update: I resent my employee for being richer and more qualified than me

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer who resented her employee for being richer and more qualified than her? Here’s the update.

Thank you for the reality check needed. I want to be a good manager, I want to be able to make this bakery a good place to work, and a successful business. The owner has been talking about retiring in the next few years, and I would like to be able to buy my bakery and succeed. And I can’t let my insecurities hold me back. It also was a sign that I needed to think about my mental health, and what I actually want for my life. I have very much been in survival mode since I was fifteen.

Jane no longer works at the bakery; her company bought another big company and she was called back to lead her new department, she has also become a senior director now. Before she left, Jane and I talked about the future. She suggested that potentially there were bigger opportunities if I went back and finished high school (I had to drop out when I got pregnant), but also told me about some bookkeeping certifications I could get that would be recognized anywhere nationally, that do not need a high school diploma. It’s still 2,000$, but that’s something I had never thought about.

Something that I hadn’t put in the letter was that my husband is learning to program, and when Jane found out about that, she asked to see what he had built. It impressed her a lot and she had advised my husband to apply to jobs in her company and use her name. He got to the second round, but was eventually unable to be hired because neither of us completed high school, and they couldn’t waive that requirement.

However, it has made my husband go back to night school, and Jane and her husband have been very helpful in finding resources for programing bootcamps, and networking opportunities for my husband. She even managed to get my kid into her company’s free virtual private coding summer camp so my daughter can get a heads up in coding, and see if she likes it.

Things are better. Helped a lot because Jane went back to her real job, and I had to deal with my insecurity.

{ 165 comments… read them below }

    1. duinath*

      jane sounds like such a nice person tbh. i’m glad op has done the work on seeing jane without the resentment.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I commented in the original that Jane sounds lovely. This update confirms it. Jane is not only giving genuinely helpful advice, but is a great business contact: bakery networking.

      2. ferrina*

        Seconding. These OP and Jane both sound like absolutely wonderful people. This is such a wonderful update!

  1. SereneScientist*

    LW, I don’t know you personally but I am so proud of you for tackling this head-on. It’s not easy to accept our insecurities for what they are, but it seems you’ve found a good path forward and I commend you. Best wishes for all that comes ahead!

    1. Up and Away*

      Well put, I feel the same. It takes an emotionally secure person to do what the OP did. For this reason, I feel she will go far in life.

    2. SHEILA, the co-host*

      I agree. It’s so easy to get defensive, especially when Alison and most of the commentariat are calling you out. So refreshing to see LW really dig into the underlying issues and engage in self-reflection. I wish her and her husband the best!

    3. Chauncy Gardener*

      I totally agree. You go, OP! Many wishes for an extremely successful and secure future!

  2. Falling Diphthong*

    OP, I am glad you were able to start breaking down and moving past the insecurity.

  3. Escapee from Corporate Management*

    OP, this is great news. Congratulations on how much has changed for the positive. Now that you can look beyond your insecurities, you can see how Jane can help you. Good luck with all of your efforts–and please, get that high school diploma or GED if you can. It will open so many doors!

    1. Artemesia*

      At this point I would think getting the GED, perhaps taking classes to prepare for it, would be a lot faster and easier than actually trying to go to night school and get a HS diploma. The OP and her husband sound like people with real potential and it is a shame to let something like this hold them back.

      1. Kara*

        Seconding the GED. I’ve been told that your milage may vary on this one, but no one’s ever blinked at my GED and it made a lot of options possible that wouldn’t have been available otherwise. My state offered classes, some of which i think may have been free, and they did a good job at setting me up for the actual test.

      2. Zombeyonce*

        While that’s certainly true for a lot of people, we don’t know how much school they missed (could be half a year, could be over 3 years), and a lot of things on the test can be very hard to learn on your own if you don’t have any of the fundamentals. Night school might make the entire process a lot less frustrating and easier in the long run.

        1. PhyllisB*

          I second this. I dropped out in my senior year because of multiple moves from one state to another. At this time if you were under 20 years old you had to take a six-week class to take your GED.
          I’m so glad I did because I learned more in that class than I did in my last two years of high school. And now even though the age requirement is no longer in place, the GED is much more difficult to pass. Take the classes. It will make all the difference.

        2. GED Recepient*

          There are some really good test prep materials for the GED that can help prepare you.

          I essentially dropped out of high school after my sophomore year, I had to leave the school I was at because of poor grades, did a very lazy version of home schooling for 6 months, and then just… stopped.

          I got my GED when I was 19, so I was out of a classroom for awhile, though obviously not as long as OP and her husband have been, and used test prep materials to refresh.

        3. Not always right*

          I dropped out of high school because it was not a safe place to be. People were threatened and assaulted on a daily basis. I personally was threatened many times. Anyway, I took a free night school course designed to help people prepare for the test. The teacher assigned was great in most areas except math. I actually ended up co teaching the math portion. I ended up dropping the course and just taking the test on my own. it was way easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was sitting behind an elderly man who I totally respected. My issue was that he had digestive issues that would create an almost visible cloud of miasma. I’m happy to say that I passed with flying colors and not one employer batted an eye over my GED

      3. Rex Libris*

        Absolutely this. OP, check with your local public library. They will probably have a wide variety of information, test prep books, contacts for local organizations that help with GEDs, and possibly in-house classes on how to prepare for and succeed at the GED, all free of charge.

        1. Yet Another Librarian*

          I second checking with your local public library. In addition to test prep books and contacts, they may also offer online databases with similar information. One database that my local library has is Learning Express Library. This database has test prep ebooks as well as online practice tests. In addition to the test prep it also has resources for building skills in preparation for the test. Hopefully this is something your local library offers.

          1. Chilipepper Attitude*

            I said this below but I’ll add here, some libraries have a thing called Career Online High School. You get a diploma, not a GED, and they have career tracks like hospitality and tech. So you can work on your skills while getting the degree!

        2. megaboo*

          I agree. We have a program that allows you to receive a high school degree and also does technical training.

