updates: coworkers keeping commenting on my new luxury car, and more

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

1. Coworkers keeping commenting on my new luxury car (#4 at the link)

So as you stated, my car did eventually become old news. That’s the good part.

Bad news – it took months before the chatter really died down. Some of the spicier comments I got since you published my letter (thank you, by the way):

“I like your car! It really ….suits you” (delivered suggestively by an opposite gender coworker I never met before)

“Neat ride! I bet it’s got some balls eh?” – stated by a VP who’s a long way from 12 years old. There are better ways to ask if a car is fast….

“I really like your car!” – from my organization’s CEO, who delivered that while passing my desk presumably going someplace far more important. We shared small talk afterwards for a few minutes before he moved on. Turned out the CEO was a “car guy,” which isn’t something one gleans from the annual all hands meeting.

Then there was an awkward monologue from a call center manager who dumped years worth of resentment about his minivan and family responsibilities into a one sided run-on sentence, which ended with him saying to me “I’ll admit I’m jealous of your car.” A strange experience to have in line at the company BBQ.

I’ve omitted for brevity all the smaller comments I’ve gotten, especially when the weather is decent. “Putting the top down today?” has displaced “hello” as an office greeting to me whenever the temp is above 60.

Thanks again for publishing my letter. I realize this isn’t an earth shattering revelation for business as we know it, but I stand amazed at what coworkers read into the personal decision of what car to drive.

2. I’m being punished for declining my employer’s lowball offer (#2 at the link)

Since writing to you earlier this year, I have sat for and passed the examinations for professional licensure that I was preparing for at the time. During that process, I was approached by the company and offered a roughly 50% percent temporary raise, not to use my new credentials, but because I was “their last option” and that they couldn’t find anyone to work on a particular project that would require me to travel 4-5 nights per week.

When I asked about receiving any additional compensation for being licensed, I was told “that the work I would be doing doesn’t require a license,” which confirms my assessment that I have no real future at this company.

I am currently using the extra income from the task I am currently working on to save up to start my own business. I have filed all the paperwork and plan to leave next spring.

3. I gossiped and upset my coworker (#2 at the link)

I would like to say, first, thank you so much for the advice you and the readers gave me.

Some of the readers asked some probing questions and might have felt some details were left out, because they weren’t exactly sure what I had actually done wrong other than talking more than I should have. At this point now, I completely agree! It was just as confusing to me while it was happening and looking back at it now. I took significantly more responsibility than I really should have, and it looked like I was the culprit! Upper management was very toxic and talked about everyone, even myself! I was a high performer, had the most complex assignments and received the highest raise and bonus during my annual review, AND THEY TOLD EVERYONE ALISON, EVEN MY RAISE AND BONUS AMOUNTS. No wonder everyone hated me there.

I’m happy to say I have moved on to a a great company that truly values my skill sets. Within two months of employment they relocated me to another state and promoted me to VP of Operations. I’m also opening up two new locations for them! Overall, I’m truly happy where I landed. Thank you again to you and the readers that opened my eyes to what was truly going on and how unhealthy that workplace was. Cheers!

4. Applying after withdrawing past applications (#5 at the link)

After I wrote to you, I looked up the company on Glassdoor and found some concerning reviews. Past workers complained of management pushing them to close files quickly to meet KPIs rather than investigate properly and get the right outcomes for clients. They complained that management constantly placed employees onto PIPs, and that management frequently recruited new rounds of employees instead of retaining existing ones.

I have worked in a similar environment in the past and I did not succeed or last long there. I concluded I would have to say “No” again if this company reached out to me, and I felt worried about having to do it a third time.

In the end, the company saved me by sending me a pro forma rejection e-mail. I don’t know the reason of course – maybe it’s because I’ve turned them down twice before, or maybe I applied late in the process and they had so many applicants that they never even looked at my resume, or maybe it’s something entirely different. Either way, it’s a satisfactory outcome for both parties!

Also I now need to figure out how to negotiate salary.

5. Friday good news (#1 at the link)

I have an update to a Good News Friday posted back in the spring.

The new job I referred to in my original letter required a clearance, and it took a very long time to finally come through — almost a year from the time I originally interviewed for the role. (And this is actually a short timeline, as those who have been through the toruture of a clearance process can tell you!) This meant I was stuck at Toxic Job much MUCH longer than I had ever wanted.

