asking to meet in person when you’re remote, asking for tuition reimbursement for a degree I already finished, and more

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

1. Asking to meet in person when you’re normally remote

I hope you can give me an outsider’s position on the current dispute that my husband and I are having. He recently started a new job at a well-known tech company less than two months ago. It appeared to be a fantastic move and was a great bump in salary, and he would be working with a few former coworkers who he loved working with in the past, including one who would be his new manager. Well, his new manager/former coworker was suddenly put on leave, and then let go. (He was let go due to a very complicated crazy series of events that ended with him being accused of stealing trade secrets from one company and bringing it to the new company. There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the gist. My husband was not involved in what was happening and wasn’t aware of any of this until after his manager was let go two weeks ago.) Now my husband is a lot less enthusiastic about this new role and has major concerns about his future in the company.

So here’s the question: My husband’s job is 100% remote and we live three hours away from his office headquarters. He reached out to his new manager (who was his manager’s manager until two weeks ago) and asked for an in-person meeting. His manager was fine with this, but I asked my husband why he would spend six hours in the car to meet with his manager for an hour or so when there is such a thing as a telephone or Zoom. He said he wanted his manager’s full attention because he wanted to discuss his future at the company and believes you do not have anyone’s full attention when you are talking through a screen. He feels this is a good use of his (and the company’s) time and resources. I understand the seriousness of this conversation, but it seems tone-deaf to me and may make his manager question how my husband prioritizes things, especially since his job is considered fully remote, and we’re so far away. If you were his manager, would you feel this request was really odd? What would be your concerns if he was your employee and did this? Would you feel differently if we lived closer to the office? Or am I wrong and this is a perfectly fine request due to the crazy circumstances that led up to this meeting request?

If he were driving six hours for routine meetings, I’d question that for the reasons you mention (and would be concerned that he wasn’t a great fit for remote work). But I definitely understand him wanting to do it for very important meetings, like an annual performance review — and I’d put “some highly alarming stuff went down right after I started, my manager is gone, and I now have serious questions about my future here” in that category! It’s not that he has to drive in for it, but it’s reasonable that he wants to. Some people feel they connect better in-person, or just feel more comfortable having important conversations in person, especially when the stakes are as high as this one sounds. I don’t agree that it’s the only way to have someone’s full attention, but showing up for an in-person meeting when you’re normally remote does change the vibe, and it sounds like he wants that. I rule in his favor!

2. Can I ask for tuition reimbursement for a degree I finished before starting my job?

I’ve been offered a job, and I think they are at the top of their salary range. They do offer $2,400 tuition reimbursement every year. Since I already have my degree (and I need the degree to do this job), would it be inappropriate of me to ask for this as a student loan payment instead?

It’s an interesting proposal that would benefit a ton of people, but I’ve never known a company where it would fly. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but typically companies offer tuition reimbursement at least in part because they believe they’ll benefit if you get more education than you started with… and aside from that, the benefit is usually written to clearly cover current classes but not ones you took before coming to the company. Also, if word got out they offered that retroactively, it would end up costing a lot more than it costs them right now because a ton of people would want it (which further lowers your odds).

You could have more luck trying to negotiate additional vacation time or a one-time bonus.

3. I feel guilty about how much I’m charging my former company for freelance work

I quit my job and then decided to offer to stay part-time, which they were eager to accept. I threw out a much higher hourly rate than what I was previously getting, and they accepted. Now I feel guilty. I feel like I asked too much, feel like I don’t deserve that much hourly, feel greedy, and feel like other coworkers deserve more than me. Should I go back and lower my rate even though they signed off on it? Why do I feel like this?

Good lord, no. If they didn’t think paying you that rate was in their best interests, they wouldn’t have agreed to. They’re not offering you charity, after all; they negotiated a business deal with terms they felt were acceptable. And you noted they were eager to accept — that’s not a company with concerns about what you’re charging.

Also, I don’t know how the new rate compares to what you were earning there previously, but it’s typical for freelancers to double the hourly rate they were earning as an employee because you’ll be responsible for your own payroll taxes (which are significant), won’t get benefits like health care or paid time off, and won’t have the protections of a regular job. Very often people who agree to freelance for a company they’ve just quit undercut themselves by asking for their former hourly rate or something close to it — because they figure “hey, this is what I’ve been earning” — and then lose money on the deal because of the factors above.

4. Should I warn my boss against promoting my colleague?

I recently resigned from my company to take a new position. After my grandboss sent a note to the larger team letting them know, someone I work with from another department reached out asking questions about what my role involves.

Having worked with this person over the years, I know they would be terrible in the role. I and my other colleagues have expressed concern to our manager in the past about this person’s performance, so they are aware to some extent of our team’s issues with them. However, our manager is very hands-off and doesn’t fully understand just how bad this person is.

I’m on the fence about whether I should share my concerns with my manager before I leave. I worry about coming across as unprofessional and also I know they’re not pleased that I’m leaving.

For the sake of your coworkers if not your manager, please do tell your manager! It’s not unprofessional as long as you frame it objectively and from the perspective of what’s best for the team, rather than about a personal dislike. For example: “Jane told me she’s interested in applying for my role. Candidly, I’ve worked closely with her over the last few years and I’d have serious concerns about her ability to do the work because of XYZ.” If your manager seems unconvinced, you could add, “If you do interview her, I’d recommend probing into X and Y, which are my two biggest areas of concern.”

5. Taking vacation at the end of my notice period

My company has a four-week notice policy. I can get my unused PTO paid out up to a certain amount. PTO accumulates every week and I am over the amount I can get paid out, so I want to take some time off to get the benefit.

How do I word my letter and timing of my resignation letter so I give four weeks AND take another week or two of PTO? Is this what I should say? “My last day will be Friday, September 30. I have accumulated PTO and will be using time the weeks of September 19 and 26, so effectively my last working day will be Friday, September 16.”

There’s a good chance they won’t let you do this, unfortunately, and instead will just tell you that your last day will be September 16. A lot of companies have policies against using PTO during your notice period (check your handbook) and even those that don’t might figure this plan is a violation of the “we only pay out up to X days of accrued time” policy. You can try it because they might let you, but it would be safer to take the time off before you give notice if you can. (This assumes, of course, that you’re in a state where your employer’s policy on not paying out all accrued PTO is legal; some states permit that and some don’t. Google your state name and “vacation time payout” if you want to check.)

{ 369 comments… read them below }

  1. The Person from the Resume*

    I know LW2 is looking to offset a lower starting salary, but where does it stop? I got my undergraduate degree 25 years ago and my graduate degree 10 years ago, both are required for my role. Can I get tuition reimbursement? That’s a huge can of worms.

    See if starting bonus or relocation bonus are feasible. Or more PTO. I appreciate good PTO.

    1. Beth Jacobs*

      I mean there are companies which offer student loan repayment as a benefit and I think that’s great, but as you said, at that point, almost everyone’s eligible. That means it’s going to cost the company a whole lot more and might as well be rolled into the base salary (unless there are tax advantages).

      1. vampire physicist*

        Those are also often iirc jobs that are hard to fill and require specialized education (and usually have a minimum time you must stay in the position) – rural access hospitals, for example, sometimes offer tuition reimbursement for med school loans so that they can recruit young physicians who would otherwise be looking elsewhere.

        1. Eater of Hotdish (fka jitm)*

          Exactly, it’s a huge advantage for recruiting/placement in professions where there is need in areas that aren’t attractive otherwise. I’m clergy in a rural area with few amenities and terrible, terrible winters. Student loan repayment assistance is a perk offered by the regional governing body of the denomination. It’s really nice, particularly since a 4-year master’s degree is required for the job, and a higher-than-average percentage of clergy placed here are fresh out of school.

        2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          I work for a legal department and we offer tuition reimbursement to new lawyers. If this is a recent graduate with a specific degree that is necessary for them to legally do the work (e.g. law, accounting, similar), it might work.

        3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Most (maybe all?) states offer tuition reimbursement for MDs, DDS, RNs, behavioral health, etc to work in rural, underserved areas as does Indian Health Services. I think you have to work there either 2 or 5 years to get loans paid off, but don’t know the details. I’ve just worked with a lot of folks doing it

      2. higheredrefugee*

        The biggest advantage to employers on LRPs is that like bonuses, they aren’t permanent salary increases. They are still taxed too, which makes them less attractive to employees if the numbers don’t run.

        1. Cmdrshpard*

          I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure taxes on loan repayment programs (up to $5,250 per year) has been suspended for a few years until 2025. This was part of the CARES act.

    2. MK*

      Also, I would assume that the company already factored that the OP has the degree in their offer. She says she thinks they are at the top of their range; they probably wouldn’t have offered that to someone without the degree.

      1. Waffles*

        Yes! Why would a company compensate a person because of her education and then pay for her education at the same time. It seems highly unlikely, and if I was the candidate’s new manager I would probably be annoyed by the question. Stick with a more conventional bargaining item, like PTO or a one-time bonus.

        1. umami*

          Exactly, I wouldn’t want to be asked this. If the degree is required for the position, you are being offered the job and salary because you already have it. If you want tuition reimbursement, you need to go back to school for an advanced degree that increases your value to the employer. Believe me, I get the impulse, I started my current job mere days before defending my dissertation and would have loved to get tuition reimbursement!

    3. John Smith*

      Besides all the points, I’d say that simple contract law would mean it’s a no as there is no consideration here. A good example is finding and returning a lost dog to its owner then the next day seeing a poster offering a reward for the dogs safe return. It’d be nice of the owner to offer the reward, but no legal necessity since you didn’t return the dog with the reward in mind. Same with the degree.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I don’t think this analogy works at all; what you’ve described would be like if she accepted the offer and then later asked them to pay for her loans.

        It sounds like as things currently stand she is thinking the offer may be too low to accept but it also at the top of their budget for salary, so is looking for whether they could negotiate to pay her more out of another budget. It sounds perfectly legal, but I would think they are highly unlikely to agree to it unless she is an exceptional candidate that they really want to lock down.

    4. Zoe Karvounopsina*

      I’m actually currently negotiating pay, and when they asked me my current salary I said “It’s X BUT I get free tuition as a benefit which I would lose, and that’s worth Y”.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Which is valuable info for them to have, but also, you should avoid telling potential new jobs your current salary, if at all possible. There are ways to dodge the question (e.g. by answering what pay you’re looking for, instead).

        1. WillowSunstar*

          That only works if you’re applying for external jobs, though. If you’re looking to transfer to another department, the manager will have access to your HR records, including your current pay.

          1. ThatGirl*

            I mean, yes…. but Zoe said they asked for current salary, which they would not have done if they already had it :P

            1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

              They asked for current salary *despite* my having given my salary during the application. Higher Education, man…

        2. Zoe Karvounopsina*

          I would have if I could! It belatedly occurred to me that, since you couldn’t apply without giving them salary, I could inflate it a little, but only once the application was in.

          (Also: negotiations done, I got a payrise and they’ll pay for the second half of my MA, I am so very happy)

          1. Jora Malli*

            When an application requires my past salary information, I always put a zero in the box. I want them to pay me what they think my work is worth, not an arbitrary amount based on what I was making before.

            1. The OTHER other*

              I hate that the salary question is almost always used against candidates–if you ask for less than they budgeted, they will most likely lowball you, if you ask for more they will dismiss you out of hand.

              People who were underpaid for some other reason then continue to be underpaid for the rest of their careers.

              1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

                Possibly important context for what I’m doing is that I’m negotiating in the UK University sector, so they’d advertised with a clear pay range, which is on a pay scale, which is publicly available, so I knew how much increase I could expect if I negotiated, and where I was on their starting salary location.

                Obviously YMMV. (And I will keep any other thoughts for the open thread tomorrow)

    5. Unknowable*

      I actually do get student loan repayment from my workplace! It’s a newer initiative they’re offering, I believe mostly to former interns who have since been hired on to work full-time. The way they’re doing it is that we sign a contract each year promising another year of retention in exchange for X amount of money. It’s renewable for up to six years, and if we leave before that current year is up then we would be responsible to repay the money.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        It seems to me that this would be a really great way to improve employee retention and just take a huge weight off the shoulders of the workforce. Reduced debt has to improve work-life balance/employee satisfaction

    6. doreen*

      And also how many employers will reimburse the same tuition ? Suppose your employer from 20 years ago reimbursed your undergrad tuition – when you change jobs after 5 years , do you expect the new employer to reimburse the same tuition?

      1. kiki*

        I was assuming that there would have to be debt actively being paid off while you’re employed at the company with a program like this. So anyone who already paid off their debt or had relatives pay their tuition or what-have-you wouldn’t be eligible

        I think retrospective tuition reimbursement can make sense, especially for roles that require expensive and/or niche degrees. But it’s generally something companies establish programs to offer, not something businesses do for one or two people who ask for it.

      2. TW1968*

        I like the way you’re thinkin’! This is my new get rich quick scheme. “Make college your college education PAY YOU!!!”

      3. umami*

        There is a distinction to be made between tuition reimbursement (reimbursing tuition costs for an employee who is actively attending classes), and student loan repayment (debt already incurred for the required credential by employer). It makes sense for an employer to offer tuition reimbursement for current employees as they increase their value with additional education, but less likely they are going to offer to pay for debt you incurred earning credentials they expect you to come into the role with already. Not that it wouldn’t be nice! But this company offers tuition reimbursement, so if a candidate came to me with this request, I would feel like they a) don’t know what they’re talking about or b) are trying to scheme a way to get more money out of me when i am already paying what their degree is worth.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          And loan repayment is a thing to try and draw people to specific employers/regions. There are a goodly number of programs folks with clinical degrees to get them paid off if they work in a rural area, with IHS, with VA, etc.. Now, these jobs aren’t for everyone and tend to be very challenging, hence the need for loan repayment as an incentive in the first place

    7. Not A Girl Boss*

      I agree that tuition reimbursement is probably a no-fly-zone, BUT I actually was successful in negotiating something similar with my company.

      A while back there was a law passed allowing companies to, instead of offering a 401k match, do student loan repayment matching instead. It took about a year, but I got my company to start offering this option! So its not quite as lovely as student loan repayment, but its still a nice chunk of money that is worth more in student loan interest than I would make investing in a 401k right now.

    8. Nicossloanico*

      I actually did work for a nonprofit that offered loan repayment assistance when they rolled out a tuition reimbursement plan for those who pursued new education. IIRC, the tuition was more, and you had to be able to demonstrate that the degree either past or current was related to your role at the org (so you couldn’t just go get an MFA on the company’s dime, alas). I also used to work at an education nonprofit that offered loan repayment assistant for people who stayed in our service area (they could have made more money leaving for another role, so it was an incentive we offered to help them stay – and I might add, this got extremely messy with all the ongoing changes in the Federal loan forgiveness programs). So, this does exist, it’s just typically field-dependent.

    9. Lucy*

      My company has a student loan repayment program for engineers specifically. It’s only $100 per month but better than nothing!

  2. Goldie*

    LW #1- I think your husband’s suggestion to meet in person is on point. As a manager, I would appreciate it, especially as his new manager. Hopefully they will have a chance to build rapport and get to know each other better. It’s so much harder to do by zoom. After such a dramatic situation early in his tenure at the company he’s smart to work on relationships-probably worth multi in person visits. He’s new boss knows he’s serious about understanding his future rule in the company and this effort hopefully got their attention.

    1. MK*

      In a more general note, I think workers should realise that situations like these (having to travel distances for relatively time-insignificant work issues) are part of working remote. I have been doing 80% remote work for the past 15 years and a couple of times a year I have had to do similar things, like drive one hour and back just to put a signature on a document that couldn’t wait till my scheduled office day or fly to another city for a one-hour-long meeting with a higher-up. Being remote doesn’t mean you can expect to never have to go into the office; of course, managers shouldn’t demand this for no good reason, but neither is it an outrage that should only happen unless there is no other way to handle it. In my experience, at least, this kind of inconvenience is part of being remote.

