my car was nearly stolen from work twice, mentioning my kids in my cover letter, and more

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

1. My car was nearly stolen from work twice in six months

I’ve worked at a nonprofit for nearly a year. In October, our department moved across town to a building on a campus we own. Another department has been working from this campus and they have parking in a fenced lot right next to their building. Our department is much larger and we use the open parking lot that’s more centrally located on the campus. This lot isn’t fenced in, has entrances directly from the street, and has no cameras. The parking lot is separated from our building by a circle driveway and a set of stairs and you can’t see most of the lot from our building.

In November, my car was stolen from this work parking lot in the middle of the day. Someone noticed a group of teenagers in our lot and, while trying to get a better view of it, witnessed them leaving with my car. It was found a week later, and after several weeks waiting for it to be repaired, I was driving it again.

In early February, my coworker’s car was stolen. Her car was recovered the same day and has also been repaired.

Today, my car was broken into again, and a group of people were attempting to steal it when they were interrupted and fled. They got far enough along that my car needed to be towed and will need to be repaired before I can drive it again. The person who interrupted them said they were starting to approach her before other people entered the parking lot, when they sped away.

I’ll now have to pay my car insurance deductible twice in six months. My premium already increased after the last time, and I expect it will again.

Leadership is aware of all of the incidents. After the second theft, they sent out information noting that they are planning to get security cameras, but they don’t have a timeline and cost is a concern, since they were getting quotes of ~$25,000. They also mentioned an increased police presence on our property (which doesn’t seem to be a deterrent, since they were in our parking lot earlier today).

I like my supervisor and my job, but I am so frustrated. A lot of people have voiced concerns about their cars, and a lot of the response I am hearing (from people other than my boss) is “your car can be stolen from anywhere.” Which, while true, doesn’t account for the facts that a) our cars are being stolen here, and b) most people don’t leave their cars unattended for nine hours at a grocery store. I realize they can’t wave a wand and make $25,000 appear, but I feel like I should have a reasonable expectation of safety at my job. I’m not sure what we could reasonably do to make our parking lot more secure and also not cost $25,000, but I’m also feeling really dissatisfied with how ineffective the current measures have been. Do you have any advice on how I could have an effective conversation about solutions to this very real problem? I’m at a loss.

It’s certainly true that your car can be stolen from anywhere, and it’s also true that people who park for work on public streets don’t have a lot of options if the location they’re in happens to be car-theft-heavy … but this a lot owned by your employer, and that means they have more of a responsibility for keeping it safe. (I’m just talking ethically/practically here, not legally.) And while $25,000 isn’t a tiny sum, especially for a nonprofit, this is an organization large enough to own a campus with multiple parking lots — and part of owning that kind of space is that sometimes you need to invest in security. If not cameras, then certainly at least a fence or other deterrents.

You’re far more likely to be effective if you can have a group of coworkers push on this, not just you on your own. It sounds like a lot of people share your concern, so ideally all of you would organize a concerted push with your leadership. Point out that the organization owns the property, has been alerted to a chronic safety issue (speaking of which, “the person who interrupted the thieves said they were starting to approach her” sounds pretty alarming and you should emphasize that), and has an obligation to act. You can’t force their hand, but you can make it increasingly uncomfortable for them to do nothing.

2. Mentioning my kids in my cover letter

I’m applying for an upper-level management job in the public sector after spending the last 8 years working my way from an admin assistant to the sole shareholder of my (small) company. I also had to obtain a professional designation with a post-grad diploma outside of work hours, and I did all of this while having my three kids.

I am really proud of having accomplished this and I think it speaks to how hard-working and dedicated I am. My friend thinks I should mention that in my application, but I’m not sure if there is an appropriate way to include it in my cover letter. Is there a good way to do this or should I just focus on my professional accomplishments?

Don’t listen to your friend. Kids just don’t belong on your resume or in your cover letter, especially in the context of talking about professional accomplishments, and that convention is so strong that including them is likely to hurt you (by making you look oblivious to that norm) rather than helping you. Plus, lots of the people reading your cover letter will have advanced professionally while having kids themselves and will be skeptical at seeing that framed as unusual.

It also risks opening you up to discrimination for being a mom, unfortunately.

3. How to gently put a presumptuous networker in their place

I thought I’d get your advice about how (or if?) to respond to this message I got on LinkedIn: “Hope you’ve been good. I want to give you a brief update and make myself available to you. I’m deciding to pursue this solo practice and expand my practice areas. (MUTUAL FRIEND) recommended I reach out. I’m looking for 1099 or (Expert Contractor) work and believe I could maybe help with your (SPECIALIZED) case load. Specifically, I could probably (DO THE EASY PART) and bill out at 80% of what you’d charge. Let me know if you’d like to talk about this more.”

I’m an immigration lawyer and have been working in this field for eight years. I’ve gotten to a point where I get more work than I’m able to do myself, especially since I haven’t figured out how to be in multiple places at the same time.

Specifically, sometimes people need/want a lawyer to show up to court or government interviews with them. You have to be a licensed attorney and basically show up in a suit and help guide them, sometimes through easy preliminary stuff. So, I reached out to “Mutual Friend” who a lawyer, who apparently passed it on to his friend.

I’m sure this person is a nice guy. He’s also a licensed lawyer but has been working in a totally different niche, and has never navigated anything immigration. I would have to teach him everything because he doesn’t have any experience, with this. And the funny part is — he asked to do the easiest part of the process (filling out forms), when most of the work is landing/qualifying/converting the clients and making sure they pay, and holding their hands through what’s a stressful experience for them.

A charitable reading of what he said is that he thinks he’s worth 80% of me. A less charitable reading is that he wants 80% of the pay for doing about 2% of the work, and not even the parts that actually require a lawyer. For context, I could easily outsource this work for anywhere from $2-$20/hour or even hire an actual law student for free.

My wife thought I should put him in his place and smack down in a reply, but I didn’t think it was a good idea, because while satisfying in the moment, realistically this person would not learn anything from it and it could be used against me in the future.

So I ended up just ignoring his message. But a couple weeks later, I’m still thinking — is there a nice but firm way of putting someone like this in their place? I mean, he is a lawyer but he doesn’t have any idea what he’s getting into, I would have to hold his hand to train him, and likely do all the hard part myself. Realistically, if he was able to show up to court for me for 10-15 minute arraignments, I might give him a few hundred (like a hourly rate for a lawyer), but asking to bill at 80% of what I do is kinda wild. What do you think?

I think you are reading a personal affront into something that’s more about cluelessness. You’re bristling at the implication that his 2% of the work would be equivalent to 80% of yours — but this reads like someone who just has no idea what he’s talking about. It doesn’t warrant a smackdown. Ignoring the message is enough of a response.

I think it would be interesting to think about why you want to put him in his place. I mean, I get being annoyed by this kind of chutzpah, but you don’t need to spend your time giving him a lesson about life.

That said, when you do want to politely demonstrate that someone’s idea is absurd or not rooted in reality or they have no idea what they’re talking about (not in this case but generally), often the most effective way to do that is with a very dry “just the facts” approach — one or two very spare sentences that matter-of-factly explain why what the person said makes no sense for the context, without any accompanying editorializing. (Lawyers are good at this!) That can be a lot more withering in its starkness than an obvious attempt to smack someone down.

4. Responding to praise about my employees

I work for a government contractor and manage a team of about 15. Because they are so awesome, I frequently get praise from our customer about them, which is much appreciated both because it’s great to hear their work is appreciated but also because these “kudos” are very valuable when the contract ends and it’s time to rebid for the work. (I also save them to advocate for bigger raises for my people.) How do I respond when a customer emails me to sing a team member’s praises? I’m not the one who did the work so a regular “thank you” is not quite right, but saying “Yes, Jane is the best!” also doesn’t feel quite right. I generally go with “Thank you for the feedback, we are so fortunate to have Jane” but it also doesn’t feel quite … enthusiastic enough?

I’ve always gone with something like, “That’s great to hear and I’ll make sure to share it with Jane too. Thanks for taking the time to tell us!”

5. Why couldn’t Rory Gilmore take a job and a fellowship?

I’m rewatching Gilmore Girls, as I do every year. There are many job-related questions that come up during the course of the show, including at least one you’ve already addressed, but this is one that has been bugging me the past few rewatches I’ve done.

In season 7, Rory receives her first post-grad job offer, as a reporter for the Providence Journal. She turns it down because she is waiting to hear about the Reston Fellowship at the New York Times and she really wants the Reston Fellowship.

Here’s the kicker, for me: The Reston Fellowship was a six-week program.

Setting aside the fact that Rory’s decision was absolutely the wrong one, and also setting aside the fact that she obviously could have taken the ProJo job and quit if she had gotten the Reston (which of course would have burned a bridge, but may have been worth it), I’ve been thinking that she could have just … asked the ProJo for those six weeks off in the unlikely event that she got the fellowship! I just think that for a brand new graduate and an internship at the most prestigious newspaper in the country, some newspapers would have been happy to let her take the time off. (I’m specifically thinking of this in context of the first newspaper I worked at after college, where they were very grateful when they were able to bring on new talent.) Even if not, I feel like it would have been perfectly reasonable to ask, as long as she phrased the request carefully. I’m interested in what you think about this from the management side!

Yep, I agree. It’s really common for people to be given time off for short but prestigious programs in their field.

{ 390 comments… read them below }

  1. Zelda*

    LW3: FWIW, I read that as “bill out at 80% of what you’d charge” *for the bit that he did*, not 80% of what you’d charge for the whole shebang.

    If nothing else, there’s always the “quietly assume that *of course* someone is going to be reasonable” approach– you could start laying out numbers based on the read that he’s getting paid for what he does, not for everything. If he protests, you can hit the eject button, but if it’s just a case of a missing prepositional phrase, maybe you aren’t so far apart on this after all.

    1. *kalypso*

      Yeah, in a legal sense where everything is individually itemised and charged per unit, ‘I can do this part for 80% of your rate’ makes sense and if they have any knowledge, they’re probably assuming if they do the easy part for less $ then you can focus on the harder part, charge the same, and it washes out because you can take more work than you can on your own. It’s how lawyers learn when they’re picking up a new area of practice – do the easier stuff at a (sometimes marginally, depending on their experience) lower rate while observing the harder stuff until they are trusted to go along and then go on their own; if someone can already do some of it without needing to be trained from scratch on the processes and rules, they’re a very good prospect for learning the rest over time; the more experience they have as a lawyer generally, the shorter time they need to get up to speed with a new area and/or new locale.

      It’s odd to me as a lawyer that someone would find this offensive. At worst, friend misunderstood the kind of help they were asking for, or thought that a junior would be suitable for the kind of help they want.

      1. *kalypso*

        And juniors (whatever their formal position in the hierarchy) do usually charge less than partners anyway, in part because they’re expected to take longer and are still learning, so if they take longer it isn’t more expensive for the client; in part because of the prestige perception based on people’s rates, being salaried/not taking equity or %; and in part because they’re not always charging to cover their own admin team or business operations whereas a principal may have their own admin who has to be paid from somewhere.

        Actually, if LW doesn’t have an admin or paralegal pre-drafting the paperwork for them to just sign off on, given how easy it supposedly is, that might be another option for them that is less objectionable than having a junior. Half my job is starting the form, dumping in the client details, pro forma answers and a summary of the relevant facts and any direct precedent, and then my senior can just add or amend anything specific they want to have covered for argument or conciliation’s sake; I clean up their language and spelling and type it up and submit it. There’s no reason LW can’t find a balance of what they delegate (it doesn’t have to look exactly like what I do because that’s a product of my and my senior’s relationship over time and ideally they’d develop a system with whoever they bring on when and if they do that) and use this as a starting point.

        1. Lilo*

          I mean but also he’d be paying for the attorney’s bar license and his ability to sign filings, removing the LW’s ethical duty to review the work.

          So comparing the rate of a licensed attorney to someone without a law license is absurd. Ethically it’s an entirely different ballgame.

        2. Never Boring*

          Immigration paralegal here with 20+ years of experience. Drafting forms is not mindless. You have to know what you are doing or you can really ruin someone’s life. And I don’t make what a partner makes, but I make more than a first-year associate with zero immigration law experience does in most firms…because my work is worth the money. Immigration law is not something you can dabble in and expect to be successful. I’ve heard many a lawyer say they wouldn’t even try to deal with immigration because there are so many quirks and it changes constantly with no warning. (Yes, I know all fields of law change constantly, but even the procedural stuff, like where you file what application type, changes constantly. Best practice is to double-check current procedure before you file EVERY application.) But I sure hope they aren’t believing a law student would do that work for free; when I was in-house in the employment law department of a Fortune 100 company, we were told that it wasn’t legal to have unpaid interns in a for-profit business.

          1. *kalypso*

            I didn’t say it was mindless, are you sure this reply went in the right spot?

            They seem to think the work this person said they could start with is something that could be outsourced and currently do not, which is a them problem; my suggestion was that they could take this person on at a lower rate and train them, or have them work in such a way that it speeds up the process given that they’re explicitly at the point of having more work they can handle. My role as a junior lawyer involves putting all the individual client data in the form (name, contact details, starting each paragraph in each section with approved wordage or an outline) and sending it to the senior to customise and finesse. They’re not spending 15 minutes per form looking up the client’s contacts and checking they’re spelled correctly, they just get the form set up, type in the high-level reasonings, and send it back to me to spellcheck, double check the formatting against the current court rules/procedure, and they look over and sign it or correct it. Nobody’s work in the form is mindless, but I’m learning to do what they do by doing the parts of it that require less experience and more attention to detail, and they get through more of them because I’m doing the parts that take time, can’t always be trusted to admin without at least a paralegal certification and preferably specific experience or training, but don’t necessarily require counsel.

            The fact that I as a junior do this doesn’t make it mindless, and it’s common enough that the person sending the ask to LW may have had a similar model in mind.

            In terms of ‘unpaid’ internships, it’s a separate issue with varying applicability across the US, but the nature of work and the ‘value’ to the intern can very well keep an unpaid arrangement entirely legal, and I expect that LW is thinking that the value of the ‘experience’ to a law student, who would be ‘learning’ (even if LW doesn’t actively teach them) would put it in that category. In some places, an internship where the intern performs work that is part of the employer’s business must 100% be paid unless it is part of an educational program for credit as part of a degree or vocational training and the work is limited to what is required for the program, but the US is not there yet.

            1. Never Boring*

              You didn’t say it and I wasn’t insinuating that you did, but plenty of other people seem to have that misconception. In order to fill out an immigration form properly, not only do you have to know what information the form is asking for, but also potentially where to find it in possibly hundreds or thousands of pages of prior filings; when to double-check that the information is the most current; whether the information provided is possibly going to open another can of worms for the client; check it for consistency with possibly several thousand pages of prior filings for the client stretching over a multi-decade period and information provided by other family members or the employer, as well as the supporting documentation; etc. It’s definitely not just a typing job, and in an immigration practice can easily be happening in multiple languages simultaneously within the same filing. Even among immigration lawyers, most subspecialize in particular types of cases (asylum, family-based, employment-based, removal defense, etc.) and often don’t deal with cases outside their specialties much if at all.

          2. Jezebella*

            +1 to this. I also noticed the “law students work for free” nonsense, and the rate she quoted of $2-$20/hour for a legal assistant. I don’t know where the hell this person lives, but $2 an hour? What?? And $20 is the bare minimum for a paralegal in the US.

            1. Velawciraptor*

              Yeah, this bothered me too. Lawyers who don’t do labor law are frequently bad about understanding how labor law works but think themselves brilliant at it because “I’m a lawyer!” But even ignoring that it’s wildly illegal to pay below minimum wage or for this person to take on a law student and not pay them, these comments also suggest that this attorney has lost sight of the fact that we live and die by how much our support staff can free us up for the harder, more technical aspects of our job and that they should be valued and paid accordingly. Not an uncommon problem in the profession, but disappointing whenever I see it.

            2. Avril Ludgateaux*

              I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one disturbed by that line of exploitative thinking. I assume they’d justify the $2/hour as “outsourcing to a foreign country with lower standard of living” or something, but to me it makes it no less disgusting.

            3. Seeking Second Childhood*

              my thought is a major typo: $20-$30 turned into $2-20. I’ve seen crazier typos from engineers & doctors; lawyers are not immune.

          3. Pierrot*

            I’m finishing a paralegal certificate program/about to start a paralegal job (not in immigration) and I balked at the “$2-20 an hour” part too. I know that more and more attorneys have been outsourcing work through Upwork to parts of the world where $2 is legal and means more than it does here, but the idea of paying someone $2 to do an aspect of the work that, as you said, has a significant impact for the clients if it goes wrong is just icky to me.

