my job told me to ignore safety rules for kids, should I tell my boss a coworker is job-searching, and more

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

1. My job told me to ignore safety rules for kids

I’m a performing artist who works days at a regional amusement park as a ride operator. This afternoon, a park guest came up to my ride with her child. Per policy, I have to measure all children riding the rides to ensure they are tall enough to ride (for clear safety purposes). Her child was one inch too short, and I told her her kid couldn’t ride. She flew off the handle at me and said other ride operators let her child ride other rides with the same minimum height limit (there are no others with that minimum limit, as the ride in question is our only true thrill ride). I told her there was nothing I could do. She then complained to the owner, who sent a manager (from a different part of the park, who is not my supervisor) to chew me out for it. Said manager tells me that getting a good review and customer satisfaction matter most, and that I should not have denied the child a chance to ride the ride (despite the potential safety hazard). My jaw hit the floor! Said supervisor said, “The signs are probably not accurate,” and to just let them go anyway if the kid is “close enough to the line,” which also disturbed me. What reputable theme park doesn’t post accurate signage?

I have been a supervisor in past jobs (totally unrelated to the amusement park industry), and it disturbed me that I was being told to do something that could endanger a customer’s child. If I had asked an employee in my past supervisory roles to do something that put customers in danger, I’d have been fired on the spot!

I love the work I do, but I will not put patrons in danger, just to ensure five-star ratings online. I don’t think I could live with myself if a kid got hurt or died on my watch. I’ve thought about resigning and reporting them to the state. I have a decent amount of money saved up that I could live off for a while, and earnings from performing gigs. At the same time, it hurts me to think about possibly getting the park shut down. I attended said park as a patron as a child in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and cannot imagine taking said experience away from today’s children. Do you think I should just resign? Should I resign and become a whistleblower? What should I do?

Before you do anything, figure out if this is just one rogue supervisor or if your management agrees with them. Talk to your boss or someone higher up, explain that you were told to ignore the safety signs, which you think will endanger children and open the park to legal liability, and ask if that’s really what they want you doing. You might find out that the person who told you that is wrong about the park’s expectations (and if so, you’d be doing the park a favor by bringing that to someone’s attention). But if they back up that supervisor … well, it’s up to you if you want to quit or not (you could stay and try to keep enforcing the safety requirements), but you should report that.

It’s unlikely that a single complaint will get the park shut down — and if it did, that would mean it was a serious danger, in which case it should be shut down. As nostalgic as you might feel for your own childhood at the park, you rightly put more value on the lives of kids visiting it today. If the park really wants workers to ignore safety rules, let someone know.

2. I think my coworker is job searching — should I tell our new boss?

I work in financial planning and analysis. Our director recently left the company and was replaced internally with a very experienced employee who is already diving head-first into the role. There are three of us who report to the new director, all of us with two or less years of experience at the company.

I have no influence over hiring decisions, but receive emails from recruiting firms which showcase the talent they are trying to place. The most senior of my coworkers, “Toby,” was recently on that list. While last names are excluded, the resume details were too spot-on to not be him (first name, industry, years of experience, alma mater, system implementation that he is currently working on, etc). If he were to leave, our four-person team drops to three, all of us being in the department one year or less.

Do I mention this to my new boss? Do I keep this to myself and try to document as many processes that I’m not yet familiar with? Is there a different/better approach that I’m not thinking of? I don’t fault him at all for looking and am leaning towards just keeping this information to myself — but I’m also trying to be a good employee/ coworker and prep for that situation as best as I can.

Nooooo, do not mention it to your boss! Would you want someone tipping off your boss that you were job hunting when you were trying to keep it discreet? How would you feel if Toby got pushed out early because your boss figured he was leaving anyway?

All this would be true even if Toby had told you himself he was job searching. But violating his privacy (and jeopardizing his job) on the strength of an email from a recruiting firm, which are notorious for sending out resumes of candidates they don’t even represent? (They do that hoping that once they have an employer’s attention, they can pitch them on other candidates, or try to get that candidate to go for an interview.) Definitely not.

Anyone on your team could leave at any time, whether you have signs of it in advance or not. A good manager will be prepared for that. If they’re not and someone leaving sends the team into chaos … well, they’ll make do. That happens all the time, and teams figure it out.

Read an update to this letter here.

3. My student job offered me summer work, but I’m hoping to find an internship

I’m a student who has a great work-study job. My supervisors are generally lovely and assign me work that allows me to develop skills closely aligned with my field of study. Recently, they have asked me to come in during the upcoming summer, for a few hours each week, doing specialized work that is somewhat relevant to my major. In response, I said that I don’t know if I’d have time for that, since I need to find an internship for the summer (I’m a junior so I want to bulk up my resume before graduating). They replied that I should take a couple weeks to think about their offer, because they almost never offer work-study employees work over the summer.

I’m at a loss for what to do. I don’t want to agree to summer hours and then have to say “no thanks” if an internship does come along. I also don’t want to look like a bad sport by not agreeing to summer hours from the get-go. I also don’t want to say no, and then end up not getting an internship, thereby leaving my summer completely open for no reason. How do I handle this situation in the most professional and advantageous way possible?

Say this: “I really appreciate this offer — thank you! I’m working to find an internship doing X this summer so I have more experience on my resume, but of course there are no guarantees that will happen. If it doesn’t, I’d love to keep working here. I don’t want to leave you hanging, but what’s the latest that I could give you an answer?”

(In most situations, you don’t want to make an employer think you only want their offer if something better doesn’t work out, but this is a work-study job; they’re used to working with students who are juggling situations like this. Go ahead and ask.)

If they tell you they need to an answer soon, you’d have to decide if you prefer the certainty of their offer to the uncertainty of a internship you don’t yet have. One thing to factor in — their offer is only for a few hours a week, which is not a lot. That would make me less inclined to forego other potential work. But it’s possible that you could do both — a lot of summer internships would be fine with you spending a few hours a week on something else. (Not all, but it’s possible.)

4. How do I reapply to a job that got derailed by Covid last year?

I’m a 2019 grad who spent last academic year doing a professional Americorps program that ran through July 2020. In February of 2020, I applied for a job at a very large company that is divided into lots of smaller branches and has similar positions at each of them. I had scheduled an interview (in person, after doing a phone screening) for March, which because of Covid got kicked out to April and then postponed indefinitely. All of the job postings for the company came down off the website and I figured they must be in a hiring freeze. In July I reached out to the person I had been emailing with because I saw that postings were back up for lots of similar positions to the one I applied for, just to say I was still interested. She thanked me and said that the branch I had applied for still wasn’t hiring, and that if I wanted to apply for positions in one of the other branches I should do so through the website.

I just recently noticed that the position I initially applied for is back up and am wondering how to go about reapplying. Since last time I applied, my Americorps position ended and I took a retail job while job hunting. I’ve updated my resume to reflect this but am unsure if I should write a new cover letter (currently leaning towards yes), and whether or how I should reference that I had previously applied and had scheduled an interview before …. they soft ghosted me? … the whole world stopped hiring? I don’t feel slighted that they never actually told me that they were pausing hiring, it was easy enough to figure out and totally understandable, I’m just not sure how to begin a correspondence again. Should I reference my previous candidacy in the new cover letter and upload it into the website as if it is a completely new application? Should I email it directly to the previous hiring manager?

Apply as if it’s a completely new application — new cover letter (mentioning that you were in the process of interviewing last year when things got put on hold), and upload it into their system. But then, email the hiring manager you were talking with last time and say that you had been interviewing last year but things were put on hold and you see the position has reopened and you’d love to be considered again. Tell her you’ve formally applied but wanted to reach out to her directly as well since you’d talked last year. Attach your application materials to that email. That’s it!

5. How to handle LinkedIn requests from strangers

I am a government lawyer, and I have a policy of not accepting LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know (though I would make an exception for George Clooney).

With the transition coming up and my organization rising in prominence, I am getting more and more requests from names I don’t recognize. Nothing excessive — say twice a week. Occasionally they’re personalized, but it’s more like “hey, we both went to Hogwarts — looking forward to connecting” or “hey! we know so many people in common!” rather than a specific ask. (I do get “could we do a phone call about X” requests from law students, but I enjoy mentoring and they’re so infrequent I almost always answer those.)

I’m starting to wonder if ignoring these requests is rude — and also worrying that one or two of these requests may be from people I’ve met and don’t remember (if we have an employer in common, for instance).

So I guess, first, I am asking permission not to start explaining to each of these people why I am not accepting their invitation. I feel like that could be even ruder, and I also don’t really want to open the door for people to say, “Well, get to know me — let’s do a call.” And second, what do I do if there’s a possibility I’ve met someone before but am not sure? Can I send a response that’s basically, “Hey, I don’t accept LinkedIn invites from people I don’t know — have we met?” Is there a way to do that that doesn’t sound incredibly snobby?

You are under no obligation to respond to LinkedIn requests from people you don’t know. People who send LinkedIn requests to strangers are used to having them ignored; it’s not a shocking act of rudeness. (In fact, a lot of people don’t look at their LinkedIn requests on a regular basis, if ever.) And I agree it’s potentially chillier to write back with an explanation of why you won’t be accepting the request.

When you’re not sure if you know someone or not and their message doesn’t make it clear, you could write back with, “Hi Jane! I see you worked at the Cauldron Expo, but I can’t remember if we ever met. Can you refresh my memory?” (But it’s also fine to ignore those too, on the grounds that if you don’t actually remember them, they probably don’t meet your bar of “only people I know.”)

{ 311 comments… read them below }

  1. Obsesrver*

    #1 – You write that “ I don’t think I could live with myself if a kid got hurt or died on my watch.” If you really mean that, think about how you would feel if a kid got killed not on your watch, but knowing that you might have been able to stop the unsafe practices.

    1. JI*

      When people say on my watch, I think they generally mean when they could do something about it.
      It’s not literally that it would happen on their shift.

      1. Asenath*

        If the child was killed on the ride that OP let them on in violation of the rules, I’d say that’s on their watch – even if the supervisor told them to do so. Although the final responsibility would lie with the supervisor, the possible consequences are so serious that OP is right to think it might be necessary to resign rather than comply with the request. I do agree that the incident should be brought to the attention of management before assuming that the supervisor was stating official policy.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          Right. There would inevitably be an investigation where OP would be questioned about why she violated written rules. And in that case its a he-said-she-said situation. And deep down, if I was in that position I would feel a sense of guilt at having done something I knew was wrong, even if I was ‘just following orders’.

          I have worked in manufacturing a lot of my life for ethically questionable companies where everyone acted like life would be sooo much better if you’d follow their verbal directions instead of the written safety procedures. That’s because it really is easier for them – if something bad happens, you’re the one to blame, not them. So I always demanded that if they wanted me to do it, they should put it in writing. If the rules are REALLY +/- 1 inch, it should be no big deal to add that to the company guidebook. Making those demands probably wasn’t the best for my career, but I also never ended up on the wrong side of a deposition.

          I also think its worth evaluating what is *actually* the most ethical course of action here, big picture. If LW quits, chances are they will just hire someone else who is willing to bend the rules. LW could make a much bigger difference by 1) staying and continuing to require the proper height – I mean really, what are the chances a second customer unreasonably flips out? and/or 2) raising this to the people who need to know that one of their managers is putting their company in serious legal danger.

          1. LJay*

            I mean the chances of a second customer unreasonably flipping out are unfortunately pretty high. I dealt with it on a multiple times a week basis when I worked rides. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t continue to do it. And she definitely needs to let higher managers than the supervisor who yelled at her know because they would likely be appalled. And if they are not then there are larger problems happening that state regulators will take much more seriously than if they think it’s a one-off.

            1. Not A Girl Boss*

              True, as I was typing that I thought “Ok, well, not unlikely” but it sounds like this is the first time in seemingly a fairly lengthy employment history that a customer has actually escalated it to this manager.

            2. Lynn*

              Agreed. On any ride where there was a height restriction, you could reasonably expect to have to argue with a customer about it at least daily, if not more often. It was the most common reason supervisors would get called to a ride-to deal with some unreasonable parent who felt that safety regulations, somehow, didn’t apply to their child. It was the second most common reason for park ejection (after drunkenness). I am not sure how the OP hasn’t run into this before unless they haven’t worked this ride often or is relatively new to the park.

              1. CJM*

                She probably has dealt with it before, but never had the person complain to the owner, who sent a manager to tell her to ignore the rule.

                1. Lynn*

                  I see what you mean-I read as if this was the first time she had dealt with it in a more generic sense rather than this being the first time a manager chewed her out about it rather than backing her. Which makes more sense than what I got out of it.

                  I still say the chances that a customer unreasonably flips out and complains to a manager/owner is still nearly 100%. But I can see where what the OP hasn’t dealt with before is the manager berating her for not overriding the safety restriction. And if the owner truly is behind this (it is possible that the manager overstepped), I would be reporting far and wide.

          2. Stefie25*

            I was only imagining going into court and saying ‘My boss told me too’ as a defence against knowingly doing something wrong that resulted in a maiming or death. I didn’t even think about the fact that yeah your boss is probably going to say ‘I never said that’.

        2. CJM*

          OP said the woman complained to the owner, who sent a manager to chew her out, so management (owner) is the one saying to ignore the rule.

    2. EventPlannerGal*

      I’m pretty sure that’s what the OP means. They aren’t being like “hey kid, just make sure you don’t get into a horrific accident due to negligence until I’ve clocked out, okay?”

      1. Observer*

        Apparently I was not being clear. I was contrasting allowing the kid on during their shift vs not reporting the violation because that might shut the ride down.

    3. londonedit*

      ‘On my watch’ just means ‘when I knew about it and had the chance to do something to stop it’ rather than literally ‘when I am specifically working on this thing’.

      1. Autumnheart*

        It absolutely does include “When I am specifically working on this thing”. It’s weird that people think it doesn’t. If it’s your shift, you are literally the one responsible.

        If OP lets kids ride who are physically in danger because they’re not tall enough, OP absolutely would be directly responsible for what happens to those kids. If OP doesn’t report this business for violating safety practices, and a kid gets hurt, OP is indirectly responsible for what happens to those kids. If a kid *does* get hurt, there will be an investigation about the park’s safety practices, and OP would have to be the one to say to investigators, “Yes, I did let kids ride the ride who weren’t tall enough, even though I knew they didn’t meet the minimum height requirement.” Not sure saying “But management told me to, because they didn’t want bad reviews” would get OP out of legal liability.

