Are Millennials burned out?

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

This is kind of long, but I’m curious about how much is really a Millennial problem, and how much falls under the “It was ever thus” category. The fact that the author remembers her mother getting all the errands done might be specific to the author’s mother.

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation

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174 thoughts on “Are Millennials burned out?

  1. And it’s good to remember that The Greatest Generation and early Boomers could drink, smoke, hit their kids, shove the kids out the door and tell them to come back hours later, throw kids in the back seat with no seat belts, let alone child seats, etc. All these things were stress relievers and time savers.

  2. Man, she has a lot of complaints. And most of them are tropes; she doesn’t even attempt to support any claims with data. Also, she went into a low-paying field and never resigned her expectation of the trappings of an affluent lifestyle.

    For a “senior culture writer,” she doesn’t have a lot of perspective.

  3. But those kind of tasks can be hard for me to do if I’m not enthusiastic about it.

    #storyofmylife

  4. I read a comment when this piece came out that millennial burnout is a thing for Buzzfeed writers like this author, but not so much for everyone else.

    I haven’t read the whole thing, but this type of “errand paralysis” sounds familiar so I should write an article about boomer burnout.

    None of these tasks were that hard: getting knives sharpened, taking boots to the cobbler, registering my dog for a new license, sending someone a signed copy of my book, scheduling an appointment with the dermatologist, donating books to the library, vacuuming my car. A handful of emails — one from a dear friend, one from a former student asking how my life was going — festered in my personal inbox, which I use as a sort of alternative to-do list, to the point that I started calling it the “inbox of shame.”

  5. I started to read the article, but I’m too burned out to finish. Somewhat joking, and I’m technically a Gen Xer. I think every generation would say that they have times when they are burned out. I think with Millennials they see all the other stuff that their friends are doing online and either are trying to keep up/do it all, or can’t keep up and just think they are burned out.

  6. Although my first reaction was disdain at the whining tone of the article, I have been concerned for some time that kids seem to have much less “screwing around time” than I did as a child/teenager. Although I was much less affluent than my children, I also didn’t face the expectations of perfection that kids these days seem to face.

    A few days ago, I was having a conversation with a parent of one of DS’s classmates. The classmate got a B in an honors class (horrors) and the parent was concerned that this would mean he would have to go to community college first. This parent is a sensible, serious, successful engineer. The funny thing, that we both recognized, is that for us, getting 6 As and one B in high school would have been a significant achievement, which we didn’t always accomplish. And we both went to good universities straight out of high school.

    When I was newly pregnant, an older relative told me of advice that she had been given, that kids need a certain amount of “Huck Finn time” to get it out of their system because they were going to need to have that experience and best they do it at 13 than at 25.

    Is the burnout she is describing the result of being on the treadmill from a very early age and not building up the “it seemed like a good idea at the time experiences” to have a sense that things don’t have to turn as expected to turn out ok?

  7. Two thoughts –

    Same as it ever was. Not at all unique to Millenials (they’re not that unique).
    Suck it up Buttercup.

    signed,
    Gen Xer

  8. I was going to say something more snarky, but I’ll just +1 Lemon Tree.

    It was ever thus. I just think millennials just have more public space to whine. When I was their age, I whined to my friends in person, at the literal water cooler, or maybe over email. Luckily, that means I don’t have to have my petty complaints live forever on social media so I don’t have to be embarrassed to go back & read it!

  9. I couldn’t finish the whole article. Does that mean I’m burned out? ;)

    I agree with Kerri, but then again the older Gen Xers did a lot of griping in the 90s (Reality Bites, etc.). I wonder if working hours have gotten longer, or is it just Perceived Working (tm Rhett) that makes people think they don’t have enough time?

  10. As parent in charge I feel burned out too. My DS got confirmed into the church this weekend. The list of requirements to be completed stretched on. I think was equally happy that DS was confirmed as I was to finally delete the last email from the church coordinator. I dread the college admissions process.
    That said, I did finally call and catch up with a friend after two years. Both she and I like to chat but neither of us wants to make the effort ! Some things just have to be done.

  11. Well, she set me off at the beginning with the “we’re the first generation to be so insecure/overworked/etc., things were SO much easier for our parents” bit. As someone who graduated in that oh-so-“secure” ’80s/’90s era she looks to longingly, all I can say is: hahahahahahahahahahaha. I think it has been more of a continuum for decades vs. the sudden shift she portrays.

    I think what she is talking about is something the poor have always dealt with — long/unpredictable commutes to boring/unpredictable jobs, dealing with incomprehensible bureacracies for assistance, all now exacerbated by the “just in time” staffing that companies now do that means you can neither rely on getting 40 hrs of work nor schedule a second job because you never know when you will be called in. The difference is that now previously-privileged white folks are living that life, so now it’s suddenly a Thing, and now it deserves a nice name that shows it’s society’s fault. Instead of, you know, just lazy poor folks and other tropes. [This reminds me of the discussion last week about how the problems in poor rural white America have forced conservatives to re-examine their own stereotypes of the inner-city poor — I think in the same way, the fact that our kids are struggling has perhaps made UMC Boomers and GenXers alike re-examine their own perceptions of the “meritocracy” that enabled them to succeed.] Every time she labels her entire generation as the “burnout” generation, I keep thinking “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

    But I do think she has many very good points buried in there. In particular, the decision fatigue one. That’s what I was thinking as I read the beginning of the article, so I’m glad she got to it. It is very true that my mother never had to deal with returning hundreds of dollars of clothes; she didn’t have Amazon at her fingertips, the wherewithal to afford that much to start with, or the expectation that she *should* have that many clothes. So to my mind, this is partially decision fatigue, but it is also framed up with a little affluenza (i.e., people who grew up financially secure enough to expect to be able to buy lots of nice stuff) and a little ownership society (i.e., that the decisions now fall on us instead of an employer or nanny state).

    But there is an “out” that she doesn’t acknowledge: reset your expectations and stop playing the game. Stop expecting a UMC lifestyle AND a career you’re “passionate” about AND plenty of free time; figure out which is most important to you, and focus your efforts on that. I mean, if your dream job is “media studies professor,” acknowledge that that comes with a metric shit-ton of work to distinguish yourself from all of the thousands of others who want that same job, and accept that you are going to struggle financially. And for Pete’s sake, get off the darn busy-ness treadmill — do stuff because you want to, not because everyone else does (my inner mom now says “if everyone else jumped off a cliff . . .”). Just because every other parent seems to schedule their kids into 80 different activities and joins the PTA and participates in all the fundraisers doesn’t mean you have to; if you don’t want to deal with returning lots of clothes, get off Amazon and Zappos and stop buying stuff in the first place; if others’ social media presence makes you unhappy, get off social media (and maybe don’t be a media studies professor, you know?); etc. I think this is part of the reason that blogs like MMM have caught on — because they show the promise of Another Way, a way both to jump off the treadmill and to stop measuring yourself based on your career success.

    I don’t want to belittle the structural societal issues, because I happen to agree with her. But sitting around moaning about it doesn’t change anything or make your life better. So, sure, vote, write, campaign, whatever — but while you’re waiting for that to happen, work on what you can change to make your life better today.

  12. @L: I was also thinking she should watch “Reality Bites”! I mean, as a Media Studies professor, you’d think she’d be familiar with that, eh?

  13. I skimmed the article and my reaction is similar to others. What struck me as interesting is the perception that we always should be working. I always take every day of PTO that I get each year (28 days), and I don’t work crazy hours. Now, I don’t have a high level job, but I’m not at the bottom of the totem pole either. Lots of people I work with talk about how much they work, but it is really like the Perceived Working that Rhett talks about. If people truly tracked their hours, they’d find they work a lot less than they say they do. Granted, there are industries where people work a lot of hours, but I think in most of the bowels of Corporate America it just isn’t true. And if it is true, then I’m really killing it in Rhett’s efforts expended metric. I recall one week actually working 70+ hours and by the end of the week I was wearing dirty underwear because I hadn’t had time to do laundry. There is no way I could sustain that amount of time to working. And that is why I’m not making a billion dollars.

    The kids had a snow day today, which is ridiculous because there is about 3 inches of snow and the next few days are going to be -100 degrees outside. The high on Wednesday is supposed to be -13. I have a feeling we won’t be leaving the house until Thursday. This weekend was cold but not as cold as it is going to get, and all DH and I could keep saying was, “F*&^ it is cold” because really swearing like a pirate is the only way to deal when your nose hairs are frozen. I feel old because I’m concerned about weather safety but when I was in high school (the last time it was this cold), my best friend and I went to the mall in -60 degrees. Her windshield was covered in an inch of ice, so she drove with only a small circle to see out her window. I think I left the house with wet hair. Where were my parents to tell me to not be so stupid?

    The kids’ teachers sent out a list of “school at home” activities they can do. I laughed. The kids will be doing Camp iPad for the next 3 days while I try to get some work done.

  14. Lemon Tree stole my first response–too burned out to finish reading it. I made more headway with its companion article https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tianaclarkpoet/millennial-burnout-black-women-self-care-anxiety-depression because its author gives specific reasons for her exhaustion and connects it with past generations.

    Most of us here aren’t black, but most of us aren’t minorities either, so I figure we have as much reason to read one article as the other. Besides, from the minority burnout article: “43 percent of all American millennials are non-White. But discussion about millennials and their ideas of ‘success’ are often deeply rooted in the experiences of privileged White men and women — think more Lena Dunham than Issa Rae.”</i? Doesn't it behoove us to consider both halves of this generation, if we are going to talk about the generation all? Or is "generation" another way of saying "white people in this generation"?

    This question the author asks makes a lot more sense to me than "why am I so tiiiiiiiiired?" I wonder if this zeitgeisty phenomenon — this attempt to define ourselves as the spent, frazzled generation — has become popular because white, upper-middle-class millennials aren’t accustomed to being tired all the time? Aren’t used to feeling bedraggled, as blacks and other marginalized groups have for a long time?

