deal with the problem employee and make sure there are no more health and safety violations. That’s their job. If they don’t address the problems, they could be in serious trouble with the state licensing authorities.

          It’s not the mother’s job. Maybe the mother tried to instill a good work ethic in her child. Maybe she didn’t. It doesn’t matter! The child grew up to an age at which the parents are no longer responsible for her.

          If my son’s boss came to me with similar complaints, my reaction would be the same. “Why are you telling me this? You need to address the problems with your employee. Do what you need to do.” I hope my son would learn a lesson from effective management and even from losing a job, if it came to that. (And better to learn a lesson at 19 than when he’s older.)

        4. SarahTheEntwife*

          But it literally *isn’t* the LW’s job to manage her daughter’s work. It is the daughter’s managers’ job. Sure, raising a responsible kid is part of parenting, but there’s a reason the disaffected/rebellious teen/20-something is a trope! Or maybe this is just a terrible fit for her and her managers aren’t giving her appropriate guidance at how to get better (if they’re that upset, they need to just fire her and be done with it). In neither case is it the LW’s problem.

    5. Jedi Squirrel*

      Add twenty years to everybody’s age and see if your answer still makes sense.

      This issue is about boundaries, not doing the parent a favor. If they really wanted to do OP a favor like this, they could have called her.

      1. KC without the sunshine band*

        The age doesn’t matter. If an employer knows the person lives with their parents, many employers feel like it’s okay to contact the parents for help managing the employee, like it must be some detriment in parenting that created their problem.
        After my stepson got out of college, he stayed with us for a while. His boss called my husband about how many times he was coming in late. He was 24 years old. And after he moved in with a roommate, that roommate would call my husband if my stepson was late with the rent money. It’s ridiculous that people think parents should be still actively parenting beyond 18 years of age. And what’s worse than that is the number of parents who happily do it, thinking they are “needed” when they are handicapping their children for life.

        1. Mia*

          I mean, age is definitely a factor. It’s inappropriate for any boss to call an employee’s parent to report performance issues, but I highly doubt someone would do that to a 44 year old, rather than a 24 year old.

    6. Great Grey Owl*

      What makes you think that daughter will listen to the mother instead of writing her off as being a “nag?” Maybe the daughter needs adult world consequence for her behavior to help her learn and grow.

      1. Great Grey Owl*

        What makes you think that daughter will listen to the mother instead of writing her off as being a “nag?” Maybe the daughter needs an adult world consequence for her behavior to help her learn and grow.

  27. GigglyPuff*

    Ugh the chairs! Our work made it clear what we could take home, basically mice and keyboards, nothing else. My back and neck were killing me after one day in my kitchen chair. I never realized how good my office chair was until now (and how expensive it probably was–was in the office when I started). I did some research, wanted a chair with movable arms because I didn’t know how tall my kitchen table was (obviously wasn’t at home). Found my magical unicorn at Staples, who was/is having a sale, got mine for $80. Is it the best, nope, there were definitely more comfortable chairs calling my name, but I could just barely afford it. It’s been so much nicer.

  28. K*

    LW1- seriously? The daughter is working in a daycare and if I read that correctly is not taking proper care of toddlers! That is a big deal. It isn’t just a regular job you are taking care of some of the most vulnerable people. There are studies saying the most important age is 0-3. I agree that they should manage your daughter and quite frankly fire her! And maybe you should tell her to stop working with children. If she is doing all these things in the toddler room then she should be fired. I am also disappointed with the LWs response to how this isn’t her problem. Your daughter who YOU raised isn’t taking care of toddlers properly. This just isn’t some job sitting at a computer all day. Alison I’m also a little disappointed in your answer.

    The daycare should clearly fire her but if they won’t maybe the mom should push the daughter into doing something else. Look at all the cases where daycare workers have been charged because of how they treated children under their care. FIRE the daughter!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      But it’s not. It’s still between the daycare and the daughter. You might just as well criticize the parents of the daycare managers for raising a bunch of wimps who aren’t prioritizing the kids’ safety, either, since they’re not unloading a negligent employee.

