How much do you love your job?

by July

4 Reasons I Chose To Stick With A Career I Don’t Love

Reason #2 has been mentioned here a few times.

I was fortunate that I loved my careers, if not always the specific jobs.  I even loved many of the part-time jobs I had while going to school because they involved photography, which I enjoy and even considered as a career..

What about you?  Do you love your career?  Do you love your job?  If not, why do you stick with it?  What “passions” would be part of your fantasy jobs?  What have you observed among people around you?

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134 thoughts on “How much do you love your job?

  1. I didn’t notice until this morning how this topic ties into the previous discussion.

  2. I travel every week for work. Monday through Thursday I am jet-setting to a new city to work with a client and improve their financials.

    Sigh, a dream come true. God help me I love it so.

    I’ve probably mentioned this before but when I interviewed for my first real job they loved me. I was later told that the only concern that came up was that I was way more enthusiastic about travel than was typical.

  3. Rhett – In earlier days, I bet you would have been an explorer of some sort.

    In contrast, my mom thinks kids riding their bikes on the grass is too difficult.

  4. Rhett – In earlier days, I bet you would have been an explorer of some sort.

    I like to be comfortable. Given my hatred of camping I doubt explorer would have been my first choice.

  5. Rhett – So its not wanderlust or thirst for adventure? What exactly is it that you love about travel? I enjoy it, but you seem to truly love it.

    BTW – on topic, yes to all 4 reasons (although I hate public speaking).

  6. I have had jobs all along the spectrum from loved (as in woke up in the morning thinking, I can’t believe I get to go do this today) all the way to hated (as in every morning I made sure I had at least one job hunting task on the to do list so I could get out of their as soon as possible).

    I think jobs have 3 components – what you actually do, who you do it with, and the environment in which you do it – and while its rarely ever perfectly balanced in that you love all three at the same time, if any one of them gets too far out of whack, it is no longer a good fit regardless of how much it pays. Though, as a primary provider, I have had a few jobs that I couldn’t quit until I found a new one because a lapse in pay or benefits would not be the best choice for my family.

    What I do now has all three in balance. While I don’t LOVE what I do, I also don’t dislike it. As the author says it fits my current needs of a part time job that is (1) mentally engaging in a way that retirement isn’t, (2) has flexibility and autonomy in my work schedule, (3) allows a high level of autonomy in how I do the work as long as I meet the deadline, and (4) brings in enough income so that is covers my DD#1’s private school cost.

  7. What exactly is it that you love about travel?

    Everything! Like literally everything right down to the little jellies and ketchups they have at hotels to the rental car shuttle bus, even just sitting in the terminal when a flights being delayed and watching the world go by.

  8. Kerri,

    If you want to get all psychological, I assume it’s because every little thing reminds me that I’m not a failure like my father was/is.

  9. But honestly, the little jellies are right near the top:

    Followed closely but the little ketchups:

  10. I agree with everything Austin says.

    I had one job where it was such a bad fit between my skills and wants and the company’s needs and wants that I ended up getting fired, but only after 3 months of being a complete ball of nerves every day, unable to eat, sleep, or do anything without the crappy work situation getting into my head. (Startup. Said they wanted one skillset but really wanted/needed another. I couldn’t quit…no place else to go, so I tried to make a go of it, pretty much forcing them to let me go “this just isn’t working”).

    Now my current position has big +++ on everything in Austin’s last paragraph.

  11. Rhett – have you ever used the little bottle of brown sauce? The jellies and ketchup I get. The brown sauce, nope.

  12. “even just sitting in the terminal when a flights being delayed and watching the world go by.”

    This almost makes me hyperventilate. I have to work hard to overcome the stress of being stuck in an airport because of delays or cancellations. Although work travel delays usually have not concerned me as much as personal travel delays.

  13. Rhett – have you ever used the little bottle of brown sauce?

    Brown sauce? You mean Worcestershire sauce or A1?

  14. I have to work hard to overcome the stress of being stuck in an airport because of delays or cancellations.

    What’s stressful about it? Obviously if you have a 2 year old screaming that’s different from relaxing at the bar, but if the kids are happily ensconced in their iPads, what’s stressful?

  15. Do you take those little bottles home? I hate those little bottles because for some reason other family members like to bring them home and I have to secretly throw them out. My vice is Taco Bell hot sauce packets. When I go I get a stash to use at home, and then I forget about them until I find them a year later.

  16. Do you take those little bottles home?

    Just the extra little bottles of Bombay I sometimes end up with:

  17. I definitely like my job (although if I won the lottery, I would be happy to quit and pursue a life of leisure). I get to work on a variety of issues, I’m always learning new things, I have flexibility (the focus is on getting the work done – people don’t care when you come in or when you leave), I work with smart dedicated people and I really like my boss. The only challenge the past couple years has been that there is too much job to love. I’m working more than I would like to be and despite that, I am always running behind (the whole office is in the same situation – just a lot of stuff happening).

    There was a period when I had a difficult boss and that was not good (very smart and hard-working but temperamental and brusque and very hard on staff. During that time, I viewed my primary role as supervisor to be a protective layer in between my team and my boss).

    I think it’s important to have a job you like and that’s a good fit – but I don’t agree at all that your job needs to be your passion. It’s fine if it works out that way – but it’s an unrealistic expectation for most people. Also, I like having interests that are not work related. I love reading and I love children’s books – but if that was my job, I think I’d lose some of the joy I currently get from it. When I retire, it could be fun to have a part-time job that is more fun related – i.e. working in a knitting store. It wouldn’t pay much but it would hopefully keep me in yarn.