        1. londonedit*

          No, hang on, that’s not what I was saying. Obsesrver seemed to be taking issue with OP saying ‘on my watch’, as if they believed OP was saying ‘I would care about a kid getting hurt while I was on shift but not otherwise’. All I was trying to do was to point out that OP most likely used ‘on my watch’ to mean, more generally, ‘when it was something I knew about and could have prevented’, rather than using it specifically to mean ‘when I was actually on shift’.

        2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

          Kudos to LW1 for their refusal to simply cave to that manager’s stunningly irresponsible attitude! And I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that the child’s PARENT was furious at the LW for refusing to risk her. child’s. safety. for the sake of an amusement park ride !?!

          1. Nanani*

            Some people apparently expect safety rules to make an exception while still being safe, because they are just. that. special.
            This parent would definitely sue the park if the kid got so much as a blister from poorly fitting safety belts, I am willing to bet.

            1. Observer*

              Exactly.This is not a parent angry because you are trying to keep the kid safe, but angry that you “won’t” keep THEIR kid safe even though you are keeping all of those OTHER kids safe, but THEIR kids is SOOO much more DESERVING!

              Yeah, it’s not rational, but I’m not sure how you convince a parent like that the laws of physics don’t care how “deserving” you are.

          2. Forrest*

            I wouldn’t be angry at the employee for it, because that’s gross and weird, but I have always assumed that most of the height restrictions were more along the lines of “this ride is probably too scary for someone who’s under ten, and this is the height of the average ten year old”, rather than a safety thing. Admittedly I haven’t been to a theme park since I was 14, though, so it may be more obvious now that it’s actually safety.

            (Though I would also assume that there’s HEFTY safety margin between the actual height that would make someone eg. too small for the safety harness, and the height of the sign, so it definitely doesn’t surprise me that a lot of people would consider the height restriction fairly vague.)

            1. JustaTech*

              Having been a weedy, skinny little kid, there were absolutely some roller coasters I rode where I exceeded the minimum height, but was light enough that I felt I could have come out of the seat without a firm grip on the safety bar. And that was at a park with a good safety record! When you’re using height as a measure that really should be “height and weight” then the margin might not be as big as you’d think.

              1. KoiFeeder*

                Also having been a weedy kid, I got ejected from a ride once when the staff member was testing the safety bars and concluded that I was definitely going to fall out if they let me go on this ride. And as much as my dad had wanted to go on the ride, he definitely didn’t chew anyone out for keeping me from dying!

              2. only acting normal*

                I had an absolutely terrifying ride on a “pirate ship” type ride once. Skinny teenager (full height but that’s only 5’2”) and the safety bar didn’t lock down far enough (across the laps of the whole row, and I think there was mucking about further along). I was only braced by my toes and shoulders and a death grip on that bar, an inch or two shorter and I’d have simply fallen out.

            2. Stefie25*

              Most amusement parks leave scariness level up to the parental judgement. But the height restrictions really are for safety. I know some of the other commenters said they were the correct height but weedy so I can only assume the height restrictions are made based on a curve of height = weight for the average child. And amusement parks are using this info + restraint systems recommendations to set height restrictions so that a majority of the users can ride safely.

            3. Risha*

              I’ve always been extremely tall for my age, so there were definitely more than a few rides that I was able to ride at inappropriately young ages, even without being particularly light for that weight or taking into account any sort of “scariness” factor. I vividly remember a bumper cars that I was too young to effectively control the car and mostly just sat there in people’s ways, and one of those big spinny tubs where you stick to the walls that made me very sick (I didn’t throw up, fortunately).

        3. EventPlannerGal*

          That’s not the point at all. The point is that the original comment seemed to assume that OP literally meant that they did not want anything bad to happen while they were actually on duty and weren’t that fussed otherwise. “On my watch” is obviously a much broader term than that, so it seemed like a very uncharitable assumption.

          1. Boof*

            I think the most reasonable interpretation is that Observer was saying that LW1 knows it’s a problem and should report the manager (or the park if necessary) to avoid it happening even when they aren’t around

      2. Observer*

        In a way, you’re proving my point. The OP is hesitant to report the safety violation because it could shut the place down. How is quitting and failing to report this significantly different than letting a kid who is too short on the ride?

    4. Boof*

      I’m not sure what you’re getting at here, but I think you are advocating for LW1 to take the issue up the chain of command to make sure enforcement of the safety standards isn’t haphazard?

      1. Observer*

        I’m actually advocating that the OP report this to the relevant authorities, even if it means that the ride / park gets shut down.

    5. LCH*

      it seems like that OP would also be the one arrested if anyone was hurt regardless of what her supervisor might demand. maybe not as bad as the guilt of causing harm, but another factor to consider. a google search shows the parks/fairs might get fined, but the operators are generally charged with crimes.

    6. WonkyTonk*

      This seems like nitpicking the LW’s language, which is against the commenting rules. LW is clearly a conscientious person trying to do the right thing here. Inferring that LW feels their responsibility ends when their shift ends is unfair – and it’s clearly contradicted by the letter itself, where they ask if they should report the park.

    7. Observer*

      To all of the people who said that “but knowing that you might have been able to stop the unsafe practices.”is the same as on “on your watch”, you’re missing something. Yes “on your watch does mean that, but there are other situations where someone could have stopped it. In this case specifically, the OP thinks that they can stop the danger by reporting it, but is hesitant because it might get the ride / place shut down completely.

      1. SimplyTheBest*

        How is it unkind? It’s a literal reading of OP’s question. OP suggests there are two courses of action, resign or resign and become a whistleblower, and asks Allison what she should do. So clearly resigning and not reporting it (because OP would be sad that the park got shut down) is something they are considering.

  2. Observer*

    #2- Document as many processes as you can. It’s a good idea regardless of what your coworker does. Beyond that, why do you think you have a responsibility to report this? And what benefit do you think is going to come out of reporting?

    Those are not snarky questions. But the answers should help clarify the issue and make it easier to think through the appropriate response.

    1. Helvetica*

      Yes, I am also a bit confused about how OP thinks reporting the job search would help them. Of course it sucks if the only experienced person leaves but that happens sometimes and your company has to be ready for such instances. You reporting the job search would do nothing but maybe hasten Toby’s departure.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        your company has to be ready for such instances.

        We always refer to it by the “win the lottery” or “hit by a bus” scenarios.

        1. Hobbit*

          I tell my employees “I’m writing this down in case I get hit by a bus or something.” They are very literal so they think I mean an actual health emergency or something, but what I really mean is “When I get a new job and blow this popsicle stand.”

          1. Forrest*

            I’m glad this isn’t just me. I refered to something as, “you know, it’s something we should document just in case one of us gets hit by a bus or something” and everyone was like, holy SHIT, that’s a bit dark! It was a fairly standard phrase at a previous job!

        2. The New Normal*

          Ever since my co-worker (facilities worker) won $50 million on a lotto ticket, I’ve used “win the lottery”.

          And yes, he had the winning ticket in his pocket while he worked all around campus. At first he told no one, but then he told our boss who called campus police. Co-worker was a long-term staff member and one of the favorites on campus, so one of the armed officers came and hung out near him all day. He kept working for about 6 months because it can take time to get the payments. Then he peaced the hell out.

      2. HB*

        It reads to me like OP#2 is in their first job out of college and has internalized some messaging from her company about the health of the company, etc. I work in a field where losing employees at particular times is particularly painful and it took a few years of reading AAM to realize that it’s not my job to worry about the business – just my role in it. So I think their instinct is ‘If this person leaves, we need to be ready for it’ not ‘I need to rat out my coworker.’ As Observer says, take the opportunity to document processes and learn things you don’t know – that’s always a good idea because institutional knowledge can disappear even if the people who developed the knowledge are still there (process that’s only done occasionally, etc).

        1. NumbersNerd*

          OP #2 here; the instinct was not to rat anyone out, but more out of nervousness for what happens if we’re again short-staffed, especially in a department with lots of custom systems. Given the recent turnover of our prior manager, I genuinely worry about the knowledge that would walk out the door if Toby leaves. I’m sure we’d figure it out, but the whole team frequently works nights and weekends as it is, so I do worry about the implications of another disruption. But, my instinct was to keep this information to myself, and it sounds like I should follow that…while trying to pick up as much knowledge as I can along the way.

          1. Carla*

            It sounds like you haven’t considered the possibility that Toby would be walked out the door the moment his company finds out that he’s job searching. How would that help your staffing situation?

            1. NumbersNerd*

              I guess, naively, I thought that either a) management would prioritize documenting processes (because what we currently have isn’t adequate, but our current workload also doesn’t leave time for this right now), or b) the new manager could work with Toby to understand and remedy his issues if there’s opportunity for him to happily stay with do-able adjustments.

              Stepping back and seeing these responses makes me realize that my hopes for what could/would happen aren’t worth the risk of what might happen. I like Toby and want him to be happy in his job, even if it’s elsewhere. I was just hoping for a mythical solution that makes life easier for all involved.

              1. Temp anon*

                I am in the same business, and turnover is rampant, especially at smaller firms. You say you have custom processes, inadequate documentation, and no time to address the documentation. This is a recipe for disaster. If this is what you are really concerned about, Focus on that, and not an employee looking for someplace else. Honestly, it sound like he SHOULD be looking.

                And shame on the recruiter, I get a barrage of recruitment emails and have never received anyone’s identifiable info, what a terrible thing to do.

              2. LTL*

                You seem like a level-headed person, OP.

                One thing I want to note- I understand that you’re worried about the overload of work and naturally, you don’t want your job to be harder than it is too. But remember that business problems aren’t your problems. If there’s too much work for your team to cover, don’t think “I never get all the work done” and instead think “the business’ resources aren’t enough to cover all the work” (I’m also curious to know if management is trying to address this problem- are they hiring more staff?).

                Do your job but try not getting emotionally invested in the effectiveness of the team. I’d also try to detach when you’re not working and set a maximum for weekly hours worked and stick to that if you can do so without jeopardizing your job.

                I’m not trying to deny that things are tough for you, and would be tougher if Toby left. Just be mindful not to carry it all on your shoulders.

              3. Cat Tree*

                I get your reasoning here, but realistically if someone has to (hypothetically) threaten to quit in order for management to take their concerns seriously, that is not good management.

                Unfortunately many places have mediocre or outright bad management, so that just seems normal to most of us. But it really doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve worked at places with terrible management, but I’m currently at a place with good management. The difference is night and day.

              4. Smithy*

                While I completely get where you’re coming from – it sounds like what might genuinely help your team the most at this time is more staff. If there are already frequent night/weekend working hours in addition to a lack of documentation…..if there’s not already job postings to beef up the team, then there are larger institutional issues in place.

                I used to work on a team, where I had a colleague who genuinely described our onboarding practices as “throwing people in the deep end to see if they swim.” It was said as a point of comradery and good nature – however, as I worked there longer, it was all clear she very seriously meant it and didn’t seem to find a problem with it. We work in an industry where sometimes you join during a busy period and that does happen, but the idea of that being the norm is pretty awful. Because it also meant that onboarding materials and processes didn’t really exist and we had bespoke programs/systems that had no formal training.

                Where I used to work wasn’t all together terrible (because I’ve also worked in those places) – but when a team is forever in emergency mode or held together by scotch tape. They will inevitably lose people. The good news is you’re probably getting a lot of sector specific insight on what would make another workplace desirable.

              5. Observer*

                From what you say, I’m going to suggest that you document as much as you can, as little as it may be. And ALSO – you should start looking, too. Because it doesn’t sound like your company is committed to reasonable staffing levels.

          2. Dust Bunny*

            If this is the case, then your company has issues that are a lot bigger than just the possibility of Toby leaving. And if Toby *is* trying to leave, these issues might well be why.

            But it’s not your business to tattle on him, even if you think you’re only giving your boss a heads-up.

          3. EPLawyer*

            The high turnover rate and workload are more of a concern than Toby maybe leaving. Which btw, those things could by WHY Toby is leaving. You might want to examine the culture of your company.

            Also be careful, as someone noted above, about buying into the look out for the company’s best interest thing. You owe the company your best job in return for your paycheck. Unless you are a decision making level for the company as to policy and direction, it is not your job to look out for the company’s best interest. This doesn’t mean that if something EGREGIOUS is going on that would expose the company to libility you don’t report it. But someone job searching is not one of those things.

          4. CAA*

            It’s pretty awful that a recruiter is sending recognizable info about a client to the company where he already works. If you know Toby well enough, he would probably appreciate a heads-up because this recruiter may also have other contacts in your organization to whom he sent the same email. If you forward the message to him or bring it up in conversation, you should say that you don’t intend to mention it to anyone else.

            1. Reba*

              Agreed! I think you should discreetly tell Toby, not your bosses!

              Numbers, it sounds like your job is really stressful, so I can understand why seeing this would make you panic and think, how can I make this not happen / not get worse for our team? But the problems are bigger than any one individual. I’m wondering if you are thinking about looking elsewhere, too.

              1. NumbersNerd*

                OP here; I have also considered mentioning this directly to Toby…but have not yet done so.

                Selfishly, I struggle with what my workload will look like if Toby leaves. I love the work I do, but it’s a small and very busy department and we have all been frequently working nights and weekends to manage the current load. While it’s historically been a busy role, COVID is to blame for increased stress and hours. I feel like I’ve achieved a “workable” work/family balance, but don’t know that I can take on much more. However, none of that is Toby’s problem; I intended for my letter to come across as looking for solutions on how to best prep/ manage to the possibility of him leaving, but re-reading it I see how I come off as a potential narc.

                1. Observer*

                  Keep in mind that if you don’t tell Toby, you won’t make it any less likely that he will leave. In fact, if he doesn’t know that he’s dealing with an unethical and / or incompetent recruiter he might leave sooner because he is fooled by the recruiter about another job. I don’t know how likely that it, but it certainly is possible.

            2. Roci*

              Agreed, this recruiter has their resumes and doesn’t check that they’re emailing the company where someone currently works??
              You ought to let Toby know because who knows who else that recruiter has sent the info to, they could be torpedoing jobs for others too.

          5. Legally a Vacuum*

            Can you speak to Toby about process documentation? Maintaining institutional knowledge is valuable even if he isn’t job hunting.

          6. Cat Tree*

            This makes me wonder, is high turnover common at this place? If so, it makes me think there are bigger problems going on here. Maybe Toby is right to look for something better, and if the company is not well prepared for common contingencies you might also want put feelers out.

            I guess everyone leaving in less than two years (including the manager) could be a fluke, but to me it’s at least a yellow flag to be on the lookout for serious issues.

