Open offices

by L

Open offices – The WP reported a while back that open offices were bad for business. Do you agree? How many Totebaggers work from private offices? Cubicles? Open offices?

Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace

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86 thoughts on “Open offices

  1. Private office. I’ve had one almost my entire career except for when I was first out of grad school we newbies had cubicles. But very soon we moved to other space and I shared an office with one other guy. In all the cube/shared office time was about 3 years. It worked fine though I doubt I could go back to it.

  2. I, too, have always had cubes and private offices. I hate the concept of open offices as I need silence to concentrate.

  3. From yesterday – Please keep the info coming about RPI and WPI, my DD looking to apply. Counselor is working to nominate DD for the medal at RPI.

    OT – I have had both. My experience is if enough people talk enough or almost no one ever talks, open plans are OK. It either is white noise or a minor interruption. It is the “in the middle” that is most disruptive. Will say that in one job, the guy over the wall and the woman across the aisle taught me a ton of stuff just by my listening to their conversations. It would have taken a much longer time to have become as good at that job as I was without them, and the pay increases didn’t hurt either.

  4. I had a private office at the directional state u, and at the software company (CEO was famous for telling a consulting company that came in once and recommended that we move to open offices, that they didn’t have any clue what software developers needed). At the healthcare IT company, we had low cubes that may as well have been open office, and at my current employer, we had high cubes for a long time until we moved to the new space. Now we have “private offices” which are all glassed in so we are like the animals on display at the zoo. And we can still hear every conversation.

  5. oh was there info yesterday about RPI and WPI? I didn’t have time to really look yesterday.

  6. I work for a large company. Costs are constantly scrutinized = few private offices, as they are expensive. I have just been promoted to VP level and the thought of a private office has me giddy. Ahhh, blessed silence Now to find an open office so that I can actually get that bene is another topic.

    Re: efficiency and working from home, I find that co-workers call me at home only for legitimate questions, not just to chat. Some of the chatting that goes on in the office can be very useful, but most is not. It’s the useful portion that keeps people in certain professions from working from home full time.

  7. I moved from a space with cubes with high walls to a cube with low walls and transparent partitions. The high cube area had one guy who would talk very loudly almost all day on conference calls. People didn’t have an idea of how loud they were with the walls.
    In my current low wall area it is actually quieter because people are conscious of how loud they are. I have covered the transparent partitions with DD’s art work. I also have a window seat which is wonderful.
    The rest of my group sits together in a no window area down the hallway. I like it this way. I can get up go visit but enjoy my light filled and scenic seat.

  8. I need big blocks of time, and silence, to get my work done. So working from home is perfect for me. I work from home 2 days most weeks. When I am on campus, my day gets split up into teeny tiny fragments because of meetings and people popping into my office to tell me things they could have more easily emailed. I never get much done on the days I am on campus

  9. When I worked at the company with the low cubes, it was very noisy because they mixed people who were supporting hospital IT deparrments (our clients) with people who were doing development. The support people spent the whole day on the phone doing things like figuring out why the XYZ system wouldn’t make beds available. So as a result, the developers all worked with giant noise cancelling headphone on, backs to the cube entrances. This meant that the only way to communicate was via email, since you couldn’t get anyone’s attention unless you walked up behind them and poked them. Result : none of that fancy collaboration that these open spaces are supposed to give you. Lots of headphones sold though.

  10. Except for my summer jobs in college and law school, I have always had a private office. I wouldn’t change it. Also, my firm is slow to move to the glass-office model, so I had a solid door that locked for all of my years spent pumping – worth its weight in gold!

    The only time I like working with other people in the room is when DH and I work in the same room together on our computers. It reminds me of when we first got together. :) We also like to listen to the same office soundtrack – bonus!

  11. I worked in open cubes almost all of my pre retirement career. I hated it. The constant noise and interruption made it really difficult to concentrate. Or, I would be concentrating and someone would startle me and I would jump.