    2. MOAS*

      Na. It’s not the parents fault their kid is a bad employee. The letter isn’t’ talking about serious abuse cases, and if that were the case it would have come across in the letter. In fact I think the mom’s response is so refreshing as we’re used to seeing more of the helicopter-parenting style. What are the daycare managers there for if not to make sure the children are being taken care of properly? The managers truly dropped the ball on this.

    3. Observer*

      Why is this something for the OP to deal with? If the people who ACTUALLY have responsibility for these kids can’t be bothered, what do you think Mom can really do? Ground her?

  29. Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

    #6. I work for an insurance carrier. We are hiring. Just had someone start Monday.

  30. DarnTheMan*

    Adding to #6 – my work just brought two new people on as of Monday! Granted the interview process started before we shut our offices down but they’ll just be joining us from home for the time being. And I know we had two other positions that were just entering the interview stage; our HR team is coordinating with directors for the corresponding departments to host Skype interviews with the candidates.

    1. A Simple Narwhal*

      My friend just got a job offer yesterday! So things are definitely still turning in some places.

  31. AyBeeCee*

    “People will die because other people aren’t taking this seriously. Stay home.”

    Thank you for saying this so bluntly Alison!

    1. JM60*

      Seriously. The San Francisco Bay Area and New York both had COVID-19 cases starting about the same time, but New York’s spread rate has been MUCH worse because Bay Area tech companies started to close their offices. People tend to underestimate exponential growth.

      Comparison graph:

      Empty San Francisco train station during morning rush hour on March 9:

  32. Dust Bunny*

    OP2: STAY HOME! Ask your boss if she wants to Skype or wants an email check in, but for the love of all that is holy do not meet in person. That is literally the opposite of “social distancing”.

    1. Mama Bear*

      AGREED. There are many jobs where you only see your team remotely. I worked FT remote a few years ago and my last job had a guy that was not only remote, but in another time zone. Do NOT go to her house. Keep talking on Skype, use video for meetings, etc. but do not go to her house. You are all WFH for a reason!

  33. Self-professed Slob*

    I’m wondering re OP1 – and this is definitely my own experiences/cultural background colouring this. There are very good reasons I do not work with young kids, but if I did and something like this happened to me and my mom I know my mom would take it as a personal failing because she hadn’t “taught” me how to clean/sanitize and care for children well enough. It is all very problematic and very gendered etc. But is it possible that the daughter’s managers were somehow trying to shame OP1/otherwise view it as her “fault” as a mom for not instilling these things in her daughter?

    Of course it doesn’t change the advice, just adds another dimension to the unprofessionalism.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      It’s the daycare’s job to teach the daughter how they want things done. I’m going to assume that cleaning at the daycare level is a step or two up from cleaning at the usual household level (I’ve worked in both food service and in veterinary hospitals and the rules for “clean” are definitely amped up for both of those). It’s on her bosses to train her and then hold her to it.

      1. TootsNYC*

        agree. but I think Self-possessed Slob has a bit of a point; there often is an assumption that girl children will just know certain things because they’re girls, and their moms should teach them.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          . . . which still does not absolve the managers from, well, managing. And she may well be cleaning at a level that’s fine for at-home, but not for daycare, in which case it was never the LW’s job to teach her daycare-level cleaning.

        2. Observer*

          Which leads to the rest of her point, which is that if this is at play here, the managers are even worse than they seem at first glance.

    2. MOAS*

      That’s exactly what I was thinking but couldn’t really verbalize it. Thats what it came across to me.

    3. Mia*

      I definitely think the cultural and gender dynamic you’re talking about is at play here. I live in a conservative area where it’s really common for young women to see childcare jobs as the default career path and it results in a lot of them finding out the hard way that it’s not the right field for them. I’m wondering if the same kind of thing is happening with LW’s daughter.