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        This is a great point.

        I’m hybrid now, but in the past if there was an extremely important meeting at an office location 3 hours away I’d drive (perhaps it helps that my company’s policy is anything over 50 miles is done in a rental car, so it’s not like I’m responsible for gas or wear and tear on my car).

      2. Sally*

        Plus, the husband wants to do the meeting in person. I was hired in the summer of 2020, so I’ve been remote for everything until very recently. I didn’t have any problem with doing my annual review over Zoom, but I had been meeting with my manager weekly with other one-off meetings in between, and I knew and trusted him by then. The situation described in the letter would definitely make me want to meet in person to discuss it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          The situation and husband’s lack of tenure with this company is what is tipping me here. This situation is totally not anything resembling normal, the whole reporting structure got completely redone (almost on the fly). I would want to be there and get a pulse check on where do they see me with the organization now.

          1. The OTHER other*

            Plus, going in person you might have the chance to talk informally with the colleagues and coworkers to get their sense of what is going on, this kind of informal interaction is harder to do remotely.

            1. Lydia*

              Yeah. It’s an opportunity to reach out to the rest of the team and hear what they think is happening in a more casual setting. I don’t know if the husband’s coworkers are in cubes or their own offices, but if they are in cubes, it’s almost impossible to have a candid conversation without being overheard.

        2. Nicossloanico*

          Absolutely. The husband also wants to get a sense of this new manager; what will they be like to work with, will they advocate for the husband like the old manager, are they fair, do they listen well, etc etc. Meeting in person gives you so much more opportunity to intuit these types of things vs a little computer screen where they may be looking at email at the same time – and will also give the boss a stronger sense of the husband and his value. Would I try to throw in some additional value to a six hour round trip, yes (even just stopping somewhere nearby for a special dinner, inviting another coworker nearby out for drinks, something) – but the husband is right here.

      3. hbc*

        Yeah, sometimes the value can’t be measured in the ratio of time spent traveling versus time spent doing stuff, but more what stuff you got accomplished–or what wouldn’t have happened if you *didn’t* spend the time.

        I once drove a roundtrip from Michigan to Toronto in a day just to solve a customer issue that I fixed within 15 minutes of hitting their parking lot. (The same issue I diagnosed by phone and they swore up and down that they’d ruled out.) Ten hours on the road to tighten a couple of screws is ridiculous, but there are bigger picture effects that made it worthwhile.

        1. Smithy*

          Focusing on the accomplishments is critical – and also not overly diminishing more qualitative/soft skill parts that all of our jobs have.

          When work travel came back post-COVID there understandably was a big focus on “is it worth it” – and so of course the first opportunity that fell in my lap was a) short notice, for b) a meeting of a few hours in c) an international destination. Ultimately I went, and it was instantly obvious why that kind of work travel was a normal part of my job.

          Even though the formal visit was only a few hours, by being there the amount of time I got during the coffee break and other more casual moments was incredibly important in building that more personal relationship. By having that more personal relationship, I feel like we know better how to share good or bad news, ask them for things we need, and what might be coming up for them that we should be aware of. Having more of that insight professionally can help for a lot of relationships and may end up taking a lot more time over scheduled video meetings, IM, or email.

          1. Lily Potter*

            This is a fantastic response. A mentor of mine told me years ago that “relationships are built in person, not over a keyboard”. In today’s post-Covid world, I’d imagine he’d amend that to “over a screen”, since video sometimes just doesn’t cut it.

            Your response would also have been applicable to yesterday’s letter from the person who wanted to stop talking in the phone and just email everything. Technology is a great thing but sometimes you just need to TALK to one another….and if you can be in the same physical space with one another, all the better.

            1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

              One of the most useful insights I picked up in this forum is the idea of task- versus relationship-orientation at work. The email guy genuinely focuses on the task and believes that is the thing that’s important, he does not think the relationship stuff is important. You’re coming at it from the other side.

              Personally, I don’t understand the task orientation at all! I think relationships are how we get tasks done. But it helps me understand those folks in my world.

              1. NotAnotherManager!*

                I can explain the second part easily – work is about getting tasks done, tasks are part of people’s jobs, and I shouldn’t have to have a relationship with someone for them to do their job. (And this does not mean everyone should not be treated with appropriate professional courtesy – being task-oriented is NOT an excuse for being rude or a jerk. But I also don’t think there needs to be a performative social dance as a prerequisite to get work done either.)

                I take the time to build relationships because I know it’s important to other people and it greases the skids of getting things done (especially the stuff on the margins of areas of responsibility), but, where the rubber meets the road, I should be able to ask someone, professionally and politely, to process the TPS report they’re responsible for without knowing their children’s/pets’ names, hobbies, or anything else about them.

                Neither is the “right way” to be – my boss is a relationship person and I’m a task person. We make a great team because we have different strengths (and respect each other’s).

            2. Come On Already*

              This is kind of any ableist take on things, since somefolkshave100% remote work as a disability accommodation. We build relationships too!

            3. Insert Clever Name Here*

              Yesterday’s letter was from someone who fully recognized that email cannot replace phone calls, but wanted to know if they could not answer the phone for a SINGLE coworker who is a condescending jerk and takes up their time with things that definitely do not require a phone call. In a comment (they commented as Original LW), they said “He quite literally repeats my request, provides his answer/thoughts, repeats that several times, over explains his reasoning, provides extensive history or background on agency policy/law and eventually wraps up the conversation by saying he will update the case with his opinion/recommendation. I cannot recall a conversation with him that actually required any input from me.”

              So, no, that is not equivalent to a time when you need to build rapport or relationship with someone.

            4. NotAnotherManager!*

              I think the idea that you can’t build a relationship with people without seeing them in person is pretty outdated in this day and age, especially with modern technology. The pandemic lasted two years, and I had to hire and onboard a number of people onto my team while we were all fully remote. When we met in person, it was like welcoming old friends because we *had* built a relationship using the keyboard, screen, and phone in the 6-24 months that we weren’t able to meet in person.

              I think that there are people who prefer to build those relationships in person and, frankly, I often feel that that preference is pushed off onto the rest of us a requirement to *really* get to know someone, but it’s not been my experience at all. Where the in-person relationship building is really necessary is with the people who believe it is the only way to do it.

            1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

              I’m taking “post-COVID” to mean “after the introduction and subsequent inundation of COVID-19 in the human world”, different and distinct from the idea of “post-COVID pandemic” (which has sadly seeped into many of us).

              1. Insert Clever Name Here*

                Yeah, there’s pre and post-COVID just like there’s pre and post-9/11. The world before the event, and the world after the event with the latter not meaning that everything related to the event is resolved and tied up nicely with a bow.

        2. Nicossloanico*

          Ugh I used to do things like drive five hours one way to do a thirty minute presentation. I don’t miss those days. But the point was to demonstrate that my company truly valued what that region offered and that we weren’t forgetting about them, so for that reason it was presumably worth my time.

          1. Nicossloanico*

            Actually I’m remembering now that other people in my program flew out and back same day for similar meetings, so I shouldn’t complain! At least I could drive and sing along loudly to my radio versus enduring flight delays in crowded airports!

        3. Curmudgeon in California*

          I work remotely. The home office is 800 miles away, but only about two hour flight. When travel isn’t quite as risky, I expect I’ll be asked to come to the main office for quarterly meetings and teambuilding. I don’t have a problem with this, since it was a very common thing for remote people pre-pandemic.

      4. DataSci*

        When I started working remotely a year before the pandemic (the local office closed and my “job location” moved to one on the far side of the metro area, about 1.5 hours away with traffic) we agreed that going into the office would be like business travel – every few months for key meetings. It worked well.

      5. JustaTech*

        Heck, my spouse isn’t (technically) remote and he will probably fly to another continent at some point to meet his new manager in person.
        He’s flown to another state just this week to meet his new direct reports in person.

        There are people I’ve worked with for years who were only ever a voice on the speaker phone and a name in an email and we had a good working relationship, but we both got a lot more out of knowing each other when we met in person. (There can be exceptions to this, there was a guy who was fine in straight work interactions who was a real jerk in person, but those people are rare.)

        When you need to “take the temperature” of a rapidly changing situation in-person really does make sense.

      6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Yep. I go across county to the office my boss works out of 1-2x/year. I knew I’d be doing it when I signed on

      7. Momma Bear*

        I agree. I’ve been hybrid for a while and anytime there was something of enough significance, I was there in person. I think that LW’s husband is using the opportunity wisely to talk about some very important things with the key players. If I were him, I’d find out if there was a desk I could use and do some other work vs just showing up for the one meeting. I was just talking to my coworker today about the value of face time. I’ve been fully remote and that was one major downside. *Especially* given the situation, I think it’s best for him to be in the room.

    2. londonedit*

      I agree. It’s clear that this is a one-off, and I think it’s very sensible to want to meet the new manager in person and discuss what’s been going on and what the future is going to look like. It’s definitely going to help to build a rapport with the new boss (it’s always easier to communicate with someone when you’ve at least met them once in person) and I think it’s absolutely the sort of situation where a face-to-face meeting is the way to go. A 6-hour round trip isn’t horrendous for an important meeting – obviously you wouldn’t want to be doing it every day, but if I had an important meeting in Manchester or Leeds it’d be three hours each way door-to-door by train and that wouldn’t seem egregious to do in a day.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I agree. I, too, would likely do the same thing. It’s not like he’s driving in for a routine weekly meeting. He wants to sit with the new boss and talk about his future with the company. He’s only been there two months and there was already a big shakeup that led to the former manager being let go. Yes, it can be done through a video meeting, but those don’t usually lead to the type of relationship building that often comes about in person. And if the husband times it right, maybe he and the new boss go out to lunch, which will help form a better connection through casual conversation.

      1. Greg*

        His former manager who hired him from the company he stole trade secrets from! I’d be a bit concerned too!

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          And depending on what trade secrets those were – former manager might be looking at jail time (bare minimum it’s probably a huge fine). I would want to go meet my new manager and get a pulse check as well. This is not a normal manager change shake-up, and husband is rattled by it all I’m sure.

          1. one l lana*

            It also sounds like this all went down pretty recently. It’s possible that the firing was the last step, but it could also be just the beginning if there are internal investigations, potential legal action against OP’s old manager, etc. I don’t say that to add to OP’s worries — it sounds like husband was a new and totally innocent bystander in all this — but the situation could be a little complicated and sticky for awhile. Making a good impression on the new manager, or getting a read from the new manager on if this is even a situation he wants to stick around for, seems like a good call. OP’s husband’s instincts are good.

        2. Lydia*

          Oh crap! That didn’t even occur to me, but yeah! This is a good way for the husband to distance himself from his former manager’s bad decisions.

    4. Lynca*

      I think the husband has some pretty good instincts on this too. The day to day work may be remote but this is something above and beyond that work. Their manager was let go for a dramatic reason, they’re a new hire, and they now have had their plans shaken up. It’s smart to want to make a good impression on how seriously they’re taking this job.

      Especially since the old manager hired a bunch of former co-workers and was let go after being accused of stealing trade secrets. Given the reason the manager was let go, there is real serious perception/integrity issue he may want to get ahead of. And I don’t blame him for that. Especially if the company he was accused of stealing from was the one the OP’s husband just left. He didn’t know that was going on but the new manager doesn’t know him as an employee yet.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        This is so outside the normal – and I wonder if husband is worried/worrying that he may be on the chopping block as well if the fired manager was really advocating for hiring husband.

      2. Nicossloanico*

        Hmm, it sounds like it’s a bit more complicated than that and that OP didn’t go into it because it wasn’t necessarily super relevant to the husband’s dilemma – I imagined maybe they were accused of miss-using confidential info or something, which isn’t uncommon in my field and can be done quite innocently (using knowledge and contacts from previous jobs).

      3. OP1*

        I should have, but didn’t even think about the potential integrity issue that my husband might face due to his manager’s firing! My husband was working with fired manager at the company right before his new company, so this could be a concern for his new manager.

        A short version of what trade secrets were stolen: it sounds like fired manager personally created and owned a program that he used at Company A. He then took the program to Company B, but between taking the program from Company A to B, another employee from Company A pushed a file into the program that was only owned by Company A. So now fired manager had Company A’s file on Company B’s system. Company B found this file, and this is why fired manager is now fired. I don’t know if fired manager knew the file was there and just didn’t care, or if he asked the employee to push the file into the program ahead of time, or what went down between Company A and B having this program. But this whole thing was a complete shock to my husband. Thankfully my husband hadn’t used this program at all at Company B yet, so there were no files on his computer that could have contained this illicit one.

        1. Observer*

          Yes, this could easily create problems for your husband. Even if he never used the program in the current company.

          Everyone who was hired by this guy who is not a known quantity is going to be looked at with some suspicion. Former coworkers who he brought over from OldCompany? Multiply that. Keep in mind that FormerBoss didn’t act alone. Someone else pushed that file, and that should never have happened. So that makes things a lot more potentially problematic.

          Your husband is right to be concerned, and I do think it makes sense to have an in person meeting. Because this is not just about the pragmatics of figuring out logistics or something like that. This is about 2 people actually trying to figure each other out and figure out how things will move forward. It really is a lot easier to that in person – nuance does get lost over a video call.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            I suspect even some of those known quantity employees are going to get looked at hard too. Probably anybody who was from Company A who was using the program is going to get some microscope time. I hope the manager’s atrocious judgement doesn’t as collateral damage destroy too many other careers.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          That update changes a lot for me – and emphasizes that hubby needs to make this drive for that inperson meeting. Sounds like the firing is probably maybe a third to half-way through the “what’s happening process” with those trade secrets (or would be that point in my field).

          Getting into the office, getting in person with the manager is important. It lets your husband get a good feel if there is anything he can do to distance himself and if he needs to be looking because he former manager is going down in flames, and those flames are going to torch as collateral damage the careers of other team members who also came from Company A.

    5. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Agreed. Meeting in person means the individual is giving thought and weight to the discussion. As a manager, I’d appreciate that approach from a new team member.

      Plus, OP’s husband is right about the distractions part. When I’m on a Teams call, I get messaged relentlessly. Even if I don’t respond, it’s still distracting. If I were to meet someone in person, we could move to a conference space so we could focus.

      Sometimes, non-verbal communication cues speak louder than words. Hope all goes well for OP’s husband.

    6. Pass the Just-For-Men*

      I agree. Going there in person shows how serious the OP’s spouse finds all this to be, which hopefully the new boss realizes and acts accordingly. If they don’t, then that’s really telling about his future. Plus, by working there for the day, he’ll be able to pick up more on the culture there and that will tell you A LOT more then a zoom meeting ever will (or at least take A LOT longer to pick up on).

      To OP#1 – I hope your spouse finds the significant time investment worthwhile and he regains the positive feelings he had when he first started.

    7. Mockingjay*

      Agree. I drive 4 to 5 hours (varies due to never-ending interstate construction) one way for important meetings and ‘face time’ with our government client. Only a few members of our team are remote, so it’s important for me to be ‘visible’ to coworkers who see each other daily. It’s also easier to connect with individuals in a group setting, since I can speak to each personally and pull together an impromptu team meeting if needed, rather than connecting via email strings and phone tag. I probably go in every two months or so, but aim for minimum of once a quarter.

    8. Nightengale*

      Unless the LW’s husband has said very specifically and recently to the manager “I live 3 hours away” the chances are very high the manager has no idea how close or far this remote employee lives.

      1. OP1*

        The manager knows where we live in comparison to the office. The manager of the department (my husband’s new manager) actually coincidentally had a full-department meet up and team building couple of days at the office within my husband’s first week. I believe all employees in this particular department are remote, except for maybe one or two (including the department manager, who I believe is hybrid). Compared to the rest of the team, it sounds like my husband is one of the closest to the office. Over half the team had to fly in for the team building event.

        1. Observer*

          In that case, there is no way this manager is going to have a problem with your husband’s request. After all, he just had a bunch of people actually fly in for a team building event. That means that he does believe that in person contact is valuable and important.

