Open Plan Offices – What do you think?

by Kerri

Open-Plan Offices Are the Worst

My office recently changed to an open plan (other than for senior management) and I am struggling with it.

It was pitched to us as a way to improve collaboration and foster creativity. When pressed, management acknowledged it also resulted in cost savings.

A few thoughts –

  • If we had been told this was, bottom line, a cost saving measure, instead of hearing spin about collaboration, creativity and innovation, would that have made the transition easier? Why the spin?
  • As an attorney, my job is to provide legal advice and to discuss sensitive issues. I have real concerns about confidentiality and my client’s willingness to share information with me in an open setting where others may overhear. I could book a conference room (although those are limited), however that extra step may inhibit candid discussions. Call it the PITA factor.
  • As an attorney, a good chunk of my job is reading really long documents, which requires a lot of focus. We have headsets but they are not noise canceling (again a cost saving measure). How am I going to function?
  • I feel a loss of status in losing my office. I see this in my colleagues as well, moral is not good. While I have an assigned desk, some of my (non-legal) colleagues are “hot desking” – taking what is available. We’ve also been discouraged from personalizing our work area.
  • I now have the option to work more from home. I don’t have a home office but have worked from home occasionally in the past. I usually get more done, including the laundry and the dishes =), but feel less connected. In the past I’ve been told face time is important for career advancement and to “lean-in”. (My company is big on buzzwords.) If more people are working from home, what does “leaning in” look like?
  • I am an introvert. I am really concerned that I will be less productive and more exhausted at the end of the day.
  • Are in person, telephone communications a thing of the past? How concerned are you about what’s in your e-mails?

How Wall Street titans Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett, and Carl Icahn avoid using email

Have you transitioned to an open office? Any advice, tips? Any advice on working from home? Do you use e-mail extensively or limit its use?

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132 thoughts on “Open Plan Offices – What do you think?

  1. After working from home in a nice quiet tidy environment, I’m back in the office in an open plan set up. It was also sold with lots of collaboration type buzzwords. There is some talk of the company ditching cubes, and putting us at ong cafeteria style tables with a divider between you and the person you are facing, but not the people next to you.

    I am also somewhat an introvert, and I’m distracted by the loud talkers. I find that I am much more drained at the end of the day in this environment than I was when I had an office or when working from home. I have no interest in hearing everyone else’s conversation but find it it is almost unavoidable. I know way too much about whether Josh or Jason is the better picture on the eighth grade team, who’s uncle makes the best barbecue at the memorial day picnic, and who has adult children seem completely unable to function on their own.

    I wish I could offer you encouragement about how it will all be fine, but I really don’t care for this arrangement at all. We will be moving to a new building next year, with a much much longer commute, and again are being told of all the benefits for collaboration etc. in the new space. I’d rather have less collaboration and a shorter commute

  2. If your company has decided that its legal staff should work in an open-plan office, thereby waiving privilege for every single conversation that every single one of you has in the course of doing your job, well, good luck with that. The phrase “too stupid for words” comes to mind. Perhaps you should permanently reserve a conference room, because you take your ethical obligations seriously, and you’d hate to accidentally waive privilege by speaking of confidential matters in such a public space, and you’d really hate it if you were compelled to testify against your company about all these matters you’re dealing with. . . .

    As to why they frame it as inducing “creativity” and “collaboration” instead of helping the bottom line, well, it’s the same reason that “firings” became “layoffs” became “downsizing” became “right-sizing”: because, from the “nice” perspective, euphemisms soften the blow, and they hope that portraying it as an improvement will help their employees focus on the positives; or, from the cynic’s perspective, because they believe people are stupid enough to believe that the company is actually trying to help them instead of just saving a buck.

  3. If more people are working from home, what does “leaning in” look like?

    You’re showing as green on Skype? That’s how it is for me.

  4. LfB – the legal area is somewhat enclosed, with separate doors, but non-Legal staff do walk through.

    The spin really bugs me. I am a very straightforward person and most people like that about me. Why can’t companies be more straightforward? When they are, people might not like the message, but the company does earn respect.

    (And for Finn, *morale not *moral).

  5. We recently moved to this, and I despise it. I managed to keep an office, but it is a glass office! I feel like I am working in an aquarium. What is the point? The set up for more junior employees is as described – no real dividers, just long rows of workstations with low dividers between you & the person that you are facing. But you can see over them. So people not on an end are looking right at another human all day long. It is awful.

    They moved our legal team to a hoteling set up that is even worse (the long tables with unassigned seating and LOCKERS(!) for your personal or confidential stuff). It is truly asinine. The lawyers can “hotel” in a conference room, but you must reserve anew each day. It is so crazy. I know exactly how much money they saved, it is does not seem IMHO to be anywhere near worth the pain and loss of productivity.

    I think everyone knows that it is a cost cutting measure disguised as a “collaboration tool”. We were also told that this would be more open & allow everyone to have a good view. Insert massive eye roll here. I don’t know if it is better if the company is honest about this or not. The “spin” doesn’t really help or hurt the awfulness of working in this environment.

  6. I wonder if there’s a generational divide in opinions on open workspaces. From what I’ve seen, many young people seem to like it. Maybe because they’ve never experienced anything else.

  7. I feel a loss of status in losing my office.

    Do you mean status in general or within the organization? If it’s just in general, I’d say that for a given salary, a job where you have a cube and can work at home a few days a week is higher in status than a job with an office that you have to go to five days a week.

  8. Rhett – both.

    Only very senior management people had/have offices. I used to have one, now I don’t. My boss has made it clear that in our dept. only she will have a senior title, so only she will have an office. Even if she were to leave, there are no offices available should I get a promotion. The change in title is meaningful in a resume/career context, and comes with an increase in salary. She and senior management have basically put all of that off the table permanently.

    Working from home is now common so does not have the same status significance that an office does in my industry.

    It boils down to not feeling valued or respected.

  9. I went from an office to a seat on the trading floor. It was a big loss of privacy because even the phone calls were visible to everyone on the same team. We had three or four screens and everyone that walked by could see what was going on at your desk.

    It took a long time for me to get used to this setup. I’m not a lawyer, but 1/4 of my old job was reading and commenting on deal documents. I used a headset, but it wasn’t easy to get any discussions done unless I booked a conference room.

