Ludicrous job titles

by Rhode

It’s time to put a stop to ludicrous job titles

Let’s get creative!

Write a ludicrous job title(s) for what you do on a daily basis.

Then write a ludicrous job title for your dream job with a short description.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had? What ludicrous job title would you give it?

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88 thoughts on “Ludicrous job titles

  1. I think it’s great if these titles reflect the fact that the company is doing things differently. Or, if someone is such a uniquely valuable employee they get to define their own roll. But, to the degree innovative companies gradually morph into lumbering undifferentiated bureaucracies – it’s kind of sad. The only thing sadder is when lumbering undifferentiated bureaucracies of long standing try to act cool by renaming their exiting nonsense.

  2. As to my ideal title – Luxury Travel Guru. Unfortunately Ben “Lucky” Schlappig and The Points Guy have got that covered.

  3. Sorry, if you are looking for a software job, and you don’t know what a scrum master is, you are not going to get hired. It is a standard job title and has been for years.

  4. Google has long hired people for “evangelist” positions, which as far as I can tell means you are pushing a software technology without being so tasteless as to be a mere salesperson.

  5. My actual job title is too long and still doesn’t give anyone a clue about what I REALLY do. I have no snappy suggestion, but I wish I did.

    What I actually do? Implement bureaucratic regulations (usually new ones) as painlessly as possible for all involved while making it look easy and getting squeaky clean compliance reviews.

    If anyone has a good snappy title, I’m happy to hear it.

  6. We used to have a BusDev guy with the title “Director of Possibilities!”

    I hate cutesy job titles. I really hate them.

  7. Kind of like in the Don Henley song End of Innocence “Lawyers clean up all details”.

    I’m not a lawyer, but what I really do is figure out (legally/policy compliant) ways to get projects funded when there’s nothing explicit in the budget for them. You know, the stuff that comes up off cycle and gets the CEO’s attention. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who has to do stuff like that.
    So my title for today is Finance Wizard.

    My real title is boring and does not capture what I really do.

  8. My real job title has ‘attorney’ carrying most of the weight, but there are days when I think ‘therapist’ would be more descriptive.

  9. Is it too early for diversion? I found this hilarious and on point for the clothing pet peeves topic from the other day.

  10. Fred, playing Finn here (of sorts) and because I’ve quoted this many, MANY times over the past 2 decades, having first heard it quoted many, MANY times by my civil procedure prof in 1st year:

    “The lawyers *dwell on small details”

  11. Oh damn – and then a few verses down, your line.

    *hangs head in shame*

    Sorry. I’ll go back to my cave now and leave all future corrections to Finn…

  12. It seems very totebaggy to have jobs that require “figuring things out”/high executive function.

    Interesting child conversation today:
    DD#2 has been complaining on and off all summer that I am too controlling/want too much oversight of her. But, today she left to accompany a friend with friend’s family to the coast for the friend’s birthday. There is a planned activity to let the girls (newly minted 15 yr.olds) have a little more freedom tomorrow afternoon (which I am totally OK with). Just before she left, I asked DD#2 to make sure she had the parents’ cell phone numbers in her phone, just in case.

    DD#2 started on a rant, which I thought was going to be all about how “I’ve got this Mom”, but turned out to be a “Wow, you won’t believe how monitored other kids are.” I said to her – so you are finally realizing you have quite a bit more freedom that your peers, and, just maybe it might curtail your complaining? DD#2 looked stunned at how the coversation came to that conclusion.

  13. Especially since I’ve been a little obsessed, with Despacito, I like the Speedo version!

    The job title of a close relative is Sales Ambassador. Basically a sales person. Another close relative works with investment professionals serving very wealthy people. Maybe his title could be Courier for the Rich and Famous. (He’s building up quite a Linkedin network. A person he recently met with was just named to a White House position.)

  14. “Google has long hired people for “evangelist” positions”

    Apple was doing this before Google existed, e.g., Guy Kawasaki.

  15. “What I actually do? Implement bureaucratic regulations (usually new ones) as painlessly as possible for all involved while making it look easy and getting squeaky clean compliance reviews.”

