intern wants me to drive him to work, saying no to a weekend party in my honor, and more

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

1. Intern wants me to drive him to and from work

I have a summer intern who came from out of state without a car. Fortunately, our city has a good bus system. But he is refusing to take the bus and said, “You can pick me up when you go to work, since I’m along the way.”

After a few weeks of driving him to work and taking him back at night, I told him he had to get to work on his own. He is not happy. Now, my boss is telling me, “What’s the big deal? Just drive him to work.” Even my husband is telling me that taking the intern to work is not a big deal.

I feel pressured and forced to do something I don’t see as my responsibility. The big deal is that I am losing my autonomy. I can’t go shopping immediately after work because I need to drop him off first. I can’t leave earlier or later now.

The intern, who is in college, drops hints that it would be be nice to see this new city more if only someone would show him around. After serving as his work day chauffeur, I’m in no mood for driving him around on weekends.

All this is making me feel like a terrible person.

You’re not a terrible person for not wanting to be someone’s regular ride to and from work. As you point out, it means that you can’t leave earlier or later, and you also can’t do things on your way home from work without dropping him off first.

And you didn’t even offer — he just announced you’d be doing him this favor twice a day?! That’s … not how favors work.

It’s perfectly reasonable to explain you can no longer do it. Especially since your boss is pressuring you to continue, it’ll probably be easier if you say you’re going to be going to the gym straight from work, or need to start swinging by a family member’s who you’re helping, or starting an art class, or whatever you’re comfortable with. Or you can keep it vague — “I have a lot of commitments right after work, so I’m not able to keep giving you a ride after Thursday.”

If you want to be nice, you could offer to show him how to figure out the bus route. But you really don’t need to be his driver.

And you can definitely just ignore the hints about weekends. (That’s the nice thing about hints! You can just decline to pick up on them.) But if he ever asks outright, the answer is, “Sorry, no — I rarely have any available time on weekends.”

Read an update to this letter

I’m being pressured to chauffeur interns to and from work
how can I get out of chauffeuring my coworker everywhere?

2. Can I say no to a last-minute weekend party in my honor?

I’m resigning and am on my last two weeks with the current job. Today my boss said that she wants to throw me a going-away party, which is cool, except that it’s on the weekend and I already have plans. She is scheduling it for Saturday or Sunday at lunchtime. On Saturday I have relatives visiting, and so my boss suggested just bringing my relatives to the work luncheon. However, we had planned on making a big brunch together and hanging out by the pool so I don’t want to cancel that and bring them to a lunch with a bunch of people they don’t know. They visit once in a blue moon and I’m really looking forward to seeing them. On Sunday I’m doing a motorcycle ride with a longtime friend from out of town, which I’d have to cancel.

I feel my judgment is a bit impaired by the frustration I’ve had at my boss over the years, so I’m not sure if I’m being crusty and impatient or if it’s actually okay for me to say no to the lunch that’s being thrown for me. It seems like such a gesture of goodwill. My boss is even booking a hotel room for my out-of-town coworkers who live a few hours away. I suggested we have the lunch on a Friday or Monday, but my boss said no because it’s on work time. Can I reasonably say no to a weekend going-away party for me?

Yes, absolutely you can say no! It’s completely normal that you would already have plans for the coming weekend … but even if you didn’t, or even if there was more advance notice, it would still be fine to say no.

Say this: “Sorry, it’s a really bad weekend for me to do anything because of family stuff and I won’t be able to make it.” If she pushes, stick with, “I really can’t, but thanks for the thought!” If she suggests moving it to a different weekend (even after your last day), it’s fine to say, “My weekends are really hectic for the foreseeable future. The only time I could do it would be during the workday before I go, but if that doesn’t work, please don’t worry about arranging anything. I appreciate the thought, though!”

Read an update to this letter

3. How transparent should we be with an employee about why we’re not promoting him?

I have an employee who has applied to an open management position that would be a step up from his current role. I am not the only decision-maker (there’s a search committee) but as his direct supervisor I have a lot of insight on whether or not he’d be a good fit, and therefore a lot of sway in the decision. It is my and the committee’s opinion that he is not only wrong for the job, but he would be disastrous in this role. Luckily for us, he doesn’t have one of the big educational requirements for this job, so it’s easy on paper to turn him down for this reason alone. But another equally compelling reason is that he would be required to directly supervise his aunt, who he lives with, and he would work closely with his brother (who works for another business that liaises with ours frequently). There have been issues with this close family arrangement in the past, which we believe would be exacerbated should this employee become a manager.

We have an anti-nepotism policy, but it doesn’t include nieces/nephews or aunts/uncles in its definition of close family, and there is nothing about not being related to our community partner. However, I know from supervising him that he would absolutely bend rules for family. Furthermore, we don’t think it’s wise for him to supervise his aunt, ever, for lots of reasons I won’t go into here. This is not likely to change, even if he were to meet the educational requirements and suddenly start improving at work. As this is the second time he’s applied for this type of role, we feel we need to say something about the nepotism so he knows the full reasons why we are saying no … but how do we bring it up when supervising his aunt isn’t strictly forbidden in policy? Technically we could go about amending the policy to include nieces/nephews and aunts/uncles but that will be a long process and it can’t be done before we need to tell him we aren’t proceeding with his application. Any advice for informing him why he won’t be getting the position, or should we just stick to “you’re not qualified, sorry”?

If he’s a reasonable person who you think could benefit from hearing the full slate of reasons reasons, you could go ahead and share them. But if he’s not reasonable or if there’s any risk he’s going to try to rules-lawyer you on the wording of the nepotism policy, then just stick to the fact that he doesn’t meet the educational requirement (and maybe any other clear and easy-to-explain work reasons if you think it’s useful to share those — like if he would need to be skilled in X and you’ve had multiple conversations about his struggles with X).

One note: if you’re going to cite the educational requirement as your reason, be sure that you don’t bend it for other candidates.

But separately from this, you should definitely amend the nepotism policy to cover all family members. No one should be supervising a family member, period (assuming you’re not running a family business where it’s unavoidable).

Read an update to this letter

4. Should I wait until the next day to answer after-hours emails when I’d prefer to respond right away?

I am working my second job out of grad school and still learning the ropes of corporate etiquette. When anyone above me in the org hierarchy emails me outside of work hours, they often include a disclaimer that they do not expect me to respond until the following work day. To be clear, I really appreciate this! But sometimes, it just makes more sense to respond in the moment (e.g., they sent me a simple question with a simple answer and I don’t want an extra task on my desk the next day).

If I respond right away, the recipient will often reiterate that they did not expect an immediate response. I am starting to wonder if my fast responses, though convenient both for myself and the recipient, are actually a net negative. Are there bad optics or other issues around responding right away after being told it’s unnecessary? Or is it fine to keep doing what I’m doing, as long as I am not ignoring direct requests to wait until the following work day (e.g., “Please do not respond until tomorrow morning”)?

By responding outside of work hours, you’re making them worry that you felt obligated to, even though they told you that you shouldn’t. It’s fine to do that occasionally, but if you do it a lot, I’d suggest at least acknowledging it in some way — like, “I happened to be checking messages for something else and this just took a second.” Even then, if you do it a lot, some people will feel guilty about it. Do you have the ability to schedule the message to go out the following morning to sidestep this altogether?

To be clear, you don’t have to manage other people’s guilt in that way — if they’re that concerned about it, they could schedule their own messages for the next day — but if you’re willing to take the few extra seconds for it, it can make the relationship slightly smoother.

(Caveat: this assumes a reasonably healthy workplace. There are also workplaces where, despite their disclaimer about waiting until morning, you’ll be seen more positively for constant after-hours availability. If you’re in one of those, ignore all the above.)

5. Cutting full-time hours instead of doing layoffs

I have friends who work for a small tech company that does custom work for clients. They were recently advised that they’re being forced to take 15 days mandatory unpaid time off for the next two months and maybe longer. So they’re only getting 10 paid days of work per month. Obviously, this is a major blow to them and they’re going to start looking elsewhere.

Is a company allowed to do this to avoid laying off employees and putting them in a position to apply for unemployment? Apparently, the owner is keeping their insurance intact at least, but the whole thing seems very sketchy.

Yes, the employer can legally do it — but the employees can apply apply for unemployment due to the cut in work and pay. (Not full unemployment, but in most states they’d be eligible for partial benefits.)

{ 563 comments… read them below }

  1. bah*

    For LW4 I would schedule send the email for working hours the next day. That way its off your to do list and its clear you don’t expect them respond after hours (and they don’t know when after hours you sent it)

    1. Skippy*

      Yes! I do this a lot. Depending on your email client (or the recipient’s, though, it may be sent on the scheduled date but timestamped when you sent it.

    2. Soup*

      I don’t know about other phones, but mine also lets me schedule text messages. We use text a lot at work and it lets me get out my random midnight thoughts without disturbing my team at stupid o’clock.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Signal will also do this. Useful when I need to message my teenagers but want their phones to ping only at lunchtime.

      2. Jamjari*

        Same with Slack. I use that a lot when I know the recipient is in a time zone when their workday would have ended even though mine hasn’t.

    3. Alternative Person*

      Yep, schedule send is a lifesaver for situations like this.

      It was especially handy when I needed people to see something at/around a specific time, so I would write the message a day or two in advance then schedule send so it would hit inboxes right around when people were arriving. Made life a lot easier.

    4. Cat Tree*

      I actually think the bigger problem here isn’t that LW is responding to messages outside of work hours, but that they’re even *reading* them outside of work hours on a regular basis. Since LW is new to the working world and specifically asking for advice, I’ll advise them to try to disconnect from work as much as possible based on your company culture, and it seems that the company culture is that management is specifically saying that they’re Ok if you disconnect.

      Think of it this way – your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Burnout is a huge problem for many people. You will actually do *better* at your job long-term if you can figure out now how to take meaningful breaks and recharge yourself.

      1. English Rose*

        Yes, this is exactly what I came here to say. Your comment about a marathon not a sprint is excellent.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I just attended a conference that talked about one’s career being more of a “relay” – neither a marathon nor a sprint – and I’m obsessed with that now.

      2. Colette*

        Agreed! It’s important to take breaks from work, and it’s also very important to develop hobbies, relationships, and activities outside of work. The people I know who have had their life most derailed by layoffs are those who lived to work – those with a full life outside of work were, for the most part, fine.

      3. The Person from the Resume*

        Precisely. If you are not in job where you’re “on call” don’t check work emails when you’re off, don’t set up alerts for new work emails on your personal phone (or if you use you personal phone for work (bad idea) turn off those alerts when you’re off the clock).

        If you don’t know it’s there it’s not on your mind as “an extra task on my desk the next day.”

        1. Sloanicota*

          The problem with checking after hours is that it creates the expectation that you will do so in the future, and in fact it can attract more work because people know Tom doesn’t work after hours but Jim does, so they start sending things after hours to Jim. There are people who don’t mind doing this in the theory that they’ll be more essential, more visible, more likely to get a raise/promotion, etc – but a) it contributes to a sick culture even if it works and b) you may get burned out without even getting that raise or promotion (or more so if you do!).

          1. Just Another Cog*

            I have first-hand knowledge of this! Completely agree. You are only paid to work so many hours in a day. Fiercely protect your off-time.

      4. Emmy Noether*

        Yes, LW probably has their private phone connected to the work email account and gets notifications – very tempting to take a quick look when it pings. When I used to have this, I ended up changing the settings to no notifications at certain times, and during vacation.

        My current company prohibits work data (including emails) on private devices for security reasons, and it’s actually wonderful for work-life balance.

        If it’s on a work device – lock it up somewhere when not working.

        1. Tupac Coachella*

          Yep, I completely disable notifications for my work e-mail (and for that matter, my personal e-mail and any social media that I don’t use for regular communication), and I put the icons for my work calendar and e-mail three pages deep on my phone screen. It’s JUST inconvenient enough to discourage me from absently opening up my e-mail, without making it a huge hassle when I’m working away from my desk and need to be available.

        2. allathian*

          Yes, I love the fact that my employer prohibits work data on private devices as well. It truly allows me to disconnect when I’m not working. My manager and close coworker who’s also a work friend have my private phone number for genuine emergencies, but even they’d only message me with a request to check my work devices in an emergency. I’ve worked for my current employer for 15 years and so far we’ve had one emergency that required me to start working again when I’d already finished for the day.

      5. ariel*

        +1, this. Even if I’m just doing a quick check-in, I too often see something that stays with me on my hours off. I’m not getting paid for that angst! OP, if it would work for you, disconnect.

      6. bamcheeks*

        I think this is a very much a YMMV thing– but if LW is at the start of their career, trying both is probably a good idea. I have my work email on my phone (but no push notifications, so I don’t get pings or little red numbers), and it’s very much a de-stressor for me. I really like starting work in the morning knowing whether or not there’s something urgent waiting for me, and being able to quickly check whether I have a 9, 9.15 or 9.30 meeting. It’s way more stressful and impinges much more on my non-work time if the only way I can access that information is by switching my work computer on.

        That said, I don’t tend to get stressed about things to do with work, and shrug it off pretty quickly when I do– this is very much a depends-on-your-job and depends-on-you thing, I think.

        1. Aquamarine*

          I agree with this. I prefer to check in so that I know what is coming up the next day. Checking email from home doesn’t mean the LW is not taking meaningful breaks from work or having a full life outside of work.

        2. All Het Up About It*

          Yes. I couldn’t imagine not having my email on my phone. It allows me to work remotely and quickly in various situations. However, I too do not have any push notifications, and after I realized I was checking it a little too regularly, I moved it deeper from my home screen, so it’s harder for me to autopilot check it.

          I do sometimes regret it when I’m checking it early and come across a very annoying email early, as it sometimes starts my day off on the wrong foot. But it’s worth the trade off most of the time!

      7. Usagi*

        I agree. You may not notice it right away, but actually logging off will improve and recenter your life.

      8. Elizabeth West*

        Definitely. And you don’t want to “train” someone to send you emails after hours expecting you to answer them. That might not be a problem at this company, but at others, the expectation could be different.

        I feel like if everyone everywhere took their personal time very seriously and didn’t work outside regular hours (unless they’re on call, which is different), then it would hit employers with a clue-by-four.

    5. YrLocalLibrarian*

      I’d also be concerned if this individual is non-exempt. Regularly answering emails outside of work hours suggests the employee may be working off the clock. This is strictly prohibited at my job. During onboarding we instruct new employees that while we don’t prevent remote access to email for their convenience, any emailing patterns that suggest the employee is doing work off the clock is a red flag will generate a conversation with their supervisor. (We’re a customer facing non-profit and our hourly staff work 100% in person so it’s pretty obvious when someone spends a chunk of time emailing outside of their scheduled shifts.)

  2. PollyQ*

    #1 — So, your boss and your think it’s no big deal? Fine, they can be his personal chauffeur and tour guide, then.

    1. Jackalope*

      Yup! It’s always super easy to say something is no big deal when you aren’t the one having to deal with it.

    2. IDIC believer*

      I don’t usually assume gender is involved (maybe naively) but I’d bet big money OP is female, and probably intern & boss are both male. As a Boomer II female, my experience is that “favors” are easily asked of females and if we push back we are quickly labeled not a team player, told the favor isn’t really much anyway, and a refusal requires lots of excuses to be justified/accepted by others. I’ve seen this play out repeatedly over decades at work and always disproportionately affects females.

      Fortunately, over time, I discovered the pleasure I get from setting and keeping my boundaries easily negates any consequences for refusing to just submit (sames goes for being “nice” and smiling to please others). My ONLY regret is wimpy me took 50 years to put myself first.

      1. JayNay*

        that was my thinking too. Both husband and boss see no problem at all expecting free work from OP – free work that they themselves would probably be much more reluctant to do.
        If they think it’s not a big deal, why don’t they go ahead and do it?

      2. DJ Abbott*

        Me too, that OP is female and Boss and husband are male were my first thought.
        I find it discouraging that for my entire life we’ve been fighting sexism, and young men keep finding new ways to be sexist.
        Luckily I wasn’t raised “right” so my first reaction to a favor of this level has always been, who do you think you are?

      3. CityMouse*

        I agree, this slaps of “women have to take care of men” attitude that permeates a lot of spaces.

        1. Moonstone*

          I absolutely agree – I just assumed the intern, boss and husband are all men.

          The ridiculous entitlement of the intern is completely galling and I would be livid if some kid expected me to chauffeur him around all week! He can either learn to take the bus and figure it out for himself like a grown up or he can quit. But LW absolutely do not keep giving him rides anywhere!! I’m livid on your behalf.

          1. Single Noun*

            Absolutely- I don’t drive and so I take the bus whenever it’s remotely feasible and make sure that people I ask for rides know I don’t mind if they say no, this guy is giving the rest of us a bad name!

      4. Artemesia*

        This is why it helps to establish the boundary immediately. You can project a sense that this is not a reasonable request just by stance and early response. ‘Oh that won’t be possible.’ The more excuses, the more you are pushed. And when you are a person who establishes boundaries without fuss you are more likely to be treated like a man in this regard i.e. not castigated for ‘not being a team player’ but just accepted as a person with autonomy. It is the excuses that suggest you are obligated if you don’t have an excuse that make you look weak.

        But the OP took that treacherous first step so now it is different (and I bet she won’t make this mistake again — one most of us has made one time or another). Now she needs a reason to change the situation. So the faux appointments after work or taking some vacation time to reset the expectation or whatever come in to play.

        1. LCH*

          I think she can say, after doing this for awhile I’ve found it really isn’t working for me because I have things I need to do after work. She did this favor for a bit, long enough for the intern to get familiar with the area. Now he can take care of himself.

          1. Consider*

            Or simply … “I really like having that time to myself.” Or … “I use that time to plan for (or think about) my day.” Or … “That’s my time to decompress.” That way, there’s no pressure to come up with tasks and cover stories to justify the solo time.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I wouldn’t even tell him that. He isn’t entitled to an explanation and would likely just argue with it, or ask her incessantly “Do you have anything to do today? Could you take me home?”

              Better to just say “Sorry, it’s not possible for me to continue giving you rides so you’ll have to find another way in/out. Here’s the website with the bus schedule.”

      5. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Those “lots of excuses to be justified/accepted by others” can be difficult to navigate, too. The more excuses you give for saying no, the more the person asking for the favor can try to weasel their way into getting you to say yes, so keeping it simple is usually the way to go for these kinds of things. Or you could just go the Phoebe Buffay route: “Oh, I wish I could, but I don’t want to.” (Which would probably get OP into a lot of trouble with the boss, so don’t do this, OP, as much as I might want you to.) I’ve gotten out of carpooling with people I don’t want to carpool by simply saying that I just couldn’t do it, sorry. This is a little more difficult with Boss saying you should, but it’s still possible.

        I totally agree with the sentiments here, though. Boss thinks it’s NBD? Then HE can chauffeur intern around, for cryin’ out loud.

        Also, though: in a city with a really good bus system, does Uber/Lyft not exist? Maybe do the intern a favor by helping him download the apps onto his phone.

        Also also, you, OP, are absolutely not a terrible person. The Intern is definitely the terrible person here, and your Boss is pretty terrible too. Husband is less terrible but isn’t doing you any favors by negating your feelings about this situation.

        1. AnonInCanada*

          From the OP:

          > But he is refusing to take the bus and said, “You can pick me up when you go to work, since I’m along the way.”

          Yeah, I’m sure he can learn how to make his way to work and “fun places” and stop relying on OP. If boss doesn’t like it, then boss can be the chauffeur/tour guide.

          1. tangerineRose*

            This should have been stopped right away. The intern is supposed to learn work norms. Demanding a ride from your supervisor is NOT a normal work thing. The boss and husband might think this is a nice thing to do, but long-term this is hurting the intern, too.

    3. Bilateralrope*

      Or at least keep the letter writer on the clock for transportation. Along with compensation for fuel used and wear on the car. After all, if the boss is ordering it, it looks a lot like work to me.

      Ok, this is a bad idea because there is a risk that the boss might agree.

      1. Ama*

        Yeah I’m torn about this — I do think there might be something to saying “ok if you’re saying I can’t stop giving the intern a ride because it’s now part of my job, I will be submitting for mileage reimbursement since I’m now using my car for work purposes.” But also if he takes OP up on that then she’s still stuck with the intern (although at least she’ll be getting compensated).

    4. Frodo*

      Part of summer interning is learning how to be responsible in a corporate/job environment. Learning how to navigate public transportation comes with the job.

          1. RunShaker*

            came to say it’s time that intern put on their adult panties. And shame on hubby for saying “it’s no big deal.” Boss as well. I hope the OP pushes back with how Alison suggested.

      1. Cat Tree*

        It’s also about teaching professional norms and etiquette. If he learns from this experience that it’s normal to expect free rides every single day from a coworker, he’s going to embarrass himself at his next job when he tries to do the same. It makes him look really immature, which is not what he wants to emphasize as a newcomer to the working world.

        (Carpooling is different, but this is not that.)

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Yes! I foolishly offered to accompany a young girl who stayed the night with us, to the railway station, because she didn’t seem very streetwise. Next time, she was asking me if I could drive her there, because it was a rather complicated route on public transport.
          You give an inch they take a yard. This intern seems rather entitled to me. I’d be bringing snacks for the ride and thanking OP so effusively, and telling her she mustn’t feel obligated, and offering to pay for petrol (although in OP’s shoes I wouldn’t want the intern to pay for petrol because obviously they are not earning anything much at all).

          1. CommanderBanana*

            Extremely entitled. And I am really side-eyeing the LW’s husband. If he’s so worried about the intern getting a ride, he can volunteer to drive him.

            1. Totally Minnie*

              That or take on all of LW’s before and after work errands that she can’t do now because she’s playing chauffeur, but I’m guessing he hasn’t offeeed to do that either.

              1. Chris too*

                I was thinking LW should try getting groceries on her way home if boss is pushing her to be the chauffeur.

                “Now you just wait here, don’t fiddle with the radio while I’m in the store. I’ll leave the window open so you have fresh air.”

                1. Never The Twain*

                  “I’m just popping into that bar over there for a bit, here’s some crisps [chips] and a lemonade. Don’t make me have to come out before I’m ready.”

        2. cabbagepants*

          I agree and I’m amazed the answer didn’t go into this more!

          LW1, this is not like a normal work obligation. You can and should just tell the intern, in no uncertain terms, that it’s not normal to rely on colleagues for transportation and any rides should be treated as rare favors. Since he has overstepped so far you will not be giving any rides in the future.

          You can handle your boss separately. Don’t make up a fake excuse about the gym!! Just say you won’t be giving the intern any more rides. The end.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            Agreed, don’t make up fake excuses! The reason you don’t want to give intern a ride anymore is because you don’t want to and that’s an absolutely valid reason.

        3. learnedthehardway*

          Agreed. It’s ridiculous that the intern even suggested this arrangement. A few rides in the first week, while the intern learns the city – fine. That’s above and beyond, on its own.

          Husband or boss can do the driving, if they feel so strongly about it.

        4. kiki*

          Yes! I think part of being an intern is getting some embarrassing moments out of your system before becoming a full-fledged member of the workplace. It’s a kindness of interns’ coworkers to make them aware of any norms they’re not following. It’s easy to assume, “Oh, they must be aware that this is an odd request. They’re just audacious.” But actually so often they don’t realize what they’ve asked for is odd or too bold.

          1. Worldwalker*

            They’re not going to learn that it’s inappropriate with the boss ordering the LW to do it.

        5. Elitist Semicolon*

          Not just immature, but immature with no sense of professional heirarchies. Expecting someone senior to them to drive them to/from work every day is not going to make a good impression.

          (Not that a coworker’s convenience should be based on whether/how much they outrank the person asking, but I sure as hell wouldn’t demand that the CEO of my organization to drive me to work every day even if she lived right next door.)

        6. Festively Dressed Earl*

          +1. I can’t imagine asking one of my old intern bosses for that kind of favor, let alone feeling entitled to it.