  10. I have had both and am currently bouncing around to whichever space is open until we move to a larger office. Office used to convey status but have worked for a lot of former traders who like this bullpen-style office. In my opinion, the long trading style desks just cause people to keep their headphones in more often. I often have conference calls with multiple internal and external people on the line and I hate the echo of two speakers in a small area and headset wouldn’t work for the “collaboration” piece. In my last role my office was next to the boss and literally it was like a quarantine zone – no one would come see me. Had the added benefit of crappy insulation in that my boss could hear every conversation (as could I of his) and he also checked my desk and monitor every time he walked by. I would have traded for an open cube in the analyst pit in that particular case….

  11. “the legal area is somewhat enclosed, with separate doors”

    So? The easiest way to waive privilege is to expand discussions/knowledge beyond the critical core team necessary to manage the matter. So unless all of your legal staff is part of the core team for every matter you manage, your design is a problem (not that any court would actually go there, but that IS the rule).

    ITA, btw, on preferring the direct truth instead of a giant horse pill coated in a skimpy layer of sugar. Frankly, most people over the age of 8 have seen so much advertising in their lives that they have pretty effective bullshit detectors — especially if you’ve worked in any kind of bureaucracy for any period of time. You’d really think the company would get a little more credibility with its employees if they’d just say, look I know this will be hard, but it’s been a down year, and so we’re cutting costs where we can.

    Except, of course, if the real answer is that they are cutting costs to increase profits in general, or to hit targets that allow Management to exercise options, then there really is no “good” story, so I’m not surprised they fall back on the “collaboration” line.

  12. In the move we just made, the 20-somethings don’t seem to care for it either. They went from large cubes with high walls (can’t see over even from a tall standing height) to no walls. And much less personal space.

    @Kerri – I totally get it. Although in this particular configuration, I managed to keep an office. I went from a large, private office with a really nice view to a small aquarium on the interior of the building with barely enough room to hold a small meeting. The people a level up from me have much nicer, bigger offices. It definitely conveys a larger difference in status than our old set up. DH says I am being petty, but that kind of thing matters for the relative respect given within an organization.

  13. I went from office to cubes to office to mainly work from home. I’m in my early 50s. With the exception of two cube work areas, when everyone is doing their business and there is always talking going on – on the phone or two people in a cube – you can’t really make out any one conversation and it all becomes white noise. That took me about a month.

    The exceptions – One was a work group of introverts, so not much talking. Our walls were all 5′, and had those over head bins above the desk area. I sat next to a guy whose work was critical to our department. I learned so much listening to him – both on the phone and with other people. It would have taken me years longer to have learned what I did if we’d all been in offices. The other exception was a group where talking unless it was to the “client” or on behalf of the client was strongly discouraged. We had similar 5′ cubes, but when someone did talk it was startling!

    I would use headphones and listen to music when I really needed to tune out the world, but that is true whether I have a walled office or not. When I worked in the library in college, we had desks in an open plan, but they were generally situated so no one was really looking at each other. The exception was the desk I shared with another part-timer. However, only about 25 percent of our job required sitting at our desk, otherwise we were up and about or using “shared” computer terminals (early 80s), so it didn’t really matter.

  14. LfB – I hear you about waiving privilege. However, since I work with international colleagues whose own advice to clients is not subject to privilege, senior management in Legal globally don’t seem concerned about this issue and senior management in local Legal clearly do not have any pull.

  15. I think we will have glass interior offices and put the cubicles on the exterior to allow people to have light in our next space. I think some walls on cubicles is nice. Right this minute I am literally in a windowless former filing space with a shared desk. Have to say – with no windows, I am actually much more productive. Do need to get out every few hours for interaction and light.

  16. “I think we will have glass interior offices and put the cubicles on the exterior to allow people to have light in our next space.”

    This is our setup, although very senior management has glass walled offices next to windows.

    Austinmom – any tips on working from home? Do you eat lunch at home or go out for breaks?

  17. @Kerri — and just to be clear, I am not frustrated *at* you, I am frustrated *for* you. :-)

  18. My new job is very thoughtful as to set up for remote work and I really appreciate the flexibility. They also are great about other office stuff to create culture – good coffee and sodas, healthy food, support for your community and outside interests. I will take that stuff over a dedicated office. Oh and unlimited vacation….

  19. Sounds like there are costs that weren’t considered in making this decision, including good employees who actually care about things like client privacy finding a new job with an office.
    In the meantime, get yourself a good set of headphones, set up a workspace for when your kids are at school, and talk to those people you do need to see face to face about times you will all plan to be in the space.

  20. My group may be moved within our building (it’s been on the table for a year). The new set up will be that my boss gets an office, but my colleague and I don’t. Right now all 3 of us have offices. So much better for me – I can close the door when I need silence, have private meetings, take private phone calls, and when I was still pumping milk, do that without losing productivity.

    The new set up makes that all go away. We will all be in cubes (except for the boss). I’ve already told DH that I will be investing in high quality noise canceling headphones. And if this happens and I’m pumping, lord knows how that will work. There’s no designated space for that in my building. They’ll claim that the shower room off the ladies’ room is adequate, but it doesn’t have an outlet (because it’s a shower room – running water and all that), and there are no chairs. Plus, our wifi doesn’t extend there, so I will lose productivity throughout the day.

    I’ve had a truly open plan at my first job – holy crap it was horrible. A colleague of mine spied on my computer screen every hour. If it wasn’t work related, he reported it to the boss. It was ridiculous. I can’t work knowing that I’m being spied on.

  21. My cube wall is chin height for my neighbor, and our adjoining wall is behind my monitor. He pops up all day long to chat, and it is hard to pretend I don’t see him when he is standing right where I’m facing him. It is do difficult to concentrate for any length of time.

    My intern daughter has an office with a door that locks. Irritates me to no end.

  22. Rbode- I’m not an employment law expert, but aren’t pumping rooms or some other workable accommodation legally required? We do have a “mother’s room”. Not sure how it gets booked since I’m past that stage.

  23. It boils down to not feeling valued or respected.

    I think I have a solution to your problem. Get a new job. Nothing will change without a mass exodus.

  24. One thing I did like was I knew a lot more about what was going on in my department vs. when I was in a closed office. I got to know people better because people could just stand up and have a spontaneous discussion about work or kids etc. It wasn’t all bad unless you really have a lot of work to get done. Conference rooms or noise cancelling headphones are the best solutions for when you need isolation.

  25. Kerri, are they thinking that no one will ever hold depos or meetings with outside attorneys at your location? Or, heck, even meetings with clients, because they’re outsider third parties to all the matters they might hear discussed on the way in to the conference room.