    9. Spooky*

      I agree with OP here–I think the request was a mistake. Maybe this is a generational thing, but I saw this request as extremely bizarre. My last two jobs have been fully remote, and after working that way for a few years now, meeting in person when you don’t have to seems wasteful (waste of time, gas, carbon emissions, etc.) and potentially risky (the obvious health concerns). I do understand that some things warrant meeting in person, and that some people do better when they can meet face to face, but the reason for those meetings can’t be “I don’t actually work well remotely” when the job is remote. If someone requested an in-person meeting for this, I might be a bit confused…but if they said it was because they wanted my full attention and didn’t feel that I’d give them that the regular way (ie over Zoom), I’d be downright insulted.

      I’m bristling at this request for two reasons:
      1. The reason given states flat-out that the employee does not believe his new manager will pay full attention in the manner in which he usually works. He’s calling into question the manager’s ability to do his job.
      2. The employee is stating that he feels remote is insufficient for important meetings and activities on his end, which raises some concerns about his ability to do the rest of the job.

      I understand that some people do better in person, but the way this was presented feels like a misstep.

      1. Myrin*

        Husband gave these reasons to OP, though, not to his new boss – I’d assume he worded the actual talk with his supervisor much more diplomatically (and really, maybe he didn’t need to give any reason at all; I can absolutely see a manager seeing this new employee who was brought in by the person who just got very unceremoniously fired for very serious reasons approach them and ask about an in-person meeting and going “Say no more, yes, please do come into the office so that we can talk about all this”.)

        1. Spooky*

          That’s a good point. Hopefully the wording was different.

          Side note–does the husband know how far away the boss lives? Clearly the boss has already accepted, so it’s not an issue for this meeting, but knowing how much car time you’re asking the boss to put in every time you request an in-person is something to consider for the future.

          1. I should really pick a name*

            If the boss feels that the drive is too much, they can simply say so and reject the in-person meeting.
            It’s not like the LW’s husband is constantly asking their boss for in-person meetings.

          2. Two Dog Night*

            There’s no indication in the letter that the new manager works remotely–s/he might be in the office every day.

        2. OP1*

          Spooky, your reasons are exactly what I was concerned about when my husband said he was asking for in-person. But, Myrin is right, my husband only used these reasons to me and not to his boss. I believe my husband’s official reason to his boss to visit was to discuss his long-term employment due to the very recent firing of his manager and that he had concerns about what that means for his specific work duties and projects, since he was co-working on several projects with his fired manager and couldn’t move on without management’s direction and approval.

          1. Observer*

            I can see why someone might figure that an in person meeting is not necessary. But to go from there to questioning how someone is prioritizing for requesting a meeting? That would be a very bad manager. Because what your husband describes is not just serious, it’s wide ranging, is likely to run over (and you don’t want to take a chance that the software signal’s that the meeting is over), and almost definitely could benefit from ability to read each other in ways that are hard to do over video. If the two of them already had a strong long term working relationship, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but they barely know each other.

            What your husband essentially said, based on this, is that there are a number of major issues that he needs to deal with some of which (ie his future at the company) are primarily his issues and others are very much an issue for the company (all of the projects he was collaborating with the former boss on). And that he wants to have a consolidated meeting where all of this gets moved forward. That’s actually a very time efficient move. Yes, it’s a lot of driving time, but it will certainly save time over a bunch of smaller meetings to deal with individual portions, especially since they are overlapping. And when it’s this broad ranging the face to face time makes it easier to do. Especially since there is a good chance that they might need to touch base with other people over the course of the meeting.

      2. blink14*

        I agree as well, particularly with the tone/reason given. My big question is – will the 6 hour drive be done during the work day?

        I’ve been remote since March 2020, and went permanently remote last year. The agreement was that I am not required to come in at any time, unless it is by choice. And I’ve been in probably 4 times, mainly making it a point to attend holiday gatherings and stuff like that. But we’re even doing all hiring interviews completely remotely, along with other important meetings. I think some of this depends on the work culture and expectation.

        1. Anon all day*

          I’m not sure if your work situation is supposed to be a counterpoint? Because there’s nothing in the original question that suggests that the husband’s work operates any differently.

        2. OP1*

          The drive would be done during the work day. However, the whole hiring process was remote. He did get to meet the whole team in person though due to the department manager (his new manager) holding a team building event coincidentally during his first week. So he was able to meet his new manager in person prior to this request. My husband is also salary, and takes advantage of that by being available during the regular 9-5, but typically does his best work in the afternoon/evenings, so does less work before lunch and then works until 7 or 8 at night to make sure his work is completed.

          1. blink14*

            Maybe it’s worth having a conversation about what your husband likes about the role and the company and what his concerns are? Is he worried that he’ll be let go just because his manager was, or is it maybe that he was offered the job largely on the reference from his now former manager and that’s a concern? Was having his friend as a manager a really big part of taking the job to begin with?

            I also would be really careful about setting up the expectation that he’s actually available for 10-12 hours a day. If this is the company norm, maybe not such a problem, but if it’s outside of the company norm, he could end up putting himself in a bad spot. On the flip side, if over time his manager realizes that he’s “available” 9-5, but really working from say noon to 7, that could be problematic as well (again, depending on expectation and work culture).

      3. I should really pick a name*

        This is highly dependent on office culture, it’s not something you can apply a blanket rule to.

        “Bristling” seems like a strong reaction.
        1. There are a lot of people who more more easily distracted when on video. The LW’s husband can’t know for sure if their boss if one of them or not. The husband shouldn’t (and presumably didn’t) tell the boss this reason, but it’s a fair concern.

        2. This is for one very specific, unique meeting. I don’t see how it’s representative of how they do their job.

        1. JustaTech*

          I know that for some of my video meetings some of the other people in the meeting are also reading email or working on documents or responding to IMs (I know this because sometimes they have commented on emails that have just come in that are completely unrelated to the meeting we’re having).
          If this is common at the OP’s husband’s work, then I can see the value of asking for an in-person to get the new boss’ full attention.
          (Not that I haven’t had a senior person schedule a one-on-one with me and then take a non-urgent call in the middle while I sat there like a lump.)

          Also, you can read, and express, a lot more body language in person than you can over video. Hand placement, body posture, all of those things can be lost on video.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          I think the “bristling” was that OP’s husband had used #1 as a reason for the in-person with their boss, not that they had that perception. It’s one thing to feel that people are more distracted on video calls, it’s quite another to say to the boss, “I need to come in because I don’t think you’ll give me your full attention over video.” Fortunately, it sounds like he only expressed that to OP, which is not cringeworthy.

      4. fhqwhgads*

        Yeah, I’m not sure of my thoughts on the whole thing. It may or may not be a bad idea for the husband to have requested the in-person meeting, but the stated reason struck a bum note with me. If his new manager can’t or won’t give his full attention during a web meeting with a remote employee, that manager has no business managing remote employees. So is the concern not just about the situation with former boss but also specifically having bad feelings about now-boss? Was the now-fired-boss the only reason he wanted to work there? It sounded like he knew other people who worked there too and was excited to work with them. So is his concern just guilt-by-association? Or is working with the people who are left also a big problem for him?

        1. Anon all day*

          I don’t get the pushback on the idea that an in-person meetings can be more personal, easier to get information, and easier to make a connection for many people. Like, literally no one is saying that they’re absolutely necessary, but there are benefits to them for many people, especially in such sticky situations.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            I’m not saying it’s bad to have an in-person meeting, but I don’t think it makes that big of a difference in this context. I agree there are benefits to it, but disagree it’s more personal or easier to get information and make a connection. If he were one hour away I think it’d make more sense to me since I consider that a pretty common commuting distance. Once we get into 3-hour territory – again not saying the husband made a bad choice – but the length of travel in this context makes it seem unnecessary to me. I think neither the LW or the husband are strictly speaking “right”.

        2. OP1*

          fhqwhgads (which, by the way, I loved Strongbad back in the day!) my husband’s concern is that he was excited about this position because of the fired manager, and because when he was interviewed he was lead to believe there were a lot more experienced people on the team than there actually are. So while he is still happy to work there, he is concerned that he is now one of the most experienced people on the team and doesn’t want to be the unofficial go-to guy to fix what the less experienced people accidentally broke. He said the team is full of very highly educated people, several with PhDs, and most with Masters degrees, but they just don’t have a lot of hands-on knowledge yet, which makes them prone to making rookie mistakes.

      5. Lydia*

        I think you’re extrapolating a lot from the situation given. Husband most likely had a different conversation with his wife than he did with his boss regarding why he wanted to meet. If you just fired the person, who just hired this employee, for stealing trade secrets from the same company new employee just came from, I would be worried if you didn’t want to meet in person with them when asked. Stealing trade secrets and then hiring someone from the company you just stole from is kind of a big deal!

      6. starfox*

        Totally disagree, and I don’t think it has anything to do with generations because I’m young… The person who hired him got fired for a super dramatic reason… This is not a normal circumstance, and LW’s husband needs to clear up that he was in no way involved in stealing trade secrets! He worked at the same company that accused his former manager of stealing trade secrets…. Talk about red flags! Even if he isn’t let go immediately, the company is going to be wary of allowing him to advance. And if they ever have to lay someone off, well, the guy hired by the manager who stole trade secrets (and might even be in jail by that point) is a great person to pick!

        LW’s husband needs to cover his butt and make sure the company knows he was not involved in the former manager’s shady dealings. That’s something that should be done in person, if possible, and it’s certainly possible. It has absolutely nothing to do with his “ability to do his job” or that he finds remote meetings “insufficient.”

    10. Venus*

      This. Trust is built up so much differently and effectively in person. I work remotely with a bunch of people, and our relationship is always changed for the better after we meet in person. It only takes one in-person meeting to establish that trust. It is sometimes unfortunate that humans work this way, because remote work would be better if we trusted more easily, but the reality is that his decision to drive is going to make a big difference to his relationship with management.

      1. Come On Already*

        This is ableist. It may be your preference, but is hardly a universal requirement that personal contact is necessary to build trust or relationships. What is social media all about if not for electronically relating to people? I am 100% remote as a disability accommodation and I lowkey resent being told I can’t have strong relationships because of it, which isn’t true.

        1. Lydia*

          I think you’re right. I also think we can agree that if a person can travel to have a difficult conversation, it is often better to have that conversation in person.

        2. Claire W*

          Yeah I suspect a lot of this is, like WFH in general for example, a situation where many people look at their personal preference and decide “that’s the only way things can really work”. I work from home for a bunch of health reasons, though and though I have met some of my team members in person, I don’t believe it changed the relationship any – we were already talking daily in calls. The only real difference (to me) is that I have less relationship building with folks I don’t directly work with because we won’t have any reason to start talking, but that’s different.

    11. MsClaw*

      I wonder if there’s a way to split the difference here. Like, instead of just ‘I am driving 6 hours to spend 1 hour with you’ is there a chance for him to meet other members of the team, attend in person a meeting he normally zooms into, bring his laptop and use a hotdesk for the afternoon after his chat with the boss? In other words, make it more than just ‘I drove all this way for one chat’.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Those are the lines I would think along. I’d probably shoot for a 4-6 hour day onsite, so it’s 10-12 hours overall, and try to pack as many face-to-face meetings/conversations with Management, peers, etc, as I could.

        1. JustaTech*

          I was also kind of assuming that the OP’s husband would stay on site for most of the day, even if the explicit reason for going in was just a 1 hour meeting. When I’ve flown to other sites for meetings, the specific meeting might only be a few hours, but I’ll meet with other people while I’m there and/or do my regular work too.

    12. El l*


      Husband’s stated logic about Zoom not working as well is not airtight. Fair enough.

      But a similar logic, “I want to meet with them because it’s a sensitive circumstance and I want to go an extra mile to start this new relationship on the right foot,” is absolutely the right call.

  3. AnonAnon*

    OP1: Both sides have valid points. But honestly, if I were you, I would just drop this and go with his judgement on what he thinks is best in this particular situation. It’s his job and his career that’s potentially on the line.
    This is just me – I think it’s more important that my husband feel like I’m on his side supporting him, than to be right. If his boss didn’t think it’s necessary, I’m pretty sure he would have pushed back on it himself without me chiming in.
    BTW I also work remote approximately 3 hours away from the main office. But if I were in a similar situation, I would get in my car and start driving too.

    1. Aurelia*

      I might be reading too much into things, but I’m also curious about OP’s interpretation of her husband’s request — “tone deaf” and “might make the manager question how he does things” seems to be a strong take on the situation. Is there anything else behind this?

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, I was a bit… well, “taken aback” is probably too strong a word but… “surprised”, maybe, by the OP’s intensity regarding something which, as a one-off pertaining to really unique circumstances, seems entirely unremarkable to me.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        Moods are catching, and when your partner is tense and worried about their job, sometimes it’s possible to take on that anxiety with the addition of feeling a bit helpless. Second guessing things then comes quite naturally.

      3. Meep*

        I could see a paranoid manager being concerned OP’s husband was coming in to steal insider secrets like his former manager, but I also worked with a very paranoid woman that my mind goes there to protect myself. It is paranoid nonsense, but people are… well distrustful.

      4. OP1*

        AnonAnon and Aurelia- I didn’t mean to sound as intense as you have interpreted. My husband and I have always listened and given advice to each other about work when we asked for it. And we are both supportive of each other when we don’t make the business decisions the other would necessarily make.

        I think the big thing behind this is probably that I’ve never worked a fully remote job, and I didn’t realize that potentially part of that role could mean meeting in person. So personal ignorance/naivete is probably a big factor in where I was coming from. But after reading so many fully remote people commenting on here about how they do go to the office or different locations occasionally, shows me that I was definitely in the wrong on this. I was thinking that fully remote the majority of the time meant never seeing anyone on your team in person. But it sounds like there’s a huge range of what “fully remote” actually looks like in real life.

    2. EvilQueenRegina*

      Yeah, that was my thought – it’s between the husband and his new manager really and not for OP to weigh in on. The manager had the opportunity to ask for Zoom if they really felt it was an issue.

      Leaving aside the full attention thing, one other advantage of in person that immediately comes to mind is they won’t be interrupted by technology fails!

    3. Ashley*

      I totally agree with you. I think it would be different if husband was insisting on driving to the office on a weekly or even monthly basis for every touchpoint. A one off trip where he’s meeting with a new manager under some pretty wild circumstances doesn’t seem so out there to me.

    4. a. non.*

      Such an excellent point, and OP gets a side of marriage counseling to boot. This is not a hill to die on, OP. You need to let this go.

      1. Jackalope*

        That’s both not relevant to the question and a bit of an overreaction here. As someone said earlier in this thread, the OP’s husband is very stressed about this situation and concerned that he might lose his job. The OP is obviously also feeling anxious and stressed about this and is trying to help him figure out the best move to help him keep his job (which he reasonably suspects might be at risk). I agree with Alison that his idea makes sense and isn’t as out-there as the OP thinks, but the OP being concerned that he might be making the wrong call (again, when his job could be at risk) hardly a reason to jump to assuming they need marriage counseling.

        1. AnonAnon*

          I’m reading a.non.’s comment as “OP is getting free marriage counseling from AnonAnon’s suggestion lol!”, not “OP and husband need to get marriage counseling.”

      1. Observer*

        I think that (even without the OP’s clarification) that’s way over the top. I happen to disagree with her, but I really don’t think that the question comes even close to micromanaging.

  4. Mary*

    #1 I live approx 3.5 hours from my head office and I work in a satellite office. I would drive to head office to have reviews with my line manager, and I think your husband is right to do a serious meeting like this face to face.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      Not to mention, if the LW’s husband is going to headquarters, his manager isn’t the only person he’ll get to meet in person. It’s a good opportunity to see people he might only interact with virtually during a normal workweek. It’s not a waste of a drive at all.