        3. another librarian*

          Yes. I work at a public library and we have all this, aside from offering GED classes ourselves. But the local community college does, and we always refer people to them.

        4. Anony vas Normandy*

          A local college or university may also be able to help you, too! The community college here has an adult learning center that offers free GED and HiSET classes through a federal grant.

      4. Christine*

        I teach adult high school. Equivalency tests assume the test taker has the knowledge, so skipping the classes doesn’t work well for those who haven’t acquired that knowledge some other way.
        Many employers also want to see a diploma. One of my students had a bachelor degree but had to return for a high school diploma in order to enter a police program. I’ve had immigrant students with graduate degrees that aren’t recognized by our country.
        The advisors for adult high schools can help figure out the best course. They analyze transcripts and put together an education plan based on the student’s goals.

    2. Observer*

      I agree with this.

      Please get that HS diploma. If you can your husband can’t do it at the same time, when he’s done you do it next. It’s such a small thing, but it can make such a difference.

      And I’m SO glad that your daughter is getting an extra chance. It’s such a big thing to see your kids getting some opportunities that you didn’t have.

    3. FuzzBunny*

      To add to what others have said, check with your local community college. Ours offers free classes for either the GED or the National External Diploma Program (which gets you a diploma issued by the state).

  4. Bookworm*

    This is a great update and I’m glad it seems to have worked out for everyone. Thank you for updating us!

  5. HalJordan*

    This is a TON of growth in six months, OP, well done for taking such a hard look at where this all was coming from. It’s always hard to hear that you’re not in the right, and it’s harder to accept that and work to change.

    Well done for moving past that resentment and allowing your / your family’s new relationship with Jane, and congrats to your husband as well. I hope things continue upwards for all of you, and you get to a place where you don’t even consider these things with your employees in future!

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

      I dunno, I feel like people with lots of privilege being friendly to people with less privilege doesn’t make them angelic. I’m so glad that OP was able to get enough perspective to see that Jane is a nice, normal person and not a monster, but it feels a bit infantalizing to me to try and push the OP towards seeing her as some kind of Great Benefactor.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          I’m not. I’m seeing people recognizing that Jane is trying to help someone they used to work with and socialized with outside of work at least once. You don’t have to be privileged to do that. I’m living paycheck to paycheck and have used my influence to help other people get jobs. I don’t expect a pat on the back for it, but I don’t see anything wrong or patronizing with people acknowledging that Jane is trying to do a nice thing with the influence she has for people she likes and respects.

          1. TeaCoziesRUs*


            Nope, Jane isn’t the Second Coming of Jesus, but it’s nice to see someone (who is in a privileged position and burned out enough from the professional world to seek a quiet position in a bakery) choose to spend a decent amount of time and emotional labor in mentoring another person. I can understand if she was burned out and just wanted a change of pace, less responsibility, etc. and just put her head down and worked. Instead she chose to actively mentor OP, take OP’s entire family under her wing, and help them.

            Jane is a good egg.

          2. Mothman*

            I don’t see it either. I was BEYOND poor for so many years, and it makes me extremely happy to help people now that I’m able to. We know nothing about who Jane actually is other than a hard worker who helps others. This could be her finding joy in having extra. Also, having money scares me more than not having it because of how poverty brain works, and social capital comes with having any money…same thing there.

            Plus, she doesn’t have to. To be frank, most people I know who grew up rich would never sit down and help people like she is, let alone say “hey, it’s okay to use my name to get a job at my company even though you didn’t finish high school.”

      1. DJ Abbott*

        I think some of this might be because many privileged people are not friendly to those with less privilege. So when someone is truly friendly and helpful, it stands out.

      2. Jolie*

        In this particular case though, I do feel like this is beyond “normal levels of nice and friendly”.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Without knowing Jane, it is impossible to tell. We all know someone who if you ask for help will go above and beyond, even for people they are not that close to.

          Additionally, Jane moved to this small town away from her “city life”. Who knows if Jane has really made any friends in this town? She might view OP as her closest friend in this town and of course you support your friends!

  6. Doc McCracken*

    This update makes my heart so happy! OP, not only have you grown through this experience, but the whole future trajectory of your family will be positively impacted for generations. I hope someone else has told you this but just in case, I am so proud of you!

    1. Lizzo*

      ^^This! OP, there’s a lot of good things in store for you. Persevere with the learning (both your education and your self-exploration)–the return on investment will be huge!

  7. JustMe*

    This update is amazing. The original letter makes more sense knowing OP’s background, and I’m very excited to hear that they and their family have found so many new opportunities.

    There are likely several options available for you to complete your HS diploma or its equivalent. If you’re in the US, you may be able to take a GED test and get the credential without needing to spend a lot of time in school; if the test-out option isn’t available, you can often take a night course at your local community college just to make up the few remaining credits you need. Your local Worksource/Workforce center will have information on this, but you can also Google “Adult GED” or “Adult Diploma Programs” to get a sense of what the options are. I used to work with a lot of people in your situation and people frequently reported to me that it was easier and faster than they expected. Good luck!

    1. Liz the Snackbrarian*

      I was also thinking it makes a lot more sense with all of the added context.

    2. AK (they/them)*

      Adding on to this: I work at a community college, and we refer to it as the HISET (High school equivalency Test) too, so if you can’t find results when you search for the GED, you might also try HISET + “local community college.” And people at community colleges usually absolutely LOVE to help out, so you might even call the advising office and ask about how to prepare or where to start looking for resources.

      1. higheredadmin*

        Adding on to this: depending on what state you live in, community college can be a very low-cost and effective way to continue your education and get certifications that are recognized. In some states, it can even be free! (And there can be scholarships available for not just tuition, but for childcare and other costs.)

        1. There You Are*

          And if OP ever does own the bakery and hopes to make it successful, a few business courses from the local community college would go a long way.

        2. Lyudie*

          One of my local community colleges has a small business educational program to help new business owners learn about owning and running their own business. I don’t know how universal that is but worth looking into something like that in OP’s area.

