updates: my dad has been applying to jobs pretending to be me, and more

Welcome to “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! Between now and the end of the year, I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. My dad has been applying to jobs pretending to be me

Your advice and all the comments really did help to open my eyes about my predicament.

I really wish I could give a better update, but I’m still living with my parents unfortunately. My dad has thankfully stopped sending out those applications, I cited you as a source of professional advice, and that really helped! Also, all the comments did really open my eyes to how controlling, manipulative, abusive and downright vile both my parents could be… let’s just say a lot has happened this past year. My mental health hasn’t been the best either and I unfortunately haven’t had much luck at gaining steady employment, although I do have some work placement and internship experience under my belt now, so there’s that! I’ve also completed some courses to help me gain further skills for the industries I’m interested in, so I feel a little more confident in myself and the direction I want my career to go in. Even if it’s not much, I still want to feel hopeful about the future.

A lot of people advised me in the comments to move out, and as much as I want to, it doesn’t seem viable at the moment. I have however made it my long term goal, although it will definitely take time, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of drama involved too….

Overall, things are not great, but I know it takes time for the tides to turn, and I am hopeful for the future. I’m also very thankful for this community, and I really appreciate all the support and advice everyone gave, I still come back to read the comments sometimes! I’ve read every single one, and they all mean a lot :)

2. Employee is openly job searching from her work computer (#2 at the link)

I sent you an email in 2015 about supervising someone at the front desk reception area who was job searching where everyone could see. For what it’s worth, multiple people came to me with this info, which is why I was not sure I could let it go. A lot of people were job searching trying to get away from that place but nobody was doing it quite so unsubtly.

The issue resolved pretty amicably (had an uncomfy talk with the person and she moved on not long after) but it was part of a continuous problem keeping that role staffed. Writing in helped me realize part of that was how absolutely toxic the boss I had there was. Ultimately I realized part of the reason I wrote in was because I didn’t feel I could trust him to react in a rational way to even small things. He ended up getting worse and worse, to the point he would do things like attempt to physically fight people in our department and offered his entire team money to consider harming his ex wife (yes, really). I tried to write in a couple of times again about these issues but eventually realized just by attempting to write them that there was no solution for this — the boss and the company supporting him was just that bad.

He’s still at the company (and they know his whole deal) but I am long, long gone from that job. I used your website as part of my inspiration to make the jump to grad school, then job hunting. I now work in an awesome role in the field I always wanted to be in, where I’ve never seen one of my coworkers publicly job searching and also nobody has threatened to get in a fist fight in front of me over an operations disagreement. My boss is an intelligent, thoughtful, interesting person who supports my career growth and about whose marriage I know almost nothing.

I write this update not because it is the most interesting one in the world but because I hope it helps your readers see what it took me WAY too long to see — the longer you stay in a toxic workplace, the easier it is to normalize it and try to focus on small problems instead of the giant looming one of how much you’re trapping yourself with a paycheck from a crappy company. I was there for seven and a half years and I wish I had left so much sooner! I felt so helpless to leave and convinced I would never find anything else but it was worth the leap. I am so much happier now and as scary as it was jumping was the best thing I could do. I hope anyone afraid to do the same does it sooner than I did!

3. My employee came back to work with a hair salon cape and dye cap on

We met to discuss my concerns about having a professional appearance when outside visitors are in the building. Having a hair dye set while working was a regular occurrence before I started and the employee didn’t see a problem with it. Because this was a long-standing practice (I checked with the previous manager), it made sense to find a compromise that would work for us. The employee made sure to check if we had meetings scheduled before getting hair done, and kept the office door closed when the dye was setting. Overall, it worked out.