            1. Avery*

              As someone currently working as an entry-level paralegal in the Midwest (aka, not super-high COL) in a field of law less specialized than immigration is, those rates are definitely off unless serious outsourcing is at work there, and said outsourcing could jeopardize the quality of the work (if only because someone in another country is less likely to know the ins and outs of American immigration law).
              I STARTED at more than $20/hour, and even that rate was specifically temporary and meant to increase after a few months. (It did, though the details were more complicated than I had initially expected, and now I’m salaried but still making significantly more than $20/hour based on expected working hours.)

          4. Yorick*

            Our immigration attorney did our forms wrong twice in ways that we couldn’t tell when we looked over them (I was looking for errors like is my name misspelled or is our address wrong). It made the process take months longer. Honestly I wish I’d just done them myself.

          5. Kate*

            Immigration paralegal here too, for nine years now. I’m so enjoying seeing other people with this job! Thankfully I work with a team of attorneys who truly value my contributions. And agreed, completing forms is not at all mindless. Both firms I’ve worked at have used INSZoom, and even when the clients complete the questionnaires I still have to analyze and double-check everything. I can think of several occasions where I’ve caught something and flagged it for the attorney that would have completely derailed a case.

            I’ve seen work by other immigration attorneys who screwed up their clients’ lives by their carelessness. Sometimes we’ve been able to fix it, but it’s been a huge hassle and it would have been so simple to just do it right the first time.

            I’ve heard it said that immigration law is second only to tax law in its complexity. And it’s not something that is generally taught much in law school. The LW’s attitude is wild, though.

      2. TootsNYC*

        I was confused; I thought he was saying “You can charge them your normal 100%; I’ll take the no-brainer stuff [the stuff that’s hard to mess up, for a beginner] off your plate, and you keep 20%. That leaves you with some extra time, which you can spend on things that DO capitalize on your expertise, or maybe take on a larger volume, thereby increasing your income in the end.”

        But maybe I don’t understand how it works?

    2. Skippy*

      Is it a typo that LW expects to be able to freelance form-filling for less than $5/hour? As someone who has used an immigration attorney, I would be very concerned that LW would get what he paid for and we would be at the mercy of someone who has no choice but to work for so little. And oh so many “actual law students” are morons.

      1. Jinni*

        Legal work is sometimes outsourced to India, so yes. (A lot of solos I know do it for ‘form filling’ and admin work).

        1. *kalypso*

          It doesn’t even have to go to India given LW claims they can get a law student to do it for free, and likely get away with it as an educational internship, especially given how internships and paying dues as the underpaid and overworked are super important in legal hiring and maintaining networks.

          I can’t reconcile ‘I have more work than I can handle’ and ‘I don’t want to pay someone to do it for me at the appropriate rate’ with the ‘I could outsource but I haven’t’ flex.

          1. Melissa*

            I was struck by that too. He’s bragging he can pay someone in a third-world country pennies per hour to do the work, but also that it’s offensive a junior associate wants to do it? I think someone needs to be given a talking-to, but it isn’t the junior associate who messaged him.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yeah this letter was wild to me. Maybe I’m off base because I definitely have no experience in that field, but that reads like an extremely normal and reasonable freelance cold-call pitch. Obviously you don’t have to take him up on it and are free to ignore it and move on but OP’s reaction to it seems bafflingly over the top and out of line–especially with the note about wanting to “put him in his place” which comes off super gross.

        2. Lilo*

          I’ve encountered the results of that kind of outsourcing in my field (not immigration law) and it absolutely creates issues, sometimes one’s that cause the entire filing to fail. With immigration simple errors can cause huge delays and headaches. It’s completely unethical in my opinion.

          1. Dr. Vibrissae*

            Gah, this is all reminding me of a friend who was deported back to Spain, over the failure to file one piece of their very standard renewal paperwork correctly. He had a newborn at the time and wasn’t able to see his family for over a year. I think they are still trying to sort through that headache.

            As the llama groomer saying goes “The most expensive clippers are the ones that don’t cut” (cause you’ll have to pay for ones that work eventually).

    3. Anonymous Canadian*

      That’s how I read it too, so I was confused at first about why the LW thought it was such a wild suggestion.

      Either way though, not worth a “smack down.” Sometimes people (especially younger people) send clueless linked in messages. If the sender isn’t badgering LW about it, he can easily ignore it. If the sender starts following up, he can do as Alison suggests and provide a just the facts reply about what he’s actually willing to pay (hopefully more than 2$ an hour). It’s probably also worth either waiting 24 hours after you write the response to actually send it or tone checking with someone else in your field, given it seems to have struck an emotional chord.

    4. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      If I’ve understood correctly, it’s probably still not all that useful in that it would only come to 2% of the work involved.
      The guy doesn’t have any experience and knows it, he would probably need an outline of the kind of help OP would expect him to provide. As I understand it, court appearances are what a lot of top lawyers thrive on, and they prefer to have underlings doing the grunt work and preparing everything for the appearance, then show up, grab the file and perform. Here, OP actually wants someone to show up for them, I think that might need spelling out.

      1. Lilo*

        Yes, this guy doesn’t fit his needs and he can just say it. The level of offense here when he’s comparing an attorney to outsourcing work is pretty sketchy though. In my field attorneys have gotten into big trouble for over reliance on such services.

      2. Jinni*

        Not the grunt work appearances. ‘Appearance counsel’ is an entire thing – especially in places like LA (which is a spread-out city and a bigger county) where the courtrooms are spread out very far.

      3. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        I’m not saying it’s fair but isn’t it typical for temp worker contractors to get paid half of what their contracting agency charges the client? That’s how it is in tech and healthcare as far as I know.

    5. Pink Candyfloss*

      Yeah, he’s basically saying, if you outsource these tasks to me you can skim 20% off the top for yourself and pay me the rest, this way I can take some of the (easy stuff lol) off your plate.

      But that 20% will still be used up in time communicating with the 3rd party and checking their work, plus trusting a core part of your business to someone else, so that doesn’t seem like it’s appealing to the LW. It wouldn’t appeal to me either, based on how the LW explained what they do.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        And LW is oddly angry about this offer because it’s not what they want–so why would you not just respond and say “thanks, but I would actually be looking to have a person I hired do X appearances plus Y and Z”. It’s just a mismatch on expectations! It’s not something to be focusing on two weeks out, on how you can “put them in their place”.

        1. Sloanicota*

          +1 I was kind of surprised Alison’s affirmed the annoyance OP is feeling here, which seems kind of out of place to me.

          1. Era*

            Yeah, especially since this is a connection through a mutual acquaintance — I would’ve thought the obvious reply would be something like “Oh, thanks for reaching out, but I’m actually looking for someone with experience in immigration to do court appearances! It sounds like I should check in with [MUTUAL FRIEND] so they know what I’m looking for. Best of luck with the solo practice!”

            boom. three sentences, all relationships preserved. no need to stew about it for two weeks.

            1. Sloanicota*

              Right! The idea that not answering at all is a good response here is a bit odd considering it was a requested referral from a mutual contact. It wasn’t a cold-spam LinkedIn type thing, to which no response is a totally appropriate response.

        2. Strawberry Shortcake*

          It would be like me still stewing over a waiter telling me about the chicken special when I was in the mood for steak two weeks after I went out to eat. You don’t want it, just say no and move on.

    6. doreen*

      That’s more or less how I read it – ” You bill at $100/hr, I’ll bill you $80/hr for the work I do and you keep the $20/hr” .

      1. Non non non all the way home*

        That would still be a terrible deal though, for the reasons Pink Candyfloss wrote. It might be more reasonable to offer to do the work for closer to 20% while learning.

        1. Somehow_I_Manage*

          But here’s the thing. Our LW *IS* doing the work themselves, and doing it at full rate. It’s not like they already have engaged help at a lower rate (even if they could). So, it’s not really fair to say that 80% rate, for a licensed attorney is outrageous.

          /Also, in business and sales, it’s ALWAYS okay to ask, and it’s likewise okay to say no, or negotiate.

      2. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Yeah, I read it that way, except or seemed to be implied that it would be customary in LW’s experience for a person taking 80% to do more than just the paperwork.

    7. Sloanicota*

      OP’s response seemed unnecessarily personal to me, as a former freelancer. 1099 employment can’t really be compared to salary in an hourly way the way she’s trying to do, and it wouldn’t be some sort of insult to her. It’s perfectly fine to say that you don’t need someone to do the forms, but you would be interested in X or Y other thing, or that the rate is too high for you to consider, and that is valuable to this person to know. Or that you need someone with immigration experience so no thank you. They don’t know what your role looks like from the inside. People pay freelancers to do all kinds of really weird things at all kinds of strange rates, but it’s not intended as a personal insult to you.

      1. Pierrot*

        Most lawyers do charge by hours and track billing based on minutes so it can be compared. Like an attorney might charge $300 per hour so the contracted attorney’s comparison is not far off.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Fair enough – I’m willing to concede that I don’t understand law billing at all, and I guess it escaped me that OP might also be a contractor themselves; I was thinking for anyone else who has a salary, there would be tax implications and presumably benefits etc to prevent direct hourly comparison – and even if OP is the business owner I’d think there might be some implications in terms of what they can write off, versus a less-than-full-time 1099 contractor. I have no idea though. Just a thought since OP seems outraged by that specific part.

        2. The Tin Man*

          The thing is most immigration lawyers I know of (which is many) do not charge by the hour, they charge by task.

            1. Yorick*

              So if LW does that, she could figure out how much of that $$ is for the paperwork, then pay the networker 80% (or whatever she thinks is fair) of that amount for doing it instead.

              I think LW thinks the networker wants 80% of the whole amount, but that’s either not the case or she could explain.

              1. Yorick*

                Explain to the networker, I mean. Sorry for not finishing my thoughts before hitting submit.

          1. Glomarization, Esq.*

            Can confirm. My immigration matters are billed as a flat fee, not hourly. I track my time so that I can have some metrics as to whether what I’m charging is reasonable for my work. However, the client sees only a flat fee on their bill.

            Neither here nor there, though. I think LW#3 over-reacted. It seems to me that they were asked whether they could farm out some of their work and keep a percentage of the billing. That scheme isn’t something that is entirely appropriate to the vast majority of immigration matters or even the individual sub-tasks in an immigration matter. LW#3 could have briefly said, “Hey, doesn’t work that way, but if you want to learn immigration law we could meet for lunch and discuss what that might look like” or “Sorry, I don’t have the capacity, wish you the best in your endeavors.”

          2. Somehow_I_Manage*

            Even if it’s fixed fee, they are free to bring on a contractor on a time and materials (hourly) basis. Assuming the contractor is cheaper, that’s a means to increase their margin.

          3. Never Boring*

            It depends. I have worked places that do both depending on the type of case. For a case where the time expenditure is generally predictable, like an H-1B petition or an EAD, they might do flat fee, but for a case where it’s less predictable, like asylum in removal proceedings, they might charge by the hour.

      2. learnedthehardway*

        Exactly – the OP and their wife’s reaction is absurdly offended. The person is not denigrating the work they do. They’re simply offering to do some work under supervision for a (overly large) fraction of what the OP would charge a client.

        Rational responses would be:
        – sorry, but I don’t want to outsource this work
        – ignore
        – I might consider using a contractor for EASY PART, but I pay only $x/hour and usually use a (law clerk / paralegal / junior lawyer with immigration experience).

        Why be mean?

        1. Glen*

          because they’re the kind of person who would consider paying $2- an hour for it or even creating a frankly deeply unethical unpaid internship to get a law student to do it.

        2. Somehow_I_Manage*

          I’m not sure that OP is correct that the fraction is “overly large.” This person is a licensed attorney. That qualification merits higher rate. You and I would pay more to have a lawyer fill out paperwork than an intern. And as a 1099, 80% of hourly rate is kind of a bargain. 1099 contractors normally charge MORE for apples to apples services.

          1. Never Boring*

            I would pay a person more experienced in the area of law more money to do the basic work on a case than I would pay a lawyer who knows nothing about the area of law under discussion. I can bang out a basic immigration petition MUCH more efficiently than, for example, our recently departed associate who had a couple of years of immigration experience, but not in the subspecialty of immigration law that most of our work was in.

    8. Joielle*

      Yeah, that’s how I read it too. 80% for the 2% of the work. It seems like that’s not what the LW is looking for and that’s fine, but I don’t think it’s insulting to have suggested it!

      (What IS insulting, though, is the idea that the LW would consider paying $2/hour for a part of the process that could have catastrophic consequences for the client if not done correctly.)

    9. zuzu*

      Jumping on here to say: PAY YOUR LAW STUDENTS A FAIR WAGE.

      If you think the work you’re giving them is mindless, it doesn’t qualify for an internship for credit. So pay them.

  2. takeachip*

    LW2, I’ve reviewed lots of resumes/cover letters with lots of hiring committees, and I’ve never known the mention of something like this to be received favorably. It comes off as clueless (“why would anyone think this is relevant?”) or pandering (“we’re supposed to give bonus points for that?!”). Everyone has personal stuff they have to balance with work and education, so mentioning yours will sound odd, especially to anyone reading it who has been in a similar situation. It’s just not at all an uncommon scenario so it won’t strike most people as being noteworthy and it will make them question why you included it. The professional accomplishments you mentioned can stand on their own.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Big co-sign. Hiring committees care about your professional achievements. Shoehorning your children into an arena that is supposed to be focused on your work makes it look like you don’t know that.

      You also are highly unlikely to be the only parent, and the other parents 100% will wonder why you think your family — while certainly wonderful — is something so unique or special that they need to be taken into account when considering your career prospects. Mentioning your children in your application puts too much focus where you don’t want it to be. (I am not a parent, and I was always deeply nonplussed when one annoying former colleague insisted on constantly shoehorning her children into work discussions.)

      It’s one thing if your family comes up in conversation organically, but your children are not a professional accomplishment.

      1. Rebecca*

        Yep. Most of the people I work with have kids and managed their career while doing that, only a few think that makes them unique.

        It also opens up the door to what else in our personal lives we should put on our resumes. I managed to progress in my career while battling depression – should I be lauded for that? People have all sorts of things that are difficult going on in their personal lives – why should having children be the one that gets taken into account? In fact, I’d be willing to be that there isn’t a single one of OP’s potential colleagues who hasn’t progressed their career while also navigating a challenging personal life, because that is how life works.

        1. lucanus cervus*

          Yes – I got a decent bachelor’s degree with severe depression, another (a first!) while my children were really small, and a distinction level MA while battling OCD. I’m really proud! It was really hard! But I’m not going to put the mental illnesses on my CV, nor the children, because we all juggle personal stuff alongside our accomplishments. Some people do waft through with relatively few responsibilities and get lucky health-wise, but that’s not the norm. If personal challenges belonged on a CV, almost everyone would have something on there.

        2. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

          This. Does my ability to get shy/anxious animals to like me count for anything in a professional, non animal related field? Probably not; I’m sure it could help with shy/anxious *people* (it has, as far as training new people), but it really isn’t a transferable skill, unfortunately.

          Doing things while being a parent isn’t really a thing that sets anyone apart — most parents do the same thing.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yup. Everybody has a personal life and their own set of challenges. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken.

    2. coffee*

      Alison is also right about discrimination. Making the argument that you did great things despite having three kids can be flipped around to the argument that hiring someone without kids/caretaking responsibilities will be able to achieve more than you.

      (For the record, I strongly disagree with the idea that you can’t be a great hire unless you have no work/life balance.)

    3. Cat Tree*

      Yeah, it’s just not a flex. Of course it’s harder to work with kids than without. But it’s also a challenge that many (most?) adults navigate at some point.

    4. Pink Candyfloss*

      Absolutely agree. Hundreds of thousands of parents complete their education, work, and raise kids. It is commendable, but it’s not a norm for that not uncommon situation to be resume-worthy. And it just looks clueless to include it.

    5. ecnaseener*

      They also won’t know how much time you actually spent on childcare – for all they know, you could have a full-time nanny.

      I think the thing to do (as it so often is) is to focus on the work-related reasons you feel parenting makes your career extra impressive. For example, maybe your workplace had a culture of working long hours but you didn’t have that availability, so you got as much work done in 40 hours as other people did in 60 – great, you are fast and efficient, focus on THAT rather than on why you needed to be.

      1. danmei kid*

        Mmmm, “I can do 60 hours of work in 40 hours” would not be favorably received in a resume either (except possibly by an organization where they love to overwork employees to the point of burnout, where this type of flex would be appealing – and you would not want to work there).

        1. ecnaseener*

          I didn’t say to put that quote on your resume, I said to extrapolate from that that you’re fast and efficient and focus on THOSE qualities on your resume.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      Like the past letter writer who wanted to highlight refinancing their mortgage as a project management skill.

    7. Totally Minnie*

      The only time I’ve seen kids mentioned in a cover letter where it made sense was when the job I was hiring for involved providing resources to local teachers, and the applicant mentioned working to help teachers prepare educational materials when they volunteered at their children’s school. Even then, it was less about the children themselves and more an explanation of how they came to be doing that volunteer work.