  5. wanda*

    It is kind of extra to drive 6 hours for a 1 hour meeting. Perhaps he should consider staying overnight at least one of the nights and make it a full day to meet all his new coworkers in person, especially if his company would be willing to pay for that night. My husband works remote at a tech company, but they will pay for a hotel room if he decides to spend a day in-person.

    1. MK*

      The length of the meeting isn’t the only factor here. It would be over the top to drive 3 hours for a 6 -hour regular meeting. It wouldn’t be too much to drive 6 hours for a half-hour meeting about his future in the company after what sounds like colossal changes right after he started there.

    2. Alanis*

      I interpreted this comment as , if you’re making a 6 hour drive, might as well pack in some other activities at that location that could benefit you such as networking with the rest of your team. The 121 with the new boss is the important thing, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing that happens at the destination.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I wonder if husband is planning on some of this as well, but hasn’t explicitly said he’s hoping to do this as well.

        This whole situation is messy and jumbled, going in person to get a pulse check and meet the new boss seems like a good use of time to me.

    3. Katie*

      I agree with this sentiment. I fully understand the desire to have a face to face meeting with his boss and don’t think it’s off base to want to have it. However, if he is already there, he should make the most of it!

      It’s a possibility that the other people can’t meet in person either, but I think it’s worth a try.

    4. WellRed*

      Oh I totally agree. Would be nice if company to pay for hotel and maybe arrange a small dinner or such?

      1. Boof*

        I wouldn’t start asking the company to reimburse costs of commute (or hotel) in this scenario

    5. hbc*

      I assume he’s not going to have an eight hour working day composed of six hours of driving, one hour of meeting with the boss, and one hour of answering emails. When I’ve done something like this, I’ve left at 6am to have plenty of time for the tour, meeting other people, and so on before leaving around 3 or 4pm. It makes for a long day, but I consider it a natural part of being a salaried employee.

      If the new boss brought up dinner and a hotel, I’d take him up on it, but I wouldn’t bring it up. Not with someone I don’t know well to begin with, but definitely with there having been a recent issue with someone milking the company.

  6. Rich*

    OP1: It’s really easy to do business remotely. That’s entirely valid, and many jobs that went remote during the pandemic proved old assumptions wrong. Personally, I love remote.

    But that doesn’t mean you don’t lose something because of remote. I work in sales, where the heart of the job isn’t “getting stuff done”. A lot of my job is about connecting with people, learning what matters to them, building relationships, giving people a reason to want to work with me beyond “he sells a really nice widget”. A lot of the things I do in sales I do very successfully remotely, but those things are much harder to do remotely — and they matter. A lot.

    Those are also the kinds of things that I expect your husband means when he’s talking about “full attention”. It sounds like he feels like he’s in a precarious position, and he wants a more multi-dimensional relationship with the new boss. That’s easier to do in person.

    1. Allonge*

      Totally agree. Also, OP’s husband went from a situation where he knew his manager well to one where for all we know they may never have met in person. It’s a huge difference!

      We work hybrid so it’s not the same but for a first meeting or discussing something big like this I would do my absolute best to make it happen in person. And the manager said yes! It’s a win-win.

      OP, I do wonder if you may have other concerns like ‘will this happen often now’ or anything else. It’s a day; losing some productivity for one day is… it just happens in normal places.

    2. MK*

      I also wonder if the husband feels the new manager might share more about what really went on in an in-person meeting. Or if the feels he will be better able to gage his new boss’s attitude towards him in person.

      1. Allonge*

        I would not be surprised if that (or more open sharing in general) would be a major consideration. Stuff that is said on company Zoom is not exactly guaranteed to remain between the two speakers.

      2. OP1*

        I suspect this is partly why my husband wanted to meet in person too. He’s very good at getting information he might not otherwise get, and meeting in person means it can’t come back to bite anyone (particularly the new boss) if you can’t prove it happened. I think he’s planning on being very candid and his hoping that will make his new manager be candid with him.

  7. Can Can Cannot*

    LW2, I have heard that some companies have been offering to pay down an employee’s student loans. I wonder how hard a stretch it would be to get such a company to agree to provide a tuition payment for people without loans?

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Where do we stop with that though? The degree is a pre-req of the job, so in that sense the need for the degree is already “baked in” to having recruited OP in the first place. As Alison said the expectation is usually that ‘new’ education will provide additional benefit to the company.

      I don’t have a student loan either… can I get that $2400 towards my rent instead?

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        Probably the point where it stops is when it’s no longer an effective recruitment/retention tool.

      2. Perfectly Particular*

        Our company sent out a survey asking our thoughts on adding a student loan repayment benefit. I suggested that those of us with paid-off loans could get it as a 529 contribution for our kids/grandkids. Needless to say, that suggestion wasn’t enacted!

        1. Beth Jacobs*

          At that point, why not just increase salaries across the board? What’s the point in extra paperwork for making it a benefit?

          1. giraffecat*

            And, what about people without student loans or children? What do they get? It goes back to the “where does it stop”? question asked earlier.

            1. Boof*

              Yes unless companies get more bang for the buck somehow (idk, tax loophole?) higher salary or sign on bonus is better than specialized gimmicks

              1. Cmdrshpard*

                The CARES Act suspended taxability on loan repayment programs through 2025 up to $5kish a year.

                So yes $5k a year in loan repayment is worth more than a $5k a year salary increase.

                Even before/after the tax exemption from the companies perspective a $5k loan repayment is a limited benefit/offer once you are done with the loan the company is no longer on the hook for that $5k a year, and it does not get counted as part of your yearly raise compared to just a $5k annual salary increase it would get compounded by raises and keep going on indefinitely.

            2. Esmeralda*

              Oh, people are offered all sorts of benefits they will never use. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be offered. It seems rather dog-in-the-manger to object to this or that benefit, because not everyone gets to use it. And really, who cares “where will it stop!?!” That’s up to employers to decide.

              I imagine folks are thinking, well, there’s a limited benefits-pie, and if someone else gets a slice, there’s less/none for me. But you know, maybe they can bake a bigger pie.

              My university offers free tuition for children of employees. My son had no intention of staying in state for college, much less attend the university literally a 15 minute walk away that employs his parents. So I didn’t get to use that benefit, and I have colleagues who are childless. Does that mean the university shouldn’t offer it?

              I can also take classes for free. Never used that benefit. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be offered.

              Inexpensive legal services. Never used that benefit. My feelings are not hurt if they offer this benefit.

              EAP. Never used that benefit. It takes nothing away from me if they offer it.

              1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

                Yep. My work offers 6 months paid parental leave. I’m not having kids, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful for other people. All benefits need to be equally available to everyone, but not every employee needs to use the benefit for it to be fair.

              2. Curmudgeon in California*

                Seriously. I’m CF, but I don’t resent employers that offer family health coverage. It makes my coworkers who are parents less stressed about medical care for their kids. Same with parental leave.

                But if you don’t have student loans, why not a choice of either a 529 contribution or a 401k contribution? Then you cover everyone.

              3. Perfectly Particular*

                Oh yeah. Forgot to mention – they literally framed it as “we’re looking to change our overall benefits plan – what would you think if we offered these benefits as an alternative to part of your pension?” So they ended up adding the student loan benefit, and as of 2026, they will be decreasing pension plan contributions across the board. It’s fine, we’ve never really included the pension in our retirement planning anyway, but I’ve worked for this company for over 20 years, and was paying student loans until last year. That $ could have gone a long way toward my kids college fund or our retirement!

            3. Lydia*

              I have one and not the other and I cannot care less if someone gets to take advantage of something that benefits them, but that I have no use for. Equity isn’t about everyone getting the exact same thing; it’s about them getting the thing they need and each person’s need will be different.

          2. Perfectly Particular*

            It makes sense for the company b/c they can offer it at a flat rate and not include that $ in your annual % increase.

        2. starfox*

          I don’t have student loans or kids… and I would be happy for my coworkers to be able to pay back their student loans, even if I don’t “get anything.”

          Me having the privilege of no student loans doesn’t mean others shouldn’t have them paid off….

          1. Lydia*

            It’s such a weird position to take that if I don’t need something, it’s not fair to offer it. It’s definitely in the same world as, “I paid off my student debts, so it’s not fair if you get yours forgiven.” What an mean-spirited mindset.

            1. Perfectly Particular*

              See comment above – we were actually being asked about trading off retirement benefits for student loan benefits. I agree that if its just an extra benefit, I would be happy for anyone to have access to it. As someone with a lot of tenure, I want to work for a company that attracts really talented/desirable young employees.

      3. EPLawyer*

        “The degree is a pre-req of the job, so in that sense the need for the degree is already “baked in” to having recruited OP in the first place.”

        Which the salary paid should reflect that. Think of the higher salary due to the need for a degree as tuition reimbursement.

        If its not, well, they aren’t going to doing retroactive tuition reimbursement either.

    2. Less Bread More Taxes*

      I recently started a new job that doesn’t offer any loan help and also only does tuition reimbursement for future education (I asked). It’s a little annoying because my degree is not necessary for the job but is a huge benefit. Normally I think I’d be happy to stay here longterm, but financially it makes more sense for me to look for a company that does offer loan help in some way after I’ve been here for a couple of years.

      1. Aurelia*

        Is loan help more valuable than a better salary, though? I’m always curious when I hear about these “benefits” because they seem more like a marketing gimmick than anything else. It’s taxable income exactly the way your salary is, so saying “we offer $3000/year in student loan assistance” is pretty much just saying “we offer $3000/year more in salary, do the math to compare that to other job offers.”

        1. LawBee*

          Yeah, it seems like a good idea but I don’t see how it’s different than just a higher salary.

          1. doreen*

            I can see how it’s better for the employer – the reaction to eliminating a benefit is not the same as the reaction to a pay cut. Sure , people won’t like it if the employer eliminates tuition reimbursement or an extra payment for not taking insurance or a transit pass or … – but the reaction will be a whole lot worse if there is there is an actual pay cut for the same amount of amount.

            1. Jukebox Hero*

              Additionally, not everyone may have student loans (or choose to participate in an employer-sponsored repayment program). It might cost the employer less to put money into a repayment program for some than salaries for all.

              1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

                This is likely the main reason these things are offered as a benefit rather than just raising the salaries across the board. 50% of your 100 employees being eligible for loan repayment of $3000 is a whole lot cheaper than all 100 getting a $3000 increase, especially because it is finite. Once the loan is done, the extra money is done, whereas a salary bump remains until the employee leaves

          2. Lydia*

            Because your loan still accrues interest so if you can get a little “free” boost that doesn’t come out of your pocket, it’s beneficial.

        2. londonedit*

          And it would never work here because your student loan payments are automatically calculated and taken straight out of your pay cheque as a percentage of your salary – so if my employer started giving me £100 a month to cover my student loan, my student loan payment would go up. Obviously the extra money would help, but it would effectively just be £100 a month more on my salary, and that would mean I’d pay more in tax/NI/pension/student loan.

        3. Less Bread More Taxes*

          No of course it’s not more important. But I am very happy at my company so far, and ordinarily would be happy to stay here for the next 5+ years even though it would make sense financially to move on to a bigger salary after a few years. However, because there is no loan assistance, I feel pushed to find something new within the next 2 years that either offers that increase in salary or loan assistance or both.

          1. Aurelia*

            > because there is no loan assistance, I feel pushed to find something new within the next 2 years that either offers that increase in salary or loan assistance or both.

            Obviously more money is better no matter what bucket it comes out of, but I’m curious about the lack of loan assistance being what pushes you to move on. All the comments I’ve seen so far make it sound like a couple thousand bucks a year at best. Not nothing, but a gap that would be closed with a normal annual raise. I wouldn’t leave a job I otherwise liked over that, but maybe I’m misunderstanding your priorities.

          1. Esmeralda*

            But so what? My university offers a tuition benefit to children of employees. If I had been able to use that benefit, that’s a $10K/year that I did not get. Nor does any employee who does not have children, whose children already have their undergrad degree etc.

            My degrees are all paid for, loans paid off long ago…and yet, I am not personally harmed in any way if my employer helped other employees pay off their loans (they don’t, I wish they did). Or any other benefit others use that I do not. In fact, I think benefits like this attract good candidates and encourage good employees to stick around. Which is a benefit to me.

      2. WellRed*

        Because it can be presented as a benefit but many if not most employees will take advantage of it whereas a straight salary increase across the board costs more and can’t be used fro bragging rights.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          That is one reason why tuition reimbursement is a more offered than loan repayment. Less people will go to school while at the company than those who college loan repayments from previous schooling.

          But also college loan repayments seem a less fair benefit to me. It’s impacted by so many variables. What about the employee who paid off his loan already? Paid if off early by making extra payments and isn’t eligable college loan repayment scheme even though the degree is required for his job too? I’m sure there would be a cap, but people who went to community college and public univerities will likely have smaller loans (and possibly pay them off sooner) than people who went to prestage private schools, but during hiring the suffer from competition with people who have the famous brand name university on the resume.

        2. Aurelia*

          Sure, which I think falls back under my reference to “marketing”. Offer a minor benefit to gain goodwill with little effort on the employer’s part, that catches people’s attention and might distract them from the other benefits you do or don’t offer.

    3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I was interviewing at a few places that had student loan reimbursement as a benefit. Pretty much all of them were about $100 a month and several had a cap on what they would reimburse and you had stay various lengths of time. It’s not nothing but it wasn’t enough to matter when comparing offers from companies that didn’t offer it.

      It’s a nice perk but I wouldn’t take a job solely for that benefit or dismiss one because it’s not offered.

      1. Aurelia*

        That’s kind of what I figured. I wonder how many employers have job candidates going “I don’t have student loans so please increase my offer by $1200/year to match”.

    4. Generic Name*

      I don’t have any student debt. My parents paid for my college, and I had an assistantship for grad school. Even though extra thousands of dollar sure would be nice, I think it would be unreasonable for an employer to do that. I mean, I’m getting a higher salary because of my degrees already.

  8. Skytext*

    LW 1: driving six hours is no big deal. I worked an hour from my last job, so two hours per day. That’s 10 hours per week! Every week! So 500 hours per year. So put in that perspective, do you really think 6 hours once per year, or possibly even just once during his tenure, is a lot? And Zoom doesn’t hold a candle to an in person meeting.

    1. AlliterativeApple*

      A 1hr each-way daily commute which the employee is expected to bear the costs & time commitment of is vastly different to a single 6hr round trip for a one hour meeting, for which the company is likely to have to pay for. It’s an entire day’s work for a one hour meeting, and I can see why the OP is concerned about a waste of resources (not to mention the mental/physical toll on her husband driving 6 hours in a day and what might be an intense/emotionally charged meeting).

      I do agree with the husband and Alison – a face to face meeting in this scenario seems appropriate, and I like the suggestion above of maybe staying in a hotel and having a full day at the office rather than just a single meeting. But it’s in no way equivalent or even comparable to a daily commute.

      1. MK*

        Eh, I think the concern is somewhat overblown: the “waste of resources” is literally one day of work and the manager is fine with it, driving 6 hours in one day, considering it’s a one time thing, is not much of a physical toll for an otherwise healthy person (I have driven that much for day-trips) and, as for the emotionally chanrged meeting, one, sometimes it’s necessary to have difficult discussions at work and, two, the husband is the one who asked for this, so I am guessing he considers it worth it for his peace of mind.

        1. ceiswyn*

          “driving 6 hours in one day, considering it’s a one time thing, is not much of a physical toll for an otherwise healthy person”

          It isn’t? I’m an otherwise healthy person (I walked 52.4 miles in under 24 hours a couple of months ago) and six hours of driving in one day a) leaves me completely exhausted the next day and b) makes my back hurt. A lot.

          1. ceiswyn*

            (Also, I spent years commuting 1.5 hours each way depending on traffic, and that was Not The Same.)