A couple things occurred that made the intervening time bearable at Toxic Job. First is I switched managers; my new one had (has) a very strong personality and was in my corner from the get-go. He convinced leadership to rotate me off of all my other clients (consulting, woohooo) and put me on one major anchor client in Big Tech. This helped a lot to keep me out of the day-to-day drama of Toxic Office. The Big Tech client LOVED me–and, in a bit of a surprise, I loved the work too. Their glowing reviews really boosted my office reputation after I had been labeled such a troublemaker (for you know, asking for basic things like pay raises), and also boosted my self-esteem.

When my clearance finally did come around, I somewhat sadly said goodbye to my Big Tech client and switched over to New Job. And New Job has been…. not all roses! For one thing, the 25% pay raise that New Job had promised was diluted quite a bit because I had been promoted at Toxic Job while I was waiting. It also turned out the hours at New Job vary WILDLY– calls can be scheduled anywhere from 6am in the morning to 9 or 10pm at night. This was mentioned nowhere in any of my interviews with them.

The silver lining here is that New Job requires very, very little of me. I almost never work more than 40 hours per week, and managers are very understanding that the unusual hours mean that we can be flexible in how we juggle the rest of the day. I actually find myself bored most of the time. Normally this would be a bad thing, but…

…I have decided to use my free-time to pursue a couple professional certifications — one of which is very valuable in Big Tech’s world. I still have strong relationships at that company and have decided I want to return; the work I was doing (involving consumer protections! Don’t come at me!) was actually the first time in my professional life where I’ve been excited to open my laptop each day and felt like I was making a difference in the world. Certainly a new feeling!

I’m hoping in another half year or so to have another Good News Friday to share!

{ 89 comments… read them below }

  1. KayEss*

    I am unfortunately reminded of the guy I worked with who would comment every time the owner drove her convertible with the top down that she was “driving around topless” and mean it exactly the way it sounds.

  2. Becky S.*

    People at work sure can get huffy about cars. Ten years ago two low level supervisors in my office started to grill me about my new “sports car with leather seats”, as no one at my income level (or theirs) could afford such a car. I proceded to give them a quick tour of my new (to me) 1 year old Hyundai Elantra with nylon seats, complete with coffee stains.

    1. never mind who I am*

      I get comments about my car all the time. Well, frequently. It’s a Smart ForTwo electric, one of the smallest cars available, and there aren’t a lot of them around even in the Large City where I live. One person stopped me in the employee parking lot to say how much she like it. Another time I was in a grocery store parking lot, and I was wearing a mask not often found on a middle-aged white guy like me. A man walked up to me and started asking questions, then asked me if I was at all embarrassed to be seen driving one of them. I pointed to my mask and said “I’m wearing a Hello Kitty mask. What do you think?” We both burst into laughter and he said “Now I don’t have to talk to anybody for the rest of the day.”

      Even I think my car looks kind of silly, and I’m happy to answer questions. I usually start out by saying “yes, it’s a real car.” The hardest part about owning one of these is parking. I need to find a place where nobody will step on it.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I drove a Smart for about six years — including moving across the country in it — and at one point got rear-ended by a semi at a traffic light and pushed a mile and a half down the road because, quote, “Oh, I didn’t see you were down there.” (Asshole, I’m still a damn sight bigger than a motorcycle, do you run over THEM frequently too? Ugh.) The question *I* got all the dang time was “Is it electric?” Even while I was literally AT THE GAS PUMP, PUMPING GAS INTO THE TANK. (Also, “Do you like it?” Well, I mean, I bought it for a reason ….) I have a picture somewhere of a seven-foot-tall friend riding shotgun — he was actually perfectly comfortable in there height-wise, but I didn’t let him ride much because he put me over the recommended weight capacity. My 6’4″ now-husband rode in there all the time and thought it was actually way more comfortable on road trips than our friend’s Prius.

        Loved my tiny car though. I called her the love child of a Swatch watch and a Mercedes Benz. I upsized because once I added a second dog, I couldn’t fit them both in the car anymore :)

        1. I should really pick a name*

          Hope you were okay after being hit.
          On the bright side, my understanding is that a smart car is basically a titanium roll cage.

        2. D'Arcy*

          I got asked if my 2012 Smart is electric *all the time* when I first got her, which was deeply weird because at the time, the electric version of the Smart was an *incredibly* rare vehicle that could only be leased.