      Outside of those specific types of work, mentioning that you’re a parent in your cover letter won’t make sense and it’s information your interviewers won’t need.

    8. El l*

      Agreeing with all this.

      I think what you tell your friend is, “Yes, but the image I present to hiring managers can’t be exactly the same image as I present to you. You know how difficult doing all this while balancing three kids was. Well, the hiring committee doesn’t and can’t care about the kids part.

      “But the good news is, I don’t need it; the promotions and the education sell themselves.”

    9. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – definitely don’t mention anything about what you accomplished while having kids in a cover letter. Most people manage their career while having kids, when you get right down to it.

    10. Butterfly Counter*

      The letter reads as though it could be written by a mother or a father.

      Many, many fathers work their way up in jobs while getting advanced degrees. It’s largely because they aren’t the primary caregivers to their children and have the spousal support to do that.

      That OP2 is a mother and probably the primary caregiver of her children does mean that these accomplishments are very impressive. But, as Alison and others have said, even that isn’t unique.

      But mentioning on a CV that you’re a parent who has done all of this puts you in a position where a lot of people will think that naming this as a real accomplishment is out of touch.

  3. Kaylee*

    LW1: if it were me I would ask my company if employees should send their insurance claims for damage or theft of their cars directly to the company’s insurer until the cameras or a fence are put up. It’s snarky and the insurer is unlikely to cover the claims but it may get them thinking there is some liability here and they are refusing to act.

    1. Aphrodite*

      Perhaps I’m naive about costs, but would it cost less or more or about the same to have a solid fence with a key card gate (requiring company-issued card to get in AND get out) for that same $25,000? If close, wouldn’t that be a far greater protection than a camera; I mean what is a camera going to do other than allow someone, maybe, if they were caught, to identify car thieves.

      1. short'n'stout*

        I agree. Much better to keep the stable door locked than to watch video of the horse bolting.

      2. SarahKay*

        Don’t know about the US, but here in the UK my company is looking at replacement gates for an already fenced enclosure and it’s going to cost about three times that amount.
        Now some of that is down to UK safety legislation about automated gates, so there might be savings there but it’s probably still not the cheaper option.

        1. ACEngineer*

          I’m an engineer in the US, and the cost for a smallish lot with an automatic gate would be at least $100k (and medium lots for large organizations get into seven figures easily). And gate systems almost always require some level of security staffing. Cameras are definitely more cost effective and can have some good deterrence effect.

          Honestly, it’s going to be real expensive to increase the security of this lot, especially if they don’t hire security personnel. There are pretty hard limits to the security you can get with fencing or cameras alone.

          1. Lucy P*

            I’m in a metropolitan area where car jackings have become the norm, particularly in the city itself. The statistic on yesterday’s news was that on average 1 car is stolen per each hour of the day. For almost every car theft reported on the news, there is almost always a video of the theft to accompany the news story.

            Last year, an elderly woman was beaten and her car stolen. The thieves drove off with the woman’s arm enclosed in the car door. The entire incident was caught on camera.

            Cameras might be a deterrent in some areas, but not here. Hopefully OP is in a city with less professional criminals.

      3. danmei kid*

        Somewhat dependent on the size of the lot, but for the type of industrial security fencing they need, with today’s labor and materials pricing, plus the cost of permits and almost certainly needing permission from the municipality first, having to go to zoning board, engineering surveys, etc – it will be a lot more for fencing and potentially take even longer than getting cameras in, by the time you go through all the hoops the town makes businesses jump through for physical structures like fencing.

      4. irene adler*

        What about hiring a private security service? Not a service that exclusively monitors this single parking lot, but one that will monitor it throughout the day (i.e. as part of a route they travel)? Maybe even join with other businesses in the area to pay for this service for their parking lots as well (assuming other businesses are also experiencing car theft issues).

        Sure, this means an ongoing cost is involved. Which may not be a welcome addition to the company’s budget. We did this at my work for a very reasonable monthly cost. The service was quite good. They took the protection of our company very seriously. No issue approaching folks they didn’t recognize or anything out of place (someone left an unexpected shipment of boxes by our shipping door) is noted and our company head is notified promptly.

        1. Radski*

          This was exactly what I immediately thought of. In my area large department stores have this kind of security (private security companies that patrol the parking lots).

      5. Ann Onymous*

        I’m not disputing that the fence provides greater protection than the cameras, but I think the cameras would do more than just identify thieves after the fact. If the cameras themselves are visible or there are signs to indicate the presence of cameras they will act as a deterrent. Many would-be thieves will likely look for cars elsewhere if they know your lot is under video surveillance.

      6. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Personal anecdote about cameras, a friend once worked at a place located in a then-high-crime area, whose big selling point was that they had their own parking lot with cameras. Friend’s teammate’s car was stolen from the lot and the entirety of the help he was offered by the company was… “well I guess we can show you the footage of your car being stolen?”

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Yeah–in my city the cops don’t bother to follow up on car crimes even with video evidence unless it’s a hit and run or similar.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            In my home country it was basically pointless to follow up, because people would dismantle the stolen cars for parts and sell the parts. Good luck tracking them all down.

            Here, one of my sons’ house got broken into and a lot of his stuff stolen, including the car (house had been vacant for 4 months, we’d stopped by it a couple months earlier and took some of his valuables for safekeeping, including the car keys, but he had a spare set that we hadn’t found – but the thieves did and happily drove away in his car) It was out in the rural area of our state, and to my amazement, the cops actually looked for everything and even sent me a photo of a similar car once (sadly the VIN didn’t match) and eventually found everything but the car. To be fair, they wouldn’t have found anything at all if the guy who’d broken in, hadn’t gotten the bright idea to cash some checks from my son’s checkbook that he’d found, to the tune of $16,000. The bank notified the police, they found the guy, and everything else that was stolen… minus the car.

    2. aedixon*

      Yes, it seems to me the property owner where these thefts are occurring would be liable for security. That happens to be her employers. I’m surprised her personal insurance hasn’t already asked about this.

    3. DJ Abbott*

      If they do put up a fence, make sure it has something on top to prevent people from climbing over it.

      Would it be possible for security to escort people to their cars?

      1. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

        I don’t think they have security. They talk about increased police presence which just means the cops will circle around the area a bit more then they normally would. If they had security then they wouldn’t need police because the security could monitor the lot.

    4. Pink Candyfloss*

      That’s my thought, but laws differ in various places about who is responsible for preventing car theft. In many cases, it simply falls to the car’s owner to have security in place (steering lock, wheel boot, car alarm, etc) and the property owner would not be held accountable, unfortunately.

    5. Snow Globe*

      I was thinking the LW should tell their own insurance company that this happened on their employer’s privately owned lot which has no security. It is likely that the LW’s insurance company will pursue the employer’s insurance for payment if they are at all liable.

      1. Lola*

        Good point! I broke my foot at my friend’s house (they were not responsible in any way, it was just a dumb fall), and my insurance company wanted all their details. Fortunately, they were not found liable, but an employer neglecting their responsiblities to keep an area safe is entirely different.

    6. Ambrianne*

      As a general manager of a company with insurance costs that have increased ten percent in the last three years (long story) this is exactly where my mind went. If LW1 can pull this off, it will get their employer’s attention.

    7. singularity*

      I don’t know about others, but if this is US based, depending on where you live (like larger, urban areas), the police don’t bother to come out for stolen cars. They just shrug and tell you to file a report for the insurance claim. If the goal is to prevent the theft and property damage in the first place, hiring private security might have to be the way to go, at least in the short term.

      1. Zweisatz*

        Seeing as the organization is less than useless at the moment I would look into affordable deterrents myself in the meantime. (Something that stops the car from being moved physically or makes a loud noise.)

        Apologies if you already covered that LW.

      2. Uranus Wars*

        I am in the US and I did get a police report. They told me they couldn’t do anything else (which is frustrating) but the police report saved me from having an increase in my insurance when I paid the deductible. But that might be insurance company specific – and it was the first time it happened.

    8. tw1968*

      YES!!! I like this! Not only the deductible, loss of any items in the car, and any other related expenses, also include something for the hassle of taking your car in, getting a rental, etc etc. AND I would include the increase in your premiums as well. As in my direct out of pocket expenses were $$$$ and due to the fact that multiple breakins and thefts have occurred in the company-owned lot, I also have increased insurance premiums of $$$ per year which is not my fault, but a direct result of the lack of security in the company-owned lot, so I expect an increase in my salary to compensate me for this increased premium.

    9. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Not a lawyer, so I may be entirely incorrect, but as I recall a lot of places have two options when it comes to security and liability. They can let it be entirely unsecured, and warn people to come at their own risk, or they can secure it, in which case they have to maintain that security or they will be liable. So if it’s a completely unsecured lot, it’s probably less expensive from a liability standpoint than a secured lot because they can say that it’s park at your own risk.

      I’m not sure how this works out with employees, or when they have other covered lots, and I’m not claiming this is anything but scummy. But that might be what’s going on

    10. A Poster Has No Name*

      If I were the LW I’d be angling more at the personal safety risk than the property risk. If someone gets attacked while surprising or confronting thieves in the future, that could cost a lot more than $25K.

    11. Ultra Anon*

      This is cold comfort to LW, but if you have a Kia or Hyundai built before Nov 2021 that has a steel key, people can steal it with just a screwdriver and a USB stick. It literally takes 2 minutes to steal them. My husband’s car was stolen and luckily it was found. The best thing you can do to mitigate theft if you have one of these cars is to reach out to the dealer and find out if there’s a software update available that immobilizes the ignition. Even with this update, buy a steering wheel lock (like the Club) in order to deter these types of thefts.

  4. KH*

    Ohh my gosh, I have ALWAYS been irked at that Gilmore Girls storyline! To turn down a JOB for the possibility of getting a six-week fellowship?! Bird in hand, Rory Gilmore! And I always thought that if the fellowship were really as prestigious as the show made it out to be, the ProJo would loooove to boast having one of their fellows on staff. Heck, I thought she was absolutely ridiculous for not taking Logan up on the offer of a nepo job in California. This is undoubtedly due to my own issues, but I’d take a sure thing (especially when it involves a handsome man who loves me AND having an avocado tree!) over a risky move. I mean, her dream was to be a journalist, and she turned down two opportunities to do just that! Well, if you’ve seen A Year in the Life, you know how that all turned out.

    (I have big feelings about Gilmore Girls.)

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      No ridicule of Rory Gilmore‘s incredibly dumb choices is due to your own issues.

      I did love a lot of things about that show, but the Gilmore entitlement and rampant belief that the exceedingly average Rory is somehow *special* and deserving of having a red carpet rolled out for her at all times while the little people leap out of her way is not one of them.

    2. *kalypso*

      I’d love a post-COVID docudrama-style check-in on Rory. Bonus points if they all had to live together (including Emily).

    3. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      Yep, over and over she did things no journalist would do! In A Year in the Life, *after* publishing a Talk of the Town she went to that editor’s office in London (?) with ZERO ideas to pitch. Wtf. I know the show writers are, y’know, writing a show and not thinking about journalism norms all the time. But I loved that show and I clung to the fiction that the characters were people. Rory’s journalistic failings pierce that fantasy, just like the time Edward Hermann mispronounced Keynes in a lecture about economics.

      1. TD*

        I stopped watching a (short-lived) medical show after the supposedly genius main doctor said he attended “John Hopkins” medical school.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      One of my biggest and most specific pet peeves is when people complain that Rory was “out of character” in the revival show for this specific reason. She makes the EXACT same bad choices over and over! This job/fellowship fiasco is all I could think about when she bombed her interview for that Buzzfeedish job because she felt like it was so beneath her she didn’t even have to try.

      However, in the show’s defense, they probably either didn’t know the fellowship was so short or assumed most viewers wouldn’t know (but like… just make up a fake fellowship instead lol)

      1. Lexie*

        They may have been thinking it was like a medical fellowship that can last years or thinking that the audience would assume it was like that. Thought it would have been easy enough to look it up and/or work a mention of the length into the script.

        This is one of those things where you may have to pretend they live in an alternative universe that is just slightly different from ours.

      2. LW5*

        Completely agree about Rory—the revival was 100% in character.

        But the length of the fellowship is actually mentioned in the show, so the fact that it’s only 6 weeks long is part of the plot!

        1. fhqwhgads*

          It’s also very in-character for Rory to probably subconsciously have snobby disdain for Providence, but she’d never admit it outloud. So it’s less about her weighing actual job vs fellowship and more about her thinking she’s not as snobby as her grandparents when she actually very is.

        1. Diana Trout*

          YES! I watch GG as an adult and I cringe at nearly everything I used to think was so cool. But you can’t be so hard on Rory…okay you can. Lorelai was selfish and self-centered at the expense of her child in pretty much every way – which is why Lorelai was the way she was.

          I will say this tho – even as a 20 year old I thought Lorelai was acting like a petulant child when Rory decided to go to Yale.

        2. pagooey*

          And Emily is the hero! Her evolution beyond snobbery (and through grief) made the whole revival for me.

          It’s my lunch break, so I’m happy to kick Rory around some more. I actually appreciated the befuddled, embittered Rory of the revival, finally reaping some consequences for her ongoing poor decision-making. So she was a smart, pretty, priveleged teenager–big whoop. You can’t coast on that forever! I kind of loved how utterly gobsmacked she was, that the whole world did not fall at her feet like the inexplicable weirdos in her small town. The learning curve of Life Lessons was pretty steep, for Rory. Maybe she’ll take some tips from her grandma and actually investigate what she wants, values, enjoys…instead of waiting for it to be handed to her on a (Luke’s) platter.

          Anyway. Rory and Lorelei get in each others’ way. Emily is the bomb, fights bitterly with those two…and will also savagely defend them to the death when challenged. She’s the BEST.

          1. Burger Bob*

            My theory on why Emily’s storyline was by far the best part of the revival is that it was the only one that hadn’t already been pre-planned by Amy Sherman-Palladino. The bulk of the rest of it is more or less the same story beats she had planned for a final season of the show (had to get to the Last Four Words). But those stories didn’t feel quite right ten years later. But the death of Edward Herrmann forced them to explore new territory for Emily, and what wonderful ride it turned out to be.

        3. MonkeyPrincess*

          OMG yes.

          I loved the show when it was first on… I was a couple years older than Rory, but close enough to her age to identify.

          Watching it again as an adult, you realize that it’s a show about a spoiled, entitled child who spends her entire life being told that she’s the most smartest and specialest princess in the world, but who freezes and makes the wrong choice every single time she’s actually handed a golden opportunity on a silver plate.

          And, yes, you realize that Emily is the best. She was in the wrong life, and deserved so much more and so much better than just being a rich housewife.

    5. RI Resident*

      Not sure if this is relevant, since I don’t watch the show but the Providence Journal is…not a great paper.

      1. Lilo*

        Paper jobs are notoriously tough to come by, though. A friend of mine ended up getting her start by working for a tiny local paper in Alaska where she lived in a town accessible by sea plane.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yeah, even in the early aughts it was hard to find good print journo jobs; even with a degree from Yale you’re almost certainly not gonna be hired on at the NYT fresh out of school.

      2. Lexie*

        I’ll take your word for that but it was a job. If nothing else it would count as expenses and as others said she could always back out if something better came along.

      3. EPLawyer*

        Journo jobs are so hard to come by, you start out at the small, not great paper, then work you way up to the small, but good paper, then on and on. Mandy Matney of the Murdaugh Murder Podcasts started out at a Kansas paper, then moved to the Island Packet in South Carolina, then moved to Fitsnews. then between some idealogical clashes with the owner and burnout from trying to do the news and the podcast went independent.

        1. Lydia*

          Literally was thinking about her when I was reading this comment thread. Mandy Matney broke a huge story working at a tiny newspaper. There are a ton of journalists at small papers who do amazing reporting. Just because a newspaper is small or doesn’t have a stellar reputation in an area doesn’t mean you can’t do good work there.

      4. Sloanicota*

        To be fair, if this is supposed to be the real world, I’m guessing Rory would have almost certainly lost any job in print journalism pretty early in her efforts :(

        1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

          When the TV series ended she was writing for an online magazine and following the Obama campaign. After Obama won, from time to time I would think about how in the show’s fictional timeline, Rory would be a White House correspondent now. That’s why I was surprised by the state of her career in the sequel. But of course the writers can do what they want.

    6. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      I just started watching the show for the first time and have Season 2 Episode 3 paused on the next tab, and so far I just love this show, despite some needling inconsistencies.

      1. KH*

        Oh my gosh, despite my Big Feelings, I also love the show! I rewatch it pretty frequently, and it is one of my comfort shows. I think I just get as much pleasure out of critiquing it (especially as my views evolve since I started out near Rory’s age when it aired, and I’m now older than Lorelai – eek!). You’re in for a good time!