          2. MK*

            Ok, change that to “many people”. I do occasionally drive that much in a day, and so do my coworkers. It’s exhausting, but we function ok the next day, and we certainly don’t suffer severe pain, and we are all in our 40s+. I realize not everyone can do it easily, but for many people it’s hardly a gruesome trial.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              My job involves a lot of rural and remote work. I’ve definitely driven for 3 hrs for a 1 hour meeting more than once. It ends up being an 8ish hour day. 3 hrs is my outer limit for day trips, though. More than that and I’ll stay overnight assuming lodging is available. One place I go the closest hotel is 1.5 hrs away from where I need to be and where I need to be is 3 hrs from my house, so even for 8 am meetings I just drive in day of

          3. doreen*

            I think that depends a lot on the individual person and the exact situation – when I was 30, I could drive 3 hours each way and spend 6 hours at my destination all in one day with no problem. I can’t do that anymore but I can drive to a destination 6 hours away in one day and stay there at least overnight before driving the six hours back.

          4. Joielle*

            Which might be a consideration if the company had asked the husband to make the trip in person – but the husband is the one who wants to do it. I think we’re safe to assume that he hasn’t volunteered for a task that will leave him in severe pain (or if he has, that’s his decision to make after weighing potential benefits).

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        What resources?

        Serious question. The lost time is akin to taking a day for a medical appointment.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          The resources is 6 man hours of work or output of work. The husband is spending 6 hour driving instead of working. Since he’s driving to a business meeting it’s counted as work but it’s 6 work hours that he’s not producing work.

          If he were taking a day for a medical appointment that would be a day of PTO/sick time that is accounted for in his benefits.

          1. Person from the Resume*

            And let’s pretend I used “Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)” instead of the words “man hour” from the start.

            I wouldn’t make the drive myself, but I understand why the husband thinks this meeting is so important. As long as the boss understands that too, it’s not a problem. If the boss was fully and absolutely bought into “a Zoom meeting is just a great as an in person meeting”, he could see it as a waste of most of a work day. But if that were the case a good manager would relay that to the employee and stop him rom doing it.

          2. Myrin*

            With utmost sincerety – do these six hours really matter in the context of a one-off situation with a clear, business-related objective and in a salaried position?

            Husband might as well feel kind of “meh” one day and dawdle around more than anything and at the end of the day have only produced what amounts to two hours of work when focused and motivated – that’s the same outcome.

            1. Person from the Resume*

              I was just answering Falling Diphthong question and not making a judgement on if it matters. I could matter to the boss; it might not.

            2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Additionally, sometimes in business you take what looks like a short term loss to ultimately get to a long term win. If sacrificing a few hours now (the driving time for the meeting) gets husband’s job and productivity back to where everything has been before the chaos with the prior manager who was fired – then to me this is the perfect definition of short term loss, that gets a long term victory.

        2. Antilles*

          I guess you could point out that the company might be expected to pay for his gas…but a three hour drive each way is equal to a couple hundred miles. If we say it’s 400 miles, that’s like $100 of gas if they just pay his gas directly; if we say they’re using the full federal reimbursement rate, it’s around $250.
          That’s not something to do trivially because costs add up, but as a one-off expense it’s not really much in the context of a department budget.

    2. Aurelia*

      Eh, a 6h round trip in a day is going to be way more exhausting than a 2-hr commute *for that day*. I don’t think OP’s interpretation of the situation is correct, but I don’t think we need to play this game of “who has it worse”.

    3. Lynca*

      I’ve done 6-8 hour drives for work and they’re tiring. My 2 hr. round trip commute isn’t nearly as bad as a long-haul and I’m someone that finds driving somewhat relaxing (barring really bad traffic). And there are definitely people that think I’m weird for that!

      Also some people just really hate driving/find it stressful so that long in the car would be a big deal to them. That’s fine. The people like me are here to balance that out (and drive for them). You can’t take your personal experience/preference and expect it to work for everyone.

      As long as OP’s husband thinks he can do it safely, she should trust that.

      1. Hg*

        Well said! I hate it when people say – – – is no big deal! Especially when it comes to driving . No big deal for one person can be a huge deal for someone else!

    4. I should really pick a name*

      Whether or not a 6 hour trip is a big deal is very specific to the person making the trip.
      It might not be a big deal to you, it might be a significant hardship for someone else.

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        And, regardless of if OP thinks it’s a big deal or not, OP’s husband AND husband’s boss see value in it (or, at the least, don’t see the length of the drive as a reason to not meet in person) for this “very complicated crazy series of events.” OP should trust their husband’s judgment of his industry and company. My husband is a teacher and while I might offer an alternate suggestion when he’s talking about an issue with his administration or a parent, it’s always couched by “but I’m not in education so that may not be appropriate.”

    5. Rain's Small Hands*

      And time the meeting to the end of the day and it isn’t six hours of “company time” – although remote workers for tech companies tend not to work eight hour days anyway. So it isn’t like six hours in the car is completely on the company’s dime – since he can work a few hours in the morning, drive for an afternoon meeting, meet the in person team, drive home after work hours – and then work evenings and weekends anyway.

    6. Dwight Schrute*

      Speak for yourself! I would hate to make a 6 hour trip for a short meeting, and would take my hour long commute over that any day

  9. Aubergine*

    Employer tuition reimbursement plans are generally set up according to IRS tax code §127. It seems unlikely that they can reimburse for tuition incurred when the individual was not an employee.

    1. MicroManagered*

      Yup. I was coming here to say that. Companies do it because it’s a way to give a tax-free benefit under the internal revenue code.

    2. Just a thought*

      The code 127 does allow for this on a non-taxable basis through 2025 capped at roughly $5k per year. The fact that it’s not taxable is one of the reasons more companies are offering it right now. We’re getting ready to start a plan that will directly pay your student loan servicer your minimum payment up to $250/month.

    3. L.H. Puttgrass*


      Technically, the employer could reimburse whatever they want. But anything outside the limits of § 127 would be considered taxable compensation to the employee, at which point the company might as well just increase the employee’s salary by the same amount instead of “reimbursing.”

  10. Kate in NZ*

    In NZ the resignation letter proposed in letter 5 is completely standard. Accrued leave belongs to the employee and must be taken or paid out in full (annual leave only, accrued sick leave is not paid out). Is that not the case in the US? You can accrue leave and lose it if you resign?

    1. FireDragon UK*

      I’m in the UK and taking paid tone of on your notice period is absolutely standard practice. But our notice period will be 1 month minimum, and increasing depending on your seniority.

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        Same in NZ – usually 4 weeks’ notice (but often less if you’re part-time, prorated on your hours). I think taking annual leave during the notice period would be discretionary – you’re supposed to be handling over and finishing up, but paying out annual leave can be such a massive cost you may be able to negotiate. But I’m not 100% on that, I’ve never tried.

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        In the UK I have encountered caps on being paid for leave/TOIL/flexi but only where it exceeds your statutory entitlement, and where you’ve been warned to take it and you didn’t. So for example statutory is 26 days and employer offers 30 plus flexi with 5 carrying over, and you’re trying to carry over 8.

        But when resigning I’ve generally worked my full notice period and then been paid for any accrued leave afterwards – that usually leads to a nice pay period where you’re paid by both your old employer and the new employer.

      3. Bagpuss*

        Yes, In the uK you are entitled to be paid out for statutory leave accrued but not taken, whether contractual leave is paid out is dependent on your contrct so could be capped.
        hTheemployer can also require you to take time as leave rather than paying you out, subject to giving you diffocient notice.

        In my expeirnece it’s very common for people to take their leave at the end of their notice period (so if they have 5 days leave remaining and give 4 weeks notice, their last day in the office would be at the end of three weeks, but theyir employment would bot ned til the end of week 4)
        It lets people have a bit of time between ending one job and starting the next, and to still get paid.

        In cases where someone has a lot of leave built up and a longer notice period it’s also pretty common for the epoyer to require them to use some of it us as leave rather than getting it paid out .

        In the LWs case however, it sounds as though she would do better to take the accrued leave then hand in her notice to avoid losing it, unless she is sure that her employer will allow her to take it durinbg her notice period.

        1. anonforthisone*

          Or, as a (now former) colleague recently did, took all the leave accrued and went in a week. Handover does not appear to have been great, and personally, I’d split the difference between taking the leave and being paid for it! (we have to give 4 weeks notice).

          I did work for one place where it was a week’s notice for every year worked there, and they made me work all 6 weeks and paid out leave (when normally, they’d let you work the standard 4 weeks notice unless you were a manager – which I wasn’t). I was so annoyed! (Call centre, and I was answering a line they were losing the contract one – so they didn’t want to have to recruit anyone new to cover it…)

    2. Aubergine*

      In most states, yes. Use it or lose it. Some states, like CA, do not allow that. If it is earned, it belongs to the employee and must be paid out. So, companies often will place a limit on the amount of unpaid leave that can accrue. Once the accrued bank reaches that limit, the employee cannot earn anymore PTO until the bank is drawn down. It’s legal even if vile.

    3. Katie*

      I think her company’s policy is that they will pay you out but only up to X amount of hours that you actually accrued
      My company is like this. I am over that limit right now. I have until the end of the year to bring it below said limit before I lose it.

    4. Asenath*

      I’m in Canada, and I could lose excess leave at the end of the financial year (not the excess of one year’s worth of leave; it was larger than that). Naturally, I ensured that I was below the cut-off, even though for some years I didn’t take my full allocation of vacation. I had had a job where I was approved to work extra in lieu of pay, and then when I left, it suddenly wasn’t official, OK, that’s a bit harsh, the person who had approved had left, and I had a very difficult time proving that I was now owed pay in lieu of leave that I hadn’t taken. I did succeed, in the end. I suspect some of my superiors are convinced to this day I was running a scam, but at that point, due to a lot of factors, I didn’t care what they thought or how many bridges I burned, I wanted my money if they weren’t going to give me the paid leave I was earned. After that, I watched such benefits with an eagle eye. I had a similar arrangement with another job, the final one I mentioned at the beginning, and made sure I used most of the leave owing me before I left, and so had under the official limit to be paid to me in cash.

      1. londonedit*

        We have the same in the UK – where I work our leave year runs 1st January-31st December, and you can take 5 days over into the next year, but those 5 days have to be used before the end of March. If you don’t use them before then, you’ll lose them, or if you have say 8 days left at the end of December then you’ll lose 3 of them on 1st Jan. Technically you can also be made to pay back any holiday time in cash (out of your last pay cheque) if you’ve used more than you’ve accrued by the time you leave, but in practice that’s usually discretionary and doesn’t always happen). It’s absolutely standard to pay out any unused accrued holiday when someone leaves a job, though, and I’ve also seen people take holiday as part of their notice period (which as someone above says, would usually be at least a month and possibly 3-6 months depending on seniority – holiday is always with your manager’s approval, so there might well be managers who don’t like people taking holiday while working their notice, but if you have a 3-month notice period then a week or two out of that is hardly going to be noticeable). We also have a system where you can cash out holiday up to a certain number of days (I think again it might be 5 days in any year) while you’re working for the company.

        1. Bagpuss*

          I would guess that that’s contractual leave, as you can only carry over statutory leave in very specifc situations (maternity or long term sick leave being the main ones)

          We have a similar provision to you – contractual leave can be carried over but if it is not used (or explicitly extended) you do eventually lose it.

          If you have taken more leave than you have accued when leave then the surplus will be deducted from your final pay.

    5. OutofOffice*

      At least where I work (in the US), you can lose accrued time even if you don’t use it that year. For example, if I earn 5 weeks vacation in a year and don’t take any vacations in that period, I lose 3 of those weeks and only carry over 2 weeks into the next year. I’m also pretty sure we don’t do any vacation payouts if someone resigns. I believe it’s the manager’s discretion if someone wants to take time off during a notice period.

    6. Ann Ominous*

      In the US military, you can normally accrue 60 days before you start losing whatever you accrue above that.

      They waived it for COVID to 120 days (I think, it’s been a while) for a year or two.

      One thing I really appreciate is how we get every federal holiday off, plus 4-day weekends whenever there’s a holiday, as well as the standard 30 days every year. Plus unlimited sick leave.

    7. doreen*

      The LW says the company will pay up to a certain amount and the LW has more than that amount and will lose the excess unless she takes it. I know there are countries ( and states in the US ) that require annual/vacation leave to be paid out – but in almost every case where I’ve seen details described, there was some sort of limit to how much could accrue generally set by the employer. Either it was a limit of X days , or Y years vacation accrual or vacation days don’t carry over from one year to the next but there was some sort of limit so that someone couldn’t earn 25 vacation days a year, use only 10 a year and then get paid for 150 vacation days when they leave after 10 years.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        It couldn’t hurt to compare the company handbook against state law where LW resides, just for ease of mind.

        I work in a state that does not require this. I also work for a “use it or lose it” employer. But my employer does it correctly – we’re to provide appropriate notice to them we won’t be there as we’ll be on vacation, we don’t have to ask permission.

      2. fhqwhgads*

        The way I’ve seen the law written (but may vary by state) is generally: if accrued vacation is considered earned income, it must be paid out. There cannot be a cap on how much can be paid out. There cannot be a cap on how much can carry over (unless the not carried over part is paid out instead of carrying over). There can be a cap on accrual. That’s a separate thing.
        Taking your example, if there’s no carryover, they couldn’t earn 25 vacation days a year, use only 10 per year, and then get paid out for 150 when leaving after 10 years. Instead, they’d earn 25 days a year, use only 10, get paid out for 15 at the end of each year. And they could do that for 10 consecutive years.
        If there is carryover, but there’s an accrual cap of 25, they’d stop acruing every time they hit 25, and only resume accruing when they used some. In the final year of working there, if they used 10, depending on when in the year that happened, they might have acrrued some more in the meantime and then get paid out for more than 15, but it depends on the timing. But with the cap, the max they’d get paid out is whatever the cap is (assuming they capped out and used none before leaving).

        1. doreen*

          That’s why I said “some sort of limit” – every state has different laws, of course but saying that “once you accrue X days of leave you won’t earn anymore until you use some” or “once you have accrued twice the number of days you earn in a year, you will stop accruing leave” is still effectively a limit on how much is paid out – you won’t be paid for more than X days or more than twice the number of days earned in a year. And of course , plenty of states don’t consider vacation to be earned income, but simply require employers to pay if they have a policy or practice of paying.

          1. All Het Up About It*

            Yes. I work in a state with the vacation payout, but not sick payout. My understanding is that if a company allows for PTO all lumped together, that would count as vacation and a company would have to pay it, which could be why we see less of that in companies here. Or if they do have PTO they have very strict caps on what can be rolled over to the next year. Because despite this law, companies are still allowed to have use it or lose it policies.

            OP could work in a state where the law doesn’t require it, but the company still pays something, or they could work in a state where law allows for a cut off. Or one that makes a distinction between Vacation time and PTO.

    8. Person from the Resume*

      It is not nationally and only in a few states mandated that companies must pay out your leave. So any leave not taken is lost to the employee. A lot of companies will pay out to certain limit which is what the LW mentions.

      It’s smart (if possible and allowed) for an employee to know that they’re job hunting and likely to leave to take most of their leave to almost nothing before resigning.

      Also with only two weeks notice being standard in the US, it is understandable why the company may not want you to give 2 weeks notice and then take some or all of those days of leave. Defeats the purpose of the notice period.

      Specifically for the LW, he can take his two weeks of leave (that won’t pay out), then put in his four weeks notice and work until then. That’s not quite the order he wanted; he wanted his 2 weeks of leave after his notice period, not before. But he risks the company ending his employment before they have to pay him while he’s on vacation for two weeks.

      It makes financial sense for the company to have him work his 4 weeks notice and remove him from the payroll allowing that “extra” two weeks of PTO to vanish into thin air and the company keeps the money instead of paying him for his leave the final two weeks. It doesn’t make sense in the employee morale sense and other employees may notice that he got screwed out of two weeks of paid leave and adjust their own plans.

    9. Nicossloanico*

      All our leave is completely uncompensated when we leave. It doesn’t roll over anyway, so you lose anything unused at the end of every year.