  18. I work primarily for the money/financial security, and I do work that fulfills the AustinMom criteria fairly well. Right now, I would say that the people/environment/actual work are all around between 6 and 8, which is decent enough for me. It feels like a fair trade for the compensation, and since I don’t have F U money yet – I need to keep doing it or adopt a MMM lifestyle without the blog income (no thanks). I don’t think that my free-time interests would actually translate well to paid work, so I don’t have a dream “passion” job. This is fine. I will be happy to do it, but I doubt that I will miss it terribly when I retire (hopefully with plenty of vigorous years left).

    I do love the AustinMom criteria. I think that’s spot on. The only thing missing is the lifestyle part – 50+ hours/week and travel vs. 40 hours a week and time for a long lunch break makes a huge difference. Maybe that’s “environment”.

    Rhett – I do love the little jams and ketchups. I felt glamorous and cool when I traveled a lot for work in my early 20’s, and I really enjoyed it. But now I just find work travel annoying and disruptive. And I miss my family, my own bed, my own kitchen, etc.

  19. “What’s stressful about it?”

    Missing planned events and activities is the main thing. Having my time taken away that I could be using to do other things is another. I can read at the airport, but beyond that there are not too many other things I want to do. As I said, I try to make the best of this situation but I certainly would rather not.

  20. “Brown sauce? You mean Worcestershire sauce or A1?”

    No, its actually called brown sauce.

    If the link doesn’t work, google “little jar of brown sauce” in Images.

  21. I have had “cool” jobs, but I have not been passionate about my job since I was starting my career. Now, I just want a stable job with benefits and the opportunity to work with people I like. I don’t have this right now, but I’m not sure this type of job is in the cards for at least 1-2 years.

    DH has the perfect job for him. He loves it and is very good at it. He gets a lot of control, and is really working to make the world a better place (tie back to prior post).

  22. “During that time, I viewed my primary role as supervisor to be a protective layer in between my team and my boss.”

    I have been in that situation, and it was brutal. In, my case, I didn’t have much respect for the boss on a competency level, so I felt like I was just always cleaning up messes too. That was a low point.

  23. Kerri,

    I don’t recall ever seeing one of those. Then again there is always a bottle that I never use and never look that closely. Maybe that’s it?

  24. I stopped working when I no longer enjoyed the personal constraints associated with working, despite being overpaid for what I was doing. I did like my profession, even when I disliked my boss or the long hours or other issues with a particular work situation. I love vacation travel – all aspects from planning to flying to meals in hotels and where possible navigating local transportation. I don’t mind any aspect of the process of travel now that it is rare that a delay will be anything more than a fleeting annoyance. My Kindle is full of books I haven’t read and I really love a good airport bloody mary (double).

    As for bringing home the souvenir bottles, these are the only ones I bothered with. KLM genever (gin)

  25. I love my job. It’s not a passion, but I don’t think I’ve figured out what my passion is, let alone how to make a living from it. My job pays well, has a ton of flexibility, I have an awesome boss and coworkers, people are always thrilled to see me when I show up. I was on vacation last week, and every facility I’ve been to so far this week, I’ve been greeted with “we’re so glad you’re back!”

  26. I think I’ve turned my passion into a career. Or at least I’m passionate about my career. I decided ~30 years ago that I wanted to study marine science. Flash forward, and I’m doing that. I have 3 degrees focusing on marine science and oceanography. I do love what I do.

    My current job pays me well enough (right now, more than a grad student is well enough, but I live pretty lean anyway). DH’s job takes care of the medical benefits. I’m able to put money into retirement, and a little in savings for different things. Since I’ve built up quite a lot of comp time and vacation time, my job is very flexible. I need the butt-in-seat time, but I can fudge things if I work from home (which happens some weeks). My boss has been good about that.

    I do love my job when I think about it. Day to Day? Not so much right now, but I’ve been working on the same project for 3 years and it was supposed to be finished ~9 months ago. I started marking the length of the project by number of children I have. That’s not good for the program I work for or the company that hosts us. But the type of project we are doing takes time. Hopefully by the fall I’ll be moving onto other projects with shorter timelines. That will keep me fresh.

    I wish I had more of a certain future. There are some corporate things going on that I wish I wasn’t involved in (but I got dragged in to) but I am. Between certain people who aren’t directly in my chain of command and the federal government, I don’t know how long this job will last. But I need to remember that I’m doing the best I can day-to-day. If I am asked to leave or choose to leave, I will be able to find something else to do.

  27. “If I am asked to leave or choose to leave, I will be able to find something else to do.”

    Something else in your field or something else that’s different?

  28. I hated my previous job but my boss was nice, he let me work part time and my kids were in daycare two minutes away, so it served it’s purpose until I vested in the pension. Dh I think 75% of the time hates his job but it pays reasonably well and he mostly likes the people he works with. I think he sometimes likes the actual work, but the unpredictable hours are terrible and he’s getting too old to be staying up until 2:00 in the morning multiple nights in a row. I think it’s hard to do client service type work for a whole career.

  29. The thing I like best about my job is that it’s interesting. I think the general industry (health care) is interesting, and my specific projects are interesting. Double win. When a client asks me a question, I’m genuinely interested in what the answer is. The questions I get are high level, thinking questions – people inside organizations are so busy doing they doing always have time to think. That’s what I get to do – what should the policy be? What should the process be? Or, given that the policy or rule or process is ABC, how do they apply it to this XYZ unanticipated circumstance? It’s different every day and interesting every day. And thus the hours fly by.

