a helicopter parent, is a 50% raise possible, and more

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

1. A helicopter parent is interfering with my tutoring sessions

I’m a tutor at a private center, and a while back we moved to online sessions due to covid. This is fine as I still love my job and most of my students are a joy to work with.

However, the mother of one of my students (let’s call her Lisa) is constantly hovering over her daughter (Jane) as I teach her. This never used to happen in person, as the parents would normally drop their kids off for us to teach. But Lisa is directly sitting beside Jane the entire time she is working, and cutting her and myself off to butt in. I often feel like I’m teaching her instead of Jane. It’s gotten to the point that Lisa turns on the camera and often moves it away from her daughter, and is the only person on screen. The other day I was explaining a concept to Jane, and at the end I asked, “Did that make sense, do you have any questions?” like I normally do, and Jane said that she understood the concept. Then Lisa looked at her accusingly and said, “Do you REALLY understand?” and Jane seemed caught off guard and started questioning herself. Also, I teach multiple students at a time, and when I need to go check in on the other student, Lisa prevents me from doing so.

Should I bring this up to my boss? I’ve known him for years and he’s wonderful to work with, but I’m not sure anything can be done because Jane is getting taught at home. It’s not like we can directly prevent Lisa from interfering, even though parents aren’t really supposed to. I understand Lisa just wants her daughter to be receiving the best tutoring possible, but at the same time, I really wish Lisa would stop hovering over Jane the entire time, because it creates a really uncomfortable environment for both me and Jane.

Talk to your boss! At a minimum he needs to know that Lisa is preventing you from checking on other students, and he may have input about how to handle the situation more generally. He might also be willing to talk with Lisa about what’s going on or empower you to. For example, could one of you tell Lisa that tutoring sessions will generally more effective one-on-one, or at least ask what’s making her want to sit in?

But even if he has nothing useful to offer, it’s good for him to be aware of what’s happening — in case Lisa complains at some point, or in case this is part of a broader trend with parents he should know about, or even just so he has context about a impediment you’re facing in doing your job.

2. Is a 50% raise possible?

I work in a field that has suddenly seen high demand (due to COVID-19, but will likely see high demand for the next decade at least). When I was hired, I was unemployed and didn’t have many options, but I lucked into a job that from a work perspective, I love. I have amazing coworkers, and the job itself is awesome.

When I was hired, I was making a little under market rate and now, with some important staffing losses, I am doing the job of someone two levels above me and being paid under market rate such that in order to get me at market rate (for the promotion I have been promised) I would need a 50% raise. However, due to COVID and the fact we are owned by a company that doesn’t like to give raises, I’m trying to decide what is reasonable. To be frank, I love the job and would like to stay, but I’m at an age where I’m locking in my earnings trajectory and it’s getting embarrassing (not to mention the optics to younger colleagues who see me as one of the very few women in our STEM based field). I am also very, very good at my job. I can make the argument for a 50% raise in terms of client engagement, product, and the fact that I’m on a number of company wide strategy initiatives with the C-suite, despite my entry level status. To be blunt, they are getting the milk for free, and they know it. I’m getting advice from a newcomer to the company to go out and get a competing offer, which feels gross (and you’ve spoken about) but I’d rather just know that they either will or won’t pay me what I’m worth, and make a decision from there. Am I being naive? Shooting myself in the foot? Or is a 50% raise something that is is within the wide range of possible?

Well … typically it’s difficult to get a 50% raise from your current employer. Not impossible, but rare. It’s frustrating, because often a company would pay $X to hire someone external, but will resist paying $X to someone internal who moves into the job if that’s much higher than the internal person was earning previously. Some companies even have rules about the maximum increase you can get in any one move. It’s bizarre and unfair, it perpetuates salary inequities, and it means people often feel they have to leave the company entirely to get what they’re worth.

That doesn’t mean you can’t try for it, armed with market info on what they’d need to pay to hire from the outside. And if they say no, then you’ll have know what is and isn’t possible for you there and can make decisions accordingly. In some cases there can be value in doing the job at the lower salary so you’ve got it on your resume and can then parlay it into a better job somewhere else — but you obviously have to balance that against the unfairness of it.

3. Juggling school and managing a team

Last year, my employer offered to pay in full for me to get a graduate degree through a local university. It’s been great and I’ve been learning a ton. I only have about 16 more weeks of active school time over the next several months, so the end is in sight. However, also in the past year, my team size has grown and their individual project loads have increased while timelines have decreased.

Unfortunately, this semester and the next one are the most intense. So between the workload and the school load, I’m kind of drowning. I’m spending all of my time outside of work on school stuff and even some of my actual work time (with the approval of my manager).

I know that I can make it through, but my concern is for my team. I’ve always prided myself on trying to be a good manager, but lately I’ve felt adequate at best. There have been times a team member has asked me to help take care of something and I’ve forgotten to do it until they followed up on it. I used to try to be looking five steps ahead on all of their projects, but lately I’m one step ahead at best. And I used to try to keep track of their goals and make sure I was creating opportunities for them to move forward on longer-term career goals, but I haven’t had a chance to do that at all this semester.

My bandwidth is past its maximum just between school and the core of my role. Knowing this isn’t a forever issue, how can I be better serving my team right now? I can tell sometimes that they’re frustrated when I don’t have the same level of feedback on things that I used to. I want to make sure that I’m still being a good manager, but there are literally not enough hours in the day to do it all.

Have you spelled this out for them? If not, that’s one of the most important things you can do right now. Explain what’s going on, name the impact you’ve seen it have, explain that it’s only for four more months, and ask them to bear with you until then. You could also ask them to prioritize for you what’s most important to them to get your focus on right now so that you’re spending your limited time on the things with the biggest pay-off for their work (subject to your own judgment as well, of course).

People are usually much more patient when they understand what’s going on and know how long to expect it to continue.

4. Why would an employer freeze PTO accrual?

My (nonprofit) employer recently announced that it will suspend PTO and sick leave accrual if our city announces a second mandatory shutdown that affects our site. Our sector has been decimated by the shutdowns in general, but we have a protected revenue stream that has sheltered us thus far. We’re basically okay but also on a strict austerity budget. Management has offered no rationale for suspending leave accrual. What advantage does this offer an employer? Is there an actual cost savings?

Accrued vacation and sick time is generally treated as a liability when it’s on a company’s books; it’s a debt that they owe to you at some point in the future. By freezing accrual, they’re stopping that liability from growing larger, which can help if they have plans to request loans or other financial assistance.

Also, if you’re in a state that requires vacation time to be paid out when people leave, they’re lowering that obligation as well.

5. My company wants me to do a bunch of events after I leave

I recently gave my two weeks’ notice to my current employer. I will end this position on a Friday and begin work at my new job on the following Monday. My current employer has repeatedly asked me to RSVP yes to exit interviews, goodbye parties (virtually of course) with several different teams, and other meetings after the start date of my new job. Even though I will be in a remote position, I feel uncomfortable blocking time on my calendar and taking hours away from my new job for non-essential meetings at my old job. Is this ethical? Is it okay to simply say, “no, I won’t be available” — will I be burning a bridge?

It is 100% okay to say, “Unfortunately, I’m not going to be available after (date) because of my schedule with the new job.” You will not be burning a bridge unless your current company is remarkably weird. (They might be remarkably weird, because it’s not at all normal to schedule exit interviews and other events after you’ve already left, but hopefully they’re not weird in the “holding a grudge over something normal” kind of way.) Just explain you’re going to be busy once you leave, and it should be fine.

{ 303 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    #2. You have a skill in. a high demand area – now is the time to find another job that delivers that service or product and negotiate yourself into a job that pays what you are worth. Your current employer is already stingy — they are not going to pay you what you want.

    1. Massmatt*

      I agree, there must be something really great about this employer if you are getting paid so poorly for your work and you want to stay. I mean, in a STEM related field, in high demand, yet they “don’t like to give raises”? Sounds to me as though they don’t mind people leaving.

      The job market is still tight for people with high-demand skills!

      And can I note the hypocrisy of employers balking at large (or any!) raises, yet not batting an eyelash at having an entry-level employee doing multiple projects at a level of her grandboss and above? How is it the budget is severely limited, yet the value an employee can give you is not?

      1. Elizabeth I*

        Yes, the hypocrisy is so frustrating!

        I wonder if pay equity could also give OP#2 some leverage here? When she is officially offered the promotion, would it makes sense for her to ask for the market rate, show the data to support that being the market rate – and then if they push back, raise concerns about making sure she’s not being paid less than male peers, since that could cause problems for the company?

        Has anyone tried this before?

        1. Massmatt*

          As far as I know, these cases are very difficult to prove, but I’m sure we have many employment lawyers here that can chime in.

    2. Mookie*

      Given that she’s truly motivated to stay and is obviously worth keeping (how great is it for this employer that the entry-level LW has met the moment?), she could theoretically split some of the difference, negotiate an immediate but more modest raise along with the promised promotion (that would involve a raise, right?) and then see if her notoriously stingy employer might be open to a broader timeline with performance goals for future promotions that will gradually meet that adjusted market rate (or whatever it’ll likely be, covid-related demand or no)? Not saying the LW’s present situation could withstand that delay, but I can’t see why she wouldn’t broach the topic at all. There are likely not many better candidates than the LW for this organization to make exceptions or re-evaluate their weirdness on raises.

      At the very least, this ought to be an awesome referral for another job. What LW’s done during her time with this company is going to make her a very attractive candidate for somebody else and her manager should fight to get her her promised promotion (LW, did this involve a raise and if so what percentage of your current salary does that raise represent?) and adjacent title change. She’s owed both and they will strengthen her resume and demonstrate the skills and experience she’s acquired over the last months.

      1. OP for #2*

        This is something I hadn’t thought of – and might be worth broaching. I’m not sure a 50% raise is in my grasp, but a timeline might work. My only concern is that if they know they will never meet that timeline, I don’t want to become a target. Since the typical pay bump that comes with the promotion gets me closer (although still under market) it might be worth addressing.

        1. Cthulhu's Librarian*

          Another thing to try here, when you’re talking about the promotion, is not to discuss the new salary as a raise at all (because yes, 50% raise sounds large), but to discuss the new salary for the position as being $ABCDX.00 where that falls within the market value.

          In other words, rather than going to your boss and saying “I’d like a promotion to position X, and a 50% raise to go with it,” go to them and say “I’d like a promotion to position X, which would usually be making a fair market wage of (Flat Number).”

          I tried that once, and found it worked well for circumventing the discussion of how much of a raise was appropriate entirely (because now we were just talking about me moving to a new role, and how much that role should be paid – not about whether I had earned a 38% raise).

          Caveat: I only tried it once, and they were a pretty reasonable employer. I have no idea how it would play in other circumstances. Maybe Alison or other commenters will have opinions on doing this, and whether it is generally a good or bad thing?

          1. Boof*

            My workplace calls some of these “market adjustments” they actually try to survey various benchmarks for pay and examine any salaries that are under for adjustment (meaning, more money)

            1. Mike S.*

              I got something close to a 50% raise in my first job out of college. They were hiring for a new person to join our team, and after the second day of interviewing, everyone on the team got a raise. One of my coworkers called it a “change of lifestyle” raise.

          2. OP for #2*

            Honestly, this is what I would do. I don’t think there is any room now, but when the promotion discussion happens (I’m confident that will happen, actually) bring it up then. As I plan out a mental script, that’s how I frame it. Not that it’s a raise, but fair market value for the position. Now, they may not take it that way, but I’m hoping framing it that way softens it a little.

        2. tamarack and fireweed*

          I was also thinking along these lines. I was hired back in 2006 in a new country on an entry-level position and had pretty much no idea what market rates were. I lucky in that my Managing Director recognized the situation, and when I was made team lead I got a 25% raise, followed by another 20% raise at the end of my second calendar year (about a year after the first raise) and and another 12% at the end of the third. Other than sales people, whose income can widely fluctuate with commissions, I was probably the person in our office to get the largest percentage increase.

          So from this I think the conversation with your manager could go a bit like this (not literally, but along the lines of…): “””” We need to talk about something to do with my compensation. Here’s what I am seeing. I was hired on job X for salary Y at date Z. Market rate for job X is [amount slightly higher than Y], but we’re still in the ballpark. I am now doing job X2. [Insert description of expanded responsibilities.]. As far as I can tell, market rate for X2 is [give a pretty wide range not to make your boss feel pinned down, and don’t overexaggerate the high limit]. What do you think you / we / the company can do about that?””””” Then STOP & let them talk. Maybe this needs a follow-up meeting. And when they come back with an answer, try to nudge it toward a scheduled, step-wise plan that you can live with.

          But if they can’t be nudged, don’t threaten or hint at leaving. If you *can* imagine looking elsewhere, just nod, take what they offer, and look for a new job. If not, re-assess at this point and redesign your strategy.

          It’s likely that getting your salary up by 50% will need a few stepping stones, and a strategy on your part. I was lucky though in that my MD had clear and good ideas about not short-changing his people about compensation.

      2. Mockingjay*

        Agree that OP2 probably has a better chance of receiving a ‘modest’ raise. Even in good companies willing to address salary discrepancies and employee promotions, annual budgets, investments, and expenses all affect the dollars available.

        OP2 should look at what realistically she can get out of her current company. Make the case for an increase, keep learning and growing in these stretch assignments (whether she gets more money), and follow Alison’s strategies to find a job that suits her and pays an equitable salary, or ride out the pandemic at current job and see if things improve after.

        Another note: OP2 stated the parent company doesn’t like to give raises. That doesn’t mean NO raises. OP2, are your managers willing to advocate for you for a salary increase and/or promotion? You like the job, so maybe you all can figure out a path forward.

      3. Anon Anon*

        I think the one thing that any following this type of strategy is to be clear with yourself about what your exit plan is if you they don’t follow through. Many employers simply don’t see the “light” until the employee has left and they realize that there just aren’t potential employee’s desperately waiting for work for them, or they never see the light. And, it’s very easy to get too comfortable in a position especially if you enjoy the work and the people (which are important things, but those things aren’t limited to employers who don’t pay well).

      4. Artemesia*

        This is a sensible approach but I am dubious about an employer that exploits an employee like this. Both my son and daughter have received constant and fair sized raises as they demonstrated their value. When a common pays as little as possible that is usually their policy.

        Certainly think it through and make a pitch for a raise with a plan B for moving up over time. Make clear the market pay for this type roll and see if you can get on track for getting there. But I find it unlikely that the employer is oblivious to what they are doing.