          7. Momma Bear*

            Even if the boss doesn’t specifically set aside x or y time for documenting, you can still ask Toby to shadow a project or find other ways to gain knowledge informally. Aside from identifying gaps in your own knowledge and getting the skills you need in the event of anyone leaving (people can be absent unexpectedly for many reasons – layoffs, death, illness, incarceration…), you should also read the AAM columns about how to push back when a boss expects a workload that is unsustainable. If the fear is that you’ll have more work than you can do, you might feel better prepping with a response vs just wallowing in resentment.

            I also think it’s wise to consider why no one stays and if you have the same concerns.

          8. whyamihere*

            Hi NumbersNerd – good luck to you and to your team. Someone may have mentioned this, but I’d just like to say that a job search can often be a long process, and typically there is a concept of giving notice – typically 2 weeks. Things like documenting processes and ensuring knowledge transfer could be a priority during those 2 weeks. While some employees do leave companies high and dry, that’s not common in my experience. In fact, the only thing that IS common is change and turnover.

    2. Rose*

      If one of my employees came to me to tell me they had unconfirmed suspicions that another employee was considering leaving/open to interviewing elsewhere, my main takeaways would be that the first employee
      1) spreads rumors that could effect people’s reputation without proof
      2) puts their nose in other peoples business for no discernible reason
      3) is a brown moser and adult tattle tale

      I’m perfectly aware that if someone on my team were to quit, there would be one less person on my team. I’m a competent manager, so I would replace them, and life would go on.

      Certain schools tend to feed into specific industries, companies, and locations. There were like five Bens in my graduating class who went into financial consulting in the same city, which was 6 hours away from where we went to school. Some people will be contacted by recruiters and open to sending a resume but are unlikely to leave unless they’re given a huge pay raise or promotion. OP has literally no idea what the situation is.

  3. Robin Gottlieb*

    #5: When I get an unfamiliar LinkedIn request, I reply that I only connect with people I actually know and ask them to remind me how we know each other. If they can’t provide that information, their request gets denied.

    1. Angelinha*

      Does it ever turn out that you do know them and just forgot?
      If not, why not just deny from the get go without engaging in a back and forth first?

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      LI requests with no message sit and age gracelessly in my queue.

      When I receive a LI request with a deeply generic (and probably written by the LI algorithm) message, I respond without accepting (it’s an option) and say “Thanks for the invite. What prompted you to send it?” 80% never respond, so that tells me a lot about how much it matters to them to be my connection.

      The folks that do respond with a follow up get accepted depending on what they say.

    3. Sally Ride*

      I actually always decline and click the “I do not know this person” button on LinkedIn

  4. willow for now*

    #1 – You did the right thing not letting the short kid ride. Stick to your guns on this. It’s very likely the kid will be tall enough next year, or next month, or soon. And he will have the ride to look forward to. It’s not like you are preventing this kid from ever riding FearMonster3. (Ugh, that mom.)

    1. allathian*

      Ugh, that kid. Raised by parents like that they only learn that rules are for other people and they don’t need to follow them if they don’t want to.

    2. Grits McGee*

      OP absolutely did the right thing- I worked at a super sketch amusement park as a high schooler, and we had a under-the-size-limit child get seriously hurt on a relatively tame ride. Owners and managers will 100% throw ride operators under the bus (if they can) when guests get hurt.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        THIS! If someone is hurt on the ride who is too short for the ride, management will not take the blame and admit their policy is to allow kids close to the height limit on or that they had a manager yell at this worker to let a too short kid on. Management will blame the employee who they will claim clearly violated park policy.

        IMO the LW should continue working at the park and continue enforcing stated (with signs and height charts) policy. If you’re fired for enforcing the rules so be it.

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          And frankly, if OP is fired for adhering to safety rules, that’s a whole lot of ammunition they can take to the authorities when they report this park.

      2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Owners and managers will 100% throw ride operators under the bus (if they can) when guests get hurt.

        This should actually read:

        Management with 100% throw employees under the bus when they can (if they can) if something goes wrong.

        If someone above you in the power structure is telling you to circumvent or violate policy or safety procedures, your only response is “put it in writing and I’ll comply.” Repeat as necessary, ad infinitum if mandatory.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            Once it’s in writing, you’ve CYA, and you have real evidence to take to someone sane enough to make the right call (e.g. grandboss, owner, state regulator, etc).

            But yea, once you’ve established you’re the only sane person left in your organization, then it’s time to resign or be fired over it. But every time I have played that card, the person trying to bend or break the rules has declined to call my bluff, so I’ve never had to take it that far.

            I intended the advice to be more generic than just the Amusement Park industry.

          2. Stefie25*

            I think it’s applicable more in the greyer area of policy rather than law. Like if it’s company policy to always work with your webcam on & then your boss tells you it’s okay to shut yours off. If you have it in writing then you can pull it out when your grand-boss comes along to fire you for turning your webcam off. (This is a totally made up scenario in case that wasn’t clear to anyone.)
            In the LW’s case that piece of paper wouldn’t help them in the least. Nor would it stop then from feeling like complete s**t if someone was actually injured because safety regs were ignored.

      3. kkezir*

        I agree. There was an accidental death at the Schlitterbahn in Kansas City. The ride operator allowed 3 people on the ride and their combined weight was not heavy enough and one of the passengers died because it. At least that was the initial story. Who knows what the final story was. But the ride operator and the maintenance crew were thrown under the bus and I think maintenance was investigated for criminal charges.

    3. Threeve*

      It’s also possible that there are “secret shoppers” for amusement parks, who try to push the rules in order to report what parks are willing to violate them to a consumer safety group of some sort. (Such a thing does not exist, but a rumor of it might make an unethical manager squirm).

    4. Quill*

      Yeah, the rules are there for a reason. It’s not like kiddie car seats and booster seats where they recommend them by age instead of size – the restraints when you’re upside down at well over 80/90 mph don’t work if they can’t contain you securely!

      1. londonedit*

        Where I live, children’s car seats are classified either by the child’s weight or their height, not their age. I’m surprised that’s not the case everywhere!

        1. H2*

          It’s a combo of both in at least some of the US (it may vary by state), as in “a booster until either 80 lbs or 8 years old.” In some cases age is a good metric because of the way the musculoskeletal system develops (this is why, for example, even larger young kids shouldn’t sit up front).

        2. Quill*

          When I was a kid car seats were often rated by age but that may easily have changed in the last 15 years.

          I’m surprised by H2’s comment that it’s an either / or regulation for some, instead of and. 8 years old AND at least 80 pounds, because the weight probably doesn’t cease being a diagnostic criteria for safety!

          1. H2*

            Well, as an engineer (but not that type of engineer), my guess is that the seats actually become a liability at some size. If you sit in a booster seat, you’ll actually be less safe than if you just sit in the seat. And I assume that someone took a look at it and said that by the time almost all kids hit 80 lbs, they’re tall enough that the seatbelt fits properly, etc.

            For car seats, the laws I believe also have other factors. Part of it is maturity—the laws keep kids in five point harnesses until they are presumed to be old enough to sit upright and buckled, etc. And there’s always an element of random social behavior here too—parents aren’t going to keep a small 10 year old in a booster seat for school pickup, so there’s pressure there (not saying it’s right).

    5. A Simple Narwhal*

      I was a very short kid (still a short adult!), and I remember year after year being too short to ride Space Mountain. While it was a disappointment, I knew rules were rules and instead looked forward to the glorious day I would finally crest 44 inches. The day the ride operator finally said “you’re good, come on through!” was one of the greatest moments of my young life.

      The fact that only the mother flew off the handle and not the kid is really telling.

  5. Dandy it is*

    #2 I would assume if you are getting those emails, so is your boss. Whether she looks at them or not is a different thing.

  6. Madge*

    #1, amusement park safety is no joke. There was a kid about 5 years ago who got *decapitated* by a *water slide* because the employees let him and his brother ride even though they weren’t heavy enough. (It was called Verrückt if anyone is curious about the story.)

    Those height limits are there for a reason, I would quit a job rather than risk having something like that on my conscience.

    1. Cambridge Comma*

      According to reports, the situation there was a lot more complex with the ride having design flaws and the weight of the other riders in the car also having an impact. It wasn’t at all that the child went on a ride he shouldn’t have been allowed on.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        Not that this OP shouldn’t enforce the limits, but that we shouldn’t misrepresent what the boy did, it must be very upsetting for the family.

      2. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        && Also his elected representative father easing up on the regulations that could have prevented the accident.

      3. SallyB*

        This is true.
        But I also think it is important to point out that the verruckt was literally built on the back of thwarting safety. They didn’t even follow basic engineering standards, much less industry ones. They didn’t even use an engineer! And then they used a young work force who they knew wouldn’t complain. IF in OP’s position al of management does agree to flout safety like this, OP could be in a very similar situation which would be tragic. OP, think about how those operators felt that day? No only did a boy get decapitated, but limbs and skulls and jaws were broken on the other women. Injuries that haven’t nor will ever heal. So in this sense, it is important I think for the OP to understand how important it is to 1)find out if this is the culture and if so; 2) let someone know.

        At the very least, in the verruckt case, they were able to prove negligence due to some employees documenting safety bypassing, ignoring maintenance needs, and any injuries sustained. Just something to think about.

      4. PT*

        The ride was designed by someone who was not an engineer, and had injured many people previously as a result.

    2. Skittles*

      There was an awful incident at Dreamworld in Australia just a few years back where four people died on a ride because rides weren’t maintained and safety procedures were ignored and not followed correctly.

    3. Bored Fed*

      Is there an engineering-based tie between height of the rider and safety? Or are they using height as an (objectively verifiable) proxy for age/maturity?

      I agree that the safety culture seems lacking. I just am less sure that letting a kid who’s 1″ under height necessarily means that the flood gates are open.

      1. londonedit*

        There has to be a (literal) line somewhere, though. Otherwise you let the child who’s ‘only 1″ too short’ go on the ride, and then two minutes later when a child comes along who’s 2″ shorter and you say no, the argument’s going to be ‘Well you let that kid go through, and they were nowhere near tall enough. Why won’t you let my kid go as well?’ And then how do you decide where the arbitrary cut-off is? That’s exactly why the official height requirement exists – yes, it’s sucks to be that kid who spends six months being 1″ too short to go on all the good rides, but there has to be a minimum height at some point or you might as well just throw the rule book out of the window.

        1. Urt*

          Indeed, one centimeter most likely is fine, heck two centimeters likely is fine. There usually is a safety margin. But you should not make use of that safety margin, because eventually you are going to leave it. And a blanket “not smaller than x” assures that your safety measures will work as intended without having to argue about the actually line were the chances for failure have risen too far.

          (Rides unfortunately also work the other way around. “You must not be taller than x”. I wanted to ride the electric ponies like all the kids did. )

          1. Myrin*

            And, I mean, this was one inch. That’s two and a half centimetres!
            (I had to point that out because when I absent-mindedly read “one [unit of measuring height]” I will automatically make this either cm or m and then have the wrong mental image – this is definitely more than just one cm!)

            1. Urt*

              Yes, unit differences are a dangerous thing – Mars explorer probes have already shown that

              So, yes, much faster to exceed the safety margin on inch.

          2. EPLawyer*

            This is what led to both the Challenger and Columbia disasters. Pushing the safety limits a bit at a time until each each push became the “norm” that was then pushed a little bit from the “norm” again and so on.

            The Rules are there because engineers determined that you can’t be secured properly if you are not the right height. As a short person it really sucked that I couldn’t go on a lot of things, but better to not allowed on the rides than slipping out and getting injured.

          3. Chc34*

            Yes, and I remember reading an article that I believe said this is what led to the Challenger explosion. They kept launching in temperature under their minimum and it was fine, until all of a sudden it wasn’t.

            1. nona*

              “Fun” facts
              1 – there wasn’t actually an explosion. TV coverage added the sound effect. The shuttle broke up due to structure forces, after the external tank broke up.
              2 – while the 0-rings were a primary cause for the Challenger disaster specifically, it was also 9 years of knowing the O-rings were a weak point in the design for various reasons
              3- there were also PR pressures to launch on that particular date.

              You’re Wrong About podcast has a interesting episode on the story.

            2. kitryan*

              I was hoping to see this mentioned. The o rings were rated to a certain temp but they did keep launching under that because of this exact idea-that it was just a little lower than the specs and then the next time it was only a little lower than that one… and then a combination (iirc) of low temps and earlier freeze cycles finally made them too brittle to perform properly.
              As some others are saying, the issue here is that ride restraints can fail to function on riders that are too small. They slip out or can move into unsafe positions on the ride. It’s highly dangerous and while there’s no doubt some tolerance in the height, to allow for a child that stood on tip toe or some such, *using* that tolerance to excuse letting smaller children on is extremely risky and is a terrible idea.

              1. EchoGirl*

                IIRC, there was a major building collapse in Korea in the 90s that was similar. The original design had a good safety margin between the expected weight of the building and the maximum load that the structure could carry, but one modification after another chipped away at that margin until one modification actually exceeded the maximum load limits of the structure and disaster struck.

                1. LunaLena*

                  Are you talking about the collapse of the Sampoong Department Store in Seoul? I remember that, I lived there at the time. Hundreds of people died, and I remember the last survivor was pulled from the rubble more than two weeks later. Although there were warning signs of structural damage for a long time (especially due to the aforementioned modifications) and they could have safely evacuated everyone, the execs refused so they wouldn’t lose revenue (they evacuated themselves, though). It took the entire building just 20 seconds to collapse once it began.

                2. EchoGirl*

                  I believe that’s correct, yes (the detail about the warning signs rings a bell). I was not aware when it first happened (I was a toddler at the time), but there was an episode of a documentary show on it that I caught a few years ago. It just stunned me how huge the safety margin was and how they mistook it for “hey, we can modify this, it’s not that big a difference” over and over again until it WAS that big a difference.

          4. MsSolo*

            I have to assume part of the tolerance is necessary because some people have longer torsos and some have longer legs, and which you have may impact on how well the harness secures you. If you let two kids through who are both just under, one may be fine and the other not, based on their proportions.

            1. Alice's Rabbit*

              Good point! And while an inch or two doesn’t seem like much to the average adult, it’s a significant percentage of a child’s height. It can make a big difference.

            2. Bluesboy*

              I was thinking exactly the same thing! I was always taller than my brother growing up…while standing up. But he was taller sitting down because all my height was in my legs. So I could go on rides that he couldn’t, even though sitting down (which is really the important height here) he would have been safer than me.

              Obviously I loved this.