    Now I have my own office, with a door and windows. It’s not entirely mine. Sometimes DH works in it as well, and there is generally a dog underfoot. Today I have two sleeping nearby.

  12. We moved from lots of big private offices and big, high-walled cubes to a completely open plan. I managed to retain a “private” office, but seeing as two of the walls are made of floor-to-ceiling glass, it is not private at all. In fact I think it may be less private than the open space because I am on display off to one side on my own with my aquarium walls. The only good thing is that I have more storage space, and a locking door so I don’t have to lock up my stuff into a little cubby every night. I HATE this new set up, but there isn’t much to do about it. I don’t really care for working from home regularly either – I find it much more productive to be able to walk next door and talk to people vs using IM/texts/phone.

    We have it better than another group that was forced into “hotelling” though. They have little lockers and no assigned seats at all. Within weeks of moving to this set up, people started constantly working from home. It is now impossible to find anyone in that group, and productivity as measured by my interactions with them (response time/quality) is way down. UGH.

    One thing I really hate is that it is always billed as being so “collaborative” and wonderful for employees. Total BS. It is 100% about cramming more people into space and cutting real estate costs. The dishonesty really pisses me off.

    The other thing is that they always quote how “managers” like it because they can monitor everyone. I hate managing people that way, personally. I don’t like that my team sits outside my glass walls where I can see their every move. I am not a kindergarten teacher & I personally don’t care who is taking what time for lunch or who is talking to whom as long as work is getting done well. But I now find all this information hard to ignore because it is in my face. It also makes it really awkward to have impromptu one-on-one conversations because calling people into the aquarium in front of the rest of the team feels much more dramatic than when I could just drop by someone else’s office or large cubicle or ask them to stop by.

  13. “The other thing is that they always quote how “managers” like it because they can monitor everyone.”

    A millennial I know sits next to the “big boss” in an open office environment of about 40 employees. It apparently was just a random assignment. (Yes, even the big boss doesn’t have a private office.) Anyway, this millennial recently asked for and received a significant promotion. From the way it happened, it seems to me that the big boss has had the chance to see this millennial in action and did not need too much convincing to award the promotion. Lots of transparency, for good and for bad. Additionally, the millennial probably becomes aware of some useful information just by sitting next to the boss. If it were me, I would probably hate this set up.

  14. CoC, that reminds me of my least-favorite office. Shape and approximate size of a shoebox, next to departmental office, right at the top of the stairs, so everyone looked in sort of involuntarily. Campus culture was very strongly open door. I found out I had “girl” training deeper than I knew. I simply could not let people pass without giving them a smile, nod, or greeting of some sort.

  15. My company recently opened a new office in a large city with an open concept floor plan.

    People sent to work there ( late millennials, so folks in their twenties still) hate it and started working from home, either because it was too loud to concentrate on heads down work, or they had conference calls where they needed to present and ​didn’t want the background noise.

    The upper management has now decreed that folks need to be in the office, I think they’re taking it as a personal offense that young people aren’t loving this setup they invested $ in.

    I still work in the HQ with an old school cubicle setup and am quite happy. For a while there was talk of the hoteling setup but thankfully they didn’t do it. We also manage to have really good collaboration despite not having a fancy new fangled work environment.

  16. “Yes, even the big boss doesn’t have a private office.”

    This is how it should be. Management getting offices while worker bees sit in an open environment is BS.

  17. I basically work in an open office environment and it is terrible for me. I am super crappy at getting charting done at work because I can’t turn everything off and focus – my constant availability means I am interrupted all the time, and expected to keep my ears open for overhead pages (noisecancelling headphones not appropriate). Also, my natural nosiness to get involved with all the people who are discussing their problems instead of working.

    I can get my charts done at home in 1/3 the time. But then I am taking them home. :(

  18. Ugh. My favorite work-related trends are those that demonstrate a complete cluelessness about what that “work” actually entails. There seems to be this concept that “work” means action, doing, going, interacting, and that therefore shoving people asses-to-elbows will force interactions and therefore improve the work. Maybe true for the sales guys who need to spend the day on the phone/in meetings to make the deals — completely wrong for every other person working for that company.