        7. NotAnotherManager!*

          Yes! I can completely appreciate the organization offering a couple of rides in the beginning and some support navigating the city’s public transit (20+-year veteran of the DC Metrorail system, happy to help new folks), but daily rides to and from work? That’s going to become his next employer’s problem, and it’s something that is best to learn early before the stakes are higher. (Or worse, he becomes a supervisor and is expecting his team to give him rides. The power dynamic there is such that many people would not feel comfortable declining.)

          I would happily recommend things to do/see in my area – I just chatted a new hire up about places in DC to enjoy a specific hobby of theirs – but I’m not picking them up this weekend and taking them there. I think the intern needs some feedback on professional boundaries and that coworkers are not there to chauffer/tour guide for him.

        8. sundae funday*

          RIGHT, I can’t imagine having the audacity to, as an intern, TELL an employee that they will be driving me to and from work. I mean, what?? And LW’s boss just went along with it.

          I feel like this guy is going to have a rude awakening someday… but then again, maybe not. Some people (and in my experience, it’s always men who grew up wealthy) seem to just skate through life and people just give them things.

          I could understand better if the intern felt unsafe on the bus or something… and had a right to feel unsafe… because public transportation in my city isn’t safe and I’m a small woman… but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He just doesn’t want to….

      2. EPLawyer*

        That was my thought even before reading the letter. Part of learning the job world is figuring out how to reliably get to work. Intern is not going to be personally chauffered all his life to and from work. And to ask someone senior (I am figuring EVERYONE is senior to an intern) to chauffeur is really not a business norm ANYWHERE.

        1. MassMatt*

          It is actually a disservice to the intern to perpetuate the idea that this personal chauffeuring is normal. To me expecting to be driven to and from work is akin to expecting LW to pack him a lunch every day. The intern has a lot of growing up to do.

          It’s perplexing that the boss and worse, the SPOUSE is saying “what’s the big deal?”.

          1. Ama*

            The spouse thing is particularly galling to me — my spouse is always the one who alerts me when I’m letting my coworkers push my boundaries too much (I’ll complain to him about something and he’ll always ask –nicely– “why did you say yes to that? did you have to?”).

      3. Rex Libris*

        Yep. As does learning that you don’t expect your coworkers to devote their time to solving your personal problems.

      4. Hannah Lee*


        And intern failing to plan for it and then making HIS problem LW’s problem to resolve is just … a bit not good. (and if LW is female, the gender dynamics make it worse … does intern view LW as mommy who has to take care of him, make his life easy? What’s next, packing him a bento box lunch and making sure he has clean polos?) Intern’s boss should be explaining that to him.

        And the boss falling in line with intern’s thinking and also trying to make intern’s failure to figure out his own transportation LW’s problem is WAY out of line. The first day or the first week, maybe the company provides transport as part of orientation. But that’s would be on ** THE COMPANY ** not LW as an individual, to take time out of their non-work and unpaid hours, inconvenience themselves by having to always include intern’s home in their commute route.

        It’s time for a hard NO from LW on this, no matter who tries to guilt her into being unpaid intern nanny/carpool. I bet the busline has an app the intern can put on his phone and I know Uber does (or any other car lift service operating in LW’s area likely does too)

        This “of course you’ll help others even if it’s annoying/inconvenient, it’s not that big a deal, right?” mindset is so pervasive that my brain started looking for external authorities LW could refer to in their NO, eg her personal auto insurance policy doesn’t allow routine operation as transport for non-related individuals, or to use her car in performance of commercial/non-personal stuff, etc (because HECK YEAH, there is liability being dumped on LW, which could be expensive/disastrous if there was ever an accident with intern in the car) But just a plain ‘NO, I did it as an introductory courtesy, but it is no longer possible’ is the way to go here.

        PS – personally, my commute is ME TIME, and especially in the morning, my social brain is not fully online, requiring either complete silence or blasting music of my choice to prepare for work (today it was The Beatles and Florence + The Machine) More than two days of having someone else in my car would not go well, for either of us.

      5. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his..*

        No one is doing the intern any favours by implying that this is a workplace standard behaviour. What happens when they move on to their next job and don`t realize that demanding transportation is not a workplace norm?

      6. nona*

        This was my first though too… oh sweet summer child, he needs to grow up fast. You’d be doing him a favor by refusing to drive him, otherwise he’s going to embarrass himself hard at his first job. I’m picturing him asking a (female) colleague to bring lunch in for him everyday because he doesn’t know how to cut the crusts of his sandwiches.

        1. JustaTech*

          When I was an intern (moved to a new city, got my first apartment) I did all of that on my own (ok, mostly, I had help but only after I asked for help) because that was how I defined being *grown up* – figuring out the buses, signing a rental contract, all of that.

          Did it mean that I messed up and was late to my first day? Yes, yes it did. But from then on I knew that bus system backwards and forwards. Did I like my apartment? Not really, there was no water if anyone else in the house was using it, and I couldn’t stand up straight in 70% of the place, but it was *mine*.

          Why does this intern want to be driven around like a middle schooler?

      7. Csethiro Ceredin*

        Yes! It sets the intern up with an inaccurate idea of how workplaces work if they think they can just expect large favours from their supervisor.

      8. She of Many Hats*

        As the others have said — ^^^ This.

        Now if the boss is expecting or requiring you to continue to drive the Intern around, you definitely need to bill the (OT?) hours and mileage because the company has added ensuring the intern gets to and from work to your daily work load. And tell spouse that they are now responsible to get kids/pets, groceries, etc since you are now busy with work driving intern around.

      9. Jen*

        Why would an intern accept the job without having a car. If he did not like public transportation. You have too be responsible for yourself.

      10. Elizabeth West*

        What’s he gonna do if he moves to a bigger city and has to ride the train?

      11. KatieP*

        This – probably. If this is an unpaid internship, I’d feel mostly the same way, but I’d understand if paying for transportation is a problem for an unpaid intern. If that’s the case, the best thing to do would be for the employer to come up with transportation assistance money.

        It’s still not OK to expect a coworker to chauffeur you around.

        The intern needs to learn that asking a colleague for transportation assistance once in a blue moon is OK. Expecting a boss or coworker to pick you up and drop you off every day is not OK.

        1. Worldwalker*

          The boss also needs to learn that female (probably) employees are not personal servants who can be told to do this kind of thing. I’m fairly sure he wouldn’t order a male subordinate to chauffer a female intern.

    5. Bagpuss*

      Yes, I think just a one off, clear statement to the intern “I was willing to help you out temporarily but I’m finding it isn’t practical, so from Monday, I won’t be able to pick you up or take you home, you will need to make your own arrangements – I know all the bus timetables are available online of you need to work out which lines you need”

      Our of interest, has he ever offered to chip in for gas?

      and to boss, if they raise it , keep it very simple “I’ve found it wasn’t working for me, so I’ve made clear I’m not able to provide transport for intern, moving forward. (If they push back saying that it isn’t a big deal, then respond “I’ve found it is a big deal for me, but if you feel it’s not, that’s great, will you let intern know you will be driving him, from now on, or will you?”

      In both cases, don’t offer a lot of reasons as they gives them the chance to try to convince you that you could work round them, just stick to, unfortunately, with other personal commitments and plans it’s just not practical.

      1. Ozzac*

        Also: “If you want me to remain your personal taxi it’s going to be X amount per ride (way higher than an actual taxi), and you already owe me Y for all the rides I’ve already given you. I won’t pick you up till you paid what you already owe me.”
        And yes, I’m not sure obviously, but I’m gonna bet OP is female, and intern is male and hitting on her

        1. BethDH*

          I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring money into this. Intern might say okay and then OP is still doing it, and probably with all kinds of additional expectations because they’re now providing a paid service.
          And then let’s add that internships have plenty of money inequity already in a lot of places. It would look really bad for OP to spring on an entry level person that not only do they want money, but it’s retroactive. Intern sounds obtuse but primarily naive; it’s the boss that’s the real problem. How would an intern realize it’s wrong if everyone around them is going with it?

          1. Colette*

            Agreed. And charging someone for rides (above the actual cost) can have insurance implications.

            In general, it’s not OK to make charges retroactive unless the person you are charging agreed to pay. I can’t bring cupcakes in to work and then, after they are eaten, charge $5 each.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              You can, according to the company in this week’s update, give someone a paid leave and then ask for them to pay it back, though.

              1. Lenora Rose*

                I think universal agreement was that that was horrible and absurd which means it’s not a valid counterpoint.

              2. Bob-White of the Glen*

                Yes, but it was a paid leave they had to take, and since they had to take it, it was only fair that they pay it back.

                See, that kind of thinking is not hard at all!

            2. Andy*

              Your cupcake example is *exactly* the example my Contracts professor used in law school to illustrate the principle of equitable estoppel. Super memorable and effective.

              (She brought us cupcakes, and halfway through the class demanded payment, and made us argue with her why we shouldn’t have to pay.)

          2. Totally Minnie*

            Exactly. Never enter into this kind of thing as a bluff. If you wouldn’t be interested in doing it no matter how much they pay you, then don’t offer to do it for money because you believe they won’t take you up on it.

        2. a tester, not a developer*

          It feels more like “mom will give me a ride everywhere” than hitting on OP to me, but that may be because I’m mom to a teenager that just got his license. :)

          1. Just Another Zebra*

            No, I definitely got that vibe as well. An intern in a new city, complaining to mom that the buses are scary/ complicated/ always late, and mom suggests intern asks a coworker for a ride. Intern handles this with the finesse and grace expected of an 18-22 year old (which is to say, badly).

            Intern isn’t blameless here. But I think inexperience accounts for a lot of this.

            1. Quill*

              Intern’s also gotta learn that sometimes your family members are a lot more squeamish about public transit than is really warranted. (I say this as someone whose parents used to freak out about me taking a train into the city… the parts of the city I’m headed for the main risk is me twisting an ankle and since the city actually has transit I might do better there than around home if it does happen…)

          2. Slow Gin Lizz*

            That is exactly what this whole situation seems like to me, that he’s used to having his mom drive him everywhere and figures that’s what older women do, drive him around. Time for him to learn elsewise. (Is elsewise a word? Ooh, I just found out that it actually is!)

        3. EPLawyer*

          Can we just not every time there is a male/female dynamic? That just normalizes that the ONLY interaction men can have with women is sexual. Sometimes a clueless prat is just a clueless prat.

          1. LadyVet*

            Sexism rarely involves the act of sex.

            The problem in this case, if the LW is indeed female, is that the intern is being shown that her time is as important as a junior male employee’s.

            1. NeutralJanet*

              Sexism doesn’t have to involve the act of sex, but Ozzac did bring in the idea that the intern is hitting on OP, which I think is what this comment is pushing back on.

        4. NYC Taxi*

          Nothing in the letter suggested he’s hitting on her. It’s more likely that he was used to mom ferrying him everywhere and he’s looking at OP as a continuation of that. OP don’t cave into pressure from your boss, that intern or your husband that it’s nbd to drive him- It is a big deal because you don’t want to do it.

        5. Observer*

          If you want me to remain your personal taxi it’s going to be X amount per ride (way higher than an actual taxi), and you already owe me Y for all the rides I’ve already given you. I won’t pick you up till you paid what you already owe me.”

          Now, THAT would be a seriously jerky move.

          Asking for money would be ok *going forward*, *if* and ONLY if the OP were actually ok with continuing to give the guy rides. But there is no universe where it’s ok for the OP to turn around and ask for money for the rides already given.

          And why should they even bother with that? It’s a LOT easier and better for the OP to just refuse to do it. “This doesn’t work with my schedule.”, “Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t work with my schedule.”, “No, that doesn’t work with my schedule.” ad infinitum.

          No need to get into ridiculous arguments or create an implication that the OP actually should or will be doing this. Just boring and boringly polite blank refusal.

        6. Sleepy Snoopy*

          No. LW just needs to say no. That is all she has to do, maybe make up an excuse as to why.

          This suggestion is problematic. A higher up demanding money from an intern is not a good look, and if he agrees, she’s now still on the hook for it.

        7. NeutralJanet*

          Would you really say that in this situation, or are you just coming up with a witty zinger because you want to look cool on the Internet?

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I think I might just decide to swing by the supermarket on the way home, and tell the intern to wait for me, rather than put up with not being able to do so. Of course there’s a chance the intern might decide it’s a good opportunity to get some groceries too, but the next day I’d be stopping off to see a friend and telling him he’d have to wait in the car, she’s not the kind to appreciate it if I just let him come in with me.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Ha! This is the passive aggressive move but I love it. “Intern, I need to stop at the gym on the way into work tomorrow, so I’ll pick you up at 5.50. You can wait in the car while I go to my spin class. Also, we have to stop at the grocery store on my way home. On Tuesday I’ll need to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy so bring a book, they take a while. I understand you are looking for company on the weekends, great, I’ll be picking my niece up from day care and driving her to a birthday party. Then I have a baby shower in the afternoon, it’s an hour away. I’ll pick you up at 7AM so we can hit my yoga class first. Hey, where are you going?”

        2. Phoebe*

          Actually, I think you should do this. If you start making it less convenient for him, it might encourage him to find another way to work on his own.

        3. Catalin*

          This is exactly what I was thinking. Kick it up a notch too!
          You want to go in early tomorrow? Text intern, tell him he needs to be ready at X o’clock tomorrow. He’s not ready? 5-minute wait, then you’re going without him.
          You need to go in late? Intern better let his people know he can’t come in until X:30.
          You want to work late? He can wait.
          You need to stop at the grocery store? Intern better bring a book! He’s going to figure out the bus system PDQ after a week or two of time changes, errands, and blasting the Spice Girls in the car.

        4. Observer*

          In theory, I love the idea. In practice? Not so much.

          What the OP wants is the *freedom* and *flexibility* to do whatever before and after work. This is a lot of work to force the issue. And given Intern’s behavior, you have no idea how it’s going to land. Like, in the shopping example, the last thing you want is for him to decide to do HIS shopping – or even now start “asking” (ie demanding) that the OP take him shopping on his schedule.

        5. Lenora Rose*

          I think this is one of those suggestions that sounds better in the comment section than in practice, though. Also, it seems like a lot of extra effort to avoid simply holding the line on “I said no, and I meant it.” and avoid feeling guilty because other people are pressuring you.

        6. KatieP*

          My passive-agressive alter ego loves this.

          On the other hand…

          OP shouldn’t have to justify saying, “No,” to something they don’t want to be part of.

    6. AlwhoisThatAl*

      he is contributing to your fuel costs right? If not, it’s the least he should do

      1. Colette*

        Honestly, if it were me, that would be irrelevant. Having to be “on” with someone else in the car and having to plan my commute around someone else wouldn’t be mitigated by getting an occasional $10 for gas.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        It may be something he should have done, but requesting it will make her boss or the intern think it will fix all the other issues with this unwanted arrangement, and that is the wrong message at this point.

    7. WellRed*

      At the very least, let the husband do the shopping and possibly cooking since OP is busy chauffeuring. I also assumeOP is female and bet this request wouldn’t have been made, or waved of, if OP was male.

    8. Erin*

      The entitlement & laziness of the intern is just over the top. Internships are a great time to be introduced to professional norms, and he definitely needs to understand that announcing and pressuring someone to be his driver is unprofessional conduct.

      I just moved to the opposite coast from where I was living for several years, and I fully understand and empathize with the intern wanting to know what’s cool in the city. However, he can Google/Yelp/Meetup/swipe on a dating app to get to know the place, as well as make a friend.

      It’s sad that everyone around this LW is pressuring her to do things she doesn’t want to do.

      1. Mairead*

        Exactly! The city apparently has good public transport, so he should be able to get to and from work with no problems. If he wants to be driven, taxi services exist.

        It would be ok to ask if LW had any suggestions about what to do/see at weekends, but expecting an unpaid tour guide is next-level!

      2. AngryOctopus*

        Or the intern can say “what things do you like to do in the city?” and plan his weekends around recommendations he gets from colleagues. But the assumption of rides to/from work, and now weekend plans? How was this child raised??

        I would, however, like to see intern at his first real job if he tries to get a coworker to give him rides this way.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        This! Ask a neighbor. Type in “visit [city name]” and up pops a bunch of options. Go online and look at the transit website.

        I’d bet money Intern was a helicoptered kid but it’s time to fly on your own, little bird.

        1. Worldwalker*

          Atlas Obscura. I’ve found so many neat things by checking that before I go somewhere. What’s really fun is that they have so many odd little things — an interesting restaurant here, a quirky store there, even an unusual historical marker or location — that you don’t find in usual tourist info, written by people who’ve been there.

    9. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

      This was my first thought, too: “If it’s no big deal, why don’t YOU do it?”

      1. singularity*

        There’s also the liability involved if the LW gets into an accident with the intern in the car and he suffers injuries. That alone would be a good reason to push back – blame your insurance company and tell your boss and the intern there’s no wiggle room. As for the husband, tell him the same. Does he want to be financially responsible for medical costs (assuming this is the US) of this intern if there’s an accident? What if they sue?

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          This! Liability was my first thought. I’m not a lawyer, so maybe it’s okay, but why would LW1 or the company want to risk it??

    10. Really?*

      #1 you are not a terrible person. Intern is rude, immature, unprofessional and ungrateful. Why would you want to spend more time than you have to with him? And your boss is not doing him any favors. As has been pointed out downstream, figuring out how to get your self to work is one of the most basic of tasks of a working professional, and he is flunking. Are you professional staff or support staff? If the latter, I certainly understand that it is harder to push back against your boss, and in that case Allison’s scripts may be helpful. Otherwise, you can point out that you find the current arrangements inconvenient, and he should perhaps find another ride, whether it be public transport, or otherwise. Maybe one of his parents could move in with him as chauffeur for the rest of the summer? It shouldn’t be your problem.

    11. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      That’s my first thought. And why not create a roster at work? “I did it for two weeks. You are next.”
      And guess what, fix the commuter and husband problem, “I need to go shopping after work.” Take intern with you. Or tell husband to pick up what you need.
      I know this is easy to say, but I’m old and tired and worked hard to learn the word no.

    12. Wilbur*

      Hey, if their boss is telling them to do it, it’s work right? Sounds like they clock in when they pick up the intern, and clock out when they drop the intern off. That’ll probably stop it pretty quickly when they find out they’re losing 30-60 minutes of your time catering to the intern.

    13. My Name is Mudd*

      I would not alter my schedule at all for the intern. If I’m there late, he can wait around and play with his phone. If I’m running errands after work, he can come along. Not take him home before running those errands.

    14. Ellis Bell*

      I kind of feel like OP is in an alternate reality if everyone around her has same weird response to an intern’s order to drive him around indefinitely. Their support of their employee/spouse is to say “yeah you should just do whatever the intern says”?! No one thinks this is unprofessional of the intern? That is crackers. I kind of want to know if the boss is invested in this intern, or asked the OP to do it initially, it’s that strange to me. Since unreasonable people don’t respond very well to reasons, OP should give very little reasons or specifics that the intern can argue with: “It was a short term favour where I had to stop doing my normal routine to help you out. You should have figured out your transport by now; that’s a basic professional expectation.” Also, OP it doesn’t matter if he’s happy!

  3. DEJ*

    LP4 I completely understand your reasoning and it absolutely makes sense. If I am on vacation I will usually spend a few minutes each day clearing out spam emails and answering simple questions so that when I do get back the inbox doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Taking those few minutes now ultimately helps me later.

    1. Big Pig*

      As long as that doesn’t make different holiday expectations for your colleagues. I am currently on holiday and haven’t seen my emails for days (thank goodness, I needed a break). If my direct counterparts started daily inbox replies while they are on their time off I would then be expected to follow suit and (no offence to the Americans who seem to work constantly) I don’t want to work all the time. Please don’t make other people have to keep up with your lack of willingness to forget about work!

      1. Tau*

        I’m seriously considering whether to even take my work phone with me on my next holiday, as I will be doing a long-distance cycling trip across significant height differences and every extra bit of weight counts. And in general, on these trips I can’t always guarantee I’ll have reception and don’t actually have much time to check email anyway. I always flinch a little when a coworker or especially boss says they’ll still be reachable on holiday and to contact them with any questions, because I’m worried that that will become the expectation for everyone. Even if we discount my desire to disconnect totally so I can clear my head, my preferred holiday type just doesn’t work for that at all.

        1. BethDH*

          This sounds like a really straightforward way to set that expectation of totally disconnecting! Don’t even mention “maybe there’ll be reception and maybe there won’t” just “no reception most of the route.”
          My general experience is that once you’ve done this a time or two, people get used to the patterns of dealing with your work while you’re out even if they continue to expect others to answer emails while they’re out. So much of it is patterns of behavior, and those are often more person-specific than we realize. That assumes your workplace is at the misdemeanor level of impinging on your personal life, of course.

        2. Hlao-roo*

          FWIW, I have worked places where the managers usually said they were available on vacation but in more of a “contact John Smith for TPS report questions, I will have my cell phone if you need to reach me” sort of way (as opposed to “call me with any questions”). Most individual contributors (including me) were generally not available during vacation time and that was an expected/accepted part of company culture. I vote for leaving your work phone behind.

    2. TheProblemWithEyes*

      i’m sure my boss would say the exact same thing, and that’s great for her, but the problem is that it gives everyone else on our team the impression that we’re supposed to be working on holiday. which sucks.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Exactly. Model the behavior you want your reports to follow. If you want them disconnected on vacation, you need to disconnect. Clear out Spam if you must, but do not respond to emails. if you really want a clear inbox, put stuff in folders to be responded to upon return. But not even a quick question that you can answer in a second.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        That’s one of the issues with it.
        And it also can create confusion.
        For example, if I’m out for a week vacation and other people are covering the time sensitive things while I’m gone, if I’m randomly answering quick questions while I’m out of the office, is my cover person supposed to jump in when they see questions or not? Are people supposed to send questions to him or to me? Is he expected to check email at all hours, does he think I and others view him as falling down on coverage because I answered and he didn’t?

        1. dot*

          This! I got frustrated at my boss during his parental leave last year because he kept chiming in on things that I was supposed to be covering, and he wouldn’t have the full context because he wasn’t fully in the loop, or he’d be asking clarifying questions.

    3. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      As a freelancer, that’s totally what I’ll do, but when I was a salaried worker, I didn’t even have access to my emails at home.
      I’m never completely off work, but then again I get lulls during which I can rest, take the dog for longer walks, head out to the pool more often, or the cinema, and enjoy one of the many art exhibitions, we’re spoilt for choice here in Paris!

    4. miss_chevious*

      I don’t know your situation, but for me and my team this is absolutely *not* the way I would go. Responding to anyone, even for simple questions, creates the impression of the recipients that we are available and that PTO is “not really PTO.” On more than one occasion, team members have had whole days of their vacations taken up by demanding colleagues and I have had to manage complaints about “vacationer answered Jane’s question, why can’t she answer MINE???” It also creates the expectation that other members of the team will check email while they are on vacation, which I do not want to encourage.

      As a result, I’ve implemented the guideline that, if a team member feels they must check email on vacation, they should only respond to members of our team who are providing coverage, and not to the rest of the business. (Our team can be trusted not to monopolize a vacationer’s time, and not to reach out unless it’s an emergency.) But my preference is that they don’t check email at all. We have adequate coverage and we aren’t brain surgeons: things can wait.

  4. Sue*

    Ugh. This intern sounds so off-putting to me, I’d be coming up with every possible excuse to avoid being in a car with them. Also, would not want the liability. Just no.

    1. Jill Swinburne*

      It could be a great time to decide you need to really up your intake of brassicas and beans!

      Or, if you’re slightly less mean, whoops, bit of car trouble/new routine of going to the gym before work/tell intern you’ve moved.

    2. Barry*

      I knew a guy like that, who talked me into doing that. He was a fast-talker who left a bad taste in people’s mouths over the longer term.