    I love personal/vacation travel, but I hate work travel. Not sure I can articulate why.

  30. “Something else in your field or something else that’s different?”

    I’d like my field but jobs in my area are limited so I keep my eyes open across the board.

  31. Like Rhode, I like my field and jobs in my area are limited. I had my first networking meeting last week to consider what I might do next.

    Last minute expectations by my lead engineer combined with Mr WCE’s crunch week mean I’m losing at work and at home this week. I want to say, “Your poor planning is not my emergency” but I can’t.

  32. I agree with most things in the article. I don’t have a “passion” I would want to follow as a career. Most of the time I like what I do pretty well, especially now since (knock on wood) my flexibility has improved quite a bit from a few years ago, which is not to say I wouldn’t quit in a minute if we won the powerball. ;)

  33. I don’t love or hate my job, neutral about it. On a day to day basis, I like what I do, have some degree of flexibility and make a decent amount of money for my effort.
    I wish I knew earlier how having kids and not being available more would impact my career.
    At this point I want to take the skills I have accumulated and help others. I particularly want to help kids succeed in school, so I think I could offer free homework help and general guidance to families that need help.

  34. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_sauce . It’s a cousin of US steak sauce. (Someone could have a taste-off of steak sauce, brown sauce, and tonkatsu sauce.)

    My job has pleasant people, reasonable hours in an attractive and reasonably convenient location, and interesting work. The downside is that it also has some tedious and annoying work, and some very unpleasant people to deal with outside the office. (Also some very nice people outside the office.) So if I suddenly came into a few million dollars I wouldn’t quit that same day, but I don’t know if I’d last more than six months or so before something set me on the road toward leaving.

  35. Short hijack/rant – Some of you recall my issue with moving some of my parents money. Well, it has taken another ugly turn. The investment firm A that I am trying to get the money out of says it can’t make the transfer of IRAs from one trust account to another without a letter from the attorney that contains specific language. Attorney doesn’t recommend signing those terms. So, we are at an impass. I’m passed annoyed into angry and moving towards enraged. Rant over….

  36. Austin,

    Are you dealing with the same person? Is there any way you can “hang up and call again” as in innocently ask someone else to do it in the hopes they’ll just do it?

  37. Austin – what is the issue? Is it a trustee-to-trustee transfer of the IRA? Or a distribution of an IRA from a trust to a beneficiary? Those should be pretty standard. You can email me if you want (L juggle atty at g mail, no spaces) if you want a second opinion. :)

  38. Rhett – If only I could shop an answer…but no, same person who is a branch manager and is working with their corporate department.

  39. I would have written almost the same sentence as Meme with one change…..I stopped working when I no longer enjoyed the personal constraints associated with working, despite being paid for what I was doing. I did like my profession, even when I disliked my boss or the long hours or other issues with a particular work situation.

    I continue to work when I was miserable because the money was too good to give up. As soon as the bonus money dried up to the financial crisis, then I didn’t want to miserable and not get paid for the stress and long hours. I know that most people would consider the salary to be fair, but the hours and travel were so long that I didn’t want to keep doing it since it was making me sick.

    I still miss certain things about banking and I really feel a little homesick when I am back in office of one of my former employees for a project or even for lunch. There are times when I am very grateful to leave because some of them are still so unhappy, but I do miss the travel and the decision making. I like the control that I have now over my life, but there are trade offs.

  40. Well, this is an interesting time to ask me this question, because as y’all know, the past almost-month has been very stressful — today, for ex., I had blocked off the afternoon for months, because it’s DS’ end-of-ES picnic, and then yesterday the $%&!)$#@ idiots did something yet again, and I was summoned to a call with the Powers that Be right in the middle of the picnic. So I said, ok, I’ll go to the school for an hour, then do the call — and while I was at the school, they went into a lockdown because of a police standoff very nearby, so I ended up doing the call huddled in an empty classroom without any of my notes or documents, etc. And now I get to leave DS’ baseball game early tonight for yet another call! So today is one of those days when it will be a miracle if I don’t buy a Powerball ticket — which, hard on the heels of yesterday, which sent me to the local bar after work with DH, makes me seriously question the value-per-unit-of-annoyance ratio.

    OTOH, earlier this week, we got a decision in a case on which I had written an amicus brief, and the court actually adopted our reasoning on something that is truly important to our clients and seemed impossible (I literally had the “you know you have no chance, right?” conversation with them when they hired us — even though the interpretation was stupid, it had been policy for 30 years). And so now my partners are forwarding the case to clients and telling them how awesome I am, and it reminds me that I am good at what I do and sometimes it does actually make a difference.

  41. I could use some advice about job satisfaction from the more experienced folks on here.
    For some reason I have observed that my job satisfaction is very closely tied with how much approval I get from my superiors and how much upward mobility I perceive is within reach. Consequently, since I am now reporting to a newly promoted director with a close lipped style who I believe does not value my skills as high as others have before, I feel very unhappy. I do not think that I am positioned for a promotion any time soon, which also contributes to my unhappiness.
    Is there an age above which it is harder to get promoted? I am 33 and am afraid that soon I am going to reach that point since I have been at my current level for some time.
    If I believed in my options still being open, I think my job satisfaction would increase significantly. So odd that it has very little to do with comp…

  42. On second reading my comment sounded a little whiny – I am reminded of a friend of mine whose mom is a part of the executive team of a very well known company. She cannot stand “millennials” because she says we expect a pat on the back for every little thing and a promotion to go with it. Sigh.
    In my defense, I have had more than the typical number of managers (due to reorganization) and they have all placed me on the high potential, etc lists and have talked to me about future development.