    Anywho, for me personally, the things the author in the first article lists as signs of burnout are what I think of as signs of deepening depression.

  15. oops–forgot to turn off italics. Sorry. Hope you can tell which part is me and which are quotes.

  16. Isn’t it the Gen-Xers who are the “forgotten” generation according to CBS? :p

    anyway – I read this when it first came out and discussed it with my boss (a millenial). I’m borderline between Gen-X and Millenials, and identify more with the Gen-X definition. Yes, my boss is younger than me and her kids are older. Product of me being slow in life I guess.

    While I do believe much like Ivy, Kerri, and Lemon, I do see RMS’s point. Even Millenial (mine/our?) stress-relieving activities are are supposed to have some sort of instagram-able status. Maybe Millenials are taught to care about too much. No living in informational silos when information is out there all the damn time. You can’t turn it off and walk away. That’s a lot. I’m not defending the article (the tone is so annoying), but I do think it has some merit. I just don’t think the burnout is what she describes.

    Thanks to this article, I did realize I’m on the road to burn out. Because I get busy with “life”, I forget that all the little sh!t, plus the big sh!t, plus the other stuff, and no break means burn out. I’m hoping to take 3 days off mid week next month. Both kids will be in school in the AM, so I will have a lot of time for myself before I have to be “on” again.

  17. Rhode – I have two boys that are 18 months apart in age. They are now 9 and 7.5. I really think you are at the hardest stage. It does get better. But where you are at, I think getting through to the end of the day is a success. The parenting kids under 5 was sooo hard for me. I hope you are able to take those days off and get a break. Hang in there!

  18. Same thing I posted above, with correct formatting, a typo correction, and a nod that LfB made the same points. I missed the discussion on rural /urban poor last week, but geographers have been writing about poverty having moved out to the suburbs for about a decade.

    Lemon Tree stole my first response–too burned out to finish reading it. I made more headway with its companion article https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tianaclarkpoet/millennial-burnout-black-women-self-care-anxiety-depression because its author gives specific reasons for her exhaustion and connects it with past generations.

    Most of us here aren’t black, but most of us aren’t millennials either, so I figure we have as much reason to read one article as the other. Besides, from the minority burnout article: “43 percent of all American millennials are non-White. But discussion about millennials and their ideas of ‘success’ are often deeply rooted in the experiences of privileged White men and women — think more Lena Dunham than Issa Rae.”? Doesn’t it behoove us to consider both halves of this generation, if we are going to talk about the generation all? Or is “generation” another way of saying “white people in this generation”?

    This question the author asks makes a lot more sense to me than “why am I so tiiiiiiiiired?” I wonder if this zeitgeisty phenomenon — this attempt to define ourselves as the spent, frazzled generation — has become popular because white, upper-middle-class millennials aren’t accustomed to being tired all the time? Aren’t used to feeling bedraggled, as blacks and other marginalized groups have for a long time?

    Anywho, for me personally, the things the author in the first article lists as signs of burnout are what I think of as signs of deepening depression.

  19. TC – I’m in awe of you taking all your PTO. I have ~3 weeks of PTO time stored (outside sick), because I never feel like I can get away. And if I do, the other half (3/4) of my life is at the other end. But I realize I’m in a very busy time of life with all the “doing” (I recognize that it doesn’t get easier, just different).

    ‘Saac and LfB – the minority perspective is something I hadn’t considered when reading this article. Thank you for those insights. I think I will try to re-read the article in that perspective.

  20. “But discussion about millennials and their ideas of ‘success’ are often deeply rooted in the experiences of privileged White men and women ”

    Forget privilege and race for a second. Why is every person who writes the periodic screed in The Atlantic or some online rag like Buzzfeed living in Brooklyn? I thought the internet was supposed to expand media; it seems to do the opposite.

    This author’s main problem, if she asks me, is that she thinks too much. Outside of writing and being a media studies professor, both of which seem to require constant Twitter promotion, she doesn’t seem to have a whole lot going on in her life. No wonder it seems all-consuming, and ultimately pointless. There’s no meaning or purpose other than to constantly garner attention toward herself.

  21. TC – we went skiing yesterday because after last week and this upcoming week, it was above zero and no wind so we were going to enjoy the outdoors come hell or high water. They only had a two hour delay today, which also helps. Hopefully it makes the next few days manageable. Happy to see the snow. It is so pretty today.

  22. Rhode, another great thing in that minority article (the link is in the first piece, I just clicked on it) is that the author doesn’t stop at saying “I’m tired”. She talks about the stuff that she does to try to combat it. Some of those things (the Peloton) are IG-able, but the therapist and life coach, not so much.

  23. I hate such generalization, but I think millennials are the most self-interested group of people I’ve ever interacted with. So much what’s-in-it-for-me, so little what’s-the-common-good-here. I couldn’t get through this article because it had so much of that in it.

    My first comment was eaten, but was along the lines of everyone else’s comments.

  24. My first reaction to the article is “ohh, this is so white upper middle class…”. And I started thinking about my students, who are overwhelmingly not white upper middle class, and realized that they are also pretty bad at navigating everyday life. Then I saw the article that S&M posted, which is a great article. I liked this quote
    “Yet, for millennials of color, not only do we have to combat endless emails and Slack notifications, but we also get strapped with having to prove our humanity inside and outside of the workplace and classroom, often by circumspectly navigating the tears of white women. It’s doubly (triply?) exhausting. But in all the hullabaloo about burnout, who is really allowed to take a break?”

    Add poverty into the mix as well, which is yet another stressor.

    I think that there are many factors to the sense of exhaustion. I am not convinced that working all the time is as important though, as the constant buzz of devices and notifications and people needing your response NOW and YouTube videos to binge on. Increasingly, when we need to do an errand, we have to figure out how to navigate some badly written web interface rather than interact with a human. We make our own travel reservations, worry endlessly that we aren’t getting the best fare, fight with the terrible passport reading app that the airline makes you go through so you can check into your flight, futz with the Amazon Whole Foods app that you must download to get discounts, scan our own checks, and basically self-service everything. Recently, I needed to return a purchase to REI, and instead of printing my own return labels and heading to UPS to box it up and send it back, I decided to go to the nearby REI store, item still in its original plastic, and return it there. I dealt with an actual human who was very nice and smiled while going through all the steps. It reminded me – sometimes it is just nicer to accomplish an errand via a human being. I think it is this factor that makes all of us, no matter our ethnicity or economic class, feel exhausted.

  25. Rhode – I don’t get this: “because I never feel like I can get away”. Why not? The work will still be there when you get back. Are your kids in daycare? Take the day off and just be home. Maybe it means catching up on laundry while watching bad TV or zoning out and being completely unproductive. I will take a day off every 6 weeks or so just to catch up at home, which in a weird way relaxes me. I then feel like some of the mental burden of home stuff is lifted and I can focus more on work.

    I’m a firm believer in that you have to take breaks in order to be more productive. It is better to go hard for shorter periods than always going but at a slower pace.

    Or take a day off and not tell anyone and go out somewhere. Sounds like you could use some alone time.

  26. “Why is every person who writes the periodic screed in The Atlantic or some online rag like Buzzfeed living in Brooklyn?”

    Cuz Brooklyn is awesome! (jk, it really is but no idea why it attracts these types of authors)

  27. So I’m learning I should IG my therapist’s office?? I wonder if she’d want to go in on some You Tube videos with me… we’d be successful. (half joking) Every session with her is talking about the here and now – getting through the day when that seems impossible. We rarely touch on my past, unless it has some bearing on the now (when we explore why I’m thinking a certain way).

    When I do talk about therapy, many of my friends wonder why (on the outside I look like I have the perfect family), but they forget that I’ve learned because therapy is taboo to create a facade. On a very bleak day in June 2017, the facade crumbled. But no one was around to see it. Why? Because I designed it that way. I can’t begin to imagine the facades others have had to create based on not being white or straight or anything non-standard in our world.

    I started that article – my heart broke at the first line – that she doesn’t feel she has the right to be tired. I feel so connected to that line in many ways, yet I can never feel the depths of it truly.

  28. On balance I think the technology MM wrote about makes my life easier, and I would have wanted to have most of it when I was in my 20s. However, the constant need to check in, whether for work or for social reasons, would seem a factor in causing burnout. I also think that being nice to other people may be easier in person. It’s easier to be brusque or even snarky online. Being nice to each other helps take the edge off a lot of the unpleasantness of life.

  29. I’m a firm believer in that you have to take breaks in order to be more productive. It is better to go hard for shorter periods than always going but at a slower pace. sounds like a standard German (& for all I know, European in general) attitude. Not taking your 30 days of vacation is looked down on, and when I asked, as I was signing a contract in Berlin in my 20s, how many sick days I’d get, the employer looked at me quizzically and said “as many as you’re sick, of course”. Makes sense to me.

  30. When I was walking the pup yesterday I ran into a woman (younger than me) also walking a pup. She asked is I took my dog to puppy play dates/classes. Her friends had suggested she should I simple said, “No I work full time and have kids”. Man, expectations are ridiculous! I had flashback to mommy wars type conversations.

  31. TC – outside of school, my kids are cared for at home. No daycare. So if I take off work and stay home, I have to stay out of the house. That alone stresses me out more than going to work. I know I need a day off, or a week off, or whatever, but I also know that it’s not me to slow down. Recognizing it and actually planning something (seriously, it’s on my calendar for work already), is a massively huge step everyone else thinks is simple and easy.

  32. “Take the day off and just be home. Maybe it means catching up on laundry while watching bad TV or zoning out and being completely unproductive. I will take a day off every 6 weeks or so just to catch up at home, which in a weird way relaxes me.”