  8. Cat Lady turned Dog Mom*

    I love seeing personal growth happen for the better!! Good luck OP on your journey and I hope nothing but the best for you and your family!

  9. Excalibur*

    Jane is a great example of using her privilege to help raise others up. OP, I hope you do the same when you are in a position to do so.

  10. Juicebox Hero*

    Good for you, OP. The comments must have been a real gut check, so kudos for taking the advice to heart and taking stock of your own issues. I’m glad Jane turned out to be a great source of advice and help for you.

    Once your husband finishes up his diploma, he will be able to get a better job and help out your finances, and please use some of that money to get your diploma for yourself as well as the bookkeeping courses. That will help you a lot, especially if you do buy the bakery and then will have to take care of ordering supplies, doing payroll, and other business tasks.

  11. learnedthehardway*

    I’m so glad that you were able to get over your insecurity and that Jane has been a mentor to you and your husband. It is very unfair that a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to pursue their education when they are young, or that they have to struggle much harder than others to get their education as adults.

    I think it says a lot of good things about you that you were able to realize that your resentment was really about your own insecurities, rather than about Jane. That speaks to good character and good self-insight, which is just as important (even more important, in fact) as education.

    1. Silver Robin*

      +1 knowing/understanding oneself is huge, as is the ability to work through tricky emotions holding one back. Major points to OP on both counts!

  12. Jess*

    OP, I totally get where your anger was coming from. The same thing happened in my hometown, which went from affordable to breathtakingly unaffordable over the course of the pandemic. The influx of professionals was ultimately a vast wave of poverty creation because of what it did to rent and house prices – doubling or more over three years. Anybody who already owned a house in town was sitting pretty, so it was encouraged. There was no budget or thought to social housing for people who were priced out. And now the town’s middle class is – shocked! – by the homelessness crisis. I’m glad for you that you figured out what was right for you in this case.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      Gentrification is so tough and difficult to deal with. One person/family can be a gentrifier, but one person/family can’t cause gentrification all on their own. And one person can’t stop it either, even if they choose not to take advantage of it for themselves; they lose out, and someone else will come in and buy the house priced at what no local can afford.

      The thing is where I live locals who do own their own home are facing rocketing property taxes that can cause the poorest people who own their home (maybe even inheirited with no mortgage) to lose their home. Not to mention rocketing price of homeowner’s insurance / impossible to get homeowner’s insurance because of climate change/natural disaster.

      I understand why the LW is upset about it. But I am not sure that blaming and hating the individuals works/helps someone like the LW. The system is broken, people are taking advantage of it, and it encourages gentrification. I think the fix needs to be in the system somewhere, though.

    2. marvin*

      Yes, I really understand where the letter writer’s frustration was coming from. There are so many structural forces creating barriers for them and their husband, although they both sound like ambitious, hard-working people. It is very unfair. It takes a lot to be able to work through the resentment that is so natural in this situation and to be able to build a healthier relationship with Jane, so I commend them for that. I’m glad that Jane is willing to share the knowledge and resources she has as well.

  13. Elinor*

    OP, You clearly were a good manager for Jane. She wouldn’t have been so helpful and encouraging if she hadn’t enjoyed the workplace.
    Good luck to you and your family.

    1. Silver Robin*

      I was thinking the same! OP clearly treated Jane well; an obviously insecure/resentful manager was not going to get the kind of help Jane offered. So even when OP was feeling upset, none of that came through to Jane, which reflects really well on OP’s ability to manage even when they have lots of feelings about their reports.

  14. Prospect Gone Bad*

    FWIW I used to also be jealous of people with more money and constantly compare myself to people (I would assume most people have had moments like this, so don’t judge:-/). But as I got older, and made more myself, I realized a few things. One, taxes are ridiculously high and the take home is always a lot less than I thought it would be. Two, many people earning more still live way above their means and once you hit a certain point in your career where you can no longer job-hop, the idea of living paycheck to paycheck with a huge mortgage and a huge car loan, with your finances held together by scotch tape – you get more content not living like that. three, some people move in and out of an enviable status. I live in a HCOL area and have known many FORMER directors and VPs that still talk about their heyday of the few years they lived the life, then got laid off or the company folded or got sold, and they never worked at that level again. So I started getting a bit more sympathy, when you realize the “they’re doing better than us” may indeed be temporary. Lastly, some high earners don’t save as much as they should or max their retirement accounts. Once you get into your 40s you very well may have cases where someone with an average salary has the same net worth as someone who is higher up the ladder, just by virtue of dilligently saving for retirement through the ups and downs of the market

    1. Queen Ruby*

      2nd the moving in and out of an enviable status! My early career was great – I had the fancy apartment in a fancy neighborhood in a big city, a brand new car, money to do whatever I wanted without worrying much. Then I got laid off, got a very nice severance, and went back for a full-time masters. I assumed things would be even better after I graduated, but nope! I had to start basically from scratch, and it took me 11 years to get back to where I was before going back to school. There was nothing enviable about those 11 years! And the regret and shame I’ve felt still haven’t gone away.

  15. Dust Bunny*

    Things are better. Helped a lot because Jane went back to her real job, and I had to deal with my insecurity.

    I don’t want to dampen this too much, but what also helped a lot was that Jane gave you a lot of ideas and support and did a lot to enable you to get yourself out of a bit of a hole. If not having her there mutes the focus on your insecurities for a little longer and gives you space to deal with them, so be it, but it’s not the primary thing that helped.

    Side note: If you’re in the US, your local school district may offer GED classes. I just checked and mine offers them both in-person and online for free, and also offers GED test vouchers. I don’t know how universal that is, and I’m in/near a very large urban area that probably has more resources than many, but there is some support. It looks like my local community college also offers GED classes.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Yeah, that really stuck out to me too.

      – tried to get your husband hired at her job
      – gave you some actionable career advice
      – helped your husband find resources for programming bootcamps
      – got your daughter into a free virtual coding program at her work

      That is a tremendous amount of support and kindness and Jane sounds pretty awesome.