    10. NotAnotherManager!*

      Unless explicitly protected by state law or by some sort of collective bargaining/employment contract (not a thing in my industry), US employers do not have to pay out accrued leave and can have policies against taking leave during notice period. My organization is considered “generous” because we will pay out up to 3 weeks of leave when people depart and allows carry-over at year end of up to 6 weeks.

      However, we generally do not allow PTO during the usual two-week notice period absent extenuating circumstances (like someone who recently left and got COVID his last scheduled work week – obviously not denying PTO to someone who is ill); longer notice periods are more flexible on that. We can’t require specific notice periods, though.

      All of this is in the staff handbook and covered during onboarding/orientation.

  11. iliketoknit*

    Re: LW#1, I think the husband driving for an in-person meeting appropriately signals to the new manager how important this meeting is to the husband, which is a message worth sending to set the appropriate tone. In the same way that an interview is a 2-way street, this kind of meeting isn’t just about the husband making the company comfortable, but the company making the husband comfortable. So I don’t think this is a context where the husband’s highest priority needs to be saving the company’s resources at all costs. (That doesn’t mean that anyone in his situation would *have* to do the meeting in person, as Alison said already, but I think there’s definitely a benefit to doing so.)

    1. OP1*

      iliketoknit- I love this response! This is definitely a good way to frame this from my husband’s perspective. And after reading through so many of these comments I believe I am now on my husband’s side too. :)

  12. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP1 (driving for meeting) I think it’s an acceptable use of time, assuming the new manager sees the importance of the meeting similarly to your husband (otherwise it does raise the question of priorities – especially if your husband is a manager himself or ‘senior’ in some other way as an IC).

    Can he prepare some talking points ahead of time (and circulate to the manager) in order to best prepare to make use of the meeting? 1 hr isn’t much when discussing these type of issues – I typically get a lot more out of these when I’ve had a chance to think about issues ahead of time.

    1. Allonge*

      Considering the fairly dramatic circumstances, I don’t think any sane manager would deny this meeting in-person (unless the team is in the middle of some kind of super involved time-sensitive project where every hour counts, which could delay things).

      A manager gets fired for selling trade secrets and more, there is going to be some clean-up to do and inevitably some loss of efficiency. Best to get these discussions out of the way as soon as possible, even if it costs the company a bit more.

      1. Observer*

        I agree. If the manager is going to get bent out of shape by this request I would think less of the manager. Even if the manager said no, I would expect them to not hold it against the employee. It’s a totally normal and reasonable request.

        OP, if the manager does hold it against your husband, that will give you some very important information.

  13. Ed123*

    #2 I’d assume that the tuition payment is already compensated in the salary. Since you already have a degree you make $2400 more than the ones without it.

  14. Allonge*

    LW3, gently, these are very strong emotions about a positive thing that someone else freely agreed to do (pay you for your work, the quality of which they are familiar with).

    Are you ok? It might help to talk to someone about this.

    1. bamcheeks*

      yes– it might just mean that you are not suited to freelance work, or that you need to spend some more time getting your head around what freelance work means. That adjustment where you have to declare your worth and feel OK demanding payment is a big one, and not everyone can make it! As Alison says, most people dramatically underestimate their rates when they first go freelance because when you’re used to the idea of a $25 hourly rate asking for $60 feels nuts. But it’s a very different calculation: that rate needs to cover not just your active-work time, but your taxes, insurance, computer equipment, software packages, disposables, and so on. If you were considering doing this full time, it would also need to cover the time that you were prospecting, marketing, developing leads, scoping projects, chasing up payments, paying your creditors and so on. If your employer had to pay another freelancer to do the work, that’s what the other freelancer would be factoring into their rates.

      It might be that you need to talk to a counsellor about this level of anxiety and strong feeling– or it might be that you need to talk to a small-business advice person just to fully understand what you’ve agreed to.

      And if you feel this is too overwhelming, that’s OK! It’s really OK to not be someone who can cope with freelancing: lots and lots of people can’t, and that’s quite normal. There are a bunch of skills and personality traits that successful freelancers need to have beyond “the specific skill that people are paying for”.

      What you shouldn’t do, however, is do the work substantially under a reasonable or market rate: that actively hurts you and other freelancers in your local market.

      1. Deanna Troi*

        Agreed. In my industry, it is common to ask around 2.5 times your salary to make up for all of the things you just mentioned.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      With the LW’s final question being why do I feel this way?, I do think it’s worth a discussion with someone / a therapist about her emotions about this.

      I do wonder if the LW understands that she’s responsible for her own taxes and how much benefits she’s lost and how much that really is. We don’t get any idea how the LW’s new rate compares to what she was earning there previously, but Alison is right that contractors are often paid A LOT MORE than employees because employees get taxes taken out and benefits that contractors have to pay for and account for themselves. Once she does her own taxes and considers the value of lost benefits, she may not feel greedy.

      Of course it depends, if the LW is on a family member’s health insurance or has a full time job while freelancing part time, she may not be taking on the cost of health insurance, but the value of the health insurance benefits should be included in the freelancing fee.

    3. 2 Cents*

      A former coworker left and then was contacted about freelance. She honestly didn’t understand how much she’d lose from being a freelancer versus a full time employee, so she, too, thought she was asking too much (and was risking not being hired as often or end up with a bad reference). I explained basically what Alison said (plus said she could add more for frustration, as our old company wasn’t the best), and probably still be underselling herself. The business is stacked against freelancers unless you’ve been doing it a long time, have insider knowledge or been blessed with a good mentor, which many of us have not.

    4. Girasol*

      I can understand how OP feels that way. We all know our corporate salaries but few workers know their “total compensation package:” how much more money the company spends on their insurance, vacation, and other benefits. It may be that OP is not actually making more than before, but it looks like a lot more because it’s all in cash. It may be that OP’s skills and knowledge of the business were very valuable but wildly underpaid. The company, realizing that they’d taken OP for granted, knew they’d have to pay top dollar to get a newbie who wouldn’t be worth anything until they had trained on, and decided that paying OP lots more for their experience was a good deal. And then there’s also the mysterious contract premium. I’ve seen this before: a company pooh-poohs the advice of an employee but bends over backward to get an outside contractor who offers the same advice. But it’s suddenly very valuable because the contractor is charging an arm and a leg. I’ve seen frustrated employees quit, become contractors, return to do the same work, and it’s as if they’d suddenly gained contractor-juju: the company pays twice as much and hangs on their every word to boot. If I were an unappreciated worker turned first time contractor, I’d find that sudden change a bit overwhelming too. But that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with it. Toss the impostor syndrome aside and go celebrate, OP!

  15. Talullah*

    LW4: I was just in a similar situation, except the person in question worked directly for me (the vacant position would be a promotion to my level). Well, my boss asked me my thoughts, and I gave her my top-level/broad strokes opinion (Jane is good at X, but could use work on Y and Z… and I know Y and Z are important to my boss). I decided that I would only provide details if I was asked. Reader, I was not asked. But I felt it important to say something so my boss couldn’t ask me later why I didn’t speak up. (I should note I’ve worked with Jane on improving Y and Z, and it’s slow-going).

    After the interviews were done (which I was not a part of), my boss told me she was leaning towards Jane, and further told me she knew I had concerns but she could “mentor those out of her.” So I said okay. The promotion was announced this week. At this point, it’s my boss’s decision and she has to live with the consequences.

    1. LW4*

      @Talullah, thanks for sharing your experience. I think I’ll frame it that way – colleague’s skills in Y and Z could use work, and those skills are crucial for the position. At least this way they’ll be aware of my concerns and hopefully my boss takes that into consideration.

  16. Somebody Call A Lawyer*

    Alison — For OP4, is there a politic way to encourage the manager to speak to their colleagues when probing about X and Y? I know it’s a fine line between letting the manager know that the Jane problem is more widely spread than “OP4 has concerns” and coming across as stirring the pot, but it seems like it would be worth mentioning. Especially since Jane could gloss over issues when the manager probes about X and Y during interviews with her, or could — by being utterly un-self aware about how she actually operates — end up presenting a competent façade.

    Perhaps OP4 can swing that by not mentioning any colleagues by name, but rather by saying something like, “You might consider probing into X and Y during the interview process and asking team members who’ve worked with Jane when she’s had to do X and Y” (or Z and A relating to X and Y)?

    1. WellRed*

      That’s pretty much pointing giant blinking arrows at Jane. I see no reason to tiptoe around a well known problem if one in is a position to call attention to it.

      1. Somebody Call A Lawyer*

        Oh, to clarify — I didn’t mean not to mention *Jane* by name!

        I meant not to mention the OP’s other colleagues — the ones who also have had major issues with Jane — by name.

    2. Rain's Small Hands*

      I’d be tempted, since the manager appears to be fairly hands off, to suggest a team interview and team input. The manager of course gets to make the decision, but if the team gets to provide input, they will make their concerns about Jane known. Plus a fairly hands off manager is likely to want the help/need the advice/be willing to “delegate” this. And its quite possible that the team will discover that in this market, the pool of candidates means that the devil you know is a fine choice.

  17. Somebody Call A Lawyer*

    Re: OP5, I’m probably missing something, but would it possible to take the week of PTO first, and then put in your four-week notice after that?

    1. Anon all day*

      I’ve never been denied or concerned about getting PTO approved, but I don’t think I could take a week off in such a short time frame – usually one gives notice extremely soon after the job offer/acceptance.

      1. Somebody Call A Lawyer*

        Ahhh, I did miss something — the OP’s scenario meant the PTO fell within the 4 week notice. Thanks!

      2. doreen*

        I know it’s easy to assume the notice is being given because the LW has a new job – but the letter doesn’t actually say that. People leave jobs for other reasons that wouldn’t preclude taking a vacation and giving the four-week notice upon your return.

  18. MsSolo UK*

    LW1 – I think the meeting in person is absolutely fine, even with the drive (though I agree with wanda above that an overnight stay and meeting some other people in his team face to face would be a good move), but when you work full time remote and do the majority of your meetings over Zoom, it’s not the most tactful thing to announce to your new manager that you think “you do not have anyone’s full attention when you are talking through a screen”. Feels like you’re telling on yourself a little! Depending on the manager, there might be a bit of damage control to do in future remote meetings to demonstrate he of course wasn’t talking about his own focus and is definitely one hundred per cent present in all remote calls why do you ask?

    1. Anon all day*

      I read that bit as the husband’s reasoning given to the OP, not what he said to his boss.

    2. MK*

      He didn’t say that to his boss, just to the OP. But, though it’s not a diplomatic thing to actually come right out and say, it’s not untrue that one isn’t 100% present in all remote calls and frankly that’s fine for most meetings. For context, I am part of a panel that holds bimonthly meetings in my supervisor’s office, which is in a public building and she shares with two other people, so there are occasional interrruptions, all of us occasionally have to deal with an email or step ou to take a call, etc. For the majority of our work, that’s completely fine, but a couple of times a year we need to have an 100% focused, uninterrupted meeting, so we lock ourselves in a conference room and instruct the clerks not to interrupt us unless there is a genuine emergency.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        This is actually a really good point. I was more thinking LW was right here, but now that I think about what you said and how I am during remote meetings vs in-person ones with people directly in my face, it is actually different. It’s much easier to ignore my phones, email, etc. when there is a human being right across the table from me.

      2. Claire W*

        Once again can we please stop assuming that one person’s experiences are a universal truth?! Personally I am much more able to be present engaged in a remote call than in an in-person meeting, because I have a home office and no interruptions and work this way most of the time. If I’m in the office there are interruptions and people walking past, stopping to say hi, grabbing you for a chat when you go to make tea, knocking on a meeting room door to ask if you have time for a chat later (whereas when I’m at home I get a slack message and answer when I am available), etc.

  19. cncx*

    Re LW1, I agree with what a lot of other commentors have said, that this is OP’s husband showing he takes this seriously and to build rapport and so on.

    I also think it is worth it for the vibe check, I think an in person meeting will tell him more about what his manager is feeling in terms of OP’s husband’s place and role in the company, especially given his history with the manager who was let go. It’s harder to fake in person.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      My read on it is the new manager will be wanting to figure out whether the husband’s loyalty is to the company or to the ex-manager.

      The disconnect here could be if the husband is expecting the meeting to be fairly strategic involving a change of direction, resolving the issues in a broader way, where he fits into the organisation, etc. And the new manager intends the meeting to be a more mundane catch-up to understand current projects status etc that I imagine were left in a bit of an open ended state.

      1. OP1*

        This meeting is definitely supposed to be a “where do I fit in the company now” and strategic meeting, and I believe he’s told his new manager this, so that should be the expectation for both of them.

  20. bamcheeks*

    I’m actually kind of surprised that a one-off six-hour-round-trip is seen as extraordinary! I worked remotely for three years in the UK and that was pretty normal for things like quarterly team meetings or a first meeting with a new manager. even if most regular meetings were online. And generally whatever British people think is normal, you can double for North Americans!

    LW1, I’m also interested in the fact that you and your husband seem to have different ideas of the relative strength of his position here. You seem to be worried about his new boss disapproving of him for driving so far and making a bad impression. However, your husband is acting like someone who sees his position as comparatively strong and behaving more assertively, requesting a meeting to clarify what’s going to happen with his role going forward. I am another person who can definitely see the benefit in having that conversation face-to-face– as well as the thing about having someone’s full attention, I think it’s a good way to be able to see the other person’s body language and be able to form a full judgment about how far you trust them and whether you’re going to put stock in their words.

    I really like your husband’s attitude here, by the way– it sounds like he sees himself as someone who has options, and is seeking all the information he needs to decide which option to exercise (commit to this company despite the recent turmoil, or continue his job search.) That’s a good thing!

    1. londonedit*

      Yeah, I said above that it would be like me getting the train to Manchester or Leeds for a meeting – yes it’d make for a long day, but I’ve absolutely done that now and then to meet with an author on an important project, or for a photoshoot, or something like that. If your commute was 3 hours each way then that would be ridiculous (though where I live most people’s commutes are around an hour) but for a one-off important meeting I really don’t think 3 hours of travel each way is a huge deal.

      1. bamcheeks*

        The specific three-hour round trips I was thinking were Manchester-London and Leeds-London!

      2. JustInPassing*

        I do work with someone who lives in the midlands and used to commute in to our London-commuter-town twice a week, so he could afford a house. That was 2.5-3hrs each way, I believe, apparently the trade-off was worth it to him.

        I suspect he’s negotiated full-time working from home now, because it was ridiculous.

        1. Rain's Small Hands*

          I’m in the U.S. but worked with a London team for a while, and quite a few of them had long train commutes (over two hours) and would work from the office only two days a week. Though one difference is that in England its almost always a train commute – and you can get work done on a train. In the U.S. you are almost always driving – and you don’t get anything done on a drive expect maybe an audio book.

          1. JustInPassing*

            For London, yes, most commutes would be by train because driving in London is a fool’s game. But across the rest of the country offices are often relegated to “business parks” that very rarely have a train station, so most people are still driving, including the guy I mentioned.

      3. doreen*

        I had a “six hours of driving for a one hour meeting” once – it wasn’t for work exactly but for an organization in which I was an officer. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but it beat the “six hours of driving for a seven-hour meeting” that my job later required once a year.

      4. LB*

        Six hours on a train, where you can close your eyes and relax, isn’t really the equivalent of six hours of driving, though. The latter is far more exhausting.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I am personally Team Train all the say, but it varies enormously. My dad just loves driving and would nearly always choose a three-hour drive over a 2 hour train ride unless it’s like, into central London or he wants to be able to drink.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I think part of the “extraordinary” feeling is that the employee (the husband) asked for the meeting to be in person. If the boss had said “I want our first meeting to be in-person to get to know each other” it would feel a lot more normal.