    +1. Rhode: yes, you are at the most overwhelming point. But that doesn’t mean grit your teeth and suck it up until it passes in a few years. It means it is even *more* important to put boundaries around the all-encompassing work-and-family obligations and give yourself what you need. I am past that period and not exactly in a stressful time of life right now, and I *still* take a “mental health” day once in a while, where all I do is sit on the couch and stream Netflix and eat the proverbial Cheetos (or go for a walk, or go to the mall just for me, or whatever else feels frivolous and relazing). Even if my brain is telling me that the laundry needs to get done, or the grocery shopping, or the bills need to get paid, or whatever. You need to take care of yourself — not in some fluffy Instagrammable way, but just to rest your brain and body for a few hours, on a *regular* basis.

  33. Kerri, lol. I’m pretty sure Milo is saying the second author is from “Brooklyn” because he can’t fathom a black woman working away on the stacks of papers to comment on in creative writing courses in Southern Illinois, far away from anything urban. But I’m sure Brooklyn is awesome as you say it is.

  34. “But there is an “out” that she doesn’t acknowledge: reset your expectations and stop playing the game.”

    This. Lower your expectations; opt out of some stuff.

  35. Rhode: Take off half days (starting at lunch). Life. changing. You get a great break and you don’t miss that much work.

  36. “I’m pretty sure Milo is saying the second author is from “Brooklyn” ”

    No, I was just commenting on the one in the OP. I didn’t read the other one.

  37. My husband has to deal with constant work intrusions when he is home. This wasn’t as much of an issue in the past, but they are very understaffed right now. Several times, he has lost hours of vacation days to work because he gets called no matter what.

  38. And of course, for me, during the semester there is no such thing as taking the day off. One of the new fun things is that our dean has decided that her favorite time to send out email missives is early Sunday morning, with the expectation of answers before the next day. Yes, I could just ignore her, but deans are powerful people and act as dispensors of good things like extra travel money or another computer, so I don’t want to get on her bad side.

  39. “Take the day off and just be home. Maybe it means catching up on laundry while watching bad TV or zoning out and being completely unproductive. I will take a day off every 6 weeks or so just to catch up at home, which in a weird way relaxes me.”

    I have been doing this since my 20’s. I call it my “Get My Life in Order” day and I generally take it when I’ve been traveling a lot or working a lot of hours. I feel so much better afterwards.

  40. I’ll confess that when I have an early morning work call (about every six weeks) I take extra long to get into the office. For example, this morning after the call I loaded the dishwasher, washed some pots/pans in the sink from last night’s dinner, straightened up the main room a bit, took the dog for a walk, sent some emails, read some Tweets, played fetch with the dog with his new toy and then left home and headed to work. I can check my work email on my phone and if there’s nothing urgent, no need to rush in. Now when I get home tonight, the house and more importantly the kitchen are not a total mess, increasing the odds of DH starting dinner instead of me. And the pup loves the extra attention.

  41. I have been concerned for some time that kids seem to have much less “screwing around time” than I did as a child/teenager.

    And they are also more managed/coached than they were in the past. As I’ve said, 20 or 30 years ago the median* 16 year old had a car, a job, money, etc. and school, sports, Key Club or whatever. You had 3 years of getting yourself where you needed to be at the time you needed to be there. Today I don’t get the sense that kids have the same kind of freedom and responsibility.

    * I don’t know if it quite hit median but it was certainly much higher than it is today.

  42. “And they are also more managed/coached than they were in the past.”

    Again, this is a UMC thing. My students are not managed or coached by anyone. They need some helicoptering.

  43. My students are not managed or coached by anyone.

    Not to a totebag level but I bet it’s higher than it was 30 years ago.

  44. “Milo and SM are each other’s opposites”

    I don’t think I’ve said anything critical of or to SM in a very long time. That’s why I asked where the hostility is coming from.

  45. “Not to a totebag level but I bet it’s higher than it was 30 years ago.”
    I really doubt it. I think kids from high poverty urban neighborhoods today deal with pretty much the same stresses and lack of parenting as 30 years ago.

  46. I think kids from high poverty urban neighborhoods

    But you said an UMC thing. Implying it’s not a middle class thing.

  47. Rhode – good for you for starting to schedule time for yourself and for going to a therapist. And I’m sorry for your bleak June 2017 day. I am happy that you seem to be on a path to brighter days. I’m wishing for you a quiet day, alone in your house. It must be awesome to have help at home, but at times, it must be hard to not have solitude. Perhaps one day a month your mom (I believe that is who watches your kids) could take the kids out for a day adventure and you could be at home? I’ll stop trying to problem solve for you :)

  48. Rhett, I am talking about my students, who are largely Pell-eligible (meaning quite poor) kids of color, many with non English speaking parents, from so-so neighborhoods in the metro area.

  49. “Stop expecting a UMC lifestyle AND a career you’re “passionate” about AND plenty of free time”

    This. I didn’t even read the posted article, but the secondhand whining is still exhausting. This author should read one of the Little House on the Prairie books to remind herself that life’s daily chores used to be a bit more challenging. Or even as recently as the 1980’s, when planning a trip meant multiple long-distance phone calls, brochures, paper forms and maps, and no cellphones. Dealing with the DMV or other government agencies meant a personal visit, during work hours. Tax returns required paper forms that could not be downloaded. Deadlines meant showing up at the office on weekends to finish documents, proofreading them, and then waiting while the typists worked on the corrections and got them back to you so that you could proofread them again. A home repair or delivery meant that you had to take a vacation day, not that you worked remotely. Fixing anything required having the manual available.

    And get off my snow-covered lawn.

  50. I think Rhett’s point is that there is a lot more management overall, at least within the middle-class-and-up levels. But I also think that it is very specific to demographic factors like race/ethnicity, to the family’s values and aspirations, and it’s regionally varied, as well.

  51. Scarlett said (about the 1980’s) ” when planning a trip meant multiple long-distance phone calls, brochures, paper forms and maps, and no cellphones. ”

    What that meant was that we just didn’t plan like that. Traveling in the 80’s for me meant just going, and figuring out accomodations and itinerary once I got there. We bike toured for 2 months that way in the late 80’s. IN the 90’s, I discovered travel agents who did the bookings for me. Now, travel means hours and hours surfing the Internet, comparing hotels to airBnBs and working out train intineraries on foreign websites. Yeah, yeah, I know we could just go and not plan, but it seems like no one does that anymore, and nothing is set up to be spur of the moment any more. This is why I think the self service economy makes things worse – it forces us to micromange in ways we just wouldn’t have bothered with in the past.

  52. “And they are also more managed/coached than they were in the past.”

    Here’s where I see significant differences between DH and me. He wants to baby the kids more so I think because he doesn’t deal with the day to day logistics. I want the kids to drive themselves and be independent because that would give me more time back. In our neck of the woods, kids are driving themselves and generally getting ready to be on their own at 18, some do move back after college for a temporary period but I don’t see the delayed adulthood bit so much.

  53. I have never met Milo IRL, and we haven’t even exchanged an email. I don’t know the guy, but I feel uncomfortable with the comment like the one above from S & M about Milo. There was absolutely no reason to start attacking him, and it just makes me want to check out for the day. I like this group, but now I have a bad feeling about being here today. Milo didn’t do anything and then bam.

  54. “nothing is set up to be spur of the moment any more”

    Have you tried the app “Hotel Tonight”? :) It actually is pretty good at exactly what the name implies.

    I agree with you that, if we ever took roadtrips, whatever hotel we stayed at was determined on the road. But they weren’t always great, AND you can still do that. (And it’s a lot better with an iPad in the passenger seat.)

    I agree in general about choice fatigue. But that’s also something that we allow to happen to us. I was on Amazon last night ordering replacement humidifier cartridges. I feel like the price has gone up a lot. On one hand, I felt guilty for not taking more time to find different brands or knock-offs. OTOH, I was doing this at home, and not driving around to Sears and three other places hoping that they have the right size in stock, which they probably wouldn’t. My dad will reminisce, and not fondly, of hardware store owners laboriously pulling out these enormous catalog books of parts if you asked for something they weren’t carrying. And they’d call you six weeks later when it came in so you could make yet another trip to the store.

  55. TC – I truly appreciate it because honestly, I’m great at solving or helping to solve everyone else’s problems but my own. And I also work to not complain about them because if I’m not going to actively fix them, I shouldn’t complain (which is how I read the OP – stop complaining, you’re not trying to fix the situation). My mom is my FT help, and getting her to take both kids out together is tough, mostly because of her age and theirs (I can’t fault her, I rarely leave the house with them alone either).

    I”m working on reminding myself it’s OK to take a “me day” and take time away from everyone. That can mean hiding in my room all day with the remote control and potato chips, or treating myself to a spa day, or going to that yoga class in the middle of the day.

    The fact that I “booked” time for me on my work calendar, and have made tentative summer “stay-cation” plans is a huge step for me. I’m usually go-go-go all the time (and I wonder why DS1 is the way he is…). I really have two speeds – 100mph and sleep. So to realize that it’s OK to have a 2mph day, or to not take on as much at work and downshift to 50mph for a few days is a revelation, life changing, and scary. Be gentle as I migrate to the “dark side” ! :P

  56. “My dad will reminisce, and not fondly, of hardware store owners laboriously pulling out these enormous catalog books of parts if you asked for something they weren’t carrying.”

    This brings back a lot of memories of Fridays afterschool when my dad would pick us up and we’d do errands. Lots of driving around to hardware stores, looking through those catalogs, etc. My brother and I would be searching for loose change, hoping to find a dime for the M&Ms or peanuts machine (sponsored by the Lions club).

  57. I too recall the local hardware store, which seemed to go back forever, up and down steps and ramps, filled with bins of slightly-different-yet-indistinguishable doohickeys, which seemed to have every possible little odd and end you might need, and yet which never had the precise doohickey you were looking for on a given day.