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        if it is a female op and male intern, maybe start listening to some hardcore feminist audiobooks on the way to work, lol

    3. EPLawyer*

      LIABILITY. Oh yeah. I am sure the OP is a careful driver, but remember the poor intern who was in a car driven by an employee who thought the car had automatic braking? The intern wound up with a busted wrist.

  5. Skippy*

    LW2: Boss won’t do it Friday or Monday because it’s on work time? Hmm. If it’s not something they value enough to do during work hours, then why should it be valuable enough for you to do on personal time?

    1. TechWorker*

      Also why can’t it be a 5pm event? The options aren’t ‘weekend lunchtime’ or ‘in the middle of the workday’

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        OP I like this last option– if you’d be willing to attend an evening event suggest it for the final week of your notice period.
        It’s even better than the previous weekend which I’d been ttoughest. suggest.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          ^been coming here to suggest.

          Autocarrot flags comma splices but misses that?!

      2. Antilles*

        Even better also: Why *can’t* it be a weekday lunch event?
        Just have it over everybody’s lunch hour so it doesn’t interfere with work. Take everybody out to a restaurant or order in catered lunch and you can easily get it done in something close to the standard hour-ish people take for lunch. This isn’t difficult.

    2. Anne of Green Gables*

      Every farewell and retirement party I have ever attended has been during the work day, on work time. I’m in a coverage-based field (libraries) and we rotate desk coverage during these types of events so everyone can see the celebrated person, get a cupcake, etc. The work carries on and still gets done.

    3. AngryOctopus*

      Yeah, my first thought was “wait, of COURSE this needs to be on work time!”. LW2, just keep repeating “that won’t be possible with my schedule” when the boss brings it up, and soon enough the problem will solve itself!

    4. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      This. You can’t have a half/one hour goodbye cake meeting at work? Good thing you left.
      For those left behind, “Yee hah. I’m voluntold to go to a Saturday brunch with my boss because my peer got a new job.”

    5. Some Internet Rando*

      I had the same thought – this is a work party that should be on work time. Otherwise…. sorry, too busy! Do not make your guests/family/out of town friends attend a work party!

      1. LW2*

        I think the challenge with an office lunchtime gathering is that half the team is remote and lives a few hours away. The party was suggested by a remote worker who wants to travel to the city the company is based in and have a get together with everyone. So the boss is just running with that idea and providing hotel rooms for staff that travel to the weekend party. Anyways, I actually already said no to the weekend party, and the boss suggested dinner at a local restaurant on a weeknight. I’m wondering who pays for dinner? I’m on a tight budget. I should suggest a zoom lunch call with everyone but I actually don’t even want to do that.

        1. Antilles*

          I’m wondering who pays for dinner?
          If it’s a company organized going-away party, the company usually pays. Given that the company was willing to pay travel and hotel rooms for staff to attend (!), I’d be extremely surprised if they don’t cover the cost of dinner.

        2. Festively Dressed Earl*

          Then your boss should go with the party for everyone who wants to go. That doesn’t include you. Call it a remote/in office meet and mingle or team building or whatever. Either way, good on you for sticking to your boundaries. Good luck with the new job!

        3. Ama*

          Honestly LW2, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, especially if it’s putting a burden on you. A few months ago I moved away from my employer’s main office out of state. One of my immediate team members said “oh the team will take you out to dinner before you leave” but then in short order, I was asked:
          -To pick any restaurant I wanted
          -Oh but it has to be a restaurant with close parking nearby because our other team member had just had foot surgery (we live in a city where many restaurants aren’t close to parking at all). Then it turned into “let’s do it close to that team members house” when team member lived in the complete opposite direction from the office than I did.
          -Oh actually let’s do it on X day when you’re in the office to clean out your desk (when I pointed out that I expected to have multiple bags of items I needed to carry home I was told I could get an uber — the team member did *not* have authority to approve me taking an uber home).

          I finally just said “I appreciate the thought, but I still have a lot of packing to do and really don’t have a full evening to spare for this.” I think she was upset but I didn’t really care at that point — at the point when “we’re doing something nice for you” becomes “you’re the one shouldering all the inconvenience, we just want to have a party” you should feel free to just say no.

        4. Skippy*

          In a normal office the company or your colleagues treat you. However, one shitty boss I worked for crashed my friend-led farewell, bought one drink for everyone in his group, then left them to drink on my friends’ tab the rest of the night. (And I couldn’t chip in because they’d fired me and I was broke!)

    6. Slow Gin Lizz*

      For realz though, what kind of thinking is this on the boss’ part? Of COURSE the work goodbye lunch needs to be on a weekday. I’m appalled that boss is asking out of towners to come in for it on a weekend. Boss seems to have no idea how work works. (Which is, I’m assuming, why OP is leaving the job. What next, will boss then send OP a bill charging OP for the event??) OP, enjoy your time with your family and don’t give a second though about this so-called celebration on your behalf that you don’t want.

  6. Albe*

    OP1, it’s a bus. He’s an adult. Public transport is neither challenging nor confronting to the average adult. He doesn’t need special public transport lessons or anything, because it is a bus and being able to get on public transport is a basic skill that most of us (excluding specific access issues) mastered in primary school or maybe early high school, even in the US.

    If he doesn’t want to, he can figure something out. Maybe a taxi. I don’t know. He is an adult and this is his problem to resolve.

    1. Goldie*

      I would specifically let him know that it’s inappropriate to ask colleagues for rides. And also inappropriate to ask favors of colleagues especially when they have put down a boundary. If you don’t learn this in an internship when do you learn it?

      1. ursula*

        Strongly agree with this. You can accept if people offer but you can’t ask, insist, or (as this guy has) inform people that they will be doing you a favour.

      2. madge*

        Exactly. This is one of those professional norms that he needs to learn before he does it to the wrong person and higher-ups start thinking poorly of him.

        Also, I must be a terrible person because my commute time is sacred as the only time I can hear myself think, and I will not give anyone a ride, ever (emergency notwithstanding). Best to avoid these situations before they blow up.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Except OP’s boss is reinforcing that it is fine. OP looks like like the outlier here. Nobody else is saying anything. OP could say, “this won’t fly in most offices,” but to what end?
          Entitled people going to entitle.

      3. AskButAcceptNo*

        it’s not inherently inappropriate to ask once, it’s inappropriate to assume, pressure, force, not take no for an answer, etc.

    2. Shakti*

      Exactly this! I learned to take public transportation at 12 he can certainly learn it in college! If he has some kind of issues or phobia he can take an Uber or taxi or figure something out as he accepted this internship without having a ride so he should proceed as if he doesn’t because he doesn’t!!

      1. Dust Bunny*

        This. I have some anxiety issues, no sense of direction, and a learning disability that makes it hard to read numbers correctly. Even I learned to ride the bus and so far have never taken the wrong bus and ended up across town. If your boss thinks this is no big deal then he is free to drive Intern himself.

        He can take transit or hire an Uber/Lyft.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          This, and bus drivers are almost always extremely helpful. They’re very used to answering questions about routes, etc. So even if Intern gets lost there’s someone to help him. He’s not trapped in the Thunder Plains all by himself.

    3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      This…really isn’t true, though? I went to a middle school and then a high school where everyone took public transportation regularly, to the point where one of the afternoon block period high school PE classes consisted of, more-or-less, taking a walking field trip twice a week and getting dismissed at the nearest bus stop to wherever we ended up at the end of the period/school day, with the assumption that you could then find your way home (or, if you needed to, back to school) from whatever bus line we happened to be at. I still am, given being lost on foot in an urban area, pretty much willing to walk in a spiral until I find a bus stop and wing it from there. (I will definitely do this in my home metro area, and have done this while traveling in other states or countries, but tread a little more carefully if I don’t know the area since it’s harder to pick a direction and know a “good” bus line from a rush-hour-only stop if I don’t have the system map in my head. I suppose people would use smartphones to check assumptions about those things now, but I’ve been navigating strange cities by bus since before the smartphone era.)

      Then I went to a SLAC with a generous helping of rich people from other parts of the the country for college. My freshman year roommate had never taken a public bus before. Not once. She found the idea intimidating and extremely foreign, and I had to talk her through it a few times and I think I actually rode it with ehr once so she could see how it worked and ask questions. So, if this intern is of college age and from both a pre-college non-bus-taking background (either wealthy suburban or any wealth level sufficiently rural would do it) and then went to a college in a non-bus-taking location (rural residential SLAC, maybe?), they may legitimately never have taken a bus before and find the process intimidating.

      This doesn’t make it the LW’s job to be their chauffeur, of course, but it’s quite possible for a college-age person to just have never needed to take a bus before and not think of it as a thing they could do.

      If the LW wanted to go far above and beyond, they could offer to take the bus with this person ONCE so they could see how the process worked, particularly if it involves transfers or anything else somewhat complicated. Alternately, the LW could be having “car trouble” and simply start taking the bus themselves for a week, and then maybe pass a few key details of “how taking the bus works” to the intern as part of that process if they seem interested…

      Simply noping out without providing any further help would also be well within the bounds of acceptability unless the LW’s job specifically involved helping interns figure out their commutes, though. One of the points of an internship is to figure out how to do adult jobs, and figuring out how to get yourself to work is an excellent job-related skill for proto-workers to master!

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Yeah, there are a lot of people who live where transit is nonexistent, only used by people who are too poor to own a car or unable to drive, and/or very inconvenient. And some fraction of them are afraid of the concept, or view it as beneath them.
        Plus, university age kids who haven’t lived away from family can be shockingly deficit in basic life skills.
        That said, the level of basic entitlement shown here would not have me offering to tutor him in basic bus skills. Let him figure it out. Or the LW could volunteer her husband and for the task.

        1. Albe*

          sure, but he’s a uni student. How does he expect to go out for an evening without drink driving, or go downtown or even get to and from the campus without at least having some idea. it’s not rocket science. google maps literally tells you where to go.

          1. Harper the Other One*

            Walking, taxis/Uber, or friends driving are probably his solutions (and let’s be honest, a lot of public transit systems become less convenient after commuting hours.) I don’t think it’s helpful to dwell on “but how hasn’t he learned yet” because the focus needs to be that he should learn now.

            1. Dust Bunny*

              Yeah, I cannot get home on the bus after 6:50 in the evening. That line goes to the outer edge of town but they’re not running evening buses right now because ridership is down.

              1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                I can’t get home on a bus unless it’s Wednesday. Welcome to the countryside.

                If intern is now living in a connected city for the first time then it’s a great time for him to learn about public transit.

                1. Quill*

                  Yep. There is zero transit where I grew up (there are buses, but they are a combination of unreliable / at unpredictable and widely spaced times / only stopping at locations that I was not allowed to go to, or could not have reached without driving myself there anyway when I was a teen) so I learned much later than many about public transit systems. I still learned! But except for school busses, you needed someone with a car to get anywhere in my hometown, and transit was a thing you maybe learned to deal with if you were going to The City.

          2. Tomato Soup*

            Some US unis are like little cities unto themselves or are in the midst of a town so they can walk or use a shuttle provided by the uni. My friend said she rarely left campus her first year because they weren’t near anything and there were a number of entertainment options on campus like a chain, first-run movie theater and a lazy river ride.

              1. NeedRain*

                now mad that I paid SO MUCH for my undergrad education and there were zero lazy rivers!!

                1. AngryOctopus*

                  We had a lazy river in grad school, and it was free for students (best perk of my higher education). Now I wish I’d taken advantage of it more.

          3. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Easy. Even universities can be csr focused. The one in my hometown has no bus. Town itself has no public bus routes. People walk or drive to the train to NYC and that is IT for public transportation.

            Yes it’s a problem. But it’s a possibility for OP’s intern.

            1. The Rural Juror*

              Sounds like my small hometown that has a small public university. Luckily they’ve built more apartments and housing close to the school, but it’s still very car-centric. If you can’t walk there, you have to find a ride. Even biking isn’t very safe because of the condition of the roads :(

          4. Yorick*

            Assuming this is the US, the culture is so car-centric in almost all cities (outside of a few like NYC, Chicago, etc.) that people don’t even CONSIDER public transit as an option – even when it would be possible and efficient to do so in their area. EXCEPT when you don’t have a car and you need to get to work every day. It’s wild that the intern just thinks a coworker should do it.

            At a former university job, a faculty/staff bus pass was $5/month and a parking pass was like $100/month. I couldn’t understand why anybody who could possibly take the bus to work would ever drive instead.

            1. Anon for This*

              I’m paying about $15/month for university parking when I can ride the bus free with my ID. I can take the bus to work, but while driving takes me 30-40 minutes each way, the bus takes me 70-90 minutes each way, and that’s if all the connections are on time. For me, it’s worth the extra money for parking and gas to get that extra hour or so at home.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I could do that too but there’s a bus stop across the street from my building and it takes me directly to the station. Why pay $10 a day to park when I can leave my car at home for free?

                Also for future reference for Intern, some companies’ perks include commuter passes that are paid for with pre-tax dollars. (Unlikely here, but learning to use public transit could pay off for him in the future.)

              2. Worldwalker*

                I used to take a bus to work instead of driving, even though we had adequate free parking available, because it gave me time to read and relax before work instead of dealing with LA-adjacent traffic. The bus nominally took longer, but given how much time I’d have to allocate for potential traffic tie-ups, it probably worked out about the same. And I’d arrive at work rested and relaxed instead of stressed and on edge.

            2. DJ Abbott*

              Yep, the town I grew up in had buses that ran east-west, but none that ran north-south. And the east-west ones only ran 8am-5pm weekdays.
              I *hate* the trouble and expense of taking care of a car. America’s car dependence is not a coincidence- It was designed this way to enrich the auto industry, with a side benefit of keeping people poor because they have to pay for a car.

            3. I have RBF*

              LOL. I can tell you why. When I worked at a University, they charged us $$$ to park on campus, and gave use a free transit bus and rail pass. I still drove.

              Why? To get to work by the train, I had to get to the train station before 6:30 am to get any parking. So I had to leave at 6. Or, I could leave at 7 am, take the 45 minutes to walk to the light rail and then ride it sloooowly through downtown, then walk down the ramp from the light rail stop, up the ramp to the train. Then the train ride itself was 45 minutes. Then I transferred to the university shuttle at the train station. Which, because I’m disabled, always, ALWAYS, pulled out just as I finished going under the tracks and toward it. So I had to wait another 15 minutes. So the actual transit time to work was two hours, versus one hour by car. Then going home it was worse, because if I took a full lunch I didn’t leave until 6, didn’t get to the train station until 6:30 or 6:45. If I made the 6:30 pm train, I got home around 7:15, if not, I had to take the 7:30 train (yes, a few minutes made the difference between catching the train and not, and often the train pulled out as I was limping up to it.) If I took the 7:30 pm train I got home at 9 pm.

              Being disabled and taking transit when you can’t literally run to make connections? Sucks rocks.

        2. Harper the Other One*

          Yes, where I lived growing up was semi-rural and there were no buses into town – which meant that if you went to town you had a car with you so you weren’t taking a bus once you were there. (I embraced the free bus pass my college included with gusto – but it did take a while to learn to navigate it!)

          That said, while an intern may not have ever ridden the bud before, adults are expected to figure out new skills relevant to both work and personal needs. And what will the intern do if OP is sick/on vacation/moves to a new role? So I would absolutely consider this part of the internship learning process.

          1. Jackalope*

            I know this was in fact a typo, but I’m delighted at the idea of “ridden the bud” as new slang for the intern smoking weed.

          2. Observer*

            That said, while an intern may not have ever ridden the bud before, adults are expected to figure out new skills relevant to both work and personal needs. And what will the intern do if OP is sick/on vacation/moves to a new role? So I would absolutely consider this part of the internship learning process.

            I really agree with this. The whole “how could he not *already* know how to use public transportation?” is a red herring. It’s very easy to never have used it for a lot people. But that doesn’t really matter. This is a city where it’s an option, and there is no reason why the OP needs to “protect” him from it.

            1. Csethiro Ceredin*

              Yes I hadn’t had access to transit until university, and I learned just fine. And that was when you had to call to listen to a recording of the schedule.

              I’m sure this intern can manage the bus if they try… this strikes me as just avoiding anything new and therefore scary, which is an impulse we all need to overcome at work so the sooner they learn the better.

            2. Worldwalker*

              A big part of being an adult — and successful in your job, whether it’s fast food or nuclear engineering — is being willing and able to do something you’ve never done before. The answer to being told to do something unfamiliar has to be “How do I do that?” instead of “I can’t do that” if you want to succeed. That’s something this intern needs to learn yesterday.

        3. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

          heck it has nothing to do with being rich and not taking public transit. I grew up in a very rural small town in Minnesota. There was NO bus routes. The only bus was for people who worked in the nearest big city, which was 45 miles away. I’m not even sure if non employees could ride the bus. And you had to drive to the park and ride area. There was no shelter, it was a open parking lot. So, it would not be feasible to stand outside for 30 minutes in freezing temperatures in Minnesota winter.

          It was not until I moved to where I am now that I took the bus, ane that wasn’t until I was a senior at college. I have a fear of being lost and not being able to find my way back. coupled with no sense of direction I was really anxious on the bus. I even had a backup person to call if I got stranded someplace. Now I almost exclusively take the bus.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            I think you handled that really well. You didn’t let your fears hold you back, and you arranged for help if you needed it. Good job! :)

        4. Ms. Elaneous*

          I agree that intern can surely (Shirley) ride the bus.
          I generally hate the bus too, but there it is. Not until you get to the CEO level does work include a chauffeur.

          Did intern have a car at his house? I would suggest that he either
          1. Fly home one friday and drive his car to his current location, or
          2. Have someone drive his car out and fly back.

          I feel for LW. Tough to childmind an adult.

      2. Albe*

        good grief. that’s such a foreign idea it never occurred to me that adults might not take public transport. it’s just utterly incomprehensible to me. (I’m in Melbourne, Australia and even people who don’t take it know how.)

        1. CityMouse*

          There’s no excuse with Google to be honest. It will tell you where to go what number to catch how many stops, what stop to get off at.

          I took the bus every day in college and a combo of busses and trains in grad school. was my first trip on the bus at 18 a little nervewracking? Sure. But it took literally two trips to get over it. I’ve taken busses in multiple countries at this point.

          1. EPLawyer*

            Yeah even if you have never ridden a bus before, a grown adult who is interning should be capable of figuring it out. Even if they make a couple of mistakes while doing so. But just presuming others will drive you around rather than try to figure out a new thing is not acceptable.

            1. AngryOctopus*

              I mean, the intern is aware there is a bus. If he’s never taken one before, he could ask a colleague! If you are comfortable enough to announce that someone is going to give you a ride to/from work, you should be comfortable enough to say “hey, I come from a place with zero bus service, do you have advice on navigating the buses here?”. (I do realize that the shamelessness inherent to the ride announcing doesn’t correlate with the self-awareness to say you need help with something. They are very different. But he SHOULD be able to ask for help.).

            2. Worldwalker*

              I’m wondering what else this extends to?

              “Intern, we need you to fill out the XYZ forms for this client.”
              “I’ve never done that before; make Fergus do it.”

              Yeah, that’s not going to go over very big in most jobs.

          2. J*

            Google might help with routes but payments can be weird and not that intuitive. My local bus basically allows for 1) exact change only, 2) a card that you have to ride the bus to one specific spot in the region to buy, 3) an app that works only with certain buses and doesn’t convert to rail. And that’s been 9 months so it’s probably different now, again. It was easier to ride buses in Paris where I didn’t speak the language than in my own city. And now they just updated timetables for the third time in 7 months and the express bus is now at 30 minute intervals, assuming they’re all staffed. These means most are 1 or even 2 hour intervals only. I can walk 45 minutes to the closest rail station and still beat a bus. It’s so awful here.

            1. CityMouse*

              I mean I’m currently in a city with a slightly confusing pay system, in another language. I just Googled it beforehand.

          3. My Useless 2 Cents*

            Sorry, as someone who grew up in areas without a lot of public transit, it is not easy, logical, or simple to learn to navigate a new city. I wouldn’t even think of using Google because I have so little experience with public transit. When on vacation I have been known to happily walk over an hour to get to a location rather then try and learn the local bus system because they confuse the hell out of me! That said, the intern needs to figure out how to get to work on their own.

        2. Anon for this*

          There are big parts of the US where public transit is non-existent. Outside of the US this can happen in rather rural areas. So yeah, it is entirely possible that there are places where most people have never taken/used public transit.

          For people from some of these places, taking a bus has unfortunate extreme social stigma.

          Especially with younger people I don’t think “how dare they not know” or “I cannot fathom anyone not knowing how to do this” is helpful. Clearly the intern in this letter needs to learn, but in general when someone does not know something, helping them or stepping back is a lot more useful than being indigent that they have different life experiences.

        3. Cyborg Llama Horde*

          In fairness, you have a beautiful public transit system that is significantly better/easier to use than the vast majority of US cities.

          (Which is not to say that the intern shouldn’t learn how. But Melbourne is not a good model for public transit in most of the US.)

        4. Friday Person*

          And it’s a foreign idea to me that it might somehow be a foreign idea to someone else that people have vastly different life experiences, which in some cases may not include public transit! Don’t people meet and talk to other people who have extremely different backgrounds?

          Honestly, I’d imagine that even without the systemic reasons someone might be unfamiliar with the bus, pretty much everyone reaches adulthood without having encountered at least some things that others would consider absolutely normal and crucial to daily life.

          The real issue here isn’t the intern’s background – it’s that he’s unwilling to learn or grow in any way and trying to make it somebody else’s problem instead, and being enabled by OP’s boss in this effort.

          1. Observer*

            The real issue here isn’t the intern’s background – it’s that he’s unwilling to learn or grow in any way and trying to make it somebody else’s problem instead, and being enabled by OP’s boss in this effort.

            Perfectly out.

            1. UKDancer*

              Absolutely. It’s fine not to have grown up with public transport but you either learn or you get a car / bike. The solution is not to try and cajole colleagues into driving you around.

        5. Rex Libris*

          Public transportation has never been a priority in most of the United States due to the car culture here (another toxic side effect of the whole “rugged individual” thing.) Especially in small to mid-sized cities, where it exists at all it’s often wildly underfunded and poorly maintained, so its utility is limited.

        6. Seashell*

          I’ve never been to Australia, but I imagine it varies significantly from city to rural areas. Can I get a bus around everywhere?

        7. Totally Minnie*

          I’m from a car-centric city with an abysmal public transit system, and from my experience it may be more likely to be a classism thing than a “can’t be bothered to google the route” thing.

          I don’t like to drive, and I’d rather do anything than try to drive and park downtown, so when I’m going to a concert or a sporting event, I’ll usually drive halfway there, park my car, and take transit to the actual venue. And the reactions I get from people when I say I took the bus would seem pretty outlandish to a person who lives in a place where public transit is common and convenient. If the transit system is so bad that it’s only used by people who don’t have other options, the people who do have those options sometimes start to believe that public buses are full of drunk poor people who don’t know how to behave themselves.

        8. RussianInTexas*

          That can be a quite common thing in the US.
          But most bus systems in the US are online, and an adult person will be able to figure it out. It’s not a rocket surgery.

      3. AnotherLibrarian*

        Yes, I think there are more college aged people who haven’t rode public transportation than people think. For example, I was comfortable with buses in college, but being from a very small town in a very rural place, I had never ridden a train or subway. I still don’t understand subways. I mean, I’m sure I could figure it out, but I have never lived in a town that had one. So yeah, I do think public transportation can be super confusing and challenging to the average adult, especially if it is not something they know how to use. The Intern is being super entitled and needs to get over it, but I don’t think completely dismissing their potential fears is actually helpful.

        1. feline outerwear catalog*

          Heh, I’m the opposite, I got stranded in high school once and got totally lost on the bus, ended up going the wrong direction because I didn’t know that buses are only one way. It was traumatic. There was a list of bus stops but not all of them and I didn’t know when to request a stop.