      5. OP for #2*

        FWIW, this promotion would typically come with a 15% pay bump (although there has been up to 20% in the past). This would be good for me – but knowing it still puts me 25% below market rate is a little…chilling.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Does the position have a specific range (it should) – often when there are these types of scheduled increases that go along with promotions, it’s, for example, 7% per grade OR the bottom of the range, whichever is higher.

          Assuming this would be a 2 grade bump, that’s where you are getting 15% (you did say 2 levels), and if you claim this still puts you well under market I have difficulty believing that a 15% (or even a 20%) bump would put you at the bottom of the range. Maybe it would – maybe it’s a really broad range that also needs to be looked at more closely. But at a minimum, companies should have ranges and when promoting staff should NOT be putting them in positions without at LEAST paying them that bottom range salary.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          I would ask for incremental raises: first the typical pay bump – 20% being possible – then a few months later, another 10 or 15%, rinse and repeat.
          Of course this does run the risk of somebody saying “but you just had one a few months back, we can’t keep doing this”.
          You could always look elsewhere too.

      6. Luke*

        It’s worth pursuing- but the caveat is trust. If the LWs company pursues a calculated strategy of under-paying people , they’ll gladly agree to the modest raise and then renege on future raises.

        Some employers understand the value of experienced and qualified people. Others – especially in challenging economic times- adopt the mindset of considering employees expendable. If the LW works for the latter, she should cut her losses and find a position someplace better.

    3. Boof*

      Yeah, I mean if the QOL of this place is just fantastic that’s worth something, but OP should advocate to be paid what they could get elsewhere. if it’s 50% then maybe OP should have some kind of timeline; state clearly and give the reasons why 50% is appropriate. Maybe accept 20-25% raises over a few years as long as steady progress is made to close the gap; if they won’t close the gap start interviewing elsewhere. DON’T use that to counteroffer, use it to change and earn proper pay if LW finds another place that seems as good a fit except with better pay!

    4. Cat Tree*

      Yeah, if you’re already planning to go to the trouble of job searching and getting an offer to force your company to counter-offer, why not just take the job you already found and not bother with the counter-offer part of it?

      1. Sacred Ground*

        Exactly. When you get a better offer, just take it. Your employer has already made its decision to not retain good employees by paying market wages. Losing you is exactly what should happen.

  2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    LW1: I’ve had the same issue teaching online students in the past. Work with your boss to create a general update to issue to all parents worded something like:

    “Dear Teapot Tutoring Family, we appreciate the continued efforts, flexibility, and creativity of our tutors, our students, and their families. In order to improve the quality of our sessions, and better adjust to the current online environment, the following aspects of our sessions will be changed:
    1. In order to better assess student comprehension and monitor progress, only the student of record will be allowed to participate actively in an individual session.
    What this looks like: the student will complete work and interact online with their tutor in a distraction free environment (insofar as possible). Guardians and siblings will no longer be allowed to participate in active tutoring sessions with the student, just as in our tutoring building. For our trained tutors to ensure quality learning, your cooperation is vital.
    Guardians with concerns or questions about content and understanding may address these in a separate appointment or email.
    2. Xx xx

    Thank you for helping us help your student succeed in Teamaking! “

    1. PollyQ*

      Excellent language!

      It’s true that you can’t literally force Lisa to stop her behavior, but you can make it clear that you won’t continue to tutor her daughter if she behaves this way. It may well be that OP#1 doesn’t have the authority to enforce this, but hopefully boss will back her up.

      1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        Thanks and yes, especially when the living area is small and parents have such high levels of worry with the pandemic, or if they know that change has been hard on their student in the past. They want so much to help, but making this general policy and reframing it as being in the best interest of the student can help.

          1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

            I’m guessing these are the same parents that go to job interviews with their kids XD

            1. BethDH*

              To be charitable to the parent here (especially if OP hasn’t brought it up yet), a lot of things have changed and parents are getting conflicting messages about how to support their kids in online classes. Many kids who were relatively independent in in-person classes need a lot more supervision from parents when they’re in online classes and parents sense that they need to do something without knowing what to do.
              I have friends whose kids’ teachers have told them they expect them to be nearby helping with projects and checking kids’ work basically all the time (not something they can feasibly do and still work, but that’s another issue).
              If this parent wasn’t a helicopter parent before, it’s worth considering that they just don’t know how to facilitate their kid’s learning in an online environment and start from what they should do instead of what they shouldn’t do.
              I’m wondering whether OP saying this has gotten worse over time means that the parent has noticed that child is struggling and is flailing trying to fix the issue.
              Either way, it needs to stop because the parent isn’t helping, but I think the conversation is different if this is your mental framing. It means you start with asking questions (“what parts of online tutoring have been working well for helicopter jr?” “Where are they struggling?”) and giving parents actual tips (“it would help most if you would work with jr on practicing x between our sessions”).
              Of course, I’m imagining a kid or maybe 10-13 here. If we’re talking about a late high schooler the behavior is much more egregious, but I think still worth starting with empathy and not just frustration.

              1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

                I really like this mindset! I just assumed that OP might not have time set for “parent/teacher” type meeting as it is a commercial tutoring center, as opposed to actual school. I think giving the parents guidelines to help assure them and find what’s working for the individual students would be ideal for sure.

              2. H2*

                Yes—this is a parent who is concerned enough about her child’s learning that she has employed a private tutor. There are a lot of benign reasons she might be doing this. It obviously needs to be stopped, but it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s awful. I agree that approaching it from that viewpoint should guide the discussion.

              3. Threeve*

                Why not start with a simple “it really isn’t typical for parents to be so involved with tutoring sessions” and a heads-up to the boss that you’re starting the conversation?

                I work with helicopter parents all the time, and helicopter-y sometimes just means a certain amount of obliviousness about what expectations really are in any given scenario. It isn’t always “I’m constantly involved because I don’t trust the expert.”

              4. Ms Frizzle*

                I couldn’t agree more! I have a lot of parents who really, really want to support their kindergarteners in our Zoom classes, but don’t always know the best way to do that. Our main strategy has been honoring their commitment to supporting their child and then providing concrete strategies for how to do that without giving the answer (which is … mostly working).

              5. learnedthehardway*

                Yes – agreeing with this approach. I’m not a fan of blanket directives that the problem person can ignore while non-problem people are left questioning whether they’ve done something wrong. It’s better to coach problem people directly, I think.

                Also, keep in mind that the parent here may – for the first time – really be seeing how their kid participates and performs when in a learning setting. They a) may not know how to deal with this, and b) may be really concerned that their kid has terrible learning skills.

                I know it was a bit of a shock to me when my youngest had to keep coming to me with really simple questions about what to do and how, when he was in online learning in the spring. He really, really needed someone there to direct him, question whether he understood the expectations, and make sure that he was actually doing what the teacher had asked him. (Honestly, that was a main reason he went back to school in-person.)

                I would consider that the parent here is dealing with similar issues – possibly a bit stunned that their kid was struggling in school, now immersed in the learning environment but not quite sure they understand the material themselves, and not confident that they can support their kid unless they are learning along with the child.

                I think a conversation between you, your manager, and the parent that this needs to be a student-tutor relationship and that the child will learn more effectively with the parent at arm’s length is probably a more effective way to approach this situation.

              6. Boof*

                I like starting a direct conversation with “how do you think remote learning is going”, hear and answer any parent concerns, then launch into what you’d like the parent to do to help (including keeping the camera on the child, not answering for her, maybe give some kind of fun project to work on together after IDK)

              7. anonforthis*

                Thank you for saying this. We are not sure how old the child is here, and why she is involved in tutoring to begin with. If it is a younger child, special grace is needed, since most parents I’ve talked to – and my friend who teaches kindergarten remotely – are reporting real challenges with online learning. It’s challenging to get your kid in front of the screen (as in having melt downs, leaving the screen to go play, etc.) and parents are actively seeing their kids regress in basic concepts such as reading, math, etc. Kids don’t have as much outdoor time because of the online school schedule, and zero socialization. It’s worth remembering that in some places in the countries, schools are coming up on being closed for a YEAR. This is a long time and parents feel a strong sense of responsibility for their children’s education, so much so that many (mainly women) are resigning from their jobs to support their kids in virtual learning or home schooling.
                Lisa obviously cares a lot about her daughter to be this involved with the learning and add virtual tutoring to what is likely already a very intense regular virtual school schedule. I like the idea of helping Lisa understand strategies for how she can be supporting her daughter during the sessions. Also, talking with her about how her daughter is doing (is she regressing in some areas, or not getting concepts)? Also, if she wants to be more involved, can you ask if she would be interested in a private tutoring session (at a higher cost)? Definitely frame with empathy here. Parents are always partners to teachers in education, but now more than ever.

                1. LW1*

                  Hey, LW #1 here! Jane is doing some early algebra, she’s in middle school. I’ve worked with Jane for years in person, and now online due to covid. She’s a very bright student and learns and adapts quickly, but when Lisa is around her she starts to doubt herself. I have had sessions online when I work with Jane without Lisa, and there is never any problem- she admittedly is a student that needs to be asked if she needs help, which I do so regularly to make sure she stays focused and understand the concepts. However, when Lisa is around, it appears to break Jane’s confidence quite a bit, and Lisa just speaks for her. I understand she just wants her daughter to do well, because I was in the same position as Jane for a long time, my mom was exactly the same. As for offering private sessions, I don’t have the authority to do that, but I’ll bring it up with my boss for him to suggest to Lisa. Thank you for your suggestions!

                2. H2*

                  The context is important here, I think. I think that part of tutoring is helping parents learn too, about how to best help their kids.

                  I would speak to the parent privately and explain that now that Jane is older it’s important that she is more independent on these tasks. Lisa isn’t going to be there for test taking (and, you know, life) so part of the process is working independently. I would ask what her specific concerns have evolved to be right now, and maybe arrange to chat for a set time after the session (let’s meet for 5 minutes afterward to talk about what we went over). You can explain that one of the hardest parts of algebra is just getting the problem started, and the only way to get it is through trial and error practice, so Jane needs to just sit and struggle through it.

                  That setup in general sounds miserable, though, for you. That’s a lot to juggle.

      2. Daisy*

        ‘you can make it clear that you won’t continue to tutor her daughter if she behaves this way’

        I’ve been a private tutor, and I think it would be unusual for a private company to take such a hard line with a customer, short of actually swearing at the teacher. I think OP should get the boss should say something, but I doubt it would be that strong.

        1. Daisy*

          I also think a lot of this could be addressed by OP in the moment. If Lisa moves the camera on to herself, say, ‘I can’t see Jane, can you move it back?’ If she talks when you’re trying to talk to the other student, ask her to be quiet for a moment and carry on. You should get the boss involved for a big picture chat with the parent about backing off a bit, but a lot of this isn’t much different to if it was a child misbehaving – it’s sort of classroom management.

          1. cat lady*

            Exactly. This framework is an extension of normal tutoring pedagogy– instead of “who is holding the pencil?” pay attention to who is on camera, who is writing on the whiteboard, etc.

            1. Artemesia*

              The kid won’t be learning if she isn’t doing the actual work and interacting. Every time the parent is blabbing or writing or coaching, the kid is tuned out and not learning. I would frame the message to parents this way around the learning that will occur.

              And it is a good idea to have concrete suggestions for how the parent can work with the student off camera. Perhaps exercises the parent can lead rather than just ‘telling’ and usurping the learning.

          2. Momma Bear*

            Agreed. If she answers for Jane, re-ask Jane directly. She might also need a reminder that this is not a private session.

      3. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. Something needs to be said otherwise it is a waste of everyone’s time. Not only is Lisa preventing OP from doing their job for Jane, but to interfere with OP’s helping other students? No. That needs to stop.

        1. Artemesia*

          I don’t understand that. Why isn’t the OP saying ‘I need to check in on other students and will come back to Lisa in 5 minutes In the meantime, Lisa can you do X.’ And then click over to those other students. She can’t ‘not let you do it’ if you just do it — you are in control of your computer presumably.

          1. ThatOnePlease*

            Yes, I don’t understand what’s happening there. Lisa sounds a bit pushy, but she can’t actually prevent LW from checking on other students! And if were the parent of one of those other students, I’d be annoyed that my child wasn’t getting check-ins.

        2. LW1*

          Thank you for your comments! Yeah that’s what I thought too, and along with loving this job, I need the job too, I just moved out and am balancing being a full time undergraduate student with working this job and one other. I can’t afford to have other students or other students’ parents complain about me because Lisa is monopolizing my time, ya know?

      4. LW1*

        Hey, LW1 here! I do not in fact have the authority to say that, and my boss has made it clear that we can’t afford to lose any students right now, as we have lost a fair few due to covid. It’s what males the situation a bit trickier to navigate.

        1. Momma Bear*

          I’d point out to the boss that if other parents feel like they’re not getting what they paid for, they may choose to leave. I realize you don’t want to lose anybody, but it’s like a bad employee – is it worth keeping this one if you might lose 2 others? If I were the other student’s parent, I’d be upset. If Lisa wants a private session, she should pay for one.

        2. sacados*

          Hmm. That does make things trickier — but just because you’re not empowered to flat-out tell Lisa to make herself scarce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t ask, once, politely, and see what she does. Unless Lisa seems to be the sort of overly sensitive person who would be offended by a simple request, then your boss might give you the okay to say something gentle, even if it’s just an in the moment “I apologize Lisa, but could you make sure that Jane is visible on camera? I need to be able to confirm that Jane is following the material”
          … or something like that.

        3. Zelda*

          Our policy is (in broad brushstrokes) if a parent observes the online session, cool; if a parent *interferes* with the session in any way, notify your boss immediately and the boss will jump into the session or call the parent and put a stop to it pronto.

          This might be different with a really little one who needs to be directed back to the screen– we’ve had 2nd graders just wander off, and the little tiny voice calling from the computer can’t make them come back– but it sounds like that doesn’t apply in your case. What does apply is that *of course* you should tell your boss what’s happening ASAP.

          Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. It’s your boss’s job to give Lisa a heaping dose of diplomacy, with whatever language is necessary about “people learn by doing; if you don’t let Jane do for herself, including making the *necessary* mistakes for herself, you prevent her learning.”

    2. Underrated Pear*

      *In general,* I think this type of approach works well, but with the current state of things, I worry a little bit about how it would be interpreted by all the other families who won’t understand that it’s not actually meant for them. I’m trying to think of this from the perspective of a non-helicopter parent who would never even consider the possibility of sitting in during tutoring… were I to read this letter, I’d interpret it as the company scolding us for having too many distractions/people around (and would either feel very annoyed or be hit with yet another wave of pandemic-related parenting guilt, depending on what kind of mood I was in that day).