      I agree that with the context of the recent goings-on at the company, it makes a lot of sense for the husband to ask to meet with his manager in person

  21. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (guilty about hourly rate) The answer assumes she’s freelance, but was this actually stated? The other possibility is that she intended to quit, but now (still as an employee rather than a freelancer) continues to work for the company, just with fewer hours. That might change the answer a bit, if she is now paid vastly more than (other) hourly employees for the same work…

    1. Michelle Smith*

      I strongly disagree that this person should limit themselves to what other hourly employees may or may not be paid. The company was eager to accept their rate, so my suspicion is that there is some serious undervaluing of their skills in their own head. Either the rate is reasonable and the company really values their skills, so is willing to pay the rate OR the rate is unreasonable in the other direction (meaning LW lowballed themselves) and the company is thrilled they’re getting such a bargain.

    2. Allonge*

      And it’s still not her problem to solve. I mean, it would be nice then if she shared info on her rates with colleagues, but it’s not OP’s responsibility to figure out how this fits with equal pay requirements.

    3. EPLawyer*

      She said she is freelancing. Which I can see the mindset if you are new to freelancing. You are still thinking in terms of an hourly rate for an 8 hour day. But you aren’t thinking about all the benefits that an employee gets that a freelancer doesn’t. Like HEALTH INSURANCE. Or a 401K match. Or even taxes taken out of the check.

      When OP figures the cost of those things, plus the self-employment tax, their rate will seem more reasonable.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Alison’s response says freelancing, but the letter just says “I quit my job and then decided to offer to stay part-time.”

        It’s possible Alison has more info than us but it’s also possible that was a misunderstanding. It slightly changes the details as they might not be responsible for their payroll taxes, but I don’t think it really changes the answer as they are either way likely losing other benefits they used to receive and the primary factor is that the company was happy to pay this amount so there is no reason to undercut themselves!

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      I don’t think the answer significantly changes because if that’s what the asked for and the company agreed then there is nothing to feel guilty about! But I do agree it sounded to me like they were switching to part-time rather than freelance–so they still likely are losing healthcare and PTO but the company is probably still paying the taxes.

    5. BJ*

      Even if she is part-time over freelancing, how much does that change the response? How much are employer payroll taxes/how much usually gets deducted from the employee’s pay check anyways?
      She notes the employer was eager to accept (so assuming there was no countering?), why would they accept if it wasn’t beneficial to them?

  22. Green great dragon*

    I’m in the minority here, but I’d be… surprised… if someone chose to spend 6 hours driving for a 1 hour meeting with me. I’d agree to it, and I wouldn’t hold it against them unless they started doing it regularly, and I know some people just require a bit more to manage but are well worth that extra time, but yep, interesting prioritisation. It would make more sense to me if they made a bit more use of the office time to meet a range of people… unless your husband is on the verge of resigning in which case that might be even odder. Can he squeeze in a couple more meetings and drive home a bit later, maybe balance it with a shorter day elsewhere in the week?

    It depends a bit what’s meant by ‘discussing his future at the company’. Is he looking for factual answers? Reassurance? For a career path to be set out? What’s the chance it will end up being much shorter than an hour, either because there are simple answers, or boss just isn’t in a place to say anything yet, or because he’s just covering the role temporarily and thinks the questions need to go to replacement-boss when they’re assigned?

    But I’ve been managing remotely since pre-zoom days and had to build relationships entirely over the phone and email, so Zoom’s already a step forward for us.

    1. Aurelia*

      I think it also matters if OP’s husband was hired remote or started off in-person and migrated, whether he’s the only remote person on his team or one of many, and whether he’d met his previous manager in person. But it’s true that while online interaction is an *alternative* to in-person meetings, it’s not always an adequate *substitute*. Given the interesting circumstances I could see the husband wanting to be able to read the new boss’s body language or even get a read on the general vibe of the office.

    2. Allonge*

      These are good questions but if the manager accepted the meeting, presumably they have something to discuss. I expect if things were still too vague or whatever, manager could say, let’s do this in a month or so?

      I also get the sense that OP’s husband has a lot of choices for alternative employment, so if he sees things are still messy here, the discussion may end with ‘thanks but no thanks then’.

      Totally agree on how he might as well meet other people as long as they are there.

    3. WellRed*

      But would your position change under circumstances such that the letter describes? This isn’t a regular old one to one. The husband is new and his manager left under rather unusual circumstances.

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        Exactly this! This isn’t really a more intense version of communication preferences. This situation could have a big impact on husband’s career. Husband could feel the company mishandled the situation and is worried about a similar fate. There’s a possibility that the company could view him with suspicion based on his connection to former manager and limit his opportunities. Heck, it could be as simple as his current project, which he enjoys, being totally thrown out or re-worked because of the former manager’s involvement. I feel like it would be extremely easy for new manager to say something vague and reassuring over zoom but in person, body language and the vibe from other co-workers could be much more informative.

    4. umami*

      I’m not sure the manager would actually know it’s a 3-hour drive, unless the husband makes mention of it. I honestly can’t say I know how long of a commute any of my staff have, because I don’t know where they live in our large metroplex. The OP thinks it’s weird because she knows it’s a 6-hour commute. What would seem potentially problematic to me as the manager is whether the employee is spending work time doing this commute and therefore not attending to their job, I wouldn’t want to find out I OK’d someone coming in for a meeting and they spent all day traveling for the meeting without me knowing and didn’t deliver on some key work items because of it, that could end up being the misstep. If everything is above board, then OP probably shouldn’t be concerned.

  23. LifeBeforeCorona*

    No.3 When I started my current job my manager pulled me aside and quietly told me to ask for $$ which was more than I thought I was worth. I did ask for the higher number and it was accepted without a question. Obviously they thought I was worth the money. Any residual guilt I felt at getting the higher rate vanished when I got my first paycheck and started putting a dent into my expenses. Look at it this way, they didn’t have to pay you more, they chose to accept your rate. Take the money, never tell someone you are worth less than they think you are.

  24. Cloud CEO*

    OP5: In some states, like Massachusetts, employers must pay 100% of accrued vacation time or PTO (if types of time off are not distinct). Unless you pass a date that limit carry-over, thus reducing your PTO and lowering the amount accrued, the company needs to pay it all.

    Also, in MA, the 4 week notice period would not be enforceable unless part of a specific employment contract that explicitly states that employment is not at will. In MA, if an employee quits in writing and provides a last day, the employer must pay the employee through that day, even if the employer tells the employee not to come in.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I think it is helpful for Cloud CEO to flag this just in case OP5 is in Massachusetts or a state with a similar policy, and also in case anyone from MA looks up this letter when they are in a similar situation.

    1. Nicossloanico*

      I think the way for OP to think about this is (and I admit, maybe I’m a bit biased against capitalism generally) – your company has chosen to play stupid games with vacation, so the consequence is that you will now take leave you otherwise wouldn’t have taken so that you can maximize your benefits. That was their choice, they could have structured their system another way. So Alison is right, as an employee your best option (if you can swing it) is to immediately schedule two weeks’ leave, then come back and quit, work out your notice period, and receive the rest of your payout. The fact that the company set it up that way to their own detriment is because they know a lot of jobseekers won’t be able to swing this schedule, thus they can get out of giving you all the leave you should have had.

  25. Michelle Smith*

    LW4 – I see no upside for you in having another conversation with your manager about that employee and only potential downside. I’d tread very carefully. You don’t want it to look like you’re trying to sabotage someone else on your way out. If anything, I would have suggested that you talk to that person directly, explain to them what the job details are, and encourage them to work on X and Y skill to be most successful in the position. Depending on the relationship and whether the person is receptive to constructive criticism, I might even tell them specifically that you think X and Y could be a perceived problem for them and that’s why you’re suggesting to work on it. That kind of feedback could help them become an employee who would be successful in the role.

    LW5 – My last organization had a specific policy that you could only take up to five days of leave time past your last working day, and only if you took no time off during your notice period. If you don’t have a new job lined up yet, I’d strongly suggest taking the excess leave time immediately and then coming back, resigning, and taking your payout. I had a new job lined up so I didn’t have the luxury of doing that and had to work my full 4 week notice period and only take my 5 days after. I did manage to push my start date back to a week after that 5 days so I basically had 2 weeks between jobs. It wasn’t enough but it was better than no break at all. I lost a lot of time (annual leave and sick time) but given that employers in my country (US) aren’t legally required to pay anything whatsoever for unused leave, I just have to live with it.

  26. L-squared*

    #1 Totally agree with Alison. Zoom is great and all, but there is really something different about meeting in person. And I think for important conversations like this one, it makes total sense. I’m not clear why you find this so odd.

    #4. I kind of disagree here. This seems like one of those things where you are inserting yourself into a situation that really isn’t your business, literally. You are leaving. No need to torpedo other people on your way out, especially unprompted. If, for whatever reason, your boss were to ask your opinion on a replacement, I think its fine. But someone reached out to you with a question about the job, and then you want to turn around an unprompted try to ruin their chances before they have even applied? Seems pretty sketchy. Maybe tell one of your work friends who is staying about it, and let them bring it up.

  27. Meowsy*

    Batting zero eyelashes at a 6hr round trip for an important meeting. I live in a rural state and have definitely done this on multiple occasions when the face to face aspect is important for the non-tangible outcomes of the meeting/partnership.

    1. Rain's Small Hands*

      And well-known tech company has a high chance of being in the Bay Area. MANY of my California coworkers around there had 90-120 minute commutes depending on traffic. I worked with a guy who started at six am because it cut his commute time in half over starting at 7. (He lived near Sacramento somewhere and worked near Santa Cruz).

      1. JustaTech*

        There was a time when there was a subset of folks who worked for Big Bay Area Tech who commuted in from Las Vegas (so, by plane) a couple of days a week. (Which is bonkers to me, but hey, if it worked for them.)

        I’ve also done things like spent ~40 hours in transit for a single on-site day (traveling to Europe from the West Coast), because some things do just have to be done in-person (like facility inspections).

        Three hours there and three hours back for a special, important, one-off meeting? Very reasonable, especially if you don’t instantly turn around and drive home but squeeze in some extra meetings while you’re there.

      2. anti social socialite*

        I’m sure it’s the same in any major city. I couldn’t handle getting up that early or a commute that long but it’s very common where I live.

    2. Sara without an H*

      Ditto. I used to live in one of the Large Western Square States, where long distances between cities are the norm.

      Depending on what time the meeting was scheduled, I might book a hotel room and make it an overnight, but I wouldn’t shy off from making the trip.

    3. Generic Name*

      Yeah, I just started a project where the client is a 2 hour drive away (and over a mountain pass/continental divide) and the project lead will be making the drive several times a month for meetings. Yes, the meetings could be done on zoom, but it’s important for relationship building. In the Midwest and western US, long drives are normal.

  28. Anonyone*

    LW3 – “I don’t deserve that much hourly, feel greedy, and feel like other coworkers deserve more than me.”

    But you know that money won’t go back to your co-workers. The only people who’ll benefit are the higher ups.
    Maybe you feel like this because you’re benefitting from quitting, which isn’t a story that usually gets told, even though it’s not uncommon.

    Just remember that when you were working for them, they were happy to pay you less and would still be paying you less if you’d stayed.

  29. Andi*

    #2 Hi, I’m the person who submitted this question. There is a new student loan program available until 2025 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in March of 2020. Here is a quote from Forbes on how it works:

    “Specifically, Section 2206 of the CARES Act created a temporary tax-free provision for employer student loan assistance programs. The provision works like this: An employer can make up to $5,250 in student loan payments for an employee within a year. Whether those payments are made directly to the employee or to the student loan servicer, the money is considered tax-free. This means the employee doesn’t have to pay income taxes on up to $5,250 afforded with this perk, yet the employer also gets a payroll tax exclusion on those funds.”

    I’m a healthcare provider, and programs like this are becoming common now as a recruitment tool in this industry, especially since there is a severe shortage of us due to COVID burnout. Usually the applicant has to sign a 2-3 year agreement to work for the company, and it’s only available to people with advanced degrees.

    Anyways, that was my reasoning. Thanks for the response!

    1. WellRed*

      Well then I would absolutely ask. If it’s a common thing in healthcare that changes the original question a bit.

    2. Aurelia*

      That’s important context and it changes my answer. I was thinking “your payment for the degree is you qualify for the job” but if this is a common recruitment tool then you’re not out of line for asking.

    3. Nancy*

      You have to ask your employer if they offer it and what you need to do to receive this. This is not tuition reimbursement. It is a student loan repayment benefit and doesn’t just cover loans taken while the person was an employee at the company.

      Tuition reimbursement is when employers offer to cover a certain amount of the cost for employees to go back for classes, certificate, or a degree and would not cover any classes taken before becoming an employee.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        Yep, its a different program, and it will require (because its taxes) getting set up, an administrator to process it, etc. So if it isn’t currently offered, it may be in the future, or it may have been evaluated and they determined that the overhead to offer it was too excessive or they don’t have the resources at the current time to pursue it.

        It isn’t just adding $5,250 to your check.

    4. hbc*

      Since it’s common in your industry, I think you could ask some version of “Does your tuition reimbursement plan include the new CARES student loan assistance program?” I don’t know how hard it would be to include you if it’s not already set up, but maybe it’ll at least get a ball rolling somewhere. How strongly you word your question should depend on how much this affects your willingness to take and keep the job without loan assistance.

      In just about any other industry, even asking the question would likely hurt you. It’d be like asking for moving expenses because you relocated a few months before you applied.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      Well, this is totally different than what was asked in the letter and changes the answer.

    6. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Unfortunately, Alison’s heading for your question was a bit misleading and her answer missed that tuition reimbursement is different than student loan repayment. As others have mentioned, tuition reimbursement is allowed under § 127 through the end of 2025. Companies tend to be a lot more willing to offer a benefit if there’s a tax advantage, which there would be in this case.

      So this is one of the rare occasions in which I disagree with Alison. You can absolutely ask if they have a student loan reimbursement program and it won’t be weird. I’d probably say something like, “I notice that you have a $2400 tuition reimbursement program. Would you allow the same amount in a student loan repayment program?” If nothing else, it will let them know that a student loan repayment program is something that applicants want!

    7. MCMonkeyBean*

      Oh, yes, if it’s becoming normal in the industry then there is definitely no harm in at least asking! Good luck!

    8. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      And I, that completely changes the question. Loan reimbursement is really standard right now in healthcare. Go ahead and ask about the programs that can help you.

      A lot of the prior “don’t do this” comments were coming from other industries with other norms/patterns I suspect.

    9. Vinessa*

      So, are you looking to find out if the employer is part of this program or would be willing to sign on? It’s not clear to me how this is related to the existing tuition reimbursement program that you mentioned.

    10. umami*

      Ah, then it’s not a tuition reimbursement, so be careful about using that phrasing. But definitely ask if this is something they are offering. Good luck!

    11. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Oh yeah, if you are in health care it is definitely a thing. Go ahead and ask!

  30. Gray Lady*

    Not only is it reasonable to ask for a higher freelance rate because you net less that way, but it also costs an employer much more than your hourly rate to employ you directly, because of all those taxes, benefits, and other hidden costs. So the likelihood that you’re actually costing them that much more is small, unless what you’re getting for freelance is really exorbitant compared to your former pay.

  31. Roz*

    LW #3 – I am about to be in your position (hopefully)! I just submitted some freelance services and project proposals to my current employer. I have been working towards self-employment and they are supportive and eager to keep working for me. I pitched an hourly rate that is double my hourly salary rate to cover admin/tax/benefit-losses. It took me over a year to feel confident asserting that hourly freelance rate. I had to write it out, break down the costs, look at the numbers and then look at what I can offer them (I’m in a niche sub-section of my field with a limited pool of qualified candidates are ever increasing need for competent and responsive workers.

    Even knowing that I’m pitching a fair price for what they are getting from me, I still have moments of the voice in my head saying “It’s too much, you are not being realistic, you aren’t worth that much”. But that voice is an asshat, and you should ignore your inner voice on this one.