  43. @Teacher DH: FWIW, my DH is dealing with something similar, and it is very frustrating. Probably the best approach is to approach your manager and ask about the path forward — not from the context of “why haven’t I been promoted,” but from “what skills would you like me to develop to be prepared for the next step, and how can we find me opportunities to develop them?” If this person is your manager, that is part of the job, and so it is eminently reasonable for you to ask where you stand and how do you move up — and framing it up as seeking advice and self-improvement (instead of what they are doing wrong) can tend to go over a little better with some difficult types.

  44. Is there an age above which it is harder to get promoted?

    Maybe, but it’s usually not 33. That said, it could be that you’re run out of room to advance at your current employer.

  45. Prepared for the next step indicates that you’re likely to leave if you don’t get what you want. Just keep in mind, if you’re doing a really great job, your manager will be sorely tempted to tell you what you want to hear about what the future holds.

  46. My employer is a Fortune 100 company so there are opportunities even though lack of growth is limiting those. I have started doubting if there’s something wrong with me and the way I navigate the political climate. Or maybe I need to be patient and wait it out and use Laura’s approach. Or just try to find a new position outside the company. I am being told however that showing resume progress is key to jumping to a higher position with a new employer.

  47. What do promotion levels look like elsewhere? Where I work, ~1 in 10 people reaches first level manager, ~1 in 50 people reaches second level manager and ~1 in 100 people reaches third level manager. Pay increases ~20% at each level with significant overlap between levels so people who are 2nd and 3rd level managers do it because they like it, not because their $ per unit of effort improves.

  48. I am being told however that showing resume progress is key to jumping to a higher position with a new employer.

    Yeah, it helps, but shopping your resume around anyway won’t hurt. Have you had title changes that you can present as promotions? Changes in responsibilities that you can present as upward progression?

  49. “Is there an age above which it is harder to get promoted? I am 33 and am afraid that soon I am going to reach that point since I have been at my current level for some time.”

    Yes, I think there is, but I think it’s somewhere in your mid-40’s and up, nowhere near 33. Depends on industry and field of course -maybe it’s impossible to be a BigLaw partner or Bank VP if you got off that track somewhere early. I’m thinking of the other traditional corporate offices of other industries.

    That said, I think it’s normal to have a longer lag between promotions once you hit a certain stage in your career because the moves up get bigger and bigger. Also, the higher you go, someone has to actually be displaced for you to take their spot in a lot of cases, which can limit opportunity – especially if you would prefer to stay in one company/office/location.

    I also agree with Rhett.

    I suppose you might not want to reveal it here, but approx how long since your last promotion? Are you already in a management position? How many times have you been promoted since entry level in your career (~10 years??).

  50. Teacher DH – “Newly promoted director” – I don’t know how your organization works, but I would likely give any “new” person some time to get the lay of the land and the people working for them. At the same time, make sure that you are doing your job well and that your accomplishments are seen by them. And, I would say look outside your boss for ways to determine the “value” of your work.

    IME, age is not always a factor, but the job and how the company moves you up can override that. At my current employer, in one department you can only get so far and then the skills need for the next job require you to get them somewhere else either through employement or volunteer activities. At that point, many try a lateral move to another department where they can get those skills, and then move back to the original department at the higher level. It is based on the type of work done in those departments. The managers of both are frequently “stealing” each other’s staff.

  51. Teacher DH – Some older companies are very hidebound in their promotional tracks. You can get an idea if you have been tagged for steady progress by looking at the career paths of the people who arrived at about the same time, especially if you were hired straight out of school or within a couple of years of graduation. Also, review your years there and see whether you declined an opportunity, perhaps just from ignorance of the necessity to make that change to stay on the upward track. You are young enough to keep moving up, but if my comments spark recognition it might be a good idea to give a former supervisor with whom you had a good relationship a call and ask for some help understanding the unwritten rules.

  52. “My vice is Taco Bell hot sauce packets.”

    Yeah, I like those a lot too. They’re great for burritos, taco salad, etc., that we like to make at home.

    Your post made me wonder about just buying the sauce, and a quick search shows:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Taco-Bell-Hot-Sauce-7.5-oz/29029224?wmlspartner=wmtlabs&adid=22222222222019268289&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=e&wl1=o&wl2=c&wl3=10353881068&wl4=kwd-1103078668905&wl12=29029224_0&wl14=taco%20bell%20sauce&veh=sem

  53. I have been in the workforce for 8yrs. 1 promotion since I joined this company – 4 yrs ago. I am at a manager level. Part of my dissatisfaction is that I was offered a title change with managing people last year and forwent it for an opportunity to move into a different business unit and gain new skills (senior level executive gave me that advice). I think I regret that now because the title change and managing people would probably have looked much better than the “I have experience doing X now”, especially externally.
    WCE – the jump to the next level in my company equates with significant $ increase. The ratio is about 13/1 and due to the slow growth there are not many vacancies because people have to retire before that spot opens. My boss is however the proof that this happens so it is partially me.

  54. Rhett – I never considered Jet Blue Mint in the wedding travel plans. Thanks, I just booked our round trips at a highly discounted rate (return overlaps with early Txgiving travel.