      1. 2 Cents*

        Which, as others pointed out above, Jane probably wouldn’t have offered if OP hadn’t been a good manager to Jane. OP, I commend you for taking a look inward, and to your husband for going back to school. I wish you all the best!

    2. Sharkie*

      Yes! Also depending on your state, your high school HAS to keep your records for 10-15 years after you were supposed to graduate so you can start up again without losing credits!

      1. Sharkie*

        I mean considering how…. irrational? Angry? OP was in the original letter, this added context is helpful. Instead of digging in their heels, they actually reflected and grew. Are they using Jane? Sure. Is Jane offering because she sees how hard OP life had been and wants to help someone? Yeah. I am not totally comfy with all the rah rah, but I am happy that OP is making the steps to reflect and be a better person.

        1. J!*

          Yeah, how many times have we seen a letter like the first one where the LW comes back (either in the comments or in an update) and just doubles down on how Alison was wrong and we all just wanted to see them fail.

          It is awesome that Jane turned out to be a great resource AND that the OP did some self-reflection and figured out how to get out of their own feelings/way.

          1. Sharkie*

            yes! The Phoenix University / ITT Tech grad letter from a few years ago come to mind. They were over the top rude.

        2. Quill*

          Jane and OP appear to have created a relationship with some kind of mutual benefit. OP sounds happier and clearly also was able to communicate much more kindly to Jane than the letter would indicate, which is not actually uncommon with people writing in to advice columns – the anonymity lets people put their worst thoughts all together in one place. So overall I feel like this was a situation where OP’s feelings were understandable but the way she wanted to act on them was not acceptable, so fortunately she wrote in and Allison was able to give advice.

  16. Florp*

    I love the updates where reason wins out and things get better. I hope everyone concerned is well, peaceful, and happy!

    1. starsaphire*

      Same. It’s such a breath of fresh air, for sure!

      Wishing all the best for OP, Jane, and their families!

  17. Liz the Snackbrarian*

    Great update, OP. Congrats to your husband on going back to night school. I hope you go back to school. Good things lie ahead for you!

  18. Pam Troglodytes*

    I’ve never read an update that made me cry- but this one did. I really felt for both you, OP, and Jane. Maybe your next career step could be making this into an amazing movie :)

  19. Merci Dee*

    OP, you can do this.

    When my mom was young, she quit high school after her junior year in order to get married. Over the years, she had four kids, divorced her first husband, and had been married to my dad for about two years when she decided she wanted to finish her high school education, and she wanted to go back for her senior year to do it. She had to get special permission from the county board of education and special permission from the principal of the school she would attend. After some conversation with the principal, who initially had concerns about the arrangement because my brother was going to be a freshman at the same high school the year that she would be a senior, my mom was allowed to enroll, and she graduated with her diploma at the end of the year.

    My mom did a lot of things during her life that I was proud of her for, but that was probably one of the biggest things that made me the most proud (even though I had to hear about it all second-hand because I hadn’t been born yet.)

    1. RenoVickie*

      OMG I’M A YOUNG ADULT NOVELIST AND THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT ONE. Now my day is shot pondering the possibilities.

      1. Rose*

        Omg the mom and son in high school together… the possibilities are endless. This is an amazing story. Merci Dee if you see this and are comfortable answering, dying to know how old your mom was and how your brother handled it. This is such a great story.

    2. TeaCoziesRUs*

      I have had this as a recurring dream for years… all of a sudden I’m back in high school in my 30s or 40s. Kudos to your mom for dealing with all the bureaucratic red tape (and teenage / teacher weirdness) to go through that!

      Also, if you’ve never seen the music video for “Is There Life Out There?” by Reba McEntire, it might bring a smile to your face. :)

  20. Lavender*

    That’s really great to hear. The fact that Jane has gone so far out of her way to help you and your family says a lot about her, but it also says a lot about YOU – she wouldn’t have done those things if she didn’t believe you were a good manager with the potential to succeed in a higher-paying industry. I wish you all the best!

  21. Anonymous 75*

    good for you LW, introspection is hard and you really should be proud of yourself.

    I went back and read the original letter and some of the comments and I can only hope that some of the commenters can exhibit the same sort of self-reflection.

  22. Observer*

    OP, I want to say that I’m really happy for you that things are looking up for you.

    I also want to say that many of us who are urging you to find a way to at least get your HS diploma, and try for the bookeeping certificate after that if you can get it. We get the struggle and that it’ s almost certainly not something you can do with snap of your fingers. (I remember when my mother got her HS diploma, if that tells you anything.) We get that it’s likely to be hard, but it’s also likely to be very beneficial to you (and your daughter.)

    Also, I hope that once your husband has his HS diploma he can reapply either at Jane’s company or elsewhere and move up. He sounds like a smart guy with good skills to offer.

  23. JustaTech*

    Oh OP, I’m so happy for you! I just want to hug everyone!
    Jane was awesome for suggesting those classes and offering her name for your husband, your husband is great for taking those classes to get his degree and you’re awesome for being ready to take your classes but also for having the sense/smarts/perspective to ask for advice in the first place, and be able to take Alison’s feedback to heart. Not everyone can do that.

    Wishing you all the very best!

  24. Lenora Rose*

    I know the bananapants ones are popular (for a reason) but THESE are the updates I live for; people who learned to be even better people, and whose lives look better for the reality check. This one just made me happy.

    Keep going, OP. The bookkeeping certificate sounds like a fantastic opportunity.

    And one thing I’ve seen in almost every adult student going back to get their high school or equivalent; most of them do well even if they aren’t academically minded, because now they’re actually motivated and doing it for themselves.

    1. Properlike*

      “one thing I’ve seen in almost every adult student going back to get their high school or equivalent; most of them do well even if they aren’t academically minded, because now they’re actually motivated and doing it for themselves.”

      THIS. I teach at a community college. Almost always, the highest performers are the ones who return to finish a degree. They know what’s at stake. OP, when you do go back for your GED/equivalency, CC can be a great place to do it because they offer free tutoring and other resources. Use all of them.