    How about, “Implementer of Bureaucratic Regulations?”

  16. “The lawyers *dwell on small details”

    HM, Risley, (and L, NoB, LfB, et al), I’m genuinely curious: Would my “gift” for seeing alternative interpretations have been a useful skill as a lawyer?

    Or, would it be a curse because I’d cause a lot of re-writing to eliminate alternative interpretations that no one would think of if I didn’t point them out?

  17. I don’t think I’ve had a job with a an interesting description. The one thing I didn’t realize was that having a title was a bigger deal at some of my corporate clients vs. a bank. All of the officers have some type of title in a bank and there are 1000s of VPs, Senior VPs and directors. I met a very senior person at a large company and I didn’t know that he was C suite. This was pre internet so I couldn’t just google the guy. I just assumed that all companies gave out these titles, and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t as rampant at some of our corporate clients.

  18. I’ve noticed “content” sliding into a more job titles. I don’t remember hearing it before a few years ago but maybe I didn’t notice it before.

    The titles of “director” and “VP” can mean very different things at different companies. At some companies a director is many rungs higher than a VP, but at one place I worked they gave out director titles like candy while VPs were much higher ranked.

  19. Lauren, ITA. I am very ‘undertitled’ compared with many other people I’ve met/known over the years who work elsewhere. We just do not hand out titles like some others. If I wanted a fancier title starting Monday I could probably have it. I wouldn’t get any more money and in the grand scheme of things would not have any more power so the ‘afterglow’ would last about as long as my first cup of coffee.

  20. My job many days would resemble a Business Siri/Alexa. I am only human, so as much as my internal clients want immediate responses I can only go so fast and many of their questions require digging or analysis.

  21. Finn, you would probably do well arguing alternative interpretations of whatever statute/regulation/contract was at issue. ;)

    My title is often something like “Family Control Facilitator” or “Shaker of the Dead Hand”. :)

  22. So often when they ask you for some random fact you respond, “Hmmm, I’m not sure” or “I don’t know the answer to your question”? That would be very like Alexa!

  23. This is funny, because our manager told us that HR is rescoping people, but that everyone will continue to be titled “Electrical Hardware Engineer” which is the same title we’ve all had for at least 20 years. I may have to ask my cubemate celebrating 40 years how long he’s been an “Electrical Hardware Engineer.”

  24. HM – I have to say – will get back to you. There are times when I get stuck and really don’t want to carry on researching a tedious question. I hope the questioner will forget !

  25. “Content Strategist”

    This is a very normal title in Advertising. It can mean a number of different things though. We have much wackier ones than that!

  26. Content Strategy is one of those things that I think of as being a job that Rhett would point out as being relatively lucrative (although NOT $450K ;) ), but not on the radar of Totebag HS kids.

  27. DH says he is an “Adult Day Care Provider” tho his actual title is fire battalion chief. As far as I can tell, both titles are correct.

  28. From MM’s academic travel link:

    “And then there are all the other costs: trips may be to climates we’re not used to and require the purchase of professional cloths we’d otherwise never need, it may be necessary to buy a suitcase (and the cost of used is still greater than nothing), and sometimes you just need an external battery and that not-free and not-reimbursed hotel wifi. It all adds up, and it is the price of doing business; the price the business puts on its employees.
    As I sit here at now 30,000 ft and descending, I look at the costs I pay to work effectively while traveling. There is my subscription to Gogo Airborne internet. There is the Bluetooth travel keyboard I bought. There are the external batteries I carry and the duplicate set of cables I keep in my travel bag. There are the clothes that are so different from the jeans and T-shirt I wear to work; the dresses and suits and other professional business wear. And there are random things, like travel pillows and travel-sized containers for liquids. It all adds up. It is the cost of advancing my career and choosing not to suffer in the process. I can afford it, but it does mean that the amount I earn in my paycheck doesn’t reflect what I get to keep.
    I know that part of the justification for managers earning larger salaries is to cover these kinds of costs. If you have to wear the dry clean only suit for work, you should be able to afford the dry cleaning. When professors become deans, they get a pay bump and have to stop wearing jeans and T-shirts.
    But the travel I’m talking about is done by everyone, and starting salary for a professor is just $30k in some fields. I can afford it, but can they?”