    And oh, how hard that sounds for concentrating. And no dodging those chatty fellow employees!

  26. We moved to an open office plan last year. I heard from someone who worked in the real estate department that they found lower cube walls were better because people were more aware of talking loudly. The taller cube walls gave an artificial sense of privacy. It took a few weeks to adjust to the new space. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t have to worry about confidentiality.

    I have some flexibility to work from home. I try to work from home on days with fewer meetings so that I don’t have as many interruptions and can get things done. When I am home and have meetings, I try to fold laundry during them. I find that I listen better but feel more productive.

    My favorite days to be in the office are Fridays because a lot of people work from home that day and it is quieter.

  27. Kerri, one of my favorite things about working from home is being able to fit in a walk or yoga video at lunch. Since I’m exceedingly casual T home, I don’t have to change so it’s easy to fit in. I gather going out to lunch is easier for you than my suburban home, so that might work for you. I would definitely do something – if you’re not paying attention to it you can become extremely sedentary working from home.

  28. Rhett – Trust me, something I am considering. Unfortunately open plans seem to be a thing in my industry, so I may not escape it by leaving.

  29. Keri – that’s horrible and I am sorry. I have nothing else to contribute.

    Rhode – man it would be AWESOME if you just pumped at your desk. Like “you folks won’t give me a room – I’m a pumpin here.” Also if you decide to do that – please have someone video tape it.

    Glass offices are stupid and only work on the set of Billions and Damages.

  30. Oh and Rhode, I want you to tape it, not because I’m a perv, but because the ballsyness of it would need to documented as well as the reactions of those around you.

  31. HM – those kinds of meetings would take place in a conference room.

    MBT – the days I’ve worked from home I find myself going a bit stir crazy by the end of the day. Definitely need to figure out breaks – whether its for lunch or going to the gym.

  32. This is why MMM holds such appeal for me. Not because I want to quit in my 30s, certainly not for all his environmental bullshit. No, it’s all about the size of the F-you card that I carry in my back pocket. It serves a wonderful purpose even if it’s never pulled, because it lets you mentally compartmentalize and dismiss all the

    “firings” became “layoffs” became “downsizing”became “right-sizing,” all the “collaborations,”

    the vying for status, the euphemisms

    and just shrug and say “whatever.”

  33. First, if working from home find a productive workspace. My first choice wasn’t, my current space works much better.

    Second, think about the schedule of the others in your household and how that overlaps with the hours you will work. When are the noisy times that you might need to avoid? I avoid working during the scramble of everyone else getting out of the house. Otherwise, the day starts off on a bad note with me being interrupted while trying to work!

    I work part-time and my schedule is fairly set, but can be super flexible. Usually, 3 days a week my work day spans the lunch hour. Two of those days, it is because I have gone to a class at the gym, so I usually eat at home. The third day is the one I reserve for getting out of the house at lunch time. The other 2 days, I am done before or at the lunch hour.

    Because I don’t commute, I often take about a 30 minute walk sometime during the day. Even though I am at home, I still sometimes use headphones to keep distractions at bay. Distractions are different…no longer the loud co-worker next door, but seeing that load of laundry that needs doing, etc.

    I mainly use email with my colleagues, but sometimes call. I go into the office on average about once every 3 weeks – though sometimes it is 3 times in one week and then not at all for 2 months.

  34. I have a cube with high enough walls and enough privacy. I can also work from home. Many employees who travel frequently have total work from home situations. No office space at all. Our flexible arrangements meant that many employees with an office space liked the idea of having a cube but never really came to the office, so now there is a minimum number of days you have to come in, if you have a cube. We have lots of empty cubes most days. We have a few offices for very senior executives but again they travel a lot.
    I go into the office most days but I and a few others on my team are probably the only ones who do.
    From where I sit in my cube I can hear two people who talk quite loudly on the phone. They just don’t realize that they are not at home. Again, with the flexible work arrangements they are in the office only some days. Then, I miss the noise ;-).

  35. I never had to work in a true open office, but I did spend two years in a very nonprivate cube, where you could overhear every last candy wrapper rustle. My work involves intense focus, so it was really untenable. Everyone worked with gigantic noise cancelling headphones on. This meant that the only way to talk to your teammates was via email, even though they were sitting nearby. You couldn’t get their attention any other way.
    When I worked in the software industry, we had real offices, and it was far more collaborative. Having an office meant that you felt like you could have long discussions with teammates without reserving a conference room or fearing that you were disturbing everyone. We also knew that if someone’s door was closed, they needed to focus. If the door was open, you could just stop by. Much better than sending email to a cube neighbor who is cocooned in Bose headphones.

    My new office is an aquarium, as someone mentioned above. And we violate FERPA continually because you can overhear every conversation.

  36. Milo,

    In working with a new co-worker, I wonder if that’s a component of age discrimination? It certainly seems plausible that some managers prefer a 33 year old with 3 kids and a lot of bills over a 58 year old with Fu money.

  37. Milo – totally agree with you on the F-you money. One of the best lessons I was ever given. We spend on stupid stuff but I still save a lot more than most in our income category and always have about three years of expenses in cash and have a plan B for how to achieve my life and money goals. We could retire and live MMM-style right now but I like my work and I would rather have a bigger pile of F-you/buy my own business/invest in distressed assets money.

  38. “No, it’s all about the size of the F-you card that I carry in my back pocket.”

    ITA.

    IME, knowing that you can quit at any time makes the crappy stuff soooo much easier to bear.

    This is an interesting year here — my numbers are up, the Firm’s overall numbers are down, so I’ll likely make less even though I personally did better. Ok, that’s the nature of the job. But we are also reorganizing our comp system, and my “level” is split into two, one that is projected to pay a little less, one that is projected to pay a little more. And I am surprisingly upset at the notion that they may slot me into a level where I would earn less than I do now, even though I had a better year. Total ego trip. But this is where I remind myself that we don’t need the money, that I’m not in this specific job for the money, and that I’m more than adequately compensated for my actual level of effort.

  39. I work from home whenever possible. It is so much more productive. Even when the kids are home, it is much quieter than work. It helps that my kids all have a lot of homework, so they just hunker down and do homework while I am working.

  40. “my numbers are up, the Firm’s overall numbers are down, so I’ll likely make less even though I personally did better. ”

    That’s basically my last 5 years. =(

    I wish I were at the F-you stage. Toured a private school last week – meeting with another next week – definitely won’t be at the F-you stage for quite some time.