    2. LifeBeforeCorona*

      I drive a small compact and everyone else has a truck or an SUV. They don’t make fun of it because my small car gives them more space in our small lot. There’s been a few days that I’ve been the only car that can squeeze into the last available spot.

      1. Beany*

        My primary car is a Chevy Spark (EV), and while not Smart-Car tiny, it’s surprisingly narrow. I can park places where even a compact would have problems. The only thing I don’t like about it (apart from the ~80 mile battery range, but that was a given) is the crappy upholstery.

        On the other hand, small & low cars are definitely at a disadvantage when most people around you are driving SUVs and trucks. I almost got pushed into the kerb yesterday because the SUV driver to my left didn’t notice the right-turn lane was already occupied.

      2. Beth (the other other Beth)*

        I drive a Prius C, which is smaller even than most other Prii, in a part of the country that’s almost all SUVs. I personally hate SUVs, especially when driven badly, which is also nearly universal in this area. I do love my ability to leave any SUV in the dust at a traffic light.

    3. alienor*

      When I got my first job after college, I had a 1970s vintage Mercedes sedan that I’d bought for a few thousand dollars. Something about the combo of the Mercedes logo and the color–British racing green– made people go nuts. I don’t recall getting any aggressive or shady comments, but people did comment on the car a lot and owning it was one of the things I was known for. The next car I drove was a brand new Honda that had cost probably 5x what I paid for the Mercedes, but no one had anything to say about that. It was super weird because I’m not a car person, so they were both just transportation to me (admittedly the Mercedes did look cool, but it also broke down a lot and was expensive to repair).

      1. HereKittyKitty*

        In high school I drove my older sister’s former car- a hunter green firebird from 1996 (I graduated high school in 2010 for context) and people went mad over the “corvette” and thought it was such a fancy car and it was mostly huge and crappy. The beast finally died after protecting me from a crash.

    4. Fresh Cut Grass*

      I get similar comments on how cool my car is, especially the interior. It’s a Kia Forte, which is essentially the same car as the Hyundai Elantra.

      I do have leatherette seats and they’re black and red, but that’s because I wanted heated seats, and it’s not exactly a *fancy* car. It baffles me.

  3. Blarg*

    I saw a new post and for a moment thought I’d lost Sunday. Relieved to find out it isn’t Monday, just bonus updates.

  4. Montre*

    I drove a rented Mustang to my interview at an old job out of state. I got some comments about the hot car and had to admit that I drove the same car as my daily. A car with an MSRP of $26k that I paid even less for at the end of the model year. Not exactly a Rolls Royce, but for some reason I get a lot of people assuming it was REALLY expensive. People are weird about cars.

    1. Rainy*

      They’re weird in the other direction too. My spouse and I share an early 2000s Hyundai hatchback, and my coworkers are constantly amazed that we’ll deign to drive “that thing”. It’s paid off! The gas mileage is amazing! And it’s theft-proof in our college town because it’s a stick! :D

  5. EPLawyer*

    #2 – of course they couldn’t find anyone to do the crappy job. You weren’t they only one they were lowballing. but good for you for saving your money and having a plan to get OUT. You can enjoy the dumpster fire from afar.

    #3 – you dodged a bullet there. Good luck in the future.

    1. Dr Sarah*

      I know! I was reading that thinking “Hmmm, yes, I WONDER why this company who won’t pay people enough couldn’t find anyone else to do a crappy job…”

  6. Anon scientist*

    As someone married to a car nut, it is amazing to me that nobody cares about gigantic, $60,000+ pickups bought new, and then he gets a used sportscar for $30,000 and it’s all side eye and weird comments about how we can afford it. People are weird about sporty cars.

    1. Anon scientist*

      Replying to add (my kingdom for an edit button!) that his car was well south of $60k new as well.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      On the advice of her “motorhead” off-spring, an elderly aunt got a new SUV that was loaded. The thing was a TANK. Eh, they wanted her to stay safe. At that time a similar vehicle had a hemi transmission, while hers did not. She said the number of men who stopped her to ask about the hemi (which she did not have) was astounding. She was older and widowed and very much aware of the potential for pick-up lines. She had zero interest in starting a new relationship. Her advice became, “Don’t buy an X vehicle. It attracts MEN.”
      I have to believe that part of the situation here is that people saw this person who was clearly 80 y/o driving a very (at that time) techy/geeky vehicle and they wondered how that happened.