    She can afford it, she tells us twice, but this is a whole lot of whining. She has to buy grownup clothes for different climates. “It may be necessary to buy a suitcase.” Imagine. And no free wifi. Travel pillows and travel-size containers? It sounds like a parody.

    No one forced this woman to take an academic position. If people are foolish enough to spend years slaving away at a PhD only to land a $30K job, they deserve to pay for their own travel pillows.

  29. “Content Strategist”

    Sounds better that Discontented Strategist, or Malcontent Strategist.

  30. TCM, is there more info locally on the shooting of the Australian woman, and the CoP stepping down?

  31. “She can afford it, she tells us twice, but this is a whole lot of whining. She has to buy grownup clothes for different climates. “It may be necessary to buy a suitcase.” Imagine. And no free wifi. Travel pillows and travel-size containers? It sounds like a parody.”

    I get the issue with having to pay for the big travel costs like airfare and hotel. I have never had to do that in Corporate America, and I would revolt if it did. But I agree – this is section is petty. I pay for that stuff too as an infrequent traveler. And like many industries, we have junior people straight out of school traveling weekly. And not paid nearly as much as consultants, public accountants or other junior positions with high travel.

  32. There are days — many of them over the past few months — when I think my “internal” job title is Chief Cat Herder.”

    @Finn: your skill is valuable but dangerous. Being able to see the other side and make the argument is key; but having the judgment to know which interpretation is best is critical. I have had a couple of experiences with engineers assigned to my particular sub-specialty who thought they were lawyers, and they would always look at the regulations and see a logical interpretation that coincided with what they wanted to do, and they’d do it. But they frequently didn’t have the context or background to understand that, yes, these words literally say that, but those words over there, and this guidance document, demonstrate that that is not what the agency actually meant, and now you are in a whole world of hurt.

  33. Honolulu Mother — I agree it is concerning, but advisable. I read that other states on the west coast have not started similar preparations. Also that HI in general has more of a mindset geared toward emergency preparation. Although I don’t know details, I sense the entire country is not adequately prepared for anything like this.

  34. The first I heard of not getting fully reimbursed for employment related travel in academia was from Mooshi. My corporate workplaces have over the years tightened policy so now all airfare, hotels and rental cars have to be booked through a travel portal. You get reimbursed for food and other sundry expenses but all those bills are checked for reasonableness or else it gets flagged.

  35. I agree that the bit on clothing is petty, but I also consider it very petty or worse that universities that charge 60K a student head then turn around and nickel and dime their faculty for expected travel. One other thing – administrators get full reimbursement for travel at all the schools I have worked at.

  36. Finn – I’m with Laura on this. You’d also need to be able to back off of your interpretation when your client doesn’t give a shit or you simply don’t have the leverage to get your way – even when you’re right. You may find that very frustrating (I do). Maybe you’d be a better fit for a prosecutor role? Not my area.

  37. I have seen a couple of people with titles like “Change Manager” or “Innovation Strategist”. To me its a signal that those people were parked there and will be gone soon. Usually there is no hard scope to their role, no hard hierarchical lines and therefor no hard budget.

  38. Two interesting titles that I just thought of from my oil industry days are Manager of Exploration and Landman. I googled “landman” and it seems to endure even today.

  39. Two interesting titles that I just thought of from my oil industry days are Manager of Exploration and Landman. I googled “landman” and it seems to endure even today.

    Although the term Field Rep is also used, we deal with several “Field Men”. It is not gender specific. DH’s favorite Fieldman is a 20 something young woman.

  40. I don’t think Mooshi or any other person working for a college or university should have to pay for their own travel. If the conference is required, then the employer should pay for any fees and reasonable expenses involved in the transportation.