    This is right up there in my mind with the client trend to reject/write down bills that do not include sufficient demonstrated actions — e.g., I can “draft and file” a brief, but I can’t “evaluate,” “plan,” “research” [because we’re supposed to know everything already], or do any other verbs that suggest I spent time *actually thinking about what I was going to write.* It seems like there is this perception that “quiet thinking” is at best totally unnecessary, and at worst just a cover for thumb-twiddling and thus to be prevented at all costs. What a crock. You don’t hire me because I can physically type in the words in a brief; you hire me because of my ability to figure out what those words need to be. My office space needs to be designed to help me to do that job effectively; and my clients need to pay me for what they are actually hiring me to do, rather than forcing me to make up pretend words to sound like I spent all those hours scurrying like a rat around my office.

  19. In some ways cubicles are worse than an open office because they give the illusion of privacy, so people are much louder than they would be if it was just open. And back in the day, every place I worked had at least one “speakerphone voice mail” guy.

  20. ” therefore shoving people asses-to-elbows will force interactions and therefore improve the work”

    @LfB – The thing is, it is driven by cost-cutting more than anything. The justification of being “collaborative” is being forced later. No one in management really believes that this is good for people’s work. They are just trying to hit their goal of saving $$ by cramming people into less space. In some cases, it’s with the goal of actually enticing people to work from home so that they can have fewer available hotel spots than employees and save even more money.

  21. I’ve never had an office. At my company the rules is Senior Directors and up get offices but I’ve had a big cube for many years and had a lot of privacy the last year. Then we moved buildings and my cube got cut in half and i have very little privacy. I’m not happy at all with this new work environment.

  22. My DH is at VP level, but still shares an office. Virtually everyone at his company shares offices except the very tippy top. The traders are in an open environment. The shared offices are really nice, big and quiet, and he has a huge triple monitor setup.

  23. Laura, great post. Putting lawyers and other “think” workers in a space where it’s hard to work wastes money in the end, because you either take longer to do something, or don’t do it as well.

    The one open office I’ve been in was done right. There was a room for the tech support/sales people and their phones, (I think there were 3 of them) one for developers/programmers (probably a dozen) and one for us documentation people–three writing copy, me translating into English, one doing all the images, and our boss (who wrote documentation too). It was helpful to me to have the authors of what I was translating right there, and the graphics person occasionally wanted different “size” words or whatnot. Reception up front, mail room in back, the two bosses each had their own office, and the conference room was usually available.

  24. LfB,

    Your clients don’t want to pay for “research?”
    What are the acceptable go-to verbs? Is there a list online somewhere?

  25. The big boss in the one fully open office with which I was familiar (I declined the transfer) had a desk in the big room. And so did his secretary. But he had a dedicated huddle room right behind his desk. If he was out of office, which was frequently, the next tier bosses had use of it. There were a few huddle rooms for the rest of the staff (Directors on down). Headsets for phones were required. But for me the downside was the clutter in the visual field, not the auditory field.

    I started out in a double cube as a junior accountant, in a job where the partner in charge left at 6:05 after the receptionist had locked the main door so that he could walk all the way around the office to exit to do “bed check” to make sure we were all still at our desks. I was promoted to several interior offices with a door. Then at Big Boston Co a prime window office with door. Then the post acquisition job was a bad office with window and door. The next job I was a contractor in a cube bad lighting no outside lighting for the peons. When we moved to new digs I became a W-2 contractor in a semi open plan office with good windows in a low wall double cube. My cube mate was Typhoid Ryan – I was never so sick in my life. That was far enough of a descent back down the ladder for me.

  26. I literally have no permanent desk at the moment. I alternate between a managing director’s office (he lives in another country currently and is here one week of six) and the spare desk in a former filing nook. It is basically a skinny desk attached to a wall with a few computer terminals on it. There are no windows or natural light. I actually like this space because I am much more productive and I get to catch up with one of our accounting people that is friendly. I like intermingling with different departments because we each get to learn about what the other group is doing but right now I would settle for an open cube that was mine for good. I can’t even bring my own toothbrush. This is all good problems – we are growing faster than expected but we have a COO starting soon and I am wondering where the heck he is going to sit.