4. Should I let my employee buy my crocheted toys? (#3 at the link)

One of my favorite suggestions from the commenters was to offer a suggestion for a different crafter or two who sells something similar, if my direct report ever mentioned my crochet work again. That way, I’m giving her a place to buy one if she wants to, but it has nothing to do with me and there’s no pressure for her to actually buy anything. But in the end, the crocheted toys never came up again, so it was overall pretty easy to navigate! Also, a lot of the comments assumed I was managing a team, when in reality, the person who mentioned my crochet work was my only direct report at the time. (I later was interim manager for two others who were normally at the same level as me, but I digress). We’ve since both moved on to work at other organizations, and we’ve kept in touch. I now consider this person to be a “work friend” (even if we don’t work together). We’re around the same age and both got our PhDs in similar areas before leaving academia, so it’s nice getting to have a more casual relationship with her. I also didn’t love being a people-manager overall, and I find it much easier to just be her friend.

One thing I want to note: One suggestion in the comments that got some support was for me to make crochet ornaments for my team. As Alison has mentioned many times in the past, this assumes that Christmas is the default, and could make some direct reports really uncomfortable if they don’t celebrate. I’m also Jewish, and would feel really weird gifting ornaments to my team for a whole host of reasons, even if I knew with 100% certainty that everyone else I worked with celebrated Christmas. I don’t mention this to shame anyone, but moreso just as a reminder to not assume Christmas is a holiday for everyone, especially as we enter that time of year :)

{ 73 comments… read them below }

      1. Allibaster kitty*

        We make dreidels for our tree (we are multi-faith family) big giant ones!

        Had the idea from our favorite band, Guster, who have big Guster dreidel ornaments for sale. (they are all Jewish)

  1. starsaphire*

    LW #1,

    Thank you so much for checking in!

    Please know we are thinking of you, and rooting for you to start your life on your own. We have faith in you!

    You will get out, and you will be able to walk away and stay away. You will be able to get help to heal from this trauma, and you will be able to break the patterns of abuse.

    You got this. :)

    1. Clare*


      And if you’re thinking, “But you don’t know me, how would you know?”; the answer is in your letter. You’ve demonstrated very clearly that you’re open minded, quick to learn, intelligent, resourceful, and capable of seeing your situation from multiple angles. Those traits can’t be crushed out of a person, and they’re what give us the confidence to know you’ll get yourself to a good place – no matter how tortuous the path.

      In the words of starsaphire: You got this :)

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Exactly this. You’re perceptive and willing to change your mind about stuff with new information that’s solid. You also didn’t let your father convince you that he was right about what he was doing.

    2. Bruce*

      LW#1 I’m chiming in to root for you too. I’m glad Alison’s comments helped convince your dad to stop with the applications, my wife and I both worry about our kids’ careers but I remember being blown away by your story when it was first posted. Boundaries, boundaries! Good luck with the job search and I hope to see a happier update soon…

    3. MrsThePlague*

      Thirding! You got this! Take your time, get your ducks in a row, and launch when you’re ready. Sending virtual stranger good vibes!

    4. Poly Anna*

      Yes! If you’d like more of an idea what working towards leaving could look like, advice blogger Captain Awkward has some good advice. I hope things change for the better soon.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I was thinking about Captain Awkward too and wondered if anyone had mentioned her in the comments for the original letter so I went and checked. Not only did someone mention it, I seconded the comment myself that the OP should read some of her advice. And it sounds like maybe OP has been doing that, since they say they are making a plan to get out. Yay!!!

        OP, I hereby declare that you are going to get away from your terrible father, even if it takes a few years, and that you will have a great life going forward. Jedi hugs from an internet stranger, if you want them.

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Was going to suggest Captain Awkward her, too. Given the dynamics at play with the OP’s family and the level of control the OP has experienced, it makes sense to tread carefully. The Captain has some awesome advice. The short version is to make a plan, but keep it secret from the parents until the 11th hour. By the time they tell the parents, everything should be in place, including making sure the OP has all important documents stored elsewhere, the parents are locked out of the OP’s personal accounts, etc. Odds are that the parents will try to pull some nonsense, so set things up so that they can’t cause real harm.

        Then present it to them as a fait accompli. This is not a discussion with them, it is informing them of a decision that has already been made.