    7. Punk*

      The revival also acted like becoming editor of her town’s newspaper wasn’t somewhat prestigious and EXACTLY the job she’d gone to school for. Who cares if it’s frumpy? She’s editor of a paper in a Hartford suburb.

      1. Panhandlerann*

        I SO MUCH wanted her to end up liking the hometown newspaper job, to feel like she’d fallen into a great opportunity with a group of folks (the existing staff of the paper) who were undiscovered gems. Together they could really build the paper into something special among small-town papers. But no: they just had to create an absolute parody of a small-town newspaper and its staff.

        1. Punk*

          Or the fact that Rory turned down the Chilton teaching job because she didn’t want to go to grad school. It seemed like a fundamental misunderstanding of the character to suggest that she would balk at that setup.

          1. Lexie*

            Her turning down the teaching job actually made sense. Grad school is a lot of time and money if you’re going just to get one specific job that may not even exist. Yes, the headmaster said she could have a job if she got her masters but what if there weren’t any openings when she graduated? I doubt he was going to fire someone just to give her a job. Considering he was headmaster when she was in school he had to be planning to retire soon and his successor may not honor a verbal commitment he gave to someone. The offer really sounds like something he said in the moment without really thinking it through.

      2. Seashell*

        Rory wanted to be Christiane Amanpour. Not surprising that working at a small-town paper would cause mixed feelings. Hartford isn’t exactly NY City either.

    8. Attic Wife*

      I too am rewatching Gilmore Girls currently. I still think about her not taking that Providence job and it upsets me. I am very close to Rory’s age and often wonder what her life would have been like if she had just gone to Harvard like she wanted. I also wonder if there was any impact on society no matter how small. I clearly have been in academia too long, but I would like to collect some data on it.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Wait, really? I’m fascinated. She goes to Yale, right? You think if Rory had gone to Harvard instead (iirc she didn’t get in, I think, but I’m not super familiar) her arc in the show would have been different, and also a bunch more real-world students would have applied to Harvard? As someone who graduated from a state school I remember thinking the point of that plot arc was that there was basically no difference between ivies and she was being a bit silly caring about which one she went to – an extremely low-stakes plot to me!

        1. Daisy-dog*

          I think the difference is that she probably would have had less contact with her family. Her rich grandparents influenced her in a certain ways by being so close. She was probably less independent by being so close to her mom (because of their relationship, this is not a universal truth for anyone that goes to college close to their parents).

          But because it was a show, she was unable to leave the bubble and had to have regular contact with all the primary characters. See the speech by Joey in season 4 episdoe 4 of Dawson’s Creek.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Ha see this is my ignorance from growing up in the Midwest – I didn’t think Boston versus New Haven was far enough to make a difference (it’s like a two hour drive! I went one state away and that was six hours by car if I was speeding!). Maybe to communicate with us types, they could have made one option Stanford, where she knows nobody, versus the local school that’s literally right around the corner. But it’s really interesting that I apparently missed all this. I should go back and re-watch it, I think I was Rory’s own age around the time I was watching the show and I haven’t refreshed my memory.

            1. Hlao-roo*

              I have lived in both the Midwest and New England and the difference in reasonable drive length/time is huge. In the Midwest, I didn’t blink at driving 5 hrs for a weekend trip (leave after work Fri, return Sunday afternoon) or 7-8 hr drive for a three-day weekend trip. In New England, anything longer than 1 hour and I’ll be asking “are you sure there’s no way I can take a train?” (Of course, you can take a train from New Haven to Boston but then you have to buy tickets and stick to a schedule and it’s a much bigger deal than “just hop in the car and go.”)

            2. Zephy*

              Those tiny-state people have no sense of scale – two hours away by car might as well be on the moon in Connecticut, whereas to you and me (born in Ohio, currently live in Florida), that’s a casual day trip.

              1. goddessoftransitory*

                I remember in Bill Bryson’s travel book about England, how his version and British versions of distance were two entirely different things. Distances that Americans would “happily drive to get a taco” were considered Huge Outings Requiring Much Planning down at the pub.

                1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

                  I really love that there is a Bill Bryson comment in this GG thread

                2. Sacred Ground*

                  This reminds me of an expression I heard a while back: “Americans think 200 years is a long time. Europeans think 200 miles is a long distance.”

                3. My Cabbages!*

                  Someone once told me about a British cop drama they watched where a subordinate was told he’d have to drive somewhere to interview a witness.

                  The response was an incredulous “Are you joking? That’s almost 25 km away!”

                4. LadyVet*

                  My first job after undergrad was at a paper in a tiny town in West Virginia. The closest mall was about a 20 minute drive, which was comparable to the distance between my own small hometown and the nearest shopping districts.

                  When I mentioned one day to colleagues that I was going to drive up to pay a bill, they asked if I was going to stay overnight.

            3. Daisy-dog*

              I think 40 minutes vs. 2 hours makes a difference though (I’m in Texas). 40 minutes is pop-over time, can be short notice. It’s still less than 2 hours round trip. The 2 hours if more of a planned time period. It’s 4 hours round trip. Definitely a huge commitment for students who have to study and plan newspaper duty around.

        2. Punk*

          The behind-the-scenes reason for Rory choosing Yale is that it’s in Connecticut and it was more feasible for Rory to still be coming home as much as she did. Yale is prestigious for sure, but among people who care about the Ivies it’s considered second-rate. Rory’s goofy/kinda dumb season 7 friends would not have been part of a Harvard subplot.

          1. Bee*

            What? No it’s not – Yale & Harvard are absolutely the two most prestigious Ivies, there’s no functional difference in reputation or education or student body. (I went to Brown, which is actually a mid-rate Ivy. I would argue Yale & Harvard are followed by Princeton & Columbia, then Brown & Penn, then Cornell & Dartmouth. But you DO actually get major personality/tone differences between, say, Princeton and Brown in a way you don’t between Harvard and Yale. They all have dumb rich kids though, which I can’t be mad about because that’s how my tuition got paid.)

            1. Punk*

              Don’t know what to tell ya – people who can choose among Ivies don’t always want to live and socialize in New Haven.

            2. Community college*

              Haha I remember Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl saying that the Holy Trinity is Harvard Yale and Princeton and the other Ivies don’t count. But then Blair went to NYU.

        3. Attic Wife*

          Not so much the impact on Harvard more the impact of a generation seeing a young woman who worked hard to accomplish something like get into Harvard only to change her mind seemingly (at least to me) to please someone else (her grandparents also it would have been closer to Jess). That plot point resonated with me. Again, I am in academia and we love to find themes. It is really interesting how this was very low stakes to you and I have seriously considered writing an academic paper on this topic. I love humans sometimes.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Oh, she did get into Harvard but then chose not to attend because her family wanted her to go to Yale? Got it.

            1. Lexie*

              Not because her family wanted her to go to Yale, but because Yale was closer to home and would make visiting easier. For most of her life Yale wasn’t even a consideration because her grandfather went there.

        4. Rachel*

          She did get into Harvard; she just decided not to go because her grandparents influenced her to go to Yale.

        5. GammaGirl1908*

          She got into Harvard, it was just more convenient for the show to keep her in plotwise if she went to the geographically-much-closer Yale. That was the reason she came home to “do laundry” an unrealistic amount of times during her freshman year of college. The show was built around the interrelationships between three generations of women, as well as the very tight relationship between a mother and daughter. The writers struggled a little bit during her freshman season with how to keep the realistic parts of a daughter going off to college, while still keeping the show’s underpinnings of a mother and daughter being best friends, especially when it didn’t work as well to have the characters on the phone with one another a lot. I thought many times that if they were going to have her run home to “do laundry” twice a week to participate in conversations in the kitchen, they should have just had her live at home.

          That said, there were episodes where the characters ran between Hartford / SH and Boston like they were 15 minutes apart, which they very much are not. You had to suspend your disbelief geographically a few times.

          1. Alcott*

            I once made an effort during a re-watch to try to map out the geography of the show and you just can’t. Some episodes, SH is west of Hartford near Litchfield and Woodbury, sometimes it’s southeast in the corner by New London, other times it’s in the southern part of the state next to Woodbridge. Connecticut may be small, but it’s not so small that all of those towns can be the ‘next town over.’

            1. GammaGirl1908*

              I know that A S-P based a lot about Stars Hollow on Washington Heights, Connecticut, so I’ve just used that as my mental base for the town. Trying to figure out anything else makes my head hurt.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        She have quit Harvard just like she quit Yale, and maybe sooner too without Paris to spur her on. The only difference would be that her grandparents would have donated that building to Yale in her name a little earlier so Yale would take her as a transfer student. I always assumed that donated building was how she managed to graduate on time after skipping a semester.

        1. e271828*

          I have never watched this show, but any person with family members rich enough to donate a building is probably going to be admitted to every Ivy they apply to, and cut a lot of slack too. Harvard then and now is less of a (country-clubby) insular kind of feeling than Yale. So going to Yale as a donor-bait admission seems consistent with the character as described here.

          If this were a real person who turned down a job at the PJB because they MIGHT get a fellowship elsewhere, they would be showing that they believe strongly in the power of the family money to carry them along. Because a PJB job (in the 90’s I think this show was?) was not chopped liver, there was plenty of serious stuff to investigate in the Providence area, and a good reporter could reasonably plan to be a star there and move up to the Boston Globe or to some New York paper. Probably the only paper it would be a bad idea to work at, at that time, would be the Manchester Union-Leader…

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            I will add just for context that part of the initial main plot of the show is actually that she was raised without that family money–she really only starts to experience some of that life in high school.

            Her mom was raised in a very wealthy household but ran away when she got pregnant at 16 and they only saw her grandparents occasionally for holidays–but then in the pilot of the show her mom decides to reach out to her rich parents for help paying for Rory’s education after she gets into a prestigious private high school, so then the rest of the show has a big focus on that family dynamic and Rory building these relationships with her wealthy grandparents while her mom tries to kind of fight her on it.

            So she definitely has a lot of privilege from her wealthy grandparents but I think most of her overconfidence comes less from that and more from growing up as a big fish in a small pond in the small town where she was raised.

            Doesn’t really change anything, just adding some background!

    9. Cat Tree*

      She’s a rich kid whose grandparents have always shown up to support her. They try to play up the single mom aspect like they’re some poor family struggling to get by. But in reality their biggest struggle is having to put up with grating family members for financial support. And that’s a legitimate problem! But it’s not the problem they’re pretending to have. She’s a rich kid with a cushy safety net who has never worried about money in her entire life, and never will. That’s why it’s so easy for her to pass up an actual job offer.

      I watched the whole series on Netflix, but only because it was easier to struggle through than to remove it from “continue watching” before Netflix made that easy.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I think this definitely becomes her arc over the show, but in the first season there’s more “fish out of water” elements because she doesn’t fit in in the ritzy school they send her to, with her single mom and small town background, and the mother-daughter duo contrasts with the grandparents in their interactions. Later, she essentially “switches sides.”

      2. Totally Minnie*

        Also, most of Rory’s educational and career choices were based on what was the more prestigious option. Should she go to a Chilton, the well known private academy with the fancy campus and big name teachers, or should she go to Stars Hollow High where she can have a closer relationship with her friends and her boyfriend? She and her mother never even considered the possibility of a university that wasn’t Harvard until they started to consider Yale. There was a pretty solid through line that it’s not worth it to pursue a thing if that thing is not prestigious and/or well known.

        1. a different KH*

          This to me is one of the unexamined throughlines to this show (unexamined/unintentional on ASP’s part*). Lorelei is so insistent that her parents and their world were oppressive and terrible, that she had to run away to be independent and raise her daughter, that she built this wonderful life in Stars Hollow…but she sends Rory right back into that world because Rory is Special! Stars Hollow High could not possibly be good enough for Rory! Rory is destined for Harvard! And regardless of how she starts, Rory ends up buying into that narrative too. BUT I’M A GILMORE. No matter what Lorelei says about her parents, they have many of the same fundamental beliefs about prestige and value.

          Look, I love the show. And I know that we have to accept certain things in order for the show to operate (Chilton was what brought everyone together in S1). That is how television works. But I would have loved a version where Rory went to, like, Berkeley. Where Rory built some independence, where Rory developed some resilience and didn’t quit things when someone said something mean about her. (Way to prove Mitchum right, Rory!)

          *Especially since the revival, I’ve been fascinated by the idea that ASP has a different take on these characters than many viewers do (many viewers in these comments, certainly). I think a lot of the things that people critique about Rory and Lorelei being entitled, and about Rory’s choices and actions in the revival, are not intentional characterizations. I could be wrong, I obviously don’t know ASP personally, but my sense from the way she talks about the show is that she does share that view of the characters.

          1. Patty Mayonnaise*

            Completely agree about the unexamined throughline that Lorelei fought so hard to break away from her parent’s life then did everything possible to get her daughter back into it (with cosmetic differences to annoy them aka Yale vs. Harvard). I think about this all the time!

      3. Burger Bob*

        She and Lorelai did worry about money at least a normal amount when she was growing up and they had little to no contact with Emily and Richard. That’s why Logan has to give her a wake-up call when she writes that piece about snobby rich people and he’s like, “Um, I don’t know if you’ve looked in the mirror lately…” She still thought of herself as the girl who grew up in a one-room outbuilding at an inn.

    10. Miette*

      Aiiieee this also drove me crazy lmao. I also see it as much an indication of a total lack of real world experience on the part of most TV and film writers as it is poorly-written character choices and/or development.

      Nothing drives me more insane than the fact that the hospital on Grey’s Anatomy is apparently fully run by nothing but surgeons (especially in the ED?!). Like… what’s that billing look like, I wonder.

      Patient: Why are you charging me $25k for stitches? My kid knocked his head on a kitchen shelf. The doctor seemed preoccupied with eye-shtupping this dude the whole time we were there ffs.

      Billing person: I mean, MEREDITH GREY did them. Don’t you know she’s won the Harper Avery Award for Extreme Cleverness or Whatever?

      Patient: Who tf is Harper Avery and why do I care?

      1. Sloanicota*

        This is the real issue. I would put it at 50/50 whether the writers were trying to make a huge point about Rory’s choices here or it just coming from the fact that TV writers don’t know a lot about how other industries work. You’d think there might be some crossover in different kinds of writing but I bet not so much.

      2. Lexie*

        Don’t get me started on how Gray-Sloan Memorial is run. When Teddy was negotiating the chief position she was asking for a full time admin instead of a part time one. The Chief of Surgery would absolutely have a full time admin if not two. All of those chiefs and attendings would have full time assistants and offices.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          My dad couldn’t watch House without going on a full-tear rant about how horribly his hospital was administered and how NOBODY who wasn’t literally Jesus in healing ability would be allowed on the premises after the crap he pulled.

    11. CheesePlease*

      finally Gilmore Girls on AAM!!

      Despite idolizing her mom, her “golden child” status made her very entitled. And instead of taking a humble job (a safe choice) and attempting to negotiate time to work on the fellowship, she opts to pursue prestigious goals. Unlike her own mother, who took a job as a maid to make ends meet. For her character, it makes sense. Rory sucks overall.

    12. constant_craving*

      Disclaimer that I’ve never seen Gilmore Girls, but I’m a current psychology grad student and fellowships in my field often stipulate that you not be employed/funded by anyone else. Finding out that you have any other source of funding is grounds for training grants and fellowships to be rescinded. I would assume turning down a job would be because it was an either/or by fellowship terms, but I don’t have any clue of the specifics here.

    13. Alanna*

      I’m not this far along in GG yet but I am a journalist who did a NYT internship around the time Rory would have graduated college, and I regret to say that Rory’s perception of the situation as described here — that she would have to choose, not that she made the right choice — is probably correct. Lots of journalism jobs are described as “fellowships” that are actually internships or entry-level jobs. Six weeks would be unusually short (the typical internship is 9-12 weeks), but you don’t get to take a job and then leave it to do an internship.

      Because of the daily nature of journalism, leaving for six weeks is a pretty big deal and by no means guaranteed unless you’re at the biggest, most prestigious employers. I work at a mid-sized publication with pretty generous HR policies, and any fellowship that takes you out of the newsroom for longer than a typical vacation is decided on a case-by-case basis with top leadership weighing in. There’s no way that a new hire would be allowed to do it, no matter how prestigious it was.