  55. And so now my partners are forwarding the case to clients and telling them how awesome I am, and it reminds me that I am good at what I do and sometimes it does actually make a difference.

    LfB, that’s awesome!

    What do promotion levels look like elsewhere?

    I have no promotion possibility at all at my current employer. And that’s fine with me.

    She cannot stand “millennials” because she says we expect a pat on the back for every little thing and a promotion to go with it.

    Everybody appreciates recognition, and requires it at some level. I don’t think there are many boomers or gen Xers or whatever the other generations are called who wouldn’t get tired of working without every getting any appreciation. It might be a matter of degree, but the feelings are there for everyone.

  56. The discussion of teeny tiny ketchup bottles is fascinating, but I have a hijack to our ever fave topic: campus visits. We went to Drexel today. Wonderful location, great CS program, most excellent dragon-themed logowear and dragon statues everywhere. But man oh man, if my kid goes there, he would be entering the vacationless world of the working stiff. They go friggin’ year round! They get 10 days off in early September, 2 weeks at Christmas, 5 days in March, and a week in June. I couldn’t imagine doing that when I was 18, especially in a high pressure STEM major. Plus, of course, their tuition is crazy, though it is on our tuition exchange list, but not guaranteed. On the upside, going to school in one of the nicest parts of Philadelphia would be awesome, and their coop program is really great. Students come out highly employable. But we would never see our kid!

    Intreestingly, while he was very impressed, he says that so far, NJIT is still his first choice.

  57. LfB – the annoyance is temporary isn’t it ? I know it’s dragging on for more than you anticipated and it will probably interrupt your summer. Hang in there !

  58. They go friggin’ year round! They get 10 days off in early September, 2 weeks at Christmas, 5 days in March, and a week in June. I couldn’t imagine doing that when I was 18, especially in a high pressure STEM major.

    Wouldn’t he be working over the summer anyway?

  59. Rhett – Thanks, for solo travel I will certainly plan on it, but I do have a traveling companion…..

  60. Mooshi and others visiting engineering college keep the reviews coming. Very informative. I had heard of Drexel but didn’t know it was in Philadelphia and hadn’t heard of NJIT at all.

  61. Probably but typical college summer jobs are more laid back, and often there are a few weeks at the begiing or end. And usualy you get 4 or 5 weeks at Christmas. The reason Drexel does this is to jam in the coops, and even with that, they said many people take 5 years

  62. Probably but typical college summer jobs are more laid back

    But probably not as interesting I would guess. As for Christmas break, wouldn’t he be working then anyway as well?

  63. I never worked over Christmas in college!

    You didn’t live in suburban NYC. I’m sure he could rustle something up.

  64. MM – on campus visits – how do you evaluate the COOP offerings/requirements. My DD#1 is so introverted. When we visited Rice in some programs they require them, but if you aren’t extremely pro-active (won’t use what student actually said), you don’t necessarily get a good one.
    OMG – Not telling DD about the dragons – she has been into dragons for as long as I can remember

  65. ” one of the nicest parts of Philadelphia”

    I considered a school in that part of Philly when I was in HS, and was warned that it was a sketchy neighborhood. Apparently there’s been quite a bit of gentrification in the interim.

    Drexel was a school DS looked at, in part because they gave merit aid to NMF, and in part because of its location.

    I just looked at it on Google maps, and the pin says, “Drexel University, Long-standing school with a co-op focus.” If they have school year-round, when is the co-op? I’m thinking the summer school might be to facilitate graduation in 4 years while still working in a co-op experience.

  66. Not so much. People don’t like to hire for 4 week periods. Most of my students work at part time jobs year-round, but even a lot of them do vacationy things at Christmas instead of working

  67. I never worked over Christmas in college!

    I did my last couple of years of college. They were looking for college kids able to fill in for a secretary taking a week off, and the money was good.

  68. Yes, the year-round is because they need to jam everything in, but they told us that even so, many take a 5 year plan

  69. “I never worked over Christmas in college!”

    I always worked during Xmas break while I was in college.

    Schools on quarter systems also typically have a short Xmas break.

  70. I still think it is very different to spend some time filling in for a secretary (or working fastfood) than to be going from course quarter to course quarter to high powered career oriented job to course quarter with very little time in between. It seems like they have no time to decompress. I realize that a school like this will attract a certain kind of very mature student – but am not sure if my kid can handle that. Or if he wants to become a working stiff at age 18. We’ll see.

  71. Louise, I believe Drexel and NJIT are schools that are often considered by kids that also look at schools like the ones Austin will be visiting, although we thought Drexel was similar to BU, i.e., not just a tech school, and they both have honors colleges.

    It’s also right next to Penn, and there are several other colleges in the area, which I’m guessing creates a lot of social opportunities.

  72. Worrying that your college kid won’t have enough downtime is so against the Totebag ethos! ;)

    I do agree that seems rather intense, but who knows. The breaks some college kids get seem excessive. I liked the 4-1-4 calendar a lot as a student. It was a good balance to have that J-term rather than just sitting at home in the cold. I never worked over Christmas break either- couldn’t have found a job if I had wanted to. The exception was when I was an intern & stayed until Xmas eve to finish my project, and then started my FT job in a different office on January 2 without a “lapse in service” as they say. Going from a college schedule to a 2-weeks of vacation and major holidays schedule was really brutal for me. Also brutal – getting up and getting to work at 7:30am everyday.