        Some of this may seem like overkill, but in these types of situations, it’s usually better to take too many precautions than too few. Many of the precautions – like storing documents elsewhere – they will only find out about if they go to try to take them.

  2. GammaGirl1908*

    I was reading along, nibbling on a baby carrot, and I got to “he would do things like attempt to physically fight people in our department and offered his entire team money to consider harming his ex wife” and did the thing where you bite into the food, promptly forget all about it in your shock, and realize several minutes later that there’s still a half of a carrot hanging precariously from your lips.

    LW, I am so so so grateful that you got the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out.

      1. Random Dice*

        The fighting was less shocking than him trying to hire his employees to beat the sh$@ out of his ex wife!!!!!!

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      I’m reminded of the LW who bit her coworker and thought that was just par for the course if you wanted an “interesting” job.

      Very very very glad you are out of that place, LW2. You are right that the longer you stay in a toxic workplace, the more you normalize behavior that is in no way shape or form normal.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        That is one letter I would love another update on. I want to know that person is out, in a healthier workplace and looks back thinking, “how could I ever have thought that was normal?”

        1. I take tea*

          I’d love a good update to that one. I think of it every now and then, because I imagine that in similar circumstances it could have been me. I was violently bullied in school, and I responded with violence. If I would have been in their situation, I can well see myself biting someone. I am so thankful to be in a sane environment, where I’ve never felt more than a slight irritation towards some colleagues.

          That letter was, incidentally, what really got me hooked on Ask a Manager, because of Alison’s compassionate, yet firm answer, and the commentariat, that for the most part understood the situation, without ever saying that it was ok.

    2. Clare*

      LW2 is an inspiration for taking such a nightmarish experience and using it to help others, instead of quite justifiably never wanting to think of it again. Or just having been turned into a barely coherent wibbling pile of gelatinous ooze by the whole thing, that would also be understandable.

      Thank you LW2.

    3. goddessoftransitory*


      Some of these, you have to wonder what it is that would get them fired, you know?? Like, soliciting a hit on your ex ISN’T it?

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Honestly, that could easily get him arrested. Not convicted, mind you, but at least arrested. That said, I wouldn’t suggest OP call the cops on him now, because OP has made a clean break and shouldn’t submit themselves to contact with that absolutely horrendous excuse for a human being ever again.

    4. Grim*

      I scrolled past that particular update because it didn’t seem all that interesting from the first paragraph, read the quote in your comment, and scrolled back up to read the update so hard and fast I think I got whiplash! Talk about burying the lede!

    5. Irish Teacher*

      When we were talking about the updates we wanted, it occurred to me that some of the more mundane letters have the most dramatic updates and I think it is because of what the LW says about not being able to trust her boss would react rationally.

      I think often when people get to the point of writing to an advice column about something minor that sounds like it could be easily solved, it’s because they have reason to believe that just talking to the person or asking their boss for a minor accommodation or whatever won’t work.

      And sometimes that has become so normalised for them that they don’t even think to mention it. Like if you work for a company that only allows sick days in the most extreme cases and requires evidence from your doctor for everything and requires notice for holidays to be given weeks in advance or even gives no holidays, you might not even consider that those would be options for most people when you are stressing about how you are going to get your mother to her hospital appointment when it turns out your boss has scheduled you to work that day.

    6. MCMonkeyBean*

      I definitely wondered from the first letter if something like this was hiding in the background lol. When the boss is that toxic I 100% support searching on company time! But maybe try to be a bit less obvious about it. Use your phone, or spend the work time on things like writing cover letters or something where all people walking by can tell is that you have a document open…

    1. And consider other fields!*

      And consider taking work that is not in your field, just so you have funds. Graphic design can be a hard field to break into, and it might well be worth it to some, any, kind of income even if it’s not your dream job. And even if you can’t flee, it will be a cushion. Go to temp agencies, do anything to get some money coming in. Holding out for your dream job/field is not worth it.