  41. Kerri, I feel terrible for you. This set up would kill me – it would be enough to make me leave. when I’m not traveling I spend half my days on conference calls that I’m leading (thus can’t just listen), and the other half actually producing some kind of work product – report, assessment, e-mail response, etc. I couldn’t do either of those without a quiet office.

  42. @Kerri – Yeah, me too. I am at the “Well I could survive for awhile, so I don’t need to live in fear for my job” stage, but definitely not the “I don’t need to work again in my lifetime & am just doing it for fun or to amplify my already nice lifestyle” F-you stage.

  43. In the past I’ve been told face time is important for career advancement and to “lean-in”. (My company is big on buzzwords.) If more people are working from home, what does “leaning in” look like?

    For me it has been speaking up in conference calls and volunteering for stretch assignments.
    It also means being open to work on projects with tight deadlines. On days with tight deadlines, I simply stay home, and complete the task around my schedule.

  44. “am at the “Well I could survive for awhile, so I don’t need to live in fear for my job” stage, but definitely not the “I don’t need to work again in my lifetime”

    In between those stages, there’s the “I could easily pick up a Fed job as a GS-11, worst case scenario” phase, and later the “I can be a shift manager at Chick fil A” phase.

  45. Kerri, that totally sucks. I wonder how much they actually save on that compared to the lost productivity, plus the increased dissatisfaction.

    One of the odd things with my current job seeing patients in nursing homes and assisted livings is that I end up working wherever I can find room. At the bigger facilities, there are offices I can set up in. Some I find a spot at the nurses station. At the smaller group places, I usually end up at the dining room table.

  46. And I use email a lot for work. It’s our primary communication between the office and providers. We text and call, but email works better because you can send attachments and provide more details than texting, and it’s hard to answer calls when you’re with patients.

  47. “I wonder how much they actually save on that compared to the lost productivity, plus the increased dissatisfaction.”

    IMO that analysis always runs in the negative direction. The problem is that the former is a hard number that is easily quantified, while the latter is a soft, mushy number that can be attributed to poor management/poor employees instead of the “hey, we set everyone up to fail” design.

  48. I’ve worked in both offices and cubes and have been moved from an office to a cube and was furious about it (although I was 23, so really it was lucky I had an office at all). It was more about loss of status (and a little bit about having to listen to the older woman next to me talk on the phone all day long). I hate open offices but I think that is the way things are going (someone mentioned to me a few months ago that Chik-fil-A recently did this and I think senior management are in the glass offices).

    I was in cubes when I was nursing and we did not have a lactation room so the bathroom it was (but only once a day because one of the great things about my old job was daycare was right downstairs so I could zip down and nurse once or twice a day).

    We’re no where close to the FU money stage, but just being in the you could take a few years off stage has made Dh feel a lot better about work. He doesn’t get riled up about compensation anymore and is just hoping for a few more years of making what he’s making and then if he wanted to do something else it would not be a huge deal. He has a friend at work who got promoted to counsel recently and is not making what some 7th/8th year associates make because he’s on a team where he works crazy hours but those hours don’t always get paid (litigation). He is furious about it, but when you look logically at the numbers he’s getting paid handsomely for what he actually brings in, but it’s more about comparing himself to lawyers who have less experience who are making more than him.

  49. “In between those stages, there’s the “I could easily pick up a Fed job as a GS-11, worst case scenario” phase, and later the “I can be a shift manager at Chick fil A” phase.”

    Yep. That’s sort of where we are. Or, as DH puts it, “I probably need *a* job, but I don’t need *this* job.” It’s a pretty good place to be.

  50. Kerri, my point about the meetings / depos was that unless your conference rooms are on the outside of reception, you’re going to be bringing those clients / opposing counsel / allied counsel through the open plan office on the way to the conference room. So even if you could argue that you haven’t waived privilege just by talking about stuff / leaving files around where non-involved attorneys from the same firm can see it, what about the people from outside the firm entirely who could be overhearing conversations, catching a glimpse of files, etc., while passing through? It’s not like you can just send around an email saying “We’ll have attorneys from XYZ in the office all day for a depo so shut your door if you’re going to be discussing privileged matters.”

  51. Kerri, if it wasn’t clear, my suggestion is also that you look elsewhere and that the firm is stupidly ignoring real-world ways that they will lose money as a result of this change. There are plenty of articles out there about companies moving away from open plan offices because they found out about the loss in productivity and workers the hard way.
    Milo, don’t you have a pension from an earlier position that would enable you to be an entirely kick-ass warrior for good at work, if you so chose?

  52. DH is going to continue working for another year, and the fact that he could leave anytime is why he can stand it. He can roll his eyes and take a “not my circus, not my monkeys” attitude towards his firm. He just tries to deal with his clients and ignore all the stupid office politics.

  53. Kerri – if you can find a new job before having to commit to the school that would be ideal.
    Our quality of life is way better due to the proximity of home, work and school.

  54. I’ve always worked in an open cubicle environment. Most people don’t talk very much, though a somewhat loud person has just moved in next to me. A software engineering friend HATES open cubicles and it’s a reason people switch companies in other employment markets. It’s been part of the culture at my company forever and individual contributors are Mushrooms** whether we have offices are not. We have no status and sharing a cube wall with senior people has convinced me that working twice the hours for 3x the pay would not be a good deal. Someone who manages a 4 digit number of people is still subject to the bureaucratic requirement that they wait on hold to be told they need to submit tons of documents to verify the medical insurance eligibility of their non-dependent, eligible children.

    My job has never been so demanding that full/complete attention all the time was necessary, and I sometimes overhear interesting things. I share a cube wall with our site’s senior finance person and used to share a cube wall with the site manager, so I definitely agree that Private Information will be overheard. As the mother of four children, I can follow three conversations at once.

    I suspect Kerri will be buying herself a set of noise canceling headphones and Rhode may be buying an extension cord and downloading/opening documents before she heads to pump. That’s what I did back in the pre-wifi era.

    **Mushrooms are kept in the dark and fed shit.

    Regarding the overall trends in compensation, corporate cost cutting and corporate profits, I often think about Buffett’s concern about “real” profitability- you only know who is swimming naked when the tide goes out. We’ll see what happens over the next decade or two.

  55. Ugh, Kerri, that sounds awful. Except for my temp jobs in college and the summer associate jobs (we shared offices), I have always had an office to myself. Knock on wood!