    To some degree, I think life has sped up because it can. Wives could work en masse because modern machinery and inventions cut the time required to cook, clean, and maintain a household, and the availability of stores and the Sears Catalog and the industrial revolution in general allowed people to buy things premade instead of doing everything themselves. Now, of course, that has continued to morph, from the box mixes and instant potatoes and Hungry Man dinners of the ’50s-’60s, to the pre-washed-and-sliced veggies and rotisserie chickens and microwaves and 30-minute-meals of the turn of the century that allowed us to get food on the table more quickly, to “fast casual” restaurants and juice/smoothie bars and pre-packaged single-serving cereal/milk and tuna salad/crackers and such that allow us not to even have to cook. At the same time, child care went from nonexistent/relatives/nannies (depending on your class) to available everywhere at a huge variety of price points (and quality levels). With so much time freed up from what used to be mandatory labor just to keep a family fed, clothed, and housed, is it any surprise that people spent at least some of it trying to earn more money? Which, of course, means others need to to remain competitive, and so the bar is ever-raised.

    I think you can apply the same calculus to all of the other modern inventions. We edit briefs many, many more times now that we can do so at the click of a button than when we needed to wait for them to be typed, and when a single change required retyping the entire thing; in fact, now we can file online as late as 11:59 PM on the filing deadline, which means we have the ability to continue to make them “perfect” up until the very last minute — so is it a surprise that we use that time in the hope that ours will be slightly better than our competition’s? In the old days, you had to be in your office in case a client called — but the clients also knew they couldn’t reasonably expect you to be in the office after 6-7PM, beause everyone had to go home and eat and sleep at some point. So you generally went home for the evening and were left alone, unless you knew in advance something was brewing. Nowdays, computers and cellphones and the internet allow many of us to work at home and be reached at any time — so is it a surprise that our clients thus begin to expect to be able to reach us at any time? Emergencies still happen 24/7; the only difference is the expected speed of the response.

  58. I kinda feel like Milo could have written the Laura Vanderkamp article. ;-)

  59. “Traveling in the 80’s for me meant just going, and figuring out accomodations and itinerary once I got there.”

    We’ve never done it that way, but we planned a three-week trip to California and went on several bike tours for which we made all arrangements by mail or phone call. We had hotels lined up for every segment of the CA trip, and TripTiks for the driving. We found the first bike tour group through a biking magazine article, and the second through people we met on the first trip. It’s hard to imagine now that we couldn’t just google “bike tours in the Rocky Mountains” to get that information.

    But I know people, even older than I am, who just get in the car in February and drive to Florida without any hotels or other plans. It amazes me, but it’s actually easier to do that now than it used to be.

  60. Emergencies still happen 24/7; the only difference is the expected speed of the response.

    I think a lot of people have forgotten the meaning of a true emergency. I was talking to one of my managers a while ago, she was not having a good stretch, knew it and was eventually fired. Even though she was having a bad tune at the office, her DH a fireman reminded her, that his bad day at the office meant someone died. I remind myself of this when work gets too hectic and everyone wants an immediate response.

  61. “in fact, now we can file online as late as 11:59 PM on the filing deadline”

    Are you old enough to remember when firms used bike messengers, who brought back a time/date-stamped copy for the files?

  62. who just get in the car in February and drive to Florida without any hotels or other plans. It amazes me

    The old “Vacancy” / “No Vacancy” signs where it’s the same sign, but the “No” may or may not be illuminated? They actually served a real purpose at one point.

    And even today if you drive down 95 toward Florida, there are still a lot of billboards for places like Hampton Inn. “Waffles and Wi-Fi — free internet, free breakfast!”

    could have written the Laura Vanderkamp article

    She said it better than I could. But on the knife sharpening thing? I bought one that looks suspiciously exactly like this:
    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/57145296/
    at, of all places, the Annapolis Boat Show, paying three times more than I needed to. But it works superbly for me. I sharpen my knives regularly, and always dutifully under a stream of cold water. I feel like I could be one of those demonstrators making paper-thin tomato slices.

    Consequently, dull knives are now one of the only things I judge in someone else’s house. I was in my brother’s house chopping crudités for my dad’s birthday party and thinking “How the (&(D does anyone live like this???”

  63. when planning a trip meant multiple long-distance phone calls

    Has anyone seen the videos of teenagers trying to dial a rotary phone?

    It’s so interesting the logic they use. The idea that you need to pick it up before you dial is totally foreign. They also all think that you start at 0 and move your finger to the number you want rather than starting at the number you want and moving your finger to the stop. Oh and they’ve never heard a dial tone. In this one the dad says listen and tell me what you hear and the kid says, “It’s making a noise like a vrrrrrrr.” 40% of homes have no land line and if you don’t work in an office when would you ever hear a dial tone?

  64. In 1983 when my friend and I were driving my Corolla to the East Coast to start school, it turned out that there were no hotel vacancies in all of Ohio. We just kept driving through the night til we got to Pennsylvania. It would have been worse, of course, if we hadn’t been able to trade off driving and sleeping. I’d probably book ahead now.

  65. I remember the messengers AND some offices were downtown because we had to be near a printer if it involved offering documents. I also remember long nights at law firms when a deal was closing because a signature was required and a fax was not always acceptable. We used to rate the cookies at each firm because that was the only good part of those late/all nighters.

  66. Rotary phones: A few months ago I took my kids to a small local museum. They had a row of about 10 rotary phones going back decades. You could pick one up and call another one down the line. My kids loved it, and spent the most time at that station. I was dying watching them try to figure it out. Picking the headset up first before dialing the number blew their minds. Also, they wanted to just touch the hole, not move the dial with their finger.

  67. “The old “Vacancy” / “No Vacancy” signs where it’s the same sign, but the “No” may or may not be illuminated? They actually served a real purpose at one point.”

    Yes! My family totally used those. We drove across the country every summer, and never once made a motel reservation. When my parents were sick of drivng,usually around 8 or 9m, they would just look at the billboards, choose a highway exit, and check the vacancy signs. Never an issue.

    And the whole joy of those bike tours was that we never had to plan. In the countries where I have biked, the custom was always that the campgrounds never turned cyclists away. For some cities, we would go and check the tourist office, where they usually will book hotels for the night. It just depended. We always had a cyclists map. I don’t even know if you still can book a hotel at the tourist office these days.

  68. “to be near a printer if it involved offering documents”

    Financial printers treated you SO well – and it still sucked being there.

  69. “Never an issue.”

    It was for us as kids. My parents got the daft idea to just get in the car with four kids and drive to Ocean City, MD in July, without reservations. No room at any of the inns along the beach, so Dad just kept on driving to the Outer Banks of NC, where he finally was able to spot a “Vacant” sign. Not fun at all, and one of the reasons that I would never set out without a hotel lined up.

  70. @tcmama – Once again I find myself nodding at your posts. I have an obscene amount of time off work, and I take every hour. I am one of the only ones who does, and it has not hurt me at all. My position and ambitions are somewhat modest, but I’m doing fine in the bowels of corporate America this way. I see that there are plenty of people around me playing the “see how hard I am working all the time” game, but in the end, results matter. And picking your battles and going the extra mile (unpleasant assignments, long hours) when it counts. Not for every little thing. Cost per unit effort.

    I take a few “golden days” every year just to spend the day alone. Often I try not to do anything “productive” on those days. I also take days off to spend with DS 1:1 or DH 1:1. It is a great luxury to have a lot of vacation time.

    @Rhode – You are really in the thick of it. It’ll get easier.

    @Milo – It’s a few neighborhoods here that tend to have all the creative/media types. Can be a bit of an echo chamber I think.

  71. On 18 November 1963, after approximately three years of customer testing, the Bell System in the United States officially introduced dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) technology under its registered trademark Touch-Tone.

    On 22 April 1963 President John F. Kennedy started the countdown for the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair by keying “1964” on a touch-tone telephone in the Oval Office, starting “a contraption which will count off the seconds until the opening”.[7] On November 18, 1963, the first electronic push-button system with touch-tone dialing was commercially offered by Bell Telephone to customers in the Pittsburgh area towns of Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania,

    It was kinda a big deal back in the day.

  72. “Yes! My family totally used those. We drove across the country every summer, and never once made a motel reservation. When my parents were sick of drivng,usually around 8 or 9m, they would just look at the billboards, choose a highway exit, and check the vacancy signs. Never an issue.”

    Coastal boating is kind of like that because you tend to be much more dependent on the weather conditions, even if it’s only for your own comfort rather than actual navigability or survivability.

  73. Back in college during a study abroad, I had a trip to Prague that went awry. At the train station., I missed meeting up with my friend who had made the hostel reservation (and had the guidebook). I then expected get a room from the tourist office at the train station, but since it was a holiday weekend, there were none in my price range. I wound up crashing at a random Czech lady’s communist block apartment in the ‘burbs (she rented out rooms) with a stranger in a similar situation. Second night we (me & my new buddy) found a spot at a hostel in town. It was a pretty good trip and a good experience. This was in the early days of cell phones and internet.

  74. Milo, stressful crap going on here, so I didn’t word that comment carefully. No offense intended.

  75. I had a similar hostel story as qqqq. In fact it happened several times. Showed up in a European city for the weekend with no place to stay, went to the tourist office, all hostels are booked, end up staying in a random room at a random person’s house (loosely termed B&B). Thinking back it seems very scary to me, yet at the time I wasn’t scared. It was just more of an inconvenience when the hostel was full. On one occasion I had to shell out big money for a hotel room.

  76. “end up staying in a random room at a random person’s house (loosely termed B&B).”

    That is actually what B&B meant back when we lived in Germany. I stayed in many a spare bedroom of some little old lady’s house when we travelled around in those days. I can remember thumbing through ancient kids books in Dutch and wondering if the kids were living there during WWII. The idea of a B&B as a chic place to stay was a product of the 80’s, I think.

  77. Rhode – The below 5 age set I found to be very demanding. Now I’m in the car pool years and it’s better.

    You and others may enjoy Julie Morganstern’s new book and podcast – Time to Parent. She outlines the four areas of parenting and how visible they are to your child and the four areas of being a human being.