    4. Starbuck*

      Then the managers would be sexist on top of not doing their job as mangers! Doesn’t help. Assuming it’s a mom’s job to teach her daughter to take care of children, and if daughter isn’t perfect in this regard it’s therefore a personal failing of the mother…. just a whole lotta yikes there.

  34. Robbenmel*

    Re: Office setups
    Last night, a good friend posted the exchange she had with her hubby. They are both now wfh:
    Friend’s hubby: I see you are all set up in the dining room. I guess I’ll set up at the kitchen table.
    Friend: No! That’s where I do my devotionals and pay bills.
    Friend’s hubby: So, I’ll go upstairs to (formerly child’s room.)
    Friend: No! That’s where I’m doing my crafting.
    Friend’s Hubby: Guest room?
    Friend: No, that’s where I…well, I guess you can have the guest room.
    She included pics of her stuff set up in all the locations. Girl was on it! lol

    1. Alexandra Lynch*

      We are currently househunting, and I had to explain to the realtor, “It’s like this. There are three of us. Master bedroom for Boyfriend and I, must be big enough to take our queen bed. Second bedroom for sister, who lives with us. (Actually my girlfriend, but one has to closet in these situations, and she knows and approves.) She also has a queen bed. Third bedroom so that I have A Room Of My Own (in which I sew and craft and do various things that are not helped by feline assistance) , and we need a home office or fourth bedroom we can make a home office.” And this is non-negotiable. He runs his own consulting business on the side as well as doing data architecture as a full-time job. Man has to have an office that isn’t the dining room table.

    2. James*

      My wife does this on occasion, and it is infuriating. I work out of town a lot, so I get that the house is going to be set up to match what works best for her–but it occasionally gets to a point where “works best for her” trumps “works best for US” badly enough that we get into an argument over it. I mean, it’s my house too, in theory, but when all my stuff is hidden away and boxed up in storage, it sends the message, in big red neon letters, “NOT WELCOME HERE”.

      I have seen many, many marriages sink because of this sort of thing. After a while you start to feel like you’re not welcome in your own home, and you start to wonder if fighting for any say in how your home is arranged is worth it. If it gets bad enough, the answer is, many people decide it’s NOT worth it.

      I mean, imagine if the roles were reversed. We’d consider the husband a Neolithic jerk.

      Obviously, of course, it all depends on the relationship between the spouses. If they are the type where such banter is the norm, it may be no big deal (my maternal grandparents were like that). But there is another side, and I’d be willing to make a descent wager that the husband doesn’t consider this as cute a story as the wife does.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        Yeah, this doesn’t read as ‘cute’ to me. Everyone’s got to give a little right now, and Friend doesn’t get three spots while Husband has to work in the guest room, which sounds like the least suitable option for WFH.

  35. redcybra*

    OP #1, if your daughter’s employers cant or wont manage her, maybe you should tell them about this really great website called It has all the information they need to do their jobs! With books and everything! (sarc off)

    Really, this may be just another case of they don’t know how to manage and hate to fire people. But they will have their butts in slings if a child gets injured while the daughter is on duty. And asking you to step in in really inappropriate. If multiple write-ups and disciplinary actions aren’t working, fire her.

  36. Rallid*

    A suggestion for #2 – maybe set up a regular ‘coffee break’ skype call with your boss to just chit chat for 5 or 10 minutes a few times a week? That might help you both start to build that professional relationship, outside of team calls.

  37. A Simple Narwhal*

    LW1, thank you so much for telling your daughter’s employers that managing her is their job. Years ago I worked for my uncle, and he used to tell my mom (his sister) about things he was unhappy about with me. Not only was this incredibly unprofessional, there were several layers of management between me and him and his information was always out of date and usually incorrect. That job sucked enough as is, but the there was nothing better than getting an angry/stressed call from my mom about something that not only had been handled days ago but was based on misinformation. I wish she had told him what you told them.