    Most of the people in her profession are not millionaires and they shouldn’t be expected to pay out of pocket. I’m sure that every single coach or associated sports related person on her college basketball team doesn’t pay a penny for any business travel. It’s just not fair to expect employees to pay for the hotel, conference or transportation.

  41. It sounds like a parody

    I was at the airport the other day and there were a bunch of kids (very early 20s) from Accenture and they were talking amongst themselves. It reminded me of when I was that age and we were all coming over to terms with how the world works. In their case, it was a discussion of how some firms gave you a choice between an iwatch and a Fitbit and others gave you either an iwatch or a Fitbit. And the very generous family/friend travel benefits. If you want to stay in NYC you can expense the ticket for you friend, girlfriend, sibling etc to come to the city for the weekend rather than you going home, etc.

    In their case they were coming to the conclusion it was a pretty sweet deal. I can see the other young lady coming to terms with the unique supply and demand issues related to her choice to be an academic.

    In short, I was reminded of how little one knows at that age and how the wisdom (or lack thereof) of your choices only gradually becomes apparent.

  42. I don’t think Mooshi or any other person working for a college or university should have to pay for their own travel.

    The worst part is it’s the schools themselves that are overstuffing the PhD pipeline such that they can get away with abusive hehavior due to the wildly excessive supply of candidates for each tenure track position.

    That said I can see how someone in their early 20s just doesn’t know enough to make an informed decision. Unless… did totebaggers have a better ID at that age?

  43. Finn and I recognized in our early 20’s that there was a time value of money benefit to going to work (and getting master’s reimbursed by our employers) rather than attending graduate school, even for free.

    As the local university has tried to rise in the ranks, they have become more selective about tenuring professors. I can see both sides of the argument about funding travel to the conferences you expect your tenure-track professors to attend. One of my Iowa friend’s parents was a chemistry professor at the community college. He also had an offer for a postdoc at CalTech at some point, but in his words, “My cost of living and my odds of tenure were going to be way better at Rural Iowa Community College.”

  44. Rhett – Many of my cohort males followed a straight professional path and had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do and what it entailed, but as educated women in our 20s in the 70s we were in uncharted territory. No one knew because there was no store of received wisdom and prior experience to go on. So personal and career reinvention, gig economy, making it up as we went along, being flexible, overcoming setbacks and slaps in the face, not taking no for an answer was our way of life. That is part of why there was so much divorce – not just that it was legally easier and less socially unacceptable, but because the two partners were experiencing very different worlds.

    However, many of the engineers and math majors (as opposed to career mathematicians) in my era and in my social circle, many of whom were first generation college students, did not choose traditional engineering careers and went into the new and possibly risk field of computer engineering, both EE and software.

  45. Following on Mémé’s comment, I think expectations for women’s careers vary by geography and culture as well as time. When Milo said that Mrs. Milo in some ways deliberately rejected the dual professional northern Virginia career model, I thought, “Times have changed enough for her to understand what that model entails.” When I graduated from high school and college in the ’90’s, there were only two friends with professional working mothers who were not teachers. One was a long-divorced attorney who never made it to a single one of her daughter’s high school soccer games (that bothered daughter) and one was an Indian pediatrician whose mother lived with them and managed the house/childcare obligations. Baby WCE will know she can defer kids to her 30’s and have the opportunity to observe how different families manage two careers (or not).

  46. In some ways, it is not much different from the very common expectation that teachers will purchase their classroom supplies out of their own pocket. I can remember my mother doing a lot of that, even though she was at a ritzy private school. They also were very chintzy about reimbursing for trips to teacher conferences.

  47. Thinking about Rhett’s remarks about newly minted professionals, I entered the workforce in the go-go 90s. Even as a junior professional in not flashy firms there were lots of firm provided breakfasts and lunches. We went out as a group to company funded lunches and outings quite a bit. The amount of swag with company logo that floated around was incredible.
    The annual Christmas party was a big deal. Ahh those were the days !

  48. It is understandable that young people are ignorant about the specifics of various business fields. But those considering graduate school and academic life are already immersed in that life, with plenty of opportunities to ask probing questions regarding the job placement of the most recent PhDs, and to learn about the burdens of academic travel. Google will also be glad to enlighten them on all of these points. If they didn’t know what they were getting into, it’s because they chose not to know.