      It’s a great lesson in “networking” — it can happen anywhere. Treat others well and they will often return the kindness in unexpected ways.

    2. Pescadero*

      My experience is also that once you’ve had a real have to show up and put in 40 hours a week job – the effort level necessary to do OK in a GED/Community College program just isn’t as daunting as it is to someone coming straight out of high school.

  25. PieAdmin*

    Sounds like Jane got a few lucky breaks in life (or maybe didn’t, who knows) and is paying it forward to people who she knows are smart, excellent workers who haven’t been so lucky. So glad OP didn’t fire Jane!

  26. Sybil Writes*

    Great update! So happy that things are on the upswing. I appreciate being reminded that sometimes when I meet a person who intimidates me, I need to actively choose whether to foster resentment or seek inspiration or (as it sounds in your case) even recognize a potential mentor.
    Best of luck to you and keep moving forward. It sounds like you’ve been an incredibly hard worker for a long time. Keep showing up for yourself and your family and amazing things will be ahead.

    1. Aelfwynn*

      This reminds me of something I read recently — “jealousy is admiration turned sour.”

  27. Aelfwynn*

    I just adore this update. So often this world seems to encourage us to see the other folks around us as the problem (those who have more or less than us, those who are different than we are, etc. etc.), and it prevents us from allowing us to help each other through life. This is such a beautiful example of what can happen when we get out of our own way and let folks help us.

    You have good things coming your way, OP. I admire your ability to self-reflect and change course! What a lovely example both you and Jane are setting.

  28. Boss Scaggs*

    Maybe I’m just sentimental but I’d like to see Jane and the OP team up and buy a bakery together

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      This feels like a pretty uncharitable interpretation.

      OP very clearly said her husband is going for his diploma.

      Perhaps tackled was the wrong word used, maybe faced would have been better, but OP has acknowledged and named the source of her insecurity. And she’s considering options on how to move on. That’s a pretty big deal and hard to do.

      It’s very easy to say oh just go get your GED/diploma. Consider that school is not necessarily easy or a good time for some. It requires time on top of already working what are probably pretty hard jobs plus whatever responsibilities at home. Consider people dont know what they dont know. I know theres resources out there because I’m familiar with government programs. I know how to search for info on these things because I learned how in school. Not everyone has the same background.

      1. Dahlia*

        In rural areas, getting GED testing can be an absolute pain. The nearest testing center to me is 50 highway miles away. If you don’t drive… what then?

    2. Higher Ed*

      The letter writer stated they’ve been in survival mode since being a teen. Your comment is pretty judgmental. They wrote in looking for advice, which they seem to have taken to heart, and their situation seems to be improving.

    3. Jess*

      Everyone saying, correctly, that this is a great update has a working concept of the price of time for people with children and underpaid hourly jobs in cities where they can hardly make rent.

    4. MsM*

      In addition to a +1 to everything Fluffy Fish said about “just get your GED already” being easy to say, but not necessarily all that easy to do when you’ve got kids and a business to run and it’s been a while since you were last in school and it was difficult enough the first time around, I think “I really shouldn’t let my jealousy get in the way of maintaining a good or at least cordial business relationship with this person” is solid growth in and of itself. How many fewer bad manager letters would we have if more people were willing to do that kind of introspection?

      1. Irish Teacher*

        And then there are things like mental health issues, which the LW implies they may have and negative previous experiences with education and self-esteem issues which may make it very difficult for a person to decide to return to education, especially if they feel they won’t pass anyway (not saying the LW thinks this way, but we don’t know). This may be exacerbated if they have any learning difficulties.

        I really doubt this is a case of the LW being unaware of the existance of GED classes or vouchers (assuming they are in the US, but the references to high school and dollars make it sound like they might be). It’s far more likely to be a question of the time commitment, while working full-time as a manager (which likely means more responsibility than a non-managing role), raising a child and with a partner attending night school, so it is possible/probable that she is doing the lion’s share of childcare and housework at the moment. I don’t think I could do that and I had an extremely good experience of education, love learning and have no mental health or trauma issues or any doubts about my ability to achieve in an academic environment.

        I have the utmost respect for anybody who returned to education as an adult, especially while raising children. It can’t be easy.

        And I think the fact that she seems to have developed a friendship with Jane or at least that Jane thinks highly enough of her to offer help and advice implies that she has tackled her insecurities. If she seemed resentful and grudging towards Jane, I really doubt Jane would want to help her or spend time with her, so it seems like she got over that and was able to develop a friendship with Jane. I think that is awesome.

        And I assume the bookkeeping course is more use to her than a GED, not that she is thinking of doing it instead of a GED, but rather that it might be easier to do that than to take her GED and then to take an equivalent course to that that requires a GED.

        (Not all of this is really a response to your comment, MSM. You just said some stuff related to what I intended to so it was easier to reply to you than just repeat stuff you said or seem like I’m leaving stuff out.)

        1. Umami*

          All of this. We don’t know why OP wasn’t able to finish high school or get her GED, so she shouldn’t be judged. I was a stellar student who, because of circumstances well outside of my control, did not go to college right away and joined the military instead. I would not have a college degree today if out weren’t for that, but even as a great student it was HARD going to the local university to enroll and learn i had to take a test first when i had been out of school for 8 years. OP could have been a great student, but being out of school for awhile and going back is incredibly daunting.

      2. Meep*

        I have been on the receiving end on OP’s mindset. Do I come from a place of privilege in that I didn’t have to pay for schooling and have higher education? Of course! Heck, I walked away with a tidy sum in a trust fund because multiple people were paying for my education. However, I watched my manager look at my privilege and her “misfortunate” (she was VP for a tech company without a college diploma and a GED – made the most money while I did her job on top of my own – she was very fortunate all things considered) and equate it to everyone with a college education was a spoiled brat. She completely ignored the debt many of our interns/contractors were in just working for us, because anyone who went to college had “mommy’s and daddy’s money” and they were taking care of it. It was gross. Especially because it led to her withholding wages (illegal) and stealing from them by making them buy her things.