    14. Burger Bob*

      Well, part of what becomes very frustratingly clear in the revival is that maybe, in the end, her dream *wasn’t* to be a journalist. As a kid, she thought it sounded exciting, and her mom thought it sounded exciting, and so they developed her entire life to put her on that track. But when she actually gets there, she doesn’t seem to like it very much. She likes the prestige, and she can write well, but it never seems like she actually wants to *be* a journalist and really do the journalist career. It’s one of those things where it was already foreordained for her, so she didn’t really take time to explore her options and think about what she would actually enjoy doing. So maybe it’s not so surprising that she turned down some pretty solid offers. They didn’t actually “spark joy” for her. And it’s not like she was ever going to have to worry about making rent, seeing as she always has very convenient family help to fall back on. I find Rory an endlessly frustrating and disappointing character as much as the next viewer, but I do find some features of her arc to empathize with. Being a gifted, spoiled kid who finally reaches a point where not everything comes easy to you and having to discover that your dream isn’t what you thought it would be is a pretty relatable quarter-life crisis. Rory’s story is the biggest reason I wish we could have another revival season. Her arc feels so unfinished.

  5. Brain the Brian*

    In the meantime, LW1, I suggest you job hunt. Getting your car stolen repeatedly out of your office’s parking lot is a pretty big deal! Perhaps it will take employees leaving for your employer to realize that.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Unfortunately, I am forced to agree. Location is a big part of your job, and if your location just isn’t safe, then you may be better finding work with an organization that puts their money where their mouth is when it comes to the safety of their employees, or is located in an area where that is less of a concern.

      1. Ultra Anon*

        If you have a Kia or Hyundai built before Nov 2021 that has a steel key, people can steal it with just a screwdriver and a USB stick. It literally takes 2 minutes to steal them. Location doesn’t really matter as these cars are being stolen by teenagers who drive them around until they find another Kia or Hyundai. There’s no monetary gain in the thefts, it’s just for “fun.” My husband’s car was stolen and luckily it was found. The best thing you can do to mitigate theft if you have one of these cars is to reach out to the dealer and find out if there’s a software update available that immobilizes the ignition. Even with this update, buy a steering wheel lock (like the Club) in order to deter these types of thefts.

        1. Ultra Anon*

          I should add, in my city, car thefts have increased from 32 in 2021 to over 3,000 in 2022 and most of those were Kias and Hyundais. There is no “safe” location as they’re stolen in the heart of the city and in the outer burbs. They can be taken in broad daylight because it takes 2 minutes from breaking the window to getting the steering column cover off and starting the car. That’s why it’s being suggested to buy a “Club” because it means the process will be delayed for the thief and they won’t bother.

        2. Samwise*

          I had a VW super beetle that the local college kids kept taking for joy rides (easy to break into, easy to hotwire). My dad showed me how to take the rotor out of the distributor cap — so they couldn’t start the car. Then the property manager caught them throwing trash in the car (they were mad that it wouldn’t start) and kicked them out of the apt complex.

    2. Mitford*

      My husband, a paralegal, in a desperation move during a downturn in the economy, took a job with a rather predatory law firm that represents creditors in bankruptcy proceedings (as in, the people who are trying to extract more money from the people who are having to declare bankruptcy). Twice, when he was working late at the office, he emerged from the office to find that his car windows had been smashed by an unhappy bankrupt person. After the second time, he was done and started job hunting. Good luck, LW1.

    3. Sloanicota*

      Ugh my office also switched to a “cheaper” location that off-loaded some of the expenses and difficulties onto the employees. Cheaper for who. It will definitely be a factor as I think about my next move.

    4. aunttora*

      UGH. Many years ago I worked a noon-8PM shift at a downtown office building in a not so great part of town (perfectly fine during the day but beginning to be a little worrying by 8). The parking garage only required payment before noon, so I was told that part of my “compensation” was free parking. Well, eventually the building put in automated gates and started charging 24/7. My company said they wouldn’t pay for it, but they WOULD pay for parking at an outside lot about six blocks away. I said what about this being part of my compensation, and they said, well only when it was free to them. I told them I (an early twenties woman) should not have to walk six blocks, at night, in a not great part of town. They pointed out that the garage itself wasn’t all that secure, one of the attorneys had recently been attacked in it by some dude using a screwdriver as a weapon! I said – that’s not really supporting your position. Anyway, I instead starting paying for parking myself at a lot about a block away. Soon thereafter my car was broken into, damaged, and things stolen out of it. I asked for my insurance deductible to be paid, they denied it and told me my attitude was “accusatory”, and I quit that job. This was in the 80s and I am STILL bitter.
      One of the jobs I interviewed for when looking to leave was in an even worse part of town, they owned their building but wouldn’t allow staff to park in the secured garage, so I didn’t even finish the interview. After that parking was always part of my initial discussions with prospective employers.
      Funny how the world has changed – now my car stays parked safely in my garage as I work in my home office.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        “they owned their building but wouldn’t allow staff to park in the secured garage”

        So who the heck parked in their secured garage, that they owned? Just the upper management, I assume? and maybe the clients, to avoid losing them or getting sued? That’s a pretty cynical approach, glad that you walked out of their interview.

        1. aunttora*

          Exactly – this was a law firm and parking was for attorneys and clients only. No idea how big the garage was, maybe there truly wasn’t enough room, however they also had tenant companies in the building so assume they included parking places for them (for a price). When they told me this in the interview I asked what other staff did, and they said most took public transit. I’ve been on the buses in that area (you had to pass through it to get to where a lot of medical facilities are), and I’d rather have walked six blocks at night in the bad neighborhood – they all reeked of various human ‘outflow’ and once I saw a guy clock a woman in the head with a toolbox.
          Years later I ended up in southern California and say what you will about the ‘car culture’, I never had a job – in the city or the suburbs – where safe parking wasn’t part of the deal.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Yep. If they allowed the employees to park there they may have had to take legal responsibility for any crimes or accidents that occurred in the garage, whereas out on the street they didn’t.

    5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Yeah that sounds like a massive hidden paycut to me – come work for us, but be prepared to pay extra for repairs on your car and for your insurance premiums to go up! Oh, and one day your car might just disappear and never be found, so maybe budget for a new one? That’s a lot of additional expenses. Is this job worth it? And that’s not even getting into the part where the people trying to steal OP’s car had “started to approach” the person that intercepted them, which would scare me to no end if I worked there.

    6. Brain the Brian*

      Jumping back here to also note that this would be — in my view — an ideal time for a Glassdoor review. One review there noting that employees’ cars are frequently stolen out of the company’s parking lot could be the tipping point for management to do something. (And really, $25,000 is not a lot of money for an organization with a multi-building campus; it’s not even one full-time employee’s yearly pay at minimum wage!)

    7. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, I mean if nothing else sit down and do some math to find out what your hourly pay really is after factoring in having to pay for car repairs and insurance increases. Seems likely you are not being paid enough to put up with that.

  6. Not Australian*

    The lack of proper safety/security precautions in the parking lot doesn’t just apply to theft or damage of vehicles, of course. If the site can’t be seen properly from the building, how is the workplace going to guarantee the physical safety of its staff – particularly female staff, and especially when it’s dark? How many people have to be attacked before the organisation finds its pockets are deep enough to stump up for security cameras? And would a simple assault be enough, or are they waiting for a kidnapping – or even a murder? IMHO it’s time to make this about more than just the vehicles: *things* can always be replaced, but people can’t.

    1. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

      Yes, I’m kind of baffled by the organisation’s attitude towards this. Aren’t they obligated to provide a safe environment for staff? That doesn’t necessarily extend to parking, but if the car park is on company property and they’re not doing anything to deter potentially violent criminals, that seems pretty negligent to me

    2. Nobby Nobbs*

      Normally I’d push back on the idea that being outside in the dark is especially dangerous for women, but interrupting a car theft in progress could actually get someone shot. This company needs a fence, minimum.

      1. Melissa*

        Not just a woman though— interrupting a car theft in progress would be dangerous for anyone.

      2. cardigarden*

        I know someone who got shot while interrupting a car theft. The company’s apparent lack of concern is bananas.

    3. GrooveBat*

      Exactly; if I were complaining about this, I would absolutely stress the personal safety angle.

    4. Pink Candyfloss*

      FULLY agree. Worker safety needs to be the stressed point, here. “I don’t know how much longer I can continue to work here feeling so unsafe” said by multiple people will hit home faster than “my car was damaged”.

    5. HigherEdAdminista*

      This is what I was thinking as well. It seems like this time the thief was willing to approach a solo woman, but fled only due to the lucky presence of others. What happens to the last person to leave or if someone doesn’t come along? Car thieves are not the only people who might lurk around in a quiet parking area without security!

      1. Sloanicota*

        This is also definitely a reason to loudly announce that you absolutely can’t leave late or come in early when the premises are so unsafe. I’d be out the door while it’s still light out and there’s more people around – every single day.

  7. LobsterPhone*

    LW4: My boss/the CIO responds to positive comments about his staff with ‘that’s great feedback! thanks for letting me know’

    1. Sparkle Llama*

      I have been trying to email the supervisors of coworkers in other departments to let them know when their staff goes above and beyond. Here are two recent responses:

      Thanks for letting me know. Jane does a great job helping our customers, especially those that need a little more help. It is nice that others recognize her.

      Thank you so much for your note and feedback. It is delightful to see Jane’s contributions and skills are recognized by others and I agree wholeheartedly.

      Obviously the context is a bit different than a customer, but I did appreciate both responses.

      Also if you aren’t doing this, I would highly recommend giving this sort of feedback on your coworkers.

  8. Bilateralrope*

    For #1, I’d getting a cheap steering wheel lock. One you clamp onto your steering wheel whenever you park. Maybe try to get your employer pay for it.

    It’s not going to stop anyone who wants to steal your car. But anyone who just wants to steal a car will look through your window, see it, then move onto the next car.

    Or you could look into fitting an immobilizer. The downsides here are the cost and, if the thief doesn’t notice the sticker on your window, they are still going to try to start the car. Which means they will still have done all the damage they would have done if their theft was successful. I prefer to deter the thief before my window gets smashed.

    1. Jess*

      Came here to also suggest a steering wheel lock – it’s what I used after my car was also stolen from where I parked it for work, and the peace-of-mind was surprisingly cheap!

      Obviously it doesn’t prevent someone intent on causing damage from breaking windows etc, and it’s not a substitute for pressing your employer to improve the situation, but it’s easy and quick in the interim.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      This OP’s employer definitely needs to upgrade their parking security, but until they do, a steering wheel lock may help. My home town has a high crime rate, and my mother always used to put a steering wheel lock on her car when parking anywhere potentially sketchy, and nobody ever touched it.

          1. londonedit*

            They’ve been compulsory in the UK for all new cars since the late ’90s, I think (as in, car manufacturers have to supply their cars with immobilisers). I’m surprised it isn’t the same everywhere, but you live and learn! Cars still get stolen here, though. I’d definitely suggest a steering wheel lock – that sort of visual deterrent works quite well as thieves are just going to look for whatever’s quick and easy.

            1. I am Emily's failing memory*

              Wait, what does immobilizer mean in this context? I’ve only heard it before in reference to the breathalyzer device that people who regain their license after a DUI conviction are sometimes required to install, which only allow the car to be started if the driver blows clean into the breathalyzer. What unlocks the kind that aren’t hooked up to breathalyzers?

              1. londonedit*

                It basically means the car won’t start unless you use the correct key/fob etc. So in theory you can’t hotwire the car or use a skeleton key or whatever. I’ve never heard of the breathaliser ones – I don’t think they’re a thing here! It’s not even a thing you’d notice about your car; as I said it’s something that’s built into all cars here (or all cars built since 1998, anyway). But it makes it more difficult for thieves to steal cars. Not that it’s impossible, especially with the new keyless fobs – I think those can be reprogrammed so that you can use them to steal a car. But it probably helps.

                1. SarahKay*

                  I think it definitely helps reduce theft from car parks (parking lots).
                  But… I remember reading a news article about 4-5 years ago that would-be car thieves are now more likely to break into your home to steal your car keys because that’s significantly easier than stealing the car without keys. Which – yikes!

                2. londonedit*

                  Yes, absolutely – I think the majority of car thefts here are definitely those where thieves break into your house and steal your car keys in order to nick the car off the driveway. No problem with the key then! And no damage to the car, either, which obviously makes it easier for the thieves to sell on.

                3. Phryne*

                  Apparently they can digitally ‘read’ your fob from some meters away through doors with a scanner, if you put it on a hook in the hallway they won’t need to break in… You have to lock your keys in a metal box now…
                  (Not a problem I personally have cause I don’t have a car. But so I heard… :) )

                4. I am Emily's failing memory*

                  Interesting, it does indeed seem like something that should be the default!

                  Also interesting to think whether the breathalyzer version is a totally separate product, or if it’s one company that, having failed to persuade auto manufacturers to install them on all vehicles, came up with a creative new way to target a U.S. market!

                5. Ama*

                  Theoretically yes, but someone really determined can get the car started anyway. I had a car get stolen that was one of the first models that had a design where unless you had the actual car key you weren’t supposed to be able to start the car — the thieves had to tear open the entire steering column to hotwire it but they did it. The mechanic who fixed it was astonished they were able to even do it.

                  (I got it back because they abandoned it in a town 30 minutes away — not sure if it was teens joyriding or if they couldn’t get it started the second time.)

                6. londonedit*

                  The big thing here at the moment is catalytic converter theft – seemingly something in a catalytic converter is worth a lot of money to thieves. They literally jack up cars and cut off the catalytic converter in seconds, and they’re away. Then you don’t realise until you try to drive your car and it sounds like a tractor. That’s really hard to stop if you don’t have secure parking, which in most towns and cities in Britain people don’t – you park on the road outside your house, or maybe on a small driveway that’s easily accessible from the road.

                7. linger*

                  Unfortunately it has also led to problems where the immobiliser engages unexpectedly. In particular, it can be engaged remotely if the company deems you’ve fallen behind on your payments. It can’t be engaged while the engine is actually running, so you won’t be at risk of a collision, but you may be stranded somewhere random.

              2. DataSci*

                londonedit, catalytic converters are stolen mostly for the platinum they contain. It was a problem here a couple years ago, and apparently there are protective plates you can have installed. Our local police department also partnered with car repair shops to offer free etching of the converters – harder for thieves to sell them if they’re traceable.

    3. Janet Pinkerton*

      It also stops someone from stealing your airbag, if you get the right kind. (Six Civics got their airbags stolen in my parking lot a few years back.) You do feel like you’re in the 1990s, but it’s worth it.

    4. LetterWriter1*

      LW1 Here with an update: something I mentioned in my original email is that all of the cars are Hyundai’s/ Kia’s which have been the target of a TikTok trend exploiting a weakness in their security system making them easy to steal. I had a convrsation yesterday/ the morning after this happened and feel much better.

      They have already purcased steering wheel locks for all staff with those car brands, which will be here on Friday or Monday. They’re getting bids to fence in part of the main lot. They’re planning to hire additional security patrol while we work on getting other security measures in place. The plan is still to get the cameras, once we deal with some underlying electrical issues that are preventing them.

      Most of these things were suggested by my boss in our conversation, rather than me having to make a strong case to persuade or convince. She also offered some options for me to park elsewhere, and asked explicitly what would help me feel safer.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Thanks for the update and I’m glad your company and boss are taking this problem seriously! I hope the combination of steering wheel locks and security patrols (and eventual fences and cameras) cut down on the thefts.

      2. RIP Pillow Fort*

        I was wondering if it was the Kia/Hyundai issue. I have a Hyundai but mine isn’t one of the ones affected but it doesn’t help the anxiety this issue has caused. I’m glad they’re starting to take it seriously.

      3. The Person from the Resume*

        Yes. In my city, Hyundai’s/ Kia’s are particularly stolen and the companies (through the city) provided steering wheel locks to owners of those cars because they know they weaker security than other car brands.

        It sounds like your organization is taking action and you will see the increased security soon. I am glad for you and your coworkers.

      4. Sloanicota*

        Yaay! In your shoes, I’d rather have the fence than the camera – a camera will at best just show the police who did it (including an act of personal violence!) rather than prevent it, in my opinion. They don’t seem to serve as very effective deterrents where I am, and the police are often not very interested even when the crime is on video.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Nope, trying to get police invested in property crime is a no go in a lot of areas until it starts costing the business community enough money.

      5. EPLawyer*

        Yeah the Hyundai/Kia thing is so big, the local police department is offering free wheel locks.

        You can’t realistically just go buy a new car. But it sounds like your employer is taking it seriously so that’s good. Give us another update sometime and let us know how its going.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Also want to add, this is a case of your car can be stolen anywhere. We have cars being stolen out of driveways. So use the wheel lock at all times, not just at work.

          1. PhyllisB*

            Yep to cars being stolen from driveways.
            Two simple deterrents: lock your doors, and don’t leave anything laying out that will attract the attention of a thief.
            My grandson is is in prison for car theft, and he said he would walk down the street testing car doors. And he said an amazing number of people would leave their keys in the car!! Talk about an open invitation!!