      I know you’ve added the “insofar as possible,” but I think you need something a little more explicit if you decide to go this route. I might add a sentence near the end that makes it really clear that you understand that some amount of background distraction is inevitable during remote learning, and that your letter is SOLELY addressing the fact that other family members have begun to actively participate in tutoring – even if you have to fudge a little bit to make it sound like the problem is more widespread than it is.

      And just to share, I used to tutor, and one of my clients insisted on sitting in during the first session with her very anxious daughter in a way that sounds a lot like LW2’s experience. It was AWFUL, but I was new and so taken aback I didn’t know how to deal with it in the moment. It blows my mind how parents can’t see how detrimental that is! I ended up quitting, even though I’d grown to really adore the daughter, because the mom was so horrible to work with I was literally sick to my stomach with dread every week. Absolutely not worth it.

      1. ACM*

        I dunno, if I read that I’d probably feel smug and snicker about how it sounds like other parents are behaving badly. Not a good look, I know, but heyo!

        I actually think your main risk is that the parents whom it’s aimed at will react as I did though…always the problem when you send a general message to address an individual problem. Not a bad idea though as a first line of attack, since it might work and would be good to have it on the books to point to if other parents start doing this as well. It also gives the tutor something to work with – “Hey, x, I’m not sure if you read the email, but Boss says we’re keeping sessions to students only from now on. Thanks!”

        1. Birdie*

          Yeah, I think sending out a general message would be more about expectation-setting than anything. Now you have something concrete you to can point to when the problem people aren’t following the guidelines.

          However, I think an umbrella message should be more about “How to best support your student’s e-learning” and include strategies for off-camera support in addition to the expectation that they not crash the tutoring session. This might be useful for a parent hovering because they don’t know how else to help their kid, but I’m sure even some of the parents who stay out of the tutoring sessions have questions about whether there’s something more or different they should be doing to support their kids in this format.

      2. pleaset cheap rolls*

        Adding – as a parent I sometimes intervene in my kid’s schooling to remind him to pay attention and not do other stuff. It’s never about the content and only about the behavior. it’s not normal for little kids to sit in front of a screen for hours, and I think some parental help there is good.

        I stay off screen so not to distract other kids, but sometimes hiss from the side stuff like “Hey, keep with the class!”

        1. LW1*

          Hey, LW1 here! Yes I completely understand that, but Jane isn’t a little kid- she’s a middle schooler, and Lisa does not intervene about behavior, she engages directly about content. I do have parents that remind their students to stay focused, which is completely fine, but Lisa talks over Jane when I prompt Jane to answer questions.

          1. LemonLyman*

            Do you have the authority to speak with Lisa before or after sessions? You’ve said in another comment that Lisa’s interjections make Jane second guess herself but when Lisa isn’t around, that Jane seems to do better. I suggest gently sharing that with Lisa and that you’re encouraging Jane to be more independent with her work (but that you still check in with her to see if she has questions). Maybe lean into the idea that part of that push toward independence is for Jane to learn how to check the math herself which is much harder when Lisa is always there. Let her know it’s common for kids to pull back when a parent is around. That might keep it from seeming like you’re pointing fingers.

            Lisa’s harsh interjection of “are you sure you get it” made Jane doubt herself. The teacher in me would want to remind Lisa that it is important for Jane to have the space to process instructions and put them into practice. This practice is also a way for you to check for understanding. Remind Lisa that the point of tutoring sessions is for you to be able to see where Jane is struggling so you can pinpoint where to focus your sessions and you cannot properly identify her where to focus your efforts when Jane isn’t given the opportunity to do the work you’re giving her unimpeded.

      3. KateM*

        When my child started learning piano at 7yo, the teacher ENCOURAGED parents to sit in so they could helo with pracitising at home. I did it for two years, I think. I would make here a distinction of parent sitting and listening and to parent actively engaging – the first shouldn’t be so bad, should it?

        1. Colette*

          It depends on the relationship between the parent and child – some parents will make the experience more stressful for the kid just by being there.

        2. Underrated Pear*

          I think it depends. First, like you said, there’s a difference between the parent sitting in the background versus taking over, as this mom seems to be doing. As a tutor, I often had parents who would keep one ear on what we were doing while they busied themselves in the background – i.e., we’d work at the dining room table while the dad tidied up the kitchen and eavesdropped. This is perfectly reasonable, and totally different from the mom who would completely INTERRUPT my teaching and jump in any time her daughter was trying to do something, or I was giving the kid a minute to try to work through a problem or something.

          The second issue is that yes, it does depend on the child, and it’s important here to consider the difference between piano lessons and tutoring sessions: often (not always, but often) a child receives tutoring because they are struggling in some way: doing poorly in class, struggling to grasp a concept, etc. There’s a whole different mindset as compared to the “additive” extracurricular experience of learning to play an instrument, if that makes sense. So having the parent always jumping in can add to any mental blocks the student might already be experiencing.

        3. Simonthegreywarden*

          It can depend on the parent. I know my dad loves me, but when I was a child, just him being in the room, listening to me screw up over and over while I tried to learn something, would be INCREDIBLY stressful and I would probably shut down. Because I would know all he heard was the mess-ups, and in the car I would get a long “pep talk” about how I can do better if I just try harder, and don’t I want to be successful?

        1. Carlie*

          Exactly what I was going to say. She doesn’t need to know that it didn’t go out more broadly. And if she does know another parent who didn’t get that email, LW can just tell her that it only goes out as needed and leave it at that. ;)

        2. DataSci*

          No, actually, that’s the right approach. There are plenty of good and supportive reasons for a parent to be in the room, and occasionally keeping the kid on target, and those parents are going to feel targeted by this message if it gets sent to them.

      4. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        This, too, OP. Don’t let this woman take your authority. You CAN see to other students, even if she doesn’t like it.
        It sucks that you have to waste your energy with this, but she is wasting your time and other kids’ time.
        If found my kid was getting less one on one time, I’d be asking why. You definitely don’t want other people complaining.
        Not trying to scare you, just saying that you have more power than you think.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          This works into a great talking point with the boss. What if other parents pull their kid out, because they see a lot of your time, OP, goes to one child in particular. Which is better to lose one kid or to lose everyone BUT this one kid.

          FWIW, anytime I have seen a company allow its customers to walk all over the employees because they cannot lose a single customer that company had many other problems.

          1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

            Yes, this!

            I worked somewhere where we ran youth programming. We had a class with five children in it. One of those children was a behavior problem, and he had a mom like Lisa who management bent over backwards to keep happy.

            Well, eventually the other parents got tired of paying for their kid to be in a class where they were not learning and getting no attention thanks to Mr. Disruptive, and they slowly stopped coming. One graduated to a different class, three “took a break for the summer,” and Mr. Disruptive’s mom quit in a huff over something minor.

            That class, with 5 student slots, sat empty for a full year after that. We lost *thousands* of dollars because we didn’t send Mr. Disruptive and Helicopter Mom packing after the first few months.

            1. Alternative Person*


              At my previous job, management was so invested in keeping parents happy that they let behavioural issues fester. It didn’t matter that my classes were mostly calm and productive, if the kid was upset that they had to sit and do a page of their workbook then I was the problem (not the teachers that did whatever the kids wanted to avoid a tantrum).

              I don’t have any good numbers on it, but I bet we lost a fair few students because they weren’t learning (both because of disruptive kids and placating teachers) and a few more because of parental huffs or parents switching schools because their kids behaviour was deteriorating across the board and the only way forward was a clean break.

              (Some students I’m fairly sure had special educational needs that we weren’t at all equipped to handle but some of it was parents-with-poor-boundary-setting-skills offloading the work onto teachers who didn’t care to enforce even the mildest amounts of structure)

      5. Artemesia*

        This is the classic ‘scold everyone by email to try to get Fergus to stop doing XYZ’. And of course everyone feels assaulted but Fergus who never takes a hint or a clear request unless it is made directly to him.

        You don’t need a message to ‘all parents’; you need to address this parent. You could frame it as a general message, that you only send to her or you could just have a discussion (boss approved) with this parent about what she needs to do to support her daughter.

    3. Software Engineer*

      When you send out general announcements because one person is being a problem, the problem person never realizes you’re talking to them and others will get confused abs feel self conscious and wonder if you’re talking about them and surely you would have said something…

      Telling people directly that they’re being a problem is much better than announcing into the void

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        True. I think you could send the general notification because it’s still a worthwhile thing to stress, give Lisa two or three sessions to do better, and then have a direct conversation with her. But if LW1 and her boss decide to go straight to the direct conversation with Lisa, that obviously works, too.

    4. Boof*

      IDK, should LW really update “all parents” when it’s a specific parent they want to get the message? Why don’t they gently talk to the parent directly? “Hello, it’s awesome you’re so available to your daughter! I wanted to discuss our teaching philosophy and hope you will be on board to help us! Data shows children can really take encouraging vs discouraging comments to heart, so please try to be encouraging and not second guess her answer [etc, gently go through the top 3 problem behaviors – probably 2 and 3 would be having the camera on the daughter, and a time limit so she realizes you will go and check in with other kids at intervals]. Also, maybe give mom some things they CAN do.

    5. Kimmybear*

      As a trainer and a parent, this is a really hard line to balance as spouse and I were discussing yesterday. One of us always sits with kiddo during online speech therapy sessions because 1. Someone needs to keep kiddo in the chair/room and 2. It helps loop us in on what kiddo should be working on during the week so we can reinforce. It doesn’t sound like that is what this parent is doing so perhaps the email should focus on how to support rather than what not to do. That could benefit all parents. But I agree with others, don’t send a blanket email if the problem is one parent. (Spouse has been that parent on different issues and they don’t see it. :) )

    6. tink*

      Would something in the moment also help? Since LW1 mentions Lisa directly butting in and interrupting Jane’s time, I was thinking something along the lines of “You are paying Teapots Tutoring, Inc. to tutor Jane. When you cut her off or interrupt my responses, you are actively preventing your child from receiving the service you’re paying for. It’d be very helpful if you kept your questions for the end of the session or for e-mails between sessions.”

  3. Pandas are the best bears*

    Working a full time gig and going to grad school was hard enough, I can’t imagine managing people as well!! You have my full respect. I agree completely with Alison, I was working full-time, and my bosses were really understanding especially during exam season (which I imagine you’re probably in right now). People as a rule are pretty understanding if you explain what’s going on, especially when the end date is so near. Congratulations OP3 on your progress, I’m sure you’ll do great!

    1. LilyP*

      Yes, the fact that you are still thinking about managing and seeing the gaps tells me you’re a really great manager. I would absolutely be willing to put up with temporary distracted-ness to keep working under someone so thoughtful and thorough.

  4. Literal Girl*

    LW4: The company I work for did that once, precisely for the reason Allison mentioned, for the last month or so of the year. After the new year, it was all reinstated. Cross your fingers that it’s the case for you!

    1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

      My company recently said that everyone has to take a minimum of 5 days days of annual leave (that’s paid holiday leave where I live) during December. The reason is exactly the same—to reduce the company’s financial liability.

      The impact to staff is minimal though, as December is summer in the Southern hemisphere and most people take a few weeks off.

      1. londonedit*

        Yes, I know a few people whose employers have said this year ‘everyone needs to have taken a minimum of X days’ holiday by September 30th’ or whatever. It’s normal to get 25 days here (which are for holidays, not sick leave) and of course everyone’s summer breaks were cancelled, and with all the upheaval from March onwards people just weren’t using their holiday because they had no idea whether restrictions would be lifted later in the year, or what would happen. My company didn’t put any special rules in place, and now we have a load of people who still have half their holiday allowance to use (we can only take over five days to the following year, and they have to be used in the first three months). I think most people are planning a two-week Christmas break.

        1. Elenna*

          Oh, my company asked everyone to take at least a week before the end of August – like you said, I assumed it was because they didn’t want everyone saving all their vacation time and then nobody being in the office for weeks at the end of the year (back when we all thought the pandemic would be over by late 2020). But maybe it was also some financial liability/tax implication.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        My company isn’t allowing exceptions to our vacation rollover policy (we can only roll over 40 hours) for this exact reason. To their credit, they’ve said repeatedly and explicitly since April that the rollover policy won’t be changed and encouraged people to take time away from work even though we can’t travel.

        1. Artemesia*

          my daughter has been taking Wednesday afternoons off for a while now — Her toddler is in day care and her older child has zoom school and sometimes her WFH husband can also take a Weds afternoon and so they go hike in a nearby park or otherwise get a break together.

    2. old curmudgeon*

      On the downside, I worked for a company that also froze PTO accruals, which was one of the red flags that they were in the early stages of planning their GOB strategy. Having lower accruals means they didn’t have as many liabilities when they announced the company was closing.

      Hopefully you’d get some other signs of the org’s imminent demise besides PTO freezes, but it’s something you’d want to watch for. In your shoes, I would maintain heightened awareness of other indications that they were planning an exit. Good luck, hope things turn around!

      1. Artemesia*

        As someone who found my career was going up in smoke when my husband brought the headline in the local paper to me while I was in the shower one morning, I definitely agree that you should have heightened awareness of indicators like that. When I looked back, there were several giant clues that this organization that had endured for over a hundred years was going down. Most of us got cut by department when it was gobbled up by another organization. Duplicative departments were cut.

    3. Firecat*

      My old company pulled this crap. In their case they were hoping to get a better rate on their bonds. So they froze PTO and then required everyone to take 1-3 days a week off for a few months to burn down everyone’s balances.

      They got better rates on their bonds 0.1%. I think they pulled in an extra $10,000, maybe $20,000 max.

      But they lost so much more. Lots of people quit, myself included. I think they really over played their hand assuming that folks would have no where to go. They now have a reputation as financially unstable, between this stunt and a massive layoff of middle management.
      Now they are having trouble finding even their bread and butter roles. Think unable to hire nurses at a hospital with a nursing school across the street.

      It’s so bad they have had to hire agency staff and I know for a fact each agency staff costs at least $5,000 more per quarter. My old department has at least 3 agency staff but my understanding is that most departments have more.

      So yeah by my estimates they have spent $75,000+ so far to bring in at most $20,000.
      PTO freezes for liability improvents should be a last resort but since it produces visible quick results a lot of incompetent financial leaders go for it first.

    4. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      Every time I hear of an org messing around with PTO I assume it has to do with preparing to consider layoffs. It makes me nervous because my husband, who is partially furloughed this semester, has been told they’ll be adding hours from his PTO balance into his paychecks for the rest of the year. So, it’s nice that his checks are closer to whole but it makes me really concerned they’re trying to reduce liability in the case of a layoff.