        I am for one, grateful OP self-reflected and decided not to go this route.

    5. FaintlyMacabre*

      I believe the $2,000 was for the bookkeeping certificates, not the GED. Which seems like a positive growth endeavor to me!

    6. HA2*

      LW did not fire Jane, and clearly continued to be friendly and helpful to Jane – enough that Jane reciprocates and was in turn helpful and friendly to OP and her husband. As far as I can tell, in terms of the relationship with Jane, OP DID successfully tackle all the issues that were standing in the way of that.

      The post was not about whether OP is taking the right approach to get a high school degree.

  29. Fluffy Fish*

    As your husband (and I hope you) get that high school diploma, know that your local library is a great resource!

    You may find some by poking around their website (mine has resources for homework help for example), but also don’t be afraid to go in and ask if they have any resources for adults working towards their diploma or GED.

    1. OyHiOh*

      At least one library district in my region runs a full fledged, accredited, diploma issuing high school for adults program, as well as GED prep. There are robust similar programs in the community college systems here as well, but for some people, going to the library feels more approachable than a “college.” The high school diploma program graduates around 20 adults every spring. It’s utterly joyous.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        That’s wonderful!

        Librarians are also amazing at knowing what is out there in the community for resources as well.

        I really hope OP reads this. I know it can be utterly overwhelming to get started and even know where to start. Your library is almost always a good place to start.

  30. New Senior Mgr*

    Jane could be a great (official or unofficial) mentor to you and/or hubby. Please consider. Glad things are looking up and fingers crossed that you can take ownership of the bakery.

  31. Three Flowers*

    LW, this is amazing! Not only have *you* done the work of moving from directing resentment at Jane to insight into where your resentment comes from, you’ve got new paths forward! Absolutely go get your GED, and see if you qualify for financial aid at a local college (community or otherwise) for a certificate or associate’s degree. Some colleges have special support programs (financial and academic re-entry) for non-traditional students, first-generation college students, and/or students with kids. You can do this! (For what it’s worth, I teach at a college, and you are a better writer than many of my students. You’re totally capable of finishing your diploma and pursuing more education. Don’t hesitate to use support resources to help you adjust and balance your responsibilities so you can really shine.)

    1. Three Flowers*

      Note: specific advice is from a US perspective. I saw $ and made assumptions. If you live somewhere with a different dollar, the terminology and details might vary. But the spirit is the same: you can do this!

  32. RaginMiner*

    What a nice update! We all rise by lifting others. I’m glad you were able to conquer some of your insecurities, and get some new opportunities (and a new friend) out of it.

  33. NotYourLawyer*

    As a fellow high school drop-out, I understand how “othering” it can feel. I’ve literally gotten my GED, graduated college, and attended law school…but the second someone finds out I didn’t graduate high school, I’m 17 years old again, and wildly insecure in myself.

    You can still do anything you want in this life as long as you’re breathing. Best of luck to you.

    1. Properlike*

      NotYourLawyer – tell your 17 year-old self that future people who hear your path are going to be more impressed with your accomplishments than if you’d done it the “traditional” way. I know I am.

      1. Umami*

        Agreed!! I used to be so embarrassed that I didn’t go straight to college like literally all of my peers, but I have learned that more people find inspiration from how I’ve gotten where I am when I’m just open about it. As a female, I am always tapped to be a speaker for Veterans Day for that reason. I can say that while I’m still a little embarrassed, I’m no longer ashamed.

      2. Avery*

        I am, too, and I’m in the legal field myself!
        Honestly, it’s a lot more impressive for someone to have that law school degree after facing some sort of adversity/inopportune circumstances (not that I know your life, but I assume there was some such cause for dropping out of high school) than for someone to do the same after being raised in a wealthy, amicable family, having access to higher education taken for granted, and having everything handed to them on a silver platter.
        Way to go, NotYourLawyer! You may not be my lawyer, but I bet I’d be perfectly happy being your paralegal!

        1. NotYourLawyer*

          Paralegals are the best people. I have deeply adored every paralegal I’ve ever worked with. I would walk on glass for them.

          And thank you for the kind words. I definitely came up differently than most of the people in my graduating class. But I think it made me a better lawyer (I represent kids in foster care–whose stories and struggles I relate to more than the other lawyers in my office).

          1. TeaCoziesRUs*

            I love people like you… Brilliant and driven who choose to protect / teach / advocate for / blaze a path for those who are where you were. Serious respect.

      3. Emmy Noether*

        Also agreed! What you did shows a lot of admirable qualities. Following the same beaten path as “everyone” is overrated, and I’ve found that the older I get and the more life and it’s complications happen to the people I know, the less they believe it’s even desirable to all have gotten where we are the same way.

      4. Irish Teacher*

        Same here. As I said above, I have the utmost respect for those who take such non-traditional paths. They are usually more difficult.

        I have a colleague who, while she did complete school, had some difficulties doing so, and repeated her Leaving Cert. in her twenties and started college at a later stage than most people. She is truly brilliant and is an amazing teacher; she’s implied herself that the latter is partly because she knows what it is like to struggle in education.

        To the LW, there are plenty of people who got their education a bit later, for all kinds of reasons. I hope things work out for you.

        1. londonedit*

          Yep – it’s very different here and there’s no graduating/not graduating from secondary school, but five C-or-above passes at GCSE including English and Maths (or the modern equivalent; the gradings are done using numbers 1-9 now and I think the equivalent is level 4) is generally seen as the minimum requirement to move on into further education. GCSEs are the exams we take in Year 11 here in England, at the age of 16. Some entry-level jobs will also ask for the same. I have a friend who achieved a D in her Maths GCSE aged 16 – she’s built a good career for herself since, but she’s always been slightly ashamed that, while she technically passed, she didn’t have the magic A*-C grade. So a few years ago she decided she was going to retake her GCSE Maths. She did a course of evening classes which took about a year, and then joined a class of 16-year-olds at the local college to sit the exam, which she said was terrifying. But she got her C grade, and now she can put ‘5 GCSE passes above C level, including English and Maths’ on her CV and no one has to know she didn’t get the Maths grade until she was in her 40s.