    1. TootsNYC*

      right! So instead of home, and mom, being a refuge from the world, and from work, you had work invading home and adding stress.

      It’s the same thing with kids in school. I tried very hard to not be the one to punish my kids for infractions at school; that was the school’s role.
      My role was to help them cope with having gotten in trouble, and to coach them through solving the underlying problem.

      One thing that resulted in–my kids never hid their problems from me.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        “My role was to help them cope with having gotten in trouble, and to coach them through solving the underlying problem.”

        Quoth my dad: The school’s job is to teach you how to follow orders, my job is to teach you how to be a functional human being.

  38. Applesauced*

    OP 2 – since you live near your boss, you could suggest a 6-feet-away-at-all-times walk around the neighborhood.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

      The six-foot rule is for intermittent contact: in line at the grocery store, passing each other on the sidewalk, etc. A walk around the neighborhood like this is not in the spirit of social distancing.

      But the more important point still stands: OP does not need any in-person contact with her boss. It’s called WFH for a reason.

      1. Talking from Really Far Away*

        This is actually not correct. Social distancing is meant to apply when spending a significant amount of time in close contact with others. The point is to reduce contact with droplets of moisture that emanate from other people when they sneeze, cough, or even spit while speaking. Social distancing is required when there is a chance that you might be near someone long enough and close enough that they may inadvertently cast microscopic droplets of moisture on you. There is no identifiable risk of this happening when passing someone on a sidewalk.

        Here is what the CDC says on the matter:

        “No identifiable risk: Interactions with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection that do not meet any of the high-, medium- or low-risk conditions above, such as walking by the person or being briefly in the same room.” I’ll reply to this comment with a full link.

        If, for some reason, someone wanted to take a walk with someone else and they stayed 6 feet apart from each other, that would indeed be within the spirit of social distancing.

        It is important that we be cautious. It is also important that we not be panicky. Many of us are old enough to remember the panic when HIV was new and people were afraid of being in the same room with an AIDS patient. Obviously, COVID-19 is much easier to catch, but it still obeys the laws of physics and science.

        All that said, yeah, it’s still weird to want to go to your boss’s house.

        1. Jim Bob*

          Thank you. I feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone; the entire internet is suggesting the WHO and CDC aren’t cautious enough, and they know better. It’s anti-vax in reverse.

  39. MOAS*

    #6 is a ray of light. Thank you for including this. I started working on my resume yesterday and have a lead so I am not panicking as much but still stressed and worried about this, esp since I’ll be going on leave in August (iA) and I feel like that’s a strike against me.

  40. Shramps*

    1. They’re telling you, but it’s not your business. Why are you going to her work just to chat anyway? There seems to be more than one boundary being crossed here.

    2. Don’t ask to meet up- if your boss is worried about it they will bring it up.

    1. BananaSalamander*

      This is exactly what I was thinking. If my mom drops by my workplace, it better be darn important – too important for her to stop and ask the office staff how things are going. Anything less than that should be a text that can be checked at break time. Doesn’t excuse the employers’ behavior, but still not Mom necessarily treating her kid like an adult in the workplace.

  41. StaceyIzMe*

    For LW1- It’s ridiculous that they would complain to you instead of allowing your daughter’s performance to remain an internal issue! That said- it’s not unusual for service organizations (restaurant, preschool, retail and similar) to have less-than-effective management. With your daughter, though, maybe the bigger picture is how she is (or isn’t) launching into her first job? If this is out of character for her, she might need to be screened for depression. If it isn’t out of character, she might benefit from some parental (in addition to managerial) guidance. In any case, if she’s had multiple safety violations and works around children, it doesn’t say much about her judgement. (Or that of the managers who apparently haven’t impressed upon her the need to comply with the standards in question.) People usually act out for a reason. In your shoes, I’d be curious to find out what that reason is and move to deal with it.