        2. EchoGirl*

          I was thinking the same thing. I think hard cutoffs in many situations (whether that’s height or age or what have you) often feel sketchy because when you’re one inch too short or one week too young, it’s like, does that one inch or one week really matter? But if it’s a situation where there can be such a thing as too short or too young, you have to draw a hard line somewhere, and some people who would have been okay will nonetheless end up on the wrong end of it, and it sucks, but the rule exists for a reason. And this is especially true when you’re dealing with something as potentially dangerous as carnival rides (as opposed to, like, buying lottery tickets or something).

      2. Elaine Benes*

        I think it’s that the bars or belts or whatever safety mechanisms are in the seat are actually able to work- if they’re too small, the safety mechanisms won’t be able to properly secure them. Same way I have to have my kid in a booster with a special spot to thread the seatbelt through, so it lays across his chest the way it needs to.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I have a relative who minored in a field called Human Factors, and sizes for safety harnesses is exactly why you have those height signs at rides. These safety harnesses or belts are size specific for the rides and the movements that you will be going thru. I have also seen the reverse many a time – the person turned away because they are too big/tall to safely fit in the harnesses.

          (I was raised near Central FL, the home of Universal Studios and Walt Disney World – and when I was a kid the parks were a lot cheaper to get in to than they are now. It was also fairly close to Busch Gardens which had lots of roller coasters with very stern you must be this height to ride rules. They are there for safety, pushing past them only puts you and everybody else in your car at risk of injury.)

          1. Texan In Exile*

            Related – In Caroline Criado-Perez’s book, “Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men,” she talks about how crash-test dummies are based on the average man. And how seat belt placement is not tested on women. And does not account for breasts. Or pregnancy.

            And she talks about why these things matter.

            She is brilliant.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Oh very true, and my relative will agree with you that not enough restraints take the physical differences of a female body into account.

              This can be exacerbated when you add the differences between adult and child bodies as well.

            2. Keymaster of Gozer*

              This goes a long way to explaining why my seatbelts always end up around my neck.

        2. Rose*

          This is the reason. We had a park near me where a veteran wanted to ride a ride but had lost his legs in Iraq, and didn’t meet the height requirement. The ride operator let the man on. There’s lots of dispute as to why.

          He wasn’t tall enough for the bar meant to hold you into place. After surviving losing two legs in a war, he died on an amusement park ride. It was a horrifying situation.

      3. Anononon*

        It’s a safety factor, not a proxy age determination. This is why shorter adults, who are otherwise clearly over the age of eighteen, aren’t allow to ride some rides.

        1. Vito*

          I worked at a ride at Disney a few years ago called Sum of All Thrills where people were able to program their own ride. we has an adult who was way to short to program an adult ride so he was given a child ride card (they were color coded but not labeled adult/child) he tried o team up with a taller person to ride but when he got to the machine I loaded the tamest ride possible (which I kept in my pocket) and they didn’t have a choice. I also worked sorin and had a manager tell us if the kid was close then let them ride (we ignored him)

      4. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Yeah, it seems more likely that the height is an arbitrary cutoff chosen not because of some objective safety difference between 44″ and 45″. Maybe somebody has done some studies on the safety outcomes of crash test dummies from 30″ to 60″ tall and found a major difference between one inch and the next, but I doubt it.

        Not that you want people ignoring safety guideline anyway. You let the ones that don’t matter much slide, and then you let the ones that only somewhat matter slide, and pretty soon you’ve got a major safety incident. There are obviously people tall enough to ride safety, and obviously people too little to ride safety and a hard line between them is a good idea. In large part exactly because of parents like this.

        I doubt a kid an inch short is in measurably more danger than a kid the right height. But I think a park willing to let inches slide is likely to let other things slide that cumulatively add up to more danger.

        1. Paulina*

          From what the mother said about other rides, and the intervention of the manager from a different section, this sounds like exactly what’s happening: there are other rides where they’re getting more lax because they don’t see it as a big deal, and then they’re trying to extrapolate this laxity to a more dangerous ride.

          Ultimately you can’t know the details of the analysis and safety testing that produced the limit, so the only legitimate thing to do is stick to that limit. If it’s not accurate then that should be fixed.

          1. singularity*

            There’s also a good chance that this has happened before, where other ride operators tried to enforce safety rules and got screamed at by a customer, only to be told by management to let the customer do whatever they please. Now those ride operators shrug and let it happen because they don’t want to get chewed out again, not realizing that *they’re* the ones that will be held most responsible for any safety violations that result in injuries. OP said that the owner was involved, so it sounds like a culture of bending to the wishes of a customer, regardless of safety regulations…. OR the parent could’ve made up the whole thing to see if she could get what she wanted if she yelled about it.

            1. Stefie25*

              I’m actually curious now if the woman was still there while LW1 was getting chewed out? I’ve totally been reprimanded in front of customers so that they’re happy & once they’ve left my supervisor has let me know that it was total bulls**t. Once I had more work experience I could pick up on that tactic without my supervisors having to say a word.

        2. Observer*

          Yeah, it seems more likely that the height is an arbitrary cutoff chosen not because of some objective safety difference between 44″ and 45″.

          This is totally not not the case.

          I doubt a kid an inch short is in measurably more danger than a kid the right height

          You are wring about that – the wiggle room in most of the safety apparatus for young kids is generally going to be less than an inch.

      5. MCMonkeybean*

        Yeah, I’m curious how that works as well. Also regarding their comment about “accurate signage,” I feel pretty confident that if height really matters they will have built in a cushion to the limit. A 1-inch difference would probably be covered by hair for a lot of kids! I do think that kid would have been totally fine.

        That being said, if OP is uncomfortable with what they are being asked to do then that is their own line to draw in the sand. I just think if they talk to someone higher up the ladder they should keep all that in mind with the way they talk about it.

        1. Urt*

          One centimeter difference is so small that either the kid was so small that not even the most trying to be bigger would have brought them to the limit and I suspect get into the region were the ride would have become dangerous or the parents failed at simple alternatives like “stop slouching, stand up straight, there, you are even two centimeters taller than the minimum now”.

          1. sam.i.was*

            It was one inch, so about 2.5 cm, not 1 cm. And it’s true that still isn’t a huge amount and I would hope they’ve built a buffer into the stated height minimum, but it’s enough to get you onto a slippery slope. If the de facto minimum, according to management, is the stated height minus an inch, then inevitably people will start pushing for further lenience. “That kid was clearly below the cutoff and you let them ride. My kid is only an inch shorter than them, so my kid should be allowed to go, too,” and so on.

            If I were OP, I would document this incident in some way along with following Alison’s advice to suss out whether this is a rogue manager or if putting customers’ satisfaction over their safety is a reflection of the larger attitudes and priorities of leadership. If it’s the latter, I’d quit.

            1. Stefie25*

              There are some rules where you don’t want to get on that slope.
              I worked dealing Texas Holdem poker tournaments & one of our hard rules is that you can’t put chips in your pocket to transfer them to another table. Any chips that go in & out of your pocket are automatically disqualified from the tourney. There were no exceptions to this rule because we didn’t want to have a precedent established. Nothing sucks more than trying to enforce a rule & having a customer say ‘Well they let me do it before.’

        2. Emilia Bedelia*

          But the point of the rules is to remove that judgment call for the operator. If you called up the engineer for the ride and told them all of the factors (kid’s weight, weight of other riders, kid’s height and body type, etc), they might have agreed that the kid would be fine, based on their expertise. But a ride operator should not be expected to make that call, especially when put on the spot with the child and the parents right there.
          Most safety rules/regulations mean “We’ve tested it at this level, and this is the point at which we will guarantee that it will perform as expected”. (eg, best by dates for food- there’s nothing magical that will automatically spoil your milk, it’s just not guaranteed after that point). The fact that it’s “probably” ok if something is borderline does not mean that the rule is invalid or that someone is being unreasonable for not being willing to flex. OP probably shouldn’t go in saying “This child would have died if I let them on the ride”, but they also shouldn’t get into a discussion of whether it would have been ok or not because that’s not relevant and OP and their managers are not qualified to debate that.
          The point of a safety specification like this is to remove the uncertainty for those who do not have the expertise to determine the risk/acceptability.

          1. Aerin*

            Toward the end of my tenure at Disneyland I got pretty blunt in telling guests what would happen if they didn’t follow the rules. “The little one needs to sit down” gets ignored, “The little one needs to sit down or they’ll be thrown from the train and run over, and that’s way more paperwork than I want to deal with” gets a nervous laugh followed by somehow discovering the ability to get the kid under control.
            One of our bedrock principles was that safety trumps *everything*, including courtesy. Between guest control and attractions I spent a lot of time enforcing rules that pissed people off, and I knew that for all its problems, management was always going to have my back if it was a safety issue no matter how irate the guest. I started working on the west side within a year of the fatal incident on Big Thunder Mountain, and many of the people I worked with at first had either been on the mountain that day or knew someone who had. We took all of that VERY seriously. We knew what could happen if we didn’t.
            So yes, definitely figure out if this was one rogue supervisor or if this attitude goes higher. Then, regardless of what you find, report it to DOSH/OSHA/local equivalent. You may be able to do it anonymously, or say you were a guest who observed the incident. A single complaint will NOT get the entire park shut down. It won’t even get the entire ride shut down if it’s a personnel issue (whereas it might if, say, someone dispatched a vehicle with a clear fault, and even that shutdown would only be until it passed inspection again). If it is an ongoing/pervasive problem, you definitely want it documented.
            Small amusement parks, man. It’s like lawyers and cop shows, I just can’t do it anymore.

            1. Vito*

              when I worked at soarin, I use to tell people that the ride went 50 feet in the air and I wasn’t going to deal with the paperwork if something happens. I don’t care if he could ride on test track, they weren’t getting on.

        3. Observer*

          A 1-inch difference would probably be covered by hair for a lot of kids!

          No – all you need to do is put your hand on the kid’s head to see how tall they actually are.

          I do think that kid would have been totally fine.

          You have exactly ZERO basis for that. And given the very real and significant dangers involved, this is more than being “uncomfortable”.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            I have noticed that a lot of rides for little kids with the 36 inch restriction now have poles with the flat slide down to get around the parents fixing their kids hair to be “poofy” to get some extra height. The flat part slides down the height pole and rests right on the top of the head – so works great and gets around the “s/he touched my kid” mess.

      6. Quinalla*

        As others have mentioned, it is NOT a proxy for age/maturity, it has to do with the restraints and if you are too short, you can slip out. Height isn’t perfect, sometimes a person with an unusual body type (really thin, really big legs, etc.) can have issues – my brother as a kid was SUPER thin because of some weird stuff with his ribs/breastbone/etc and he went on rides where he was tall enough, but ended up having to seriously hold on with his hands/arms or might have slipped out of restraints. Checking the fit of restraints is something ride operators generally are supposed to check too, but honestly it doesn’t always get checked carefully when they just want to get people on and going.

        And yes, there is definitely a safety factor so someone who is 1/2″ too short is likely fine, but you shouldn’t push those limits as you don’t know what the safety factor is and when you will cross it. Especially since height really isn’t perfect for it anyway.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed, fudging on the 1/2 inch leads to the slippery slope of how do you really draw the line. Best all around to just stick with the height restriction from the manufacturer.

      7. CDM*

        For water slides, specifically, (plain slides without inflated tubes, mats, etc) the minimum height restriction for riders is based on the diameter of the slide tube. Riders shorter than the posted height restriction are at risk of getting spun around in the tube, entering the water head-first instead of feet-first, and suffering head and/or neck injuries.

        Not that explaining that to pushy parents ever seemed to deter them from insisting that their too-short kids should be allowed on the slide.

        – former lifeguard and supervisor. Info on the engineering rationale for the height restriction came from the installation/training representative from the manufacturer of our water slide.

      8. Quill*

        The restraints need to fit snugly, and they can’t do that under a certain size. Height is actually a decent proxy for most rides because whether they include shoulder straps or a lap bar, your height determines where your head is at as you rattle around your roller coaster, and more restraints have adjustable girth than adjustable height.

      9. LJay*

        Age and maturity don’t matter. Whether the restraints hit you in the right spot to actually hold you in do.

    4. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      I was just coming in here to say the same thing. Looking back in hindsight so many safety concerns ignored. It ruined the lives of the family of the child, the people in the raft behind in (who got hit by the severed head), the owners of the park and the designers of the ride) Huge lawsuits, investigations, and bankruptcies ensued because of that incident.

    5. Penny Parker*

      If a ride operator breaks the rules and a child is injured they can be prosecuted. This was a huge issue in this tourist community; he was found guilty:

  7. Julia*

    It sounds like LW 3 already told her supervisor she’s looking for an internship, and the supervisor already told her to take a couple weeks. So that piece of the advice may be redundant. But “a couple weeks” is a bit vague. Perhaps she could shorten the script to something like “So I’m clear, when’s the latest date I can give you an answer on this summer?” and then drop them if she’s found an internship by then.

  8. Anonymous Student*

    #3: I was in a similar boat for the “COVID summer” last year (I was a sophomore in college, now a junior). I had offers from “on-campus” (in quotes since they ended up being remote, like everything else) jobs for the summer, yet I was still searching for internships. I ended up taking a full-time internship and working one of the campus-based jobs more or less outside of business hours (made easier since everything was remote!). I know I got lucky in that my on-campus job was research, so it didn’t need to be in business hours, but the moral of the story: yes, it is possible to have an internship and keep a work-study job!

    1. Grits McGee*

      Our agency only has unpaid internships, and we had a number of interns do 3 days a week with us, 2 days at another employer and it was completely fine. I think in most cases, unless it’s a super short or super prestigious internship, the lower paid the internship is, more flexibility you can have to set a schedule that allows you to support yourself.

      1. LW3*

        My issue was that most summer internships in my field are full-time and paid – I ended up emailing my supervisors that while I appreciate to offer, I can only commit to a couple weeks of work plus some Saturdays. I’ve definitely had internships in other fields that would have allowed me that kind of flexibility, but unfortunately not here!

    2. Momma Bear*

      Your mileage may vary, but some internships can be done during the fall or in tandem with other work. I did my internship PT while still attending college, and then worked my other job all summer. You may not know what you can do just yet, but I’d let them know that you need an internship and are exploring your options.

      Also, no is a valid answer. I had a job offer from a place I temped with but I had a year of school left. I thanked them for the opportunity, but finished my degree.

  9. ggg*

    This post actually incited me to check my LinkedIn invitations. My brother-in-law apparently tried to connect with me two years ago. He’s never said anything. So I’m pretty sure these people you may or may not know will not really notice if you quietly ignore them.

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      That’s hilarious! I’m kinda imagining him quietly seething over his ‘rejected’ LinkedIn request at every family get-together for the past two years.
      “Sure ggg, I’ll pass the gravy” under his breath “when you accept my connection request on LinkedIn”.