    Raising a human: PART (my paraphrasing)
    Provide – this is making money and resources – invisible in the child’s world but this provides for all that a child needs/wants. This could be a job that you hate going to everyday and then at the end have a child who had everything they need/want tell you that you were never there for them and you sacrificed all those years.
    Arrange – this is all the logistics running a household and “arranging” their lives. They see it but they don’t appreciate all that it entails.
    Relate – this is relating to them in their own worlds – this is being up on the Beyblades or something else that really is not your jam
    Teach – This is teaching them the skills they need to be productive lives knowing they sometimes resent all our teaching.

    Being a human: SELF (my paraphrasing)
    Sleep – get enough sleep and life is easier to manage
    Exercise – keeping our bodies moving allows us to do better
    Love – relationships outside of our children need to be maintained and fostered
    Fun – you need fun in your life so the rest doesn’t bring you down and this is not fun with your kids but activities YOU enjoy.

    The other concept she has is MIn, Max Mod. If you’re overwhelmed with something think what is the MIn, Max Mod that I could do and usually this will help bring expectations in line. For example, you need a birthday dessert for you kid to bring to school:

    Min – store bought cupcakes
    Max – A homemade vegan cupcake that is locally sourced ingredients that harmed no one
    Mod – Homemade cupcakes from a mix or homemade cupcakes from ingredients you have one hand or can easily obtain at the store.

    Anyways, I found her book to have some insights that we are incorporating.

  78. We did have two land line numbers which was a luxury in the home country. Some thought my Dad had bribed the phone company but my Dad was one to put down our names on the list and we were allotted the numbers in due course. So, we had the ability to call hotels long distance and make reservations. Long distance and international calls were very expensive until the internet era. Now, the home country has in gone straight to cell phones without many people having a landline at all. Landlines used to have outages frequently so the cell phone era was welcome.

  79. That is actually what B&B meant back when we lived in Germany.

    Don’t they use the term pension? I thought frühstückspension was a new word to accommodate the American term B&B.

  80. On the issue of “opting out” DH refused to use the ebates app for his hotel bookings as that would add another layer of hassle to his efforts. He is good about saying no, which is a good thing considering the unending “issues” one needs to keep on top of in everyday life. Last week I ordered clothes on Old Navy website and made sure that my order qualified for free shipping when checking out. When stuff got delivered, I happened to glance at the recipes and I was charged shipping charges. So I had to get on the phone spend my time just to get that corrected. And since they had already charged my credit cards I now have to call my card in couple of days to make sure that there is credit for shipping charges. A million little things like this that we have to deal with day in and day out make life harder than necessary. Burn out is real.

  81. It is the Pavlak in SLP. The museum also has an insane collection of old tvs and radios. We went with my dad and it brought back a lot of memories of his childhood. My kids could not get over how big the tvs were, but the screen was so tiny…and i was amazed at how expensive these electronics were. To them, and me too, a TV is just a something you have, and when it breaks, you go buy a new one. But to my dad’s generation it was a fine piece of furniture to be cherished and be proud of.

  82. Rhode – it’s exhausting being the mother of small kids. It changes when they get past first/second grade. At some point in the future they change into mini adults, which is the point I am at now. Coaching and respecting the opinions of mini adults is a topic for another day.

  83. “Long distance and international calls were very expensive until the internet era.”

    I still have a couple of calling cards from the days before cell phones became ubiquitous.

    I also have memories of the pay phones in our dorm being heavily used between about 11pm and midnight, because the long-distance rates were the lowest starting at 11pm.

  84. my mom / my parents have been friends with a certain couple for about 40 years now. these people are very quintessential millionaire next door types — same old 3 br rambler they bought 45 years ago, drive Toyota Camrys for 20 years, etc.

    my mom and this woman used to alternate who called whom on the phone, as they lived across the county line and it happened to be a long-distance call. but when it was her turn to call, this woman would drive about 15 minutes to a payphone that was within my parents’ area code and make her call from there.

  85. “Are you old enough to remember when firms used bike messengers, who brought back a time/date-stamped copy for the files?”

    Oh, how I hated the bike messengers in downtown Boston. Always flying through red lights, going the wrong way down one-way streets, and just generally acting like a-holes. Once one knocked me to the pavement with his bike bag. Did he stop to see if I was OK? Of course not, he was a bike messenger! So glad to see the death of that industry.

  86. “Rhode – The below 5 age set I found to be very demanding. Now I’m in the car pool years and it’s better.”
    “Rhode – it’s exhausting being the mother of small kids. It changes when they get past first/second grade.”

    That’s pretty consistent with my experience.

    But I’ll add that the years from pre-school through about first/second grade were particularly delightful as well. The kids were already past terrible twos, and were so curious and open to learning. I still really enjoy my time with my kids, but I do miss those years.

    Rhode, my suggestion to you is to enjoy your time with your boys as much as you can. Yes, at their current age they’re very demanding of your time, but that’s in part because you’re filling their brains. IMO, you really have a chance now to shape who they will be.

    When her kids were about that age, my sister’s house was quite a mess, because of a conscious choice she and her DH had made to deprioritize housecleaning relative to their other responsibilities during that time of their lives. As the kids got older and more independent, and also more able to help with household chores, their house became much neater.

  87. “Long distance and international calls were very expensive until the internet era.”

    Way back in the early 1990s, my then-finace and I were living on opposite ends of the world (international assignments for both of us). It cost us $2 a minute to talk to each other on the phone. We took turns calling each other on Saturdays, and we were very mindful of the time on the days that we talked. We mostly communicated by letters, which took a couple of weeks to travel from one location to the other. I sometimes wonder if our relationship would have fared better if we had met at a time when we could communicate with each other at will in real time. Oh well, as it turned out DH ended up being better for me than that other guy anyway. :)

  88. This is the system I had back in the day for letting my mother know that I had arrived safely or continued to be safe during my backpacking days around Europe (pre-cell phones, pre-calling cards):
    Me to Operator: I’d like to make a collect call to the US, 123-123-4567
    Operator: Hold please
    Operator to Mother: I have a collect call from Ginger. Do you accept the charges?
    Mother: No.
    Operator to me: The party will not accept the charges.
    Me: OK, I’ll try again later.

    I sent postcards pretty regularly but I rarely phoned home. If I did need to call, I just dialed directly.

  89. “A million little things like this that we have to deal with day in and day out make life harder than necessary. Burn out is real.”

    But on the plus side of the ledger, you were able to shop for and take delivery of affordable new clothes without leaving your house. And you can also handle the erroneous charge issue at your convenience, by phone.

    BITD, you would have had to drive to the mall, visit multiple stores to find those items you had identified without benefit of an online search, hope that they had the right size and color, stand in line at the register behind people paying with checks, and then drive home. You would have had to keep that receipt in case of return, which would require another trip to the mall. When catalogs emerged, you could get delivery, but no free shipping, and you had to either place the order by phone (when the catalog center was open) or send in a paper order form. And then wait for several weeks. No delivery tracking available, so if you had to go out of town, a neighbor had to bring your package in. And if a return were necessary, you would have to pack up the item, make a homemade label, take it to the post office, and (usually) pay for the return shipping. All of that would have taken considerably more time than it took you for the online order, even taking into account the shipping credit hassle.

    It’s difficult to argue that shopping 2019 is a burden, all things considered.

  90. “Long distance and international calls were very expensive until the internet era.”

    When the first transatlantic cable entered service it priced out at $10/word with a 10 word minimum. With the average word having 4.84 letters and each ASCII having 8 bits a 5 min FaceTime (15MB) call (which is basically free) from Europe to the US at 1866 prices would cost? $1 billion dollars.

  91. Rhode, my suggestion to you is to enjoy your time with your boys as much as you can.

    Finn, I know you mean well by this, but when my kids were little and I was f&*^ing exhausted, I had to physically restrain myself from screaming or hitting the person who told me this. It just made me feel guilty because I was too tired at times to enjoy it. My kids are in the normal spectrum but my oldest was/is very, very, VERY strong-willed. He also had respiratory issues and I would stress out over every cough worried we’d end up in the hospital for a week again with RSV (he was in the hospital for a week right before he turned 2). So yes, I know my kids were adorable and learning and I loved them very much, but it was also a super hard time for me and then I had guilt that I wasn’t enjoying this time as much as I should be.

    It got better though. Last year I was in the grocery store and saw a mom with an adorable baby, and I almost told her to enjoy this time with her kid. But I punched myself in the face and didn’t say anything.

    All I got is take lots of photos and then Google Photos will pop up a photo from 5 years ago, and you’ll look at it and think how cute your kids were and how grateful you are to have survived it.

  92. Deadlines meant showing up at the office on weekends to finish documents, proofreading them, and then waiting while the typists worked on the corrections and got them back to you so that you could proofread them again.

    They theory I’ve heard is that it was easier back then because revisions we so laborious you tended not to make so many. My personal bet is the time taken is the same. In 1970 you might make 2 changes that took 3 hours now you make 200 changes that also takes 3 hours.

  93. “And if a return were necessary, you would have to pack up the item, make a homemade label, take it to the post office, and (usually) pay for the return shipping.”

    I remember Sears made it a lot easier to return stuff. With most other catalog vendors, we were a lot more careful to only buy stuff we were unlikely to return.

  94. ““And they are also more managed/coached than they were in the past.”
    Again, this is a UMC thing.”

    Yeah, when I’ve had occasions to be out and about near schools, especially not in UMC neighborhoods, on school day afternoons, I’ve seen a lot of free-range kids, reminiscent of my school days.

  95. There were lots of really dumb, lazy employees in union jobs in the 50s. People just forget that they were protected back then.

  96. My dad had another funny anecdote about work in the 1970s. He and a few coworkers were at their typewriters or early computers doing something or other, and this senior person, a very traditional type who was accustomed to secretaries and typists, from the organization stops by. He observes “See, this is what’s wrong with [current organization] these days! I have four bright, young college-educated leaders and what are they spending their time doing??? TYPING!!!”