    1. TootsNYC*

      and if I felt I needed to act, I’d be acting as a mom who is concerned for her daughter’s well-being.

      Emotional and psychological, mostly, then in terms of “executive function” and “launching skills.”

    2. Starbuck*

      I think going all the way to suggesting a mental health diagnosis rather than just daughter possibly being immature or a poor fit for the job is way beyond what the scope of the question warrants. Wow. If daughter was working in a restaurant and not properly meeting food safety guidelines, and the managers tried to deal with it like this, would your response be the same?

    3. Mia*

      Assuming this is a mental health issue feels like a leap. Professional childcare is overwhelming in a way many people, especially young people without a ton of work experience, often underestimate. The simplest explanation here is that LW’s daughter isn’t very good at her job and should probably consider a different path. Also, being bad at your job isn’t “acting out.” That’s a really infantilizing way to talk about a young adult.

  42. TootsNYC*

    how awful–to be struggling at work, and being criticized and pressured, and then to ALSO get that same treatment inside your family, for the exact same thing.

    When my kids got in trouble at school, I tried very hard to not dwell on it at home.

    Because home is supposed to be where you go for support as you struggle with work!

    It’s really inappropriate for them to try to invade the daughter’s “refuge” with more pressure about work.

  43. TootsNYC*

    “I love this work and I’d come back in a heartbeat, but I’m not in a position where I can keep working while missing paychecks. If that’s the situation, I’d need to be laid off with the others so I can collect unemployment and look for other full-time work.”

    You do not need to be officially laid off; you don’t need an official letter or statement from the employer.

    If they don’t pay you, you qualify for unemployment; that’s about as “constructive dismissal” as it is possible to get. Right behind it is having your hours cut.

  44. SereneScientist*

    LW#4 here, thanks for the advice Alison! :)

    One of the folks I forwarded the message to emailed later yesterday to say he’d be following up with my friend so that was very nice! I think I will just go ahead and send her a thank you note for contacting me and cross my fingers that the project goes through.

  45. 3DogNight*

    To EVERYONE, and the letter about the office chair. The entire world, the whole world, is trying to get work from home set up for their employees right now. There are shortages of everything related to work from home. Computers, docks, monitors, desks, printers, chairs. Please be patient with your vendors and employers as they work through this. It’s not ideal, we know. But it will improve over time.
    That being said, I think a lot of companies are going to be more WFH friendly after this.

  46. Bookworm*

    I just want to add to #6: Yes. My org is going to have a new person start next week, job postings are still ongoing and our org’s head said there’s no reason not to continue the hiring process (which began long before this poop hit). We’re still working out exactly how the hiring process will go, as they shut the office down and everything will have to be done virtually. But we’re still hiring.

    The org’s head said that if anything, it’s even better to look for candidates because of the timing. So I would encourage people to go ahead, follow-up, apply, give it a shot. You never know. Just remember it may take a little longer since people are still trying to figure out exactly how to address this and are likely dealing with other work priorities as well as children/pets/family members, grocery shopping, other errands, etc.

    Good luck!!!

  47. Employment Lawyer*

    1. My daughter’s managers complained to me about her work
    My guess is that your daughter is recalcitrant and/or incompetent; that they are trying to AVOID firing your daughter; that they thought you’d share the same goal; and that they thought you might help.

    If you don’t want to have your daughter get fired, you can intervene. If you don’t care, drop it.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      It’s not LW’s job to do so. The kid is 19; time to learn from her mistakes. Better now, when she’s living at home, than five years later when she’s in an apartment and may really struggle with a job loss.

      1. Zona the Great*

        Yes. The best lesson OP can teach daughter will come as a result of staying out of it and expecting her to continue to honor her commitments at home (rent, chores, being out of the house for X hours / day, etc).

    2. TootsNYC*

      also, trying to be the boss AND the mom can really mess up the mom relationship!!