  27. “Your clients don’t want to pay for “research?”
    What are the acceptable go-to verbs? Is there a list online somewhere?”

    1. Yes. I have actually seen this in client T&C. They usually frame it as “basic” research. But we are specialists, so their threshold of what is “basic” can be ridiculously high. And really, you know, if I’m filing a brief, I’m going to update the standard of review section — yes, it’s as “basic” as they come, but it’s also necessary to avoid committing malpractice, you know?

    2. If you figure it out, let me know. It is a race to the bottom — lawyers realize that some verbs are now on the naughty list, so they go find new ones; clients realize their lawyers are using new words instead of the old ones, so they add the new ones to the list; so the lawyers go in search of the next option. E.g., “analyze” used to be ok (it was the substitute for “strategize”); now it’s on the naughty list.

    This is, to me, truly guano-crazy-making. I am not your enemy — I am your highly-trained, highly-experienced expert in a very specific field, the person you are relying on to have your back no matter what. If you really don’t trust me to bill appropriately and work efficiently, FIRE ME and hire someone else. Otherwise, LET ME DO MY $#%*&%^! JOB THAT YOU HIRED ME FOR.

  28. I don’t have an office or a desk or anything now since I work at different facilities. I just find a space at the nurse’s station or wherever (at group homes I usually sit at the dining room table). I never thought I’d miss having a cubicle.

  29. LfB, now I understand our previous discussion on why your clients are so insistent on hourly billing. They want to argue that a lot of those hours aren’t justified so they shouldn’t have to pay for them.

  30. @Meme – some of our senior management has been pressured to go to having both a cubicle and an office. The cubicle for show and “meeting room” that cannot be used by anyone else and retains all the decorations of when it was the person’s office. Now, it’s silly to make these people have a cubicle anyway as they spend almost the entire day in meetings, and it is much more efficient for meetings to be booked in their large private offices than in various conference rooms spread throughout the building. But the “show cubicle” to make it seem as if they are sitting among the people because they sit there 30 minutes per day sending emails at 6pm is just ridiculous.

  31. @DD — Exactly! Actually, it’s kind of worse — they all act as though they want fixed fees, and then most shy away, because they seem to figure, well, if we’re offering a fixed fee, then we’ll put in the least amount of effort and they’ll still be screwed. The reality is that if we don’t give our clients value for money, we don’t keep our clients — I don’t *want* to bill you twice what my work is worth, because that’s a horrible way to build a long-term relationship. I mean, I am supposed to be your #1 defender and have your back against all comers, and I’m good at my job, so it is flat-out insulting to be treated as though I can’t possibly be trusted to treat you fairly.

  32. @LFB – Don’t forget the resistance to fixed fees because “then we won’t be able to prove you are doing the work by looking at the bill detail”. ARGH. Because filling out excruciatingly detailed timesheets and paying high overhead on a large billing department is what you are paying us for, right?

  33. Because filling out excruciatingly detailed timesheets and paying high overhead on a large billing department is what you are paying us for, right?

    Oh god no. That time can’t appear on the timesheets — do that on your own time! (Never mind that billing rates for the time that is billable will have to be higher to cover the admin time / billing department.)

  34. Back when I worked I had a “Viewbicle” which is a cubicle with a window. Across from me was a friend. We were young and starting out and had a lot of great times talking about work, talking about life, making fun of the guy on the other side of him who would sleep at work. I could just roll my chair over and ask him about something. good good times! I will say it was nice to move into an office because if you aren’t with a pal it is terrible! I was jazzed to get a ficus tree because that’s what I thought people in offices had. It dropped all of its leaves the first week and never fully recovered.