  97. as the constant buzz of devices and notifications and people needing your response NOW

    This +1000. But this isn’t specific to millenials, it hits all of us.

    I always take every day of PTO that I get each year

    So do I. It’s complete use it or lose it – no carryover and no payout – but even if it wasn’t, I would still take it all. I’ve never understood people who don’t use it – I know there are some workplaces where taking time off is highly frowned upon, but I’ve worked places where you were encouraged to use it and I had coworkers who would build up a huge bank because they never used it.

  98. This brings back a lot of memories of Fridays afterschool when my dad would pick us up and we’d do errand.

    That was our Saturday mornings. Then we’d go to a fast food place for lunch :)

    Traveling in the 80’s for me meant just going, and figuring out accomodations and itinerary once I got there.

    My parents would go to the AAA office and get guidebooks and triptiks. We did a lot of the vacancy searching. But this is another of those rose-colored glasses things people have about their childhoods. They forget the times they ended up driving hours looking for a place with a vacancy, or getting a crappy room, etc.

  99. “I always take every day of PTO that I get each year

    So do I. It’s complete use it or lose it – no carryover and no payout”

    Ditto, although I do get to accumulate up to about 2 years’ worth of leave before the use/lose kicks in, which would come in handy were I to want to take an extended vacation.

    In the past couple of years, I’ve found myself about 5 days of leave, a day here and day there over the last 3 to 4 months of the year, to avoid losing that leave. I spent some of that time finishing projects, notably our bathroom remodels, but also spent a fair amount of it sleeping.

  100. I know there are some workplaces where taking time off is highly frowned upon

    Someone once told me that people think about you a lot less than you think. While I know for certain that there are some managers who base everything of the PTO taken report. How common is that vs. people thinking “oh he’s going to notice I’m gone and hold it against me! And the manager is thinking – “Helen? Which one is she again?”

  101. “I know there are some workplaces where taking time off is highly frowned upon”

    It helps to cultivate an image of someone who is getting stuff done while not at the desk, e.g., someone who spends a lot of time at job sites or visiting customers.

  102. “the northern European model of financial support for university education being contingent on previous academic performance should be used more widely in the U.S., rather than having financial aid be available solely based on family income.”

    A lot of the available aid is predicated on a history of academic performance. E.g., many HSS are generous with financial aid, but only for students whose previous academic performance warrants acceptance.

    And a lot of aid is contingent on maintaining a certain GPA.

  103. I had one of those 21st century must-get-errand-done NOW days today. My computer battery died over the weekend and was stuck at 0%, and you couldn’t even joggle the cord bc it would come undone and the whole thing would turn off, so today I went to the Apple store to get it fixed. (Side note – they were 25 minutes behind taking me into my appt! Rrgh) So it turns out the battery can’t be replaced right there, it would take 5 days to send out/get it back (I was surprised, which in retrospect is funny). I couldn’t be without computer for 5 days bc then I’d have to go in to the office every day (no way!), and the guy said about 25% of people opt to buy a new computer, send the old one in to have the battery replaced, and then in 5 days when the old one comes back, return the new computer. So that is what I did. I like my computer better than this new one (the keyboard on the new one is noisier) so I’m glad I’m getting the old one fixed. But it was a few extra hours of running around plus a big (temporary) expense, just so I can do work without going into the office. ;)

  104. In my workplace as time has gone on, I know that people are completely replaceable. My manager was a good guy, hardworking, not taking time off but then he also came off as a complainer and the internal business heads he supported didn’t warm to him. So, one fine day, we the people on his team find that he has been reassigned to a worse job. I don’t know why he doesn’t quit. He is divorced with a grown kid. Our group continues on short staffed and some how keeping the ship afloat.
    I like my flexibility and I like what I do but some days early retirement sounds great.

  105. “the Apple store”

    DD’s iPhone has been dying over the last couple of months or so– battery life was getting shorter rapidly, and the screen was separating.

    This past weekend DW and I has some time to kill (needed to pick up DD after an event, and not enough time to make sense to go home, but no errands we needed to run in the area), so we went to the Apple store and asked about it.

    Even though we’d bought it refurbished from another vendor, and it’s over 5 years old, the genius bar guy took a look, diagnosed it as a swollen battery, and offered to replace it for $48 (not repairable).

    What was really impressive was that the Apple guy could navigate through all the screens even though DD had set the phone’s language as Korean.

  106. “They theory I’ve heard is that it was easier back then because revisions we so laborious you tended not to make so many. My personal bet is the time taken is the same.”

    The thing is that the attorneys and clients BITD regarded revisions as not nearly as laborious as even further BITD when copious amounts of whiteout were required. We weren’t imagining how much LESS laborious things would be in 2019 with online filings.

  107. It’s been a long day. The cat was clearly in pain. Had to go to the vet TODAY – result – she had a ruptured anal gland, which required a procedure and I have to go pick her up after hours tonight. But, one round trip in no traffic is worth it!

    I am having a spate of these things. I need to pay the auto insurance, but for some reason that I couldn’t figure out online this weekend, our premium went up. So, I have to call during business hours and today dealing with other things, I couldn’t call between 8:30 and 4:30. Also, I was supposed to pick up my pay check at the location I teach, but they didn’t send it over from the main building. Because of the vet appointment, I didn’t have time to drive over to the other location. So, I will have to do that when I go next week. I was holding a check that I thought I would deposit with the pay check today, but I still didn’t deposit the one I had today. I have to book 2 rental cars, and a train ticket for May. The final plan wasn’t decided until Friday, but still haven’t sat down to do that.

    I think part of the problem is that we are coached not to let some of the little stuff get in the way of the big stuff. That leads to procrastination on the little stuff. The other issue is that the time when I am thinking about tackling it, I realize that the place I need to go/call isn’t open or will be closed by the time I get there. I think I, anyway, am so used to so many things being available 24×7 that when something isn’t, I find it annoying!

  108. I’ve been a no-show here recently due to all-around busy-ness (not even lurking) so I feel like I should post on this. Not sure I have anything to say, though. There’s an argument that the history of human civilization is basically Parkinson’s Law writ large. And then you add in the tendency of go-getter types (such as perhaps a Totebagger or two) to always want to fill what little pockets of free time there are with another thing, and you look at how many areas in human life are competitions of one sort or another (college admission, promotion, a nice apartment/house, even finding a significant other), and it seems like we’ll all end up feeling like we’re constantly running the Red Queen’s race.

  109. I agree with Scarlett. “Errands” have never been easier, especially for people of even middle class means. Thank God for internet shopping, online bill pay, e-file and everything else.

    @Rhett – I think there is some of that. Also, for those who value butt-in-seat time and “sacrifice” of vacation time, there are managers like me who see you working late & don’t think “What a dedicated employee!” but think “WTF is that person still doing here at 6pm – he doesn’t have that much to do! We’re not that busy right now. Must be slow or bad at time management.”

  110. The convenience of bank bill pay + my bank’s app meant when I remembered at 730 tonight that I had to pay our snow plow guy the 2nd of 2 installments on this year’s contract I could set it up in about a minute and have it delivered on time by the end of the month. (Paying a random individual vs e.g. Bank of America takes up to 4 days vs 1 & I’d prefer to use the bill pay vs venmo/zelle so I have a record/recourse if he says the $ never showed up). So much easier and faster than the check-envelope-stamp process.

  111. AustinMom. After the third!! time my cats anal gland ruptured the vet showed me how to do preventive care to keep the blockage from recurring. Do ask about that at the follow up appt. i also bought a soft inflatable donut collar at Petco that allows his whiskers to function rather than using the standard E collar aka cone of shame.

  112. So, I have to call during business hours and today dealing with other things, I couldn’t call between 8:30 and 4:30. Also, I was supposed to pick up my pay check at the location I teach, but they didn’t send it over from the main building. Because of the vet appointment, I didn’t have time to drive over to the other location. So, I will have to do that when I go next week. I was holding a check that I thought I would deposit with the pay check today, but I still didn’t deposit the one I had today. I have to book 2 rental cars, and a train ticket for May. The final plan wasn’t decided until Friday, but still haven’t sat down to do that.

    First, let me express my sympathy, especially about the emergency vet visit. That’ll throw your day off good and proper. And everything else is a PITA too. That said, I’m now going to be super annoying with advice and suggestions.

    Geico answers the phone (and has intelligent agents) 24×7. Your insurance company sucks. For decades, I deposited my checks by mail (many banks will send you pre-addressed envelopes, although you do have to find a stamp) and now I often deposit using my smartphone. Why isn’t your paycheck being direct deposited? I didn’t think you could even get a physical paycheck anymore.

    Booking rental cars is a pain, but I use Hertz, and they make it as easy as possible. They’re not the cheapest, but man, they’ve got a great system. You join their frequent user club, book online, and then just walk from the airport straight to the car, get in the car, and drive out. No human intervention. I love it.

    Okay, you can now say “Shut up, Rocky, I wasn’t looking for advice”.

  113. “I agree with Scarlett. “Errands” have never been easier, especially for people of even middle class means. Thank God for internet shopping, online bill pay, e-file and everything else.”

    Yes!

    Our dog had a poop all over the house sick session this past weekend. We discovered the mess when we returned from dinner out. Just thought I’d share. ;)

  114. Knock on wood, our now-adolescent puppy seems to have moved past whatever set of gastro-intestinal discomforts were ailing him.

    Rhett – this upper-crust adventure-seeking Brit is just your kind of kook:

    http://arcticnorthwestpassage.blogspot.com/2017/09/mv-polar-bound-completes-round-trip-nw.html#!/2017/09/mv-polar-bound-completes-round-trip-nw.html

    I was reading a much longer article about him in Passagemaker, but that seems to be limited to the print subscription at this time.

    He started out as a sailing yachtsman and set a few records for singlehanded global circumnavigations in the 1970s.