    2. Umami*

      I used to be embarrassed by my non-ttaditional path, but I’ve learned that people respond better to the truth than in assuming my path was easy. I am often invited to be on panel discussions because my outward appearance and my actual trajectory to success are so out of alignment. It helps for prospective student to see that even those they assume have privilege can actually relate to them on some level.

  34. Jade*

    I’m glad you’ve come to terms with the fact that your success in life has nothing to do with Jane. It sounds painful and terrible to be consumed with bitterness and I’m glad you worked past it.

  35. LovelyTresses*

    This is a wonderful update! People often underestimate how much insecurity not finishing high school (or college!) can be, but it’s so clear from both of your letters that you’re incredibly smart and motivated. Keep pushing forward — if you have a GoFundMe to raise the $ for the bookkeeping certification, please post the link. I’d love to contribute a few dollars.

  36. Chilipepper Attitude*

    I’m so sorry I missed this the first time!
    Check at your local library. There is a nationwide tool called Career Online Highschool that many libraries offer for free. You do not get a GED with this, you get a high school diploma and you can focus on a track like hospitality (for you) and tech (for your husband).

    My son has a GED, no one has ever cared, and he works in tech (was a sys admin, now is higher, but I’m not sure what it is all called). So this is a great option!

    Lovely update and I wish you and your husband every success!!

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Oh, and the Career Online High School is all online (it is in the name!) though you would have to do the initial interview and set up at the library.

    2. Umami*

      So true! I finished high school, but my brother who is a year older dropped out and later got his GED. I have a Ph.D. now and make a good living, while he has a GED and makes way more money. Not that $ = success, but if you love what you do and have the credentials needed to do it, that’s all that matters.

  37. ZK*

    I’m glad this is a good update for everyone. Jane sounds like she is a good egg, and a great contact to keep. And definitely look in to bookkeeping, even if you only ever use it for your bakery, it’s a good skill to have when running a business.

  38. Umami*

    What an inspiring update! OP, have you considered getting your GED? If you have a local community college that would be a great resource for doing so, and they may even help defray the cost of testing. They would also be a great resource for college classes in your field once you have your GED. GOOD LUCK!

  39. Dread Pirate Roberts*

    This is such a lovely update! Both the OP and Jane sound like good people. Congratulations on working on those insecurities, OP – it sounds like you’ve come so far.

  40. Marigold*

    I am from Montana and so I understand this resentment. It’s sad it happened but at least Jane is using her privilege for good. She not only gave suggestions but acted on them too.

    1. Marigold*

      To clarify- it’s sad people are moving in and pricing out long time residents from the housing market.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I knew what you meant. And yeah, it is seriously great that Jane is helping out other people. There is so much to be happy about in this update.

    2. JaneLoe*

      This update gave me faith in the world : ) It sounds like Jane has done some very kind things for the OP and we can learn from her example.

  41. Meep*

    I remember being really worried about this as I have been in Jane’s position but watched a manager in OP’s position take her insecurities out on my perceived “better-off” colleagues because they managed to go to college (ignoring their mountains of out-of-state debt).

    I am very happy that was unfounded. Best of luck to you in opening your bakery!

  42. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

    Congratulations OP! You clearly did a good job managing Jane since she has gone out of her way to be helpful to you. One personal note I want to add because of all the commenters talking about pursuing your GED: a close friend of mine did poorly academically in high school, and he felt somewhat trapped in his job by his lack of HS diploma. He kept getting injured on the job and his wife pushed and pushed and he did finally enroll to get his GED (in his 40s). He was really dreading it because of trauma from HS the first time around, and feeling ‘too old’ and ‘less than’ and like he was not smart. He did GREAT! He was the star student and kept going and also got his Bachelor’s degree and has a whole new career now (auto glass tech to HS teacher). It was like night and day from his prior academic experience. It turned his self-esteem around. It sounds like you are happy in your job, but if that ever changes, just wanted to share this story.

  43. MauvaisePomme*

    Hey, OP, I don’t know you, but I’m really proud of you! Self reflection and growth are so, so difficult, and you’ve done more in the last six months than many people are capable of doing in a lifetime.

    Jane sounds like a complete gem of a human being, but I also can sympathize with your negative feelings from the first letter. We’re living in a bit of a dystopia at the moment when it comes to cost of living and the ways that social forces like gentrification, giant corporations gobbling residential properties, and the dispersal of the highly paid tech worker class across traditionally lower COL cities have affected housing prices. It’s easy to be frustrated and feel despair in this situation, and I can see why Jane felt in that moment like a representation of this unfair system you’re being crushed under.

    Ultimately, it’s great that you were able to reframe and recognize that Jane is not herself the problem, and to be able to accept her help in looking for new opportunities. Both you and Jane sound awesome, and I truly wish you the best.

  44. ReallyBadPerson*

    Well done, LW! It gives me such hope to see someone change and grow after recognizing areas where they need it. I wish you much success as you move upward in your career.

  45. Temperance*

    OP, you’ve done a lot of hard work on yourself, and Jane sounds like a genuinely helpful, nice person who wants to support you and make life better for your family.

    My BIL just got his GED last year, at age 35. I think you should go for it, too. I think many people don’t realize how frankly common it is to not finish high school in some areas/circumstances, but I am confident that if you’re able to get a GED or diploma, using any of the awesome resources mentioned here, your family’s life will change for the better.

    That said, you should be very proud of what you and your husband were able to accomplish without finishing high school. In this day and age, it’s a true feat because a GED or diploma is considered the bare minimum requirement for most jobs.