          Subways and trains are easier for me because they have fixed starting and ending points, and it’s easier to figure out which direction you need to go, there are maps everywhere, etc.

          1. Daisy-dog*

            Yep, I’ve gotten so lost with buses before. Once it took me 4 hours to get home from the airport because it was after hours for the trains (which would have been an easy 40 minutes). And I’ve had some other mishaps too. But that’s because I’m trying to figure them out entirely on my own. If I had someone to tell me what to do, I’d be okay.

        2. Telephone Sanitizer, Third Class*

          I take a bus several times a week and I find figuring out schedules/lines intimidating. And even when I know how I still sometimes miss it or get off too late. But once I know where to be when, it’s mostly fine. I hope this intern can find a route that works for him. Use a maps app!

      4. Art Soplo*

        “This doesn’t make it the LW’s job to be their chauffeur, of course, but it’s quite possible for a college-age person to just have never needed to take a bus before and not think of it as a thing they could do”

        Yes that is very much a thing that happens. But people like the LW’s intern have access to google, youtube, subreddit for their town, etc. They’ll figure it out.

        1. Worldwalker*

          The problem is the “haven’t done it before” equating to “not a thing they could do” attitude.

          The first time any adult has ever done something, it’s a thing they haven’t done before. And very few people get through life only doing those things they learned to do as a child.

          I’ve always looked at it as “Other people can do this thing. What do they have that I don’t have? Knowledge. So I just need to obtain that knowledge, and I can do it too.” That has pretty much always worked.

      5. Emmy Noether*

        If he has indeed never ridden a bus before (which is possible, as you point out), I’d argue that it would be good for him to do so.

        For one, young adult life is full of things one has never done before, and learning how to navigate that, and gaining the self-confidence to jump in and figure it out is important. Otherwise one ends up like a person I know, who has a whole list of things most adults do as a matter of course that she won’t do just because she has never/rarely done them before (it’s not a phobia, she’s just very uncomfortable doing new things and thus avoids at all cost unless forced) – it restricts her life a lot. For another thing, learning to navigate public transport is a useful life skill in itself.

        And if he thinks it’s somehow beneath him (but coasting on favors is not?), it’s even more important. I have zero patience for that kind of person.

        1. Emma*

          Right – if this is in the US (or Canada I guess) then it’s possible the intern has never taken a bus, but as Allison is always saying, part of the purpose of an internship is to learn skills that you will need for future jobs. Getting yourself to work on time in a new city is one of those skills, and LW shouldn’t do it for him any more than they should make his lunches for him because he’s never assembled a sandwich in an office kitchen before.

        2. amoeba*

          Yeah. And I’d argue that as a young adult, it would definitely be his job to figure this out. Or to ask for help, sure! I’d probably ask friends and family first if I actually had zero clue where to start but it would certainly also be OK to ask your colleagues for tips on figuring out public transport. Hell, even to tell them that you’re nervous because you’ve never done it before – I’m sure he’d get a thorough explanation and answers to his questions in most places! (And he doesn’t really read as the kind of person who’d be too scared to ask, does he?)

        3. Goldie*

          Again, what is the point of moving away from where you live to do a summer internship other than to learn to do new things including take the bus.

          Now I’m wondering if the boss is his family member or something.

      6. HBJ*

        Sure, but it’s not that hard. I grew up somewhere with no public transit. Never once used public transit. Never even rode a school bus. And when I got to college … I figured it out. Yea, I once didn’t realize how far apart the stops were, so I had to spend a significant portion of the time I’d intended to spend at my destination walking back to my destination and then take a later bus then I’d originally planned back home. So that’s what I did. Not that hard.

        1. virago*

          This guy has been through at least one year of college, so I assume that he’s been faced with one or two challenges that he’s never had to tackle before. Figuring out the municipal bus schedule can be the next one.

          1. Beany*

            It’s most likely that this intern is a college student, but I don’t see that stated in the letter. My work accepts interns from high school as well as university.

            1. AngryOctopus*

              If the intern is somehow still in HS his parents can figure out his transport, since he’s still a minor.

          2. J*

            Especially like in my city, where this week they just updated the schedule again. My husband warned all his interns that last week’s schedule is no longer this week’s schedule. One had a bus coming every 30 minutes that’s now only every 2 hours. His interns are all hybrid so he sat with them to talk through updated bus times, planned meetings to not be on their commute times, etc. These interns definitely planned on their summer following one schedule with transit and it’s not fair to them that our city failed them. More than one acted like having poor transit will affect his likelihood to take a job long-term, and with the size of the employer that’s feedback my husband can pass along. The company literally subsidized an international flight to our city so I’m hoping they can influence the busing situation since it’s actively taking away workers whose only chance to get a ride home comes once every 2 hours.

            1. Daisy-dog*

              Ugh, that’s awful. My bus route was once eliminated because it was considered redundant. Except that the alternative was highly unreliable and ran far less frequently. I did find another bus which took me a few blocks from home and was actually better.

        2. UKDancer*

          Yes I grew up in a small town with limited buses (walked most places and parents drove others). I needed to use the bus when I went to university so I learnt how. When I studied in Germany I learnt how to use the trams. when I moved to London I learnt how to use the underground. None of it is especially hard.

          Learning new things is part of life. Internships should be a learning experience. So he can learn this.

          1. londonedit*

            Yep. I grew up in the countryside where there was practically no public transport (couldn’t even get a bus to school or anything). Came to London for uni at 18 and guess what? I pretty quickly learnt how to use the Tube and buses to get to where I needed to go. And that was back in the dark ages when buses didn’t announce the destination and the next stop like they do nowadays, and there were no apps like Citymapper. I had an A to Z map and that was it. I know this sounds like ‘back in my day we walked two miles to school and back, in the snow, uphill both ways’ but the fact is that growing up and going into adult situations like uni and internships and work means figuring out new situations and learning how to be an adult in those situations.

            1. Emma*

              Agreed. I was lucky enough to move out on my own very shortly after the first Android smartphone was released, so I had Google maps. At that point Google maps didn’t do public transport, so I had to figure that out based on leaflets and websites; but I can’t tell you how much time I saved in not getting lost on foot, and in always having GPS to tell me where I had wound up.

              Nowadays, it couldn’t be easier to figure this stuff out: put in your destination, tap directions, set your arrival time, and boom.

              Sure, the intern will probably be late a few times and will have to get used to the particular foibles of his route, but I’m sure he can be allowed some slack for that.

        3. Myrin*

          I was gonna say, my mum was 52 when she had to really start using public transport after growing up in a city where you can walk everywhere, continuing to live in places where you can walk everywhere, and/or having a car.
          Now fifteen years later, she still has some hiccups here and there when there are unusual circumstances involved which I could navigate in my sleep because I had to take the train daily starting age 11, but she really is doing just fine.

        4. Antilles*

          Exactly. Especially in the modern era where route schedules are all easily searchable online, Google Maps has “transit” options showing you the exact bus routes to take, you can pay with credit card rather than fussing about exact change, etc.
          It might not go 100% perfectly the first time and might have a couple hiccups. Maybe he doesn’t figure out how far apart stops are (like you). Maybe he mistimes things so he misses the bus and needs to wait an extra 30 minutes. Maybe the bus system itself has a delay. But he should be able to figure it out enough to be able to get there anyways, then learn from those hiccups for the next day.

      7. Addrena Lynne*

        The point isn’t “he will have already learned to do this”. It’s “as an adult, he is capable of learning to do something that plenty of people master by the time they are in high school”.

      8. NeedRain*

        All of this here, yes. People ARE scared of the bus, or at least have zero experience with public transport. And it’s very economically segregated. And it often takes longer than a car ride. However, this intern needs to suck it up and learn how to get himself to work.

      9. Artemesia*

        I taught in a university major with very rich, very entitled students many of whom by sophomore year had expensive sports cars provided by Daddy (freshman could not have cars). In one of the freshman course that dealt with social problems, one prof created an assignment around finding employment if you were, say, a single mother with no degree. They had to identify where jobs that hire people like that were — and voila, most of them tended to be fast food outlets in the suburbs — and then they had to figure out how to get there. Many students had literally never taken a public bus and this city had rather poor public transport. Students often discovered that to get to the minimum wage job would require at least a transfer and often an hour or more coming and going. Then there were the discussions of how you would manage child care with minimum wage and those hours and public transport. We got fewer students when discussing issues of homelessness, unemployment etc saying ‘well, why don’t they just . . .’

        1. Curious*

          Thank you to the prof who came up with the assignment. Not all of us are in a position teach so effectively.

      10. learnedthehardway*

        Even so, the intern could take a day to learn the routes and just take some bus rides to get used to it. It’s not rocket science!!

        1. Hannah Lee*

          That right there would be a great weekend activity for intern.
          Pick a handful of places to go to and figure out how to get there and back.

          1. Emma*

            Also, a great way to see the city without relying on dropping heavy hints that your new boss should give you a guided tour.

      11. Katy*

        I think noping out and letting him figure it out is fine. It’s a skill you learn quickly by doing, and worst case scenario, he’s late to work one day. It sounds like he’s never had to figure much out for himself, so one of the things he needs to learn is that he doesn’t need his hand held through every new experience.

        I remember my first time taking the bus by myself when I was fourteen or so; I lived in a suburb where we didn’t take buses often, so it was foreign to me, and I ended up passing my stop because I didn’t know I had to pull the cord.

        Five years later I was traveling by myself in France, had a five-hour layover in Marseille, and on my father’s suggestion called up an elderly Holocaust survivor who had been my grandmother’s best friend back in Berlin. She gave me directions over a crackly phone line in German-accented French that involved taking two different buses from stops I’d never heard of in a city I didn’t know, and I managed to figure it out and went and had a very nice visit with her. Taking the bus is a useful life skill, and so is problem-solving.

      12. Nitpicker*

        Even if this is the case, work is a constant stream of “things I’ve never done before”. If the intern can’t learn/figure out how to take the bus, what else are they not going to be able to do or expect someone else to do for them?

        1. Worldwalker*

          Like … their job?

          As the platitude says, people who say “I can” and people who say “I can’t” are both right.

      13. Observer*

        but it’s quite possible for a college-age person to just have never needed to take a bus before and not think of it as a thing they could do.

        Yes and no.

        Yes, it is quite possible that this intern has never had to take public transportation before. But, no, I don’t believe that, absent other issues, they truly believe that it’s something it’s not something they could do. They just don’t think they should have to. Because if it were just total bemusement over public transportation, ride hailing apps are a thing. And someone with the kind of background where not knowing anything about public transport as a college level intern sure is familiar with those. But is not considering those either.

        This is entitlement 101. “I’ve never had to take public transportation before, and I don’t see why I should start now.”

      14. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Yes, there are a lot of people who think of public transit as foreign, either geographically — they live somewhere it doesn’t exist — or culturally, as a second-best thing people only ride if they have to.

        It’s time to tell the intern that he has to figure out the transit system, or find some other option that isn’t imposing on the letter writer. He could buy a bicycle. He could post on a company Slack or bulletin board and ask for someone who will drive him to work if he pays for the gas. He could ask his parents to lend him a car. And maybe at his next job or internship he won’t make a non-plan of “if I show up without transportation someone will wave a wand and take care of it for me.”

      15. Unkempt Flatware*

        I work in public transit administration. Travel Training is a real need and is funded by the federal government in many many jurisdictions. Fear, confusion, anxiety, etc. are all real barriers that prevent people from trying public transit. Don’t judge people but yes, ol’ intern needs to contact the travel training center in their city. On his own. And then get there on his own.

    4. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

      Bus services can be kind of complicated! I’m well above college age and they confuse me sometimes. They don’t confuse other people but they do confuse me.

      I have to develop ways of resolving this for myself, and that’s the point.

      It wouldn’t matter if it was a really impossible commute. It still wouldn’t be the LW’s problem to solve.

      1. Tau*

        I admit I avoid the bus when I can, because I tend to find them confusing and stressful. It doesn’t help that for some time, I lived in a place where the bus system was horrifyingly unfriendly to people who didn’t use it regularly (only way of buying single tickets was on the bus in cash with no change given, fare system was completely opaque with me once paying twice as much for a trip as I had for the exact same one in the opposite direction two hours before for no evident reason, no stops were announced so you just had to know when to get off – and this was the pre-smartphone era so you didn’t have GPS). It’s possible I have residual trauma, lol.

        But that is a me problem, which I work around by cycling or using alternate public transport modes where possible. I’d never expect to be able to get someone else to chauffeur me around.

        1. NeedRain*

          I mean, it’s not really a you problem, as it sounds like the bus system could have made itself a lot more user friendly. In pre cell phone days I used some that weren’t (LA) and some that were (Chicago had excellent signage, I could choose the route I needed right there at the stop!)

        2. Artemesia*

          When I retired one reason I moved to a big northern city from the big southern city where I did my career was I wanted a place with Parisian public transport. While no US city meets that standard, the one I chose comes close. I now use the bus many times a week and the train often.

      2. CityMouse*

        Google maps will tell you exactly where to go. Lots of public transport systems have their own maps which will not only tell you where to go but how long until your bus too.

        1. Seacalliope*

          This is very key. I think people who don’t navigate public transit often may not know the number of associated resources there are now. For my city, it goes well beyond maps at bus stops. We have an app you can purchase tickets on, that are then scanned on the bus. You can program in favorite routes and stops, check the realtime ETA’s for approaching buses (with specific bus ID numbers attached), and look up routes based on current location and destination.

          That’s not to say it’s not intimidating at times. But if the intern simply looked into resources available to navigate this system, it may be much more robust than expected.

        2. popko*

          These also aren’t universally true! Intern definitely is responsible for figuring things out himself and the LW has absolutely zero responsibility for managing this issue for him, but when I lived in the second largest city of a northeastern state even in 2019, the public transport wasn’t integrated into Google Maps and the route “maps” on the city website were totally useless. (It was just a list of the names of the stops and the departure times for the first stop on each line, so there were no time estimates for when the bus would be arriving at the other stops, and no way to actually know where the bus stops physically were unless you… already knew, because they weren’t named after cross-streets.)

          Not all public transport is easy to use, and I think it’s important to remember that not everyone is going to have the same experience learning the public transport system in their area… but that still doesn’t make Intern’s commute the LW’s problem.

    5. Anne*

      The first time I had to take public transportation was when I did a work/study year abroad in a foreign country. I grew up riding in cars everywhere. Even when I was in hs and college I drove my car everywhere. So, I had zero experience using public transportation. However, when I moved to Seville, Spain when I was twenty-two years old I had to learn their public transportation system. It was extremely easy – even though I was in a freaking Foreign Country. Also, guess what?? I did a lot of sightseeing and touring around both Seville and the rest of Spain on my own. It never once occurred to me to ask a colleague to be my personal chauffeur and/or tour guide. In fact, I would have died of embarrassment even considering the awkwardness of this. The intern needs to grow up. Taking a bus is … I do not even have words… It is such a basic skill.

    6. Not really*

      No part of this is the bosses responsibility, but this isn’t true. I live in a rural Texas town of 25,000 with a state-supported tech school, a community college and two private universities (one an HBCU and the second a Baptist University). We have no bus system, no taxi company, no Uber or other car-share companies. Much of the country is rural and doesn’t have public transportation. I’m 41, and I’ve never ridden a city bus.

      1. Emmy*

        me too, grew up in a rural suburb of a city with a poor bus system at the time and my only experience of public transit was from a couple trips to DC and NYC–where our parents thankfully made us learn how to use the subways.
        in my small college town, you had to walk or drive and that was it. currently live in a city where public transit is too slow to use if you don’t have to.
        i think things are slowly getting better as far as public transit here in the US but gosh it’s painfully lacking in big sections of the country.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        But OP says there is decent public transport where she lives, so if the intern has never taken public transport before, now is his chance to acquire this adult skill. Of course this is not something he can put on his CV, but it’s still useful to not have to rely on others to get around.

      3. Rex Libris*

        I went to a large, well known state funded university in a town about that size in the Mid-East. There was no public transportation of any kind, to the point where the university finally purchased several school buses and started their own bus line, so students didn’t have to walk three or four miles to get to a store.

      4. Hannah Lee*

        If a hypothetical company is located in a place with no public transportation options and no taxi, lift or car-share services, in a place where employees are typically living outside of walking/biking distance AND recruiting college interns with no personal means of transport, then it is on the COMPANY to resolve that, provide transportation somehow; NOT on random co-workers/supervisors to do it on their own time, expense.

        LW’s company, however, IS located on a busline, and even if intern has never used public transportation before, this is the perfect opportunity to develop a new, perfectly normal and useful life skill.

      5. Worldwalker*

        But you could, right?

        Because being a normal adult involves doing all sorts of things you’ve never done before. Never flown somewhere solo? Never given a presentation? Never bought a house? We all figure out how to do those when we need to.

    7. Nightengale*

      I definitely agree this intern should learn to take the bus

      But I really doubt most people in the US learn to take a bus in primary or high school or in fact have ever taken a city bus. Of the places I have lived starting in high school, 3 had basically no buses, one had limited buses and two had buses. But most of the people I have encountered professionally in the places with buses have never taken the buses. In some cases, they were rather horrified that I took the bus.

      1. popko*

        “But I really doubt most people in the US learn to take a bus in primary or high school or in fact have ever taken a city bus.”

        Agreed! I’m a travel healthcare professional and have lived in many different areas of the US, and the only places I’ve been where taking public transportation was considered a normal, every-day thing to do for the average person (versus, say, university students using a dedicated university shuttle service that you needed a student ID card to ride) were select mega-metropolis areas– even in Dallas TX, which has more public transportation options than a good chunk of the US, none of my immediate colleagues had ever taken a city bus or the light rail and they did consider it an intimidating prospect.

        It’s still not LW’s problem to solve, but the idea that most people in the US are knowledgeable about and comfortable with public transportation strikes me as a bit out-of-touch with the reality for the majority of the US.

    8. Lucy P*

      I come from an area that, when I was still in school, had good public transportation in the city and decent transportation in the ‘burbs. Given that most people I went to high school and uni with lived in the burbs, they never took public transportation. In fact, I was looked down on by some because I took the bus to school every day.

      Thus, depending on where this guy is from, there may be a stigma about taking a bus. That doesn’t mean OP has to be his chauffeur, just that he may have to be told that it’s ok to choose to get on the bus.

    9. Student*

      There can, potentially, also be a heavily classist and/or racist component to opposition to taking public transit. I don’t know why this intern is avoiding public transit, but I do think it’s relevant to how much OP can and should help him.

      If he’s just unfamiliar, or he has some relevant mental or physical health condition that makes public transit more challenging, then it would be compassionate of the OP to help the intern connect with appropriate resources to overcome the underlying issue.

      If the OP is avoiding the bus because he’s a racist who is afraid of being in a vehicle with black people or thinks public transit is “unclean” because of poor people (…despite being unable to afford his own transit…), then I would personally stop helping him at all and let him sort his BS out on his own. I do not subsidize transit for assholes so that they can keep being assholes. This specific type of racist and/or classist, segregationist behavior really enrages me. Again, it may not be what’s happening here with this intern – but when someone I work with complains about taking a bus, in my particular area of the US, 9 times out of 10 it is this.

      1. Observer*

        I don’t know why this intern is avoiding public transit, but I do think it’s relevant to how much OP can and should help him.

        Not anymore, it isn’t. If the intern had originally said “I have x issue that affects my ability to take public transportation. Can you help me.” That would be one thing, and the decent thing to do would be to try to hook him up with whatever resources exist.

        But the second he went to “No. You should just continue to chauffeur me” he lost any standing to any assistance from the OP. It doesn’t matter if he has legitimate issues or not. You don’t make demands like that while being utterly dismissive of the fact that it’s actually an imposition not an obligation you are calling in.

    10. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

      I grew up military in the US and to this day, have never had to navigate a public bus system.
      All the military bases I lived on could be easily traversed by bike/foot (especially as a kid), and then by the time I lived off-base, I was driving and had a car (and lived mostly in places with horrendous public services anyway).

      I would figure it out now, of course, if I needed to instead of telling a coworker that they’re driving me (?!?!), but it’s definitely not guaranteed common knowledge.

    11. Worldwalker*

      You’ve never had to deal with public transport in certain unnamed cities, have you? :-/ I’m thinking of a specific situation where getting from Point A to Point B required light rail, two different subways, and a bus. For someone who’s always had Mommy driving him around, that could in fact be challenging. Heck, it was challenging for me and I’ve been using public transportation in various towns and cities since I was a teenager. So he might need a bit of instruction on the various aspects of the system before he launches into it for the first time.

      But he should be learning the system, not whining that it’s “too haaaaard!” If taking a bus to work is “too hard” what else is he going to find overly difficult? Like, you know … DOING HIS JOB?

  7. Hell no!*

    #1-The second the intern said ““You can pick me up when you go to work, since I’m along the way.”, I would have said, “I wish I could, but that is not possible for me, I am so sorry! We have a great public transportation system here, you should look into it!”. End of story. Not even going to get into what you should say to your boss and your spouse, but I think you can guess what that is. You aren’t a terrible person. If they want to drive this intern to and from work, they can step right up and do so.

    1. Artemesia*

      yeah — so much easier to say at the start — and to ‘have a policy’ about this.

    2. MsM*

      I feel like the explanation to boss is “we’re supposed to be teaching him workplace norms here. If he doesn’t learn now that voluntelling supervisors they’re supposed to give you rides is not how this typically works, he’s going to have a rough time of it in his next role.”

      1. Dawn*

        Well that or a slightly more diplomatic “you can’t actually make me do that and it’s ridiculous that you’re suggesting it.”

    3. Inkognyto*

      Sure, so the rate for this will be (check current taxi/uber rate on phone/computer in front of them), this much. And charge from LW 1’s house to work, both ways.

      I had someone pick me up once on a long drive into town. I drove 1 hr, and they were coming in at 1.5 hrs.

      They said “hey I drive by your exit and could pick you up”. I said sure, how much per week to contribute to gas. It was initially like 1/2 the cost of gas from my place into town of their car (42 miles). That’s fine. This lastest at least six weeks maybe 8. Then they wanted me to cover full cost. I already said no at the full cost.

      This was full cost of their gas hog car that got maybe 24mph on freeway. My car was getting like 32+ but it was nice not to have to drive. Once they wanted me to pay more I just told them. “Nah I’ll drive I cannot have my gas costs increase above what I would pay because I get better mpg.”

      1. Colette*

        The OP would definitely need to check with her insurance before charging the intern taxi rates.

        1. Antilles*

          Pulling out the phone in front of them to make a stunt out of it is also way too strong when one of the people involved is your boss.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      Ugh, yes, but I think LW could lean into having agreed now to set the boundary while also emphasizing what a team player she’s been and how this was a really generous favor, not a reasonable expectation. “I’m so glad I was able to help you settle in but now that you’ve had some time to adjust I need to get back to my usual routines” / “Yes, I thought it would be nice to give him some extra support but I’m finding it doesn’t work with my schedule after all” / “I was happy to do it for a few days while you figured out your bus route but it was never meant to be a long term solution” etc

      1. Clara*

        I think this is the best option! At work just keep saying, “I’m happy I could adjust my schedules temporarily in order to help you / the intern (depending on who OP’s speaking to), adjust to the new place – but ultimately I need to get back to my routines”. And literally just repeat. What can they do to force you? He can’t get into your car.

        1. Mercurial*

          You say that…I’m picturing a whole new level of follow up letter.

          Hopefully not. Really hopefully not.

        2. Dona Florinda*

          Ah, we once had a coworker who refused to take no for an answer and actually forced her way into the car, but I digress.

          I think Dark Macadamia scripts are the way to go.

            1. Dona Florinda*

              In a nutshell, we were at a company party and she asked another coworker for a ride home. Coworker explained he was already driving four other people and there was no room in his car, so Clueless Claudia squeezed herself in the already packed backseat and said something like “sure there is”.