      1. River Otter*

        I’m a middle-aged woman who drives a classic muscle car. It gets A LOT of attention. Just about every time I am stopped somewhere, and frequently while I am driving, people, almost always men, want to have a conversation with me about it. What I eventually learned is that people see the car primarily and barely notice the driver (me). Cool cars attract attention from gear heads. It’s a little like walking a cute dog—dog people are going to be interested. I learned to be gracious and answer their questions bc honestly, most interactions take less than a minute. In two and a half years of daily driving and dozens of conv, only one guy asked me out.

        1. Mrs. Hawiggins*

          I too drive a classic muscle car. One afternoon at the bank, a man said to me, “What are you doing driving that, that’s a MAN’S car, heh heh heh heh heh,” all creepy and smarmy. I looked over at what he just parked (I won’t say what it was), looked at him, looked at his vehicle again, smirked and walked away. He buried his head in filling out his deposit slips and wouldn’t look at me or anyone else.

          My work people think my car is cool and always ask me to be the driver for lunch outings. Even when I’ve clearly brought my own and am halfway done eating in the lunchroom. I have had the occasional, “must be nice driving that thing around,” by some in the office. I respond as though they’re being genuine and fake like they are happy for me that I have such a sweet ride. The confused looks on their face was worth the price of gas to get to the office that morning.

      2. Jay*

        I’m driving my second plug-in hybrid. The first one was a Ford C-Max. No one ever commented on it. The current is a Mini Clubman. I have lost track of the number of people who have asked me about it. I get it – I looked at it in the first place because it’s adorable and quirky – and I still find the contrast highly amusing.

        1. NoviceManagerGuy*

          Funny because the C-Max Energi was a pretty nice car! Well, most were, mine was in an accident I didn’t know about when I bought it.

      3. Beany*

        I can appreciate the family’s desire to keep the aunt safer, but to my mind, the more “tanks” there are on the road, the less safe everyone else is. The bigger/heavier the vehicle, the more damage they cause in an accident.

  7. Observer*

    #1 – Some of those comments are wild. But I found the one from the CEO rather nice. And it seems nice for you that it led to some chitchat with the CEO.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        The CEO one was the one that actually made sense. I think maybe OP was like – bracing herself due to all the more awkward/weird conversations about it so when the one genuine “car guy”, actually knows about the car and likes it for what it is happened, even though that could’ve been a chill encounter, it started off with a bad feeling because of the rest?

        1. Gray Lady*

          That’s the interpretation that made sense to me. Had that been the *only* conversation, it would have been nothing. In context, it felt like “just another interaction about my car, AGAIN.” But I think from a more objective perspective, it really was nothing verging into positive.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          That’s been my experience in the past. In HS I had an 88 firebird formula- fire engine red – and the number of boneheaded pick-up comments I got made you always be cautious when a guy wanted to “chat” about your car.

    1. Jacey*

      I was thinking the same, but I suppose it would be annoying to have the CEO only notice you for your car instead of your work.

      1. Ariaflame*

        Depends on the levels between them. If there are enough levels there’s rarely a good reason for a CEO to be aware of your work.

    2. redheadk*

      Yeah, some of the comments are off the wall but others seem really mundane. People make small talk about the most notable thing about you. My husband is a car guy and has several classic cars, including one that is extremely unusual. People mention it all the time because it’s just different. He even gets waved down to chat driving through the neighborhood. So long as people are nice about it (they typically are), it’s fine.

    3. Opinionated1220*

      Would like to add that I drive a 2 series bmw and my household income affords me the ability to drive that car. My husband is a CPA and makes great money. I also am lucky enough to come from an affluent family. Sometimes someone income isn’t the only factor in what car they drive. People have no idea who you are or what your household/family’s income bracket is.

  8. MissInMS*

    Why is it that I can totally relate to the car thing even though my car specifically has never been a hot topic? It’s weird how coworkers can take one specific thing about your personal life, blow it way out of proportion, and put it on repeat.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I bought a modest, used SUV with money I inherited. It was a well-thought out purchase and the plan included putting the left over money into investments. In other words, this was done as frugally as possible with foresight and planning.

      One coworker kept asking me about the vehicle. I figured it was because we made close to the same pay and he estimated the value of the vehicle to be much more than what it was. Finally he lands on, “Well you must be paying X a month for that!”, where X was a specific dollar amount. What caught me was how specific he was with the question- he must have calculated the payment. I had paid cash so I told him, “No. I paid cash.” And that ended the daily questions. The whole thing was so. very. odd.