            1. londonedit*

              Yeah, where I live it’s not so much cars being stolen (unless they’re high-end models) but if you leave *anything* on display then you’re massively increasing the chances that a thief will smash the window to nick that and whatever else they can find by rummaging around in the car. Theft is mainly about opportunity – thieves will totally look for the easiest and quickest option – and you don’t want your car to be the one with the least protection, or the one with a bag sitting on the back seat, or whatever. Even visual deterrents like a steering lock will make a big difference because unless they’re seriously determined to steal your particular car, a thief will look at it and think ‘not worth the hassle’ and move on.

              1. pope suburban*

                Yes, I live in an area that is…let’s say, not improving, and while it’s not what I’d call actively dangerous, we have a lot of theft. Mostly it’s packages, but I did see someone walking down my sidewalk, pulling on car door handles. I made it clear that I could see what he was doing and he left off at least for the moment, but it was a pretty good example of what “crimes of opportunity” might be. I always, always lock my doors. I know it won’t stop someone who is truly determined, but it will go a long way to deterring casual thievery.

            2. LadyVet*

              My mom has had change and a coat taken from her car, since she left it unlocked.

              Which I keep telling her not to do.

        2. Sloanicota*

          The Hyundai/Kia thing actually changed my opinion of the answer. That’s so well known right now, along with the thing where thieves take a part of the electric car, that I don’t actually think the company parking lot is the biggest part of the problem. Otherwise I would agree they should be doing more, but those cars really *are* being stolen from everywhere!

        3. Anon Supervisor*

          My husband’s car was stolen because of the “Kia Challenge”. I also have a Kia that falls under this group. We both got wheel locks and it saved my car from being stolen from my work parking lot.

      6. Lex Talionis*

        One thing to consider if you approach as a group, suggest people start working from home until the security issue is actually fixed.

    5. morethantired*

      Another option is a killswitch. Costs about $250 to install and your car won’t start until the switch is engaged. Typically it’s either hidden or disguised to look like a regular car function button. I had one in a car, so my car wouldn’t start until I hit the rear defrost button even if if you had the keys in. The killswitch stops the battery.

  9. Anon for this*

    I’m currently struggling with this kind of Rory issue.

    I recently got hired as faculty and won a prestigious fellowship at the best lab in my field at the same time, and my job will not allow me to go. This fellowship comes with perks that will help me for the rest of my career, would bring a ton of visibility to me research program, etc.

    It’s extremely common in my field for faculty to defer a year for this fellowship, but this university is very much against deferrals.

    They’ve also gone back and forth about it, like that they support faculty winning such fellowships, but I’d have to be faculty before I start. The lab agreed to that, but when I brought it back to them they accused me of trying to get a deferral in all but name.

    They say they hate deferrals because they don’t want to lose candidates during the deferral year, but the way they are treating me, I will certainly keep looking next year (the market really isn’t in my favor though, sadly).

    1. L.H. Puttgrass*

      I’d be really tempted to take the fellowship in your case. If it’s as prestigious and useful as it sounds, it could be worth it to put you in a great position for a new, better job when you’re done.

      They say they hate deferrals because they don’t want to lose candidates during the deferral year.

      “You can lose me for a year or you can lose me permanently. Which would you prefer?”

      Of course, the answer might actually be “permanently,” since in that case they could just hire another permanent employee instead of backfilling for a year. And hiring in academia is so tight that most professors don’t have much leverage unless they’re rockstars who make the grant money rain. Still, that fellowship sounds awfully tempting…

      1. *kalypso*

        I second taking the fellowship. If the perks are career-permanent helpful, then they’re also highly likely to come with further opportunities, and with labwork in particular where you end up building a network of people doing similar work and may need to visit them on occasion, you can often parlay that into visiting faculty, research grants and other forms of ‘being paid while I spend six months doing research with my friend here’, which opens further doors later on. Many fields you kind of spend the years between PhD and tenure-track being transient, and then once you land in one place people come visit you instead and you become the attraction for whoever treats you well enough to keep you.

    2. Critical Rolls*

      Like you, I would consider their behavior around this a red flag about what kind of employer they are. It sounds like the long term benefits of the fellowship are substantial. Seconding Puttgrass’s suggestion: if you can mean it, tell them this is not something you can negotiate any further, and you hope they will honor their agreement without further animadversion, but if they are unwilling to accept the terms and move forward with grace, you’re done.

      1. Anon for this*

        Love your username! It is definitely a red flag, but I feel like my whole field is red flag land. I can make it work until I find something better, but it really stings to have to turn this down. OTOH, there are people who have won this fellowship who never get tt jobs, so it would be a big risk to walk away over this (and I know they aren’t bluffing — they pulled an offer over it already).

        1. AnotherSarah*

          Yeah, this is probably a huge risk if you’re in a field like mine. And it may be, that for the tt job, there are other reasons they really don’t want to let you go for a year–grant funding, more hiring, etc. It does suck, though.

    3. Former academic*

      I’d definitely lean toward the fellowship, with the caveat that if we’re really moving toward a recession the market next year may be even tighter. [Having taken my first faculty job in spring 2008 and having the financial crisis hit 3 weeks into my job– and the market basically evaporate for 2 years as a result– I may be extra sensitive to this.] But depending on the nature of the fellowship (e.g. a K99/R00 in the US in NIH-funded fields), the “perks” you mention may be relatively recession proof.

      I’m not sure who you’re negotiating with, but it might be worth connecting with the search committee chair/sub-area head/a senior search committee member to say, look, I really want to come work for you, is there anything you suggest I can do to make this deferral happen? Sometimes you’re dealing with idiosyncratic stuff from a chair/dean and having other faculty with clout saying, in effect “WTF, make this happen”, can shift the power dynamics in a candidate’s favor.

      1. Anon for this*

        They actually did pull an offer over someone wanting a deferral and moved down the shortlist to me, so they really aren’t bluffing. This faculty position is also really good (I’m batting above my league this round), so it’s tough. Leaving a permanent job for a temporary position in my field is wild — I could do it, but there are people that look far better on paper than I do who never got hired (including people who took this fellowship). The market is rougghhh.

        1. Morning reader*

          I too would lean toward keeping the bird in the hand. I wonder, could you include the prize/award or whatever in your future resume? “Offered 2023 fellowship by Academic Icon University” or allude to it in a cover letter? It’s an achievement even if circumstances did not allow you to accept.

          1. Anonymous Koala*

            I really wouldn’t do this – it brings up too many questions and might confuse a hiring manager, especially if they’re familiar with the fellowship.

            Anon, can you use your network to talk to any early career tt faculty in the department offering you this position, to see what their experiences have been like? If the university is willing to pull an offer over a deferral for a year long prestigious fellowship, then I wonder if they have a real need for teaching and service over research, or if the school isn’t as supportive as it appears.

          2. Yorick*

            Is there a way to defer the fellowship? Maybe the department will feel better about you leaving for a year if it’s not this upcoming year?

          3. aunt beast*

            Putting fellowships you win but aren’t able to accept on your CV is really common in my field. It usually looks like this:
            2018 — King Aragorn Professorship, University of Minas Tirith
            2018 — Steward of Gondor fellowship (declined)

        2. Former academic*

          OK, given all of this– my advice is to take the job. Academic jobs are too much of a crapshoot, and there will be other awards/networking opportunities as a jr faculty member. And if you already feel like the job is “above your league”, the benefit of the fellowship as a springboard seems limited.

          1. Anon for this*

            Yea this is what I keep thinking… the whole appeal of the fellowship was to get a job exactly like this. OTOH, it’s been my dream to go to this lab for years so it does really sting.

            1. Former academic*

              Does the TT job do a pretenure sabbatical? DreamLab might be open to having you come hang out for a semester down the road? (I spent a post-tenure sabbatical in Europe entirely based on a cold email to someone I really admire saying hey, could I come visit for a sabbatical, and them immediately responding, sure, we can give you an office and sponsor a visa, we just can’t pay you.)

              Life is long, and academic careers are much less linear than they feel in your first few years.

    4. slmrlln*

      I was in exactly this situation: a tenure-track job offer, a postdoc I was excited about, and the job would not let me take a year to do the postdoc first. I took the job and have no regrets. Tenure-track jobs are a lottery. You can be the best candidate in the world and never get another offer. However, once you have that first job, it’s easier to move to another one, and you can afford to bide your time and apply only to jobs that you’re excited about. Put the fellowship on your resume as (declined), take the job, and apply for more fellowships/jobs in 2-3 years. Don’t let FOMO get you. If you were a good candidate this year, you will still be a good candidate later on. There will be other opportunities.

  10. MJ*

    LW1 – could you and your colleagues propose that your employer cover the cost of alternative parking at a secure location, until the work car park is made safe? I’ve worked places before where the business had an arrangement with a local private car park, and staff could use it for free or at a discount. It would make the cars safer and might motivate the organisation to sort out their own security a bit more quickly.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      And how do they get from the secure location to the job site? By walking? Based on what we see in this letter, this would just open up another security concern, and a potentially bigger one, I think.

      1. danmei kid*

        That was my thought. Fenced in secure lots don’t often exist in nice safe walkable neighborhoods, except in places where parking is premium and then it just becomes a way to reserve the limited spaces for your own use without having them taken up by non-employees – but that doesn’t sound like the area we’re talking about.

  11. Catabodua*

    I followed the Gilmore Girls link and fell down the rabbit hole to the Twilight question … too bad it’s many years old because there is so much there to pick apart just in how hospitals treat privileging and credentialing and how challenging it would be for Carslie to just keep switching medical jobs. Nevermind malpractice and the different license requirements for each state.

    1. Lexie*

      This is when you treat it as a parallel dimension or alternate universe that has a lot of things in common with ours but not quite everything. Easier to do with Twilight since they have vampires and shape shifters whereas Gilmore Girls seems like it should be exactly the same.

      1. Catabouda*

        Good point. I am able to suspend disbelief on a lot of sci fi / fantasy stuff – if the story is engaging. Twilight … was not good.

        Although I had different issues with Gilmore Girls. I live in CT and the way the writers portrayed travel – NYC – 30 minutes! Boston, 20 minutes! Hartford to New Haven – also 20 minutes! just drove me bonkers. There was a particular episode where they were in New Haven to check out Yale and Lorelei and Emily were fighting and Lorelei kept having to call information to get the phone number for the local cab company to drive them home. She called information repeatedly because Emily was still talking at her and getting Lorelei distracted. But, as a local … the cab number in New Haven is literally 777-7777. Meh, enough of my complaints about the show! LOL

        1. MsM*

          At one point, I had an NCIS drinking game that included all the times the show treated D.C. to Norfolk as a quick jaunt. It would take you at least an hour to get out of Tysons alone.

        2. Texan In Exile*

          Some procedural (The Mentalist?) had them driving from Austin to Amarillo or El Paso, leaving in the morning and arriving in time for lunch. That’s not how Texas works.

          (However, they did throw in the joke with the character Wylie, who introduces himself saying “My name is Jason Wylie, but they call me ‘Coyote.’ I don’t know why.”)

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Oh, they do this with Seattle all the time! They want to film in recognizable neighborhoods so characters teleport from the Needle to Pioneer Square to Woodland Park zoo in like, two minutes.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I did this with Person of Interest: Clearly it took place in an alternate world where shooting someone in the knee a) completely immobilized them from doing anything with their hands; b) never hit an artery, and was completely recoverable with a couple of months of PT.

        In contrast, the twist of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Season 2 was that Season 1 had not taken place in a heightened reality where crimes are just hijinks and have no practical consequences.

        1. I am Emily's failing memory*

          I loved the Cell Block Tango bit she did in jail with the other women, where she was trying to get them to share their own salacious “what are you in for?” stories, and they were all like, “I stole a sweater because I couldn’t pay my heating bill and it was cold,” or, “my boyfriend left drugs in our car and I got caught with them, and we have a kid so it’s not like I was going to rat him out so we could both go to jail and our son would have no parents to look after him.”

          “story, story, these are barely stories! they’re just bleak anecdotes with no start or end!”

    2. I am Emily's failing memory*

      I’ve never read Twilight, but I figure anything with vampires, a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be possible could probably be attributed to wealth, because vampires are always rich on account of having centuries of compound interest working in their favor. They usually have people in the finance and banking worlds who help them with every 80 years or so transferring the assets of their last identity to their new one – sometimes this agent knows they’re immortal and other times the agent just knows not to ask nosy and ultimately unnecessary questions about where a very wealthy client gets their money and what they do with it… lest the very wealthy client take their money to a rival firm.

      So if I’m gathering one of the Twilight vampires worked in a hospital, well, I feel pretty confident that a person with enough money could find someone to bribe to falsify whatever paperwork they needed.

      1. Snell*

        Since you didn’t read Twilight, I’ll fill you in: you don’t have to guess that they had a guy who falsified paperwork/credentials/documents/etc. They outright have a guy, he’s a named character who makes an appearance in the last book. Since this is under-the-table dealing, he’s framed as a $$$ legitimate professional with $$$ criminal business on the flip side. How believable he to the reader depends on how much you genuinely enjoy Twilight/how much you trust SMeyer to handle creating such a character and coloring in the world around him.

  12. I'm fabulous!*

    LW5: I don’t think that Rory would have been able to both the reporter job and the fellowship at the same time if the job was full time. Newspapers are short staffed these days.

    1. Madhatter360*

      But the fellowship was only six weeks. The idea isn’t to do both at the same time, but to accept the job, and then ask to delay her start time if she gets the fellowship.
      Of course I’m pretty sure the reason she didn’t want to do that is because Rory believed that if she got the NYT fellowship she’d be sooooo impressive that they’d offer her a full time position at the Times.

      1. I'm fabulous!*

        I understand. I was looking to apply for a similar program while working at a newspaper but management said they wouldn’t have anyone to cover for me while I was gone.

  13. I'm fabulous!*

    LW1: My sister’s company had a similar, pre-Covid issue where their parking lot had two entrances/exits, where car thieves easy accessed her co-workers’ cars. Management responded the same way as in your letter, so the staff banded together to say they wanted to work from home more until the issue was resolved.
    Can your employer ask your local police department to come by the parking lot as part of the patrol route?

    1. LetterWriter1*

      Yes, that was actully requester after car #2, and they were even in our lot the morninof car #3, it just doesn’t seem to be a deterrent.

  14. Ev*

    LW1, is there any way you can park in the other department’s secured lot and walk to your building in the meantime? Also, like others have suggested, could you use a steering wheel lock? Many police departments are giving them out for free if you own a Kia or Hyundai (makes of cars that have explosively been targeted for theft due to the relative ease of these cars).

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I think you need to read the letter more carefully. This does not sound like the kind of neighborhood that you can walk through with any reasonable assurance of personal safety.

      1. Loulou*

        Not sure the first line here was necessary! People can read the same letter and take different things away. It may be that OP would feel safe walking or biking from the other lot. We don’t know how close they are, what the street is like, or really anything other than there’s a high level of street property theft.

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        I reread the letter more carefully and see that she would not have to walk through the neighborhood from the other lot, she’d have to walk through the campus.

    2. LetterWriter1*

      Yes actually, parking in the other lot was an option offered by my boss when we spoke yesterday. And my employer has actually purchased steering wheel locks for everyone with those car brands, which all of these cars have been. They’ll be here this weekend.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      No–they need to make a big stink about this to management. I know cars can be replaced, etc., but having your insurance premiums go up is a long-term expense that the LW and her coworkers should not have to incur. Their bosses need to prioritize this.

      I would bet if the ED’s car got broken into, the money would appear a lot faster.

  15. Pink Candyfloss*

    LW#1, cars can be replaced, people can’t. Keep framing it as a safety issue. Safety safety safety. Lawsuits are a real possibility if an employee, client, or passerby is attacked and injured or worse in a parking lot that has a known, repeating, safety issue. Employees can start making noise about leaving because they feel unsafe in the workplace.

    Even if they don’t have a timeline for getting cameras, maybe part-time security can patrol the lot. Local police can arrange to do more frequent drive-bys. Heck, put up fake cameras that aren’t plugged in to anything and even that can be a deterrent for a while.

    1. mymotherwasahamster*

      Can’t agree harder. OP recognizes they have more work than they can handle and specifically ASKED Mutual Friend for help in the form of a licensed lawyer who can show up in a suit. Mutual Friend facilitates an offer of help, from an experienced lawyer who made a starting offer (and who probably owns a suit).

      I’m trying to think of circumstances where a LinkedIn message like this might warrant someone being “put in their place” (wtf?) but all I got is if it came from, like, an exceptionally pompous 2L.

      If the offer isn’t right, it isn’t right, but what on earth gives OP (or his wife) the idea that there’s anything to “smack down” here?

      1. Delta Delta*

        “Exceptionally Pompous 2L” is my new favorite phrase today. Because we’ve all known them.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          This is true but in my experience, they start out as exceptionally pompous 1Ls and continue as exceptionally pompous 3Ls.