  35. I knew billing time was going to be awful when I showed up for my summer associate position and the summer coordinator explained that there was a billing code for the time spent billing time/dealing with billing issues. At that point I was like, “FML! Wish the sight of blood didn’t squick me out so much!”

  36. This, by the way, is a benefit of the public sector. There may still be cause to keep track of time, but it would more typically be for the purpose of internal tracking of what issues are taking up how much time, rather than something where you have to sell the value of your services as you’re tracking your time.

  37. I have worked in cubicle farms at two of three companies and part of the time in a third. People generally hold extended meetings in conference areas. We have a new person over the wall who is, in the words of my senior engineer, “extroverted and unaware” but generally people don’t need to talk much outside of meetings. I talked for ~5 min to a colleague in my cube about a process today and will talk during a couple meetings. Much of my interaction is by e-mail, partly because I interact with people on day, swing and night shifts.

    Out of a dozen people in my aisle, everyone has been here at least 20 years except me and one person who has been here 3 years. Most engineers tolerate cubes- people who hate them find other jobs/careers. Mr WCE works from home sometimes since his group is global.

  38. First few jobs out of college were all cubes, but the places must have been relatively quiet because it never bothered me. Then with this employer, prior to working from home I had a good sized office with a lovely view and a door, so it was great for getting work done. After being commanded back in to the office, it is cubeland. The cubes are not large and two of the three walls are less than five feet tall. We are moving soon, and I’m told the new cubes will be even smaller. They are building a new building also, and are soliciting feedback on what employees want. The primary input seems to be that no one wants an open office plan. The organization that I support is in another state, and most of the things I do, I do not need to collaborate. There are days in the office where I say nothing more than hello to anyone physically in the building. There are several very loud talkers that I find distracting, and the guys on the other side of my tall wall, who I cannot see, all call to each other without getting out and without ever using names. It’s just “bro”, “bruh”, and “dude”. They have added a female new college hire who is very giggly and flirty, and I get to hear all of it. In my opinion, the current office design is not particularly conducive to productive work.

  39. Right after college I worked in an office that was large enough to hold a drafting table since I worked with maps. Then when I switched careers I moved to a cubicle, working in a call center where a lot of our work was on the phone. When I became a manager at a certain level I qualified for an office but because we were squeezed for space I did not get one until we moved to more spacious accommodations. My office was high up and had a nice view of Brooklyn, specifically the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower building that was recently sold to office developers. Overall, I much prefer an office to a cubicle.

    BTW, during my early cubicle days smoking was allowed and I tried to fight discreetly to be moved away from the worst offenders.

  40. “BTW, during my early cubicle days smoking was allowed and I tried to fight discreetly to be moved away from the worst offenders.”

    When I worked in Europe, smoking was allowed too. Most people did it in the kitchen though to be nice to the non-smokers because of the open office plan. But late at night, people smoked everywhere.

  41. When I worked at the software company,my office was on the first floor, with a floor to ceiling window to the outside. Unfortunately, it was also right next to the designated smoking area just outside. We had many Russian developers and they all smoked constantly. So the view out my window was Russians smoking.

  42. My best office seat was in a building on Beacon Hill in Boston. It was such a beautiful view of historic Boston. We used to take visitors on a 360 walk of our floor and point out all the historical sites. All of us with window views cherished our time there because we knew that it was unlikely we would ever get a workspace with such a view.

  43. I hate United, but they are right. Employees and their families have a dress code when flying. Dad should have been pulled first for wearing shorts! I am a former airline employee and never saw the dress code as a big deal.

  44. Houston – The second family were not United employees. It was only the two teens, who complied and got on a later flight. The family behind them in line, before reaching the gate agent, pulled out the dress for the 10 year old from carry on luggage apparently because there thought she would be denied boarding. The view to onlookers was of course that the child was being denied boarding when dressed in normal fashion, and that the father in his shorts was considered okay. The problem for United was a public relations one – on Sunday they did not respond effectively to the social media storm. They were as my mom used to say about being the in the right when driving, “the rightest person in the graveyard”.