  49. I got a tenure-track job in 1991. At that time the starting salary was $35K, which the inflation calculator says is $62,488.52 in today’s dollars. And because it was CalPERS, it had a fabulous defined-benefit retirement package (the multiplier was 2%!) and a great health care package. So two big money sinks were covered. The only thing left was college for the kids, but at that time CSU and UC were still pretty cheap.

    So I (correctly, I think) considered that a solid middle-class job. The two of us could have bought a house in Chico, traded it up as our earnings increased, and lived pretty comfortably.

    If only I hadn’t hated it with a passion.

  50. It is true that many fields are overproducing PhDs, but it isn’t always the case. In CS, as well as most engineering fields and nursing, the problem is underproduction. Especially given that most PhDs end up in industry. CS and nursing are having a very hard time filling positions right now.

    The NP who sees my kid at MSKCC finished whatever the research/terminal degree is in nursing at Yale about 10 years ago (she did it to advance at MSKCC). She told me that as soon as she graduated, Yale tried to hire her away into their nursing program.

  51. Milo’s not here, so I’ll go all MrMoneyPants on the writer. No one “needs” a blue tooth keyboard, or gogowifi. I can’t imagine an academic that “needs” wifi for 2 hours. Sure, people work on the plane all the time, but I think there is plenty of work to be done that doesn’t require a low bandwidth connection.

    While travel should be funded when required for a job, you can’t write a blank check when there are multiple avenues to fulfill the job duties. Those Accenture guys did not get to decide Cleveland or Miami for their trip that week – they went where the business had interests in them going. Academics (and Physicians) have a plethora of conferences they can attend. If there is a blank check to attend any conference where you are presenting a paper (or earning CME), there is no incentive to go to the boring but solid conference in Cleveland. You end up in glamorous places with short conferences that maximize enjoyment and minimize education.

    Sure, not every faculty member will choose easy and fun over serious and appropriate, but many of them will. Physicians, who have no meaningful advancement opportunities, do this when their CME is funded by an outside source. Conference in Maui with 4 hours a day of lecture (from 6a-11a – because I believe the government requires 5h for reimbursement as a job-related activity)? Sign me up.

    This conference would cost me at least $3500 to attend:
    $600 airfare,
    $700 registration
    $1750 (+250 hotel tax and resort fees) for room
    + food, car travel.

    http://www.cmemeeting.org/agenda-7th-primary-care-fall

    And net me 20 hours of CME. Alternatively, I get CDs/podcasts with relevant information to listen to during my commute for less than $5/cme.

  52. As newbies in a profession, you often don’t know what is expected/required and you may not yet have the salary to easily afford those things. My first job out of college my team was going to a client’s location 3-4 days a week during my first month. We were paid once a month. at the end of the month. Given that I’d had to move to take the job, I did not work at my old job the two weeks right before I started. I went a month without a paycheck.

    The routine was to drive as a group to the client’s location (parking there was an issue), having morning meetings, go out to lunch nearby, then have afternoon meetings. I tried to eat as little and as cheaply as possible because I didn’t have the money in my budget for all those lunches out. When I tasked if we could go back to the office or to a less expensive place for lunch, I was called out as whinny and embarrassed by my team leader. Lunches were out of our pocket – no reimbursement.

    I think she comes off as whinny because she can clearly afford it. If she couldn’t, she might have found other lower cost ways to get around it.

  53. There are plenty of companies that reimburse for one conference a year and online/local continuing ed. There are usually guidelines and the department has an allocated budget for conference travel. Nobody gets to go to Aruba all the time on the company dime. The professional meetings in Maui work in great measure because so many of the target attendees can expense the trip to their professional corp or LLP. Successful sales people also have those sorts of meetings, but that is a customary part of their compensation in fact if not in tax law. Drones don’t get to do that sort of stuff. It is up to the manager or whatever the title to decide who gets to do what and where. Academic institutions also have budgets and guidelines. However, the tenure race requires a lot more conference attendance than the institution is willing or able to subsidize. Academics are expected to fund their additional research activities, conference travel and associated expenses via grants, and at the highest keynote speaker level the way is often paid by the conference organizers – sort of like appearance fees for elite golfers.