      I’d give this advice to anyone who is seeking work in a very competitive and/or niche field and does not have the luxury of a protracted job search.

      LW1, we are pulling for you and wish you all the very best.

      1. Ashley*

        Americorp and other such volunteer groups could give you a year breather. You make almost nothing but you can get housing and some work experience.
        Best of luck LW1 and stay safe.

        1. Chickadee*

          I did a couple Americorp internships at the start of my career, and I want to gently caution that they can be hit or miss. “Free housing” generally means living with coworkers, even sharing rooms, and that can be rough, especially if the internship is in an isolated area. The pay is also very low, although the longer internships pay more; during one internship I was the only person who wasn’t on food stamps, and only because my parents were supplementing my income. (That particular internship was deeply toxic, but I won’t go in to the details here.) On the plus side, Americorp internships come with an education grant that can be used to pay student loans.

          I don’t know if Americorp is a good fit for LW1 – that depends on their specific situation, and whether they have a place to go after the internship ends, whether the reprieve will help their mental health, etc. A local paid job might be a better long term strategy if the goal is to save $ – but that depends on LW1 and what works best for their specific situation.

          On which note – LW1 I’m rooting for you. The start of any career is the hardest part, so congratulations on the internships and work placement! That kind of experience is invaluable. I had a similar start to my career and I promise it gets easier as you build experience and build a network of contacts.

          1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

            Yeah, I did Americorps, too, and my program did not come with housing. I was also one of the few people who was not on food stamps — because I was living with my mom, for free/in exchange for doing all the cooking and grocery shopping — and money was STILL tight.

      2. zuzu*

        One place LW 1 might consider is Trader Joe’s. I have a friend who worked there, and the signage is all done in-house in each store. And they generate A TON of it. They have people in each store whose job it is to do hand-lettering and others whose job it is to do the signs.

        She used that experience to launch her own successful business doing art and design.

        1. Princess Sparklepony*

          I think the signage jobs are hard one to get at TJs. It’s pretty coveted and takes a certain amount of talent.

    2. Delphine*

      I find this comment a bit distasteful. It adds such unnecessary pressure on LW by implying that the LW would be better off if she was just willing to do something drastic like be virtually homeless. I have a parent who is often a source of torment in my life. Sometimes the circumstances of life mean that you can’t flee. It’s a really tough situation to be in. :(

    3. kalli*

      I think that’s LW#1’s choice; they clearly know their options and are preparing a way out, which is hard enough without random internet people commenting about the right/best/obvious thing to do – what you would do is not helpful, supportive or useful to them.

      Living in a car is not easy and in many place not physically safe; it can also become a spiral that’s harder to break than just getting out of a bad family situation in one go and have lasting health and psychological complications that would affect LW’s long term function and wellbeing – choosing not to do that is a valid choice. Sometimes all you have are imperfect options and it’s a matter of choosing a balance between survival, energy and conflict – heading into winter, an actual roof and saving $$ may be the best opportunity of finding work instead of freezing in a car (if they even have their own in their name and money to keep it registered and filled without cutting into savings for a deposit/bond) without regular access to water and cooking facilities and maybe even internet, especially if they’re waitlisted for housing assistance or linked in with a social service or charity who can shorten their preparations by providing resources, contacts or concrete assistance.

  3. Aquamarine*

    LW1, I’m sorry you’re in such a tough situation, but you’ll get there! Like you said, it can take time to make big life changes like this, and I admire you for having such a good attitude about it. Going against the wishes of parents who are as controlling as yours are takes a lot of strength and courage, and I hope you feel proud of that. I’m looking forward to future updates from you (no matter how long it takes) when this period is in your past you’re telling us about your new job and later your new home!

  4. Little King Trashmouth*

    LW1, how flexible can you be geographically? Would it be possible to look for jobs that include housing? It may not be a position directly related to graphic design, but if it’s something where you can leverage your prior experience in another way, it could give you a chance to move away from your parents and have some space to care for your mental health. Stepping briefly away from a career pathway is not unusual, especially when you are early in your career, and it might allow enough time for any damage your father may have done with his misrepresentative applications to clear.