              Coworker put his foot down and bluntly said he wasn’t risking getting a ticket because of her. Clueless Claudia had to find another ride and later filled a complaint with HR. Fortunately for us, she didn’t last long.

              1. Hlao-roo*

                O.o at Clueless Claudia and good for the coworker for putting his foot down and refusing to drive with 6 people in the car!

              2. Worldwalker*

                Filed a complaint with HR???? Holy frijoles, that’s some entitlement.

                No, Claudia, I’m not carrying more people than I have seatbelts. (part unsaid: Especially when one of them is YOU)

      2. DawnShadow*

        I like this option best too! The snarky replies to the boss that other people have been suggesting (“if it’s so easy you do it”) sound satisfying in your head but they aren’t anything you can actually say to a boss without really damaging your reputation. And they’re overly hostile to say to a spouse as well. It really is better to give this sort of answer.

        1. I laugh at inappropriate times*

          While you’ll have to use your best judgment as to how and what you can safely say to your boss, at this point, I’d not be real concerned about being “overly hostile” to a spouse that was pushing me to do something I’d made clear I did not want to do and was uncomfortable doing. “Not a Big Deal” spouse can suck it, too.

    5. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      The fact that the boss is pushing this so hard makes me wonder if maybe he was behind this happening in the first place? I can totally envision a boss-with-poor-boundaries who tells the new intern, “Oh, I bet LW1 can drive you, why don’t you ask her?”; the intern thinks he’s just following orders, or that maybe the boss has cleared it with LW1; LW1 thinks the intern is just entitled; the boss thinks that the intern actually asked instead of told and that the LW1 happily agreed but is now reneging on a deal and being unreasonable. I know this is a LOT of speculation on my part, but I do find it suspicious that the boss is super invested in LW1 continuing to drive the intern, and also, how did the intern know he was on her way in the first place?

      1. Myrin*

        The confidence with which intern announced that he lived on the way of OP’s work route astounded me, although there could of course have been a dozen reasons and ways this could’ve come up organically in conversation – but your assumption makes quite a lot of sense regarding that.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          It does make a lot of sense. Because HOW exactly, did intern know he lived on LW’s commuting route?

    6. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I would probably have said yes like OP then regretted it, but then I’d tell him that it would only occasionally be possible, because I’d be going shopping on the way home, or stopping off to see a friend. I might commit to Monday morning but then if I wanted to go in later or earlier, I’d just tell him in time for him to make it in on public transport.

      1. Artemesia*

        Never tell what you are doing — they will stop to get groceries too. Be vague, but it ‘won’t be possible’. And then start coming into the office half an hour earlier and leaving earlier or later also to break things up for a few days.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        If I was feeling non-confrontational, I’d schedule a week’s vacation.

        Intern and boss can figure things out in my absence. And then on my return, go into a hard NO. That won’t be possible to do going forward.

    1. Tommy Girl*

      Right? Demanding things of his supervisor? I’m assuming the letter writer is a woman so maybe he thinks she’s like his mom or something. He’s not getting that he should be trying to impress her and make HER life easier. Acting like she’s there to serve HIM. So entitled.

      1. Artemesia*

        Two theories:
        1. The boss suggested it; given his insistence it continues I am betting on that.
        2. He is still in all women are Mommy mode. I remember in college having a friend come stay with my family on their travels and bringing her boyfriend. The boy (and he was) needed special foods, and needed his laundry done etc. My mother was the complete housewife and put up with much of it. Then he needed some special food supplement and my Dad drove him to the store and the guy just sat there expecting my Dad to go in and buy it for him. Exasperated he finally said. I’ll wait here while you run in and get your supplement. The kid was shocked that someone else’s parents were not going to be his parents too.

        The OP has some educating to do — of this intern, her boss and her husband. It is best done by blandly setting boundaries without a lot of fuss or explanation insisting they treat her as a human being and not their Mommy maid service.

    2. Honey Badger*

      Yeah, what’s up with an intern expecting his manager to drive him around? That’s not how this works – and someone should make that clear to him.

      I mean, I can imagine that he grew up in a situation where he didn’t take public transportation. I did, and I remember that buses etc. seemed slightly daunting at first – but by the time I got to college I had worked out that it was my job to figure this sort of thing out…

  8. sara*

    LW1 – There’s also the liability of you driving the intern – especially if they’re unpaid. When I worked at a non-profit with volunteers, we weren’t allowed to drive them in our own cars. This was in Canada, so insurance etc might be different. It was definitely prohibited while we were on work time, and strongly discouraged outside of work time. Work had a couple of vans we could book for when we needed to transport volunteers.

    Some of the driving outside of work time was to try help us maintain professional/personal boundaries, also, which I think has been covered by other posters here. But definitely something to look into with your auto insurance.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I think the insurance angle is worth pursuing. Boss has now asked OP to do this, so I could see an argument that that is now a work assignment. Does OP have insurance for driving on business?

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Yeah she should ask the boss to pay extra for insurance, even if she doesn’t have to upgrade her policy, because they’re taking advantage of her private insurance. While they have their wallet out, they might as well chip in for petrol too.

    2. Bagpuss*

      I wondered about this. I’m not in the US but where I am, insurance typically covers different things and any kind of business travel is in a different class (I insure my car for business mileage as I have to travel to court sometimes, it doesn’t cost me any extra, but the ‘standard’ policy covers normal driving (including commuting to and from work) but not travel *for* work, and I am fairly sure that driving an employee to the office would be classed as business travel.

      OP should not have to give a reason other that ‘this doesn’t work for me’ and the risk is that if they say it’s for insurance reasons then they may be pressured to try to change their insurance cover o ignore it.

      I do think that it would be a kindness o the intern to tell them that it isn’t reasonable to assume or expect that a colleague will give them lifts, that figuring out how to get to work is part of their responsibility as an adult, and that if someone is generous enough to give them a lift they ought to be pitching in for gas.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Doesn’t car pooling kind of imply that people take turns to drive? My Dad carpooled, there were four colleagues from the same town and they rotated. I think they each had a set day, and took turns on Fridays, so my mother knew she could count on having the car on the other days.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            No not necessarily. Carpool just means multiple people going to the same destination and going together instead of separately. The dynamics therein don’t make any difference.

      1. canconanon*

        But the intern is NOT her employee. Technically, they’re coworkers and employees of the same company. The company is not asking her to drive him, therefore, it’s just two coworkers sharing a ride–and she can ask for whatever she wants to cover gas, so I don’t see that insurance would play into it.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          Although the boss does seem to be pressuring LW to drive him; that’s an ask to me.

    3. metadata minion*

      Is it the issue of a supervisor driving a subordinate/intern? Otherwise in terms of liability this doesn’t sound any different than carpooling with coworkers (in particular, it’s not a formal part of the LW’s job or, I assume, using a company vehicle), which is extremely common in the US and I’ve never heard of insurance problems.

      1. sara*

        In our case, we’d often have staff and volunteers at off-site events. In those cases we couldn’t use our own car. I could drive myself directly to the event but couldn’t pick up any volunteers on the way etc unless I was in a company car. This was definitely about liability and insurance.

        I think the strong discouragement of driving volunteers in general was just to make a very clear line about what wasn’t allowed. But now a decade-plus, later, I don’t know what was just arbitrary company policy and what was insurance/liability related.

    4. HonorBox*

      Had an employee one time who used a personal vehicle for a work purpose. Employee backed into an air conditioner unit where they were delivering something and even though I tried, we couldn’t get work to cover it since it was in their own vehicle. Definitely something to consider…

  9. Goldie*

    #4 It’s cool that these leaders are communicating that they don’t expect you to email back off hours. I could take them at face value and maybe even thank them for the consideration. Personally I don’t mind answering an easy question if I’m not doing anything important. I wouldn’t over think it but just pay attention that you aren’t giving up on your free time.
    When I go on vacation I move my email icon on my phone to a less visible spot. If you find yourself becoming distracted by work in off hours you can set a boundary or make it a bit less convenient.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I really think that if they don’t need an answer before OP is back in the office, they should schedule the email to only arrive once she’s back in the office.
      I know I wouldn’t be able to help looking at the email, then I’ll forget all about it once I’m at my office. It wouldn’t be highlighted because I’d already read it, so it wouldn’t look like something that needed my attention. I know you can set things to look like you haven’t read it, but I wouldn’t think about that when first reading it, precisely because I’m not in work mode.
      The best solution for me would simply to not be able to see any notifications for work emails on your phone.

  10. No party, thank you!*

    LW# 2: I was in pretty much your exact situation recently. I just retired from my job of 27 years. Boss wanted to throw a party. I said no, I didn’t want a party. Boss insisted. I insisted on no party. Boss didn’t listen. Then I stated in NO uncertain terms, while being VERY nice, that I did NOT want a party, and why. Boss finally understood. All I can say is use your words, until they sink in. Don’t stop until they do.

    1. EPLawyer*

      At this point, Boss is making the party about what THEY want, not what the person the party is ostensibly for wants.

    1. Feral scientist*

      Whoops, LW4.
      This is how I made sure that my emails were in the top of my PhD advisor’s inbox

  11. Martin Blackwood*

    God, a new coworker started and offered me rides home since we live in the same part of town, and I can’t do it, even though it’d shave like 20-30 minutes off my commute. You the rider also lose autonomy! I like listening to my music alone on the bus to decompress, I like having the freedom to go to the convience store to get a treat or cough drops or whatever before my bus comes, I like my little walk home as a bit of exercise! It’s one thing to ask a friend to wait while you see if the convience store has Android chargers, but whole other thing to ask the coworker you’ve known like a month to do that.

    That is to say, from the other side, you’re not unreasonable LW1.

  12. The Formatting Queen*

    For the case of #4, if the letter writer is paid hourly, the higher-ups may be concerned about whether they are getting paid the proper overtime for checking/responding to emails during non-scheduled hours. I used to do it at my last job and when I transferred to a new boss I was told to stop specifically because of this (“If you’re not being paid to work, please don’t do any work!” She was great.) I’d recommend scheduling replies to go out first thing the next morning.

    1. Peanut Hamper*


      If I’m being paid hourly, there is no way I’m checking emails outside of working hours. Hell, I’m salaried/exempt and I don’t check emails outside of working hours.

      That was a boundary I learned the hard way. It’s a good one to have.

    2. Ambrianne*

      I just took an hourly position after years of salary and appreciate this reminder. Thank you for posting it.

    3. MillennialHR*

      Exactly what I was thinking! Wage and hour laws that needed to be abided by exist.

  13. Ganymede*

    LW3 – I think it’s right to deny the promotion on the grounds of lack of qualifications, and then to change the nepotism policy – after all, to quote from Wiktionary, nepotism is “Borrowed from French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from Latin nepōs (“nephew”), a reference to the practice of popes appointing relatives (most often nephews) as cardinals during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.”

    To be honest, I’m surprised that your company’s policy doesn’t already include aunts/uncles/cousins – those can be very close relationships which often also have financial aspects, and these relatives can often hold a lot of influence over someone, either by authority or sentiment.

    1. A Becky*

      I was thinking this! If it doesn’t include nephews, how can it be an anti nepotism policy??

      Though, popes often appointed their “nephews” to things, because “nephew” is politer than “illegitimate child”.

        1. Never The Twain*

          Same here. My etymology gene was activated right there. I’d be wanting to check whether their anti-misogyny policy excluded women.

    2. Bagpuss*

      YEs, ideally the policy would be worded to include specific family members such as a partner/spouse, parent, child or sibling, but also to include any relative with whom they have a close relationship or share a household, which would give enough flexibility that it can include relationships like a cousin who you live with / new partner’s step-child who lives with you etc, who may not be ‘close’ relatives but do have close relationships.

      OP. I’d recommend you work on getting the policy updated in any event for future reference.

      (The idea of nephews not being covered in a nepotism policy amused me, too)

      1. Colette*

        I’d actually make it broader and include anyone they share a household with, regardless of whether they are related.

        1. Nynaeve*

          This. And, while you’re at it OP, make sure the Bereavement policy also covers all of these people. Families can look very different these days, with multiple adults sharing a household, people raising/being raised by more distant relatives than just parents and children, people raising or being raised by people they aren’t related to at all, etc. Don’t let yourself or your peers be put in the position of having to deny someone’s request to attend the person who raised them’s funeral just because they aren’t their birth parent.

          1. Ella Kate (UK)*

            The cynic in me thinks this would be a great way to change the nepotism policy with less blowback – announce you’re changing your bereavement policy to cover the changes in family structure but as such you also have to adapt the nepotism policy to reflect that for consistency.

    3. metadata minion*

      Oh wow, I did not know the etymology of that. Thank you! I love word factoids.

    4. LW3*

      Yes, I am surprised that it doesn’t cover nieces/nephews and aunts/uncles and I even had to go to HR to just double check. I myself once worked at a company my uncle worked at (he was near retirement, I was fresh out of college, we didn’t even work in the same departments) and not only did I have to disclose this during the hiring process, once I was hired they made sure to keep us VERY separate. He retired like a year later, and it was never mentioned again. While we aren’t as close as my current employee situation, at the time I felt it was completely reasonable that I just have very very low interaction with my uncle at work, and our roles never brought us in proximity to each other except for twice a year at the company holiday and summer parties.

      1. Bob Skelton*

        I would also make it clear in your conflict of interest policy that employers can not supervise or control vendors who are related to the employee.

  14. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (why he wasn’t successful for internal promotion) – The nepotism is a valid reason and that policy needs changing, maybe to a broader conflict of interest policy. Any time there are specific relatives/relationships specified there will be exceptions and edge cases to that – even if it is extended now to aunts and cousins etc.

    Even with the nepotism situation, that isn’t the real reason he wasn’t hired, is it? The real reason is that he doesn’t have the personal qualities (not really stated but presumably clear in OPs mind) for a management role based on his performance and actions so far at this company. That is a valid reason in itself. You don’t need to hang it on an educational requirement (also, is there a chance he will get that qualification and then be “eligible” in his mind? And then you have the problem all over again, but this time without an easy, surface reason to pin it on).

    I think a frank conversation with him is probably warranted. The nepotism bit could also be brought up but if that isn’t actually policy, well… the best thing on that is probably “we realised family and personal relationships are much broader than what’s currently in writing, so we are going to re-look at that policy”.

    1. Grits McGee*

      Yeah, I agree that while nepotism is an issue, it’s really the interpersonal issues/rule bending that’s the fundamental problem. And that would be an issue whether the other party is a roommate, friend, or a complete stranger. If LW #3 really wants to give feedback beyond not having the educational requirement, they could talk about those behaviors independent of the family relationship. Ex- “The hiring committee was really concerned about work issues you’ve had in the past, like when you gave [brother’s company] a discount that we don’t offer our other business partners. Equitable treatment of all the entities we work with would be a huge part of this position.”

      1. Urbanchic*

        If you bend the education requirement for other candidates, don’t site it. Don’t site a non-existing nepotism policy. Best to give feedback on the performance concerns absent those two issues. Do change the nepotism policy so you can use that as a valid excuse in the future.

    2. Junior Assistant Peon*

      Another reason to have a frank conversation with him: what if he earns the degree? That’s the problem with making a phony excuse to avoid a difficult conversation; someone can put you in an awkward position by fulfilling the fake “requirement” you gave them.

    3. El l*

      Change the nepotism policy – but don’t imply to him that he’s the stated reason.

      That aside, agree with everything in this: Make it about his current performance, and what it says about his suitability for management.

      Don’t make it about nepotism, because as the policy stands you haven’t got the horses for that.

      And don’t make it about qualifications, because (a) You therefore have to be consistent with the other candidates, and (b) Depending on his personality, it might spur him to get it.

    4. Dona Florinda*

      Totally agree with the conflict of interest framing! Even if the employees weren’t related, he shouldn’t manage someone he lives with.

      And yeah, if there are other reasons for him not being eligible for the job, say that. Otherwise, he may get the educational background, aunt could change jobs, etc, and still he wouldn’t get the job. He deserves to know that.

    5. LW3*

      Oh, he should be WELL aware of the reasons why he’s not getting hired. I didn’t get into it in my letter, but he has been written up once, spoken to multiple times about inappropriate workplace behavior, and tried to go over my head and been chastised for it, all in the last 12 months. He also tried to go up for the same promotion last summer and was told all the reasons why he would not be promoted THEN, and nothing has changed at all in 12 months except that he showed some initiative to do some optional training that is not required for his role, but that I encouraged because I hoped it would spark some professional and personal growth.

      All of the behavioral stuff isn’t anything that the hiring committee is necessarily privy to as they don’t work with him like I do, which is why I as his direct supervisor am advising on this. I have given the hiring committee an overview of all the issues I’ve had with him, and it’s their opinion that they stick with the educational requirement and nepotism, and if he has follow up questions or complaints (which is likely), we point to his record. I am of the opinion that we just say, “Your performance doesn’t warrant a promotion at this time, and we’re gone over professional expectations for your current role” and if he wants to nitpick that, I have receipts.

      The educational requirement is a big one, it’s non-negotiable. He’s also nowhere near achieving it–it would be literal years if he actually buckled down and did it. I think the other issue at play here is this employee has known to be volatile and have extreme reactions. My predecessor did nothing to address this behavior so it’s gotten out of hand. But I’ve started documenting things and we’re at a point where he is out of warnings and one inappropriate outburst or unprofessional reaction will get him fired.

      1. Contrast*

        “I think the other issue at play here is this employee has known to be volatile and have extreme reactions. My predecessor did nothing to address this behavior so it’s gotten out of hand. But I’ve started documenting things and we’re at a point where he is out of warnings and one inappropriate outburst or unprofessional reaction will get him fired.”

        I encourage you to be candid with him that his extreme reactions are holding him back. I assume he already knows that he is one outburst away from being fired, but if you have not been forthright about this, then I encourage you to tell him so directly.

        1. LW3*

          Oh, he knows. The last outburst, I told him, “This is not acceptable and you are getting one final chance. It cannot happen again.”

      2. Lawful Neutral*

        It’s really weird that the focus is on education and nepotism when this dude is known to be volatile, has been written up so much he is out of warnings and is one strike away from being fired! Surely that is a way more solid and relevant reason than education or nepotism, and one you can communicate to the employee! As you say, “you’re not getting the promotion because of your performance and unprofessional behavior”, done.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, I’m vindictive enough as a person that I’m pretty much hoping that he’d react in such an unprofessional manner to not getting the promotion that the LW could fire him then and there. He’d at least no longer be your problem to deal with.

  15. Zarniwoop*

    I think your boss problem is bigger than your intern problem – interns are supposed to be clueless. How is boss above boundaries in general?

    1. House On The Rock*

      Yeah, the boss pushing back on this struck me as especially problematic. Obviously the intern should figure out how to get to work on his own, and the LW probably should have pushed back earlier and harder, but the boss claiming it’s “no big deal” is weird. Firstly, it is a big deal and secondly the boss shouldn’t presume to know LW’s before/after work schedule/commitments/etc. If one of my staff told me they’d gotten themselves into this situation, I’d be sympathetic (horrified?) and have a conversation with the intern myself about business norms, boundaries, and general respect for coworkers.

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

      Agreed. This is THREE people who don’t have normal social let alone professional norms. It’s so ODD I feel like there must be information missing… some non-U.S. cultural expectations that aren’t specified, the intern is a relative … maybe not really an employee, … possibly who isn’t a legal adult … … … I’m at a loss on this one.

      Don’t give excuses like having to grocery shop after work…this a-hole will hand you a list of items he needs you to buy. Give him a confused look and let him know he’s responsible for arriving to work on time. I wouldn’t even look up the bus schedule … that’s really getting into “mommy” territory.

  16. Whatdayisit...HumpDay*

    OP3: I am curious how the promotion process works. Is it an interview process with potential candidates? Was this candidate given an interview? If so, how would the education excuse work if you knew he did not have the required education but interviewed him anyway?

    1. LW3*

      He’s not getting an interview! On top of the issues I listed in my letter, his application package was just not good at all. Honestly there were like 10 reasons the committee and I had for not proceeding with his application but the educational requirement and the nepotism were the biggest ones.

      1. HonorBox*

        I think a frank conversation with him about the reasons not to interview would be worth his time for sure. I definitely have concerns about the nepotism, but I wouldn’t use that in my discussion unless you frame it by saying that you’re in the process of reviewing and changing it. Because it doesn’t expressly state in your policy now that he couldn’t manage his aunt, I would fear that coming back to haunt you.

  17. Patience is not my virtue*

    OP1, on days you want to go shopping on the way home just do it! Give him the option ‘I will be going to X store on the way home, are you going to wait/grab your own groceries, or would you prefer to take the bus?’
    Obviously that is only one part of the problem, but it would show him that it’s not as simple as just driving him straight home, it’s inconvenient, and also passes that inconvenience back to him.

    1. Prosecco*

      In the worst case OP has to awkwardly shop together with the intern or wait for them to choose just the right brand of black tea or they ask if OP can also stop by the pharmacy on the way.

      1. KateM*

        Nope, OP can’t. OP can shop only when and where SHE wants – the intern either is there when she drives away or is not, his own choice.

    2. Language Lover*

      But if he ends up being okay with that–lw going to the store–then they’re stuck with still giving him a ride they don’t want to give them and now with a “shopping companion.”

      I just think the cleanest thing is saying they were happy to help out while he was getting his feet under him but that he’s going to have to figure it out from here on out. If the company wants to provide transportation, the boss can set up a recurring taxi/uber situation.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          This would take my breath away but of course, someone that entitled could well expect that. After all OP earns so much more doesn’t she.

    3. Green great dragon*

      Yep, in this case sounds like OP is done chaffeuring intern, but there’s also an option for OP not to do any of the things they’ve been doing to make things easier for him. Tell him you can’t guarantee you’ll be at any particular time in the morning and see whether that’s still OK with him. Tell him on the way in you have some shopping to do, so he needs to find his own way home. Maybe you would like to meet friends after work? Not today then, Intern. Etc. Who knows, he may end up finding the bus more convenient, once he’s been force to try it a few times.

      1. Artemesia*

        NO no no — it is time to cut to the chase. ‘I was happy to help you out as you got started, but it is not convenient for me and I need to get back to my routine. Starting Monday you will need to use public transport to get to work’. or some such. No excuses, no explanations. She doesn’t want him going to the grocery store with her etc — time to stop this.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      Noooo don’t give him a choice! I do think if LW isn’t comfortable with the big “I’m not driving you ever again” conversation starting to be inconsistent and last-minute about availability would work. Gosh, they’ve sure started frequently coming in late after appointments/unexpectedly hearing from a friend to meet up after work/needing to run time sensitive errands on the way home!

      1. Not like a regular teacher*

        I worry this would result in intern being late and blaming it on OP. And I don’t have a lot of faith that boss wouldn’t go along with that interpretation!

        1. Emmy Noether*

          It might be possible to do it on the way home only, so no lateness. If you want to leave early or stay late, do it! Make him be without a ride or have to stay late too. Start having appointments and dates and meet friends in the opposite direction after work – sorry can’t take you along, don’t know how long it’ll be.

      2. Some words*

        I guess this is a time for both the LW and the intern to tackle some things they fear.

        LW, it’s not mean or rude to decline to do something you’re not obligated to do and that you don’t want to do. Practice with a friend if that’d help, but saying “no” is also a necessary skill in the adult professional world.

        Many of us had to learn how mass transit works. On our own. As adults are expected to do.

    5. FashionablyEvil*

      Ack, no, this intern already has no boundaries. (I’m just envisioning him commenting on and judging what the OP buys.) OP needs MORE distance from the intern, not less.

      1. Blue*

        Or thinking that since they’re going shopping anyways, might as well do his too. This runs the risk of OP getting *more* enmeshed in the situation when what they want is to remove themselves entirely.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          And then intern saying “oh last Monday we stopped at the grocery store so I was planning on doing that this Monday, why aren’t we stopping?”. Given what led to this situation in the first place, don’t give the intern a centimeter. Just say you can’t do it anymore.