      1. Hazel*

        This reminds me of my friend whose parents are a bit odd about money. They asked her to do the legwork for buying them a new car, and when it came time to pay for it and pick it up, my friend asked the dealer if it was OK to pay in cash. They looked puzzled and said, of course. So she qualified her question – she meant actual cash money, not just all in one payment. I was worried about her walking around with >$30k in cash, but she drove straight from the bank to the car dealership, and everything worked out fine.

        1. Generic Name*

          The only proper response to that question is, “No, balls are sensitive and weak. It’s got ovaries”. j/k

      2. Anyfizz*

        Yeah, I bought my 2018 model in 2019, and when I first started driving it to work, I got a lot of comments (it’s what I suppose people would call a premium sedan, but not from a luxury sedan). A higher up commented that my monthly payment must have been expensive (or asked me about it, don’t recall), and I just point-blank responded, “I bought it in cash.” That was the last time anyone ever commented on my car, ahahaha…

    2. OftenOblivious*

      I think it’s because people want to remember a non-work topic to chat about with their coworkers, but we don’t necessarily have a lot of bandwidth (or energy) for more than 1 detail (especially for coworkers that we work with less often). I am guilty of this with my coworker who does marathons. I often ask him about races because that’s what I remember about him.

      But you can definitely do this in a less annoying and more annoying way if you only remember one non-work thing to chat about!

  9. Texas*

    #1 I wouldn’t have connected that the VP’s comment even referred to the speed! An interesting phrasing choice on their part. (Wouldn’t balls just… add more drag?)

    1. Generic Name*

      The only proper response to that question is, “No, balls are sensitive and weak. It’s got ovaries”. j/k

  10. YetAnotherNerd42*

    I feel for LW#1 on the luxury car thing. About 25 years ago, I had borrowed a friend’s Lexus for a day (we had swapped cars for the day, it’s a long story) and drove it to work. At the time I was driving an 11 year old Toyota. Who should pull in next to me as I’m getting out of the car but the VP of Finance in his Cadillac. He looks at me, looks at the car, says “We’re paying someone too much money around here!” and walks off. I was only about 90% sure he was joking.

    1. Jacey*

      Wowww. That’s not a joke you should make when you have the power to make it anything BUT a joke! Incredible how many people in management don’t quite get that.

    2. Gray Lady*

      One of the worst interactions in a long list of bad ones from a long-ago job was when the owner of the small company and I were walking into the parking lot at the same time, and he paused, looked around, and said, “Wow, look at all the cars I’ve bought!”

      1. Yessica Haircut*

        That’s the sign of a business owner who genuinely believes he’s a feudal lord, and that his employees are servile serfs. Gross.

  11. Cordelia*

    People can be really strange about a car- like you are making some kind of statement instead of just what works for you. We had the same thing happen but in the negative. A few years ago I researched our next car and settled on a Prius V. I love it! It’s reliable, quiet, sips fuel like a hummingbird. Some people though are really angry about the concept of owning a Prius. We get tailgated in it often. People at my husbands old job mocked it unceasingly. Relatives who have a Prius and moved to a western state have people write go back to California on it periodically. It’s weird. I do admit they don’t have a lot of pizzaz but I will never regret halving my gas bill.

    1. Jacey*

      As a Californian who lives in a Prius-heavy area, I find this fascinating. I’ve seen the reverse happen (people being jerks about cars that use lots of gas), so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Still, it sort of blows my mind that someone would be angry about the mere existence of a car that uses less gas… Sorry you and OP 1 both have to deal with jerks!

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        It was probably one of those idiots that rip features out that are designed to cut emissions…

    2. Slinky*

      Fellow Prius driver here. I have the same experience! People get mad when they see me driving and seem to assume I’m driving slowly, even though I average speed limit +15 (yes, I drive too fast). I did have some of OP’s problems when I bought it, though. For some reason, my coworkers kept asking me how you charge it. I had to explain repeatedly that it’s a hybrid, not electric, and just uses gas. A few days later, same question. I even saw a coworker a few years after I left that job and she asked about it. *shrug* People are weird.