  45. It’s surprising that United didn’t understand that this was going to be a social media sh!tstorm. I have blathered on about my opinion of dress codes in the past (short version: tools of the patriarchy), but I won’t deny that United is within its rights to ask for certain behavior from pass travelers. Perhaps require the ticketing agent to enforce the code – in order to avoid drama (and social media exposure) at the gate.

  46. “It’s surprising that United didn’t understand that this was going to be a social media sh!tstorm.”

    I guarantee that if I were to survey everyone in the conference room in which I currently sit, not a single person would know, or certainly not care, about this.

    Who cares, anyway? Airlines peddle a commodity. Do you think a significant number of people on Kayak or Priceline are going to change their shopping preferences because of this? It’s like the idiots who were thinking they were going to boycott BP.

  47. I wouldn’t be surprised if there will now be additional restrictions on pass riders, such as people not being able to ride without the employee.

  48. As soon as I read the terms of United’s policy for dress if you’re flying on an employee pass- I had no problem with it. I was annoyed for a couple of minutes until I understood that these were free passes, and there were clear guidelines associated with the use of the pass.

    I was in our high school for a day last week to help out with something, and I would estimate that 80% of the girls wear leggings instead of jeans. It is a black cotton legging vs. spandex, but it is a legging. I would guess that 90% of the girls in our elementary and middle schools wear leggings instead of jeans, so this is clearly how many of these kids dress because it is more comfortable to them to sit on a plane or in a classroom in a legging.

  49. I guarantee that if I were to survey everyone in the conference room in which I currently sit, not a single person would know, or certainly not care, about this.

    And yet, Milo, you don’t feel like an intellectual giant because you do know?

    6/7 people in my workspace are deeply concerned about this. They will still buy the cheapest ticket on kayak, but it does tarnish the reputation.

  50. it is more comfortable to them to sit on a plane or in a classroom in a legging.

    I hate jeans and find them very uncomfortable. I have never understood the jeans-love. It’s true that to my elderly eye it looks like the girls aren’t wearing actual clothes, but leggings are sooo comfy.

  51. Ada – I only know because of this blog.

    “They will still buy the cheapest ticket on kayak”

    say no more.

  52. The misinformation (including Meme’s point mentioned above) from the original tweet and subsequent news stories turned me off, and from what I saw turned off many others from what now appears to be a lame complaint. Maybe I’d even compare it to the millennial whiner in the other thread. “Oh no I can’t wear leggings when I get a free ride. How unfair!” People like me are thinking “heck for a free ride you should wear what they require and shut up about it”.

    ” It’s true that to my elderly eye it looks like the girls aren’t wearing actual clothes ” Ha, me too! And to be completely judgmental, in some cases it looks a bit too revealing and in other cases not attractive at all. Personally, I find regular pants/jeans with a little spandex to be very comfortable for traveling.

  53. I have flown on those companion passes. My friend the UAL employee explained very carefully to me the parameters of the dress code, so I knew what to wear in advance. I think the one mistake is that the gate agent should have made it very clear to the others boarding that this was a UAL employee policy and did not apply to anyone else.

  54. I am a fan of longish skirts when I fly. Or loose pants. I wouldn’t want to wear either jeans or leggings – too tight and itchy.

  55. What about the mom who complained about her 12 year old getting a pat down. Its funny because I feel like so many of those people are like “Well clearly I’M not a terrorist.”

  56. While United has a right to enforce their policies for pass travelers, it was handled so poorly on social media. It did the opposite of de-escalating the situation.

  57. “As soon as I read the terms of United’s policy for dress if you’re flying on an employee pass- I had no problem with it. I was annoyed for a couple of minutes until I understood that these were free passes, and there were clear guidelines associated with the use of the pass.”

    This was my take too. I saw people complaining on Twitter, but I didn’t have the context. When I read about it, it didn’t seem like a big deal with the context.