      1. Person from the Resume*

        Is it also possible that he clicked a button that sent connection requests to everyone in his address book and he didn’t even know who he sent requests to?

        1. ggg*

          That is 100% possible. Or maybe I just showed up in “people you might know.”
          The main use I have found for LinkedIn is maintaining some kind of professional profile page in case someone searches me up on the Internet.

    2. Cat Tree*

      I haven’t checked or updated LinkedIn in about 6 years, or two companies ago. I should probably do that.

      1. Rachel in NYC*

        Some people are really on top of them. I use them to contact people that I don’t have email addresses for related to my job- but then I explain in my note what is going on and that I really just need them to email me (with my email listed).

        I’ve had better responses to those then to FedEx letters.

        1. Cat Tree*

          I used to use it as part of job searching. I’m now at a company I like and plan to stay at long-term, and internal moves are handled through the company website. So I just don’t have a lot of incentive to update it. I don’t work with clients or vendors, and I’m not involved in recruiting. But most of my colleagues keep theirs updated so it seems like there is some other benefit to it.

    3. GothicBee*

      I have a linkedin that I never look at. I’ve thought about just deleting it, but haven’t yet because I keep forgetting it exists. I don’t think I’ve checked my linkedin invitations like ever.

  10. RC Rascal*

    OP #1: Remember this. If you waive the rule and let the short kid ride and something were to happen you will be named in the lawsuit. So will your manager and the rest of park management and ownership. It won’t be pretty.

    Amusement park safety is important. The major chain park location near my house has had several fatalities in the last 35 years. In one someone fell out of a roller coaster because they were a little too large for the seat & couldn’t be strapped in properly.

    1. MJ*

      Brings to mind the words of the great philosopher (well I think so :) ), George Takei, on the wearing of face masks for safety.

      “We restrict freedoms all the time in the name of public safety. You can’t drink and drive because you put others at risk. You can’t smoke in public places. Now, when the risk of contagion is so high and the consequences so deadly, you want to say screw the restrictions? Please.”

      So why people think safety regulations don’t matter because ‘recreation’ is beyond me. While the precise strength of Earth’s gravity varies depending on location, those locations are not going to typically be at theme parks. The rules (law) still applies.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          So that you don’t end up having to quote yet a third Star Trek character: “it’s worse than that he’s dead Jim.”

          (I’ll show myself out now.)

          1. Mockingdragon*

            OK but once I got to hear Takei sing Star Trekin’ at a convention and it was miraculous.

    2. Batgirl*

      Several and they are still open?!
      Is the public safety plan to hope that their business reputation shuts them down? Gobsmacked.

    3. WellRed*

      I’m reminded of the actor who wanted to hang glide or something but was five pounds over limit. He said, “seriously, what can I do?” And was told, “seriously, come back when you Lose five pounds.”
      It’s a slippery slope when you start flexing requirements.

      1. Trillian*

        It is. First it’s the kid that’s 1” under. Then it’s the kid who’s 2” under, because how can they argue; they’ve already let the posted rule slide. Then 3” under. And so on. If that manager is typical, then this ride/park has a poor safety culture, with all that implies about the potential for cascading failures.

    4. Cat Tree*

      Also, if the park goes out of business for failing a safety issue, OP didn’t shut them down by reporting it; the park shut itself down by putting people at risk.

    5. miss chevious*

      Exactly this. Also, the type of person who wants to argue that their kid should be allowed to ride in contravention of safety regulations is EXACTLY the type of person to sue and name you specifically. “OP 1 KNEW my kid was too small and allowed it anyways!” Follow the regulations, OP, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may — not on you.

  11. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    OP3: Personally I think this comes down to a financial decision. If you’re lucky enough to not need to worry about finances then that’s great for you and you can make this decision based on the advice others offer up here!
    This work-study job is guaranteed and pays you. If you explain that you’re looking for more projects/responsibility to add to your resume I can bet you’ll get it. From experience I can tell you that there are *always* projects that need doing that get put off until summer comes around. There’s also a lot of value to seeing how the work in that office changes when students aren’t on campus. You’ll also likely be able to get some shadowing or mentoring in during the summer.
    A couple questions to consider:
    Are you looking for a paid internship? Are those common in your industry/area?
    Are the companies/organizations that usually have internships in your field offering them this year?
    A lot of the value in internships is in networking, would you be able to get that value with so much being remote?

    I’m not saying to discount an internship entirely but also don’t discount the value that this work-study position can have on your resume just because it’s work-study.

    1. KateM*

      A couple hours a week? Is that an amount of pay that should be considered?
      Right now I work a couple hours a week myself and I consider it pocket money, not salary. The main good it gives me is to be able to tell I’m employed.

    2. GothicBee*

      If they’re still in school and looking for an internship, I don’t think it’s worth putting that possibility aside for a guaranteed job that will only give you a few hours of pay a week at what is likely minimum wage. If they needed money that badly, they’d probably have a different/second job with better hours. If they could do both, that’d possibly be worth it (though if the hassle of getting to the job for those few hours each week isn’t worth the paycheck, I wouldn’t bother anyway unless the job was really beneficial to their post-college resume).

    3. LW3*

      Unfortunately, this is primarily a financial decision. I could forgo a full time internship and scrape by until graduation, but it would be stressful and pretty unpleasant.

      The work-study job has a cap – that means that if I chose to do summer hours, I wouldn’t be earning more money. My hours would just be more spread out throughout the year.

      1. CJM*

        If you need the money, and you wouldn’t earn more at the work study job anyway, you would be better off getting a job in retail, food service, or whatever if you aren’t able to get an internship.

    4. LW3*

      It is a primarily financial decision – if I worked during the summer, I wouldn’t actually be making more money, because work-study funds are capped. I would just be working less hours throughout the semester.

      I could scrape by to graduation without a paid internship, but it would be pretty difficult and unpleasant. I have one internship in mind that I already applied for and is exactly the kind of work I want to go into, so I’m hoping I get it! It wouldn’t start until June so that would at least allow me a few weeks of continuing my work-study job.

      1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

        Ah! The work-study fund cap is definitely an important detail! Knowing that definitely alters my advice. Save those hours/funds for the school year to use while you’re already on campus. If you can comfortably balance your class load and work hours I think that you should politely turn down those summer hours, and go for the summer hopefully paid internship. Do be sure that when you turn down the summer hours you tell them that you’re grateful for the offer and can’t accept, but absolutely do want to come back for the fall. I wish you very very best of luck, a wonderful internship, and successful career!

  12. ThePear8*

    #3: I had a slightly similar situation last year. Junior looking for an internship. I didn’t have an existing on-campus job, but I interviewed for what would have been a great student job that December (think like a camp counselor kind of job). I received an offer but was very up-front throughout the process that I was looking for an internship and that while I would love to work with them and was excited about the job, looking for an internship would be priority. They were trying to get candidates in that winter interviewing time frame, but I was transparent with the interviewer and she encouraged me to accept the offer for the time being, as none of the paperwork was really legally binding (and I did read it all to make sure). In the end I did end up receiving an internship and pulling out of the offer, which did suck to have to do and I would avoid if you have a choice (but I didn’t), but it was a bit better since I had been up front about it and therefore hopefully hadn’t really surprised or blindsided them with my decision (and I had given them a couple of months before I would have been needed to prepare anything for the camp, so it wasn’t like I ducked out at the last minute).
    Anyway, just sharing my experience in the hopes it helps! Good luck!

    1. ThePear8*

      *interviewer encouraged me to accept because paperwork WASN’T legally binding and so if I did get an internship, I could pull out as long as I gave them a reasonable heads up.

  13. Batgirl*

    OP, if you were to start letting the shorter kids onto rides, and the worst happened, this boss would absolutely leave you hanging in the wind. His instructions were verbal and he would deny ever saying anything. If he can’t handle an online review from an obvious nut complaining that the park is too safe, he’s not going to be the one taking responsibility for the death of a child in court.

    1. BadWolf*

      I agree, the boss isn’t going to be all “Oh gee, I told OP to let those kids ride, this is on me.”

    2. Anononon*

      Yeah, and arguably, if I represented the boy, and it was my case, and the manager took 100% responsibility, I would still name OP as a defendant. There’s still potentially liability/negligence.

      1. Stefie25*

        They would totally still be liable. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. My boss told me too is not really a good defence for doing something you know is wrong.

  14. Lady Heather*

    OP1, I think reporting and resigning are actually two separate issues – and you may even be protected from being fired or otherwise retaliated against under your country’s whistleblower laws.

    I wouldn’t quit unless you want to quit and can afford to quit and want to afford to quit.

    1. Bostonian*

      Agreed. In fact, I was so taken aback by the “should I quit and be a whistleblower?” option that I’m wondering if there’s some key piece that the LW didn’t include, like already talking to management and getting more of the same.

    2. Glitsy Gus*

      Agreed. This doesn’t have to be an either/or. I think Allison has it exactly right. Go over Supervisor’s head and ask if Management really does agree with and support the directive to let kids ride that are too short. Ideally, you would do this over email so you could have their answer in writing, but that will obviously depend on your workplace and how these kinds of escalations work there.

      If they say, “no! WTF?!?” Then you can tell them they need to have a chat with Supervisor because he seems confused about the policies. I would also give HR a heads up at that point in case Supervisor retaliates.

      If they do say that is their position, you can then report it to the local and state departments that oversee these things. You don’t need to quit over this, it isn’t going to automatically result in the place getting shut down or anything if this is the first time someone has said anything. More often than not it’ll be a visit from the agency who just say, “hey, we heard from an anonymous source you were violating safety protocols… Yeah, this is a formal warning that you can’t do that.” As long as they knock it off, there is nothing else to worry about there. Again, if you are worried about retaliation, this is where whistleblower laws come into play. When you make your report you can mention you are concerned about that so it’s on record in case you need to go down that road. But this doesn’t mean you need to quit or assume you will be fired! Dealing with the safety boards is something your management should be used to.

      1. Data Bear*

        All of this. I think there’s even an argument to be made that it’s better for a whistleblower not to quit (so long as your own safety isn’t at risk), because staying where you are puts you in a better position to help make sure the problem is solved.

        You haven’t done anything wrong; don’t give up your job because of someone else’s misdeeds.

  15. Sunny*

    #1: I worked at an amusement park for a while. That’s not normal in the broader park world, that’s not right, and your manager should have had your back about safety concerns.

    Question: is yours an indie park, or owned by one of the large chains? Mine was bought by one of the large chains well before I started, but I know someone who worked there before that. From their descriptions, the chain is much more of a stickler for rules even at the expense of making a guest unhappy.

    1. BlueWolf*

      Yes, same here. I worked for an amusement park that is owned by a relatively large chain. I regularly had to tell kids who were even just a millimeter too short that they couldn’t ride. Parents would get angry and sometimes yell and swear at us. I’d just tell them the requirements are set by the ride manufacturers for safety, but sometimes we would end up having to call a supervisor who would also measure. I think even worse than that was having to tell people they couldn’t fit in a ride. One coaster I worked on had over the shoulder restraints and sometimes people were too tall or too overweight for the restraints to come all the way down to the locking position. We would just say it won’t lock, but it was always awkward. At least most kids will eventually be tall enough to ride.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yup – said elsewhere that I grew up in Central FL, and the most ridiculous display of you can’t say I don’t fit came from an adult on a very, very fast and heavy G pulling coaster where the over the shoulder harness wouldn’t fully buckle.

        Oh, in front of his kids too (and one of them also couldn’t get the harness to fully buckle as well). Those of us in line felt bad for the employees checking harnesses.

      2. Aerin*

        I can’t remember which park it was, but I visited one where they had a seat from the vehicle out front, so you could see for yourself if you weren’t going to fit before you waited in the line and got embarrassed by getting kicked off. Wish more parks would do it that way. The spouse is very big and tall, and fitting into restraints can be a real problem.

        1. Stefie25*

          I think that’s Disneyland. The one in California. I was planning to go this year & I was very happy to read about that. The last thing I want to do is subject myself to the humiliation of being too big to ride. Plus the lost time of waiting in line.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I know that Universal Studios in Orlando has them and instead of the height stick in the definite roller coasters they were using those to evaluate if you could safely ride the last time I visited. It was really nice because as others have said it’s not just height. The dad in my story above – he was too obese to fit in the seat. His teenaged kids eventually dragged him away, still throwing a fit.

        3. Marni*

          They have that at the Harry Potter world at Universal Hollywood. I’m tall and a bit overweight with a big bust, and the first time I tried to ride they couldn’t get the harness to lock, but they advised me to go try the test car (I hadn’t noticed it on the way in), and also told me that one of the seats on the ride is actually designed to accommodate slightly larger customers. I was a bit embarrassed, but also now I know to always sit on the far Left, and not slouch, so that I can be buckled in properly.

        4. Alice's Rabbit*

          My BIL is extremely tall. Scrawny, but tall. He loves when parks do that, because he can check that the restraints will fasten securely before wasting his time in line.

  16. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    OP2 – learn as much as you can from Toby, then if he does leave, you are ready to step up – thus endearing yourself to the bosses. Use the situation to your advantage.

  17. DavidC*

    #1 : The following link is to an incident in QLD Australia where the park operator was cutting corners and an accident occurred. No charges were laid but for a while there they were talking about charging the ride supervisor (If I recall)

    In the end no charges were laid on individual staff however it just lets you know what COULD happen.

    #3: A paid student job which is relevant and in your degree and in the faculty you are studying in? or an internship? I would have thought the Paid student job would be the priority. Its paid. its relevant and its on going. Internships have a bit of a bad name for “make work” and abusing students who fill them, as in poor conditions and such….

    1. Anna*

      An internship can also be paid and is usually done in the field you hope to enter. I did internships as a student that were relevant to my goals and in which I was paid, and so did most of my peers.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      OP3 has said elsewhere in the comments that the few paid hours a week would not be nearly enough to live on and they would be getting a paid internship. In my experience paid internships are the type where you’re given proper work to do. Those working for free are far more likely to be abused.

  18. Office fan*

    OP2: Off topic, but kudos if your
    use of “Toby” was a reference to my favorite character on “The Office”.
    Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, he’s the Charlie Browniest.

    1. HD*

      I was picturing the exact same character. Not that Toby would ever get it together enough to leave a job.

      1. Glitsy Gus*

        He did drop everything and move to Costa Rica at one point. Of course he ended up coming back… I always wanted things to work out for Toby. Here’s hoping OP’s Toby gets what he wants, either by staying or leaving.