  54. “It is true that many fields are overproducing PhDs, but it isn’t always the case. In CS, as well as most engineering fields and nursing, the problem is underproduction. Especially given that most PhDs end up in industry.”

    Yes, I would think overproducing PhDs is only a problem in fields in which there isn’t a large demand outside of academia for PhDs.

    I used to work at a company that hired a lot of MatSci, as well as engineering, PhDs. I think I’ve mentioned here how a career highlight was getting to work, albeit briefly, with one of the authors of THE textbook for my field, who worked for the same employer in the research lab.

    “She told me that as soon as she graduated, Yale tried to hire her away into their nursing program.”

    My niece worked a few years as an RN, then went back to school for her master’s. Upon graduation, she was offered a job at a local college and is now part of the faculty.

  55. “Physicians, who have no meaningful advancement opportunities, do this when their CME is funded by an outside source.”

    A lot of MDs I know will do this even when their CME is funded themselves, or by their practices. It’s pretty common for them to take their families along to vacation while they’re in their conferences, and write off the hotel and car that’s used by the entire family. They tend to look at it as a combination of a necessary expense and a perk.

  56. “expectations for women’s careers vary by geography and culture as well as time.”

    Yes, I’ve posted here before how two-earner couples were the norm when I was growing up, which was apparently not the case in other parts of the country.

    It’s also well-known here that Filipinas seem to have a cultural predisposition to medical jobs, and the nursing fields here is dominated by Filipinas. More recently, it’s become increasingly common for Filipino males to also go into nursing; my guess is that many of them, had they been born a generation or two earlier, would’ve been orderlies rather than nurses.

    “there were only two friends with professional working mothers who were not teachers.”

    I’m a bit surprised that none of them were nurses. BITD, teacher and nurse were the two professions that employed a lot of professional women.

  57. Finn, some women were former nurses. Nursing didn’t pay all that well then and wasn’t flexible so wasn’t worth the family hassle for families for whom the income was nonessential.

  58. Drift. . .

    Do you have to buy your kids’ HS textbooks?

    I’m buying for DD now, and her Alg2/trig textbook is $300!! Well, there is the used option, only $225.

    Fortunately, the school doesn’t change editions for math textbooks very often. DS let a friend borrow his, and we are making him get it back so we don’t need to buy one for DD. We bought it used for DS, so DD will be at least the 4th kid to use it.

    Unfortunately, her foreign language text is $90, and the workbook is $40, and the editions have changed since DS took it, so we need to buy the new books. DD will be charged with keeping the text in good condition so we can sell it on Craigslist next year, but the workbook will be a sunk cost.

  59. I missed my post! I had an appointment for DS1 to confirm what we already knew…

    My work job title could be Scientific Firefighter or Sandbox Lifeguard. I play well with others… I run with scissors. Or a red pen.

    At home I’m a Chaos Manager. Y Chromosome Conductor.

    I love traveling for work but hate the nickel and diming. My company loves to say “spend no more than per diam but show us all receipts”. The amount of paperwork is nuts some trips. But I do get 95% of expenses back. It just waiting for reimbursement that sucks.

  60. Question. Has anyone heard of the book “two to talk”? By the Hanen institute?

    It was recommended to us for DS1. If you have a copy you’re not using I’d love to borrow it.

  61. Finn, I’ve never heard of anyone needing to buy textbooks for US, at least public ones. I have friends who live in Indiana and they have to pay a textbook fee every year, but the schools supply the books and keep them.

    When I was getting my nursing and np degrees, I bought all my books on Amazon and then resold them back on Amazon. They’ve upped their seller fees but you can still come pretty close to breaking even on them, although shipping to/from Hawai’i might cost a little more.