      1. Slinky*

        Oh, and when my dad (a BMW driver) asked me how often I fuel up, he said that it should be criminal. Right, using less gas should be criminalized …

      2. Gray Lady*

        I just recently learned that there are hybrids you have to pre-charge. Hyundais, I think? That seems so odd to me. It might as well just be electric, then, from a practicality standpoint.

        1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          The idea behind the plug-in hybrids is that you can do a typical commute on electricity, keeping the local pollution out of the city, but still have the range for a road trip – without a ton of a battery that is both heavy and expensive.
          I looked into one of those two years ago, but then COVID came and I mostly WFH (and cycle when I actually go to the office) so I’ll keep my 9-year-old, 40 mpg compact for now.

          1. Jay*

            Yup. I am driving my second plug-in hybrid. My husband has a plug-in and we need one car that has more range. If I’m diligent about plugging mine in every time I get home, I can do at least half of my driving on electric alone. Since we have solar panels, I like to think I’m driving on sunshine.

          2. Boof*

            I have a plug in hybrid and I love it – I want to be all electric but I am too forgetful :/ I’ve used approximately 7 gal gas in 3K miles because of the handful of times I’ve forgotten to plug it in (and, once, the time I plugged it in but it didn’t actually connect)
            I realize the all electrics have more range but it does get less all electric range in the winter too so i can’t always make my full commute electric only if I have the heat on etc.

      3. Cordelia*

        We were the first in our extended friends and family to drive a hybrid and we had lots of explaining to do. I can completely see people going the other way and thinking poorly of you if you have an suv though in our rural area it is definitely the other way! It’s weird how personally people take vehicles – like they are a way of life and an attitude. OP I’m glad people are getting used to your car!

      4. Filosofickle*

        I’ve heard people sneer that you never want to get behind a Prius because all Priuses go slow…and that has to be a preconceived notion because IME Prius drivers have the same distribution of fast/slow/good/bad drivers. I see plenty of them speeding! But people have an idea in their head that evidence doesn’t put a dent in.

    3. Generic Name*

      Yeah, I had a Prius for over 10 years, and I got a small suv (for various boring reasons) when I got my next car. I suddenly wasn’t getting tailgated or flipped off in traffic nearly as much as before.

      1. Prii ftw*

        Wow, I live in a small condo complex (less than 30 units) and I think there are at least 6 Prius drivers. We represent almost the whole color palate. Left Coast of course…
        I also have a lead foot and it performs just fine.

    4. It's Growing!*

      I think this is an emerging conservative vs liberal thing spurred on by some media outlets views of “real Americans.” Said outlets both scream about the price of gas and sneer at hybrids and electrics. It’s a bizarre combo.

  12. Jacey*

    OP 3: yikes! Glad you got out of there! I still remember when my 7th grade math teacher had the bright idea to display the top students’ tests as a “reward” for hard work… let’s just say it didn’t endear the A-students to their peers. I imagine telling everyone the amount of your raise would have a similar result!

    1. RJ*

      This may not apply here because of the motivation behind the sharing, but I am personally all for being open and transparent about compensation.

    2. Blarg*

      Ugh. In third grade, I was bored beyond belief in math class. And I privately asked if there was additional things I could study.

      Teacher proceeded to ask for the class’s attention, read aloud all my grades in math which weren’t all 100%, and then ask me why I thought I was better than all the other students.

      She was legit The Worst. That wasn’t a stand alone incident – she’d also plan all class celebrations on the day of the pull-out program for ‘gifted’ students, forcing us to choose between fun with classmates and our other program. By the middle of the school year, it was no longer a dilemma — we just skipped the parties.

      My fourth grade teacher was awesome, at least.

  13. Phil*

    I used to be a recording engineer and drove a car about which a well known blues song had been written. Son of a gun if that song wasn’t recorded by the band and ended up on the album.

  14. Matthias*

    #1: Main main takeaway, after reading all the comments, and all the comments from the original post, is that people are going to be weird about your chosen mode of transportation regardless of what you do

  15. Al Too*

    #5 “The silver lining here is that New Job requires very, very little of me. I almost never work more than 40 hours per week,” It’s always horrible to hear how people have treated to the extent they think a normal work week is requiring very, very little effort.
    My sympathies and glad it’s got better

    1. anonymous73*

      The other silver lining is that she has what I’m assuming to be some sort of high level clearance based on the length of time it took to obtain it. That will get her foot in the door of a lot more places in the future as most companies that require it won’t even look at your resume if you don’t already have it.