  115. “BITD, you would have had to drive to the mall, visit multiple stores to find those items you had identified without benefit of an online search, hope that they had the right size and color, stand in line at the register behind people paying with checks, and then drive home. You would have had to keep that receipt in case of return, which would require another trip to the mall. ”

    The honest truth is that we just didn’t buy as much stuff. We shopped for clothes every few months or so, with very planned out trips. Our closets were much smaller than today’s closets, so we just didn’t have as much stuff. My sister, my mother, and I shared clothes pretty often once we hit similar sizes. With the advent of online shopping, I buy way more stuff for my kids than my parents did.

  116. I also need to stop for a minute to complain about the district’s absence policy. If a kid has more than 5 “unexcused” absences, including absent, tardy, and dismissal, they send you a letter. I had thought that “unexcused” is when the parent doesn’t call, like it was back in the day. No!!! It means whenever you DON’T BRING A DOCTOR’S NOTE. So every time my kid has a cold or a fever I have to drag them to the doctor instead of letting them stay home and sleep it off? WTAF. I am really PO’d. Apparently it is also a state policy, which we had never heard of before. I declined the proffered “meeting with administration” and sent them an icily polite note instead detailing the reasons for the absences. Gahhhhhhh!

  117. Mooshi, I remember taking a mental health day from school in 6th grade so I could go to the local discount department store with my mom and shop for clothes! Otherwise it took a really long time (my mom did do lots of mail order, this was in the 80s).

  118. With the advent of online shopping, I buy way more stuff for my kids than my parents did.

    I’m sure at least some of it is because you are in a better position financially than your parents were, from what you’ve posted about your childhood.

  119. @DD – I was going to say the exact same thing. That’s definitely true for myself. And when I got my first babysitting money, I began begging my parents to take me to the mall. This continued until I was old enough to drive there myself. My friends & I spent hours and hours at the mall when I was 12-18. Heck even in college and beyond.

  120. Yes, Parkinson’s Law was what I was trying to get at earlier. But not just work, in all areas, e.g., Mooshi’s point that we just didn’t shop as much because it was harder.

    I suspect the time we spend on errands and such is the same, but it feels like more, because we (the “we” of the Totebag class) do it all ourselves, and the fact that we can do so many things easily seems to breed more things to do. At work, we used to have typists for revisions and travel agents for trip planning and secretaries for everything else. Now I manage my own Southwest and Hertz account, make my own revisions, and while my assistant is the most awesome human on the planet, she works for three attorneys and is the office manager to boot — because, now that Word and Southwest and Hertz and Marriott make it so easy for me to do my own stuff, that has become the expectation, and so we employ fewer secretaries and stretch them across more people. So it “feels” busier because I have to keep all those different things in my head, instead of just dumping the problem on someone else and checking the mental box.

    Same at home. One benefit of the “traditional” approach is that dad takes care of work and cars and yard, and mom takes care of house and kids, so each person has a clear zone of responsibility. With both of us working and splitting chores, there are weekly (if not daily) decisions to make about who is covering what based on different schedules — and we are both balancing our “home” to-do list with our “work” to-do list in our brains at all times. So even though our life is pretty freaking easy, it feels busy and overwhelming at times because we get to balance and keep track of so many different categories of things, and the miracle of modern technology means we do them all ourselves.

    Don’t get me wrong — I love my Southwest and Hertz apps. There’s nothing like sitting on the plane during a layover, deciding I need to visit my Granny, pulling up my apps, and having flights and cars, all charged to linked CCs, within literally less than 5 minutes — or sitting in an Uber and pulling up the Marriott app to check out hotel options for my next trip. And yet I loved even more having someone else to take care of all of that for me.

  121. “the northern European model of financial support for university education being contingent on previous academic performance should be used more widely in the U.S., rather than having financial aid be available solely based on family income.”

    Many Americans seem to assume that in the European system, you either test into a university or you go off and do a blue collar apprenticeship. But that isn’t the case at all. In places like France and Germany, there are lots of higher education opportunities that lie in between – two year vocational schools, and technical higher ed (Fachhochschule in Germany, although after Bologna those are being pulled more into the unviersity orbit. In the Netherlands they are called universities of applied science). France has two year professional programs, and in Italy they have what are called higher technical institutes http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/italy-new-higher-technical-institutes-linking-vet-higher-education-and-labour
    I also don’t think health professions, like nursing, are taught in universities in Europe. Those are huge programs in US universities.

    I think that in the American system, a lot of this type of education is done in the same universities that teach philosophy and physics and other traditional academic disciplines, whereas in Western Europe, these fields are pushed into the applied science universities.

    The UK, though, may be more like us. They have lots of regional universities that you wouldn’t have heard of, much like our directional state U’s.

  122. L – my older kids school requires parents to call the day of the absence and then requires you send in a note when the kid is back. It doesn’t specify a doctor’s note, so I just say – child is sick. This is a state requirement I think.
    In fairness in some of the lower grades, parents are pulling the kids from school for things like extra curricular events, family events and vacations and there are cases of illness but the school administration is not informed of the situation till they check and inquire.

  123. L – my district is doing the same thing this year. Any absences not backed up my a medical note is unexcused. And after so many you have to meet with the principal, then district personal, and then may be required to attend some sort of family counseling. This is the first time they have really been enforcing it. I wasn’t aware that our district had a truency problem, but I guess there have been too many vacations outside of school breaks. From what I have heard, no one is changing their vacation plans.

  124. @L: Know any friends who are Ph.D’s? That’s what my mom did, until the school finally wised up. ;-)

  125. Actually, LfB et al – I am considering having my dad (retired physician, but who’s counting???) write us some notes :) He has a different last name!

  126. The other option is to simply play their game. I recognize that this requires meeting an additional appointment or two.

    Everyone knows that these policies are in place to provide some metric to have ammunition against deadbeat parents in other proceedings. There was a report on local news last night about high school students in Maryland graduating with as many as 150 unexcused absences [in a single year?] People always act surprised by this, but for years, governments set the key metric for school and administrator performance as “high school graduation rate.” Unsurprisingly, graduation rates soared. It takes years for them to realize “Holy shit! Look at all the dregs you’ve been allowing to graduate! WTF were you people thinking? This is absurd!”

    So now they have to crack down on absences, and of course they do so with no regard for reason, nuance, school and test performance. Any policy has to be across the board.

    So go meet with the principal, matter-of-factly and unapologetically. “I see that Isabel has seven unexcused absences.”

    “That’s correct.”

    “Was she sick?”

    “Yes.”

    “Did you get a doctor’s note?”

    “No.”

    “Any reason why not?”

    “Seeing a physician is not advisable for the common cold.”

    And so forth. What are they going to do?

  127. “I didn’t think you could even get a physical paycheck anymore.”

    Not from my employer, but DS3’s employer (small chain burger place) does not do direct deposit.

  128. Yeah, you could make a case to the principal that she personally is responsible for inflating U.S. health care costs by requiring frivolous doctor visits.

  129. Or, you know, just be a lawyer and technically comply with the literal language of the rule where possible — sure, you’re not complying with the intent, but the intent isn’t targeted at you anyway.

    The best fight is usually the one you can avoid getting into.

  130. “With the advent of online shopping, I buy way more stuff for my kids than my parents did.”

    Not so much for me, but DW can’t resist a good bargain. And of course once you buy something, you get the stores’ (daily!!!) emails talking about all the other bargains that are out there. So, yeah, she’s been completely sucked in.

  131. Fred – I unsubscribe to all future emails even from my go to stores. That helps me from clicking through the link and buying more stuff.

  132. “With the advent of online shopping, I buy way more stuff for my kids than my parents did.”

    But that just means that life is better for your kids than it was for you. It’s entirely your choice whether and how much to indulge in online shopping.

    And, yes, it may be “harder” in some ways when two parents are balancing both work and home chores than it was when gender roles dictated responsibilities. But many of those chores are much easier to accomplish and much more easily outsourced than they were in the past. Just the idea of having disposable diapers. Delivered. To your door. was unthinkable even when we were young parents in the 1990s.

  133. @Scarlett, I don’t disagree — life is clearly much easier and objectively better. But it gets back to the decision fatigue point: life can *feel* harder because the mental load that comes along with all this awesome new stuff is, in fact, heavier for the Totebag class and its aspirants.

  134. I’ve half-assedly followed along here and the only thing I remember clearly enough to comment on is the hotels theme.
    There is a huge difference between trying to find a place at a “destination” such as the shore, like Scarlet’s family wanted to do, and a place along the road in what is mostly called “flyover” country today, as MM’s family did. I expect that if Scarlet Sr would have backtracked about 10 miles, hotels with that “vacancy” sign welcoming them would have been much easier to find. My parents did AAA triptiks. I think they did them every year we went to the Outer Banks, even though we usually stayed in the same place. My dad may have made the reservation the first year–they used to tell a story about him calling to ask for a room, asking his question, and after a pause hearing a very slow, drawn-out “Could y’all run that ba me agin?” It might’ve been the first time he’d heard that dialect. Lots of friends who’ve happened to hear my dad’s voice say he sounds just like a newscaster, but I guess he wouldn’t be eligible to read the evening news in S Carolina in the 70s.

    On the conveniences of doing everything online, I think we tend to do what Rhett described with making corrections in a lot of other things too. In the 1970s or 80s, would you really have gone to several different stores to check out the shirts on option? I doubt it. I expect many more people went to the store and bought what was there, except for extremely special occasions, like their own kid’s wedding. But now it’s common to check multiple web sites for even very basic things like a white turtleneck. Car shopping–who did more than go to one dealer? And so on. Sorry if I just repeated what someone else said.

  135. I would think that the doctor’s note is a financial hard ship for low income families. But anyway, I’d probably try using one of those online docs for the note, so as not to drag my sick around.