    In any case, I am wishing you well and a swift exit from that home. As other commenters have said — we are rooting for you!

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Some National Parks are hiring for next summer season now, and you could work full time and live in the park. Housing and meals are part of the deal, though I don’t think it’s free. Pay isn’t great, but it would get you out, allow you to earn & save some money, and live in a National Park! My kids did it during college, and it was a good summer job. If you can start in May and work through Sept or October, they’d probably love to have you.

      1. SpaceySteph*

        Gosh I so wish I were in a position to do this. A friend of mine does trail maintenance in Yellowstone this way. Its hard physical labor and I think they tent camp for days on end, but also such a cool experience.

    2. Clare*

      You might also consider applying for companies like Canva that embrace fully remote positions and then moving to somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a really low cost of living. Rapid advances in satellite internet technology have just recently made this a very feasible option.

    3. Spring Roll Enthusiast*

      This is a cool idea. Especially if it offers enough free time and internet access for LW1 to work on their portfolio and hunt for their next landing spot. And OP can just not mention that they’ll have internet, telephone, etc and communicate to their parents exclusively via postcard.
      Best of luck, LW. If you need more validation that you dad is massively overstepping, here’s another jaw on the floor to add to it.

  5. JaneDough(not)*

    LW1, if weekly psychotherapy is an option, please find a licensed, experienced therapist. You can’t change your parents, but you can change how you respond to, and interact with, them.

    I would recommend family therapy as well, but your description of your father makes me think that even if he agreed to go (and I doubt that he would), he wouldn’t really get anything out of the experience. Please know that I don’t think ill of him — but I *do* see that he doesn’t know how to do his primary job ( = raising you to be independent), and everything you wrote indicates that he has a lot of Unexplored Stuff from his *own* family of origin.

    Good luck as you move forward — and you will.

    1. Jessen*

      One caveat I’ll add to – only do this if you feel you can freely select your own therapist and have truly 100% private sessions with them. I had issues as a young adult that, because I was living with my parents and somewhat reliant on them, I wasn’t really able to select therapists that would be good for me. And I had to agree to let them talk to the therapist and get a bunch of information about my sessions. It was, unsurprisingly, not particularly productive and just turned into another source of stress.

      1. myfanwy*

        I’m horrified that a therapist thought that was an acceptable arrangement to enter into – yikes.

  6. JaneDough(not)*

    LW1, one more thought: Get any job you can so you can start saving $ for rent.

    After I graduated from college, I worked for 6 mos. at a department store — I wanted to write (my goal, down the road, was a graduate program in writing) and I thought that *not* working with words during the day would spur me to write in the evenings.

    By chance, I got a job at a small newspaper after 6 mos. at the dept. store, and that was the start of a 30-year editorial career. In other words, a few months in retail didn’t hurt me — which is why I’m suggesting that you consider taking ANY job you can find now. Apply for design jobs in the evening, but get some McJob *now* so you can start planning your departure from your family home.

    Also, having a flatmate will save you a lot of money. I had a great one from ages 26 thru 31; as long as you both set up rules at the start — and have some mechanism for enforcement — it can work well. (My flatmate was a stranger; the fact that we didn’t want to hang out together helped keep things calm and pleasant between us. And we never had a spat or any need for rules-enforcement.) Good luck — and, yes, we ARE rooting for you.

  7. Blarg*

    LWs 1 and 2 are so similar in some ways — being in toxic environments for so long it becomes normal. And for LW 1, of course, it has been their whole life.

    I hope that LW 1 has a low key update like LW 2 … finds a job that treats them well and allows space to create balance and boundaries. Cheering for you!

    1. Irish Teacher*

      Yes, I made a comment above about how the second letter show how sometimes when people get to the point of writing to an advice column, it’s because they are dealing with unreasonable people with whom the obvious answers won’t work and I think that is equally or more true of the first letter.