      I’ve screwed up royally in my work life. If I thought I couldn’t go to my mom for comfort because SHE would scold me to…well, I might not be typing this today.

      1. James*

        This drove my father and grandfather apart. Dad worked for his dad, and any minor disagreement (not even screw-ups, but reasonable differences of opinion) was discussed ad nauseum at family gatherings. Them being old-school construction folks, “discussion” is a polite euphemism; swearing, throwing things at each other, that sort of thing. It got bad enough that they just stopped interacting outside of work hours. Even more fun, they lived within easy walking distance of one another. Made life very difficult for everyone involved, including the kids.

    3. Observer*

      You’re making a lot of assumptions here.

      The most important fact-free assumption here is that Mom can intervene and keep daughter from getting fired. The next most important one is that the only reason for Mom to not intervene is because she doesn’t care.

      Maybe that would be true for YOU. And maybe it would be a good idea for Mom to have a chat with daughter (or not….), but neither of those are remotely relevant to your assumptions.

    4. Starbuck*

      A 19 year old getting fired from a job they’re a bad fit for, while still having the safety net of living at home, is not the worst thing that could happen. I think the mom trying to intervene to “help” her daughter would actually be worse.

  48. Bunny Girl*

    On number 6, should you reach out to ask an organization if they are still hiring? I applied at a vet’s office last week, but it was right before everything starting shutting down around here. I know they are still open, but taking patients as emergency only. I wasn’t sure if they were still hiring or not.

    1. Krabby*

      If you’ve already applied, I’d leave it (take Alison’s advice and assume you didn’t get the position as soon as the application is submitted). However, if you are applying to something and the ad is more than a week old, in this case I think you can safely reach out and ask (only once, and probably via email).

  49. revueller*

    LW5 – I’d worked from home somewhat before COVID-19 hit and had some warning from our office before we started mandatory WFH. I used that time to advocate for the company paying for a home office chair for me because I knew I had no options that would support 8 hours of continuous computer work 5 days a week.

    My company is a privately-funded startup that just got an infusion of investment right before the office closed. However, they really don’t believe in WFH unless it’s necessary and they don’t want to encourage spaces for that, so the company refused to pay for my chair.

    A week later, our COO complained in a company stand-up about his back going out because his chairs at home were awful and not supportive. SURPRISE SURPRISE. I was tempted to forward him a link to the chair I bought, but I held off.

    Point is, your employer absolutely SHOULD pay for your chair and anything else they need, but they might not. If they don’t, you’ll need to be prepared for other options. (Especially since the shipping is very delayed right now depending on where you are). I definitely recommend Alison’s script. Best of luck, hope you get a chair soon.

  50. Cass*

    Serious question for LW # 1: Why are you stopping by your daughter’s place of work? Can you not call/text/email/fax/send carrier pigeon? Assuming it wasn’t an emergency, which it doesn’t sound like based on the tone of your letter.

    I realize this is off topic and may get deleted and that’s fine, but if I had kids in that daycare I would be unnerved by random people stopping in where my kids are (you are indeed random as you do not work there and assuming you do not have any of your own children there being cared for).

  51. New Jack Karyn*

    Everyone saying the OP should not have dropped by–the Why didn’t you just call? folks–the managers of the place did not think it strange. They did not tell OP not to do this again. They seem to be concerned about the safety of their charges, but not about these drop-ins. That tells me that the set-up of the place means that casual drop-ins aren’t near the kids. Maybe it’s a lobby, or an office entrance.

    But it’s not the point of the letter, and it’s not the issue here.

    1. valentine*

      the managers of the place did not think it strange.
      They thought it appropriate to air the daughter’s workplace laundry to her parent, so, you can’t go by them.

  52. AL (the other one)*

    LW5, check out AMZ or similar for memory foam cushions.