    6. Bagpuss*

      I wouldn’t do that as OP doesn’t want to give him a ride at all, I think it’s fine if she is uncomfortable with being blunt to do it piecemeal and say ‘I can’t give you a lift tonight as I am not going straight home’ but really, she needs to be clear that she won’t be doing it at all, too much explanation is an invitation to try to bargain or ‘solve’ the issues that she sys stop her doing it.

    7. connie*

      No, do not offer the mouse a cookie to try to make him go away. You’re assuming this would all be inconvenient, but you can’t do that. It would make equally as much sense to assume he’d love it because now he doesn’t have to walk with his groceries or whatever.

      The OP needs to stop driving him, period. And she also needs to not increase the amount of time she is spending with him outside work. As someone who is overseeing an intern, she could consider herself a faculty-adjacent person and this would not be appropriate for faculty to do. Just set the boundary.

    8. Ambrianne*

      I like this option because I’m an extrovert and am enjoying thinking about all of the things I would do to enjoy myself. I’d listen to my favorite music in the car (classical) I’d take a really long time in the feminine products aisle, assuming he came inside with me, etc., I’d make something up about never making left turns because that’s UPS’s policy for their drivers and they know what they’re doing, etc. I’d drive him insane.

      However, the other posters are right. The cleanest option, alas, is to just say no.

      1. Emma*

        Personally I’d be extremely tempted to develop a migraine around lunchtime and have to go home, assuming I had a discreet work friend who would text me updates at hometime.

    9. Gumby*

      Yes, one possible solution (though really, just saying no is better) would be to make it less convenient to catch a ride with OP than to figure out the buses himself. OP wants to shop after work? Shop! OP wants to leave at a different time? Leave early! Leave late! Tell intern the carpool is heading to the office at 5 a.m. because you have a call with a customer located in [place where this makes sense]. Make your schedule as erratic as possible while still being reasonable personally.

  18. Electric sheep*

    LW4, why are you even looking at your emails out of hours? If they don’t expect an answer then and you aren’t being paid to work, save doing the work for when you are being paid to work. Even if not for yourself, to save your colleagues from being caught up in a culture that starts to expect them to work for free at inconvenient times.

    1. Mighty Midget*

      This ^^

      And it sounds as if you’re seeing the emails come through straight away – are you getting enough rest from your work and time when you’re “off” and disconnected. I’d suggest setting your emails so that you don’t see notifications outside of working hours, so that you can have your headspace free from work.

      It may seem fine now, particularly if work generally is going well, but if it all starts getting difficult in the future and your stress levels rise, that time to disconnect outside of work will be so much more important and will be difficult to put in place at that stage (you may not even realise that you needed to until afterwards)

      So in summary – it’s better not to reply out of working hours, and it’s best if the reason is that you were happily oblivious until logging in the next day :)

  19. Waving not Drowning*

    OP4 – this has come up A LOT at my workplace, particularly with a lot of our staff electing to do a hybrid of in office, and at home work, and working to their preferred schedule that fits with their family needs in a post COVID world. Initially, Management tried to stop people from working outside of the core hours, but, there are people that find their mind more alert/prefer those late hours/early mornings (I used to be one of them, but now, I prefer to work during core hours!) so they have come up with the below compromise.

    This is the wording that staff are encouraged to add to their email signature if they choose to work in the evenings/early mornings.
    If I am sending this message outside of hours it is because the time is convenient for me. I don’t expect that you will read, respond or action it outside your own regular working hours.

    1. WellRed*

      But it’s such a bummer to come into a whole bunch of messages from your boss. Like starting the day already behind.

  20. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    OP1, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The happiest day of your life is the day you learn to say no and mean it. I think your only mistake is to have driven your little entitled intern at all. He is a cheeky little devil, and I’m side-eyeing your husband and boss as well.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      “I’m on your way, you can just pick me up and drop me off every day!”
      “Oh honey, that’s not going to be happening.”

    2. Lady Blerd*

      I was coming here to say “No is a complete answer” and I’m surprised it hasn’t been said yet.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Well it wasn’t said yet because that’s not what OP asked. They’re asking about guilt, social expectations, pressure from their boss, and for a sanity check. It’s nice to be armed with pithy responses sometimes but they don’t provide nuance.

      2. Caliente Papillon*

        I mean I am shocked. I do wonder at LW, but I guess I do know people who would let someone do this to them and let others keep them there.
        At my age I’ve learned and let others know, that in certain decision making for me THEIR OPiNION DOES NOT MATTER. And frankly I am collaborative af, but some things, like no you do you and I’ll do me and that is most definitely that.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, this. I was a typical people pleaser when I was younger, but apparently I grew a spine around my 30th birthday. The older I get, the more firmly I hold to my own boundaries.

          It’s very liberating when you can stop caring what other people think of you. I’ve long since lost my desire to be liked at any cost, and my mental health is much better than it was in my 20s.

          Granted, I recognize my privilege in the sense that my life’s pretty standard and I like what I have, a stable and happy marriage and a kid who’s doing well in school and isn’t currently dealing with any issues that would keep me awake at night, good relationships with my extended family and friends, a job that I enjoy doing but doesn’t intrude on my time off work and that pays well enough for me to enjoy all the necessities and some of the luxuries of life. Reading AAM I’ve also come to appreciate the fact that I work with professionals and have friendly relationships with my coworkers. But at least I recognize that I’ve got it good.

  21. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP1 (intern travel to work) – the “what would you do if you didn’t have that option” test needs applying here. He moved from out of state, presumably with no real plan of how he would travel (or perhaps had assumed he would take public transport) – What would he have done if OP or another colleague didn’t share his route, or if his work hours didn’t coincide with theirs, or whatever. What would he do if OP leaves (not that I’m suggesting OP leave of course – just hypothetical) – what’s his backup plan in that case. What will he do when OP takes PTO – will he have to coordinate PTO with OP? Does the boss drive him (I already know the answer to that)? Does he call out with “transportation issues”? What does he do if OP calls out sick? etc etc.

    I think it is just more convenient for him to be chauffeured by OP than it is to take the public transport he’d otherwise planned (or need to plan) to take. So as others have suggested – make it less convenient. Can you move your hours around (shouldn’t need to do it for long!), change your routine so that your weekly “big shop” (where you buy most of the groceries) is on your way back from work on Wednesdays or whatever? Can you have “car trouble” as someone else suggested. Or can you do it a couple of days a week (and get a contribution towards fuel costs) but not every day?

    1. EPLawyer*

      These are all hints that OP is done driving. OP needs to use her words and just say I cannot do this anymore. MOving things around, doing shopping after work, etc. will just mean that the intern TEMPORARILY finds another solution but fully expects to go back to being chauffered. This is not a hint situation. This is a flat out say No situation. To intern, to boss and definitely to Hubby. Seriously Hubby should have her back on this.

    2. Some words*

      Except the best route is to be clear that this he’s making an unreasonable demand and it isn’t something OP1 is willing to continue doing.

      No games, manipulation, or lies needed. He’s an adult. He can hear some version of “Your transportation issues are yours to solve. This is an expectation in pretty much every job you’ll ever have.”

    3. Observer*

      the “what would you do if you didn’t have that option” test needs applying here.

      That is good advice *for the intern*. For the OP? Nah. It’s just not their problem.

      As for the rest, no. This is someone who needs to be clearly told that they are not getting what they want. The OP doesn’t necessarily want to do their shopping or whatever. They wan to be able to make those decisions when it works for them. All of this is just a different way in which the OP is being forced to do stuff that doesn’t work for them.

  22. Elsa*

    OP1, I have worked in many jobs in which I received rides from coworkers or gave rides to coworkers. In one special situation I even drove a colleague to work in her own car due to health issues she was having. What you are describing is totally messed up and not how it works. Here’s how coworkers sharing rides *should* work.
    1. The driver is not generally responsible for making sure their coworker gets to work. If you happen to be able to drive them, great. If not, it’s just “hey, I’m going elsewhere after work today so I can’t take you, see you tomorrow.” Not your problem how they get home. Which is also why I don’t think you should offer to show your intern how to use the bus, since that would give the impression that you are somehow responsible for making sure he gets to and from work. Let anyone other than you help him with that.
    2. The convenience of the person giving the ride is paramount. The passenger waits in the morning and gets dropped off in the afternoon at a spot convenient to the driver. The passenger comes and goes at the times convenient for the driver. If those times can’t work for the passenger, then see rule #1.
    Under those circumstances, ride-sharing can be a very nice favor to do for someone. What you are describing is totally nuts, and it’s bizarre that anyone is trying to make you feel like a bad person for not buying into it.

    1. amoeba*

      Yup, I agree that ride sharing can be great if done correctly – and would also add the environmental benefit! I know this site is generally very against it, but for me, pairing up instead of two cars would always be the preferred option if convenient.

      However, none of that applies in this case and I’d never have the audacity that intern has! In general, I’d argue that it’s up to the person driving to suggest, or for of two people who both drive to suggest teaming up. Not for the one who’d like a ride! (Of course you can ask nicely for a favour, especially in in special circumstances, but definitely not for your daily commute if there’s public transport available!)

    2. SarahKay*

      Agreed to all of the above.
      I take the bus, but there’s a co-worker who drives and lives in the same direction as me, although not as far from work as I am. Maybe once every two weeks we’re leaving work at the same time and she offers me a lift; I usually accept gratefully and she drops me off at the point our routes diverge, which is also where I’d be getting off the bus.
      I don’t expect it, and the only time I specifically asked was when for some reason the buses were all backed up and it’d have been an hour wait for the next one.

      I do have some sympathy for the intern; I previously worked with someone who was used to trains, but had never taken a bus and she found them daunting. But…that’s absolutely not OP#1’s problem and she doesn’t owe him anything more than an “I’m sorry, from tomorrow I won’t be able to drive you.”

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        Agree. I had a contract once that I got to via public transit (which I happen to like). It was a long ride but I listen to stories and knit so it wasn’t awful. One particular co-worker there offered to drive me to a transit stop that was closer to home for me, since it let her use the HOV lane for her commute, so it really was a win-win. ….Until she started pushing our leaving time later and later, and now I wasn’t actually getting home early. Finally I told her that I needed to get home earlier, so I’d take the bus when she wasn’t ready to leave on time. My plan was to be at the bus stop right in front of our building (that kept to its schedule) and if she got there first I’d happily ride with her instead. It took twice, and she started leaving on time again. (Which was actually good for her, too, so win-win once again.)

  23. Bilateralrope*

    #2: What is your boss going to do if you refuse ?

    You’ve already resigned. That limits her options.

    1. Cat Tree*

      This was my exact thought. Just keep telling her you’re busy. If she arranges it anyway, just don’t show up. If you feel rude about it, lie and tell her you were sick. What’s she gonna do, for you? The only consequence to not going is that an unreasonable person will feel bad. It’s not LW’s job to manage someone else’s emotions for them.

      1. goducks*

        No, don’t lie about being sick. If the LW tells the boss they already have plans for the weekend and cannot attend and the boss plans something anyway, the LW should just not attend and then if the boss is upset, remind the boss they told them they had plans and couldn’t attend. Pretending to be sick on top of all that makes the whole things weird. There’s no need to make up a lie when the truth is not a problem.

    2. redflagday701*

      …and that’s when LW’s boss and co-workers showed up at the family pool party.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        This is why you do not give out details of the plans that make the boss’s idea unfeasible!

  24. Soup*

    #1. I live in an area where public transportation is non-existent. Closer to the city? Yes but from what I’ve heard still super unreliable (Midwest so buses only). My siblings also live in a public transportation desert. When the youngest wanted to go to college in a large city, we “practiced” how to use public transportation when we went on vacation. Buses, subways, trains, were all a novel idea to all of them.

    Once in Chicago she didn’t want to pull the cord to let the driver know to let us off at the next stop. Told her I guess we’ll be riding the bus for awhile. Lucky for her someone else pulled the cord. This was after letting her lead us in circles to find the correct bus stop to wait at. And while in NYC for the first time, I got on the wrong subway train a lot. Or entered the wrong station. And I’ve traveled a lot and often use public transportation when i do. Public transportation is not inherently easy unless you grew up with it.

    Regardless, you shouldn’t have to drive him back and forth. But I’ve seen first hand how intimidating public transportation can be for someone not used to it. Sometimes one has to take a leap of faith and try and figure it out on their own. Sounds like a great opportunity for the intern to learn a new skill.

    1. Allonge*

      I would argue that even for those of us who grew up with it, public transportation can be confusing, especially in another city / region / country – I just wrote half a page of instructions on how to buy a train ticket, get a train and get on a tram after over here (to someone who lives in another country).

      But it’s well worth figuring this out – obviously a second or third version of it is easier than the very first time.

    2. Scarlet2*

      It’s also made massively easier by the Internet. I remember having to learn to navigate buses, subways, etc in the days when you needed to pick up paper leaflets with schedules and you’d discover any traffic problems or delays when you physically got to your stop. And somehow we still managed.
      In the days of Google maps and transportation apps, there’s really no excuse.

    3. Grits McGee*

      I currently live in a major metropolitan area but grew up in a public transit desert in the deep south. I always joke with my friends up here that’s there’s only 2 things people in the south are scared of: ice and public transit. I’ve lived all over the country and worked for famous government agencies, but to my family the most impressive things I’ve ever done are driving when it’s snowing outside and riding the subway. :)

      Not going to lie, I was super nervous learning how to ride the bus as an adult. If you were feeling especially generous, it would be a kindness to give him a crash course in how the bus works, take him to buy a transit card*, and maybe even escort him on his first ride. That would definitely be going above and beyond, but if it would get your boss off your back it might be worth it (especially if you use work time to do it).

      *It can be surprisingly hard to locate a transit card retailer in some cities, although maybe I’ve been spoiled by DC and having card-dispensing machines at every metro station.

      1. K8T*

        I don’t love the idea of encouraging OP to continue to baby this already entitled intern. She needs to tell him “no” and he can figure it out.

      2. J*

        I agree about the transit card issue so much. We have one transit card office in my city and 1) it’s up to 40 miles from some bus stops and 2) it’s moving so it’ll be closed for an unknown period and they won’t disclose where they’re moving to (but I suspect it’s where they park buses which hilariously doesn’t have a bus route access to it).

        My husband’s interns this year are all relying on transit/car sharing because for the first time they didn’t recruit locally and he’s been coaching them on the changing bus schedules, working to change their availability in the system so they won’t miss a bus and have to wait 2 hours, and giving them permission to take advantage of the hybrid system and to take calls off-site, especially during transit times. He is thinking about running downtown to get everyone passes so they don’t need exact change only but needs his boss’s approval for the expense report. He’s already changing their intern onboarding process to determine if they’ll have a car or rely on transit so next semester when he sends their tech equipment he can just include a bus pass then.

      3. Lawful Neutral*

        No. He can ask his mom if he needs help figuring out how to ride the bus. Or people who work for the bus/station. This is a grown man who can legally vote! He can figure it out!

        OP should save their generosity for people who haven’t already demanded it.

    4. Aelfwynn*

      Yep, agreed. That is, of course, no excuse for the intern not learning to use it (and to demand that his supervisor be his chauffer is so beyond the pale), but it’s not as easy as those who grew up with it or have used it for a long time might argue. I know that once in college a group of us were in a city and needed to take a bus to get back to our hotel, but none of us had ever taken a bus before. The time table was really confusing to read and we went around the mall asking for “adults” to help us read it but no one else could either. We figured it out eventually but it wasn’t instinctual at all.

      1. amoeba*

        It’s quite a bit easier nowadays though – no need to read confusing paper timetables, google maps usually works really well for public transport! And usually it even includes a link to the transport company for online ticket purchase, etc.

        1. NeedRain*

          There are apps for that! I just recommended one below called Citymapper. It gathers almost all the information you need in one place.

          1. Em*

            I LOVE Citymapper. Highly recommend — even lets you know whether to get on at the front or back of the train for maximum convenience at the other end, and will direct you to the correct bus station.

      2. Allonge*

        It’s not instinctual at all. In my home country (lots of people relying on reasonably good public transportation) it comes up regularly that kids should be taught at school how to read a bus (etc.) timetable. I am certain I did not figure it out by myself – but the nice thing about public transportation is that you are very infrequently 100% alone as there is a driver, other passengers to check things with.

        Also, I am 100% sure there were things this intern had to learn / guess / research already that were not instinctual. Getting a bank account is not one, a billion forms are not at all user-friendly. But he can ask people, he quite likely has internet access 24/7 or at least a large part of the day so he can google things, and public transportation costs are usually not that prihibitive that he could not make a few mistakes. And even if so, it’s still not OP’s problem.

        1. Aelfwynn*

          Right – definitely not saying it’s OPs problem or that this guy isn’t being totally unreasonable and can’t learn (I said that in my original comment as well). I’m more responding to the comments of “figuring out the bus system is so easy” because it’s not, actually.

        2. allathian*

          Yes, thankfully my city has a great app with live schedules. All buses, trains, trams, and the metro are tracked by GPS, so you can see when the next one’s coming to your stop.

          We also don’t have dedicated school buses like in the US. Instead, kids as young as 7 can ride on public transit on their own. My son started doing it routinely when he was 10. Incidents are extremely rare, and buses are generally felt to be safer than trains because the driver is in the same space. Nothing untoward has ever happened when our son’s ridden the bus alone, although it does help that he has a cellphone.

          We lived in a rural area when I was in elementary school, and I either went to school by cab (paid for by the municipality so I didn’t have to carry money to school), walked, rode a bike, or in winter when the snow was deep enough, skied (I had wide all-terrain skis because there were no tracks). When we lived in the UK, our house was a 10-minute walk from my school, but when we returned and moved to the city, my biggest worry was about having to ride the bus to school. So I can sympathize, but I got over it quickly at 13 so I have no doubt that the intern will learn to do it when he has to.

          Obviously the system works better for some kids than others, and sometimes I think that we expect too much of our kids at too young an age, but if someone’s old enough to be an intern they’re definitely old enough to learn to use public transit…

    5. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

      I didn’t read all the threads, so I apologize if this has been brought up, but simply stopping at the bus driver and saying, “Hey, I’m new, I need to get to X stop- can you give me a head’s up or let me know when it’s on the way?” The few times I’ve ridden the bus in my very public transportation-phobic city, I’ve done that and the drivers have always been very helpful. Be polite and let them know what you need and most people are willing to help you out, especially if it’s something that they’re already doing (ie: driving that route).

      1. Aelfwynn*

        We weren’t sure which bus to take, is the issue. Or which bus stop to be at. We did ask bus drivers but it still took a long time to sort it out, we were in a new city, and we were all 19 year old girls. So… it wasn’t easy.

        Again, as I mentioned in my original comment and people here seem to be ignoring, this is NOT TO SAY that it is OP’s issue or that this guy can’t figure it out. He can. He absolutely can and should.

    6. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yeah, this goes under the “adulting” heading rather than “things you can leverage on your CV” but it’s very important neverthless. I have had the daughter of a friend staying here and I took her to the railway station the first time because she seemed rather clueless. Her mother has helicopter tendencies, due to the older sister having a slight handicap that means she has trouble making her own way through their home town. The younger sister then proceeded to let me know when she was arriving back, so I could pick her up. I could have gone, but I reasoned that she was much older than my kids when they took public transport alone for the first time, so I just gave her instructions. She still managed to get lost despite me having pointed all the landmarks out to her on that first journey. Next thing, she’s asking me if I could simply drive her the next day. I shut that down pretty quickly.

      1. Emma*

        There was some really interesting research a few years ago that asked a group of kids to draw a rough map of the area they live in. They found that kids who walk, bike or take public transport consistently did better: they had a better sense of direction and distance and a better understanding of where things are in relation to each other, compared to kids who are driven everywhere.

        It’s a shame this young woman didn’t learn those skills growing up; hopefully she’ll do so now that she’s old enough to need to get around on her own.

    7. Caliente Papillon*

      Eh, not true for all- I didn’t grow up with it and learned fast, including in other countries. People just need to not be so intimidated by it and it’d be easier to learn. As a New Yorker now, public transportation is the best, I leave the car at home as much as possible.

      1. Aelfwynn*

        Right – that’s great. Happy for you. I also have figured out how to use public transit (subways are easier than buses), but it can still be confusing and “don’t be intimidated” is easier said than done for a lot of folks. For the group of 19 year old girls trying to figure out the bus system in a new city when it was getting dark – it was I think understandably intimidating.

        Again, as I mentioned in my original comment, this is NOT TO SAY that it is OP’s issue or that this guy can’t figure it out. He can and should.

      2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        I’ve been taking the subway alone since I was 11 years old, and it’s very easy to think of something as easy when you’re that used to it. The New York subway is wonderfully complex (compared to, say, Boston or Montreal). But the intern doesn’t need the deep level of familiarity that I acquired in my teens and you also now have–he just needs to look up the bus route and how to pay the fare, and he’s in a city where the bus drivers speak his language.

    8. Observer*

      But I’ve seen first hand how intimidating public transportation can be for someone not used to it. Sometimes one has to take a leap of faith and try and figure it out on their own

      True, but not relevant.

      The issues with your sister are even less relevant, as this intern CLEARLY has not issues with making his wants known.

      The OP is not the one responsible for the intern’s transportation, full stop. It doesn’t matter WHY the inter does (or doesn’t) have current transportation. All the rest is interesting fluff. Although I do agree that all the people who can’t wrap their heads around the existence of people need to be aware that this is a thing that exists. And that this is the not where the issue is.

      I realize that you are not saying that the OP should give this guy rides. I just think that the whole issue is a red herring and a distraction from the basic set of issues – entitled intern and bad boss.

  25. Zircon*

    After reading #1 (intern ride to work) I want to read updates on the situations in the two links attached to that entry. One was 2021 and one 2017, so it would be interesting to see what happened in the end.

  26. Other Alice*

    “I suggested we have the lumch on a Friday or Monday, but my boss said no because it’s on work time.”

    That’s! The! Point!

    LW, absolutely don’t feel guilty turning this down, even if you didn’t have prior commitments the weekends are your free time.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Right?? Oh sorry, I can’t do an unpaid work event on personal time as I already have plans.

  27. LifeBeforeCorona*

    LW1 I would suggest to the husband and boss that they drive the intern to work and around the city themselves since they don’t seem to understand what a time drain this extra work can be. And it is work, it extends your workday on both ends with no decompression time. If your boss insists, then ask for financial compensation for gas and wear and tear on your car.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yes, I get the feeling that the intern is not a ray of sunshine for OP, he probably is pretty draining rather than uplifting. For a bright sweet kid, she might be saying she’d take them when she could but that she’d often need to leave early or late, or pick something up on the way home, and then take them on other days.

  28. Julie*

    When I first moved to a city with transit, I practiced my commute. It wasn’t hard!

    Tell the intern you were happy to help them settle in and now you can’t give them rides anymore.

    If you continue to get pushback, stick with the no. You don’t need to give an explanation. Hell, bill the company for mileage and insurance.

  29. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    The intern sounds exasperating. I also feel a little sorry for them, because it sound like they’re reading your relationship as an adult/parent-child dynamic which isn’t wildly uncommon for interns, first jobbers, and so on.

    Your boss is doing the intern a disservice by not correcting his expectations here. Future colleagues may react a lot less kindly than you have been, LW!

    You’re not a bad person at all. On the contrary, you’d be helping the intern get what they’re supposed to get from this experience by letting them know that in the working world, adults are responsible for their own journey to work.

  30. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    With responding out of hours, there can be a risk of creating an expectation that you’ll always be available. That can lead to issues down the line if someone assumes you would see an email in the evening which ordinarily they’d drop a text or check first thing in the morning to ensure you’re on it.

    This shouldn’t happen but people do form expectations based on what normally happens rather than what should happen.

    That isn’t a reason never to do it, but it’s another reason to include a caveat when you do it, and not do it all the time.

  31. Single Parent Barbie*

    Re Sending emails outside of work hours.