  73. A lot of retail employers hire extra people just for the holiday season.

    When I was in college, many friends who’d had PT retail jobs in HS went back to those same employers during the Xmas break; they were ideal for those employers, not needing training and willing to work FT for just a short time.

  74. Drexel definitely looks like BU, a fact that I mentioned to my kid. But BU is much bigger and STEM is not nearly as dominant. I think Drexel is more like Northeastern

  75. Retail holiday employees are usually expected to start in late November, ending right at Christmas.

  76. Worrying that your college kid won’t have enough downtime is so against the Totebag ethos! ;)

    Not at all! With my working class heritage you were expected to work during school and sure as hell during breaks. The totebag ethos is more about the care and feeding of an academic thoroughbred. Nothing should detract from peak academic performance.

  77. Finn, I agree that students who already have PT jobs may well work over CHristmas. But it isn’t the same level of pressure!!!!

  78. It sounds like he will have opportunities at good choices. WPI and Northeastern are a little farther away and possibly more difficult admits from his high school than Drexel and NJIT, and of course you would prefer Stony Brook if possible. I don’t recall wanting to be at home more than a couple of days straight when I was on college break, and my Cali kids came home twice a year and worked over breaks.

  79. I worked PT during all of my semesters in college, and I worked FT in the summer all of the summers except the one between my freshman and sophomore year (in which I cobbled together two fastfood gigs, and 3 weeks as a camp counselor). But I never worked at Christmas because I got home too late for a holiday job (usually slid in on Dec 22) and there weren’t really any other jobs around that lasted 4 weeks. I had to lie to get the fast food gigs, telling the places I was transferring to the intown university and would be staying on.

  80. But it isn’t the same level of pressure!!!!

    What pressure? Are they guiding in crippled aircraft or just sitting in some corporate cube farm?

  81. Mooshi, first, thanks for breaking the totebag rule and actually naming the college :)

    Second, I agree with your assessment of the intensity. Most students (and from what you’ve posted, it sounds like your son is definitely in that group) need the downtime, and a summer job working retail or lifeguarding or whatever is a break.

    I also never heard of anyone working over winter break until the recent posts on this thread. And even if they do work, again, the likely jobs would still be a break from an engineering program.

  82. Meme, I think NJIT is actually his top choice right now. We haven’t been to RPI yet, and someone advised us yesterday to look at Pace (but not sure if it is on the tuition exchange plan)

  83. MM,

    This isn’t to say you aren’t totally correct. I just continue to find the totebag academic thoroughbred ethos fascinating.

  84. ” The totebag ethos is more about the care and feeding of an academic thoroughbred. Nothing should detract from peak academic performance.”

    Yes – but that means no time for relaxing – all time must be spent on peak academics! Winter break should be spent in some enriching activitiy – not hanging around the house playing video games or *stunnedshock* partying. :)

    Is the tuition exchange a long-shot or just not guaranteed?

  85. I went to school in that part of Philly. Drexel is a well known “hands on” engineering school. Their best feature is the coop program. I know people who have graduated from Drexel with 3 coops under their belt and the pay they arrange for is not insignificant – it was 17-20/hr for undergrad and $25/he for grad school.

  86. I like my career, and generally like my job, but it’s not particularly challenging. I’m not a jealous person by nature, but when I was talking with a woman who does research at MD Anderson, she was so enthusiastic about it, saying things like “I work with wizards!” I was very jealous – I would love to be challenged every day, especially in an area where I felt like I was doing good.

  87. One of mine had jury duty over his xmas break here and had a three day trial. No one of mine came home to party, and only one didn’t have an apt after age 19. But they were happy to take 10 years off from family of origin and reconnect more strongly in their 30s.

  88. “Mooshi, first, thanks for breaking the totebag rule and actually naming the college :)”

    We’ve named schools many times in the past. E.g., Austin’s mentioned where they’ll visit, Houston has reported on some visits. Risley mentioned a school her DS considered.

    We just don’t explicitly name the schools where our kids end up matriculating.

  89. I’ve mentioned it before, but hanging out and networking can be very valuable skills to learn in college. I think that some Totebaggers are more introverted, and/or studied a lot in college to excel in their academic classes. I think college is a great time to be able to have fun AND study. It is also possible to build your future network if you’re a business student or even a liberal arts student that wants to get a job in corporate or finance world. My current colleagues and neighbors look at my Linked in connections, and ask for introductions to certain C suite people, or senior people. Almost 75% of these people in the senior roles are college friends. I know that I can call them and ask them to meet with Joe Smith because of the relationship that we had when we met as kids vs. some faux relationship that I might form with my mom friends.

    I am not saying that everyone should go to school and spend 65 – 70K per year just to party, but good things can come from relationships instead of degrees. My cousin just proved this point as a recent Ithaca grad. I have to admit that is the type of school where I would hesitate to spend a lot of money vs. sending my kid to a SUNY. She wanted to go, and her parents could afford it because she received some grants from Ithaca. She met another student at Ithaca that is the son of a big executive at a major network sports division. He connected her with his dad, and she interned there during her breaks. She now has a full time job because of the friendships that she formed during college.

  90. We had a coop student from Northeastern at one of my former workplaces. She had good things to say about her coop experiences. She was offered a job in our group upon graduation and that firm was considered to be a good employer. Now, I think Northeastern is harder to get into than it was back say 15 years ago.
    The Drexel program sounds similar.

  91. The totebag ethos is more about the care and feeding of an academic thoroughbred. Nothing should detract from peak academic performance.