        That said, OP, please don’t snitch on your coworker here. You don’t really know the score, he could have used that recruiter to get the job he currently has. Or he could have sent over his resume as a “what the hell, let’s see what comes up?” Or he could be actively looking. There is no way to know. If there are several things that only he know, it would be a good idea to get those things out of his head and down on paper just in general, so you can do that, but just leave it there.

        If you have a good relationship with him you could give him the heads up directly about the email so he knows the recruiter is sending his resume over to his current employer as advertising. You don’t have to, but it would be a nice thing to do. Just please don’t tell your boss. Don’t be an Angela.

  19. BadWolf*

    On OP1 — I’m not familiar with the rules of amusement park audits — but from a friend who works in food/pool/camping safety, they usually are working with the owners. Education and return to review. Assuming there’s not an immediate and absolute danger, like they’re chopping vegies with the raw meat slicer.

    In the case of “let a patron ride who might not quite be tall enough” — that may be an education and return to review (versus too many bolts fell out of a ride — even then they’d probably just shut down the ride). Unless the place has a numerous violations and this is the last straw — then that’s not on you.

    Also, what’s with parents who are so wildly intent on having their kids ride a ride when they’re not tall enough? I know kids want to go, but don’t you have a built in bad guy? Sorry kid, the Very Important Ride Operator said you can’t go, nothing we can do. Let’s get an ice cream.

    1. Caterpie*

      The parent thing bothered me too! Occasionally I see re-posts from ‘entitled Disney parent’-type blogs and one very popular post directed on how to discretely use shoe risers meant for people with leg length differences to get their kid on rides they aren’t tall enough for!

      Disney (or other theme park) will likely be there next year when the kid is tall enough, why not try again then instead of put your kid at risk?!

      1. TextHead*

        Or, if not financially feasible to go again next year, wait to go until your kid is the right height for the rides they want. I’ve always seen the height information online, so it’s easy enough to prepare for this.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Universal Studios does ride restrictions online as well (and for both the FL and CA locations). It’s not that hard to go through the rides in advance and warn your kids that they won’t be able to ride “X” on this visit because they are too short.

        2. Alice's Rabbit*

          That’s what we did. We checked the height requirements beforehand, and then had him measured at his pediatrician’s, so we knew what he could and couldn’t ride before we even left home. That way, there was no disappointment in the parks. He did something else fun with one parent while the other took a turn on the roller-coaster, and then we swapped.

    2. not all karens*

      Seriously, I’ve been on rides with my kids where they were technically tall enough to ride, but still bounced and slid around more than I was comfortable with and I ended up clutching them out of paranoia. This mother was really okay with her child potentially getting hurt (or worse)??? I’m sure the child would’ve been fine, but why take that chance?

      1. Observer*

        Of course the mother was not ok with putting the child at risk. But the problem is that people like this seem to think that the laws of physics just don’t apply to them. So, in her mind, it’s not “OP is trying to protect my kid, which is upsetting, but oh well.” No, to her is “That TERRIBLE OP is DENYING my child the RIGHT to go on the ride by PRETENDING that it’s not safe.” or some variant thereof. I have no doubt that she is totally convinced that the safety concerns are totally not real.

    3. Aerin*

      The number of ways I’ve seen guests (kids and adults) actively trying to maim themselves at the park is unreal. If it were a thing where someone saving your life meant they had to serve you forever, my house would be staffed like Downton fricking Abbey.

  20. Sunflower*

    #2. Go ahead and learn as much as you can since that’s what we all should do in our jobs. But don’t ever say anything about what you think is happening with coworkers. You don’t actually know what Toby is planning. You could ruin Toby’s career and your own reputation by opening your mouth about an assumption.

  21. Hekko*

    OP#1, you only get nostalgic about your childhood memories of the park because you survived your visit. If the kid gets killed on the ride, they will not have fond memories (and you will get the blame).

    Further along that lane, if I were standing there listening to that supervisor babbling about good reviews, I would ask, “What review do you think the mom is going to leave when her child gets hurt on the ride?” I would probably continue to say something unwise because I hate it when people blatantly disregard safety. There’s stupid, and then there’s let’s kill or maim children by accident stupid…

  22. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

    I’m trying to think of a circumstance in which I would (non-maliciously) inform my boss that a coworker was job hunting, and.. I’m having trouble coming up with anything.
    Documentation and cross training should absolutely be happening anyway, because sometimes staff leave, and often it’s inconvenient. But I really can’t see the benefit of bring up the job hunt, regardless of how certain you are that your coworker is looking.

  23. Matt*

    #1: I have nothing helpful to share, sorry, but just had to think about that legendary movie scene in “Problem Child 2” *eg*

    1. Dave*

      I was thinking about the “Class Action Park” based on Action Park in NJ where teenagers where left to run rides and an owner would design rides without engineers.

  24. Elle by the sea*

    OP5, you are not obligated to accept people’s requests for connecting with you. You don’t have to explain yourself to strangers. For that matter, you don’t need to explain yourself to someone who you do know in person. Only accept the requests you would actually want to accept. If you don’t want to connect, feel free to ignore the request. It’s not a politeness contest.

    My general policy is that I do accept requests from strangers who work in my field or a related field. I’m also more than happy to chat with or provide feedback for people who wish to break into my rather niche industry. However, I do reject people who become too demanding (e.g. want me to refer them for a job, and when I politely refuse to do so because I can’t vouch for their work quality, they react angrily) or who clearly want to connect for non-professionals reasons.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      All of this. There is no obligation to interact with anyone on any social network unless you want to. It’s not rude to hit the “ignore” button.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      I refuse all requests from people I don’t know simply because of the chance of them then asking for a referral. I would never dare ask to connect with someone I don’t know. These people do dare, and you can safely assume that they might then dare to ask for more.

  25. agnes*

    #2 It is also possible that your coworker isn’t actually job searching. Some recruiting firms will do this unscrupulous thing and lift people’s resumes from the internet and then use those to try to drum up business. They will send the resume out, and the if the business bites, the recruiter will cold call the person and tell them they have a client interested in them. In actuality, they essentially wind up cold calling both parties and using both parties to entice the other party.

    It’s a disgusting approach, but unfortunately exists in the industry.

    1. NumbersNerd*

      OP2 here; thanks for the feedback. I was already pretty decided on the “keep my mouth shut” approach, but this further solidifies that. Thanks for the interesting detail- I didn’t realize that a recruiter would be allowed to do that.

      It kind of makes me want to go in the opposite direction and give Toby a heads up that I’ve seen his name out there (just in case anyone else has, as well).

      1. Glitsy Gus*

        I think that would be a really kind thing to do. I would want to know if a recruiter was sending my current company my own resume!

    2. HD*

      That’s pretty horrible. I’ve seen some unprofessional behavior from recruiters but that’s especially bad. People could lose their jobs if their employers accidentally end up getting their resumes like that.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      This is what I came here to say. Haven’t seen exactly this happen, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. The wildest recruiter experience that I personally had was a recruiter from a firm that our (very small, very new and fast-growing startup) company was working with to find new people, calling and emailing me on almost a daily basis with “exciting job opportunities”. I finally had to reach out to say, Hey, sorry, but you are actually not allowed to place me out of Cat Fountains, LLC, because Cat Fountains, LLC is your employer’s client. (I might have had to send her that email more than once!)

  26. Blonder*

    OP#1 – I worked at a large amusement park during my summers in college. Do not bend on this. My final year at the park, ride operators of a roller coaster ignored the safety requirements. In this case, they allowed a rider with only 1 full leg to ride, and ride safety requirements stated you needed 2 full legs due to restraints at calf/shin level. The rider slipped out if his seat at the top of the a hill. He tragically died horribly, and everyone on the train he was on I am sure is traumatized to this day for having to witness that.

    Please speak to a different manager like Allison suggested. These accidents DO happen and hopefully like she also said, this is one rogue manager.

    On the other end of things – my husband was once too tall for a coaster and the shoulder restraints would not click closed. Never seen someone NOPE off a ride so fast in my life.

    1. Mimmy*

      For the rider with only one full leg, was he wearing a prosthetic leg? Would a prosthetic leg satisfy this safety requirement? Just curious.

      1. BlueWolf*

        It’s been a while since I worked in a park, so I don’t recall all the specific rules, but I believe we wouldn’t have allowed someone with a prosthesis to wear it on a ride due to the risk of it coming loose, particularly if there are restraints for the legs as in Blonder’s example. Also, depending on the ride the requirements also had to do with the ability to brace. For example, on certain rides we wouldn’t have allowed someone with a full arm cast because they aren’t able to move their elbow and brace themselves properly. For other rides, it has to do with center of gravity. If someone is missing a leg, their center of gravity is higher and makes it more likely for them to fall out of the ride.

      2. Alice's Rabbit*

        No, a prosthetic is not allowed. While they attach fairly securely, they aren’t designed to withstand those g-forces. It wouldn’t be enough to safely secure the rider to the vehicle.

    2. Lynn*

      I worked at our regional park as a Major Rides Operator for several summers in high school/college. I agree-check with another manager AND continue to properly operate the rides within the set safety restrictions. We never had anything terrible happen while I was working at the park-but safety restrictions were one of the few things management would back us up on.

      I mean, I hated telling kids they couldn’t ride the , but the parents were way worse than the kids. It was even worse when you had to tell an adult that they couldn’t ride-most of them knew and didn’t try, but we would occasionally get someone who wouldn’t see the sign.

      It has been too many years, so back then we didn’t have any rides, until my last year, with over the shoulder harnesses-so the closest I ever came to telling someone they were too tall was trying to help an NBA player who was over 7 ft tall try to fold all of his legs into a Spider car. I am sure we looked like an outtake from some screwball comedy.

      And, again, given that my experience is back in the mid 80s to early 90s, most of our rides were not set up such that being too large to ride was much of an issue. As long as we could fasten the seat belt and put the lap bar down, we were good-and our rides all had a pretty good amount of leeway on that front.

      1. Batgirl*

        Those of you who’ve had to deal with bratty parents in this line of work (Trying to imagine doing this myself and I can’t even), are they aware their kids could die? Is using the words “dead” and “maimed” an acceptable strategy?

        1. Extroverted Bean Counter*

          From having worked at a public pool – those parents do not care about/believe the dangers in breaking protocol. “They’ll be fine.”

      2. Stefie25*

        See I can’t understand why parents get so upset. Not that I have children but I love by besties kid to death & I couldn’t imagine her entertainment being more important than her safety. Her parents did a great job too of always talking to her the day before (instead of at the park) & making sure she understood that she wouldn’t be able to ride every ride because she may be too short. They also made it a bit of a game. Let’s see how many more rides you can ride compared to last year. They also included the count of how many rides she can’t ride on anymore because she’s too tall.

        1. Alice's Rabbit*

          These types refuse to acknowledge that they could possibly be putting their kid’s life in danger. They’re convinced that the safety guidelines are just an exaggeration, their little cutie will be fine, and you’re just a spoilsport for running junior’s fun.

  27. cat lady*

    Regarding #4, does the LW really need to start the cover letter from scratch? It doesn’t sound like their experience and qualifications have changed substantively, so I wouldn’t expect the bulk of the letter’s content to be different. Personally, I’d be inclined to edit the original letter to add mention of being in the hiring process when COVID hit, and a few words on the end of the Americorps experience/what I’ve been doing since, and update language to reflect continued enthusiasm for the role. What do others think?

  28. Sarah*

    OP 2 – As a manager, I would not be impressed if an employee revealed to me that a coworker was job searching. I would be very concerned about that employee’s ability to maintain healthy relationships with colleagues, and would be watching closely for any other evidence they were a gossip or otherwise not to be trusted with sensitive information.

    And if I were Toby, and someone ratted me out for job searching, I would be frustrated and have a hard time collaborating with that person going forward.

  29. Khatul Madame*

    LW2 – ask yourself how you would feel if you job-searched and your colleague “told” on you. Or even how you would feel if you weren’t looking for a job and your coworker told management that you were.
    LW5 – I have a similar, loosely defined policy of not connecting with people I haven’t met/done business with. Sometimes there is an option, after I hit “Ignore”, to indicate to LinkedIn that I don’t know this person.
    I don’t feel the obligation to explain my decision to the askers, who in most cases didn’t take the time and explain why they want to connect with me. They clicked a button on me, and I clicked right back – that’s the extent of it.

    1. Quinalla*

      Agreed, some want to connect with anyone they can on linked-in, if it suggests someone they will click or if they have a loose connection (same alma mater) they will try to connect. Others want to keep their contacts to people they know, even if just acquaintances, some want just people they know well and others won’t really connect to anyone :) Everyone uses the platform a little differently and if someone would to be offended by you not connecting, they would be highly unusual and not worth worrying about.

  30. Choggy*

    LW 1 – Absolutely take Alison’s advice to find out more about whether the supervisor was acting on their own or by direction from someone at a higher level. In this case, the customer is NOT always right, especially in the face of potential risk and with regard to a child who has no understanding of the danger! And *if* the child was let on, suffered serious or fatal injuries, then what? I have to believe there are regulations all amusement parks and the like have to follow, and for someone in management to completely disregard a safety regulation is a red flag, especially coming from the top. I would prefer an amusement park be closed down instead of it continuing to be a danger to the public.

    1. Marthooh*

      LW 1 said the parent complained to the owner, who sent the supervisor in question, so it sounds like the problem starts at the top, unfortunately.

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        Owner sent the supervisor, but did the supervisor deliver the message he was supposed to? Or did he just not want to deal with another nagging customer?
        Definitely something that needs to be checked.

  31. MCMonkeybean*

    For LW3–I might be off base here but it sound like they don’t have a position they are actively trying to fill, but rather just that they like the OP and would like to have them specifically come in. If that is the case, I would come at this from the angle of something like “I love working here and would love to keep coming in but I’ve been told that in my field it’s important for me to have an internship the summer after junior year so I’m really trying to make that happen.” And if you aren’t able to find an internship then you can let them know and ask whether or not they would still be interested in having you come in.

    I agree with Alison that if they are only looking for you to come in a few hours a week then that’s really not enough to be worth considering stopping your internship plans. I’m surprised they would try to pressure you into that and honestly I think it’s kind of crappy of them. Maybe that’s not the vibe you are getting but that’s what it sounded like to me with their comment about not usually offering this to anyone.

    1. LW3*

      “I might be off base here but it sound like they don’t have a position they are actively trying to fill, but rather just that they like the OP and would like to have them specifically come in.”

      This is mostly it. It’s financial work having to do with wrapping up the 2nd quarter, but I definitely don’t *need* to be there – they just think I’m a good worker.

      “I’m surprised they would try to pressure you into that and honestly I think it’s kind of crappy of them. Maybe that’s not the vibe you are getting but that’s what it sounded like to me with their comment about not usually offering this to anyone.”