    I have ADD and if I don’t send things when I am thinking about it, it won’t get sent. So I type it and schedule it to go out during the person’s work hours. I do this for email, slack and text. That way I get my message out, but I am not sending it to someone on their off hours.

    I do this with my kids too. They will say “Mom, remind me on Friday morning … ” and I will set up a text with the message that sends the reminder when they need it.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Y’all do you, but if they have phones that receive texts, do those phones not also have calendars with alarm/reminder functions? Maybe even something along the lines of “Siri, remind me on Friday morning…. ” ?

    2. EPLawyer*

      I don’t like a crowded inbox. So I set up a folder that says To Be Responded To. Then I put everything I need to respond to in that. The next day I just go through the folder and respond. I used to do it in the order received but that caused me anxiety because I had to deal with stuff before I was ready so now I skip around and do the easy stuff first then the stuff that takes a bit longer later.

      Also this week I discovered reminders on my phone so if I have to do something at a certain time but not a calendar thing like a meeting, I can do that.

    3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      … and if I don’t send things when I am thinking about it, it won’t get sent.

      I sum this up as “I can’t forget to do what I’ve already done” and I’ve never had anyone argue that risking forgetting was the way to go.

  32. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

    For LW1, I think that if you have errands to run after work, just go run them and drag the intern along! If he doesn’t like that his free commute suddenly takes longer, he can take the bus.

    I don’t like that you were voluntold into this carpooling arrangement, but I am, in general, a fan of folks finding ways to make carpooling work for them. I think before just balking at this completely, maybe be creative about ways you can make it work for you? Definitely get him to contribute gas money if you aren’t already, and I say you should feel empowered to put whatever other rules in place that will make this arrangement feel more equitable to you. Maybe he vacuums out the car once a week for you or something, whatever will improve your experience and contribute towards the upkeep of a vehicle he’s benefiting from.

    1. WellRed*

      Nooooooo! She’s not his mom. What’s next? He can have the car Saturday night if he washes it and fills the tank? Just no.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        yeah and then he’ll crash it on Saturday night after drinking a bit too much and somehow it’ll be OP’s fault…

    2. EPLawyer*

      The intern is already hinting at wanting to be shown around. Running errands is not going to deter this person. Oh you have to go grocery shopping — great, I need to get mine done too and I hate having to carry the heavy bags home. Oh you are going to the gym, great I need to start working out again. This intern will always go along with it rather than figure out the bus.

      This is a case of being direct. No, I cannot continue to drive you around. Part of learning how to be a professional is learning how to get yourself to work on time and home each day.

    3. Colette*

      The answer to “I don’t want to do this thing” is not “do it more”. Maybe the OP could have a happy carpooling arrangement with another adult, but this one seems more like looking after a demanding child, and it’s fine for her to bow out.

    4. kina lillet*

      The best, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly carpool arrangement is a bus, which fortunately the intern has access to.

    5. K in Boston*

      I was going to suggest similarly petty. Go to the gym but since only you have the membership, tell the intern if they want a ride home, they’ll have to sit through your 90-minute workout. Schedule an early-morning dentist appointment right before work so they have to come with you. Spend a late night at work and tell them you absolutely can’t leave, so if they need you as a ride, they’ll need to wait for you.

      (Don’t actually do this…but man would I be tempted.)

    6. Observer*

      but I am, in general, a fan of folks finding ways to make carpooling work for them.

      Why would the OP have any reason to make the effort? Trying to make carpooling work is only a thing that people could theoretically be be obligated to if there are no other environmentally sound alternatives. But there is public transportation available.

  33. Overworker*

    To LW4: Don’t do it! In fact, don’t even check work emails unless you’re at work. Set the rule now and try to keep to it. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

  34. Irish Teacher*

    LW1, you are definitely not a terrible person. There is a bus. It might be different if he had to walk home late at night through a dangerous area or something, but…it sounds like he just…doesn’t want to take the bus. (And even if there wasn’t a bus, you wouldn’t be a terrible person for refusing. It still wouldn’t be your responsibility.)

    I don’t drive and the head of my department lives in a neighbouring town to mine (we are about 20 miles from the school we work in) and he’ll usually drive me home if we are working late, if there is a staff meeting after work or a school event that means we have to stay late and occasionally, if we are leaving at the same time, he’ll offer me a lift, but…this is like once a month. Most days, I get the train, because he’s not always going straight home or one of us doesn’t have the first class and doesn’t have to be in until half nine or so or one of us has some work to finish up after the last class.

    The intern’s attitude also sounds kinda off-putting. It’s one thing for somebody to ask if you’d mind driving them in occasionally. It’s another to expect you’ll do it every day.

    LW3, I think it is reasonable for you to mention the aunt. Even if there isn’t a policy against it, I think it would be hard for many, perhaps most, people to supervise their aunt. Apart from anything else, they would have grown up, seeing their aunt as an “adult figure” and it could well be hard for them to get used to being the one “in charge.” My nephew is only 4 but…I could imagine finding it difficult to take orders from him when he grows up.

    Even if he wasn’t the type to bend rules for her, I can well imagine somebody assuming an aunt or uncle to be correct on something as this might be a person they looked up to as a child, and therefore being too inclined to take their word for something

    I think I’d put the educational requirement first, as that sounds like an absolute dealbreaker. “Unfortunately, we cannot consider you for the role as you do not have x qualification which is required. I also want to let you know that even if you were qualified, we would have concerns about the fact you’d be supervising your aunt and we prefer not to have relatives supervising one another.

    LW4, again assuming a healthy workplace, it’s possible that part of the reason they are reiterating that you didn’t have to do it is because it sounds like you are fairly recently graduated and possibly new enough to their workplace. I could imagine reassuring a 1st year teacher this way, not because I would think less of them for replying immediately but because I would be concerned either that they were afraid I’d think less of them for not being immediately available or that by e-mailing them out of hours, I was giving them the impression that it was an unspoken expectation

    1. Artemesia*

      Don’t give excuses for not hiring the guy you don’t want to hire because he is bad at the job. The committee should examine is application, refuse an interview BECAUSE he is bad at his job. Don’t make excuses that suggest if he only got a degree or did X or Y he would be considered.

  35. Ex-prof*

    LW #3, the nepotism policy should especially be revised to include nephew/niece/aunt/uncle given that the literal meaning of nepotism is to favor one’s nephew.

  36. Ladida*

    LW1 is such a nightmare for me! It’s bad enough that we have to spend hours in our car commuting, we should be allowed to do so while singing along to our music and listening to podcasts, not doing small talk with people we hardly know.
    I wonder, what was the intern’s commuting plan when he accepted the internship? Did he just hope he would find someone living nearby to chauffeur him?

  37. HailRobonia*

    Re. #2: This is certainly not your situation, but one year at my place when I was on the “rewards and recognition committee” that planned events such as retirement parties, birthday events, etc. I had a colleague retiring who was burnt out and disgruntled and told me explicitly that she just wanted to GTFO and didn’t want a party.

    Great, I thought, less work for me.

    Then she went around complaining to everyone else that she is sooooo unappreciated and we weren’t even giving her a going away party. So I had to throw one together at the last minute.

    (again, I am not saying this is your attitude, your letter just reminded me of this anecdote).

  38. Thank God (or something) I no longer work there*

    I had a similar situation to LW1. Only she wasn’t an intern. She had a facade of being a hippie environmentalist. After her car died she was going to be car free. Only we were on the afternoon shift so she had a 6 block walk to the bus home, it rained sometimes, etc. Without even asking me she decidedI could be her ride sine I lived closest to her. I didn’t live that close, just closest. I decided I’d be happy to be her ride home every night if she paid me. Stuck to my guns and didn’t back down to the peer pressure. Amazingly enough, after realizing I wasn’t going to cave she bought a new car.

    1. Risha*

      People really have some nerve! I once worked with someone who would just follow you to your call and wait on the passenger side until you unlocked the door for her. She never even asked if she can get a ride or if you had things to do after work. She just picked a different person each week and walked to their car with them. When she tried that nonsense with me, I told her I’m not going her way and she needs to take the bus home. She tried to actually argue with me, saying I didn’t even know where she lived so how can I say that. I repeated for her to go take the bus then started my car and drove off. She wouldn’t speak to me anymore at work, which I was perfectly fine with!

      I truly don’t understand where some people get their sense of entitlement from. Maybe it’s because others give in to these types.

  39. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    I’m so irritated that the husband is also pushing LW1 to drive the intern. Where is he in sticking up for the LW? Is the LW also doing/expected to do other extra emotional labor where it’s not warranted?

    LW, just cheerfully and fully own this full on, hearty, NOPE.

  40. Falling Diphthong*

    OP1, last summer my son had an internship that was set up as 4 days remote, 1 in office. Sometimes his boss, who turned out to live in the next town, would give him a ride for the in-office day. Relevant details:

    • Son didn’t ask; boss offered.
    • Son was on crutches and then a walking cast at the start of the internship.
    • If boss had other plans, son made other plans to get himself to and from work.
    • His dad or I would drop him off at boss’s home just before departure, and pick him up right as they got back: his boss didn’t go an inch out of his way, physically or time wise. (We would have been doing this at the train station in a different neighboring town, as his buying a car so he could drive the 20 minutes to the train 1 day/week for the summer didn’t make sense.)

    So my recent experience with 20 year olds is that they are perfectly capable of figuring this stuff out and not expecting anyone to give them chauffeur service. You’ve just encountered someone with an excess of gumption, or who has not grasped that ask culture has nuances like hearing people who told you no. You can be the helpful life experience that forms him into a less annoying person.

    1. SarahKay*

      You’ve just encountered someone with an excess of gumption

      Specifically, an excess of ‘gumption’ and not enough actual gumption!

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, if he had any actual gumption he’d figure out how to get himself to work without being a burden on others.

  41. Guest*

    LW1: I’m not sure what it said on the intern’s application, but back when I was young and worked retail, “reliable transportation” was one of the requirements to take the job. If that meant the bus or train because you didn’t own a car, that’s what you took, and you had to make sure to get on transit early enough to arrive at work on time. This intern sounds like a spoiled brat and I’m appalled that the boss is enabling him.

  42. Enginerd*

    LW3: Even if they weren’t related, supervising someone you live with is also a bad idea, especially if there’s a landlord/renter relationship. I’m guessing in this case your employee is living there for free, which adds even more conflict of interest!

    1. LW3*

      It’s a bad situation all around. I didn’t hire this employee—he was hired by a previous manager—but if I’d had the choice I wouldn’t have hired him at all because of the family arrangement and my higher ups are now realizing the perils of this, even if it doesn’t technically violate the current policy. Which will hopefully mean we get an updated policy but it’s going to take a long time as our department can’t make policy changes for the company—we have to kick it up the ladder.

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      Frankly in normal people I don’t think niece/nephew or aunt/uncle relationship would be problematic but clearly it is here. But roommate, landlord/renter situation definately can be a problem as housing security/ability to pay rent becomes caught up in the superisor/employee relationship. That should be a new area of fratinization added to your policy.

      Overall you don’t need a policy, but you are aware this guy is trouble/a complainer already.

      1. Hazel*

        Isn’t avoiding conflict of interest inherent in an employment relationship, without having to spell it out and separate from nepotism? Supervising someone you rely on for housing and who may rely on you for rental income seems obvious financial COI.

        Of course it is safer to have a written policy but ‘must avoid COI with staff and external partners’ is likely there in some form and if it isn’t, might be an easier thing to add – I suspect HR or Legal would say it is implied anyhow.

        You can also screen people out with less specificity ‘we went with candidates who met the qualifications more closely’. If you want to give the staffer a chance to either prove or disqualify themselves you can make dealing with COI an interview question, similar to ‘how would you deal with supervising former peers’. I have a feeling the staffer is oblivious to their own issues, but this would give a fair chance, and any successful candidate is still going to have to deal with them, so it’s good to know if they can.

  43. Workerbee*

    OP 1, yeah: A full stop is indicated here. “I won’t be able to drive you after -date one or two days from now -.” I’d love to say “anymore” during the ride in, but I understand there are boss optics at play.

    And then stick to it. All other options give far too much wiggle room, especially since both your boss and husband seem to think you are someone who accommodates others at the expense of your own well-being, wishes, and interests. Why ISN’T your husband backing you up?

  44. Ally McBeal*

    LW1: The only thing I would add to Alison’s advice is to inquire about whether interns get a stipend for public transit or are given a transit pass when they start. It’s more likely than not that this intern is just being entitled, but perhaps another intern in the future could feel like begging favors is the only way they can afford to get around the city.

  45. NeedRain*

    LW1: if you are in a major metropolitan area- I recommend for your intern an app called “Citymapper”. It literally tells you where to walk, what number bus (etc.) to get on, what time it’s coming, how much it costs, all the info in one place. Maybe something like that would help intern feel more confident getting around on his own.

  46. New Yorker*

    LW 1 — I would be livid at boss (and husband, but that is not relevant here). I would tell boss I am not a taxi service and this kid is getting on my nerves. I agree the intern is a brat and the boss is enabling him.

    1. Artemesia*

      The boss needs to have pointed out that it is unprofessional to expect a female manager to be your Mommy and take care of you. Part of an internship is to learn to cope as a full fledged professional in the work place. This includes making your own arrangements to get to work.

  47. sharrpie*

    #1 I’d be slightly more sympathetic if there wasn’t adequate public transportation, but there is and he just doesn’t want to take it. That’s quite the sense of entitlement for a college student. He’s only going to get worse from here.

  48. The Person from the Resume*

    LW1, I am sorry you are experiencing this. Read and reread these comments which all say you are not a bad person to not want to do this and to stop doing this and that this is outragious.

    I’m sorry that you allowed this over-entititled intern to strong-arm you into giving him rides. Stop now. Immediately. “I’m going shopping right after work and you are not invited.” “I’m leaving early today to go somewhere and you can’t tag along.”

    Here’s the thing, you should have never been pressured to do this, but you were. You now need to stand up for yourself which may even be bit harder now than originally. But your options are to stand up for yourself and tell this intern “no” or keep chauffering him to and from work. And if it helps your motivation at all, this reads as so very sexist. This overgrown child is relying on you, a woman to “mother” him and take care of him. He is not being an adult by being responsible for himself. He is taking advantage of you.

    I am extra sorry that somehow your boss and husband (!!!!) think you should continue to give him a ride and are making you feel like a bad person because you want to stop.

  49. SheepThrills*

    #2, if it’s not too late, don’t do it! Don’t change your plans to satisfy someone else. Exit on your terms. That presumption is astounding. Going aways are almost always during work time or perhaps a post-work happy hour – definitely not a weekend.

    I’m months into a wonderful new job and still eyeroll on the rare occasions I think of the last-minute, mostly crappy, very much counter-to-the-usual-culture going away “party,” filled with downright rudeness after 20 years with an organization. (Thanks for publicly calling me old, leaving me to pay for the person who skipped out on their bill…and why would I have wanted to finish eating?)

    It left a bad taste in my mouth, figuratively speaking, and I wish now I’d quietly bowed out.

    You deserve to move on however YOU choose.

  50. AthenaC*

    OP4 – This company sounds like there is WAY too much emotional angst around off-hours emails. If you’re at a functional company where people work all sorts of hours for all sorts of different reasons, it’s just understood that emails are responded to when it’s reasonably convenient. If you (or your peers or your supervisor) happen to see an email and want to respond quickly, that’s fine. If you want to wait until you’re “back online” the next day, that’s fine. And conversely, if you send an email on someone’s off hours, you’re not expecting them to get back to you until they are working again.

    None of this should be a big deal either way.

    1. H3llifIknow*

      I disagree. I don’t think the organization has “angst” around the after hours emails; I think the OP is overthinking the responses and imposing the angst on herself. I get emails at 11pm or later sometimes; if I’m up and read them and can respond quickly I will. If I need to do some research I mark them unread or flag them and resume the next day. The people emailing after hours are trying to be polite in saying, “Hey I don’t expect an immediate response to this, but I’m working on it and wanted to email while it’s on my mind” or whatever. The response is, “No problem; I was checking email and this was low hanging fruit so I figured I’d get it off my plate.” The LW needs to STOP WORRYING so much.

    2. Jackalope*

      Where is the emotional angst you’re referring to? All I’m seeing is someone whose supervisor(s) told them to work only during work hours. That’s… actually pretty healthy. Some companies do have people working at different, random hours, but it sounds like this one does not. And if that’s the case then the OP shouldn’t be working in the evenings, and may even be breaking the law if they’re non-exempt and working extra hours without getting paid. That’s a reasonable thing for their supervisor to try to stop.

      1. This_is_Todays_Name*

        I didn’t get the impression the LW was explicitly told NOT to work after hours (clearly others are if they’re sending emails) but that the emails themselves often included a comment that there was no expectation of a response immediately or until the following work day. That is quite a bit different. They’re letting the LW know that “hey just cuz I’m up and emailing doesn’t mean I expect you to be, as well.”

        1. AthenaC*

          To me, all the qualifiers about “I don’t expect you to reply right this second” are unnecessary and kinda patronizing, IMO. It’s just assumed in a functional, adult workplace so typing all that out is a waste of time and space.

          I don’t bother with it, no one I work with bothers with it, sometimes you wait until tomorrow / next week for an answer, we all work when we need to, and we all move on.

          1. This_is_Todays_Name*

            Ok? But the LW explicitly said those statements were made in the emails she received after hours, and … that’s pretty much the topic she was writing in asking about, so not sure why you chose to respond to ME with that; I’m not the one sending the LW emails.

  51. Somewhere in Texas*

    LW#1: I think one of the major side benefits of doing internships is learning how to be a professional, which includes a whole host of skills outside of work- like finding a way to your job! Preferably on time and in whatever is work appropriate attire for your position.

    Personally, I’d lean into the thought that by making them learn this lesson now they won’t overstep these boundaries in their next internship or job. They (or your boss/spouse) may not see it that way immediately, but it’s an important part of the learning process.

  52. Ask A Manatee*

    LW1, you are the reasonable one in this story. Bob can suck it.

    Take your pick of intern, boss or hubby to be Bob.

  53. HonorBox*

    LW1 – There’s no reason (given the robust bus schedule) that you need to provide a ride to and from work for your intern. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not wanting to do that. Their lack of interest in taking the bus is their issue, not yours. I think it is absolutely fair to indicate that you have obligations before or after work at times, and those preclude you from providing the transportation. If you want to soften the message, you COULD indicate that you’re not able to provide the to and from transport, but you would be willing to spend a few hours on (weekend day of your choice at a time of your choice) to show them around a bit. Hell, do it on the bus. That might give them a connection point and help them feel a little more comfortable getting around. But you sure don’t have to do that, and shouldn’t feel guilty just saying no. You could also talk to your insurance carrier and check your coverage. Perhaps you don’t have enough coverage should something happen…

    LW2 – Just say no. You shouldn’t need to upend your own plans, and extra shouldn’t need to upend the plans of out of town guests. It is a nice thought that your boss has, but a going away event should be scheduled for someone at a time that is convenient for them, not based on what the boss desires.

    LW3 – I’d lean hard into the educational requirements. And then, like Alison, I’d highly recommend adapting your policy manual to state that managing of family, either internally or externally, is not allowed.

  54. LactoseTolerance*

    Assuming LW1 doesn’t give two hoots about their reputation, there’s plenty of foods that have certain, shall we say, aromatic side-effects. Would be a shame if they happened to eat any for breakfast, and just before a shared commute.
    Just saying…

    1. H3llifIknow*

      Seriously? Your advice is “fart in the car so the intern won’t WANT to ride with you” versus “treat the intern as an adult and tell him you are unavailable to be his personal taxi service anymore”? Grown ups use their words, not their a$$es to get a point across.

  55. BellyButton*

    #1 – I would be way more direct,, “Intern, you are an adult now. It is your responsibility to figure out how to get to and from work. You are capable of doing this and by not doing it and assuming that others will take care of it makes me doubt your readiness for a job. Get your sh*t together and be an adult.”

    I don’t care if I am his manager or not, someone needs to tell him this, because obviously his parents didn’t.

  56. WantonSeedStitch*

    I’m with those who suspect the intern is male and the OP is female. I would definitely put my foot down as Alison recommended. If the intern pushes back, I’d respond with “while you’re interning here, I know you’re expected to learn about workplace norms as well as [specific job]. It’s not a normal thing for people in the workforce to have an expectation of getting rides from coworkers on a regular basis. I should tell you that if you go into a job with that kind of expectation, it’s not going to go over well. I understand using the bus when you’re not accustomed to it is a little intimidating, but I’m happy to go over the schedule with you and help you figure out the best way to plan your commute. Being self-reliant in terms of transportation to and from your job is a basic expectation in almost all workplaces, so knowing how to do that will serve you well in your career.”

  57. New Senior Mgr*

    For LW 1 and 2: All I can say is the nerve of the managers and tag-along intern! It would be a kindness to explain to intern just how this is a faux paux in the professional world. Not the asking, but the assuming. It is NOT like catching a ride in high school and college.

  58. Some Internet Rando*

    I am amazed at how many letters are about co-workers trying to get rides!! I had no idea this was such a common issue and how bold some people are about asking/assuming!

    This intern sounds young and naive. But this is part of growing up. If they are new in town they should have considered transportation when they took the job. The bus is not scary. Time to get out there and grow up!

  59. Verthandi*

    LW#1: One thing sticks out to me and that is this: How does the intern know where you live? Did the boss tell him that you live near him and that you could give him a ride? If that’s the case, so much Hulk smashing!

    It’s possible that he just assumed you lived on the way when he made his pronouncement that you would be his personal free taxi. You are well within your rights to refuse to continue to be his taxi. Let him know that you will no longer be driving him starting at the beginning of your work week so he has time to figure out how to get to and from work.

  60. Dr. Rebecca*

    LW1 also has a husband problem. You saying no/you don’t want to should be enough. What’s his buy-in/dog in the fight here, LW?

  61. New Yorker*

    LW1 I agree with all comments re intern, but if OP is uncomfortable doing that, she needs to live her own life. Stop at grocery story on way home, leave early when needed. Just tell him.

    1. connie*

      Being uncomfortable about laying out a reasonable boundary is not a reason not to do it. LW is also an adult. An adult sometimes has to have uncomfortable conversations, especially in their own interests.

  62. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    #5. There are specific Unemployment Insurance arrangements that can be made for “shared work”. The employer can contact the appropriate Dept of Labor office and set up a system for keeping their valuable employees on the books and receiving benefits while still eligible for partial UI benefits, depending on how much the employees are working.
    Win-Win because the employees know the employer cares enough to protect them during slow periods, and employees don’t have to look for new employment.

  63. Cypress*


    In my opinion, internships are an opportunity for newer professionals to learn how to operate in a business setting.
    Part of being an adult is being responsible for your own transportation.

    Using that framing in a response might be helpful (and remind/reinforce boundaries) both for your boss and for the intern. You’d be doing the intern zero favors in the long-term. They’ll just start assuming that’s appropriate to demand from future employers, and I sincerely doubt they’ll be amused or patient with them.

    If you want to lean into the teaching framework a bit more, maybe offer to sit down with them and walk through possible transit options. I got the impression they were more on the entitled side, but other commenters raised a good point that they just might just be intimidated and unused to public transit.

    Good luck!

  64. Gracia*

    I had a seizure in early May and am on driving restrictions. I have several colleagues who drive past my place on their way to work. I’m still using public transit to get to work and for my errands/weekends, with Uber or Lyft when transit is impossible. It’s not fair for me to expect co-workers to take any time out their personal lives when there are other options, even if they are less convenient for me.

    1. DadBods_are_FatherFigures*

      If I were your colleague, I would want to help. Do they KNOW of your situation? Maybe I couldn’t give you a ride EVERY day, but if I passed right by, I’d rather give you a ride, than risk you having a seizure on public transit or have you out in bad weather. I don’t think asking, “hey it’s supposed to storm tomorrow, would anyone be driving past Elm Street be willing to give me a ride to avoid waiting at the busstop in the rain” is “expecting anyone to take time out of their personal lives for you.” YOUR situation is very different from the LW who felt entitled to TELL the coworker “no I won’t take the bus, YOU can pick me up.”