  8. Modesty Poncho*

    I kind of love the resolution for #3. Weird, but compromised to not bothering anyone? Sounds perfect.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I don’t really agree. OP says that because it was a long-standing practice, it “made sense” to compromise and allow it to continue. That doesn’t follow at all – if OP doesn’t want it happening any more they have standing to say so, not just find a “compromise” because a manager in the past said it was OK (I wouldn’t be surprised if the practice started with that manager, actually).

      1. Llama Identity Thief*

        OP has all the standing to say so, but decided that her concern was with outside visitors, not 100% of the time appearance, and since this was clearly one of those small perks that can make jobs so much more bearable for the worker, found that the compromise addressed her main concerns while keeping that perk in place. That’s ideal management to me.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Sure they have the standing to, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for them to do. If this is a perk that it sounds like multiple people have previously enjoyed about working at this job and this compromise takes care of the only concern that really matters (customers seeing it) then IMO that’s way better than being the new boss coming in and taking people’s perks away. Little perks like this really add up when it comes to job satisfaction!

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I know one time I talked myself out of job searching because our office had a full-time nurse and getting my allergy shots from her was so convenient! I have never had my hair dyed at a salon but I imagine for people who do that regularly, this would definitely be on their lists of reason to stay at this office.

          1. CommanderBanana*

            Hah, I can relate – at one of my previous jobs I was right around the corner from where I got my hair colored, and since I got it done so frequently it definitely factored into my thoughts when I started thinking about leaving that job.

    2. ferrina*

      Yes! It was wild that this had been a normalized practice, but I love that LW was able to see what she needed/business needed and in what ways she could be flexible. Being able to compromise on things like this is a great way to keep good employees (where else could you work while wearing a dye cap and cape?). Kudos to LW!

  9. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP1 (dad applies for jobs as OP) – great progress and keep going. I knew there would be more to it than ‘just’ the impersonation in applying for jobs, unfortunately it isn’t always a happy event to be proved right!

    I think you will find it easier to push on through if you have a plan and feel like you are taking action, however small you might think it is, towards it – even though you are not quite in a position to move out yet. (NB – moving out will help a lot, but not entirely, and you will still be influenced by these people to some degree, so keep your eyes open to that and don’t think of moving out as the “magic solution”).

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I am in complete awe of OP1 that she managed to persuade someone this unreasonable and well, banana-crackers, to just back off and stop doing the thing that they thought was helping. I wonder if OP has considered working in diplomacy or in high stake negotiations?!

      1. Mister_L*

        I think what made the father back off was the “famous career adviser says it’s bad”-part, I don’t think he’d actually listened to the LW.

        1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

          Yeah, and especially if he actually read the post and response (and comments), he probably was embarrassed that his behavior was out there online, despite the anonymity! If he wasn’t embarrassed and was openly telling friends or colleagues what he was up to, he might be worried someone would come across it online (and thereby get to the real narrative that he was unable to control or spin).

  10. WoodswomanWrites*

    #1–In just a few months you’ve made great progress with internships, workplace experience, and classes. Internships helped launch my own career right after college.

    You’ve created a strong foundation that’s already moving you in the direction of a paying job and your own place away from your parents. You’re doing great, and you’ll absolutely get there! Additional updates are welcome–so many people are rooting for you!

  11. misspiggy*

    LW1, when you get out you will probably find you are much better than most people at resolving difficult situations and processing complex information.

    Which should mean you’ll progress faster in your eventual career. The survival skills you’ve had to learn will help you catch up with, and possibly blow past, normal career milestones.

    The main thing to practice once you get safe is putting your interests and your wellbeing first. With that in your skillset you’ll be unstoppable. Best of luck.

  12. Juicebox Hero*

    I just read the part in #2 about the jackass boss trying to pay people to harm his ex-wife.

    Would someone please help me fetch my lower jaw up from the bottom of the Mariana Trench, please?