    Allison is right. They are willing to pay you what you asked. You have set your price and they have agreed to it. Congrats!

    1. Nicossloanico*

      That feeling never quite goes away (“am I *really* providing this much value??) but for OP, I think of that old line about prostitutes; you’re paying them to leave. That’s what the companies are paying me for! They want me to come in and fix their problem and then they want to have zero responsibility or obligation to ever deal with me again, if they choose. They will cheerfully throw money at that compared to a salary role that has this ongoing commitment. Also, I found I had to charge more than double my FT rate because my freelance work is so inconsistent. That rate would work if I had roughly 40 hours a week of freelance work, but in my field, it varies wildly how much work I get in a month (and as Alison says, after you lose one-third to taxes, what about your vacation or sick time?).

  32. ENFP in Texas*

    LW#2 – Without the degree, you wouldn’t have been eligible for the job. Your “reimbursement” is in the form of “being eligible for higher-paid positions than you would have qualified for without the degree”.

  33. Aurelia*

    #5 – is the 4-week notice period a requirement to pay out your unused PTO or just something your employer “requires”? If the former, I think it would make sense to go back to your new employer and tell them that you’re forfeiting PTO due to your current employer’s payout cap and either try to push back your start date a couple weeks or see if they’ll give a 1-time bonus to cover what you’ll be losing. If the latter I would just take 2 weeks off (make a bunch of healthcare appointments too!) and give 2 weeks’ notice when you return.

  34. A Yellow Plastic Duck*

    “My company has a four-week notice policy.”

    This is a policy, not a law. You won’t go to jail for ignoring it

    Benefits are provided as compensation for your labor. What if the company cancelled your health insurance the moment you put in your notice? Why is cancelling your PTO right?

    Take your PTO, then give them two weeks notice.

    1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Careful here. I worked somewhere where, yes, that was the policy and yes I could have ignored it. But it means 1. I would not be resigning in good standing (meaning I was not eligible for rehire, which even if you NEVER see yourself working there again, no need to burn a bridge unnecessarily); and 2. (more importantly), I forfeited my vacation payout. Sounds like the person just wants to draw down time to the maximum payout, and this strategy could completely negate that.

      OP – is your new job open to you pushing out an additional 2 weeks? So, giving 4 weeks notice and then taking 2 weeks on the front end/back end/middle (whatever is most convenient for your current employer)? Additionally, if your current employer IS open to you charging 2 weeks at the end of your 4 week notice, is there any issue with you double dipping? (This could also help with health insurance eligibility, if in the US, or any paycheck lags, etc.) I know at the employer I was at that required 4 weeks, the rule was 4 weeks total, and if I needed to take additional time during my notice period, it meant I had to extend my notice period out by the same number of days.

    2. Malarkey01*

      The LW says it’s required to get their PTO payout which is incredibly common in states that don’t protect leave as earned benefits (which is the majority of US states).

  35. Anonymity*

    This is your HUSBAND’S employer and situation. Let him deal with it as HE sees fit. Be supportive.

  36. JK78*

    Op5 – I haven’t heard about your replacement, maybe I’m extra weird, but I thought the notice period (4 weeks) was partially so you could train in your replacement. Show them a few ropes and tips, perhaps if the next person is totally capable of taking over, 2 week notice would be good enough so you could do the PTO as well?

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Very often in white collar job your replacement won’t be hired before the notice period ends. The standard American two week notice period is not intended for you to train your replacement. Four weeks maybe could allow time to hire, but that’s still a lot faster than most hiring processes especially if the new hire needs to give two weeks notice at his current company first.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      Notice is to wrap up what you’re doing, not train your replacement. Most jobs hiring takes way longer than the notice period would be in the US.

  37. idwtpaun*

    LW3, I promise you, no employer in the history of employment ever felt guilty underpaying employees.

    You made a basic business deal—your skills at a certain rate—and the company accepted. And if the rate stops being acceptable to you for some reason (inflation, change in circumstances, whatever), you have every right to renegotiate! The company is not entitled to get you, or anyone, on terms only convenient only for them.

    As for why you feel this way, assuming you’re in North America, it’s safe to say you’ve spent your working life in a culture where employers position themselves as the great and benevolent bestowers of jobs on the greedy and undeserving masses. Think of how many letters about bad bosses on this website have bosses doing things like referring to employees’ salaries as “my money”.

  38. Coffee and muffins*

    #1 I agree with your husband and think he is right about doing this in person. However if I were your husband I would make sure the new manager knew I was 3 hours away and was essentially not available for the entire day of this meeting. I say this because it sounds like when your husband was hired they were likely building the case to fire his manager and may not have put much thought into that your husband is so far away or even remember that he is. With your husbands reference for the job being fired like they were it would look really bad for your husband to be MIA for the day.

  39. Captain Swan*

    For LW2, I have seen tuition reimbursement programs at at least 4 different companies and used them at 2 companies. They all worked more or less the same. The company would pay part or all of you tuition (up to a yearly cap) for a degree/training/certification that the company thought would enhance your value to the company. In exchange, the employee agreed to stay with the company for a period of time after the payment was made or the company could clawback the remaining tuition. There was also usually a years of service requirement to qualify.
    LW2 is better off trying for a signing bonus.

  40. Colorado*

    LW #1: You bet your ass I’d be in my car for 3 hours heading to a face to face meeting for the reasons your husband mentioned. I’m 50 and so much prefer face to face over phone/video for something this important.

  41. Michelle*

    For LW2 responses, the whole, “where do we stop” argument against student loan repayment can be applied to a whole bunch of other benefits. For instance, parental leave. First it was maternity, then paternity, and then adoptive parents. Those who aren’t NEW parents don’t get leave. So it benefits only those who take advantage of the benefit. Same with subsidized child care. A prior employer of mine subsidized the onsite child care. Those that used the on-site child care got the benefit of on-site, plus slightly lower costs. Those that used child care off site, didn’t get the benefit.

    They also paid actuaries to study for their exams on company time. Any other educational endeavor was not permitted the same benefit. If you had downtime and studied on a professional certification on company time, depending on your boss, you could get your hand slapped.

    Then of course, is the tuition reimbursement that is already in place at so many companies. There are still plenty of workers who can’t afford college, even with tuition reimbursement, so what about those workers who are left out?

    What about onsite cafeterias? Gyms? The list can go on and on.

    My prior company began offering student loan repayment to existing employees at the same time they began offering it to new hires. It’s an attempt at equitable treatment for something that is damaging an entire generation.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      I was very surprised to see so many comments along those lines! Especially because I feel like the very obvious answer is: the company stops at whatever point they are not willing to pay…

  42. foolish fox*

    yes, there’s definitely a big difference between a train commute and a driving commute. Not just for getting things done, but driving requires far more mental energy.

  43. El l*

    For the first time in forever – I disagree.

    Tell your colleagues that she asked about the job, and have them talk with the manager.

    But not you. Not your circus, not your monkeys, not anymore.

  44. David*

    On #1, I’m also thinking of the difference in costs involved. Using US numbers in lieu of a specific location; that’d be somewhere around $200 using standard mileage reimbursement rates, plus most of a day’s pay. There’s “I want the intangibles of an in-person meeting (in a pandemic)”, and there’s “I believe this is worth a grand to the company that I have these intangibles”
    (Plus this also requires that the manager head into the office if they aren’t full on-site themselves)

    Since it’s a large tech company, there’s an additional question of company values. My company, for example, has “Minimize Waste” (and environmental impact) as a value, so burning that much gas unasked for would be seen as misaligned to the company.

    Maybe it is worth it, but your concerns aren’t unfounded, imo.

    1. Observer*

      Any company who sees Intangible = not important is not a good company work for. Even as a purely business issue, intangible are worth a lot.

  45. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    #1 I’m probably paranoid about Zoom and Teams, but my mind went immediately to the privacy factor of the meeting and serious nature of the information he’s probably looking for. If your husband wants to have a conversation that he is 99% sure won’t be “overheard” by someone off camera, or possibly recorded according to the laws in the area, I can totally understand why he might want to have that conversation about his future with the new manager face-to-face. But I do understand that he’s unlikely to get straight answers if there is any plan to clean house of anyone associated with the previous manager, and therefore if that is the biggest concern, it might feel like a waste of time.

  46. H3llifIknow*

    Just because your company tells you they want 4 weeks of notice, doesn’t mean you HAVE to give 4 weeks. That’s a long time. I’d take my PTO for 2 weeks and come back and give them the standard 2 weeks notice at that point. But, I guess it depends on if you think that would burn a bridge you want to keep intact or if you think it would tarnish your reputation there. But I think “requiring” 4 weeks notice is asking a lot.

  47. RagingADHD*

    LW1, why do you think you have standing for this to be a “dispute” in the first place?

    Unless you left out some major backstory about your spouse having serious issues with being able to function as a professional adult and you having to get them back on their feet and help them find this job in the first place, I don’t see why your agreement or other people’s opinions are necessary.

    They landed a great job with people they have known and worked with for years. That indicates to me that they are more than competent to manage their own job without your approval or permission.

    If the original letter had said “wife” instead of “husband,” I think you would have (rightfully) had a lot more pushback about second-guessing your spouse’s judgment here.

    I understand that you and your spouse are worried about their job. Overstepping and being micromanagey are common manifestations of worry.

    That doesn’t make them helpful or healthy.

    You apparently already gave your opinion to your spouse about it. It’s good to give an opinion, so someone can weigh different angles. And for that purpose, once is enough. Once.

    Trying to poll strangers for extra ammunition makes it sound like you are more invested in being right than in being supportive or helpful. I strongly advise you to stand down, and in the future to nip the impulse in the bud.

    1. Humble Schoolmarm*

      I agree with you on principal. I will say, though, that a six hour drive (especially over two days, if husband chooses to stay over), is fairly likely to have some impact on family life (child/elder/pet care especially). Adding to that, it may or may not be an arduous trek depending on circumstances, but I might have a few qualms if my partner who is used to commute meaning 20 steps from bedroom to workspace (with coffee stop in the kitchen) is off on a long drive to a potentially volatile meeting. If the OP has some issues around context and nuance, they might also be a little thrown by the ambiguity considering how hard the comment section came down on Mr Job Interview Road Trip last week.
      To be clear, I think the husband is a) correct and b) wholly capable of figuring that out himself and OP should be supportive of his decisions, but the decision does have an impact on OP.

      1. Lizzo*

        But then OP should be talking about that impact instead of saying that husband’s judgment about a professional situation is poor.

    2. OP1*

      Maybe my word choice could have been better, but it was a disagreement on what we each thought would be best in the situation. We had a reasonable discussion about whether the meeting in person would be a good idea or not, we each shared our views, then he made the best decision he felt he could make and I supported his decision. We have had similar discussions/disagreements in the past regarding serious issues at my job, and he fully supported the decision I ultimately decided to make as well, even when it wasn’t what he would choose to do. And I am sure we will have similar types of discussions in the future.

      I was not writing this letter to Alison to get ammunition to push down his throat, but more genuinely curious/concerned about how this might make him look to his new manager. As I mentioned in another comment, I have never personally worked in a fully remote position (only hybrid and fully in person), and after reading many of the comments, I definitely see where I was ignorant in how that type of role plays out in real life. I believe partners can have civil disagreements about a multitude of areas without it degrading into an all-out argument, and this is one of those cases.

  48. Lizzo*

    LW1: The new boss is someone that your husband has little to no relationship/rapport with, and there’s a chance his job may be on the line. If he thinks it’s in the best interests of his future at the company to make the trip to have some face time with the boss, he should make the trip. Just because a job is remote, doesn’t mean people will never see each other face to face.
    I’m not clear on why you’re questioning his judgment on this–is his time away going to place some sort of burden on you/your time/your own commitments?

    1. OP1*

      I think my big worry is “will he have a job tomorrow due to the craziness that just went down?” We have very open communication about work lives, and this was a discussion we had the other day. This doesn’t add any additional burden onto me if he drives there and back. I was more concerned about him potentially being let go, and then adding what I thought might make him look poorly in his new manager’s eyes. As I’ve mentioned in other comments, I’ve never personally worked fully remote, and had the incorrect assumption that meant you never saw others in person, but I didn’t realize that was my main assumption when discussing this with my husband until after reading all these comments and having an ah-hah moment.

      1. Observer*

        I think my big worry is “will he have a job tomorrow due to the craziness that just went down?”

        That’s a very reasonable worry, imo. I think that the short answer is “No one knows, but this trip won’t push the answer towards no.”

        The whole comment section is the long answer :)

  49. Pikachu*

    #1 – He is brand new to the company, in the wake of some pretty significant workplace drama. I think driving in for some face time is exactly the right idea. It’s a highly unique situation and he’s concerned about his job! Wouldn’t you spend six hours in a car to alleviate the fear and anxiety around wondering whether your job is safe? To show your new company that you’re taking things seriously? To help rebuild confidence in the department after the disaster?

    He asked for something and his manager said yes when they could have found 20 reasons to say no. What is there to debate? I guess I kinda get the concerns about expenses and wasting fuel and all that but … it’s ONE time. One. If the company is maintaining an office, there must be people there who value in-person interactions. His manager said yes, so they must be one of those people, at least under these circumstances.

    We see so many letters from people who are struggling at work and are afraid to ask their managers for things they need because of how it might look. I think Husband set a good example. If an in-person meeting with your new manager after your old manager (and former coworker who you knew decently well!) departs in a haze of scandal and potentially criminal conduct would help you feel more secure in your job, then why would you not at least ask for it?

  50. KatEnigma*

    OP1: Early on in my marriage (20 years) my husband and I were having an argument about something to do with his work. He pointed out how disrespectful it was for me to think he wasn’t competent enough to handle his own workplace situations when I wasn’t even the one in the midst of it. Since then, I might give my opinion as another perspective, when asked, but otherwise I assume he knows what he is doing at his own job.

    My husband was hired the first week of March 2020 as 100% remote. He was told at the time that would mean travelling to the office “maybe once a year.” That was two Directors ago. Once a year became once a quarter became once a month. Because they discovered that no, not everything can be accomplished effectively over Zoom. Assume this won’t be the last time he has to travel in to the office for reasons you don’t understand or agree with. And allow him the agency to handle his own work-life.

  51. Hannah Lee*

    LW1, as long as your husband doesn’t insist on bringing his entire family with him to show his enthusiasm, I think he’s good.

    If he wants to make the willingness, desire to meet in person less of a thing, could he come up with something he’d like to do (unrelated to work) within a 30 minute drive from boss’s location? Then position it as “I’m going to be not far from the your office anyway later that day so it’ll be more convenient than it usually is”

  52. SEB*

    LW5: As others have stated, the policy here is your employer’s, not the law, so you could give less notice (although could end up forfeiting a larger chunk of that PTO). Depending on how much you’re needed at your current employer, there could definitely be room to push for this idea of taking your PTO at the end of the notice period, in exchange for say, an extra week of notice (so 5 weeks working), or offering up to stay available for your replacement to call for X days/weeks after, or weekly check-in meetings with your replacement for 3 weeks after, etc.

    I once negotiated this exact scenario for benefits purposes. I wanted to my benefits to cover me an extra 30 days until the new job’s kicked in. So I went to my boss when I resigned and said, “I can either quit on April 1st or May 1st. If I quit May 1st, I’ll be using the last two weeks here as PTO, but it’ll mean I can stay two weeks longer and give a longer notice period.” I’d been there 10 years, they were really up a creek without me, so they gladly took the second option.

  53. RB*

    I don’t think #3 is freelancing — I think she is just staying on as a part-time hourly worker. So the thing about payroll taxes wouldn’t apply but the rest of it, especially the part about health care, would likely still apply.

  54. WaywardWindhoeker*

    #2- my previous company did this! They offered $5k for tuition reimbursement, with the option to instead apply it to any student loans. They viewed it as a retention incentive, and it was very popular with new graduates. With the right framing, I think it’s certainly worth bringing it up!

Comments are closed.