  136. Besides the differences Mooshi mentioned, the European (read as “German”) universities I know have gen ed requirements, but they aren’t as robust as at US schools, and I’m not familiar with liberal arts schools there. Which is great if, by the time you finish your 13 years of schooling and pass the Abitur to get into college, you know what you want to do with your life/what you want to major in. But the strategy of using your requirements to help you figure out what you like, are good at, and could have a career in just really doesn’t exist.

    L, I “think” that’s the law in Hillsborough County, but am not sure because it’d be too hard to enforce. Any time I ever called a pediatrician for a sick visit, one of the first screening questions would be how long it’d been going on. Anything under 3 days meant you probably weren’t getting a visit, unless you needed urgent care or the ER. Makes it hard for schools to insist on doc excuses every time.

  137. Here, the doctors and dentists routinely ask if a school note is needed. I try to schedule routine appointments for the afternoon right after school.
    I just got a note from the orthodontist saying that they were not accepting more patients at the location near me. I am glad they told me this before I started treatment for second kid. I realized they were in the location near me only day a week. I would not have started older kid with them had I known this. This is an example of the easier/harder issue. The orthodontist and his staff can be in two locations in a week but it’s not convenient to all patients and now I have to find a different orthodontist for second kid.

  138. So all the remembering about going to the hardware store and loopking through catalogs with dad/grandpa had me thinking…. a few Gen-Xers thought “there’s got to be a better way!” and here we are! lol

    Thanks all for the help. While I do love my kids at this age, as you all know, it’s tough to have a toddler and a preschooler (who is high needs and seems, maybe, possibly, getting out of the terrible 2s and 3s). I’m gone for most of their waking hours, and when I get home is when they have their witching hour. So I get the tough boys. Tonight is a gymnastic class for DS1, followed by McDonald’s for dinner, and cupcakes for DS2 who turns 2 tomorrow (WTF??).

    Unlike most of you, I always forget about myself. Always. The leadership program I”m in goes through a strengths assessment – the negative aspects of my strengths all center around putting everyone else first. But that’s why I have you all to tell me I’m off my rocker and how to get back on. So thank you.

  139. Obviously as a retiree I usually have sufficient time to get stuff done, so one or two blips don’t cause the entire edifice to crumble or at least stoke the fear that this is about to crumble. And people my age vividly remember how much physical effort was required to do all these chores we now do with a few key strokes, how limited our choices were, and what it was like to have to make do-without financial tradeoffs, not just allocations between various buckets. However, stuff happens in prosperous empty nesters’ lives, too. In the past 10 days what upended the schedule was snow, death, illness, and automobile accident – 2 90+ yr old men passed last week, my SIL who cares for the great grands has shingles, my friend is recuperating from brain tumor removal and can’t drive for six months, DH’s car in addition to the snow tire project was hit by another driver (no one hurt), And DD2 is here to visit for 4 days. Stuff got delayed, appts were cancelled, cortisol flowed freely. But the modern electronic universe makes getting through this much easier than back-in-the-day.

    I shop almost 100% online. I use alexa to keep the local physical shopping lists (grocery, drug store, hardware), and to reorder stuff like kitty litter. If I remember I need something sitting in my bed at night I either say, alexa, add ___ or order it from the shipper, often amazon, right there on my phone or tablet. Items arrive even from other shippers within three days. I have no issue deleting three times a day without opening 95 percent of the emails that arrive in one of my 5 email accounts with different purposes. The canned pet food is on auto refill, and I could add lots of other things to that as well. I return maybe 3 items a year, either via the UPS store 7 blocks away or at the brick and mortar Chico’s at the Mall. I pay bills online from the same phone if they are not on autopay.

    When DH had the accident, he called and reported it to Liberty Mutual at 11 pm. At 8 am the next morning the insurance adjuster called and the repair was arranged. A day later the valet arrived from enterprise with the loaner and took his car to the body shop. We had already ordered snow tires online, they arrived at the local (8 min drive) shop we chose from the drop down menu, and they were installed on the day between the accident and before the loaner arrived. There were a fair number of texts involved, as well as calls and emails, mostly redundant communication, and the scheduling was precise, but i handled that for him, including necessary cancellations on his schedule.

  140. Our school excuses absences that are for illness, and only requires that the parent states it was for illness. I’d love to get into the argument about what kind of note my kid needs when he is out sick. I agree that it can be a logistical and financial hardship to require this of parents – and wonder what exactly the written regulations say.

  141. Our schools just require a parental note. I remember the daycare was a real PITA though. For a whole slew of things, including suspected ear infection, they needed a doctors note to get the kid back into daycare.

  142. At DS’s school it doesn’t matter whether absences are excused or not, once a certain threshold is passed, there is a letter, then a meeting with the principal, and then supposedly, further meetings up the line. As I’ve mentioned before, DS has a chronic illness, he misses school for both illness and doctor’s visits. The school knows this, he also has a 504 detailing that he has a chronic illness, with absences for doctor’s visits and illness. I got a truancy letter a few years ago from the school. I looked up the ed code relevant to absences and disabilities, showed it to them and pointed out that he would likely continue to miss school.

    No more letters.

    I also have pulled my kids out to go on vacation and because they had crappy teachers. One year my daughter was placed in a remedial class that the school was using to try to get rid of an expensive, older, not very effective teacher. After being told that there was no point in teaching my daughter because she had already hit the benchmarks for that grade, I started pulling her from school when I didn’t need the daycare. After six months of emails and discussion the principal told me I was lucky that she hadn’t sent me to the truancy board. I told her that I would welcome the opportunity to discuss why my child wasn’t in school. Never got sent to the truancy board.

  143. “@L: Know any friends who are Ph.D’s? That’s what my mom did, until the school finally wised up. ;-)”

    Isn’t L a JD?

  144. DD2 (GenX not Millennial) is visiting and likes this buzzfeed author in other contexts, and defended her to me. She said that she could relate to the article, in particular that the accepted primary task for Millennials of being the best possible you (or more in her case, a life as a paralegal in a law firm) crowds out enough of the mundane tasks that you end up failing and feeling bad about yourself. She pointed out that depression is a major contributing factor. She also chose to relate some expensive missed task screw up stories from her life, mostly before home ownership. And she had no kids, just the elderly cats, and sat down 5 years ago at the mortgage broker with a full down payment, paid for car, zero CC and student debt – all out of her own earnings, not with parental help of any kind (she is stubborn). Not a standard privileged flake at all. But the perception of life as a difficult slog seems to be common.

  145. @Finn: you need someone with a different last name. Plus lawyers don’t usually refer to themselves as “Doctors” the way MDs and professors do.

  146. Perhaps the question for the author of the posted piece is this — to what is she comparing her “burned out” experience? When was life easier for people like her?

  147. Oh, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with reality; it’s just harder than she expected it to be, and her life experience doesn’t give her the perspective to realize that the problem was her unrealistic expectations. Remember: Happiness = Reality – Expectations; Misery = Expectations – Reality.

  148. “I am considering having my dad (retired physician, but who’s counting???) write us some notes :) He has a different last name!”

    Just one undated note should suffice. Scan, print, and date as needed.

    “Anything under 3 days meant you probably weren’t getting a visit, unless you needed urgent care or the ER. “

    This, in combination with the requirement for a doctor’s note, would suggest that sick kids are required to stay home a minimum of 3 days.

  149. “you need someone with a different last name. ”

    I wonder if that’s an actual part of their policy.

    Given that L only gets the letter for more than 5 unexcused absences, I’d not worry about it until that point, which is easy for me to say because my kids rarely if ever exceeded that threshold in a school year.

    Beyond 5 unexcused absences, I’d consider whether the cost and hassle of dealing with a letter from the school outweigh the cost and hassle of an otherwise unnecessary visit to an MD, given that I don’t have an MD or PhD within my immediate family.

  150. “This, in combination with the requirement for a doctor’s note, would suggest that sick kids are required to stay home a minimum of 3 days.”

    On second thought, another possible interpretation is that kids not sick enough to require a doctor’s visit are expected to attend school.

  151. Now I’m wondering how often such a doctor’s note policy actually does cause parents for whom a doctor visit would be a hardship to send their kids to school anyway.

  152. “’you need someone with a different last name.’

    I wonder if that’s an actual part of their policy.”

    No. You need someone with a different last name so you don’t get caught and have to go to a regular MD.

  153. “No. You need someone with a different last name so you don’t get caught and have to go to a regular MD.”

    If you are caught eventually and have to go to a regular MD are you worse off than if you go to a regular MD?

    And what’s the penalty for getting caught? I tend to look at ridiculous rules through a cost benefit analysis….if its not a moral issue how much hassle is the penalty?

  154. I bet the school would accept the note from a medical professional that is essentially providing the same duties as the MD.

    Some schools are careful about attendance because it is one data point for their state aid is calculated. Some of this leftover from No Child Left Behind, but attendance was an important point for tracking. Other schools follow up because they are genuinely concerned about the kids because absence is a big problem in certain schools/districts. They have to apply the policy to every student even if they know that certain kids are out for illness etc.

  155. I wonder what happens if your PCP is a PA or NP who’s not a doctor.

    I’m sure that’s acceptable. I’ve signed sports forms for kids and it hasn’t been an issue.

  156. “And what’s the penalty for getting caught? I tend to look at ridiculous rules through a cost benefit analysis….if its not a moral issue how much hassle is the penalty?”

    IME the penalty is “nice try — now go get a real note.” Thus explaining my lack of concern over stretching this particular rule.

  157. In many ERs, RNs write and sign the school/work excuse forms. There is really no standard to who can fill those out (thus the internet forms available for $19.99). I understand that the school cares deeply about funding. My kid is funded at about $100/day at school ($16k/pupil/year). If he stays out for a day for sniffles, the school gets his money. If he stays out for a day to go to the movies with me, no money for the school. If I use an online note generator, money for the school. It’s ridiculous.

  158. “If he stays out for a day for sniffles, the school gets his money. If he stays out for a day to go to the movies with me, no money for the school.”

    That would be consistent with my kids’ school not being so strict about doctor notes.

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