    I get a lot done at home too – I work at home more than I used to since we moved – but I get the most done when DH and the kids are all gone. ;)

  56. I did have an office when I was pumping but could not use my computer while I pumped due to the office setup. I used to review industry articles that I never had “time” to get to because I was always toggling between three things at once. I felt more informed on industry trends while I was pumping and felt like the only wasted time for my employer was washing out pump parts. I think I was more efficient than those on smoke breaks.

    WCE – yes! That is an excellent result of being a working mother. Your brain cleaves to be able to monitor multiple things at once. I find that the little list of all the kid things is always running in a portion of my brain. DH has no clue when the deadline is for getting xyz project details for kid 1, when the class christmas party is and who needs to bring what for kid 2, whether the check is written for the math tutor, etc.

  57. At my first employer, we ostensibly had open offices, but we’d do things to carve out some personal space.

    A big contributor was that most people got what we called backstops, shelves that mounted on the desks with a completely closed back, extending 3 feet or so above the desktops, something like this:

    We’d also do things like turn our desks to maximize the separation those backstops provided (e.g., don’t put them back to back), and install tall bookshelves and filing cabinets that also served as walls.

    But there was still no privacy for phone calls. My current office is a cube farm, where we also have no privacy for phone calls. When you need to make a private call, you take your cell phone somewhere private.

    The culture in my current cube farm takes advantage of the lack of privacy; we listen in on each others’ calls, and often when someone is expressing a need to look into something, someone in another cube will shout out the needed information.

  58. “it’s all about the size of the F-you card that I carry in my back pocket”

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve been told many time by people in this situation that becoming eligible to retire, along with having sufficient assets, makes work suddenly become much less stressful.

    I’ve known several people who planned to retire as soon as they became eligible, then ended up working for a while longer because suddenly work became much more pleasant.

  59. Kerri, if I were you I would probably focus on working from home more, and on trying to improve my productivity and reputation while doing so. If you set up a good work at home routine, it could actually improve your overall work satisfaction. It could turn out the benefits — like no commute, time for regular exercise and errands — actually overcome the two or three days of being in the office. I say this as someone who has liked working at home, but I realize it’s not for everyone. Good luck.

    One of my kids has an open office, basically a big room with long tables with no dividers. From day one he has sat right next to his boss, which would be somewhat unnerving for me. But maybe it’s because I’ve never had to do that. He has no problem with his situation, even though his main work activities involve speaking on the phone, researching, and writing.

  60. “And we violate FERPA continually because you can overhear every conversation.”

    Does this matter any more? DS just submitted a bunch of apps via Common App, which won’t submit any apps unless you first sign a FERPA waiver.

  61. Finn,

    I’m loving the vintage laptop in that picture. I’m guessing that thing was $5k in today’s money.

  62. “becoming eligible to retire, along with having sufficient assets, makes work suddenly become much less stressful.”

    I hope this is the case. But to be fair, our immediate group has had a new leader since June and he’s really good to work for, treats us like humans, understands we have things other than work going on in our lives. As such, we as a group are much more motivated, efficient, productive than we were under the old boss who is very much a butt-in-seat-face-time kind of manager. Under that regime it really was a drag yourself in, get out of the office as soon as practicable situation.

    I will be eligible to retire (age + tenure) from here in a little over a year from now, but I’m not actually planning to retire for at least 5 years from now, maybe more like 10. Depends how long the Trump rally lasts.

    Oh, and generally, I like the work, the pay, my real walled office with a door that shuts, and now treatment like a professional that I was used to in positions prior to coming here.

    Having a crappy first-level manager is really a determining factor in overall dissatisfaction. I am glad that’s changed for the better.

  63. I’m not actually planning to retire for at least 5 years from now, maybe more like 10

    I just ran the numbers and being able to delay retirement from say 57 to 67 makes you retirement balance nearly double.

  64. Fred – isn’t it wonderful when you are treated as a professional? I am enjoying that at my current role….so refreshing.

  65. Mia, those things your husband doesn’t remember are my least favorite part of parenting. Once I got over the general “wow” of responsibility for another person’s life, they were absolutely the toughest part for me (until the mental health issues really dug in)

  66. “I just ran the numbers and being able to delay retirement from say 57 to 67 makes you retirement balance nearly double.”

    That’s true of any 10-year increment (at 7%). That’s also why they stress starting at 22 vs. 32.

  67. “I just ran the numbers and being able to delay retirement from say 57 to 67 makes you retirement balance nearly double.”

    Not to mention the added 401k contributions and higher SS payouts. And if your job provides medical coverage, you won’t have a period when you need to cover it all yourself.

  68. Does anyone enjoy having to be the person who has to remember all of the stuff for everyone else in their house? I feel like about 10% of my day is spent in logistics for other people.

  69. MiaMama – That is me and I have been rebelling this year. Youngest is 14. If you need to be somewhere – you are old enough to figure out you need to tell someone, look on the electronic calendar (that I am still the only one adding to – grr) for conflicts, and get it worked out.

    I have let them fail a few times this year. As a result, one of them is more on top of it, but the other two are not. Maybe their fail didn’t has as much of an impact as on the other one.

    Earlier this week that was an issue for today, but IMO it was a teacher failing to communicate to newer kids in the club about what the heck this service project was and WHERE they had to get themselves. Sorry, but IMO asking kids to drive downtown in rush hour and to scrounge their own parking, when this is 20 miles from the school and not giving parents more than 4 days heads up is a problem. On that note….off to drive kid downtown.

  70. Exactly. And DH just says I am better at that stuff. His day job is in actual f&$#&ing logistics and operations.

  71. Mia, I don’t think I would do that for another adult. For a SAHS, it’s part of the deal, but if my partner and I were both working, I cannot imagine doing that. Reason I’m single #469. My mom was probably counting on my dad picking up some of that when “they” retired, but his memory problems prevent that.

  72. “Exactly. And DH just says I am better at that stuff. His day job is in actual f&$#&ing logistics and operations.”

    Hahahahahahahahahaha.

    I have been doing AustinMom’s version — DD has her phone, she can send me calendar appointments, so figure it out and let me know in advance. The problem over the past @3 months or so has been DH — it’s “you’re out of town next week?” or “you didn’t tell me your mom was joining us for dinner” — dude, I emailed you, I sent you the calendar appointments (like we have been doing for the past, oh, ten years), you accepted them, everything is in there. Your failure to pay attention is not my problem. ARGH.