      1. Single Noun*

        I’ve had so many coworkers pass me as they’re turning into our office’s (tbf, long and uphill) driveway to offer me a ride the remaining 500ish feet, and I’m charmed but also a little baffled- I got to the bus stop from my house on my own, I promise I can get from the bus stop to the office.

  65. DadBods_are_FatherFigures*

    I am baffled by, “But he is refusing to take the bus and said, “You can pick me up when you go to work, since I’m along the way.””!! That sense of entitlement is just mind boggling to me. I wish, in the moment, the LW had said, “I can, but I will not. I often have other things to do and I prefer my alone time to mentally prepare for the day or decompress after.” But I get that you felt pressured. Still. An INTERN is acting like they have authority over you and your time and….that’s unacceptable. I would definitely say, “Friday is the last day I’ll be able to drive you to and from work. Do you need help understanding the bus system?” Maybe (if you WANT to be softer) you can say, “if it’s thunderstorming, I don’t want you to have to stand in the rain and I can try to make an occasional exception for bad weather, but my committments are going to keep me busy for the forseeable future.” Wow. The chutzpah! Just… wow!

    1. Samwise*

      No. Don’t offer exceptions in advance. That’s the start of the slippery slope.

      It’s raining? The intern can wear boots and a raincoat and use an umbrella like all the other adults. As my mom would say, “Boohoo, it’s raining. You’re not going to melt.”

      1. I have RBF*

        Seriously. I had years where I didn’t have a car, and transit in my city was barely there. My only way around was on the bus. I wore a raincoat, and waited in the rain, along with everyone else. I didn’t melt, drown, or even get very wet, because raincoat.

        1. Single Noun*

          Same here, although transit is reasonably convenient- and you know what, sometimes I forgot to check the weather and got caught without my raincoat on the way home, and I got wet, and I did not die or drown or get trench foot?

      2. DadBods_are_FatherFigures*

        See “if you WANT …..” in my reply. There was no commanding the LW to make the offer; but it’s an option. Slippery slopes occur only if you allow them. The LW can set the boundaries as she sees fit. I, for one, would be annoyed at a daily expectation, while being fine with a one off here and there for a horrid Tstorm or “I’m bringing a crockpot to the office carry in.” But that’s me. You do you.

  66. Elly*

    LW5 – This happened to me about 10 years ago where I was cut from full-time to part-time. They weren’t sure how long it would be at first, but it ended up being 3 months. I live in Massachusetts and I was able to get unemployment assistance during that time – my company was very helpful in making sure I got that. I ended up covering about half of the income I was losing, so I ended up doing some side gigs to cover some of the rest. I did keep an eye out for other jobs to move onto in case my position never went back to full-time. Eventually the company righted the ship and I worked there for another 4 years full-time before moving on. I hope everything works out for your friends.

    1. Caterina*

      This happened to me too. When I applied for unemployment benefits, my boss (the company owner) LOST HIS MIND and threatened to fire me on the spot if I didn’t rescind my claim immediately. I needed the job, so I did.

      I actually wrote Alison at the time asking if this was legal but she didn’t answer. Still don’t know if it was legal for him to do, but I finally ended up finding another job, thank goodness.

  67. Alisaurus*

    LW4: I know this is easier said than done, but my recommendation is to stop reading messages after-hours. It sounds like this would be more of a shift on your part than your bosses’/coworkers’ (which is great because you don’t have to try to enforce new boundaries!), but there are easy ways to do this! The main thing is reframing it in your head that you really only work during your set hours and any messages that come in are things you should only handle when you’re on the clock. Try to imagine if you were in a job where you didn’t even have access to your email outside of the office.

    Personally, I have my Slack and email scheduled to only send me notifications during work hours. After that, anything new is muted until the next morning. Depending on your phone, you may also be able to do that to certain contacts’ text messages (mine lets me categorize contacts and apply different “rules” to them with a work mode setting). Thankfully, my job is like yours where there are no expectations of response after-hours – and usually, my boss will schedule things if she does send them after-hours.

    You can do this! And I can say from experience you’ll be much happier in the long run with these boundaries for yourself. :) Plus, then you’ll already have them in mind if you ever move on to another office that’s less professional with their expectations. As someone who’s moved between jobs with varying degrees of expectation around responses, it’s easy for a job that /doesn’t/ have these good boundaries to encroach more and more on your personal time if you let it. Trust me, it’s easier to enforce “I don’t usually see messages after-hours” than to have 0 time to unplug from work because your boss expects an answer in 5 minutes to anything he sends you.

  68. Teapot, Groomer of Llamas*

    #5 There can be non-nefarious reasons for the forced furloughs. Especially since it’s uncertain, one thing that appears possible to me is that they are struggling at the moment but hope to be able to recover and not want to have to try and hire people again once they do. I do agree that 2 months is kind of unreasonable for most people, but I suspect that’s what’s happening.

  69. The Rafters*

    #1, the entitlement of this individual is astounding. I can only imagine what they would be like as a FT employee. Boss $ucks too. OP, you are not responsible for making sure this idiot gets to work. You are taking on a huge financial risk/liability. If it’s so important to the boss that the intern gets a ride instead of (horrors!) taking public transportation, let the boss schlep him around.

    1. Observer*

      I hear.

      Bottom line OP:

      Your boss and husband are wrong. This is a big deal. You are NOT a terrible person. And you are not a terrible employee or colleague.

      You’ve gotten a lot of good suggestions on how to word it. Also, someone mentioned how to frame it with your boss, and that might be a good way to frame it to him. I’m not talking about the snarky come-backs. Those are fun to think about, but I doubt they will go over too well.

  70. pally*

    #1: Don’t cave. If intern insists he cannot take public transit, why can’t he get his own vehicle?

    Sure, intern may be strapped for money. But hey, that’s his concern. Maybe he can ask a parent to fund this. Maybe boss or the company can fund a vehicle for him. It shouldn’t be you that is expected to solve intern’s issue. Not at all.

    If it were me, I’d inform the intern that, starting Monday, I’m taking the bus to work.

    He’ll figure out a way to get to work. Hey, maybe his parent will be willing to stay with him and drive him to work each day. Let them enjoy the fruits of their child-raising labors.

  71. Student*

    OP #3: I think that on equal par to the nepotism issue is the personal financial entaglement angle of this: “he would be required to directly supervise his aunt, who he lives with,”

    His direct report would be his landlord. There’s a very real and reasonable perception of bias regarding his ability to fairly and effectively manager her, regardless of their familial relationship, because a direct report is providing his housing! She can evict him if she gets peeved about anything. They have the means to do backdoor deals around housing costs and unrelated business decisions – stuff like “give Auntie a raise and she’ll give you a discount on your rent as a kickback” become way too simple to get away with. It’ll hang over everyone’s perception of both him and the aunt, even if his managerial decisions are otherwise above-board, defensible, and sensible.

    I’ve had plenty of jobs where major financial entanglements between a boss and direct report, like for housing, needed to be reported at minimum, or were forbidden by company policy. Housing is so much of a cost that there’s no grey whatsoever here; we’re not talking about an aunt that feeds him every weekend, or who sold him an old car.

    1. LW3*

      I totally get what you’re saying and agree with all of this on principle. What’s interesting is that the aunt isn’t the landlord–both my employees live with the mother/grandmother of the family! So there isn’t that specific dynamic, but there is some weird family and power stuff going on for sure, and I know I’ve heard waaayyyy more about their personal lives and living dynamics than I care to, which is another reason why the nephew is not getting promoted–he has no discretion or tact for what is and isn’t a work-appropriate conversation, and yes, we’ve addressed this before. Funnily enough, I came in today and another one of my employees told me the aunt has been going around talking to everyone but me saying she hopes the nephew DOESN’T get the job because he’s mean. (Which honestly tracks with what I know of him.)

      1. Observer*

        Good grief!

        Yes, this bit alone is good reason not to promote him!

        And it doesn’t matter what’s in the policy. Not promoting hum is not *contrary* to policy, and you (and the hiring panel) are permitted to use your judgement.

  72. Veryanon*

    The intern letter – hoo boy.

    Many years ago, when I myself was an intern, I was very hesitant to approach my then-manager about changing my work schedule because I was using PT and I needed to leave by a certain time to catch my train. The coaching I received at that time was that part of the goal of an internship was for young people to learn how to navigate these kinds of common workplace dilemmas, not just learn technical skills, and I’ve always remembered that advice.

    I’ll be generous and assume that the intern is fairly new to the workforce and may not understand workplace norms, but the sense of entitlement is pretty egregious. It’s also pretty bananas that the boss and the LW’s spouse (!!!) see this as no big deal. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the LW is a woman, because I would imagine the pressure would not be there if the LW were a man. The whole letter smacks very strongly of expected (unpaid) emotional labor that the LW should just find a way to manage.

    In any event, if it were me, I’d just be polite but firm that I can no longer provide transportation and the intern will need to figure out an alternate solution. If I were feeling particularly nice, I might offer to help him figure out the PT system. But it’s not LW’s responsibility to make sure the intern can get to and from work.

  73. Ann Furthermore*

    LW5: I don’t see anything “sketchy” about this at all. This allows everyone to keep their jobs and presumably the hours will go back up when things improve. Yes it’s a financial hit, but at least no one is out of a job altogether.

    My husband owns a small business and has done this in the past during economic downturns. The first time he told his crew, “We have 2 choices. We can either all cut back to 32 hours a week, or I’m going to have to lay someone off.” Everyone agreed that keeping their jobs and bringing in less money was the better option, and they got the benefit of 3 day weekends for awhile. He included himself in that too — he cut his hours to 32 right along with everyone else. Everyone was thankful that he came up with a solution that allowed everyone to keep their jobs.

  74. Darkwing Duck*

    LW5: Yes, have your friends call your local unemployment office and tell them the details and they’ll tell them how to file. In most states, this is a valid claim for filing.

    1. RedinSC*

      I’ve done this. It works. There might still be a waiting period, BUT definitely call, sooner rather than later!

  75. Wednesday*

    LW 4– I just saw this on someone’s email signature and thought it was great! It covers differing shifts, holidays, time zones… “My working hours may not be your working hours.
    Please do not feel obligated to reply outside of your normal work schedule.”

  76. MicroManagered*

    OP2 – Assuming yours is a Monday – Friday job, I would not even bother with the excuses. As you can see, when you told your boss you were already booked up, she tried to get around that boundary.

    I would tweak Alison’s script to simply say “I’m not available for work-functions on weekends. The only time I could do it would be during the workday before I go, but if that doesn’t work, please don’t worry about arranging anything. I appreciate the thought, though!”

  77. anywhere but here*

    LW3 it is hilarious that your nepotism policy doesn’t include nephews when the word nepotism comes from the word for nephew. Huge L for the company.

  78. eons*

    I am unreasonably angry about the intern demanding rides. Honestly, the nerve!!! That should have been shut down ASAP

  79. Samwise*

    I would not make up excuses for not being able to drive the intern any more. Every reason you offer can be countered:
    I’m going to the gym after work. Intern: Sweet! I haven’t been able to get to a gym, because no car, so that works out great for me! Do you get guest passes I could use?
    I have (vague obligation). Intern: that’s ok, I’ll wait in the car. I can watch sportsball on my phone.


    A very polite, “I can’t drive you to and from work any more. I was happy to help out while you settled in, but you’ll need to use public transportation or get a ride from someone else”

    If the intern pushes back after that, I’d be having a chat with them about professionalism and appropriate office behavior.

    If my boss pushes back, I’d make the point about the intern needing to learn professional standards and this is a good chance for them to practice, that it’s extra work for you, and while you were happy to do it for a bit, now it is stopping. I’d also make the point about liability.

    If my SPOUSE pushes back, I’d be having a VERY POINTED “CONVERSATION” (involving such phrases as WTF is wrong with you, and I need you to have my back here and not try to guilt me into doing work I’m not obligated to do and don’t want to do)

    1. Risha*

      I like this advice. I commented below and said to make up a vague reason if she doesn’t feel comfortable being direct with her boss. But I really think she needs to be direct and say what you wrote above. LW1, please set some strong boundaries with boss and intern. Don’t back down and don’t fall for any sob stories or whatever people do when they cannot freeload anymore. After you set this boundary, make note if your boss starts treating you differently.

      I’m more angry at the husband than the boss or intern in this situation. Why isn’t he backing up his spouse? Why are some spouses like this? He needs to back up the person he married and shares a life with, not some freeloading intern at a job that’s not even his job!

  80. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    #1: The boss is willing to book hotel rooms for the out-of-town workers but can’t spot a long lunch during the work day?
    Glad you’re on the way out!

  81. Saddy Hour*

    LW1 is baffling to me for the sheer reason that if the intern knew he was “along the way” for OP…he met her first! He must have found SOME way to show up at work for at least a day or two, presumably a little longer since “what’s your route to work” isn’t usually day 1 conversation. (Though with this kid’s audacity, maybe it was for him.) He’s now had plenty of time to research alternative options, since OP has been so incredibly generous to him thus far.

    I would tell my boss that it is a big deal for ME, because it means my schedule is forced to conform with the intern’s. If Boss still pushes back, I would clarify whether this is an expectation of my job and, if so, when I can schedule a longer discussion around my increased compensation for longer days and wear on my personal vehicle. This is nonsense.

  82. nobadcats*

    LW #1, I had the opposite problem. I wasn’t an intern, but a contract player. One of the women I worked with in the same cube farm noticed me standing at the bus stop one morning (which led to the metra train). She stopped and said, “Get in!” And I did. We are/were both early birds, so it was about 5am and pitch dark. Then we left the office together at the same time.

    The next morning, I went to the bus stop a teensy bit earlier. When co-irker arrived at her desk about a half an hour after me, she said, “You weren’t at the bus stop! I waited for you.” I said, “I didn’t realize this has suddenly turned into A Thing.” So I was kinda roped into commuting with her back and forth. It wasn’t a particularly a big deal for me. I mean, 10 blocks to the bus stop, bus, and train (since I was doing an opposite commute [out of The City, instead of into the city, and reverse in the afternoon], only ran once per hour) to the office were a huge pain on good days. Bad days, I’d be stuck waiting over an hour for the next train, or if ill, wasn’t able to leave early.

    Co-irker was exceptionally kind in that if she had errands to run after work, she’d take me along. Oftentimes, we had similar errands, “Let’s go to the bank! Let’s go to the walgreens!” I wasn’t fussed about the time at all.

    But I never hinted, nor demanded that she should feel obligated to pick me up/drop me off anywhere/anytime. Honestly, looking back, I think she was just … lonely. She was an elderly woman who had returned from retirement to help herd the cats that were the project for which I was hired. She was the only person who had the tribal/institutional knowledge needed to get the project done.

  83. Former Retail Lifer*

    OP #1: I grew up in the suburbs, without a car of my own but with helpful parents and friends always giving me a ride. When I moved to a city for college, I had to figure out the public transportation system and it was daunting. I’d taken a train a few times back home but never without people who knew what they were doing. My academic advisor helped me read the bus schedule and figure out how to get the bus to a job interview. I was honestly terrified that I was doing it wrong the first time I rode a public bus, but I did it. OP, after you put your foot down and refuse to give rides beyond whatever date you choose, help him navigate the bus schedule (or see if you can find someone who can). Unlike when I was first learning how to take a bus, you can easily figure out how to get places using the Transit App or Google Maps, and there’s probably a text system in place in your city to see when the next bus will arrive. He can do it.

    1. Observer*

      Normally, I would agree that it would be good for the OP to help this intern with the public transportation system. But given how far he has already overstepped, and it outsized sense of entitlement, I think that the OP should not offer. He’s not going to be grateful. Worse, he’s going to complain if the OP doesn’t spoon feed him in JUST the “right” way. And that’s going to be the *good* outcome.

    2. Scarlet2*

      Surely a college student doesn’t need someone holding his hand to search for information on the Internet?
      If he got that far, I’m quite confident he can google bus schedule + city name

  84. Risha*

    LW1, don’t budge on your decision. You are not there to be anyone’s personal chauffer, especially for an adult who needs to be able to handle getting back and forth to work on their own. Tell your husband straight up that he needs to support your decision on this, since it’s your job, and you are the one being asked (pressured) to do this. It’s not his call to make, and he should be backing up his spouse!

    Depending on your relationship with your boss, tell him directly that you are not going to do it as you are not a personal taxi service for anyone (I would totally say that to my boss). Or if you can’t be that direct, use Alison’s suggestion that you now have outside commitments before/after work so you are no longer to do it. I would be very vague in what I say and would just keep repeating the same thing over and over if he kept pushing.

    I wonder if your boss or husband would want to drive him around? It’s always the people who aren’t willing to do the task themselves that pressure/bully others into doing it.

  85. Keyboard Cowboy*

    LW4, it’s quite common in my organization for people to include a line like this in their email signature: “I support flexible working arrangements. I’m replying to this email right now because it works with my schedule; please don’t feel the need to adjust your schedule to accommodate mine.” So it’s saying two things: one, I replied because I wanted to right now, don’t worry about it, and two, just because I sent you an email at 2am on a Saturday doesn’t mean I expect a reply from you by 2:03am. By having it in your signature, I think you can safely ignore any protestations people make about your reply time.

    (I suspect this only works well if you’re salaried – replying to work emails off-hours when you’re hourly might be different…)

  86. RedinSC*

    LW 4, one thing to think about is if you are in a state that is really strict about over time.

    If you’re an hourly employee in a state like CA, your supervisors will worry about you working outside of regular business hours and will have to pay you over time for the time you worked to answer those emails.

    So, they would probably prefer you to NOT respond after hours and just wait until the next business day. We specifically told our employees, DO NOT respond after you’ve clocked out for the day.

  87. The deerfox*

    Letter #1: idk if anyone will see this but I’ve been stewing about your letter all day. I’m guessing you’re a woman. If that is the case then the sexism here is astounding. Like it’s your responsibility to take care of this fully capable adult? It’s disgusting that both your boss and your spouse don’t respect you, your time, money, mental well being, west and gate on your car, gas mileage, etc. It’s also disheartening to know your spouse (regardless of your gender) instantly sided with someone besides you. I’m so tired of men being okay with their spouses being treated poorly cause it doesn’t effect them. And maybe if you explain it to him he will care or understand. But I’m also tired of people needing to explain to their husbands that their word and wants have merit. Anyone you’re married to should be on your side. Not the side of some unnamed man. It’s gross and so pervasive. I like Allison’s advice in general but no need to continue this any longer. Just say you’re no longer able to drive him. Full stop. Don’t JADE. You deserve peace. And you are not beholden to the wants of random men in your life. And even if you aren’t a woman – the majority of my comment still stands. Regardless of your gender it’s horrific people have treated you like an indentured servant. You deserve better than this whole situation. Sorry if this is too harsh or too much but I’ve been stewing all day about your letter

  88. DJ*

    Naturally if employees having hours cut to past time go on part unemployment benefits they may be required to actively jobseek but that can’t be helped. Those who aren’t eligible may jobseek due to needing more hours anyhow!

  89. DJ*

    LW#1 point intern to meet up and local Facebook pages suggesting there might be a group that visits various parts of the city (tours, walks, lunches/coffees, photo outings etc)

  90. Flax Dancer*

    LW1: That intern is stunningly presumptuous; he didn’t ASK the LW if he could get an occasional lift to work, he TOLD them that they could pick him up because his home was on their way to work. It never occurred to that intern that the LW might say “No”! And unfortunately, the LW’s manager is backing him up. This is giving that intern a totally distorted idea of professional norms.

    As an intern, he is there to learn how to be a professional; this includes learning workplace norms and basic courtesy, none of which includes telling a colleague to be his ride to work. The intern doesn’t like taking public transportation? Well, I don’t like to pay the high taxes in our county, to do the dishes or to scrub out the bathtub! Recognizing that we often have to do things we don’t like in order to get what we DO like (such as a paycheck or clean dishes) is part of being an adult. Time for that intern to grow up and ride the bus!

  91. DJ*

    LW#2 don’t be pressured to give up your long planned events with out of town family and friends for a work party.
    I remember years back someone was finishing up (contract so knew well in advance the finish date). I spoke to this staff member regarding her farewell ie restaurant preference, work day/time etc that would suit. Then after checking schedules sent an email suggesting a day time and venue.
    The next morning our manager came in and started putting on the guilt trip of how colleague was so stressed out and I was dressing her out more. Guilt trips don’t work on me so I after saying she’s fine with the date etc suggested and said she’s leaving on X date so when do we have it. Her answer “She can come back one day for a lunch after she leaves”. I said “So you expect her take a day off work, drive a long distance incurring petrol and toll costs to muck around with parking when she gets here all because you won’t hold a lunch before her last day.”
    Being our “lunch hour” and thus unpaid I suggested to everyone else we still go but no one was prepared to take a stand against the manager. Of course it never happened!

  92. ItsNotAlwaysAsEasyAsBusesExist*

    I am physically unable to drive. I accepted my first fulltime job after they lied to me about the location. In addition to moving 300 miles on almost no notice, I only discovered the job site wasn’t on public transit nor was it within the limits of where the local cabs services (this predated ride sharing). I ended up taking the bus to a spot where my boss could pick me up and getting driven the rest of the way. I eventually got and paid the work study of a student at the local university but I had to use set hours so if work required me to stay past my schedule time (which happened 2-3x week at least) I had to pay for the ride I didn’t use and my boss still had to drive me home. If it was sufficiently late he had to drive me all the way home, not just to the convenient (for him) spot with bus service. So it’s not always as easy as use the bus. But I still would never assume someone would drive me.

    I will admit nearly 25 years later I resented the hell out of a coworker who lived about a mile away from me and didn’t offer to drive me when he knew my bus trip on days I went into the office was up to 3 hours each way (1.75-2 if I could grab an Express bus). But I never said a word to him about it.

    1. Journey of man*

      It’s good you didn’t guilt them. I’ve offered rides to those without cars in suburban areas. At some point I couldn’t be “expected” to help. “Only a mile” is distance AND time constraints. But this letter is regarding an able-bodied intern having available public transportation who demanded transportation from someone who happens to work at the same office.

    2. Single Noun*

      I feel like that’s on your work for the bait-and-switch with your work site; would you have accepted the job if you knew you couldn’t get to it on your own? I know that’s the first thing I always check out with job listings.

  93. Kristina*

    #4 – use Outlook schedule send function. I often prepare emails on weekends to be send out during work hours on Monday. Makes my Monday a breeze!

  94. Not A Terrible Person*

    Hi all,
    I’m LW1 for the intern question. Thank you for your support and insight, Wow. I’m so appreciative of your comments.

    Some items, to clarify:
    – I’m female; boss is female; husband is male; intern is male.
    – Boss made promises to college consortium and to her boss that intern will have a good experience. Taking on a college intern is a pilot program for us.
    – Intern gets a salary and additional monthly lump sum for living expenses, like rent, transportation, etc.
    – I don’t know how intern found out where I live because I never told him or drove him to my house. I think boss, or coworkers told him.

    I did leave town for work and took a few days off for vacation. When I returned, I found out the intern did find a bicycle to get to work. None of my coworkers nor my boss drove him to and from work while I was gone. He told me he fell off his bike once and hurt himself. I commiserated but did not offer anything more.

    I asked husband why he said it was no big deal and why he did not have my back. He had no response.

    I have learned so much from this. Thank you, kind commenters. You are the best.

  95. UseTheSystemAgainstThem*

    LW#1 – Establish liability in the event of an auto accident. (Hint: it’ll be on your insurance!). Use this as an excuse to get out of the chauffeur services. Don’t ask your boss, ask the HR department. This worked for me when I didn’t want to run errands for the ER doctors at my hospital.

Comments are closed.