    I don’t think it’s academic necessarily as something that improves upon what you do during the normal school year. So there can be things like band camp or robotics, STEM camp. What do you mean, you are not having fun ? Learning is FUN.

  92. “Northeastern is harder to get into than it was back say 15 years ago.”

    Yes, Northeastern appears to be a school that used generous merit aid to increase its academic profile to the point where it no longer needs to use such aid to attract very good students.

    Alabama appears to be following a similar path. I’ve heard that they will not be as generous with OOS merit aid next year.

  93. MM – re Drexel.

    My nieces attend. Business majors, not STEM so ymmv. One will be starting her 5th year (on plan), since she’s had 2 ~6-month internships/co-ops (one was summer thru fall quarter; the other was/is spring quarter thru summer). Plus she was an athlete for the first 4 years. Anyway, the work experience seems to have been real. The other one is just starting in September (quarter system 10 week of classes + 1 week of finals). I seem to remember her having 1 or 2 full summers off because she worked waitressing at the shore.

  94. What do you mean, you are not having fun ? Learning is FUN

    That should be the Totebag motto.

  95. Wow, not sure about the Drexel schedule! I mean, I worked during vacations, but it was in pizza parlor/Kelly Girl-type jobs; there was no pressure, because I wasn’t *supposed* to be learning anything or making connections or impressing people into making me an offer for a permanent job — I was just there for the money. So it still felt like a break and used a completely different part of my brain.

    Personally, I liked the trimester system — start after Labor Day, home before Thanksgiving, back right after New Year’s, a week break in mid-March, then out early June. Easy to pick up work over break, although we were behind it for summer jobs (but since I went back to my HS job anyway, it wasn’t a problem).

    I sort of have the opposite problem with the Totebag ethos — not that it’s all about superior academic performance, but that everything has to be designed and targeted and planned toward the ultimate goal of getting on the right career path — the right school, the right internship, the right major, the right connections, etc. It’s all so serious and intentional. It’s funny, because my dad went to a co-op school so he could afford to pay for college; so it just seems weird to pay huge gobs of money as tuition for the same privilege.

  96. We’ve named schools many times in the past. E.g., Austin’s mentioned where they’ll visit, Houston has reported on some visits. Risley mentioned a school her DS considered.

    We just don’t explicitly name the schools where our kids end up matriculating.

    People won’t even mention the names schools their kids apply to, let alone get accepted to even if they don’t attend.

  97. good things can come from relationships instead of degrees.

    A lot of people here have said similar things.

    So there can be things like band camp or robotics, STEM camp. What do you mean, you are not having fun ? Learning is FUN.

    I sort of have the opposite problem with the Totebag ethos — not that it’s all about superior academic performance, but that everything has to be designed and targeted and planned toward the ultimate goal of getting on the right career path — the right school, the right internship, the right major, the right connections, etc.

    Right. There can’t be baseball or cheerleading camp because that’s not adding any value to the college/career path. You can’t just have a summer job as a lifeguard or at the local supermarket. Etc.

  98. Over the years at various corporate workplaces I have observed tightening of the internship programs. Before different areas of the company used to have budget and openings for summer internships. Now, there are only a few areas and it seems to be much more competitive.
    One of my colleagues DD applied. Her resume was solid – decent college grades, helped the professor, tutored other students. Still she didn’t get into her first choice area.
    Over the past few weeks, I have seen young people very dressed up walking the downtown area, you know they are there for their summer jobs.

  99. Lauren makes a great point about networking in college. But so much depends on personality and temperament. Our university is a networking petri dish, and DS had a roommate this year who only left his room for class. DS would drag him off to the dining hall but he would rarely stay for more than a minute after his tray was empty. The kid is premed, so maybe networking isn’t as much of a factor, but he is squandering this part of the college experience. (DS found another roommate for next year.) Other kids are so extroverted and have such great people skills that they can find networking opportunities at the proverbial grocery store or lifeguarding jobs.

    I met a woman yesterday who told me that she is busy with various charitable works plus homeschooling a high school student, her youngest. He is 21. Apparently, he had some issues in early elementary school so she pulled him out and he’s been homeschooling ever since. The poor kid has anxiety issues and sounds like he also has Asperger’s but she has failed to consult a counselor or other professional. My sense is that she thinks his problems can be solved by prayer and spiritual practices. I also think that she suffers from her own mental health struggles. Her husband is a professional person and her older kids have succeeded in college, so this is a Totebag family (albeit even more conservative religious than I) who has (IMO) failed to meet her child’s needs just as the WaPo grandmother. When I asked her if he had a part-time job, she said that, well, it needs to be the RIGHT job because I don’t want him to fail at his first one. Yikes.

  100. And I also think I would like a job with travel more if my travel involved the kinds of places that provided mini-Tipton’s. :-) [Do they give you the ones with the mini strawberries? Holy cow that is the best jam in the history of the world]

    Flying Southwest to Port Arthur, TX, staying in a Holiday Inn Express, and eating at the Sonic doesn’t quite leave one with that same lingering warm glow.

  101. Coming from a somewhat blue collar family (at least on my dad’s side), I scooped ice cream during the summers and there were a few Christmas breaks where I worked in the mortgage department of the bank my mother works for. I needed that money for my spending money for the year so there was no talk about unpaid internships for me.

    Don’t discount the Greek system either as a very powerful source of networking, recent bad press aside. My husband’s fraternity brothers are mostly pretty successful and they would do anything for each other.