  73. Laura, not your problem, unless it’s early-onset dementia/memory loss. Then you’re screwed. Or divorced.

  74. I obviously no longer have that issue with kids, but DH drives me crazy because he asks me if I’ve taken care of things and then doesn’t remember what I’ve said. Me: I took care of XYZ. (Two days later) DH: Did you take care of XYZ? Me: Yes, as I told you. Then AGAIN two days later. For one trip a year ago, he drove me so crazy that I actually printed out all the travel information and destination information, put it in a 3-hole folder, put index tabs for each topic, and handed it to him. Then it only took one “did you check the folder I gave you?” to get him to stop nagging me.

  75. @S&M — well, yes, it’s not my problem. But it’s usually because of something like a late meeting conflicting with a kid event, and then the kids lose out if he can’t reschedule. And I think my mom’s feelings were hurt when she overheard him getting annoyed at me (when he hadn’t realized she was coming to dinner with us), because the dinner was on what would have been her wedding anniversary, so she thought we had invited her out special so she wouldn’t be alone; of course, I hadn’t planned it special, because I am freaking clueless and didn’t realize the date — I just thought she would like to try the new restaurant with us, and the date was just a coincidence that I didn’t even realize until she mentioned it. But overhearing him get annoyed that she was there was just icing on a big fat sucky cake. So not really my problem, but still left hurt feelings and me feeling like a big fat #Failx2.

  76. DH and I have taken to sitting down together with our calendars every couple of weeks and going through the next 2-3 weeks one day at a time. The e-mailing each other or putting things on a joint calendar just wasn’t working for either of us, because we would see the commitment the other person had, but couldn’t mentally work through the implications of it. I would be just as guilty as him – just because he told me he was working late on Tuesday wouldn’t mean I’d make the connection that therefore he couldn’t do the 6:30 tennis pick up. Now it works much better for us to sit down and talk about it. Easier to connect the dots.

  77. Austin – I tried freaking out about failing his classes every 6 weeks last year. It was not pretty. Took away the IPad and the kid is now checking his grades, willing to study and getting A’s and B’s.

  78. “Does anyone enjoy having to be the person who has to remember all of the stuff for everyone else in their house?”

    NO. Why should I be responsible for reminding the able-bodied, strong, tall people who live or hang out here that the deck furniture and umbrellas, all of which are clearly visible from multiple parts of the house, need to come inside for the winter before the first snowfall? Also the hose reel. And the tailgate stuff has to be cleaned and shuttled to the basement before there will be room in the garage for the outdoor furniture and hose reel.

    And DH needs to schedule his GOES interview and get to the dentist and eye doctor by the end of the year. And college DS needs to get his tux out of his bedroom closet and onto campus before his concert, and to retrieve the stupid snow tires for his Passat from the basement and have the dealer put them on.

  79. I don’t mind being Rememberer-In-Chief. I just hate being Picker Upper in Chief.

    I hate both things. But at least for Remember-in-Chief, I chant the Rhett mantra that it helps to fend off dementia.

  80. I out source most of the picking up to the au pair. She’s not the best driver and I question the wisdom of that decision at times. We have a fabulous new service that is basically uber for kids and features retired and off duty police officers. https://www.bubbl-dallas.com/

  81. Laura, yikes! Those are excellent examples.
    Have you put your Mom & stepdad’s anniversary on your phone calendar, with “repeat this event every year” and “send a reminder 2 weeks in advance” yet?

  82. We used goggle calendar and if it’s not on there then it doesn’t exist. If it’s on the calendar and someone doesn’t check the calendar, it’s on them. If someone doesn’t put something on the calendar, then it’s on that person. We review the schedule for the week at dinner on Sunday. It works well for us.

  83. MiaMamma – I’ve heard of other services like this, though they don’t seem to survive. The model seems good but the price seems prohibitive, though I said that about the hangover bus in Vegas and was wrong.

    It would cost $50 to get my angels to soccer and back. Good in a pinch, but my Au Pair costs less. I’m also not in love with the face that the drivers are entitled to (but not obligated) to be carrying fire arms.

  84. Milo,
    That image is just too funny! People around here like to hang their deer in view of the the road so that all their friends who are driving by can see how big of a buck they got.

  85. OT – the buzz phrase at my workplace is “take charge of your career”. What that means is that there are rarely any promotions within groups. Each group expects to hire a fully trained professional for the given level. There is hardly learning and getting promoted which used to happen in my previous workplaces. So, people are constantly thinking about the next step which is a good and thing.

  86. On deer light display – we have deer in lights frolicking and feasting on the lawns. Exactly like the real deer do here.

  87. “the buzz phrase at my workplace is “take charge of your career”. What that means is that there are rarely any promotions within groups. Each group expects to hire a fully trained professional for the given level”

    And “train yourself for the job you want on your own time, not our time.” That was a big cultural shock for me between military and corporate. The model in the former is that the government will take the time and money to get you ready for the next level. I saw this in stark contrast to DW’s cousin graduating college with some sort of dietetics degree, and THEN needed to pay thousands of dollars more for her own year-long “internship” to get certified as a registered dietician.

    You could be a nurse in the Army and be collecting a $45k salary and benefits while you’re training rather than paying them for the privilege of working.

  88. This is more of a rant than anything else, but I wish there was a civilized way to get major concert tickets. Lucky me it seems I’ve been going and am going to more concerts than usual, but getting good seats at reasonable prices is very difficult.

    Most concerts seem to have staggered sell dates, typically with fan club, social media sign ins, credit card, or other means used to buy tickets before general sales. A problem I’ve run into is that these early sales may consist of limited blocks of tickets, and waiting until the next tranche becomes available may open up better seats at better prices. Should I buy NOW because all the good seats will be taken later. Should I wait another day to see if better seats pop up? Or should I wait for StubHub and pay a big premium. *sigh*

  89. THEN needed to pay thousands of dollars more for her own year-long “internship” to get certified as a registered dietician.

    Call it “grad school” and totebag hearts go all aflutter.

  90. CoC, buy tickets at the first presale you can get into. Then keep trying at the other on sale times and if you get better tickets, you can sell the first ones.

  91. The dietitian internship is no different than pretty much any other Healthcare profession. You have to do a significant amount of clinical work where you are paying to do it because it is part of your program.