    2. Antilles*

      Yeah, same. IANAL, but to my other profession eyes, it sounds like the guy was proposing a totally normal business arrangement: Paying someone else a slightly lower rate to take tasks off your plate, freeing you up to do other stuff, then sending their invoice (with a mark-up) to your client…which is how plenty of external independent contractors operate. Frankly, if you squint a little, it’s not even that far off from actual employees.

      Maybe billing this person out at 80% is too high for the level of work proposed. Maybe OP was looking for someone way more experienced, a person developed enough that they can effectively fly solo with no assistance. Maybe it’s just not a good fit given your specific needs.

      All totally fair and you’re under no obligation to respond to a random outreach which is a complete mismatch. But I don’t really get why OP seems to be so irritated and offended at even getting the offer. Just shrug it off and move on.

      Especially since it’s a LinkedIn message! It’s not like the guy showed up at your doorstop, pounded on your door, and wasted an hour of your life refusing to leave; it’s like 90 seconds tops to open the message, skim it, maybe click to his profile, quickly see it’s not what you need, and move right along.

    3. FashionablyEvil*

      I don’t disagree that it’s an overreaction, but this comment seems unduly harsh.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Nah, the contact was asking for a straightforward referral arrangement. If it’s not appropriate for the type of law that LW3 practices, then they could have just said so rather than bizarrely taking it personally and stewing about it for a time afterward.

        1. FashionablyEvil*

          Oh, I totally agree that the response is disproportionate, but calling the LW “obviously unhinged” isn’t kind or helpful.

    4. L. Bennett*

      I’ve found that this is so common amongst established lawyers too… they bristle at the idea that they would have to train ANYONE and want everyone coming in to have 20 years of experience. There are a lot of lawyers in my generation who were never given the chance to do anything because of people like LW3 who simply refuse to invest in anyone.

      For those who are not lawyers — law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer, but everyone (even those who had internships in law school) needs on-the-job training once they leave law school. It’s frustrating that so few lawyers/firms are willing to let people in the door and instead want to “smack down” people asking to help them and gain experience.

      1. Delta Delta*

        I teach a law school class that straddles between doctrine and hands-on. And let me tell you, law students really struggle with the hands-on part. It’s too bad, because no client cares whether you wrote a paper about Footnote 4 of Carolene Products, they care whether you can help them. But I daresay a class like mine is valuable because it starts them thinking like a practitioner and they don’t end up in the basket of lawyers who don’t know how to do anything.

        1. L. Bennett*

          I definitely would have loved a class like yours in law school! Leaving law school, I certainly felt like I knew a lot about things like adverse possession, but had no actual practical skills.

  16. Pink Candyfloss*

    LW#4 – when a stakeholder or client sends positive feedback about me, my manager always passes that to me, along with a thank you back to the contributor and a thank you for me as well.

    We have a rewards points system where internal stakeholders can give kudos/thanks that come with a points value, and the points accrue toward gifts from a catalog supplier. It’s a nice way to thank people for being supportive and helpful. In earlier days they used to give us small gift cards which was also a nice perk.

  17. Ari*

    I agree about the cover letter but I purposely mention my kid in passing in interviews. If an org is going to discriminate against me for being a mom I absolutely want to be weeded out in early stages because in that case they’re very likely to be inflexible in other ways that won’t work for me.

    1. Boolie*

      Right on. I am a parent before I am a worker. Yes I’ll work as long as I can to feed my family, but kids aren’t kids for very long.

    2. Mynona*

      I agree. A hiring committee at my employer rejected a finalist because she explicitly asked at the interview if anyone in the department had kids and then monologued about her children and how important family was. Some were parents, and they thought her comments were unprofessional and undermining. It demonstrated that she did not understand office norms. And her prospective colleagues worried about nonstop kid talk. It was probably good for both sides to know.

    3. Flowers*

      At my interview for my current job, I mentioned having a child – I lost my job when I was 4 months pregnant and wasn’t working full time for 2 years so I felt it was very relevant to bring up when talking about my experience and what I had been doing.

    4. CommanderBanana*

      I purposefully mention that I don’t have children (I work in an industry that requires a fair amount of travel, so it’s pretty organic to say that travel is easy for me because I don’t have children) because the reaction to it is usually pretty telling about the office culture.

      1. Aurora*

        I do the same, as I don’t have kids and am past the age where it’s likely. If they seem far too happy to hear I have no children and few outside of work obligations, I don’t want to work there. Families should still be respected as more important than work, whether it’s children or another family member who has medical needs that sometimes have to come first. I also don’t want to be dumped on (again) because I’m the only one without kids. As you said, it’s very telling. I’m now working at a place that strongly encouraged me to take all the time I needed when a beloved aunt out of state entered hospice and made exceptions to both (then changed) the remote work and bereavement policies for me to take additional time when she passed. I have a lot of time left to work, but may still retire from here because of that.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          Same! I worked at an org where, I think just because it was a department of mostly women and the age we were, I ended up stuck with an insane amount of travel because everyone else was either on mat leave or had babies/toddlers.

          Obviously I do not fault anyone for not wanting to travel when they have young kids, but their “solution” was not to reduce my workload to account for travel/onsite staffing, look to other departments for staffing, increase comp time, or do any of the other completely reasonable solutions I offered, but to insist that because it was “temporary” I should just be ok with traveling 2/3 times a month (which always included weekends because our events almost always ran over one or both weekend days).

          “Temporary” was almost 3 years, because by the time people were done with mat leave and their kids were getting out of toddlerhood, they were pregnant with #2 or 3. There was also a very strong streak of “no other obligations matter unless it involves a kid.”

    5. Generic Name*

      Seriously. My son was 4 when I got hired at my current job, and one of the women interviewing me mentioned she had 1 kid when she started at the company and she had 5 kids. It was a nice way to signal that the company is family friendly. And they are!

  18. Lilo*

    “For context, I could easily outsource this work for anywhere from $2-$20/hour or even hire an actual law student for free.”

    I’m a lawyer and I’m completely appalled by this sentence.

    As wr discussed above the $2 outsourcing work is often riddled with mistakes. As an attorney you are required to supervise and check such work before filing and so should be doing your own review. I have encountered the results of unsupervised filings and they can cause an entire filing to fail. Attorneys using these services in my field have also faced warning letters and bar reprimands for improper use of such services.

    And you’re in immigrant law: messing up these filings has significant consequences for your clients.

    But also: if you’re a private law firm, not government or non profit you also should be paying law student interns. If you do have a law student intern A) again you are ethically required to supervise and review their work before submitting it and B) such unpaid internships must comply with the Department of Labor rules which states that the trainees do not displace regular employees, which is exactly what OP is saying they’d hire a free intern to do.

    So this is not legal advice but I am seriously side eyeing this person’s practices.

    And yes, I know this stuff is common. Doesn’t make it okay.

    1. Delta Delta*

      Also a lawyer and also appalled. And because I’m a lawyer, I’m also appalled at the phrase “actual law student” in this context, since the person who reached out is a licensed attorney who can do real legal work and arguably be a more valuable asset.

      I work solo now, but when I was in a (deeply toxic) firm, the thought was to always have law student interns so they could do a lot of form-filling, etc. for free. This is/was an inappropriate use of intern time, and it’s a bad use of attorney time, since the attorneys have to review everything, anyway. Often student work is fine but needs additional work. You’d expect that since they’re students and they’re still learning. But it in no way saves time.

      Also, the presumptuous networker doesn’t really seem to have done anything wrong. Looks like they want to try to get into immigration law, which is notoriously tricky and if you get it wrong there are enormous consequences. It’s hard to break in, and you don’t just dabble in it. So this attorney’s idea of trying to work from the bottom up as a 1099 contractor as a method of learning the subject matter is entirely beneficial to them both. The truth is the need for immigration law work outpaces the number of available lawyers by miles, and if the networker really wants to do the work, they’ll find someone who can teach them. Gotta say, not a fan of OP’s response here.

    2. mymotherwasahamster*

      My state’s law requires $20/hour for law student interns. (I think unpaid internships are possible if you facilitate course credit, but I didn’t examine that option too closely.) Anyway, finally I stopped hiring them, because it turned out to take just as long to review and correct their work as it would to do it myself.

      Yeah, there are a lot of problems with that post.

      Lilo, just curious and if you don’t mind saying, what field are you in?

      1. Lilo*

        I’m not comfortable giving a tin of details but vaguely in IP. There’s a lot of really sketchy outsourcing and straight up scams in that field.

        1. Lilo*

          Yes, well I realize the hypocrisy of noting review and attention to detail while having a typos everywhere. In my defense I don’t do legal writing on my phone.

          1. MsM*

            Eh, it’s not like you claimed you would never, ever make a mistake under any circumstances: just pointed out it’s really important not to in that context.

          2. Glomarization, Esq.*

            Yikes, I was referring to my own butterfingers for mixing up the Name and Email fields below the comment box. Are you LW3, LOL?

            1. Lilo*

              I was referring to my own typos. I am so so bad at using my phone to type text.

              So I’m in the position of lecturing OP on how important accurate filings are while having those all over the place. But I’d never do legal filings on my phone.

  19. Hiring Mgr*

    I never watched Gilmore Girls, but why wouldn’t she work at the Brockton Enterprise, where she could have gotten great hands on experience while still keeping the fellowship?

  20. Jay*

    LW#1-I’m having a Vision: I see Senior Management parking their Lexus’s in highly secured underground lots with 24hr security, keycard locks, and personal escorts to vehicles available upon request.

    That said, in all seriousness, would it be possible to arrange accommodations to park in a more secure location off site and take public transit to the office? Things like more flexible hours to accommodate bus/train schedules and transit delays? Possibly expensable bus passes/train tickets? Maybe even expensable cab fare in some circumstances?

    1. Pikachu*

      I used to work in commercial real estate, and this was *exactly* how it worked at my office. Liability for what happened in the buildings and adjoining garages was clear enough, but the satellite parking lots were a lot fuzzier in terms of who was responsible for security. Street parking was just a straight up gamble, and public transport was not a viable option for most workers.

      It took groups of employees banding together to badger their management into badgering the building owners before anything was done. Things were done though, eventually. It was presented as a combination of safety issue and necessary business perk to have secure parking. Nobody high up enough to make decisions seemed to care about stolen and vandalized cars.

      Also, as someone who’s had three different cars stolen from three different places, you have all my sympathy, LW! Those who’ve never experienced car theft tend to underestimate both the cost and disruption of it, especially if that was your only car and you’re still making payments on it!

      1. LemonDrops*

        Yep. I fell in an icy lot that I was supposed to park in, but was owned by someone else. When I went to get financial help for all the medical bills, I was subject to pass-the-buck — “Group A owns the lot — it’s not our responsibility,” “Group B manages the lot, you need to talk with them.” Etc. Perhaps it’s why it wasn’t properly treated or plowed.
        After $30000 out of pocket and months of back-and-forth, I gave up. Sometimes you can’t win.

    2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      My husband was senior management in a nonprofit and we have a 12 year old Mazda.

  21. Bad answer*

    They should reconsider the increased police presence as an option here.

    Police are often escalate something non-violent into a case of brutality or murder; and they do this in a way that is wildly racist and classist.

    Putting people’s lives at risk to protect property is not the right answer.

    It’s unfortunate that LW’s car keeps getting stolen, but some poor teenager getting shot in a parking lot because “he put his hand too close to his waistband” while Dirty Harry was rolling through is a vastly worse outcome.

    Buy a steering wheel lock. They’re less than $30, they work, and will convince somebody to move on to the next car in line.

    1. LetterWriter1*

      I agree. I’m pretty uncomfortable with the suggested police presence for that same reason. It’s also clearly not working as they wanted anyway.

      Fortunately my employer is buying everyone with a Hyundai or Kia a steering wheel lock which will be here this weekend.

      1. FashionablyEvil*

        I was wondering what type of cars were involved! Hyundais and Kias don’t have the same theft prevention features as other cars and are much more likely to be stolen. There was a really interesting article in (I think) Consumer Reports about that. Obviously doesn’t really help people who have those cars now, but something to think about the next time one is purchasing.

    2. Spearmint*

      Disagree. Police brutality is a real thing, but stories of police brutality always go viral on social media and this make it seem far more common than it is. In the grand scheme of things, police shootings of unarmed people are very rare.

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Typically a risk management equation weighs both the likelihood of the adverse event happening and the severity of the consequences if it does happen. An unlikely event with very severe consequences (like the killing of an innocent person) scores very highly, and on par with a very likely event with minor consequences, both of which score highly enough that action should be taken to mitigate the risk. Action in this case like being very thoughtful about whether police are really necessary in a given situation.

      2. MissElizaTudor*

        Police brutality doesn’t require someone to be shot. Cops are perfectly capable of unarmed brutality or brutality via a blunt weapon, dog, taser, or pepper spray. Also, someone does not need to be armed to be a victim of police brutality.

        These stories do not always go viral. Most instances of brutality and mistreatment by the police go unnoticed by most people, and most go essentially unpunished.

      3. zuzu*

        I used to work for the city attorney’s office for a major city, in the department that handled federal civil rights litigation. In other words, I defended the city’s police and corrections departments in brutality (excessive force), wrongful arrest, wrongful death, malicious prosecution, etc. suits.

        Our department was not small, and we worked full-time. We handled cases involving everything from protesters being boxed in with horses (or fencing, or motorcycles: the PD was nothing if not creative every time an injunction came down forbidding them from using the last method they’d used to kettle protesters), to cops planting drugs on innocent people and then falsely arresting them in an overtime scam, justifying it because “they probably did something wrong,” to beating handcuffed suspects, to shooting fleeing suspects, to strip-searches without probable cause at the city jails. All of this was police or correctional misconduct. My client was the city, but we extended representation to the cops/COs as long as what they were in trouble for was sufficiently within the line of duty that their defense wasn’t going to be detrimental to the city’s defense (then we cut them loose and let the union take over). I also did this 20 years ago, and it’s gotten much worse, from a legal standpoint and from a public-awareness standpoint.

        Shootings of unarmed people might be rare, *but they happen.* What’s exceedingly rare is that there’s any kind of accountability for the police, between qualified immunity and the failure of district attorneys to consider charges against police officers who so clearly act with impunity and with disregard for the law or for safety.

        The cops can’t have it both ways. They can’t have a monopoly on state violence AND a lack of accountability. As Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility.

    3. Criminologist*

      It’s far more likely that a car won’t get stolen (by passive deterrence) than someone will be killed by the police. As Spearmint said, this is far less common than the media makes us believe.

      1. IDIC believer*

        IMO police brutality is always wrong, but support use of force (even deadly) to prevent a theft in progress. I take a very hard line with regards to protection of my property from theft. For many years, my car being stolen would have cost me my job and then my housing. Living on the razor’s edge, replacing or a serious repair would have been financially devastating. Even now when I am financially secure, I have no problem, if necessary, defending my home & property with lethal force and expect the same from police.

        1. Bad answer*

          Please refrain from shooting somebody to prevent the theft of a metal box on wheels that you can afford to replace.

  22. Dust Bunny*

    Lawyer: This isn’t exactly the same thing, but I work in an academic library and we get a lot of people who assume that we’ll do all their research for them (we can do small amounts of research but some people expect us to do dissertations-worth). We have a version of gray-rocking for this: When they start making too many requests and assuming we’ll do it for them, we cheerfully tell them, in neutral language, that staff are limited in how much time they can spend assisting patrons but we’ll be glad to send them some resources to find a proxy researcher if they cannot come in in person. Their call: They do it themselves or they pay somebody else (who is not our staff).

    I assume you’re going to ignore this guy but if you ever feel the need to respond, have a stock reply that lays out what kind of work needs to be done and how much it’s worth, and let them decide if they’ll take it.

  23. LetterWriter1*

    LW1 Here with an update: something I mentioned in my original email is that all of the cars are Hyundai’s/ Kia’s which have been the target of a TikTok trend exploiting a weakness in their security system making them easy to steal. I had a convrsation yesterday/ the morning after this happened and feel much better.

    They have already purcased steering wheel locks for all staff with those car brands, which will be here on Friday or Monday. They’re getting bids to fence in part of the main lot. They’re planning to hire additional security patrol while we work on getting other security measures in place. The plan is still to get the cameras, once we deal with some underlying electrical issues that are preventing them.

    Most of these things were suggested by my boss in our conversation, rather than me having to make a strong case to persuade or convince. She also offered some options for me to park elsewhere, and asked explicitly what would help me feel safer.

    1. One HR Opinion*

      Thanks for sharing an update so quickly, and I’m glad your company is not only taking this seriously but instead of just suggesting you purchase a club, actually providing them!

    2. irene adler*

      “asked explicitly what would help me feel safer.”

      I am glad they are recognizing the safety aspect IS very important here (some readily dismiss such things- not good).