    I had a numb bum after 1 week of sitting on my dining room chair and I can’t afford to buy an office chair.
    I ordered a shaped cushion and it is amazing, for £20, well worth it…

  53. Ewesername*

    LW#6….thank you. That’s exactly what I needed to hear today. My manufacturing job of ten years evaporated yesterday. My poor boss is heartbroken but doesn’t want to completely lose the business. We’re all hoping we can go back, but I know I need something in the meantime.
    Thank you for offering hope

  54. Nacho*

    LW#1: The same thing happened to my little brother when he was working at our local vet clinic. It was all sorts of weird when they called us asking us to talk with him.

    1. Batgirl*

      Personally, I find it super creepy. Like if they’ve decided to treat someone like a school child and ‘call home’ on them, then that means they have decided to help.. raise them?
      Also they’ve decided there’s some merit in keeping on a person whose behaviour is too-young, unsavvy and unfamiliar with professional norms. I wonder what that could be?

  55. WantonSeedStitch*

    OP#5, I sit in a dining room chair (hard, wood, uncomfortable for a whole day) to work. I ended up buying a seat cushion on Amazon–the kind that is designed for office chairs or car seats to help ease pressure on your tailbone. I use that in combination with a throw pillow behind me for lumbar support, and the difference is enormous. The seat cushion was about $25, which I was fine with paying for myself–I intend to bring it with me when I’m on long car rides in the future!

  56. hkcroadie*

    Longtime lurker here. Regarding LW1, I never do this, but…

    I think this letter was written by the daughter. The focus on “this is illegal”, and the hope that there’s somehow a law that will prevent her mother from interfering in her life, feels very teenaged-employee to me. I think the daughter was hoping that, even if it wasn’t illegal, she’d get some validation for her feelings that her mom had violated her privacy.

    Admittedly, I’m baffled as to why the daughter would go out of her way to tell us about the violations for which she’s been written up. Possibly she wants us to see that if she’s done these bad things at her job but hasn’t yet been fired, these things aren’t really that bad, and therefore they couldn’t possibly be bad enough that her employer was justified in tattling to her mother about them.

    1. Tinker*

      I mean, okay, but she would *correctly* get validation for her feelings that her mother had violated her privacy if her mother’s actual reaction was to do that, and *correctly* hear that her manager was not justified in tattling to her mother.

    2. Batgirl*

      Her employer isn’t justified in tattling on their employees to relatives or any other private citizen. It’s very wrong!
      So if it is the daughter she can come right out and get that validation as herself.
      I say this as a reporter who loves to blow up wrongdoing and would absolutely put a dangerous day care worker on the front page (If that’s even happening; I don’t find these managers’ professional opinion credible).
      But her managers have a professional responsibility; to either fire her or train her and to do so confidentially.

  57. Intel Analyst Shell*

    LW6 – I think its is entirely based on the need and industry. I had two interviews scheduled for last week that were both cancelled with a “we have no idea when we’ll reschedule”, one for a public university and the other with a private company. My current job, with the state, is still doing phone interviews and just hired someone with a start date of April 13.

  58. I just can't take it anymore*

    #1. Safety issues could be anything from neglecting to log in that she’s done a count of kids in the room every half hour, to not tracking the kids at all, or leaving them unattended while she goes in the restroom.

    Not properly sanitizing the room could be that she doesn’t do the constant wipedowns of surfaces and kids.

    Due to the fact that the “managers” are unprofessionally and unethically complaining to a staff member’s mother, I wonder if they’re not managing their day care very well. About six months ago the new school year started: did a bunch of younger kids come into her room? Even if the daycare is keeping proper ratios of staff to toddlers (as according to state/local regulations), if she’s got a bunch of young toddlers, it might be difficult to keep on top of everything. Daycares run short staffed and staff aren’t very well paid, and if the director/manager isn’t very good or well liked, it’s hard to keep good staff – they’ll go elsewhere.