  92. DD, I’m reluctant to try that because I was burned once when I was unable to sell the original tickets I purchased, even when I discounted them significantly. It’s not always certain that a concert will sell out, although in my case the original tickets were in the nosebleed section so that was a factor.

  93. “Bad because most people leave before learning things in depth.”

    This is sort of my underlying “feel” problem with all of these initiatives: it removes one more incentive for good people to stay with the company. I get that we don’t live in the single-employer world any more. But I would think that a company would still want to pretend that it cares about talent retention and development — not everyone, but you want to keep the best people, who give you the best service very cost-effectively. And, honestly, saying “here’s a big table, first-come, first-serve, and btw don’t bring any personal items” doesn’t exactly say “come, learn, devote your energies to us and we will value your contributions and develop your talent.” It says you are Widget82730.

    The problem with this is that it fundamentally reduces your career choices to how much you get paid — and your most talented people will always have the opportunities to get paid more somewhere else. So the people you want to keep jump ship, and you retain the people who don’t have better options (except when you get really lucky and run into great people who are willing to stay put for other reasons, like they have a great manager or flexibility or whatever).

    The bigger point is that most people want to feel invested in their careers — money is important, but people want to feel valued, feel like they are part of a team pulling toward the same goal, and feel like the company is invested in them and they have a career path in front of them. And they are willing to invest themselves in the company if the company lets them. So giving someone an office, where they can put their stuff and go to every day and do their morning routine and see their name on the wall and know they belong, well, that’s a pretty easy and simple way to send that signal that says “we want you here long-term” — or more cynically, to take advantage of people’s sometimes irrational desire to belong and contribution, even if when that means making less money than they could elsewhere.

    I am where I am primarily because they value me and my contributions, and they let me know it in many, many ways. Some of it is bonuses; some of it is work flexibility over the years to hold whatever role I wanted at whatever level I wanted; some of it was trusting me with leadership roles; but I would be lying if part if it wasn’t also that my mentor offered me his office when we expanded our space, because he knew I wanted an office with space for a table.

    So, basically, I really think all of these initiatives are penny-wise, pound-foolish. The people who do the work that keeps your business running are assets, and you want to attract and keep the best ones at the lowest overall cost. Companies focus on the cost part of the equation, but totally ignore the “attract and keep the best ones” part.

  94. Totally off-topic, awesome kid day. DH is traveling, so last night, I came home to find DD cooking dinner (payment for the pizza I had bought her and her friends the night before), so I got to sit and relax for 45 minutes. Then I took her to class, and we had an *awesome* conversation about her classes next year (much to my surprise, she had really been thinking about it and had voluntarily chosen a bunch of hard classes that she thought she would need to get in to a good engineering program (e.g, Calc AB, AP physics, continuing her engineering classes, etc.). Then I got DS, and he took the recycling out. Then this AM, he ran to the bakery for eggs (the dairy failed to deliver them), brought them home, and then took the recycling back in without being asked.

    It was so nice to have helpful, mature, happy kids! I swear, by the time DD starts driving, I’m not going to *want* them to move out. :-)

  95. . So giving someone an office, where they can put their stuff and go to every day and do their morning routine and see their name on the wall and know they belong,

    Or, you can work from home a few days a week. Oh, you want an office and work at home a few days a week?

  96. Well said LfB.

    I took the buzzwords seriously and found myself a position in a different division with more pay, because though I had an informal action plan to set me up for the next level, it didn’t seem like that was going to happen soon or happen at all.

  97. Does anybody here happen to have a recipe for gingerbread cookies with extra protein? I’ve been looking online for recipes that use Greek yogurt &/or whey protein, but everything I’ve come up with also uses some kind of funky flour.

  98. Laura, awesome kids!

    I’m curious how much choice most kids’ schools give them about courses. At the public middle and high schools my kid’s attended, scheduling starts with each kid taking a sheet each around to all their teachers, who indicate what continuing course they recommend and each kid gets two electives. I like it because it alleviates my need to convince my kid to take the hard classes. It also means that a smart kid who comes from a family that hasn’t done AP or honors level in the past could move along that track. It sounds like not many of them do–my kid tells me about a girl in one of his classes who says her family literally laughs at her for being so conscientious about her homework, and says that most of his classmates come from the wealthy side of the school. But I’m glad the possibility is there. I have no idea how easy it would be for a parent to override the teacher’s rec and get the kid into a harder class than was advised. It seems that there is more flexibility than the system based on grades that Mooshi deals with.

  99. SM – I think it depends on the school. There are some schools where a ton of kids want to take the hard classes so there are stricter cut off in those cases. It seems like your son’s school is in the middle. At the other end is Cordelia’s experience where the school doesn’t try to offer more AP classes and wants to discourage students from aiming higher.

  100. Louise, of course the courses kids need are different and not every school offers the same. What I’m asking about is the systems by which kids are sorted into classes, and how much of the decision the kids make themselves. I already know that the system in Mooshi’s school district is different than the one I outlined. I wonder what else is out there. “I’m curious ***how much choice*** most kids’ schools give them about courses.”

  101. @SM — Our school works like yours, with teacher recommendations that are subject to change if the kid really wants to go up or down (and the teacher is willing to change the recommendation, which may or may not be doable under the circumstances). They also talk to the kids — DD had clearly talked to someone (not me) about the kinds of things colleges will look for for an engineering student and had it all planned out before she mentioned anything (part of what made me so happy, because last year I had to talk her “up” into the harder level for a class or two, and this year she was defaulting to the AP levels, except in one case where the kids had told her the teacher sucks). But overall, I agree with Louise — I think that is very, very different at different schools, judging by what I’ve read here.

  102. S&M are you talking about what classes to take in general, or what level to take for a subject?

    DS’ school seems to allow quite a bit of freedom on both. We’re really pissed because he is taking “honors” geometry, but for some reason the school decide to combine all the geometry classes rather than keep the true honors ones. So there are about 6 or 7 kids in the class who are advanced and the other 20 or so are at a much lower level. So DS is getting a 97 but is bored out of his mind in the class. The teacher said he knows it’s an issue but there isn’t anything he can do about it.

  103. DS has decided robotics isn’t for him so he is going to try to switch out of it for next semester. He said the teacher said they are the worst intro to robotics class “in the history of the school.” on the last test, the scores ranged from 10 to 36 (out of 100). The previous test was similar. I think that might say more about the teacher than the students. But regardless, DS said he likes building the robots but struggles with the programming.