      1. Peter*

        I’m slightly late on this, but I’d rather have the cash in my pocket than the company’s.
        Is there any way you can force yourselves to save this as an in case of lay-off fund?

    1. Mid*

      Yes, this. No company that is having someone so under market rate will ever give you a raise that large. You can get a 50%, possibly more, but only if you leave and go somewhere that pays their employees fairly.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        But in the meantime going to them with the data that says “the market rate for this job as it currently stands is X, would it be possible to get a raise?” doesn’t hurt, and if they can get a 20-30% rate for the next 6 months while they polish their CV and start hunting for a really good position they are as comfident as possible that they will be happy and fulfilled at, at least they’ll be a bit more financially comfortable whilst doing so.

        1. Conspiracy-Industrial Complex*

          Such a raise might be conditioned upon staying at least another year or two, and might have to be repaid if the employee leaves before then for any reason (including layoff).

          1. Anononon*

            In the US, I’ve never heard of this happening with an actual raise, having to pay it back if the person leaves. Something like education or moving expenses, yeah. But a raise? Unless there’s a very specific contract (which is highly unusual here) about damages, I just don’t see how it’s legal.

        2. Thistle Whistle*

          I tried this when my (old) company advertised a position paying 15-25% more than I earned, brought in a lateral transfer with no experience ( I was fully professionally qualified with many years experience) and expected me to train him. I was told they didn’t feel like they needed to pay market rate to existing employees. I went home that night and updated my CV.

          I had already decided before I asked that if they said no to a raise then I was leaving. For me it was about respect as well as money, they didn’t respect my experience so I decided then and there to move on.

          It was a hard thing to get my head around as my old job was a cushy number that didn’t challenge me but I had good friends there. But I knew that if I didn’t move on I would be there in another 10 years with a huge chip on my shoulder about money.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            I don’t blame you – your company’s response was total BS. I was once in Toastmasters at a previous company with someone in our IT department who was in a similar situation to you, but his manager got him his 21% raise. When he told us that, we all gasped in amazement, lol. We’d never heard of such a thing (I mean, the highest raise I got at that company was a 10% raise attached to a promotion).

            1. Thistle Whistle*

              I was told no to the raise on the Friday and by the Sunday my cv was ready for the world. The market wasn’t great and I wasn’t going to jump ship for just anything so waited until I found what I was looking for ( which was actually volunteering for redundancy). But in the meantime I started speaking to all available recruitment consultants (as in the UK so pretty much everything goes through the main recruitment firms and got myself ready.

              Whilst I was biding my time during the hunt I took the opportunity to “grow a pair” and stand up for myself at work where I would have previously just hidden away at the back. I also started showing more individuality in my dress and makeup. (Always professional but just a little darker and more edgy). I reckoned that if they didn’t respect me enough to pay market rate, they could put up with Chanel Rouge Noir nails and lips.

              1. Thistle Whistle*

                Its 4 years later and I’m earning about 23% more now in a job that I love.

                Getting here was hard. I had to take contract work, some good some not so good. I was unemployed for periods between contracts and used the redundancy money to cover those times. Due to the unemployed/unpaid periods I’m probably at about the same financial place as if I’d never left. But going forwards I have better earning potential, a much better career and opportunities.

                At times when I couldn’t find work I really worried i wouldn’t find anything and wondered if I’d thrown away safety in a pique of frustration. But I used the contracting to gain experience in different industries and areas of my profession and I finally leveraged that into a really good perm role.

                I stayed too long at my old job as it was the safe option. I now have colleagues doing similar work who are 10 years younger than me because they had the confidence to leverage opportunities whereas at their age I was too scared to take the leap of faith and jump.

          2. Boof*

            Did they say anything when you left?
            Yeah you’d think companies would be MORE interested in keeping their employees, if anything

            1. Thistle Whistle*

              I volunteered for redundancy and they were shocked. I think they thought I’d become another 20+ year employee who they could rely on to not cause waves. People tended to become “lifers” at my office with no real chance of progression.

              My direct boss was really upset I left but wasn’t surprised as I’d expressed the desire to move up frequently (which wasn’t really possible as the director who had blocked my pay request greatly favoured staff at the other main site). My old boss has been good with references for me.

          3. OP for #2*

            That is my fear – that people will continue to get paid more as external hires – and I’ll be that grumpy coworker everyone avoids because of the pay disparity.

            1. EPLawyer*

              You can avoid that by recognizing your own worth. You don’t OWE the company any more loyalty than doing your best job in exchange for a paycheck.

              If you REALLY like the place, then talk about a raise. You might not get 50%, but you might get an amount you can live with. But always be ready to leave. it’s a job, not a lifetime committment.

              1. Thistle Whistle*

                If the pay is that low, is it really that great a place? I used to mistake work friendships with a good employer.

              2. Zombeyonce*

                OP can do both! Ask for a raise, and get that (probably just slightly) higher pay while they look for another job.

            2. Thistle Whistle*

              I saw that happen to several long term colleagues and had to work hard not to do the same whilst I was plotting my escape.

              I found the smug feeling of knowing my head/heart was already “out the door” allowed me to squash the bitterness I felt about the pay.

              If I hadn’t decided to leave, I think the bitterness would have been hard to deal with.

            3. Paris Geller*

              If external hires are getting paid more for the same or similar work and you’re one of the few women in your STEM field. . . that definitely seems like possible pay discrimination to me.

            4. MCMonkeyBean*

              It happens a lot and it sucks.

              When I was underpaid for a while at entry level at my company I was very honest with my boss–I didn’t try to get a competing offer or threaten to leave but I did say basically “I know that often people have to move to another company to get their pay up to market rate but I really like it here and could see myself working here for a long time. What would it take to get my pay up.”

              It took a year but they eventually gave me a 12% bump. 50% is a much bigger ask obviously, but if you get to the point where you are thinking of looking elsewhere I think you might as well talk it out honestly with your own boss first. If they are very unreasonable then there can be risk in even talking about hypothetically leaving but I am assuming if your boss was that type of unreasonable you wouldn’t feel so strongly about wanting to stay.

              It’s so silly that so many places will only give market rate salaries to new employees. If you leave to get what you’re worth then they’ll end up having to pay what you asked for to someone else anyway on top of recruiting/hiring costs and then take the time to train them up to your level (if they can even get them there, you sound like a stellar employee)

        3. A*

          It’s worth asking. I was in a very similar situation as OP and was also skeptical (I was ~40% under mid market) but I underestimated my employer – they took the market data and research I provided along with my summary of job expansion and ended up giving me a 30% raise. Ultimately I did end up leaving a year later for an opportunity that compensated on the very high end of the market, but had that not come along I would still be there.

      2. lemon*

        Yup, exactly. Companies that pay this low know what they’re doing.

        I was in a similar situation at Old Job. The director of our department was dumping their director-level projects on me, an entry-level employee. I worked my butt off. When review time came around, I brought up my accomplishments and the results I achieved. Director told me that I didn’t do anything new or special and gave me an average rating, which basically meant no raise beyond the standard 3% COLA. I spent the next year being the de facto supervisor of a less experienced co-worker. When they quit, the director made it clear that they expected I would continue to train and de facto supervise (“mentoring,” according to the director) the new hire, so I said sure, if you can promote me to senior teapot specialist and give me a raise. Suddenly, they started interviewing people with my specific skill-set. Several weeks went by with no official answer, so I took that as a sign that nope, no promotion or raise for me.

        I started interviewing elsewhere and found that even tiny non-profits were paying 30% more for entry-level roles. I quickly found a role that came with a 70% raise. During the hiring process, no one batted an eye when I told them my salary range. They just said, “of course,” and met the top of my range. And I realized… that’s how companies that care about paying fairly operate. They don’t treat you like you have to prove to them that you deserve to be paid a certain amount.

        What’s funny is that the new role is actually much easier than the previous role. Which… was a bit of an adjustment. I put up with the shenanigans at Old Job because the work was challenging and I enjoyed it, even though I was being taken advantage of. So, it was a little hard to feel like I was taking a bit of a step back in terms of work duties. But, in the end, I’d much rather be paid fairly and treated with respect than accept challenging work at low pay.

        By all means, LW should definitely ask for the raise/promotion, if only so that they can have the peace of mind to know that they did everything they could to turn the role into what they need. But just… be prepared and know that you may not have to work so hard to prove yourself someplace else that’s more committed to pay equity.

  5. Jennifer Juniper*

    *glares at OP4’s company*

    Do they know that their policy could potentially cause an office-wide outbreak of COVID, the flu, and any other number of nasty things? Since people won’t accrue leave anymore, they’ll come in even with positive COVID diagnoses, among other things.

    1. Yvette*

      But according to the letter it would be only if there was a shutdown so there won’t be anyone going to the office.

      1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        Unless they’re deemed essential and need to be in the office to perform their jobs.

      2. OP4*

        In the event of a shutdown, about half the staff (including me!) can and would work from home our normal hours. The other half can’t do their work from home, but will still collect full pay. I know during the first shutdown that many colleagues maxed out their PTO and sick leave dealing with child and eldercare.

        In the big picture, I’m so glad the organization isn’t furloughing or laying off the on-site workers who can’t work. But also, the leave freeze feels more like an optics thing than a financial necessity. Like, management thinks we need to be deprived of something since they’re being so generous. (Yes, the leave is already stingy….)

        1. OP4*

          Which is to say that going into the office sick won’t be the issue, but if you get sick while working from home, you may not have any sick leave to take.

        2. LQ*

          I doubt that is the case. If they aren’t furloughing or laying off folks then they are unlikely to be the kind of place to play that kind of mind games. They could just lay everyone off, no one accrues leave when laid off. This is really just a money on the books thing, and this can be a way to have their books look much better. Everyone thinks PTO is free but it’s not and it’s not recorded as free, so being able to reduce your costs when you are really close to laying folks off is pretty common. I’d actually say this is a less shitty thing to do than other ways to reduce cost like pay cuts or layoffs.

          1. CTT*

            Yes! I’m an attorney and do business transactions, and if the purchaser buys the PTO when they acquire an ongoing business (as opposed to the seller paying it out and the purchaser starting fresh), I’m always surprised at how much it is when it shows up on the settlement statement. Even in a small organization, it really adds up.

          2. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

            Yes! We were all encouraged to continue to take our vacations and those on a plan to reduce their huge accruals (in some cases, over 100 days accrued on top of what they already get per year) were told you must continue to take these days off or get them paid out. I just cannot imagine how much $$ was tied up in those accruals.

            COVID hit our primary source of income hard. Enforcing the new spend-down-your-accrued-vacation policy (one person took over three months off, and the person with over 100 accrued days already took 70 days this year and gets another 40 days in January to add to the pile), not replacing them and spreading the work around allowed my employer to have no layoffs. Less income didn’t mean less work though, I point out, and being stretched thinner was no fun.

            The irony? I won’t have time to take my last few days because of work load. I have to ask permission to carry them over. Thankfully my boss is fully on board.

    2. Me*

      If they are at the point where they need to cut costs to do business, I suspect those who are employed would rather have a temporary non accrual of leave than being laid off.

  6. Batgirl*

    Wow. “cutting her and myself off to butt in”. OP1, why don’t you try, in the moment saying something like: “Oh I am teaching Jane and the other students right now, but why don’t we have a proper parent-tutor chat at the end when everyone’s done? I’d love to hear your thoughts.” The key to a tricky parent is giving them proactive attention, really discuss and pick their brains and don’t just wait for them to give you something to respond to. She will definitely complain though, just expect, prepare and tip off your boss for inevitable complaints. I had a parent who complained about her son’s (in school) teaching every week even though he was making a crazy amount of progress. It wasn’t until lockdown (thank you head teacher, for deciding not to go online) and she began teaching herself that she ‘got it’; that we’d been teaching him well. I had lots of talks with her about the material we were sending home and she was just invested, and needed something to do with that investment.

    1. Yvette*

      Wait, I think I missed something big, when you say other students do you have multiple sessions going but each student is on separate sessions or are they all hearing everything at the same time on the same session? (sorry not sure how it all works) Because if I were a parent who was not necessarily hovering but able to hear and I heard another parent monopolizing time that I am paying for and that could and should be spent on 0ther children, I would be extremely annoyed, to the point of finding another tutoring situation.

      1. OP1*

        Hey! It’s OP1, we have multiple students in our tutoring meetings, but no they can’t see each other. Usually I devote about ten to fifteen minutes at a time to each student, then switch and check on the other students. I should also mention, my boss has been very clear we cannot afford to lose any students due to covid, making the situation slightly trickier to navigate.

        1. Inca*

          I can’t judge the risk of loosing a client, but when swiftly and directly addressed, those bounds will usually just help with quality and also perceived quality. It’s not even guaranteed that this parent will see you or your organisation as more professional because you don’t interfere… they might actually *lower* their opinion subconsciously. So this parent might cut off the tutoring in some time because they might think ‘there’s nothing special that I can’t do.’ And establishing some boundaries around this may even help with her trust in you.

          So when I read this, the most natural way to me seemed to set a call with the parent, explain how you teach and that you also need students to have time to work to conclusions on their own. And that when the parent is thinking you are not getting to the bottom of something, you really are but *choosing* not to address certain things to let the student gain confidence, work out mistakes on her own, not overburden her, and that they are all things you do deliberately. Then ask her to step back from the sessions.

          Given that the situation is more loaded with the possible loss and the hesitance from your boss to confront a client, it might be wise to go over this with your boss before you approach. But I think this conversation needs to be had one way or another and you *can* step in because it’s part of your tutoring quality.
          Also, it’s something I know almost any teacher or coach needs to deal with sometimes. Parents may not see the impact of their behavior – but it still needs to be pointed out and stopped so you can have a good tutoring relationship with your actual student.
          And usually, when confronted sincerely and explained (but not argued), parents will accept and actually gain some trust too that you know to step in and be clear. (Some people won’t, of course. And sometimes people do leave. But that’s not guaranteed.)

        2. Batgirl*

          I think if that’s the case, you need to make special efforts to communicate with both your boss and with this parent proactively. You really can’t do that mid tutoring session. If you only give them reactions to the in the moment stuff they will never come out and say why they are really hovering, or what their issue is. Even the most over eager parent can often have something useful to say because they know their kid (“my kid will always say yes to yes/no questions, and pretend she’s fine”) or it’s simply useful to know how batshit they are because you can explain and undo unreal expectations: “I was expecting my young child to become a college grad overnight”, is your cue to praise Jane’s level of progress. Getting your bosses’ thoughts on this is key; it let’s you know if this is something they’d want you to nip in the bud for the sake of other parents, assess for balance, or tolerate for the sake of keeping this parent.