      They’re usually very thoughtful so this came as a surprise for me too! I let them know I can’t financially forgo a full-time internship for the whole summer, but offered to come in some Saturdays instead.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        Is there a possibility that an internship would take you to a different location for the summer? I went to college in a small(ish) town, so almost everyone had to relocate for internships. If you’re in a larger city that might not be a concern to you, though (which would be nice!).

        Hopefully they’ll be understanding if you can’t commit to Saturdays, either. Good luck!

        1. LW3*

          I’m looking at internships in my college town, as well as remote internships! I really can’t afford to move for a summer (I don’t even have a car atm!)

  32. Sherri*

    For LW#1 – I can’t promise this would have kept the mother happy, but it’s a good idea to avoid saying “there’s nothing I can do”, because there is something you can do – help them find another ride, acknowledge they may be very disappointed and remind them that the park is trying to keep everyone safe. Pivoting to asking what kind of rides the kid likes to point them to something else or recommending the ride that is closest to the one they wanted might have gone over better. Either way, this type of approach is more likely to have assuaged the mom, or at least not resulted in an escalation to management.

    And again, I can’t guarantee it, as sometimes no approach works, but I’d try something like this the next time you have this type of situation.

    Good luck!

    1. Jennifer*

      Nah. I dealt with customers like her before. She is right and nothing and no one is going to convince her she isn’t. She would have complained until she got her way or was asked to leave.

      1. LTL*

        +1. “There’s nothing I can do” is a line people do when they’re asserting boundaries with someone unreasonable.

        If another person crosses a boundary, you have no obligation to fix the situation. That’s how toxic relationships are born. We all make mistakes and none of us are perfect but that’s different than doubling down on shitty behavior (like yelling at a stranger for following safety protocols). This woman didn’t just lose her cool for a minute, she lied about height restrictions on other rides and gave a whole diatribe.

    2. Heidi*

      When I’ve gone to larger parks, the employees seem to have had training or scripts to deal with kids being too short for the ride. They were polite, but authoritative. Of course, there are some people who are going to be unhappy no matter what, but if someone wrote a review to complain that the park wouldn’t ignore safety rules, they would come off looking worse than the park. Sorry you had to deal with jerks, OP.

      1. M*

        I agree with this statement. Polite but authoritative is a good way to describe it. I recall going to a water park and seeing a parent trying to get their kid through a big slide. The employee said that the kid was too short. When the parent said that another employee had let the kid ride earlier, she told the parent that essentially the other person was in the wrong, and that the safety requirements are there for their own good, and that there were other rides available for smaller park patrons. The parent was annoyed, but quietly took their kid back down the stairs.

    3. Choggy*

      Hi Sherri, I totally get your point. My company is instituting something they call +1 around service. The point being if a customer has to contact us, they are at a -1 and are already annoyed. Our job is to turn that – into a + by doing anything we can, but it has to be within reason. I can see where responding to a customer’s demand being met with no options could be frustrating, but there was also a sign clearly stating the specific height requirement of the ride. In our organization, we are instructed to escalate anything we are cannot approve or assist with. Could you imagine if the operator reached out to their supervisor, who permitted the child to ride, and something catastrophic occurring?

      Your suggestion of a redirection is spot on, and very useful in many cases to diffuse a situation!

      1. Urt*

        I’d say treating every customer contact as a -1 for a default rating is also not okay.
        There are many times a park employee is just convenient to answer questions and the customer isn’t necessarily annoyed when told no. I have asked employees making sure nobody walks up the exit line whether I could keep my glasses on or not during the ride just because on my way through the park the exit came before the entrance that had the relevant signage.
        The customer experience varies by too many circumstances that treating it as negative by default stands a high chance of it being a self-fullfilling prophecy.

    4. Batgirl*

      I would agree with an employee being this sympathetic to the kid, but that much soothing and emotional coaching to an adult having a tantrum is really not an OK expectation of anyone’s job. I mean, a parent asking you to override safety should be firmly nixed by a confident manager. In fact I’d probably go harder than “there’s nothing I can do” and say something more like “It’s absolutely not going happen no matter how unhappy you are. Keep yelling like that and you’ll be asked to leave”. The type of customer service that panders to bad attitudes is responsible for helping to perpetuate them.

  33. Jennifer*

    #2 Gurl. Why would you even consider tattling on Toby for something that’s not even your business? For all you know, everyone at the company is also job searching. Many people keep their resume updated and stay on the lookout for other opportunities while they are employed. The process could take months or even years. Plus unforeseen circumstances can cause anyone to leave a job unexpectedly. As Alison said, if anyone quits, the team will figure it out.

  34. Jennifer*

    #1 On a side note, I wish companies would start standing up to these customers online and stop being so afraid of bad reviews. It’s a really troubling trend.

    I have seen companies fighting back on yelp and google when people post bogus bad reviews with some success.

    If I were you, OP, I would quit and report them, since you can afford it.

    1. Urt*

      Indeed, I typically do not look at the good reviews. I look at the bad reviews to see what the issues are, whether these are relevant to me and how the company responded. A comment that reads “you didn’t let my kid on a ride when they were only one inch too small” doesn’t need a response, it stands on its own as positive testament to the park taking safety seriously.

      Something more vague might need a judicious response.

      1. Jennifer*

        What I’ve found is that these types usually don’t plainly describe what happened, some do, but usually what I see is something like, “This park has VERY RUDE employees who YELLED at my child and told him he was unable to ride his favorite ride even though he has ridden it many times. I’m reporting them to the BBB!!!” Or something to that effect. The company responding with a detailed description of what happened would really help set the record straight and maintain their reputation.

        I read reviews too but if there are mostly 4 and 5 star reviews with just a few bad ones, I usually ignore the negative ones. Or if a bunch of bad reviews pop up on the same day that sound eerily similar, I assume one disgruntled customer got all their friends and family to review bomb the company.

        1. The Rural Juror*

          Yeah, the news story over the summer where a restaurant owner replied to a bad review was entertaining. Something along the lines of a one-star review saying, “Their staff was so rude, even though we brought in a large group and spent a lot of money!” But they the reply was something like, “Well…you ignored our Covid protocols and kept pushing tables together…and brought in more people than the max group size…and then yelled at us, so we asked you never to come back.” Context matters!

      2. Cat Tree*

        Yes, as a customer I never take 1 star reviews seriously because it’s always a temper tantrum. From the guy who complained that the cashier at a drug store (who he made a point to note the race of) didn’t smile at him, to the woman who complained that she couldn’t get the high end brand of hair dye at a *discount* hair cutting chain, it just never amounts to anything real. I take 3 and 4 star reviews more seriously than 1 star.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          The only time I take one star reviews seriously is if the majority of the reviews are one star. Then it’s skimming through to see if there is a pattern to the reviews.

    2. Batgirl*

      Is this really a trend? I haven’t done customer service in years but it was hard enough even WITH a stand up manager (which I mostly always had).

      1. Jennifer*

        Most definitely. Many small business owners have been completely ruined because some angry customer decided to leave multiple bad reviews. As a result, some are afraid to upset customers and do everything in their power to keep them happy, even when that means breaking the rules or letting their employees be verbally abused.

  35. learnedthehardway*

    OP#2 – You absolutely should NOT tell your manager your colleague Toby is job hunting. A) you do not know whether this is true or not, for all the reasons mentioned in other posts. B) Your new manager will think you are a gossip and trouble-causer, and will question your judgment and ethics.

  36. Jubilance*

    #2 – Learn to internalize the idea that “minding your business is free”. What Toby chooses to do with his career – including jobhunting – is absolutely none of your business. Work with him to cross-train, document processes, learn institutional knowledge, etc, and then wish him well if he does decide to move on. Everything else is out of your control and shouldn’t be your concern.

    1. Jennifer*

      Great points. If she’s nervous because she doesn’t know how to do Toby’s job, ask to cross-train. It’s not a bad idea that everyone on the team is cross-trained because emergencies do happen.

  37. Librarian of SHIELD*

    OP5, I think it’s actually *more* polite to just delete requests from people you don’t know rather than messaging them to explain.

    A story to illustrate my point: When I was in grad school studying to be a librarian, I was a regular listener of a podcast dedicated to a popular literary franchise. One week the podcast hosted a guest who worked in publishing, and this guest mentioned that they were interested in connecting with the fan community online. So, figuring that we were in related industries and they had already declared that they were open to connecting, I sent a friend request on Goodreads. In response to my request, I got a multi-paragraph response about how this person only connects online with people they already know and that they believed I was incredibly rude and wrong to even send a request. We are both still in our related industries, and our paths occasionally cross at conferences. I remember this person’s rudeness every single time their name is mentioned. If they had simply deleted or not responded to my request, I would have assumed they were a busy person and never thought about it again. But sending the “your request was rude and you were wrong to send it” message pushed this person into a category where I don’t know if I’ll ever think well of them.

    Ignore the requests and keep doing you, the requesters will likely not notice or mind.

    1. juliebulie*

      I would think it’s possible to send an explanation without being rude, or calling the person rude and saying they were wrong.

      Maybe not worth the effort, though.

      1. Batgirl*

        This reminds me of some guys whining in a forum that women always ignore online dating mesagges rather sending an explanation for their lack of interest. I thought it was rather funny when someone warned them about pushing too hard for one.

        1. OP5*

          OP5 here – that’s actually an interesting connection I hadn’t thought about, and probably explains part of why I’m so leery of responding to unsolicited requests from strangers, i.e., no good even comes of it on dating sites…

          Thanks to Allison and the commenters for validating my course of action – it’s been nice reading about the myriad approaches people have for navigating perhaps the least scandalous social network.

    2. The Rural Juror*

      Ugh! How very self-important of them! I get Facebook requests all the time from people mildly connected to me or someone I know, but it’s not like I send them messages and say, “HOW DARE YOU!”

  38. AdAgencyChick*

    #2: Recruiters do this?! Send out unsolicited emails with people’s names and resume details in them? DaFUQ?!

    If this is a thing that happens routinely outside my industry, I’m flabbergasted. I’m used to recruiters asking my permission before sharing my name and details with a potential employer.

    1. NumbersNerd*

      They do. I also don’t know how I got on their distribution list as I’ve never been in charge of hiring decisions…but I continue to get them.

      I also considered whether or not I should give Toby a heads-up about how that information is being shared (in case our new manager also receives those emails), because if I were in his position I would be pretty upset that the recruiter is sending information to my current company.

      I honestly don’t want to make trouble for him, but I also know that if he leaves, my workload/work-life balance will be directly impacted…so I was just hoping for some sort of helpful advice. But it sounds like a situation of needing to deal with it if & when it happens.

    2. Cat Tree*

      Recruiters are really a mixed bag. Most internal recruiters are good. Many third-party recruiters are good, but others are just terrible. Some places offer no training to recruiters and it is treated the same as a sales position, which just isn’t appropriate in a job placement situation. And a few of them, the very worst ones, are basically a walking stereotype of the sleaziest used car salesperson you can imagine.

      Fortunately, the vast majority of them aren’t that bad.

  39. Dwight Schrute*

    Off topic here I know, but any advice Alison for how to try to be productive today in light of what’s been happening in the US?

  40. Girasol*

    OP5: I get Linked In requests from strangers all over the world all the time. You’d think I was famous, but I’m just an ex-IT person, nothing extraordinary, now four years retired from a little known company in the backwaters of the US. Most requestors offer no reason why they think we should be professional friends, they just send the standard Linked In boilerplate. Occasionally I’ll look one up and find nothing that we have in common. That seems rude to me so I don’t feel rude ignoring them. I don’t accept or deny or explain anything, just hit delete.

  41. juliebulie*

    OP1, I see this sometimes when I go to Six Flags – kid’s clearly too short. Sometimes parents get angry, but I have never, ever seen an employee let someone on who’s too short. There are witnesses, for Pete’s sake. If a kid got hurt because a park employee caved to an unreasonable parent’s demands, that same parent would sue the park. If a someone got killed, the park might be ruined.

    So I don’t think it’s an industry standard to do what your supervisor did. And it’s definitely not smart. I love amusement parks, and I thank you for trying to do the right thing. But please speak up in whatever way you can. That supervisor needs to be FIRED hard.

  42. Fiona*

    OP #1 – Good for you for sticking to your guns. It’s very hard to do so when someone is freaking out at you in public. Definitely try to get more information from your higher-ups to clarify, but it *does* concern me that the owner sent a supervisor to talk to you about this incident. I think you’re wise to have quitting/reporting as an option in the back of your mind.

    And to the kid who was too short, didn’t he know there’s an easier way? Just go to the boardwalk, find Zoltar, make a wish to be “big,” and – voila! – you can ride!

  43. Loop-de-Loop*


    While I never worked at an amusement park, I can commiserate because a job I used to have also required a height standard for participants. Some of us stuck strictly to the requirement while others allowed shorter children to participate all the time. It would sometimes become a sticky situation when one person would say no and the other person would allow another child to go, obviously shorter than the last denied child. Our supervisor was on the side of not budging from the requirement, but since he wasn’t always there to witness every height measurement, he could not discipline those who would ignored the rule.

    Furthermore, a few of us found it unbelievable how parents want the rule to be broken for their not tall enough child. This rule is there for the child’s safety and yet they want to put their child in that situation anyway. “But my child can do x.” Great for your kid, but we have to find a threshold, which happens to be this height, and we have to treat every child who comes through here the same way. We are not going to give a physical aptitude test to see if we can break the rule. And even children taller than the minimum requirement sometimes turned out to be more fearful than others; even adults at times were scared. I know my coworker was when she first started but then it became old hat. (It’s really not a scary situation. It just can be if you have a fear of heights.) It really comes down to parents wanting to do something, and they are actually the ones who are upset they can’t go because someone has to stay with the child while the rest of the family goes. It’s amazing how many children don’t want to do it and yet it is the parent complaining, “My child is so upset.” Yeah, your child couldn’t care less as they run over to the gift shop.

    I would speak with your direct supervisor. What were you trained to do? Were you trained to measure children’s heights prior to their entry onto the ride? Was anything said that you shouldn’t? Also, I would look into how much blame can land on you if something did happen to a child who was under height. Can you, as the ride operator, be responsibility in a lawsuit? If yes, I would consider leaving the job, especially if that other supervisor’s sentiments are shared through the park’s management.

    1. LJay*

      People get so mad about this and I don’t understand it.

      I was literally spit on by a parent because I wouldn’t let their kid ride. Like, it’s for your kid’s own safety.

      There’s also a whole cottage industry of tricks to get past the measurements like putting cardboard in the kids’ shoes, wearing platform shoes, spiking up their hair, etc.