    He wants to transfer into AVID (which is a college prep class) although he doesn’t really know what they do, only that a couple of his friends are in it. I think it would be good for him to take, but we want him to find out more about it so he can make an informed decision.

    He does want to stay in the magnet program because they have other options besides robotics. He’s really interested in photography and that’s one of the things they do.

  104. Wow, DD, that teacher’s comment is unforgivable. I agree with your assessment of where the problem lies. Any chance of talking to the principal? It’s really a shame to see a kid turned off from something that he’s really interested in because of a crappy teacher.

    DS’ school is offering intro robotics as an after-school activity, and DS is *loving* it and has decided he wants to build and program robots for his job. But they have obviously been much friendlier and patient on teaching the programming.

  105. DD, there are Lego robotics clubs and teams that your son might like as an extracurricular activity. Good luck with AVID–my kid transferred out because he hated it. Part of that was the way they’re required to take notes (in all their classes) for AVID, part of it was lousy teaching (everyone pulling out the book they’re reading and the teacher asking very obvious reading comprehension questions for the whole hour.) Will the same issue persist in math for the next few years?

  106. I agree that the comment is horrid. If past classes have indeed done better on the same tests from the same teacher, then it’s trickier, but I still think an important part of teaching is figuring out if students are understanding, step by step. This teacher clearly failed at that.

  107. I will find out more about the process next year. For me, reading of different posters experiences at their kid’s schools has been very informative and in a way has helped me guide my kids better.

  108. LfB/ SM, I don’t know how interested he really is in it. He’s never had any interest in building things or programming or such. He got bored of Minecraft after an hour. So I’m not that concerned about him wanting to drop it.

    We are going to talk to them about the math issue for next year. When we had conferences, the teacher said he was going to try to give the advanced students extra/harder work, but that hasn’t happened. He seemed be as frustrated about it as we are. And if DD decides to go there next year, we’re definitely going to bring it up at registration.

  109. SM, at my kids’ school, in the middle of 8th grade they start planning their HS courses, with college entry requirements being a factor to consider, along with input from their teachers. By February those plans go to parents for review and approval, and by March the school starts planning the course schedules for the next year.

    Once in HS, around the start of 2nd semester, the kids all have a chance to revisit their plans and make changes. Among changes that can be made are moving along well-defined paths to different tracks, e.g., from non-calculus to calculus track.

    The school also tries to accommodate changes in the beginning of each school year. Some common changes include moving between honors and non-honors classes, as some kids struggling in honors move to non-honors, and kids bored in non-honors move to honors.

  110. Finn, am I remembering correctly that your kids go to a private school? At my kid’s monster-sized public high, they stress that once the school year starts, students may change schedules, but not classes. Some schedule changes are made by the school, depending on enrollments. I don’t know how often they go against that rule. Saac was so depressed last year that he snoozed through the reading test, Christmas-treed it, and got out in a remedial reading class. The teacher told me she was not permitted to ask for him to be moved, or to tell me to take him out but please do, because the climate in her class was really not good with him in there. The guidance counselor couldn’t do it, but I got the school reading coach to look at past scores and he was moved straight into honors English. I don’t know if how often that happens.

  111. Finn, here it’s a program to prepare kids to go to college by teaching organizational skills like note-taking and keeping a planner. It’s primarily aimed at kids whose parents didn’t go to college themselves, but there are elements of it that get pulled into other classes or advisory. The idea sounds great but the focus on Cornell notes can be a bit rigid.

    OTOH if I’d been aware of and had the discipline to use the Cornell note approach through college and so one I’d probably be Queen of the World today. My approach of a random words interspersed with doodles, sometimes with dense splotches where I nodded off in an early morning math class while still taking notes, was considerably less effective.

  112. HM, I have read that doodling actually helps alconcentration, so perhaps your method wasn’t so awful after all. My notebooks, from high school onwards, start off with the date and day’s topic, plus a few lines on the first day, date, topic & a couple words in the next, a few pages of random dates and phrases, and then empty pages, on and on til the end of the notebook. I did take notes in my PhD program, on postit notes carefully placed in the book next to the part the note referred to. I also made a few attempts to take notes on guest lecturers; on some of them I tried to force myself to doodle. Forced doodling seems not to have the same effect as a hand that freely draws when unleashed.

  113. “OTOH if I’d been aware of and had the discipline to use the Cornell note approach through college and so one I’d probably be Queen of the World today.”

    Nah. If you were the type of person to whom taking Cornell notes came naturally before you even knew what they were, you’d be Queen of the World today. You are conflating the symptom with the cause.

    I know I have told this story before, but in art history, I was so impressed by my friend’s note-taking skills that I decided to mimic her one day. I had *awesome* notes — very thorough and detailed. But when I got to the end of the term and was trying to study for the test, that was the one day for which I couldn’t remember a single thing. So much for that experiment. . . .

  114. Finn, the way they explained it at registration is that it’s a lot of test prep and such. They weren’t real clear on it.

  115. “At my kid’s monster-sized public high, they stress that once the school year starts, students may change schedules, but not classes. Some schedule changes are made by the school, depending on enrollments. I don’t know how often they go against that rule.”

    Our experience with a large uber-Totebag public middle school was that such Rules were rarely broken. Maybe it’s different if most of the parents are sheep rather than Tiger Moms, but it was one of the many reasons that we bailed for private.

  116. Well, there is the part of the Cornell Notes system where you read the material to be covered prior to class and note any questions you have, so that you can listen from a better-informed starting place and ask the questions if they’re not covered. I didn’t always read the material afterwards, much less before . . . But it is true that I listen better while doodling than while trying to write down what’s being said.

  117. Scarlett, parents at my kid’s school are not tiger moms from what I can tell. There is a monthly meeting with the principal. At the first one, he went through tons of data and explained what test scores had led to what curriculum decisions. At another, he went into detail on the budget–for an hour. The total number of people who have attended at least one meeting is less than 25. 2700 kids. I don’t understand. I’m far from a tiger mom, but why would anyone who gives a sh!+ not show up at least once in a while?

  118. S&M, my guess is people don’t show up because they don’t want to listen to an hour of budget details or data about test scores.

  119. Denver, that’s the feeling I get, that learning where the school is going, what changes are being made and why, simply doesn’t matter to most people. I just can’t wrap my head around that! I haven’t seen any attempted insurrections at changes yet, but the admin absolutely gets to stiff-arm anyone who comes whining later if they couldn’t bother to show up at a meeting.

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