    The HQ of United is here in town, so most of the comments that I am seeing in my FB feed are along the lines of “my dad/mom who worked for United would have kicked my butt if I embarrassed him by not showing up dressed to fly” and stories about always having to fly in dressy clothes & enduring long waits at the airport for the free tickets. Seems like the dress code is very commonly understood by employees and their families who use the passes.

    I don’t really have a problem with elementary school or even teen girls wearing leggings. The clothes I wore in HS were hideous too, in retrospect. (oversized denim short-alls with doc martins, anyone?) And less comfortable!

    I don’t wear leggings to fly, but I don’t really wear leggings much at all outside of working out. I don’t have the body for them. But I do wear other comfortable clothes when I fly.

  58. This just highlights the fundamental problem with the “news” today. Everybody jumps on every little thing and makes a huge deal out of it without having all the facts.

    And speaking of United and travel horrors, DW and DD were flying back from Vancouver yesterday. Their flight was supposed to arrive at 7:15. It was delayed due to a mechanical issue. They had to fly a part out, and the plane it was on was delayed. Then the mechanic who was working on the repair timed out, so they had to wait for another mechanic to arrive to finish the job. They finally arrived at 12:45 a.m.

  59. Do you think a significant number of people on Kayak or Priceline are going to change their shopping preferences because of this?

    A lot of people are brand loyal thanks to having the credit card that offers free checked bags, priority boarding and points. That said, I doubt anyone is going to switch. However, in terms of social media branding it was a fail – death by a thousand cuts and all that.

  60. My cousins had free passes through my uncles/aunts who worked for various airlines. The dress code requirement for pass travelers is there in other airlines as well.
    The dress code was not a big deal at all. The flying on standby was. In the golden era of airline travel free pass travelers could get on a plane pretty easily but now it has become difficult and my adult cousins were choosing to pay for travel instead of dealing with being subject to load.

  61. And depending on the years of service my uncles/aunts were entitled to business class tickets. Airline jobs were coveted in the home country till recently.

  62. Leggings as pants is definitely a generational thing. Sadly, I am too old. But if I were a 17 yo, I would wear them every day.

  63. Sorry, I don’t get why people find leggings to be comfortable. I have a couple of pairs I wear under tunics, but rarely, because they feel like tights to me and I don’t find tights to be comfortable.

  64. I love wearing tights and leggings (more as tights, not as pants). Comfortable and keep me warm.

  65. When I was a little girl, we had to wear dresses to school, and the tights back then didn’t have much stretchy stuff in them. So they would droop, especially in the crotch area. Worst feeling ever – the feeling of tights kind of sagging down your legs. I was so glad when we moved to Germany where everyone wore pants to school

  66. I’m with MM and hate tight, itchy clothing. I didn’t really think about my sensory issues until having kids. I completely relate to a kid freaking out about a sock not feeling right. My kids wear sweats every day. I would too, if I could. I wore something uncomfortable the other day and couldn’t focus at all. I’ve never tried leggings because I don’t think they are flattering on me – same with skinny jeans. I hate tights with a passion. I think tights and leggings can be really cute, but I can’t pull them off and would be catatonic with how uncomfortable I’d be.

  67. When my son was very little and in speech therapy, the therapist and I tried to have a conversation about sensory issues. It didn’t go well. She tried to explain that some people have issues with scratchy clothes, icky textures, nasty tasting food, unpleasant sounds, etc. My response was that, “wasn’t that normal, because having issues with those things describes my whole family?”

  68. I love leggings, but I only wear them under looong tunics or dresses. I find them very comfortable depending on the fabric. But like MM, I remember the days of dresses to elementary school (polyester, because Mom didn’t have to iron them!) and tights without enough stretch that sagged to the thighs, and the damn scratchy lace collars and cuffs Mom favored, and I swear I wonder how I survived elementary school and even managed to learn a few things.