    2. Jennifer Juniper*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the mother in the first letter was trying to gaslight her daughter by convincing her she is unable to understand stuff she really does understand.

      Something worse than helicopter parenting could be at play here.

  7. surprisedcanuk*

    LW2 I think the coworker is right. It seems likely that the only way to get a raise that large would be to get a an offer from somewhere else and try and get them to match it. Maybe it would be best to go somewhere else. Do you really want to work somewhere were there are stingy with raises.

      1. irene adler*

        Unless one only uses the offer as part of their research on the market’s current salary.
        IOW, omit that fact that it is an offer. Just use the salary info as part of the research data showing what they should be paid.
        Then if management balks, take the offer.

    1. MarsJenkar*

      Yeah, accepting a counter-offer from your current company is fraught for a number of reasons that have been discussed elsewhere in this blog. Probably better to just accept a better offer elsewhere and move on.

    2. Birdie*

      I did once get a 50% raise when I changed jobs at a previous organization. Honestly, it probably should’ve been more than that, but I was starting low and asking for more than 50% obviously wasn’t realistic. This org wasn’t great about raises, either – I typically got 2.5-3% raises, which I know is about average as raises go, but that was atypical in my office (and I think that was partly my boss trying to get me closer to the salary he knew I should’ve been earning). So what OP’s hoping for isn’t necessarily outside the realm of possibility, but it is a long shot.

      If it were me, I would still focus on presenting the business case for market value and hope they’ll at least offer enough that I could get some good experience to leverage into an even higher-paying job elsewhere. Meanwhile, I would go ahead and start looking at other companies. You never know what you’ll find.

  8. ACM*

    LW1 – If you don’t feel comfortable engaging directly with the parent (and I get that; teaching in a private context is a totally different power dynamic) and if your boss doesn’t want to step in, see if you can identify the most frequent problems and have a cheerful phrase ready to go – “Whoops, I’ve lost Jane – still there, Jane?” when the camera is pointed away from her, for example. Or, if she starts doubting herself when her mom calls her out, “Well, sometimes we have to try it to know what our questions are, don’t we? Let me know as soon as any doubts come up?”

    (And some unsolicited advice from one teacher to another – “does that make sense?” rarely gets you good information (though feels so natural it sometimes just happens), so it could be worth checking out questioning in teaching to see if you can upgrade your questions. We call them CCQs – comprehension check questions – in ELT, not sure if the terminology is the same in other fields.)

    1. happybat*

      Just to add my tuppence worth – ‘does that make sense at all?’ works really well for me! Perhaps it’s different across cultures? It gives my pupils and students a chance to check and clarify procedures without having to admit they didn’t understand – the ‘blame’ is shifted onto my faulty explanation.

      1. Alternative Person*

        ‘Does this make sense?’ and variations can also be important for teaching students to ask questions.

        I work in a culture where students are discouraged from asking questions to the teacher, but are often going to go to places where those kinds of questions are acceptable so sometimes asking ‘Does this make sense?’ and following up with CCQs and ICQs is needed.

    2. OP1*

      Oh thank you, I really like this! I think it reinforces focusing on Jane in a polite way. And I’ll definitely reevaluate how I prompt students from now on!

  9. Maddy*

    #5 – maybe your employer thinks you will have some time off between jobs? And that maybe your last weeks should be focused on whatever open tasks you need to close? They are clearly trying to take advantage by using your time once you are no longer an employee but I would just tell them that I am happy to do all those things in the last days on the relationship and that after you want to focus on the transition.

    1. Bagpuss*

      It’s also possible that as some of the invitations are for ‘goodbye parties’ that they aren’t seeing this as work at all – they are seeing it as a social event and not realizing that it impinges on your new job.

      The exit interview is different – I’d be inclined to respond to the manager on that one and say something like “I can’t do that date as it’s after I leave, but if you want to book it in at some point on my last day let me know”

      With the parties, for the sake of goodwill, ‘d respond to say something like “As that’s after my leaving date, I won’t be available – I’m starting my new role immediately and expect to have to it the ground running, so I won’t have any availability for outside events”

      1. Artemesia*

        This. Don’t stew over it or act as if you are doing something wrong. This is a breezy ‘I’ll be working full time then and so don’t have any availability after December X’. Matter of fact. No explanation or guilt required beyond that.

    2. Booboo*

      I agree. No one should be expected to attend actual work meetings, but throwing a goodbye party is a very normal, kind and generous thing to do. Only on AAM (home of extreme introverts who regard any form of social contact with others as practically a breach of their human rights) would having a goodbye party thrown for you cause complaints.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          It could be goodbye parties for OTHER people.
          We’ve occasionally retirees & other former employees invited back for some things like this. Not uncommon here because people tend to leave here to get a job-band jump then come back.

      1. Massmatt*

        Oh my, this is awfully cranky. The OP is being asked to return to work, presumably taking time off from her new job during her first week, possibly multiple days, to attend these events. And it was parties, and exit interviews, PLURAL.

        It sounds as though the old job couldn’t get their act together to organize these things while she was still working there. Maybe there’s a reason, but it doesn’t sound like a “normal, kind, or generous thing to do” to me.

        1. LW #5*

          @Massmatt that’s pretty much it – in the past, I’ve been the team member that would help organize parties, support employee transitions, etc. And, my last day is actually tomorrow, and none of the things I mentioned in my email have been scheduled yet! So I am anticipating having to decline a few invites pretty soon.

          @Booboo, I certainly would be happy to attend a party thrown in my honor. I’ve spent six years with my team and would love to celebrate with them. I do not want to tell my new boss on my first day that I can’t attend a 11:30am meeting because I have to go to said party.

          1. JustaTech*

            I think that right there is the important part of the “work goodbye party” question. If the party was at the end of the day, or even slightly after hours, then it’s a more reasonable request. But a mid-day party after you’ve started a new job? If everyone were still in the office no one would suggest that; obviously you can’t leave your new job to drive back to the old one for lunch. I think they’re forgetting that “working remotely” doesn’t mean “totally unscheduled”.

            If you really did want to attend and say goodbye to everyone, maybe you could suggest it be scheduled for the afternoon/evening?

      2. allathian*

        I know this site tends to skew fairly introverted, but come on. In before times, when people were mostly working at the office, it would have been pretty unusual to ask a former employee to come to the old office for a goodbye party after they left. It’s just that somehow now that so many of us are WFH that this idea’s even coming up.

        Normally I’m all for organizing staff parties during working hours, but if they’re absolutely determined to have this party, and if the LW would be happy to participate in a goodbye party or two, maybe they could ask to reschedule after working hours? Don’t suggest this unless you actually want to attend a goodbye party, though. The best thing to do would be to reschedule for the weeks when you’re still working at the old job.

        I like Maddy’s wording on scheduling the exit interview.

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yeah, the only times I’ve seen a goodbye party held after someone’s last day was when it was an after-work sort of thing and the date worked better for the departing employee. Those were also usually more blurring the line between official work event and unofficial get-together with work friends.

          I am an introvert who really likes official work social things because it encourages me to actually get to know my coworkers , who are pretty awesome people. But I want to go to official work social events during official work time.

      3. ceiswyn*

        Throwing a goodbye party BEFORE YOU LEAVE is a normal kind and generous thing to do.

        Throwing a goodbye party AFTER YOU HAVE LEFT that takes time awaw from your new job? Not so much…

        1. Colette*

          Yeah, the only time I’ve seen goodbye parties after you’ve left is if it’s an internal transfer. And even that is rare.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Good grief, hit submit before I finished. Anyway, I love a good party but not after leaving the company. That’s weird.

          I left a job the week before a big fun work outing that I was sorry to miss, and my boss said I should come anyway. I thought that was weird, so I said no.

          Want to see the OP after she leaves? Invite her for lunch after she’s settled in her new gig. Don’t send meeting requests for official events.

          1. londonedit*

            Yep, same. I have once or twice gone for drinks with former colleagues as a belated leaving thing, but that was something we organised amongst ourselves, not something the company put on. And it was after work. If these ‘leaving events’ are during work time then I think the OP is well within their rights to say no – it’s one thing catching up with old workmates for a quick lunchtime or after-work Zoom, but they can’t be expected to take time out of their new job to attend social events at their old company.

            1. LW #5*

              I am the OP for #5, and yes this is the issue for me – I certainly don’t mind a goodbye party with the different teams (I have been here six year), but they are trying to schedule them all during regular working hours (11:30am or 2pm, for example). I agree that if I were asked to come to an informal Zoom happy hour after hours, that would be much easier to say yes to. But taking off an hour during my very first day of work so I can attend an event at my old company just seems very hard to justify!

      4. Anne Elliot*

        Whoever peed in your cheerios, Booboo, I doubt it was anyone here.

        Throwing a goodbye party is very normal, but throwing one after the person has actually left and expecting them to come back for it, emphatically is not; it’s bizarre in fact. I realize in this case the parties are virtual, but considering what this would look and sound like IRL highlights why it is an imposition.

        This is another example of how the transition to virtual communications leads some people to wrongly believe other people do not have the right to reasonable boundaries. You’re in your house! It’s just a Zoom call! What do you mean you’re not available??? It’s not reasonable to expect you to come back to a place you don’t work anymore, just so people can say goodbye to you.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          I know of one time when a “going away party” was scheduled after the employee’s departure. She was not invited. It was a celebration of the fact that she was leaving. So yeah, scheduling this party during work hours, after the LW’s last day, is really, really weird.

          1. JustaTech*

            My senior management actually tried to ban “goodbye” parties during a period when a lot of people left for another, shinier, company, on the grounds that we “shouldn’t celebrate that someone is leaving”. We couldn’t come up with a polite way of saying “we’re celebrating that they’re getting out of here and this insane rollercoaster”, so we just stopped inviting senior management to our after-work goodbye parties.

      5. Totally Minnie*

        This is a really harsh response, and a huge misinterpretation of the comments so far. Nobody has said that the company shouldn’t be throwing a goodbye party because goodbye parties are bad. People are saying it’s odd that this company is still scheduling OP for stuff after OP’s last day of work. And you know what? It IS odd. You don’t have to be introverted or anti-social to think it’s odd, because it IS.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes — using this as an opportunity to complain about people here not liking parties is strangely misplaced. No one has said anything like that on this post.

      6. Quinalla*

        Of course a goodbye part is a nice thing to do – BEFORE the person leaves. Expecting someone to attend AFTER then leave is weird :)

        And unnecessarily harsh on us introverts, dang :) It is ok for introverts to complain about having to go to things they don’t really enjoy or if they enjoy are going to drain them for the next day or more.

      7. Artemesia*

        You don’t go to a party on your new employer’s dime. And you don’t hold one during the work day for an employee after they have left the company.

      8. Allonge*

        Look, even if you were right in your characterisation of the AAM community, should it not be ok for people who do not like workplace parties to have a space on the internet? Nobody’s being an introvert at you.

      9. fhqwhgads*

        In my experience goodbye parties are on the person’s last day, or maybe the day before. Sure, it’s social, but it’s still not something that happens after the last day.

    3. Lucy Day*

      I have worked for very social companies and goodbye parties were always scheduled during the employee’s last week. To me this is so outside the norm that I think the OP should double check that her employer has her correct last day of employment. It’s entirely possible her manager wrote it down wrong or communicated it incorrectly to HR and the party planners. Double checking allows her to correct things if there was an actual mistake made and potentially reschedule the events.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I think that’s a reasonable thing to double check, because it just seems odd that every invite is after OP’s last day.

    4. LW #5*

      LW #5 here! I have been clear with them that my start date for my new job is immediately following the end date of the old job. So it’s just odd to me! I’ve even had my boss now start asking me to “let him know if I could complete [a new set of tasks] by [a date several days after I start my new job].” I *know* they know my start date! I have been here six years, so maybe they are just having a hard time letting go.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Ooof. Yeah, just say no to all of that. You need to focus all of your energy on your new job, but at the end of the day, you don’t need excuses– you won’t be working for them any more!

      2. Artemesia*

        There are businesses that pull this kind of crap and it sounds like this is one of them. You need to be frank that you won’t be available after your last day to do any tasks or parties or anything at all, because you know, you will be WORKING. I would also limit any follow up questions to two weeks max i.e. if they contact you about where a folder is or a password or whatever, stop picking up at all after two weeks. And don’t answer their calls even then; let them go to voice mail and call back the next day at earliest. These are people who will take as much rope as you give them. (You would LOL of course be delighted to help except well you have WORK to do for the new people and don’t have time.)

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Okay, then just a polite “unfortunately I am unavailable at that time, how about XX time during last week.”

      4. londonedit*

        Yeah, definitely just say no and ‘Sorry – my last day is the 27th, so I won’t be available after that!’

        1. Jen in Oregon*

          ….and if you can’t keep a straight face and/or say it without laughter in your voice, that’s okay.

      5. BelleMorte*

        Sure my contractor rate is (current pay per hour) x 20. I’m available after the hours of : (whenever).

      6. Not Australian*

        Only just relevant, I suppose, but I did have a friend once whose old boss contacted her new boss to ask if they could borrow her back for a few days to complete a certain project. In exchange they offered to release her the same number of days early for orientation at the new place. Since my friend didn’t mind too much (there was a bit of travelling involved, but she was quite willing to do it) they came to an amicable agreement, and for a little while after that she was technically working for each place while being paid by the other. [NB: this was in the UK where notice periods are often much longer than in the USA.]

  10. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

    #5 Focus all your time when your at your new job on your new job – there’ll be inductions, training, introductions all sorts for people there to get you settled in and even if you’re working remotely your schedule won’t be yours in the first few weeks, it’ll be your new company’s! It’s perfectly fine to explain you can’t schedule anything on your new company’s time (and dime if you’re in the US!). Good luck in your new job!

    1. LW #5*

      Thank you @Hare!! Thanks to AAM, I’m going from a partial furlough and no leadership opportunities to a job that pays literally double and has me managing a team. I am very excited! Just feels like after six years with my old job, everyone’s having a hard time coming to terms with it – I’ve even had two team members refuse to meet with me (jokingly, but still) because they knew I was announcing my departure and they didn’t want to hear it. I also just couldn’t imagine telling my new boss, “sorry, can’t meet on day 1 because I have a party to go to”…

      1. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

        Aww you sound very well liked in your old/previous job – I see. You could try to keep pushing hard on the unknown new schedule and fill your last days with fun things/zoom parties – you deserve it!

  11. Green great dragon*

    when I need to go check in on the other student, Lisa prevents me from doing so.