    Maybe they just got audited and the daughter didn’t have her task sheets for the room signed off. (Doesn’t mean she didn’t do it, just that she didn’t record it). Who knows what really happened? I’m not saying that this isn’t the 19 yo’s fault but before you bash her about being horrible and not keeping the toddlers clean or safe, just consider other possibilities.

  59. Ollie*

    My husband worked for a company that when times got tight they would pay the front line employees but not the managers. They always caught up in a couple weeks, until they didn’t. When they were three paychecks late my husband quit. Actually he went into the office and said pay me or lay me off and never went back. I filed for his unemployment that day and it turns out that not getting paid on time is a valid and immediately accepted qualification for unemployment. It’s also illegal, at least in Florida. You may not need to go that route but if it gets dicey you don’t need them to formally lay you off.

  60. Fellow Boot Fancier*

    OP#1: WAY TO GO!! You are the kind of parent more kids need! They were out of line and clearly not managing your daughter. Your daughter needs to manage her own work performance and if she isn’t motivated to do it for the kids’ sake, then she needs a new line of work. And by telling her managers to fire her if she isn’t meeting standards, well, yeah! Sounds like you have the best business sense of all of them. This is real life. This is the best time ever for her to learn to take work SOP’s seriously because getting fired while she is still this young, and still has a safe place to land, that is something that will help her hold a job in the future.

  61. Pomona Sprout*

    I just want to say that I missed one of the commas the first time I read the title of this post. I thought it said, “my daughter’s manager complained to me about her weekly meetings at my boss’s house, and more,” and was quite confuzzled for a moment there. Then I had a good laugh at myself! :-D

  62. Shiloh*

    Hello, this is OP from question 1 regarding my daughter’s managers complaining to me. I appreciate everyone’s feedback on the matter but it also appears that I should clarify a few things. I didn’t think these details were necessary when I wrote the question but now I see I should have been more clear. 1. I am not in a habit of stopping by my daughter’s work to “chat.” I had borrowed her car earlier that day as mine was in the shop and I dropped in simply to return the key to her and let her know where I had parked it. I’ve never dropped in to see her at any other time. 2. The reason the managers know me on sight was because I work for a finance company (think Edward Jones just on a smaller scale) and last year, through my company, I had given a presentation and consultations with the management team and interested staff regarding setting up IRA accts that the owner wanted to offer to her long term employees. So yes, because of this they certainly knew who I was. 3. Of course, I “care” about my daughter’s safety/sanitation violations (as much as any sane person would). Her father and I certainly did not raise her to be so shoddy in her work. I certainly care enough that had I been the owner, i would have fired her long before this for such violations. However, I feel it’s neither my job nor my place to handle it, it is theirs. And they need to do their jobs. One commenter was very accurate in her/his suggestion that the owner might have been present for the complaint session. Indeed she was. She, the manager and the assistant manager were all there for this. So hope that makes the situation clearer and thanks to everyone for weighing in.

  63. SoftwareNerdGirl*

    Re: LW#6 – I had been in the process of interviewing since mid-January for a great opportunity with a company that is big step up for me and something I’m truly excited about being a part of. The new company has been committed to going forward, even under the extremely challenging circumstances, and made me a formal offer in the past week. I am on excellent terms with my current manager and company, and given the situation, they were very understanding that I would only provide about 1.5 weeks’ notice in order start with the new company as soon as possible. Both companies have been very accommodating and understand it is best for me to get established and covered by benefits and insurance with the new company very quickly. I’ve found somewhat less understanding and criticism from certain friends and colleagues about not providing at least the standard full two week’s notice. Ultimately, I am grateful to be in good health and have this opportunity when so many others are losing their jobs and livelihoods.

  64. Janet*

    LW#1: I agree the managers crossed a professional line, but I think they did you a favor. You now know that (1) your daughter is about to be fired, and (2) you need to talk to your daughter about employers’ expectations and standards. Nineteen is still very young. I’m thankful my mom had the talk with me all through my wild twenties. She helped me become a much better employee. (Thanks, Mom!)

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