      Like, I know the parents don’t think an inch matters much but the people who designed the ride (in most cases) or state regulators (in some) set the height requirement where they did for a reason and trying to circumvent that is dumb.

      There are measuring sticks everywhere, signs at the beginning of the ride, etc. Heck the main park I worked at for awhile started a thing where if you wanted to you could have your kid measured at the front of the park, and get a color coded wristband and a specific list of rides you could ride with that wristband.

      I hated coworkers who would let the height restrictions slide because it made it more difficult for me. It’s a lot easier to uniformly and consistently enforce a rule than it is to enforce it after someone else let it slide because “nothing bad happened last time” or they wait in a long line because “they always let him ride” and then are really pissed off when I don’t and they wasted their time.

    2. Batgirl*

      “It’s amazing how many children don’t want to do it and yet it is the parent complaining,” Is it proof of cynicism that I am not amazed, because I should be.

  44. LJay*

    Having worked in an amusement park as a supervisor, absolutely escalate this up the chain.

    Anyone I’ve worked with at either of the amusement parks I worked at (or ones my friends worked at) would be appalled at someone telling you to violate the safety rules.

    However, amusement parks, due to their nature, tend to be sort of chaotic hiring environments where someone can be promoted to supervisor very quickly regardless of whether they have the sense, maturity, or job knowledge to be a supervisor, just because they show up every day or because everyone else has gone back to school and they’re now the most senior person there having worked there 6 months or because they’re close friends with another supervisor etc.

    (Honestly, this is one of the reasons I never wanted to and never did manage rides. You have a lot of close to minimum wage workers and not very much more experienced supervisors making decisions with large safety consequences and I didn’t want to be responsible for that if something did go wrong. I worked rides for a year but stayed in the admissions, parking, and cash room functions otherwise. The consequences of failure there were all things I could handle.)

    If it were investigated by any outside body, at this point everyone above the supervisor who yelled at you would likely deny knowledge and responsibility, go “Oh she’s just terrible. If we had known we would certainly have done something. We just didn’t know.” And they’ll toss that supervisor and that will be that.

    If you take it up the chain (to her boss, then to full time management if possible, or to HR if you can’t get ahold of full-time management) you’ll get one of two things to happen. They’ll either immediately take action either retraining and keeping a close eye on, or firing her. Or they’ll deny it, or say that it wasn’t bad, or that that getting good reviews is more important. And then you’ll be able to display to whatever government agency etc that you would be reporting this to that the problem isn’t one isolated, lower level but a pervasive problem throughout the department and company that needs to be addressed on a larger scale.

    Nothing you do is going to get the whole place shut down.

    If you want to stay anonymous, see if your company has a loss prevention “crime stoppers” hotline or a company ethics hotline. This isn’t a direct loss prevention issue in terms of money like they normally deal with, but it’s definitely something that they would want to know about and would know the correct people to bring it to. And it’s exactly the type of thing a company ethics hotline would want to know about at an amusement park.

    1. Lynn*

      Heck, back when I worked there, employees weren’t even minimum wage as seasonal work was exempted from that rule (but it was one of the few jobs where a teenager could get 40-50 hours a week, so they were still able to hire a full staff). Trying to manage that was one reason why I was willing to be a trainer, but never accepted being promoted to shift supervisor.

      That said, I agree-this should definitely be reported and OP should stick to her guns on enforcing the height restriction.

  45. Applesauced*

    #1 is reminding me of the “Class Action Park” documentary about Action Park in New Jersey on HBO

  46. Elizabeth West*

    #1–All I can think of is that kid who got beheaded on the dangerous waterslide at Schlitterbahn in 2016 because they were lax about safety. He was actually the ten-year-old son of a legislator who voted against higher safety standards for amusement park rides (horrifying irony). Before that, eleven other people were injured on the ride (which was designed by people who had no clue what they were doing), and former Schlitterbahn employees said the park had been lackadaisical about safety overall for a long, long time. The slide, fortunately, is now gone.

    OP, you did the right thing. I definitely agree that you should let upper management know.

    1. JustaTech*

      Back in the 90’s I went to summer camp with the daughter of the former owners of Schlitterbahn. She was a horribly entitled and nasty person (even by the standards of 14 year old girls) and was especially unkind to me because I wouldn’t kiss up to her for free tickets (because I didn’t live in the area). I purged her name from my brain, but that attitude that rules are for other people stuck.

  47. EssEss EssEss*

    #1 – If you do report it up the management chain and they still tell you to ignore the safety rules, then I suggest looking at and see if your state is one with any regulatory department and give them a call. Although an accident hasn’t happened yet to be reported, you could let them know that the park is deliberately creating unsafe ride conditions.

  48. CircleBack*

    A clip that LW1 and everyone who rightly sympathizes may enjoy: Chris Hemsworth was on Jimmy Kimmel & told a 1 minute story about gaming the system to get his daughter on a theme park ride she was too short for.
    Spoiler alert: he spent the whole ride terrified and holding her down because the restraints weren’t made for her size! (a bad way to learn a lesson on why there are height minimums)
    Skip to 39 seconds:

  49. SD*

    #1 – You are absolutely right to enforce the height requirement, even for a child just 1″ too short. My son was short and slight as a child, but eventually met the height requirement for a roller coaster at a however-many flags amusement park. We did not cheat on his height, he was at or over the “you must be this tall” line. Fortunately, my husband and I both went on the ride with him because he was too small after all; as soon as we got going he was sliding under the lap bar. My husband held his arm across kid’s chest and I held the waistband of his jeans. That’s what it took to keep him from sliding under the bar and flying off. Scary.

    *P.S. He grew to be a perfectly normal 5’10” adult. It just took a while.

    1. OyHiOh*

      My city runs a kiddie rides park. Some of the rides have max height limits, others have minimums. The last time we went, my son came over to me in tears because he had (finally!! in my opinion, he’s very small and slight for age) grown too tall for his favorite ride. I bought him an ice cream and sent him off to the side of the park with rides for taller kids and all was well. I did not complain to the ride worker or park management; my parents were early adopters of seatbelts and car safety seats and as a result of those habits, I tend to assume that safety rules are in place for Reasons.

  50. a nony mouse*

    #2 – I swear, a full 20% of questions on this site Alison can just answer with: “Mind ya own business!”

  51. Zzzzzz*

    #1 OP I think the best tack to take with owner/employer is: this kind of thing will close the business and bankrupt the park. Probably the kid won’t be killed (and they can comfort themselves that that makes it okay) but ANY injury combined with knowing violating-safety-rules will result in a big settlement, and insurance will go up. (I’m a lawyer, though defense side.). Do they want the business ended because one mom wrote a negative review? Seems like a dumb business decision, and unless they’re wildly irrational they won’t take it. (And money is why they’re worried about the bad review, right? So balance “we’ll lose money with bad reviews” with “we’ll lose more money with any accident”.). Also: the worker will NOT face liability for letting a kid on the ride given the boss’s instructions to do so. Even without that, the insurance absolutely covers workers for negligence like this. (So, if LW1 unscrews screws in the ride, big trouble, rightly so! No protection by insurance or park, rightly so. But if LW1 lets a height thing slide or doesn’t notice, no personal legal liability. Probably she’d be fired, but the insurance would pay all legal fees.). [Note: if this is a really shady operation and has no insurance, I still think the worker wouldn’t ultimately face any legal liability, but money for legal expenses may have to be fronted and then recouped. That’d be horrible. So if it IS that poorly/illegally run, the LW may want to quit.)

  52. TurtlesAllTheWayDown*

    Honestly, the first letter is why I do not trust theme park rides, except MAYBE Disney. Well, Schlitterbahn in Kansas City is the reason, but LW1’s issue is related.

  53. Moo*

    OP #1 – If you feel that this is something overall management wants you to do then you need to contact your state’s Department of Labor. Their safety and health divisions are responsible for inspecting rides at amusement parks (at least the one I work for is), and they will not be happy if they find out that employees are skirting the safety rules.

  54. HR*

    I just want to say thank you to OP #1 for doiong what is right. Its been many years but a child died minutes from me at a pretty big amusement park due to this same situation.

  55. Persephone Mongoose*

    I attended said park as a patron as a child in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and cannot imagine taking said experience away from today’s children.

    Imagine letting a child possibly get seriously hurt or die because of your own nostalgia. Please do the right thing, LW1.

    1. Persephone Mongoose*

      Sorry, by “do the right thing” I mean take Alison’s advice and go to your actual supervisor and then report the park if necessary. You DID do the right thing by initially screening the child and that deserves commendation.

  56. employment lawyah*

    1. My job told me to ignore safety rules for kids
    Well, if you don’t mind the chance of being fired, you can always report it IN WRITING, KEEPING A COPY, to the higher-ups, and then see what happens. If you’re fired for it you might have a suit if you care to check. If at all possible, try to get a writing FROM them about “never mind those dumb standards.”

    If you get fired, and/or if it doesn’t get fixed, you can also report it to the state agency. If you don’t know where, you can google it or–if in doubt–start with your state AG.

    As for “can you sleep at night if you allow this to continue:” Totally up to you. If you’re really worked up, do some research: a lot of simple standards are possessed of a certain degree of wiggle room, and this may well be one of them. That might ease your mind a bit as the process is ongoing. (I would be surprised if there was actually a substantial safety difference of an inch, and VERY surprised if the difference exceeded the normal differences in risk/benefit which we leave to parents all the time, but I may be wrong, and it can’t be that hard to find out.)

    2. I think my coworker is job searching — should I tell our new boss?

    3. My student job offered me summer work, but I’m hoping to find an internship
    Without knowing more I would be hesitant to tie yourself up in a part time job unless there were major benefits to doing so. Follow AAM’s advice, but if you’re forced to choose between committing and seeking an internship, I would decline the WS and keep my summer open.

  57. JSPA*

    OP#1, unless you’re in a very short list of geographical locations globally, an amusement park that’s open now is intrinsically not prioritizing on health and safety, vs. the bottom line. (Yes, it’s largely outdoors, but it’s close quarters, screaming directly in the direction of others, etc.)

    If you can do without the job and the reference, you may get more action tipping off their insurer, than any inspector. A threat of having the insurance pulled? That’s going to get their attention. (Going to the insurer isn’t whistleblowing, so far as I know, in a protected sense; you’re trading off legal protection for fast-acting effectiveness.)

    People have a terrible habit of re-defining “what nobody I know has been injured from, yet” as “safe.” That’s true whether it’s height restrictions on rides, or Covid, or anything else. By definition, the restrictions are pretty conservative. They want every kid to be safe, regardless of shape and flexibility and wiggliness. That means 99.9% of the time (or better), a kid who’s “only” an inch short will ride without issue. But 1 in 1000 (or even 1 in 10,000) is crap odds, given the number of rides and riders.

    What you may be able to do is offer “front cuts” to another popular attraction or some other “feel better” prize, for special cases, with management approval.

    Stood in line for an hour? And it’s your birthday? And you’re barely under the limit? Well, I can’t let you on, but let me call the manager…Oh, he says, here’s a coupon for an extra scoop of ice cream; $5 off a ticket next year; front cuts on the line of [other attraction] and he’s calling over there to make sure they know about it. Ooze sympathy and apply the personal touch, but don’t bend the rules.

  58. Stefie25*

    LW 1: That supervisor is an idiot. That inch can make a big difference in how secure the restraint system is. If he thinks having 1 bad review for following safety regs will be bad for business how about a huge national headline about a child dying a horrific death because workers were ordered to ignore safety regs.
    Plus if you got sued ‘My boss told me too’ is not really a valid defence since you are responsible for your own actions.

    I had a slightly similar situation with my boss ordering me to do something illegal to keep a customer happy. I told her that the job wasn’t worth 10 years in prison & if she so badly wanted the customer to be happy she could do it herself.

    I would bet his bosses are completely unaware of his motto. They would know that ignoring safety regs can open the park up to liability not to mention what if that was a undercover safety inspector. I’m not sure if that’s actually a thing for amusement parks but if it is they could potentially shut down the whole park for safety violations resulting in a huge profit loss.

  59. Katelyn*

    #3 – I used to manage student workers in a work study program. How upfront can you be with your supervisor? Can you lay out the situation for them the same way you did for Alison? I was able to hold a summer spot open for longer when one of my students had a situation just like yours. Part of managing work study students is operating around their coursework and internships. Maybe your management isn’t as understandable as I was, and that’s up to you to make that judgement call… but it might be worth just “leveling” with them to see what they say!

    1. LW3*

      I emailed my supervisors and told them while I appreciate the offer, I can’t financially forgo a summer internship. (Because my work study is capped, and therefore I wouldn’t actually be earning more money by working over the summer, my supervisors wanted to know my answer before the semester started so they could make the shift schedule for all the work study students.)

  60. JessicaTate*

    OP3 (if you’re still checking a day later) — You mention that the work-study job is one that allows you “to develop skills closely aligned with my field of study.” A work-study job like that can be an excellent resume builder; better than an internship, in some cases. Think about being able to say, “Four years of increasing responsibility in entry-level llama analysis.” I had a great work-study job in college that basically let me build useful skills learn a ton about non-profit management over my 4 years, which was aligned with, but not exactly my field. I also did a few internships that were at organizations “in my field.” In all honesty, I learned more from the work-study position, had way more accomplishments for my resume, and had an extended stay than from the shorter-term internships – and I think my first hiring manager would agree.

    Since they’re only offering “a few hours a week,” if it were me, I’d try to manage that plus an internship. As Alison said, internship places may be able to be flexible with that. It feels like there’s an assumption in your letter of work-study not being as worthwhile — if you have a work-study job that is actually career-related (not checking IDs at the gym or dining hall), don’t discount its value to your resume. Good luck!

  61. Kitkat*

    #3 – I took a job in my department the summer before my Junior year of college. I even turned down an internship that summer. It was probably the smartest choice I could have made. At least one professor sent HR reps for incredible companies my way and I ended up with a internship at a dream company the next summer which turned into a full time offer as a result. Now having been part of hiring entry level positions for my company for three years I still consider a good relevant job with a college to be roughly equivalent to an internship. A long running, specialized job is even better.

    Maybe it’s bias, maybe it’s my industry, maybe it’s the school I went to, but don’t discount the student job because it doesn’t have “internship” in the title.

  62. caradom*

    2: Mind your own business you cheeky mare! How would you like it if people were spying on you and sharing information? Don’t make enemies out of people when you have no idea how they will impact on YOUR future job prospects. Or the person replacing / other co-workers find out and NO-ONE trusts you (which would be well deserved).

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