    This takes it a step further to me. I’m not sure how she prevents LW from doing anything, but between that and the camera, it feels like LW isn’t in charge of the session, and needs to be. Normally a parent might want to raise concerns when picking up a child after a lesson and a tutor would be expected to engage, and LW seems to be in that sort of a mindset, whereas the impact here is closer to ‘a parent has walked in on a lesson and is interrupting my teaching’. I would at least be asking her to move the camera back to Jane every time, and be ready to say ‘I need to speak to Fred now – I’ll be free to discuss with you after the lesson (or whenever).’

    1. some_coder*

      I’am a martial arts trainer class for children. Thats the exact reason why we don’t allow parents to sit in the room during the class.
      – It distracts the child of the parent.
      – It distracts the other children (because there is a stranger in the room).
      – Some parents tell the child what they should do undermining the authority of the trainer. (the trainer can explain the stuff better because he or she has more experience than the parent).
      – Some parents scold their child when they dont behave. But enforcing discipline is the job of the trainer and must absolutley be done by him or her. This is necessary to build an environment with dicipline where everyone can learn. If you have children who don’t behave and who you can’t control then this will have an effect of whole class and nearly every child in it. You simply can’t teach them that way.

    2. Massmatt*

      “ I’m not sure how she prevents LW from doing anything”

      Probably simply by continuing to talk and ask questions, monopolizing the LW’s time. When the person paying is being a jerk, it’s hard to politely extricate yourself without endangering the financial relationship.

      1. H2*

        Or…she’s paying for a service and maybe it’s not helping her kid very much, and she’s trying to be a more active participant in her child’s learning. Don’t get me wrong, she’s going about it in the wrong way, but jumping straight to “she’s being a jerk” seems like a lot to me. If I’ve hired a tutor, I do expect that my kid at least would be able to ask questions (taking more of the tutor’s time).

        I’ve both privately tutored kids and had my kids privately tutored (although never with a company), and as an educator, I’m not going to come down too harshly on most parents who are making an effort to get their kids help. There are for sure some who take it too far, but there are a lot of people out there who want what’s best for their kids and don’t always know how to best achieve it.

        I think that I would try to address it in the moment, or shoot her an email or make a phone call right after, and I would be very clear in what I want to happen. “Ok, Lisa, I want you to work on these three math problems by yourself now, to make sure you understand how to do them. I’m going to give you 7 minutes of quiet, and then I’ll check back in with you. Jane, let’s let her work independently on these.” If she asks questions, I would tell her that you can chat together after the session privately (this is totally reasonable). You could mention there that one of the goals is to get Lisa to do the work more independently, so you want her to be the one to ask and answer questions during the session. And you might ask for the parents’ goals, and ask how the sessions seem to be helping, and you might get some info that can help you move forward.

        1. AKchic*

          Lisa is paying for a service, yes; but so are all of the other parents. In fact, the other parents are paying for the exact same service, and are paying the exact same price. Why should Lisa be allowed to get more for her money and cheat the other children (and parents) out of their hard-earned money just because she has the time (and audacity) to sit in on the sessions and monopolize LW1’s time like that? If she wants to monopolize time and get individualized attention, she needs to pay for one-on-one tutoring. She cannot continue in the vein she has been taking in order to pretend like Jane is supposed to be getting one-on-one service in a class of x number of students when Lisa is paying for a group tutoring session.

          1. H2*

            Yes, which is why I said that she shouldn’t be allowed to continue.

            I just think in general it helps everyone to assume benign intent. Online education for kids is very, very stressful for parents (especially mothers, who most often bear the brunt of this burden). Why jump straight to “She’s a jerk” when maybe she just needs some guidance on how to best help?

            1. AKchic*

              It’s not unreasonable to acknowledge that Lisa’s behavior is jerky, demanding or otherwise entitled and outside of what she is paying for.

              Encouraging the LW to empower her boss to allow her to avail herself of the proper language/tools/resources to shut Lisa down ahead of time and in the moment while acknowledging jerky behavior isn’t a bad thing. Nobody *has* to sympathize with someone acting like a jerk in order to want them to stop the bad behavior.

        2. A*

          “If I’ve hired a tutor, I do expect that my kid at least would be able to ask questions (taking more of the tutor’s time). ”

          Sure, but if it leads to an unequal distribution of the tutors time that’s where it crosses the line in my book. The other parents are paying for the service as well, and the other students are equally important. If additional time is needed above and beyond what is allotted (whether it’s due to the parent having questions or the student) then maybe a private tutoring session would be a better fit.

          It’s not a reasonable expectation to have the tutor prioritize one student over another.

      2. LW1*

        Hey it’s LW1! Yeah I have to switch in between students, and she knows I have to switch to another student. When I attempt to do so, she interrupts me speaking and keeps me behind, monopolizing my time. My boss has also made it very clear we cannot afford to lose any students, as we have lost a fair few due to covid. As a result, the situation is a bit trickier to navigate.

        1. BuildMeUp*

          I definitely understand how that makes it trickier. Can you try reframing it? If Lisa’s mom is monopolizing your time, that means you’re giving less time to the other students in your session, which could make *their parents* decide to leave. So addressing this with her is actually helping you keep students in the end.

        2. reject187*

          I’ve found that the best way to deal with parents (as a classroom educator) is to be cheerful and take no crap. I may be wrong but you sound like you have less classroom management experience. No worries, I was the same way until about three years ago! Just remember: 1. You are the expert and know what you’re doing (even if you don’t feel like it), and 2. You are working with the parent for the benefit of the child. If the parent is undermining your authority as the expert, you can absolutely shut that down. Save her questions for after the session. Reframe her comments as being frustrated at the situation. Focus on giving the best care you can to the kid, uphold your expertise during the session, and save the parent’s questions for afterward. Parents rarely come into my classroom during class hours to watch, and I realize online tutoring is different, but you can do the same.

        3. A*

          Could you start talking about needing to switch to another student a few minutes earlier than you have been? Allotting for time to be interrupted (which I don’t think is ideal, but understand your in a tough spot being limited in your ability to push back)? Or maybe have a timer?

  12. Green great dragon*

    I’ve got a bit of sympathy for the company in #4, since a lot of people over here have come back after several months’ furlough with huge amounts of vacation time accrued – obviously they haven’t needed to take leave for any time off but are still building it up (UK, so everyone now has 6 weeks leave to take over about 7 months). I’d feel differently if they were working from home (and so still taking PTO) and not accruing.

    1. doreen*

      You can’t even assume people working from home were taking PTO – most people I know who were actually going to their work location didn’t take PTO. They aren’t doctors, police ,EMS workers etc. They are people who do essential but not emergency work – supermarket managers, people who work for distributors selling to hardware stores, delivery drivers. They haven’t taken time off not because they couldn’t – but because there hasn’t been anywhere to go.

      1. Green great dragon*

        True – but in that case I’d say the company might mandate its wfh people to take some PTO regularly, but people should definitely still accrue it.

    2. OP4*

      We do have a year’s end PTO rollover cap. I get 10 days PTO annually and I can’t carry over more than 15. So I’m sure folks are accumulating leave, but not at astronomical rates, especially since a lot of the workforce is part-time and doesn’t get PTO at all (a separate issue). But in a sector where more than 50% of organizations have had furloughs or layoffs, a leave freeze is small potatoes.

      And I maybe should have used a different word than shutdown. If our facility is closed, I would still be working from home and not accruing PTO.

  13. triplehiccup*

    LW2, look for greener pastures! My last 2 job moves have each brought the magnitude of salary increase you’re talking about, and each time it was life-changing. Totally worth all the hassle of job searching and transitioning.

    In the meantime, I would still ask for whatever raise you think it’s possible to squeeze out of the tightwads you’re working for now.

  14. Soylent Minority*

    I recently increased my salary by a whopping 70% by taking a job with another employer – the only way I’ve ever found to increase salary by more than about 10% in a single move. There are some employers who would work with you to get you to “market” over 2-3 years but I’d wager that the org that drags its feet delivering a promised promotion isn’t one of them. And why should you wait to earn what the market will pay today?

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I recently increased my salary by a whopping 70% by taking a job with another employer

      Wow! That’s encouraging.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah. It’s really difficult to get more than say 20% for promotions within your org. It would have to be some pretty exceptional reasons.
      Job switching is the only way I’ve typically found to achieve anything like doubling your salary, and even then that’s not always easy!

      The best I’ve done was going from $40k to $63k in a job hop. However, I had previously made $60k before the $40k job. So it was very justifiable to ask that.

    3. Environmental Compliance*

      I’ve done that as well – 40% raise at one job shift, 20% at another, and from start to finish I’m making now nearly 3x my salary 5 years ago.

      The only time I’ve had more than a 5-6% raise is when a new boss stepped in, looked over salaries, and brought me up 12% to match what management had reviewed as a standard market rate (and to match me with another coworker in a similar position).

  15. My Favorite Latte*

    #2 – I was in a similar situation to you about 10 years ago. I had been working at my first professional job out of college for a couple of years and it was also at a company that didn’t like to give raises. I too was promoted twice during my three years there but no raises for either promotion. I ended up getting a 50% raise when I left the company.

    You have to look out for yourself and your own financial situation. Even though I loved my workplace, knew if I continued at my current pay rate, I would never be financially stable, be able to afford to buy a home, save for retirement, etc. If your field is anything like mine, you have to move around every few years to get significant raises, which is exactly what I do.

    1. OP for #2*

      I thought I might not be alone in this choice – and that’s exactly how I feel. At this salary I’m stable, but can’t afford to buy a home, and my retirement savings is a joke. Perhaps I just need to accept that this is what I need to do. Thank you for your input.

      1. My Favorite Latte*

        You are definitely not alone! I know it’s difficult to move on, or even think of moving on, but sometimes it’s the best choice we have at the time. I wish you the best. Don’t be afraid to go after something that is going to enrich your life in multiple ways.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        Leaving this company doesn’t mean you can never go back. It just means you might have to leave in order for them to value you appropriately when you return.

      3. Zel*

        I’m in the same boat. After trying to remain in one metro for months with a bad job market, and a current role with undermarket salary and poor benefits, I started to look outside. The interviews keep coming and the absolute lowest salary from my discussions was a 35% increase, the highest was double my current salary.

        My change in mindset about relocation was fairly recent, but I’m confident I can get a minimum of a 50% increase by waiting for the right change and there’s a lot of activity with prospective roles right now. You are not alone, and good luck in your search!

      4. Artemesia*

        I’m retired and very comfortable. My husband and I made good money but not great money but I squirreled away the max in the IRA and the 403b every year — just had it deducted off the top even during the early years of tunafish casserole. If your job is not paying well enough for you to do this, you really need to do what it takes to make it possible. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I systematically prepared for this day and the longer you wait to make significant steps in retirement savings the more likely there will be no retirement or a depressingly impoverished one.

      5. Boof*

        I think it’s reasonable to ask once, if the answer is anything other than a yes with a clear timeline dust off the resume and prepare to leave once you have an offer that’s in line with what you want/should be getting

  16. Bad at math*

    Silly question – does a 50% raise mean your salary doubles? So if you make $20k, is a 50% raise $30k or $40k?

    I feel very silly asking this question but I’d love to know.

    1. Conspiracy-Industrial Complex*

      Going from $20K to $40K would be a 100% raise (because the $20K difference is 100% of the previous salary).

      1. Bad at math*

        Thank you all! Thank goodness for the AAM comments section, where I can ask all of my silly questions without fear! :)

        1. NotsorecentAAMfan*

          I hear there’s an online tutor who might have a new space opening up if you’re interested ;-)

        2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          This isn’t a silly question at all. For what it’s worth, I do impact analysis for a living (i.e. data work) and I often have to pause to make sure I’m thinking about questions/calculations like this correctly. I can do the math, but the concept sometimes confuses me.

  17. Malika*

    I worked somewhere where they increased the salary of high-demand skills employees gradually. They had their knees under the table and could advocate market rates and why the discrepancy wasn’t fair. Having said that, your best bet is to get your CV in order and find a new workplace. You are a woman with good performance history in a STEM field. With Allison’s advice about CV’s and cover letters, the world is your oyster. Companies often bank on you not moving and therefore giving stingy raises. Most people would rather be comfortable with the devil they know and accept a stagnant salary. Moving to a new employer does involve risk, but in the long term totally worth it. You could even after a period go back to your old employer if you exit gracefully and don’t burn any bridges.

    1. OP for #2*

      That’s really comforting and fantastic advice. I’ve been doing some light job searching, but now might be the time to crank it up.

      1. Malika*

        I am glad it helped. Sometimes when faced with this situation, it is tough to think of options, but they are totally out there.

    2. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Curious – what does “they had their knees under the table” mean? I’ve never heard that expression.

      1. londonedit*

        I’ve heard it as ‘they’ve got their feet under the table’ and it means someone who’s got themselves into a comfortable position where they can start calling the shots.

        1. Malika*

          Yes, knees under the table is that you are firmly part of the group and have leverage. I think this OP has that, in this situation.

  18. Seeking Second Childhood*

    OP3, This sounds to me like a great opportunity to give your senior team member(s) some management experience. Everyone needs a backup for vacation or illness, and in covid I’d say we need more than one. Ask them to step in for a designated time, or certain types of decisions. It’s good professional development, so make it formal with your team, your manager, and other teams as well.
    Bonus from me if you can find a way to rotate it among the whole team to include minorities & non-traditional hires & career changers.

    1. Sara without an H*

      I was coming here to say the same thing. OP#3, not only do you need to brief your team, but you should consider delegating some of your management responsibilities. It will give your team growth opportunities, which you say you want to provide, and relieve the pressure on you.

      If there’s nobody you can appoint as your auxilliary backup manager (or if your own boss/HR department won’t go for it), consider taking some of your recurring tasks and training staff as backup. Nothing essential to a department’s functioning should rest on a single individual, anyway — the essential task will inevitably be needed just as that person goes home with the flu.

      Bonus from me if you can find a way to rotate it among the whole team to include minorities & non-traditional hires & career changers.

      +1000 to this idea.

    2. Lord Peter Wimsey*

      100% agree – delegate, delegate, delegate. It sounds like you’re taking on a lot of the burden of their jobs — both short-term project management and long-term career pathing. Coach them on how to look ahead (five steps, one step, whatever) on their own projects. Instead of you coming up with ideas for them on how to move forward in their careers, have them shoulder some more of that load too. It’s a win-win — they are more proactive and invested in their jobs and you are lightening your load as well.

    3. Grapey*

      If I was being voluntold that I couldn’t be an IC anymore, the team would have a greater workload via me leaving.
      Independence in decision making is one thing, managing people is another.