    3. HonorBox*

      That’s all great news! And I’m sure glad she asked you what would help you feel safer.

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

      I posted before I saw your update. I wondered if it was Kia and Hyundai cars. My campus has 24 hr security foot patrols and cameras in all of our lots and we still have had a rash of thefts of those two makes of cars. My org announced that any Kia and Hyundai owners are allowed to park in a specific lot with additional security until those manufacturers can fix the cars.

  24. Pretty as a Princess*


    When I get notes or calls like this, I reply along the lines of “I really appreciate you taking the time to share this great feedback for Joe! We’re proud of all the great work he does, and it’s always nice to hear that our clients hold him in such high regard.”

    Then, because our organization is small enough but large enough, I forward the note (or a summary) to both Joe and his direct team lead, and our division director. “We received some high praise for Joe today from the Llama Painting client. Thank you Joe for all your hard work.”

    I hang on to this stuff – we have a spot bonus program and while I can’t issue bonus every time, I do issue them for a pattern. I also cite them in end of year award nominations (we have an organization-wide award event annually) and in performance reviews.

  25. Tedious Cat*

    OP 1, five years sounds like a great point in time to move on from a workplace that clearly gives no shits about your personal safety.

    OP 2, even if putting your kids in your cover letter wasn’t against professional convention, no one reading it is actually going to know if you’re a good parent or if you smack your kids around in between yelling at them to bring you another beer.

  26. Punk*

    I had a similar issue to LW1. A former employer was in an area with notoriously bad roads, and everyone was constantly getting flat tires and getting into accidents. The company couldn’t have planned for this, but I assumed they liked having a core of employees who didn’t have better options and therefore couldn’t effectively negotiate for higher pay. Everyone who had an option to leave eventually did.

  27. Ellen*

    Alison, how do you feel about mentioning kids in an application if it’s to a family-oriented organization? I recently applied for a job at an organization whose work is about removing obstacles for parents in the workplace, and I mentioned in my cover letter that I have detailed knowledge of some of those issues as a parent myself. Is this situation a reasonable one in which to mention kids in a cover letter, or did I mess up?

    1. Anon for This Answer*

      I commented below, but I did mention my children in a cover letter because I was applying to an organization that provides services my child received. It was a marketing role, and knowing what services are offered made me a strong candidate for marketing the services of the organization. Everyone I interviewed with told me that my mention of that gave me a leg up.

  28. Flowers*

    2 – NGL I say this as someone not in a position to evaluate or hire candidates – personally I am impressed at someone accomplishing so much professionally while having children. I have one child and have found life so hard. When I was in that position for a brief time, I did make sure that wasn’t a factor at all in my thinking (which is probably because that was in the “before” times).

    (disclaimer – this does not mean that I do not think single/childfree have easy lives and are any less impressive.)

    5 – I just literally finished watching GG this past summer and am now reading the GG sub-thread in the linked post. Man those comments are wild. I’m the same age as Rory and I watched it up until she graduated HS (class of 03 wooo!)

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      I don’t think anyone is saying it isn’t impressive, just that it doesn’t belong on a cover letter.

      1. Flowers*

        yes, sorry should have said that I do agree it doesn’t belong in a cover letter. if it comes up in the course of a conversation during the interview – sure.

    2. Punk*

      Re: LW1: It just reminds me of when I was in college and kids started turning certain things into massive crises because they didn’t realize that certain experiences were not unique. Like the death of a friend or relative is horrid at any age, but eventually everyone goes through it so no one’s entitled to kudos for dealing with it, beyond basic human sympathy and time to grieve.

  29. Bunny Girl*

    LW2 – Another thing to think about when you mention your kids in your cover letter, you run the risk of being labeled as one of “those parents” who bring their kids up constantly in situations where it’s not appropriate.

  30. Irish Teacher*

    LW2, I am not involved in hiring so definitely not an expert here, but I think you could highlight your achievements without mentioning your children. The development of your career in a relatively short period of time and the fact that you acquired additional, post-graduate level qualification while working is impressive enough.

    I think most people will assume that a working adult returning to college will have additional responsibilities that a 17/18 year old usually doesn’t, whether that be children or a full-time job or caring responsibilities for elderly parents or even just less financial support from parents than the average young adult has.

    Getting a post-graduate qualification while working already shows a level of hard-work and dedication as does gaining a number of promotions in a relatively short period of time. I think including your children takes the emphasis off what you really want them to pay attention to, that you have had a lot of success in your career and were committed enough to career development to take on a high level qualification while working.

  31. Artemesia*

    Mentioning the kids in the cover letter is exactly like claiming ‘college is just like a job’ or that you are ‘CEO of your family’ as ‘experience’ when applying for a job. It will turn off most hiring managers and lead them to assume you are clueless about work and work norms. Many people and most women with demanding jobs juggle family and work demands; it is called being an adult. It doesn’t single any individual out. Yes it is something to be personally proud of — I juggled an evening masters program and the household while working and know it is demanding. But you don’t brag about it when applying for a job.

    1. Waffles*

      My mom wanted to put SAHM, 1990-2008 on her resume and list things like “raised 4 kids to be productive, law abiding members of society” and gooooodddd lord, it was like climbing a mountain to get her to take it off!

      People aren’t stupid. They’ll see an 18 year work history gap and connect the dots. SAHM is hard, especially with 4 kids but my god, never on a resume!

      1. Sacred Ground*

        I’m wondering if one of her kids isn’t especially productive or law abiding, does she leave them off her resume?

        Do parents who take credit for their kids’ success ever accept blame for their kids’ failure?

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      Yes it is something to be personally proud of…But you don’t brag about it when applying for a job.

      This. And that’s not just for being a parent, but any personal (not work-specific) achievement!

  32. Llama Llama*

    If an organization cannot afford $25k for security than they have major financial problems. (It’s big enough to have a ‘large employee lot’ so it’s not a small org.)

    1. SometimesMaybe*

      Since this a non-profit organization, there could feasibly be reasons for the hold-up. If the budget line item for security/capital improvements/etc is not enough to cover the cost, it will need board approval, which can take forever. Also the board might decide the cost would be too disproportionate to its main mission cost – (I am not expressing an opinion on there spending priorities). Near where I work there is a non-profit community center/homeless shelter/medical building. They have at least six buildings, which are always run down and in need of maintenance which I believe are handled mostly by volunteers so the size of the property might not equate to the size of the budget. I think more information on type of business and its mission is necessary before proposing a solution.

  33. Miette*

    FWIW @Alison, I love when you answer questions about fictional characters’ choices and behaviors in the work place. It’s like an unexpected treat :)

  34. Jo-El (Kryptonian)*

    LW1, What good are cameras? “We know your car was stolen by 3 teenage boys but it’s too grainy to tell anything other than they had brown hair”. I’d rather have proactive deterrent of a gate so they can’t drive off with my car in the first place.

  35. Anon for This Answer*

    LW# 2, I have mentioned my children in my cover letter exactly once, and only because I was applying for a job in which it was highly relevant.

    I was applying for (and got!) a marketing job in a legislative-created, education-adjacent arena that provides supplemental educational services to school-age children (think deaf and hard of hearing students get a sign language interpreter in their classroom). My child received services through the organization, which meant I (a) knew what the organization did and (b) knew some of the marketing challenges it faced.

    Everyone I interviewed with straight-up told me that my mention of my child receiving services stuck out to them because so few people knew what the organization does or how it works and that having first-hand knowledge of that made me a stronger candidate.

    Otherwise, I co-sign everyone else and saying that what you did, while awesome, isn’t remarkable enough to warrant mentioning in a cover letter.

  36. HonorBox*

    OP1 – Maybe because I’m feeling a little grumpy today, I have zero time for the garbage your employer is saying in response. If something happens to someone’s vehicle once, that stinks and you do your best as the employer to ensure they’re OK and you’ve addressed any potential holes in security that allowed for something to happen. But this is apparently an issue that is persisting. It is costing employees time and money. And the company is sticking their head in the sand. While we all assume some risk in almost anything we do, parking your car in a company-owned parking lot seems pretty low risk. I think you and your coworkers outta collectively put the screws to management to get them to tighten things up. And honestly I’m not sure a camera system is going to do anything. Sure, they’ll have a nice $25,000 camera system, but will they monitor it? Will a camera system protect your coworker from being approached? Will there be enough time to take action? They may need to invest in something more. Employees shouldn’t have to worry that their car is going to be stolen from a company lot … let alone more than once. Employees shouldn’t have to worry about being approached by strangers with questionable intent. This is not a great situation and while there may be no specific legal ramifications now, there could be down the road if more happens and the company continues to pretend that nothing is wrong.

    1. Jo-El (Kryptonian)*

      I’ve watched enough true crime that security camera always seem to be grainy almost to the point of being unusable. What good does that do anyone?

      1. irene adler*

        Exactly! I was put in charge of reviewing the footage from the 4-camera system the HOA installed to (hopefully) deter the many incidences of vandalism.

        We caught many acts of vandalism in video. Hooray! Only, I couldn’t make out faces enough to identify anyone. Video quality too poor. Useless!

        HOA spent thousands on this, thinking it was the answer to the problem. Turned out to be a total waste of money.

        1. LemonDrops*

          My brother became president of his HOA and, being a tech geek, installed cameras to catch people jumping the fence into the pool area. They made back the $ the HOA spent on the cameras in fines and then some. Perhaps your HOA cheaped out on the camera quality?

      2. Grace Poole*

        Obviously no security camera is going to be like on CSI, where they can zoom in on a reflection in someone’s glasses to read a license plate number, but the amount of footage on those crime shows where you can barely make out that it’s a person defeats the point entirely.

  37. Bobby*

    LW3 must never have worked in retail. To be that bent out of shape because some random stranger has completely off-base ideas about what is a reasonable and appropriate expectation… like I said, LW3 must never have worked in retail.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Well, yeah, there is a lot of difference between law and retail. People make unreasonable and inappropriate requests in retail all the time, because customers have unreasonable expectations of what retail workers do.

      The situation here is different, though, because the person who reached out to LW is also a lawyer, and presumably should be professional and have an understanding of what he is proposing entails. LW’s question is valid.

      1. MsM*

        I’m related to an immigration lawyer, and they do get a fair few requests that fail to acknowledge it’s not remotely as simple as “just fill out a form, and you’ll have your green card before you know it” (in addition to the ones all lawyers have to field about “can you help me pro bono with X thing that’s not in your wheelhouse?”). And I’m given to understand that fellow lawyers in other areas of practice thinking it’s something they can just jump into doing easily or asking for free consultations on stuff that really requires a specialist and multiple billable hours are particularly frustrating, which may be where LW’s knee-jerk reaction is coming in. (Definitely agree with other commenters on not loving the alternative $2/hour solution, though.)

      2. the bar*

        The person who reached out to LW is proposing a normal arrangement for someone working as a junior while learning a new practice area.

  38. El l*


    Besides Alison’s suggestions, I’d also say that you should mention in messaging: “This higher crime rate on-site will become a bigger problem than just for staff. It’s only a matter of time before a client or job applicant or some other outsider gets their car stolen.

    “And do you think they’ll somehow forget to mention that it was on our property that it happened? What kind of image does this send to the world, especially if they flash it on social media?

    “If it happened to the wrong person, it could set the whole organization back years.”

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

    #1 If there is any pattern to the thefts — ie. right now certain model year Kia and Hyundai cars are the most stolen cars in the U.S. (it’s a known manufacturers defect and there is a fix notice just like the airbag recall a few years ago) — then the company CAN do something immediately and for no additional money…those cars that are highly likely to be stolen get to park in the fenced lot, and all others park in the unfenced lot. My campus has 24 hr security foot patrols and cameras in all of our lots and we still have had a rash of thefts of those two makes of cars. They announced that any Kia and Hyundai owners are allowed to park in a specific lot with additional security until those manufacturers can update the cars.

  40. Somehow_I_Manage*

    LW3- They were referred (at your request), they made a proposal, and you’re welcome to accept it, negotiate, or reject it. That’s how business works. And I think it’s pretty clear that they were saying 80% of your *hourly rate* – not 80% of your fee (although your response suggests there may be a misunderstanding).

    And while I’ll never understand your business as much as you do, on balance the request seems reasonable. Also, if you’re specifically looking for a licensed lawyer with a suit to appear in court, why not counter offer and gauge interest and hourly rate to do that? I would think 80% of your fee for that service as a licensed attorney would be totally reasonable. Whether or not they have experience in your field, they have earned a license, and that comes at a price.

    Your feelings are all over the place. In your own words you’re looking for someone to support you to do “easy preliminary stuff,” and then you express resentment to this fella for asking “to do the easiest part of the process.”

    I’m sure that’s not exactly how you feel, but the way it’s written certainly comes off strange.

  41. betty (the other betty)*

    3. How to gently put a presumptuous networker in their place

    If the LW must get back to this person, I’d just say, “I usually only pay $x an hour for that sort of work, so I don’t think I’m a good fit for your services. Thanks for reaching out.”

    1. Sacred Ground*

      Where x is a number between $2 and $20 per hour for work where clients are likely paying $200 per hour expecting you, the lawyer, to handle their case, and even one small mistake can completely funk up their lives.

      By all means, LW should absolutely go off on this person and should do so in as public a manner as possible. I’m sure this will do nothing but good for LW’s professional reputation.

  42. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

    For the Rory Gilmore one – I have heard of people getting a cool opportunity like the fellowship, then getting a job offer, and actively negotiating as part of the offer that they get X time off to do the short-term opportunity. YMMV a lot depending on the company and the role.

  43. SpringIsForPlanting!*

    LW2, I want to validate you. What you did is damn hard! It’s impressive! It’s especially impressive if you’re in the US or another country that equally fails to support family life.

    Alison and everyone else is right that it doesn’t belong on a cover letter, resume, or interview, though. Mostly because it isn’t directly relevant to the work and because, as Alison’s discussed in other places, the reader has no way of knowing whether you actually did the parenting part *well*, since the effort and skill gap is very wide between “person with lots of resources produces kids, keeps them alive” and “person with limited resources produces excellent kids, raises them exceptionally.”

    …maybe also ’cause we don’t really value childrearing in the US, which is ironically both the thing that makes it harder and the thing that makes it something you can’t talk about on resumes. /end rant

    1. Sacred Ground*

      Also, while it may indeed be damn hard and impressive, it is in not actually special or unique.

      Like, literally everyone with both a job and kids has the same experience, very likely including your interviewer. You successfully reproduced. So how does that make you a *better* candidate than all the other applicants who also successfully reproduced?

      How does having been a parent make you a better candidate for this job than someone who hasn’t been a parent? You are expecting the employer to make their hiring decision on the basis of parental status.

      This is kind of like the letters about applicants who make their religion an obvious part of their resume/letter, even including scripture quotes and the like. They are showing they are at best clueless about standard professional behavior at best, or at worst they are setting the employer up for a discrimination lawsuit if they’re not hired.

      If an employer can be sued for using particular information in their hiring decision (race, religion, marital or *parental* status), then the applicant probably should not include that information in their resume.

  44. Zarniwoop*

    Why are you devoting so much mental and emotional energy to some stranger on the internet?

  45. Ladycrim*

    I also work for a non-profit, on a street where smash-and-grabs are a huge issue for parked cars. We have our own small lot, but that wasn’t deterring thieves. Management now has a security guard on the lot 12 hours a day, and they’re looking at adding in a gated fence for extra protection. Definitely band together with your colleagues and tell your bosses they need to address this safety issue!

  46. PB Bunny Watson*

    LW #2, I admit that it annoys me to no end when someone includes information in their cover letter or interview that I’m legally not allowed to consider–like having kids or their age. I think it frustrates me because I’m very conscientious about NOT doing anything discriminatory. So throwing that information at me against my will makes me worry that the person will think THAT’S why they didn’t get the job. It also makes me worry that others in my workplace WILL consider those things even though they are legally required not to. I had one interview where the person mentioned their age over a dozen times, as well as in the cover letter. It was the most frustrating half hour of my life.

  47. Turtlewings*

    Ahh, car theft memories. When I worked at a public library in a sketchy part of town, we had a patron knock down another patron in the middle of the library, snatch his car keys from his hand, run out into the parking lot, and drive away in the victim’s car! Later the same year, a patron went through my coworker’s desk when she wasn’t looking, found her car key, and stole her car. She eventually got it back, and it wasn’t structurally damaged but it was trashed, and she ended up selling it because, rationally or not, she just couldn’t feel safe in it anymore.

    I’m VERY glad not to be working there anymore.

  48. Barred Not Practicing*

    LW3: the “smack down” type attitude is unfortunately common among legal professionals and is one reason that I and others stopped practicing. Yes, he was wrong, but “smacking down” doesn’t really accomplish anything positive for you or him. Just food for thought.

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