  46. Delta Delta*

    This was definitely an update I was hoping to see! with the original letter I was really hoping OP could figure out how to make her relationship with Jane one to learn from, not one to be intimidated by or jealous of. And you just never know where the relationship will continue to lead. I’m so happy to read this and happy for OP and her husband to work on continued forward movement!

  47. Lirael*

    can anyone translate between UK and US qualifications for me? I’m reading that GED would be the equivalent of needing GCSE Maths and English in the UK in terms of being non-negotiable (although I presume that GED is a more general record of education rather than the two specific subjects)

    1. The frogs are okay*

      GED is now often known as HiSET. 5 subjects, timed, all multiple choice except for writing which included an essay. Reading 65 minutes, writing 2 hours multiple choice and an essay, math hour and a half, science 80 minutes, and social studies (history, geography, political science) 70 minutes. You can take them all in one day or break them up.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      The GED is equivalent* of graduating US high school (12th grade, secondary school). The GED measures “proficiency in science, mathematics, social studies, reading, and writing” (quoting Wikipedia here).

      *equivalent for the purposes of most job education requirements

  48. Enn Pee*

    My local community college is part of a network of schools that offers a program called “Gateway to College.” In our school, GtC is mostly for younger people who have not completed high school (ages 16-20) but I do not think it is restricted to people in that age range.
    The program enables you to finish high school while gaining credits at the community college. If you want to get your bookkeeping certificate, and your community college offers Gateway to College, you may want to ask if you are eligible. Where I live, there are scholarships so it is VERY low-cost to the student.

  49. career coach near the sea*

    Excellent job– and please, continue to pursue your high school equivalency. It’s great that your husband is doing it, but you should have this credential as well. You never know what your future holds and your financial security will only benefit your household whether you are a two income family or you are relying solely on your own income. Best, best wishes.

  50. Numbat*

    I get the feeling there will be another beautiful update in a couple years. Best of luck OP, you have a great future ahead.

  51. Ged instructor*

    OP – if you are wanting to see about getting your GED, go to ged.com and make an account. It is free and will help you find classes in your area to help you prepare. Things vary by state, but in Illinois there are free GED classes offered through the community Colleges in the state. You do not have to take a class to prepare for the tests – you can study on your own and take the tests. Ged.com also has practice tests you can take to get an idea of what you need to study. They are $6.50 each, so not too much money and like the actual tests, you can take them one at a time. If you are going to study on your own, I would recommend starting with the Reasoning through Language Arts test, as Social Studies and Science both have a lot of reading comprehension on them and will be easier if you have the RTLA skills. (I teach GED classes in Illinois and would be happy to answer questions if it would help).
    And just for general information, there are 2 High School Equivalency exams – the GED and the HiSET. The state you are in determines which one you need to take.

  52. TG*

    Wow Jane went way above and beyond so I hope you recognize that / helping you and your husband and your child that way shows a big heart and caring! It sounds like you’re taking full advantage and I hope your husband gets his GED or high school diploma because doors will definitely open for him with that and he sounds very smart to be picking up programming. Starting young is key so it’s great your daughters getting into it as well!
    Best of luck to all of you!

  53. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Yeah I had to put up with that, twice in my career.

    Once, I had a manager who was definitely making more dough than I was – but he had a lifestyle where he had a wife and a girlfriend. He left his first wife and three kids for his girlfriend (alimony , child support, CA-CHING!!) – married his “other woman” and immediately took on ANOTHER woman. Even though I made a lot less, I managed the money – and my life – a lot better.

    I had another boss who resented that my mortgage was nearly paid (I bought my house just before the “Carter Inflation” of the late 70s-early 80s) and he was just starting out in the early 90s. I could take my family to Disney World, and he had to stay home and do day trips.

    It can cause distress. You just have to laugh it off and let it roll off your back, live with it as best as you can.

  54. Seeking Second Childhood*

    One last thought. Jane might not have been getting paid twice — the sabbaticals at my company are strictly unpaid.

  55. Festively Dressed Earl*

    All the commenters here from every walk of life have pulled out the pom poms and are cheering you on! I wish we could pass someone’s hat for the bookkeeping certification. Keep moving forward, and please update us again on how you’re doing!

  56. Michelle Smith*

    OP, I want to give you a big hug. It takes a lot of character to send out a public update saying “hey I made a mistake and learned from it” knowing you may still be criticized yet again. I think you’re pretty great for your self-awareness and your willingness to listen to difficult feedback. I hope you (and your husband btw) are able to meet your goals, whether that’s buying the bakery or whatever else you choose to do in life. I’m rooting for y’all!!

  57. TeaCoziesRUs*

    OP, you are amazing! Jane is amazing! THANK YOU for sharing the continuation of your story (and I sincerely hope we get an update on a year or two that both you and hubby have your diplomas and are enjoying your professional lives while your daughter thrives in her own way). It takes tremendous courage to accept the invitation to growth which is buried within hardships. I’m so glad that you had the courage to write in to Alison, to read her words (and the commentariat’s) with an open heart and curious mind, and use this as a reason to seek growth! All the Internet hugs of celebration, good vibes, and other love from this Internet stranger. May you continue to grow.

  58. Katie*

    When I read the initial story, I had 2 prevailing thoughts:

    1) How cool is that that OP is analyzing her feelings and can actually admit she is resentful. When I first went to therapy, I was actually blocking all “bad” feelings. I feel like OP is going through a huge personal growth and that is such a wonderful journey!

    2) OMG, I totally understand why the whole money thing feels unfair, but if you step back a little – can you imagine, what Jane did in order to be able to earn this much? And even get a paid year off? She was probably the star employee! And she probably worked her ass off and got tired as hell. Also, she definitely spent time and effort getting her degree, which I know isn’t that easy. I mean, she wasn’t earning more while doing something on a lower position than you, she probably got paid less in a bakery. Everything else she was getting was what she earned somewhere else, and it most definitely wasn’t easy.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to wear someone else’s shoes, I get that. This is why this forum is so helpful – it gives you a perspective.

    And I am truly happy for how things changed over the past 6 months. Keep going, girl! I feel you!

Comments are closed.