    4. Bostonian*

      Yeah… I don’t know what kind of work OP3 is in, but the fact that “1 step ahead instead of 6 steps ahead” means they’re behind makes me think the direct reports need to be able to work more independently.

    5. LW3*

      Thanks for all of the suggestions on this! I was honestly expecting to get responses saying that I was letting down my team by not prioritizing being the best manager possible over school work. But these responses have helped me to think of some other ways to think about being a good manager. I think that there are some things that I could either delegate to them or ask that they work on solving on their own before bringing to me.

      I will say that they’re a truly amazing team. I couldn’t ask for a better group. But we work in new product development and most of them are either new to that kind of work or new to the company, hence the reason that I try to be looking so far ahead of them on projects (also, the company is a bit of a mess and leadership has a habit of not looking ahead at all, so I think I feel a bit of a responsibility to train my team in good processes and habits). But they do spend a lot of time coming to me to double check things that their assumptions are correct on. I think that I could do better at trusting them (and helping them trust themselves) to make decisions on their own and just update me on them afterwards. And I’ll look at other areas of actual responsibilities that I could help train them on/give them accountability for.

      1. A*

        And maybe this will be a good push for them to work more independently! For me, I often find that if a crutch/resource is available – I will lean on it. And while it might feel 100% necessary at the time – if that crutch is removed and no longer an option, I end up rising to the occasion more than I would have expected. It’s subconscious and took me a few years into my career to pick up on, but it’s a definite pattern.

        And for what it’s worth – if my manager was in this situation and decided to prioritize being 100% on/available as a manager over focusing more (temporarily) on finishing her school… I’d be really upset. I would never want to impede to that extent, and would expect it to be a balancing act for a while as your juggling both.

    6. TextHead*

      Also coming to say the same thing! My team has been growing and that has left less time for things that I previously had no issues handling. This is without school on the side, too (way to go on that!) . I promoted someone on my team to a lead, who handles some of those tasks that I need to be aware of, but don’t necessarily need to be the one doing them. It’s been so helpful! Even if you can’t make someone a lead, identify the tasks that others can handle, train one or more people on them, and then just monitor it (check in, ask for reports/updates, etc). In my experience, most people love be trusted with new tasks. It makes them feel like they’re doing a good job and they’re happy to be trusted with it.

  19. I don’t post often*

    OP 2: it is going to depend on the company and people managing. Husband took a job in 2018 that involved a semi career change. He was one of three employees at a non-profit. This particular type of non-profit depends mostly on volunteer help and volunteers decide almost everything with input from paid employees. The job in 2018 paid far lower than it should, but the experience was worth it. Fast forward to 2020 the most senior employee announced retirement two weeks before pandemic. Husband was left to navigate whether 1) he wanted senior persons job and 2) how to lead a committee of volunteers to hire him at a fair salary (think along the lines of 50% increase). Bottom line: lots of mistakes made. He was hired at a 30% increase. We were not willing to walk away at the time because of the pandemic and job searching automatically means a move. After the salary nonsense over the summer we are left feeling hurt. Of the committee, 1/2 were fine with what husband requested. 1/2 were not for reasons that are still murky and frankly don’t matter really because they were able to sway the committee and the larger population at a vote.
    It will simply depend on how your company sees it. If you go get that other offer be prepared to take it.

  20. Random Commenter*

    #2 is it just you being paid below market rate, or everyone?
    If the company just generally pays below market rate, than you’re less likely to be able to persuade them to meet market rate for you.

    1. OrigCassandra*

      Tagging on to this — OP2, is there a pay-equity gap owing to gender in your organization? What are the other people in the strategy meetings being paid? Are they all men?

      1. OP for #2*

        To reply to both on this – in general, the company pays everyone pretty low, although there is some movement in management to fix that (they realize this is part of why they have turnover, which has gotten suddenly worse). As far as I can tell, there isn’t a gender disparity in pay across titles. While the meetings I’m a part of with the C-suite are entirely with men, and they are paid more than I am, I don’t think it’s a super gross gender disparity problem – just an incidentally bad one from an optics perspective.

        1. LilyP*

          I mean, if you are a woman being paid less than male colleagues doing the same work that in and of itself is by definition a pay equity problem. It doesn’t need to be a widespread pattern to matter.

        2. Zombeyonce*

          While the meetings I’m a part of with the C-suite are entirely with men

          While there may not be a pay disparity, there appears to be a diversity problem at your company. Not a single woman in sight at these meetings in an executive position? That’s more than just optics.

  21. Software Engineer*

    For #5 it’s not clear to me whether people are intentionally asking you to work after your last day (which… no! If they want that they should pay you!) or just forgetting you won’t be there when they invite everyone to this party, the people involved in the last project meeting to the next one, so on. I would bet that many of them are not thinking ‘I know LW will be going but they should attend anyways.’ So I would just act as if that’s what’s happening and decline the invites. If it’sa meeting you would normally be at you can point them to whoever is taking over for you or ask if they need anything from you on that project before Friday etc.

    The Exit Interview is different as that’s obviously scheduled knowing that you’re leaving, so I would again just decline and say that if they want an exit interview it will have to be by your last day. An exit interview is for them, don’t give them your time for free! If you weren’t working remote you’d be off in another office, just mentally pretend you’ve moved to another office park elsewhere and can’t just pop in to the old office anymore

    1. Yvette*

      True, it could very well be that all these invitations are sent out blindly to anyone in the company or in a specific section and LW is still on the lists, but invites such as that normally go through company email and it sounds as though these are coming to her personal email account. (I am making that assumption only because in my experience, most people don’t have access to company email after they leave.)

    2. LW #5*

      Hi! I am OP for #5. They are intentionally asking me to work after my last day. I believe they don’t see it as ‘work’ because the asks are for parties and exit interviews, or meetings to ‘help’ or ‘give feedback’ on upcoming projects, but they would take place during normal working hours. My current company is small (under 20 people total) and we don’t have an HR department. Everyone knows my last day – I drafted a transition plan that clearly shows the timeline, I publicly announced in our company’s Slack, and I’ve met 1:1 or in small groups with every employee. To be clear, all of this behavior is only coming from the top – our four-person executive team. Everyone else seems to get it!

      1. Coder von Frankenstein*

        Either way, the appropriate response is the same: “I’m sorry, I won’t be available after X date.”

        Meetings are work too. They have no claim on your time after you’re gone.

      2. Artemesia*

        don’t equivocate or fail to respond. The first request gets ‘That won’t be possible because I will be working. Any get togethers need to be before Dec 5.’ After that ignore most of it and if they are insistent, it is ‘I won’t be here then so any feedback has to happen before Dec 5.’ Don’t get drawn into discussion — it isn’t ‘just feedback’ or ‘just’ anything. You aren’t available.

      3. Yvette*

        “…they would take place during normal working hours” You should have no qualms about refusing. How could they possibly think it is appropriate for you to spend time during the day on their parties etc, when you are working for the company you now work for and who pays you. If they so desparately need exit interviews you can do them the courtesy of ONE, to take place after hours should you choose.

  22. NotsorecentAAMfan*

    I really don’t get this idea of a company that “doesn’t like to give raises”.
    I don’t like to pay taxes. Or clear my sidewalk of snow in the winter. Or wait in line at the grocery store. Or…

    1. Massmatt*

      Is sadly not uncommon. Some employers, especially small ones, just don’t keep up with changing market rates. Others just think they are so awesome people should want to work there for free. For some it’s a business strategy where they pay lower rates and figure it’s worth the trade off of higher staff turnover. The worst try to demoralize or retaliate against people that try to move on.

      I suspect this employer is a combination of a few of these, and unfortunately the LW seems to have internalized it to think it’s normal.

    2. Jessica*

      I used to not like to wait in line at the grocery store, but now? I would love it! I miss waiting in line at the store! If only I could have another chance to wait in line at the store!
      Perhaps the company will feel the same way about giving OP a 50% raise.

  23. Jam Today*

    LW1, if I was the parent of the other kid I would be pretty incensed that the tutoring time I am paying for is being taken up by the parent of another student. That seems like a pretty easy line to draw with Lisa — she is, I guess, entitled to use her own child’s tutoring time however she wants even if that means her daughter isn’t learning, but she is not entitled to use other childrens’ tutoring time that other parents are paying for.

    1. LW1*

      LW1 here! I completely agree, and usually when I’m paired with Jane (who is younger) I’m also paired with an older student, who knows the tutoring etiquette and does not have a parent hovering nearby. The other student does have a right to be annoyed that I’m not devoting enough time to them due to spending more time with Jane, but so far I’ve never had a complaint in all my years of teaching there. I do my best to devote my time equally, but the situation with Lisa does worry me as she prevents me from checking on other students by monopolizing my time.

  24. MissDisplaced*

    I wonder if #5 company just wants you to RSVP but doesn’t really expect you to attend? Sometimes it’s just a way to buy time before announcing your departure. Perhaps they don’t wish to alarm customers or key accounts?
    It is a little weird, but I have seen this because if the guest list is posted publicly, attending clients will often check to see who’s coming. Depending on your role, that might be important.

    1. LW #5*

      We’re a tiny company in a tight-knit industry, everyone (including my colleagues and my clients) already knows. Is it normal to have a goodbye party without the person leaving there? Genuinely asking as I am younger and have never been to one!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Only if they’re planning to toast your departure as a kind of “good riddance,” but it would be triply weird to invite you to THAT.

        1. Massmatt*

          I actually know of a couple workplaces that celebrated someone’s departure after they left because they were glad they moved on. One was an informal drinks after work but the other was an actual at-work gathering with a cake and everything. In both cases the song “Ding, dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead!” was sung.

          I believed reports that the people leaving were awful but always had a suspicion that the workplace environments were… less than ideal.

      2. Artemesia*

        Of course not — they are trying to let you know they are still in charge of your time. You just have to make it clear they aren’t. A party during the workday when you are working for someone else? It is to laugh.

      3. MissDisplaced*

        Hm. Ok, well if that is the case, then I’d just politely decline the RSVP and state that you’re be at your new job by then and busy with your onboarding meetings at new job and won’t be able to attend any virtual meetings after X-day. Just go to the exit interview perhaps.

        I thought maybe you meant “event” events, like some type of customer event or meeting. Sometimes people at my former company had left, but were still invited to those things so as not to alarm clients until a new person was installed in the role. But it doesn’t sound like the case here.

  25. agnes*

    My daughter faced this issue at a job she had. They wanted her to promote into a position, but had a policy of only giving a X% maximum raise for any promotion, which in this case was below the minimum salary they were advertising for an outside candidate. She refused the job, quit her job, and then applied for the new job and was offered the higher starting salary because she was now an “outside” candidate.( how stupid is that?) . And believe it or not, the company encouraged her to do this. (Bad move on their part–read on).

    Well she then had grounds for a lawsuit, at least according to the attorney she spoke to. She told the company she would sue unless they gave her the job at a salary commensurate with job duties and her skill set, changed the policy at her company, and reinstated her seniority,, benefits, etc. So they did all of that I am very proud of her because she helped a lot of people at that company who got promotions after her.

    She found another job at another place shortly thereafter that was even better all around. As you can probably imagine, the work situation was somewhat tense after all this, although they were extremely careful not to compound their errors and give her even more reason to sue.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      Good for your sister taking a stand like this – her company’s behavior here is the most idiotic thing I’ve read here in awhile.

  26. CaptainoftheNoFunDepartment*

    LW #2 In late 2018 I was hired by my current employer making below market for the job I was hired into and certainly for the work I was doing. In early 2019, I received a 45% raise. It is definitely possible. It helped that I was able to provide supporting documentation demonstrating the value of the work I was doing against fair market value. Good luck!

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      You work for honest people. Kudos to your company for fixing their mistake when it was brought to their attention.

  27. Anon Anon*

    For LW#2, update your resume, and plan your exit strategy.

    The one question I might ask though, is does your employer perhaps have more people? That they pay low salaries, but the workloads are less because they make up for that via quantity of employees? I’m guessing the answer is no, but if there is any chance it’s yes, you may want to consider what you workload would be elsewhere.

    However, in general, I feel like companies that pay so far below the market rate do not wake-up for individual employees. Typically, it takes them years and they have to lose many employees to figure out that they have issues that relate to what they pay or the other benefits that they are offering (and often I feel that a management change is also needed). It stinks, but it is what it is.

    1. OP for #2*

      Some additional context here – is that we are in the midst of a massive management change, and we have lost enough people that it is becoming clear that things need to change. Turnover is high, because the workload is constantly shifting due to previous losses. So there is more possibility of change now than I would say 6 months ago

      1. Kevin Sours*

        It’s not your job to find ways to stay. It’s their job to find ways to keep you. By all means shoot your shot and see if you can get what you deserve if you want to stay. But it sounds like you have options. And it’s not hard to imagine you landing at a great place to work that also pays people.

  28. Mona Lisa*

    OP2, I think you’re going to have to leave to get the salary your work is worth. I’m also a woman in a tech field, and my hand was forced on taking a job where the salary was below market value for the work. Eventually, after they hired a support person for me at a higher salary, I was able to get an 18% raise/adjustment, which was still below market value for the work but was closer to what I hoped to make. I kept job searching, and when I got an offer, they presented a counteroffer of a move up the ladder for an additional 10% increase.

    My managers knew my work was worth more than they could pay, but their hands were tied by HR and a lot of red tape. There were executives advocating for higher salaries in our department generally, but it was never going to happen. (Or if it did, it was going to take more months/years than I was willing to wait.) I had to get out to start over somewhere else that would pay the correct rate.

    I would keep looking for openings and applying in earnest. You sound like you’ve had a lot of growth and opportunities where you are, and now it’s time to take the skills elsewhere. Someone is willing to pay for them.

    1. Mona Lisa*

      Oh, and for some context, the salary at the new job was a 45% increase over my salary at the previous one.

    2. Artemesia*

      HR never controls this; it is an excuse management makes to stiff you. The C suite could change this overnight if they wished.

  29. see de bee*

    OP #3 – I was an inheritance to my boss (meaning he didn’t hire me; my previous boss got laid off.) My boss is great but he’s busy managing 12 direct reports plus his own work.