  13. ReallyBadPerson*

    LW1, I am rooting for you. I know it’s hard to be in a toxic situation, because even if you understand intellectually what is going on, your sense of self-worth can suffer. But you will not be living there forever. You have the skills and insight to make a success of yourself.

  14. Juicebox Hero*

    (I hope this is OK to post – I know there’s a lot of overlap between Captain Awkward’s readership and here and #1’s problem has kind of morphed more into a lifestyle problem than a work problem.)

    #1, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Captain Awkward, but she answers a fair amount of letters from people trying to get away from controlling and abusive people. She has lots of practical advice, sympathy, and links to resources.

    One very important thing to remember as you’re planning your future is that your parents will try every rotten trick in the book to get you back under their influence. There’s a lot of solid advice there about resisting it, sticking to your boundaries, and dealing with nosy nellies who think it’s their business to interfere.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      LW1, please take this advice from our Juicebox Hero! The issues you are facing with your parents are more than career issues, and there is some really great advice to be found from Captain Awkward on techniques handling your relationships with people who have boundary/control issues.

    2. GreyjoyGardens*

      Seconding Captain Awkward! There is a lot of great advice in her archives about escaping controlling/abusive situations, as well as dealing with them if one cannot escape for now. It’s all very sound and sensible, based upon people’s real-life experiences.

      LW1, we are all rooting for you! Please avail yourself of all the help and (good, sound) advice you can. Even if moving out is not possible now, you can take steps to minimize the damage. Also what someone said above – controlling parents will still try to control you even after you’ve moved out.

      Finally, even if a job you are offered, or come across, is not your dream job in your dream field, unless there are obvious signs that it will be too toxic to be worth it, take it! It’s OK to take a “survival” job for now and go for your passion job/field when you are in better circumstances. Lots of people get survival jobs or “this’ll do for now” jobs, and as long as it is not the kind of workplace LW2 got into, things will be OK.

  15. Nebula*

    Really hope we get another update from LW1 at some point down the line saying they’ve moved out and are thriving. You can never predict what’s going to happen, but LW1 you are doing all the right things, and I really hope it pays off for you in the end. Take care of yourself.

  16. on the couch, with the cat*

    wrt #4: for a very long time, about 40 years ago, I was the only non-Christian on my team of about 6, and the only non-Christian at the company (maybe 2 dozen people). I do needlepoint and cross-stitch as hobbies, and one year I decided to make gifts for everyone on my team. I bought a couple of magnet kits, one needlepoint and one cross-stitch. One kit was flowers and the other was Halloween themed, and there were enough that everyone I worked with could have two (one of each, of course).

    I started stitching in the summer. Didn’t work on it every day, but most days, but it was still the day before Christmas Eve that I had everything finished, sorted, and wrapped.

    iow, making handmade items for just a few coworkers can take a lot of time and effort even for experienced stitchers (I’d been doing needlework for more than 15 years by then, starting in childhood).

    Over the years, I visited the homes of some of those coworkers as we became friends outside of work, and even a decade later “my” magnets were often still hanging in their kitchens!

  17. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    LW1, please update us again when you are finally in a job you are happy with and/or you get out of your parents’ home! And please make sure to practice self care and do your best to grey rock your parents on every topic from job and career to personal relationships, mental health, candy preferences … I mean, if they did this, I wouldn’t trust them with much at all, even if it seems totally innocuous! And we are all cheering for you!

  18. Fiona Orange*

    “Dad has been applying to jobs pretending to be me” needs to be in the “wait, what?” category if it’s not already.

  19. Anonymous For Now*

    LW1: I an rooting for you, too.

    The thing is that it can be difficult to get into graphic design. My suggestion is to try to get a job that pays at least reasonably well even if it is only somewhat vaguely related to what you would really want to do. If you are pretty tech savvy, there is design related work involving apps and the like (not the tech end, but the actual design for the appearance).

    Best of luck and don’t let the bleeps (expletive deleted) get you down!

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