    On the appliances – I love our Wolf range and ovens so much. We really wrestled between the Wolf and the Thermador, but in the end we decided to just splurge and those red knobs make me happy every time I look at them. Although the Thermador (#2) would have been significantly cheaper and probably have very similar performance.

  102. I was really bad at networking in college. The nerdiest, “my work should speak for itself” people among us referred to it as “schmoozing” and mostly skipped all of the events except to go, skulk in the corners, and eat all the baked Brie that we could without actually talking to any adults.

    Law school was better since all of the networking was built into interviewing, and I understood at that point that I needed to be sparkling and competent for those. ;)

  103. I was a great partier in college but a terrible networker. I am still in touch with a few undergrad friends, but none of them are of use to me for finding opportunities. My grad school friends, on the other hand, are definitely key people even today in my professional network. We all do favors for each other all the time. I didn’t even try to network in grad school – the network just formed naturally.

  104. I love my Wolf range. It was our only kitchen splurge when we did the remodel and I am so glad we got it. I will never be able to move out of that house, though, because I never want to go back to a standard range.

  105. What’s so great about the Wolf range? Though I do understand about the red knobs.

  106. Rhett – I bought all my appliances in the current home from that store. They are great on service, delivery and installation if needed.

  107. Flying Southwest to Port Arthur, TX, staying in a Holiday Inn Express, and eating at the Sonic doesn’t quite leave one with that same lingering warm glow.

    I gotta say I’m stumped. The best I could do is here:

    http://www.hotelgalvez.com/#gref

    But that’s an hour away and requires the use of a car ferry.

  108. MM – every time we talk about moving my husband just shakes his head and says “we’ll probably never have a Wolf again if we move” (which is dramatic and probably untrue).

    The Wolf is very powerful but also has a simmer function on every burner. DH likes the gas oven for baking bread and I love the proof function on the electric wall oven. The Thermador is probably just as great but in reading the reviews it seemed like Wolf had better customer service if things did break.

  109. Alas, that is also about 2x the clients’ budget. :-)

    You’re rich, just pay out of pocket.

  110. Alas, that is also about 2x the clients’ budget. :-)

    And, if you’re in a position to retire, then all the more reason to tell them to pay up or pound sand. Also, can you do an all inclusive hourly rate vs. time and expenses?

  111. @Rhett – but it’s not just me, these are firm clients, and so they negotiate their deals with their relationship attorney and they are approved by the managing partner.

    I will say, though, that this provides a natural incentive to avoid work for the cheapest clients.

  112. I will say, though, that this provides a natural incentive to avoid work for the cheapest clients.

    Many of DH’s invoices are paid by insurance companies (because the defendant company’s liability insurance kicked in) and there are certain insurance companies who just won’t pay the going rate. The lawyers are always trying to push that stuff off on the first-year associates. You sometimes get what you pay for.

  113. The comments about networking opportunities at good colleges make me think about the challenges of socioeconomic mobility in the U.S.. I had no idea that networking was a factor in career mobility when I was in college. How much of that is me and how much of that is typical of working class kids I don’t know.

  114. I wasn’t trying to network in college. I just think that going out and having fun during those four years is important. It might not be as important as the academics, but the friendships I formed during those years are different than other friends I met at work or in my neighborhood.

    I had no idea that the guy that closed the student pub every weekend at 3 am would go on to run one of the largest publishing companies in the world.

    I am just trying to encourage some fun whether it’s through a club, sport, Greek system, band etc. I hope it’s more than academics so the kids DO meet people that might become life long friends.

  115. What Lauren said.

    I am not the awesome networker. But from what I have seen, the people who are most successful at that are successful because they aren’t trying so hard to “make connections.” These are people who are generally extroverted and friendly and are frequently looking for ways to help others; they develop genuine relationships and friendships, and then 20 years later some of those friends wind up in positions that may be useful for some other friends, and so the referrals etc. go both ways.

  116. These are people who are generally extroverted and friendly and are frequently looking for ways to help others; they develop genuine relationships and friendships, and then 20 years later some of those friends wind up in positions that may be useful for some other friends, and so the referrals etc. go both ways.

    It’s not just the friendships, it’s the casual conversations with random people. When we’ve talked about luck and I’ve used the example of randomly sitting next to someone on a plane who could turn into a good contact or client or such, and the extrovert will talk to them and find this out and be thrilled with their luck, while the introvert will read their book and never know. The conversation might not lead to anything big, maybe just an exchange of business cards. But then a few months down the line, something comes up, and the “networker” recalls this person she met on a flight, contacts her and they help each other out. Or at a conference making chit chat with someone, the networker will suggest grabbing coffee or a beer afterwards and continuing the conversation, while the non-networker just goes to his room for the evening. It probably doesn’t become a close friendship, but a useful connection is established.

  117. I had no idea that networking was a factor in career mobility when I was in college. How much of that is me and how much of that is typical of working class kids I don’t know.

    My guess is it’s probably typical of the working class, because in the blue collar-type jobs, networking isn’t a big factor in career mobility. I’ve said many times, colleges need to provide classes on the soft skills.

  118. LfB, catching up, I want to comment on how pleased (strangely excited?) I am to hear that you got a 30 year precedent reconsidered by someone. Congratulations.

    I like the sort of networking Lauren describes! I networked my choir participation into organ lessons with the organ professor. It hasn’t been professionally useful but it was fun. My fellow choir members are now music teachers around the Midwest, I expect.

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