    For our 1:1s, I typically prepare like this:
    1. Create a list of everything that’s on my plate
    2. Organize into 3 categories (primary job area #1, primary job area #2, and “other)
    3. Rank those categorized to-dos by priority
    4. Figure out which are the top 3 items that I absolutely want to ensure we talk about in the 1:1, and add those to the top of the list (they also stay in their respective categories)
    5. I ask at the top of the meeting if there’s anything that he wants to ensure that we talk about that isn’t on my list

    This does several things:
    1. Allows him to get a sense of my overall workload (he reads through it all, even if we don’t discuss each item)
    2. Ensures that we get to what’s most important for me/what I most need guidance on
    3. The top-of-meeting check-in gives him a chance to give me any feedback or re-prioritization without him having to feel like he’s breaking a flow
    4. on days when we have time, we go through all the items – but there’s not usually time

    I don’t know if it would work for you to suggest something like the above to your employees; I can tell you that the compilation and organization on is valuable to me by itself, because it forces me to take a really comprehensive survey of everything I have going on, and then to prioritize. So it doesn’t just benefit my boss, but it does mean we use our limited time together pretty effectively.

    I try to give my boss at least a couple of hours to look at my list before our meeting, but sometimes I do send it over right before the meeting (I may be fairly organized but I’m not perfect … yet.)

  30. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    Freezing accruals: is there a cost savings? You bet.

    My employer lets us accrue sick time but doesn’t pay it out if we leave.

    Vacation time does get paid out if we leave / retire. Staff were “allowed” to accrue vacation to give themselves a pre-retirement vacation of up to six months in some cases. That’s a lot of money to account for and accrue year and after year.

    The employer looked at our collective agreement again and realized that we’re not supposed to accrue without explicit permission and good reasons: vacation is meant to be taken when you have it. They advised everyone that vacation accruals had to be used up over four years or paid out or a combination of the two.

    This risks being expensive…

    1. The Rural Juror*

      My dad, who worked for a state government agency for many years, had accrued so much vacation time that when he retired he had a 6 month vacation! It actually ended up working out really well for him because he used that time to transition out of the 40-hour-week routine. He would go into the office on some days so he could transfer his cases little by little. He said he wasn’t sure he would have been able to “retire cold turkey.”

      Luckily his boss worked it out so they were able to hire his replacement in that time. I imagine it would have been a mess at their office if they had him off work and no budget to get someone new in! Especially considering they had to have all their cases covered all the time, so his coworkers would have had his work piled on them.

      So not only is there cost savings, they could be saving themselves from a sticky situation down the road!

      1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        I’m glad it worked out for your dad.

        At my employer, if the retiring person took it as vacation first (and then retired to collect pension), it often meant their job could not be posted as a permanent position until the vacation was done, creating a situation where their job was being filled temporarily until they finally truly retired.

        People didn’t want to get it paid out because it would increase their tax liability.

        My employer also continued to enforce the spend it down or get it paid out during these COVID times but wouldn’t back fill anyone. So, my coworker took three whole months off, leaving us short staffed for that time. This prevented the employer from lay offs but left the rest of us busy and stressed!

  31. Beverly C.*

    #1: I am also a private tutor, and I know how disruptive it is when parents interject during the session. It breaks your concentration. It can also cause the student to shut down, if they are receiving instructions from 2 people at once. When I had a physical studio I had a sign that said “parents may sit in the back of the room as silent observers if they choose.” Later I added to the policy sheet something like “…[may sit in] with teacher approval, as some students become more distracted with other people in the room.”

    You have to somehow take the bull by the horn. Some parents just don’t get the etiquette, and for the sake of future teachers who have to deal with them, you’ve been nominated to take a stand. Good luck! The mom may get offended, but you can stand your ground. Tutoring is not a 3-way activity.

    1. LW1*

      LW1 here! I completely agree, the student just doesn’t want to learn then, causing the parent to get even more frustrated. I appreciate your comments and wishing me luck, let’s hope I can reign it in!

    2. GreenDoor*

      I”m not a tutor but I have elementary aged kids learning virtually. I will often hear the teacher saying, “Ok, Parents….this is our classroom. You can come to my office hours at (time). We’ll see you later!” It seems parents get the hint and step away and just let the class be itself. You could try giving a friendly, “Hi Parents! I have three students in the session today. If you have questions please come back in the last five minutes of our session.” That might be a friendly clue to mom that she shouldn’t be hovering with her kid. If that doesn’t work, for sure let your boss know. Maybe other tutors are having the same problem and he can send a parent letter out explaining expectations for virtual sessions.

  32. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – can you talk to your manager about whether your team has grown large enough that you need a team lead or two, at least for the next few months? That could take some of the burden off your shoulders for simple issues. It could also be an opportunity for a couple of your more experienced team members to get a bit of career growth within their roles.

    Team leads would need to be people who have really good people/relationship skills, expertise in the field, and good judgment to know when to escalate something to you vs when to handle it themselves.

    At a minimum, you could ask for the team leads to be the first point of contact for triaging issues with the actual work, checking work (if that is something you do), possibly assigning work, etc.

    Of course, you’ll need to make sure that having a team lead or two wouldn’t create more issues for you, but if your team is growing anyway, there’s going to come a point when you need that assistance.

  33. Chriama*

    OP#2 – if I had a good relationship with my bosses, I’d probably say something like “given the significant disparity between the work I’m doing and my pay rate, it feels like my loyalty to the company and the institutional knowledge I’ve built here is being taken advantage of rather than rewarded. I’m not looking to leave, but it’s a little disheartening to know that I could be making 1.5x if I got a new job, and it would cost the company at least that much to hire someone else if I did leave.”

    You have to make sure to sound sincere and matter-of-fact rather than resentful, but I feel like if your role is high enough and they really want to keep you then pointing this out might make them aware of the risk of you leaving and what that would end up costing them.

    If you think they would take it badly or use it against you somehow, then just find a new job. The alternative to “they won’t give me a raise” isn’t “be quietly resentful while you continue to be underpaid”. It’s “get out!”

  34. employment lawyah*

    1. A helicopter parent is interfering with my tutoring sessions
    W/r/t LISA, you can INFORM (“You’re hiring me to give advice and this is my specialty. In my opinion as your child’s tutor, your involvement is making her learn less. You may do what you want since you’re paying, but I think you should consider backing off.”

    w/r/t OTHERS, you can ENFORCE: (“This class involves children and there are multiple children here. As I have already noted, I think your actions are disadvantaging Lisa. That is your choice, as Lisa’s parent. However, they have recently started to make it harder for me to focus on other, children who are alsp paying. That will need to stop immediately.”

    2. Is a 50% raise possible?
    Probably not without changing jobs. There is too much of a mental “set” for what you are worth in most cases.

    3. Juggling school and managing a team
    What AAM said. Also:

    Your employer wanted you to do this and they obviously have a vested interest in having you finish. You may want to see if your employer will hire a temp to help w/ basic administrative stuff, which may free your mind up to focus on more leadership/planning.

    4. Why would an employer freeze PTO accrual?
    It’s money out of their pocket, so “not paying” it saves them a lot. And it’s (usually) much more palatable than cutting wages.

  35. Violet*

    I’m a math tutor who welcomes parents to observe sessions, but I finally had to address their interference. Some would jump in with harsh criticism like, “That’s easy!!! Why can’t you understand it?!” when the student was still processing the question and preparing to answer. Some parents interrupted to say I should teach the way they do at home, which was a horrible combination of yelling at the student, rushing them, and punishing them for making mistakes. And some would jump in to “teach” something completely wrong (The absolute worst were parents who did well in high school math and didn’t realize how much they’d forgotten over the years).

    Once a parent got involved, the students would glance nervously at them for the rest of the hour. And they became reluctant to try problems and show me their work. Some would look to their parents for help before even trying to solve a problem.

    I finally told parents they were welcome to observe, but I needed for them to stay behind the student (out of sight) and not speak to us at all. I explained that I need the student’s undivided attention, and I simply can’t compete with mom and dad. I explained that students who were aware of their parents would spend the hour glancing at them instead of listening to me. The new policy made sessions much more pleasant and productive!

    1. anonforthis*

      I think this works in in-person tutoring. In virtual tutoring for young children, many young children need constant supervision. Otherwise they close the video session, go off camera to play, turn off the camera, drop the tablet, have a melt down etc. For tutors of young children to retain clients, they actually need parent involvement in most cases.

      1. Violet*

        Good point! I used this approach for in-person tutoring with older students. It would definitely need to be modified for virtual tutoring of students who need more guidance/supervision.

  36. Sled dog mama*

    I received a 10% raise a few years ago at my old company and was on track to get another 10% the following 2 years (I am no longer with that company).
    I went in armed with information on market rate and what my male colleagues were being paid with a similar experience level. I acknowledged that the 30% raise was a big ask in one go. I asked if there was a way we could create a plan that worked for management to create pay equity across me and my male colleagues because equal pay for equal work with equal qualifications was the ethical thing to do (this company is frequently named one of the worlds most ethical) and it worked.
    I see from your comments that there may not be a gender pay disparity. I don’t really know how one would go about getting a substantial raise like that without something like a gender or racial pay disparity to point to. If people are willing to work for your employer for below market rate and everyone is equally below market rate there’s little incentive for the employer to raise wages to market rate.
    I should also note that doing this put a big target on my back. I can’t prove it but management fired me in such a way that it looks suspiciously like I was let go for being too expensive and too much trouble. I had also raised some concerns about the qualifications they were looking for in a new director for my department (namely that the previous manager had very little leadership ability and they were not advertising for an experienced candidate, they were advertising for a specific credential that would allow the director to do some day to day tasks that had zero relation to managing the department). I also reported my previous manager for falsifying time sheets and got in trouble for reporting him instead of talking to him directly about it so it was a strange place that I’m glad to be out of

  37. Bear Shark*

    Nothing lost by trying to get a raise in this case. Be prepared that you may need to leave to get what you are worth. It’s not unusual in my industry and area for people to do this. I left one job and later returned to it with a 40% increase over my previous pay. If your employer offers you a raise but less than you are looking for, you can always take it while you keep exploring your options.

  38. els*

    Not helpful in any way, but I legit thought that #3 was going to be about “juggling school” and “managing a team.”

  39. moneypenny*

    LW3: This might not help to hear, but when your team’s confidence in you starts to falter they might need a little extra working TLC, whatever you can spare. My manager does the same job I do (tech) and he’s a thousand times busier than I am which makes him really hard to get hold of and talk to even for five minutes, without a week or two of planning in advance – and even then, he’s always late and sometimes forgets what we’re doing. He’s spread so thin, and he takes a lot on that doesn’t help himself. All that to say, my confidence in him is shook. He’s wonderful, I love working with him, but he’s not available to the team as much as he should be and that leaves us to try to solve our own problems as they come up.

  40. Inge*

    For Question 1…
    Yukk. And I’m a parent!
    So it’s already happened so it could be harder to address… but I will say that my daughter did foreign language lessons via zoom long before COVID. When I “innocently” popped in to “watch” the class… the teacher advised me quickly that we were only paying for one student. If I wanted to add more on, I could get a group discount.
    Perfect answer, I saw the issue right away and she taught my daughter for over 2 years!!!!

  41. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    OP2 (50% raise): they are getting the milk for free, and they know it.

    Go out, get a competing offer and take it, and don’t look back.

    If you start to think ‘shouldn’t I at least give them a chance to match it?’, no, they have already shown their hand. They’ve had numerous chances already and blown it.

    Alternately, if you think there is any more you can additionally get out of this company in terms of experience and so on before you move on then you could consider that, but if the senior-level projects etc would be a thing at other companies (i.e. you wouldn’t be taking a step down in terms of actual responsibilities, even as you were gaining a lot in salary) then don’t hesitate.

  42. Former Employee*

    After reading some of the follow up comments from LW1, I have a less benign interpretation of the Lisa/Jane dynamic. Jane is in middle school and is becoming an independent person. Maybe her mother didn’t realize it until she saw Jane being able to master things on her own. Suddenly it dawned on Lisa that Jane doesn’t need her as she used to when she was younger. Instead of being proud of Jane, mother Lisa is undermining Jane’s confidence with her little asides asking if Jane really understands the material, probably because she wants Jane to continue to be as dependent on her as when Jane was little.

    I really hope I’m wrong and it’s just some sort of temporary anxiety that Lisa has developed as a result of what everyone has been going through due to the virus.

    1. 653-CXK*

      Yes…very good food for thought. The more I read about it, Lisa may even be jealous that Jane is overcoming the roadblocks in front of her and succeeding without her mother’s help.

      If I were OP1, I would pull Lisa aside in private and say the following: “I know in today’s lesson, I asked Jane if she understood the material. When she agreed, I was surprised to hear you ask Jane if she really knew the material. I can assure you that if she didn’t, I would certainly let you know, and then redouble my efforts to make sure she does. In the meantime, can I ask you to hold off on any comments until we’ve finished our tutoring session? I want to make sure all of the students receive the same attention Jane does, and I can reserve time for any concerns you have after we’re through.”

      If Lisa balks or raises a fuss, the OP1 can then say, “I understand your frustration, but interrupting and monopolizing our time distracts from tutoring everyone here. If you feel you cannot maintain decorum, my boss will be in contact with you and we can arrange to refund the rest of your money for the remainder of the sessions.”

    2. anonforthis*

      I think this – and many other comments on this thread – paint a very unbecoming view of the Lisa (I suppose because the LW does so). One question I have is why does Jane require tutoring? And how is she doing with pre-algebra actually in school? Is she doing better while doing this virtual tutoring? Or is Lisa getting phone calls from Jane’s teachers with concerns about her mastering concepts? Until we have the answers to these questions, immediately jumping to the conclusion that Lisa may be gaslighting Jane or is involved in private tutoring because she is emotionally insecure is not appropriate.

  43. Arc’teryx*

    LW2: I just recently had a somewhat similar experience. I was paid fairly for my rank, tenure and skills. I also love my job and my company. I’m a kid-30s woman in the financial industry, in a region where women are under-represented. I got headhunted by a large multi-national firm, with a 35% raise from my current compensation, and accepted. When I gave notice, my job panicked and offered me the same salary increase and agreed to develop my career path a bit faster than intended. I stayed, (am very happy I did) but there’s no way I would have gotten the raise without being fully prepared to leave.

  44. RebelwithMouseyHair*

    OP, tell the mother to leave the room. She has no business attending your classes.
    I had that when teaching in a swank suburb of Paris, it was awful. Firm refusal was the only way. Yes, if she pays no attention to what you say, you speak to your boss. Poor Jane!

  45. EngineerMom*

    2. I did get a 50% “raise”, but it was only by leaving one company and moving to another. It was actually quite shocking at the time – I knew I was underpaid, but I didn’t really realize by how much.

    It’s worth both preparing your arguments supporting the raise, and applying to other companies at the same time. I had tried to argue in favor of a raise at my old company, but was turned down flat because they weren’t used to paying appropriately for the position I was in.

    So I left for the company that gave me the 50% increase into a position that makes even better use of my particular skill set.

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