  16. HotSauce*

    A couple years back I bought a used Mercedes SUV. I wanted a vehicle that was capable of towing our old, heavy pop-up camper, but didn’t want a pick-up truck. In my search I discovered that diesel vehicles have great towing capacity and their mileage is much better than their gasoline counterparts, my choices were between Volkswagen and Mercedes. I found an 8-year-old Mercedes ML350 for a great price with low miles and traded in my newer Honda for it. My office went wild over me owning a Mercedes, there were dozens of “jokes” about how I must be overpaid, that I must have gotten some kind of inheritance, that my husband robbed a bank, etc. This car literally cost $5K less than the Honda when I bought it. It made me feel very self-conscious, but then I realized that these people were just looking for drama and I decided to ignore everything going forward. One of the best decisions I ever made.

    1. Anonymous Hippo*

      I bought a used Mercedes for $4k and my whole office gave me shit about it for entire 6 months I had it. Nobody said anything about the brand new toyota I replaced it with. People don’t seem to actually know anything about car values.

    2. TopDeadCenter*

      We bought a used GLK350 for my wife earlier this year. It’s black and new enough to look contemporary, so every one makes a big deal out of it being a mercedes.

  17. Nea*

    LW 5: Contracting companies will offer the sun, moon, and shining stars to potential employees with Big Tech certifications and a clearance. The smaller the company, the more eager. And you can’t possibly work more hours than are specified in the contract.

    1. Nea*

      Clarifying that final sentence – they literally cannot ask more than a 40-hour week out of you or they’ll burn through the contracted hours too quickly.

  18. LilBean*

    OP#1, that comment “I’ll admit I’m jealous of your car.” from the person complaining about their family responsibilities and needing a certain type of car kind of makes me think – it sounds like these folks are more jealous of your lifestyle than your car, if they aren’t in a position to choose a nice car over a van that can accommodate their kids and families and other needs. That has little to do with whether or not their vehicle was more expensive than yours because you’d need a lot more money to be able to own the family car AND the nice car that you never get to drive because you can’t safely get a carseat strapped in there. I’ve noticed (outside of work) that starting a family means trading in their pet vehicle because they need a bigger car and can’t afford to maintain two at once, and it becomes one of those things parents look forward to aspirationally “when their kids grow up” and they can get rid of the van and buy a retro car and drive around every weekend in the summer with the top down. IDK about the “trucks”, but needing a car that seats a whole family plus carseats AND wouldn’t make you cry when the kids spill grape juice means you’re stuck with a limited set of vehicles.

    Your first letter was asking for perspective on what’s going on in your office culture that folks would never stop talking about it – so I figured I’d throw in my two cents. I don’t know if you’re actually single or not. Maybe you’re in the same life situation as your coworkers but for other reasons you’re just coming at it from a different perspective from them. But I can say as a perpetually single person, things like this used to trip me up until I realized that a lot of these awkward and repetitive comments coming from parents is mostly them trying to make conversation from a totally different perspective on day-to-day life than I have. The people dumping a ton of resentment on you for having to raise a family when they didn’t want to is always “yikes”, and those folks are out there, and there’s never a good way to deal with that except to immediately change the topic or get out of the conversation as fast as possible – but I’ve found that most people aren’t envious in a toxic way like that because they do prefer having their family to having the pet car or the free time or the sleeping in on the weekends, it’s just fun to indulge in yearning sometimes, and even if they make little comments like this they aren’t actually treating me badly for it, and sometimes it’s just an opening for them to make conversation about something that isn’t their kids and find something relatable with me. – And even if none of that is the case with your coworkers or you have no way to find out if it is the case, sometimes giving annoying comments a charitable view makes them feel less bad to hear.

  19. Pugs'n'Nugs*

    I know nothing about cars whatsoever (besides knowing how to drive one) but my car has been the source of some interesting conversations.

    A few years ago I worked in a traditionally working class suburb in the logistics sector. Upon seeing my Mazda 3 (which I did not think was fancy at all), my colleagues assumed I was a rich girl for being able to afford such a model. Mind you, the car was my fathers and I was only borrowing it.

    Years later, same car, but now working in local Government in an upper middle class area. I was asked by a few colleagues as to why I did not trade for a newer model, as my Mazda looked ‘old’.

    Strange indeed.

Comments are closed.