  62. “Milo’s not here, so I’ll go all MrMoneyPants on the writer. No one “needs” a blue tooth keyboard, or gogowifi. I can’t imagine an academic that “needs” wifi for 2 hours. Sure, people work on the plane all the time, but I think there is plenty of work to be done that doesn’t require a low bandwidth connection.”

    Yes. This is why it sounded petty. Paying for hotel rooms and airfare OOP and complaining is not petty. Paying for travel pillows and whining about it gets a massive eye roll.

    @Finn- it’s standard at the private schools here to buy HS textbooks as well and there is a thriving resale market. It can really add up.

    I grew up in the same general area as WCE at the same time, and I knew lots of professional working moms, including my own. Not sure it’s all geographical.

  63. Ivy makes a good point about town characteristics vs. general geography. There weren’t many professional men in my town either, and the professional parents of my classmates were in professions (physician, pastor) that culturally either had stay-at-home or teacher wives.

  64. “lots of firm provided breakfasts and lunches”

    This reminds me of a job when my office was down the hall from the biggest conference room in our facility, and the nearest restrooms were right next to that conference room.

    Whenever anyone from our office went to the restroom, we’d take a quick peek at the conference room, especially around lunchtime. There were often events held there with catered meals, and after they were done, we’d swoop in like vultures. This was how we got firm-provided breakfasts and lunches.

  65. Even today with so much information at our fingertips some of the nuances of compensation and expense reimbursement can be hard to know completely until you have first- or second-hand experience. I had never heard of how universities do not fully reimburse travel until MooshiMooshi wrote about it here. At first it sounded outrageous but I’ve come to see how it makes some sense in that field.

    I’ve seen 20-something professionals experience a steep learning curve on expense reimbursement polices during their first few years of working, as I did. My reaction back when I started working was “wow they’ll pay for all this?”, but that was in the dark ages and I was very uninformed. OTOH, recently a young professional from an UMC family just starting out on the job did not know that his company not only paid for his airfare and hotels, but also for his meals. Another young employee at a very small company was (almost) convinced by his boss that getting reimbursed for his travel expenses was a very generous gesture.

    After seeing how all this plays out during my career, my general advice to most workers would be to be aggressive in going for money. I say this as a former manager who dealt with all types of employees and worked with administration departments that handled expense reports. Keep thinking of your next raise and expense as much as you can. Let your employer set the boundaries and don’t be too annoying, but don’t make the mistake of leaving money on the table.

  66. “Ivy makes a good point about town characteristics vs. general geography.”

    It makes sense as we had a couple of large white collar employers in town, including an insurance company home office. My mom was an actuary before making a career change, which is probably not something you are going to find in every town of 10,000 people.

  67. My family is obsessed with credit card points. We have stayed in some amazing hotels, and fly/upgrade by maximizing our points. I got involved with points and linking my credit cards to my corporate card during my first job. I didn’t realize that some employers keep the points until I worked for a large US based bank that not only demanded every expense be charged to one of their branded cards, but the employer wouldn’t allow any of their branded cards to give points to employees. I was very happy when I left and my next employer used Amex corporate cards and would let me keep all of my points. The reason that we pay for the Amex platinum cards is because we can link them to my DH corporate card. It results in a crazy amount of points since his overseas trips are expensive. We go a step further by paying for Delta Amex cards because he is platinum on Delta, but we get free tickets and upgrades from those cards too. I have started to pay for as much as possible using the Delta card that I have linked to Apple Pay because I don’t even have to touch the store card reader in most places if I use Apple pay. a win win for a germ phone like me.

  68. Lauren, how often does your family switch cards, and how many cards total do you have?

  69. We don’t switch or add many cards. We’ve always had Amex Gold pans then we upgraded to Platinum because it almost pays for itself. We started with these because we always used Amex corporate cards at work so we had to link to get those points.

    We got Delta Amex once my DH realized that he could use the first 50000 points per year to increase his status at Delta. We get free tickets and upgrades through that card.

    We need a Visa or MasterCard since some places won’t take Amex. We have a cash back Visa that we use where we get extra cash for groceries and gas.