  69. Regarding flying – there is a funny thing that has happened to me on 3 different trips at airports and now my whole family teases me. I have somehow “crept” around a border security official or TSA officer because I got confused about their direction to “step back ma’am” or to reach my phone boarding pass to the code reader. I am extremely petite, slender and very smiley looking so I have never been considered physically threatening and it just doesn’t occur to me to be concerned that I might be threatening a huge man with a gun. One time he put his hand on his weapon and asked me very loudly to move back. It really scared me and I think I scared him too. My husband and sons are saying- “you can’t get that close, it looks like you are trying something.” After a few trips I forgot and did it AGAIN. Now it’s a family tradition to try and hold me back from the agent….

  70. P.S. before anyone suggests this- I don’t think it’s because I’m dark skinned. My family says I really am doing this weird creeping/sidling thing that looks suspicious.

  71. My family says I really am doing this weird creeping/sidling thing that looks suspicious.

    It’s hard not to! They treat you like a criminal so you start to act like one.

  72. “I wouldn’t want to wear either jeans or leggings – too tight and itchy.”

    Not all jeans are tight; there is a range of bagginess available.

  73. Mooshi, I was surprised when I first tried leggings. I don’t like anything tight either. That’s why I don’t like jeans, and I’ve never worn control top anything or Spanx-type stuff. But leggings are like longjohns that fit you perfectly and never get baggy/saggy, are so easy to have on you forget they’re there. I generally won’t wear polyester, but it doesn’t bother me in leggings. Try it, you’ll like it :)

  74. “She tried to explain that some people have issues with scratchy clothes, icky textures, nasty tasting food, unpleasant sounds, etc.”

    It’s normal to put up with things that are scratchy, icky, nasty, unpleasant, etc? Who has time in their life for that? I’ve never understood why people think it’s ok to force a kid to limp around with the seam from a twisted sock getting in the toes’ way.

  75. I did not care for the leggings all day look before I actually purchased the higher end leggings (I like Lucy brand). There is some fantastic engineering going on in the fabric and cut – the good leggings are an entirely different concept from anything I have tried to purchase at Kohl’s or Target. It keeps everything supported and comfortable. I also nearly always wear jeans with spandex – slim, tapered fit but not skinny, low-rise (no one needs to glimpse any part of that area in someone over 40 in public). I rarely wear leggings when I travel but will usually wear my pajama-like jeans.

    It’s not normal to put up with it but having sensory issues to the point where you notice tags and seams in everything means you are a little outside the norm for sensory-sensitivity. DS #1 has it – he has outgrown much of the issues but still will only wear 1-2 pairs of socks inside-out that are basically disintegrating. It often co-exists with kids on the spectrum. Oddly enough he does not like slinky/slippery clothes either. A lot of kids I know also had light or sound sensitivity and most have grown out of these sensitivities as they became tweens.

  76. “I don’t like anything tight either. That’s why I don’t like jeans”

    Why do you assume jeans are tight? They don’t have to be; I like mine somewhat baggy.

  77. Mia, my son probably would’ve been “sound sensative” if we’d had that looked at. The noise in a regular HS still gives him a headache, if he doesn’t have his earbuds, so he always takes them, charged or not.

  78. “I’ve never understood why people think it’s ok to force a kid to limp around with the seam from a twisted sock getting in the toes’ way.”

    Because they don’t feel it themselves — they literally do not notice the sock seam or the itchy tag, and so they assume the kid is making it up to get attention, being spoiled/picky, or whatever. Some people just can’t seem to understand that how they perceive/interact with the world is not the same for everyone else.

  79. Because they don’t feel it themselves — they literally do not notice the sock seam or the itchy tag, and so they assume the kid is making it up to get attention, being spoiled/picky, or whatever. Some people just can’t seem to understand that how they perceive/interact with the world is not the same for everyone else.

    Exactly. I am on the more sensitive side, especially when it comes to glasses. Every time I get a new pair, I drive the guy crazy trying to get him to adjust them just right. I know I’m being “that customer” (one year I went back 5 times to get them adjustment), but it really bothers me if they don’t sit exactly right. I know other people aren’t bothered in the same way.

  80. “if the waistband is baggy, the jeans fall down.”

    OK, but it is possible to get baggy jeans that fit at the waist, or at least it is for me.

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