    The last card that we added earlier this year was the Chase Sapphire. We didn’t need it, or want an additional card. The offer was too good to pass up. Chase was trying to compete with Amex Platinum. I’m not sure if we will keep it more than one or two years, but we came out ahead for the first year with free airline tickets and they paid for DD TSA pre and Global entry.

    It was a win win because Amex Platinum gave cardholders more stuff to compete with Chase Sapphire. We try to maximize the value of Amex Platinum. We try to stay in hotels that we can book through Amex Fine Hotels. For example, in Charleston, we got a free room upgrade, free breakfast and $100 to spend on any other food, drink, or spa.

  70. I chose a Samsung Galaxy J7 (not J7 Prime, which does not have a replaceable battery) as my new phone over the Moto G5 or the Huawei Honor 6x, which has better specs but lower observed battery life and lacks a replaceable battery, in case anyone is on pins and needles about ~$200 smartphone choices. Thanks for the Huawei suggestion, HM.

    I saw that the two major networks are going to be allowed to install repeaters onsite at work in a few months which should help with the reception and battery issues eventually. The school and childcare will be delighted to know that I can reliably be notified all day long if someone has stomach bug, and I’ll deal with the lesser RAM/memory/screen resolution on the J7 compared to the 6x. We’ll stay with AT&T, which has a plan that is $70/month with employee discount for two lines with 3G shared data with rollover.

  71. WCE, I have to ask. If you have so much trouble remembering to charge your phone, how are you going to remember to charge a spare battery and bring it with you?

  72. DD, the spare battery is for when the first one stops recharging well after a year or two. That way I don’t have to replace my phone when I want a new battery.

  73. Finn – My DD#1 is in a private school and we buy all the textbooks. My DD#2 is in public school and we only have to buy the novels (because you have to annotate them) and in a few cases books, like AP review books, are suggested, but not required.

    Yes, the books can be very pricey, especially when you are looking at AP books. If we bought all from the online book store for this coming year, it would have been just over $700 and four of her classes don’t have books! By buying off other students, Amazon and it’s market place, Half Price Books, and Chegg, we got all her books for about half that. We also sold a number of her books from the prior year to a student and then some at Half Price Books and Chegg. I net that against the prior year’s costs.

  74. WCE, did I already suggest putting the phone in airplane mode when you’re in a place with a weak signal? Prevents the phone from using all its power searching for a signal.

  75. RMS – putting her phone in airline mode will also prevent WCE from getting the notice from the day care. I have found that (1) if you turn off the wifi when you are somewhere you can’t use it, it saves battery by not continually searching for it, (2) look at your apps to see which ones are allowed to run in the background – this helped me considerably, and (3) if you limit which apps send you notifications (I limit mine to text, calls/vmail, emergency weather alerts, and FB messenger only because several people I interact with regularly use that in lieu of text) because they all seem to default to tell you everything in the flashiest way possible!

  76. Louise, I am wondering about that too. Netflix keeps reminding me about the second season, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I started watching “Call the Midwife” after reading the first two books in the series, and so far have been pleasantly surprised that several of the major characters (the two main nuns) are *exactly* how I pictured them. That almost never happens.

    If you find that Last Chance U season two is good, please post here!

  77. Scarlett – I liked it but this season everyone was conscious of the cameras filming and how it would look on film. Last season it was more raw.

  78. RMS – putting her phone in airline mode will also prevent WCE from getting the notice from the day care.

    Yabbut, it’s the cone of silence anyway. She can’t get any signal down there and the phone keeps looking.

  79. And in 10 kid years of daycare, we never had a call that was so urgent it couldn’t have waited an hour.

  80. RMS, your idea is a good one but the signal is kind of intermittent everywhere, not a situation where a people section of a building is a cone of silence. The phone receives in certain corners and not in others. Denver Dad, probably my most urgent call was Twin1 getting left behind as his class went on a field trip due to stomach bug. He certainly would have been OK waiting an hour in the office but it was much better for his emotional self to be picked up promptly.

    My use of my phone will probably change with the installation of repeaters. Mr WCE’s building already got them and he said they help a lot.

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