217 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. Since I didn’t come out to play yesterday, I am going to continue the ‘risk budget’ conversation here. In no particular order…

    – hours: Slowly but surely my zero-commute office hours have moved from ~8 to 515 to ~830 to 5. Some of the a.m. time has been a bit more sleep, because I have been quasi bingeing on ER (now up to season 3, episode 6) and trying to watch an episode while laying in bed. So not really more sleep, just a shift later. Thing will get busy again next week so I’m planning on making my regular hours 815-5, with maybe 30mins for an actual lunch.
    – I have been using my risk budget 2x/wk at the gym for weights, grocery and other shopping. I don’t feel any of these are highly risky. We still don’t do much take out, maybe 1x/wk (Saturday night was subs/salad). We talk with neighbors, but 10′ separated “over the fence” except we have no fences.
    – My energy level for exercise has been low lately, so I need to step it up. I have plenty of the right kind of clothes to be outside, and it hasn’t been very wintery yet, so no real good excuses.

    I went to my internist today for a regular conversation about my lab work results. He’s happy about my vitals, bp, blood sugar, cholesterol and so said maybe think about cutting back on land-based meats a bit. Ok, shouldn’t be an issue. As long as I can have a greasy cheeseburger a couple of times a month.

  2. I started watching On Point on Disney+. It is very interesting, as I have no prior knowledge of the ballet world. I know a few parents that have daughter’s that are very big into ballet, and I hear all about the local/regional Nutcracker auditions and practices. Also, I found the female white teenagers to all look the same, and they look like my friend’s daughters. It might be the long slender builds, hair pulled back, but their faces are similar – small features. It’s nice to see the diversity that the New York school is working on.

  3. Mondays are busy for me, so I frequently don’t get to the Totebag. I’ll join Fred.

    My family is semi-nocturnal and I am the only one who has any commitment prior to noon. This is messing with my schedule immensely! SO feeds the cats at 7 and then goes back to bed; girls are often not up before noon. Of course, this means they are all up very late as well. This will partially rectify when DD#2 returns to college (1/18) because while DD#1 will be at home she will have things to do that require more normal hours. SO gravitates to the girls schedules.

    I use my risk budget for:
    1. Teaching fitness classes on Mondays. It varies month-to-month based on class sign-ups whether it is 1, 2, 3 or 4 classes. We are all indoors, but socially distanced and masked and, overall, the classes are roughly half the size from pre-COVID.
    2. Taking an indoor exercise class 1x per week – same as above, small class, indoor, socially distanced and masked.
    3. Outdoor exercise – I walk with my neighbor about 2x a month, but we both mask. The outdoor class I was taking is on hiatus until sometime in January, but again – outside, socially distanced, and masked (gym rules).
    4. Grocery store – I typically go during the week, early in the morning on the non-senior day. Our regional store has more in the store than it allows you to select online. Given that the store has stopped some their social distancing procedure and if cases aren’t decreasing, I will return to the curbside pickup followed by the shorter trip into the store for the items not available curbside.
    5. Socializing – I have one friend that we get together about once a month for an outdoor Happy Hour at one of our houses, outside and 6-10 feet apart.

    I put on more than 10 lbs during the initial quarantine. I have almost all of that off, but needed to lose before that. One step at a time…

  4. I’ve spent my risk budget on grocery shopping; dentist and doctor appointments; visiting DD and having DD stay with us on her breaks (she lives with a couple friends in a house; their classes are all online and they’re careful about only seeing people outside). And I’ve driven my father on a couple errands and met up with him for walks. That’s about it. We are all working/going to school from home and have been since March. I get outside to exercise every day. I meet up once a week with my workout group outside and socially distanced. In the summer, my bookgroup met up outside a couple times but now we’re back to zoom (I really miss our in-person discussions). I have some friends I meet up with for walks (either masked or we talk on the phone). We get takeout from restaurants but I can’t imagine eating/drinking indoors until I’ve received the vaccine (and I’m at the end of the line to get it).

    Getting outside has been absolutely critical for me; one of the hardest parts of 2020 for me was when Seattle had 2 weeks of bad smoke from wildfires and we had to stay inside. Which of course meant in our house all the time.

  5. Are a lot of regulars working today? I am off all week – we are officially closed too, so work emails are very slow and only require a quick glance once a day. Usually we would be traveling during this week, but we are not for obvious reasons. It’s a quiet week. Weather has been okay so far for long walks and even testing out the radar gun that DS got for Christmas. Tomorrow it is supposed to be cold & rainy so I think we will tackle organizing the garage.

    We started watching Counterpart on Amazon Prime which is pretty good two episodes in. Worth a holiday break binge.

  6. Ivy – we always have nutso year-end stuff, so I am making sure the stock transfers hit that are supposed to hit, and the trusts are all funded by 12/31. I also have stuff to get out the door this week. BUT I have hit my targets for this year and so I’m not as stressed as usual re: putting in hours.

  7. Ivy — I’m working (brief due today, oral argument 1/7), but I am *hoping* to pretty much take the rest of the week off after brief is filed today. We’ll see; things keep piling up.

    Yesterday was fun: my brief received only very minor edits, so I was able to take the afternoon off and binge Bridgerton with DD. ;-) Today will be movie night while DH/DS go bowling, if we can get the work stuff taken care of.

    Rhett: if you’re reading, we had a truffle feast this weekend. Turns out DH got me two more types of truffles for Christmas (Italian winter black truffles and the famous Alba white truffles). !!!! I made that fonduta recipe you posted, which was completely delicious; so far, we’ve also had truffle risotto, truffle/taleggio pizza, and tonight is truffle mac and cheese. Yummy!!

  8. I took yesterday off, am technically working all day today, mornings tomorrow and Thursday to do a few things that are better done this month before we get into the quarter close. But it’s very quiet. I had 3 meetings moved from this p.m. to next week. The most critical thing on the calendar is a 1:1 with my boss tomorrow morning.

  9. BUT I have hit my targets for this year and so I’m not as stressed as usual re: putting in hours.

    This weekend, DH had 10 more hours to hit his 2020 budget projection. Of course it doesn’t REALLY matter if he hits it, but he’s that kind of guy. So he’s been coming out of the office yesterday and today saying “8 more hours.” “6 more hours.” It’s kind of comical. He’s really dragging himself through it by his own hair.

  10. My son’s new girlfriend’s father is apparently outspokenly racist, so he is not meeting him/not going to her house; at least for the foreseeable future. This evening he and she had a date walking around the Spree island. There are pretty lights up, and a few interesting things to see, but temps are near freezing. Nearly everything is closed because of Covid, so they are over here again. We played a long hand of Uno together and now I’m leaving them alone. She’s agreeable enough, if a bit over-enthusiastic about some things. I can’t entirely leave them alone, partially because they’re in high school and also because the layout of our apt does not lend itself to privacy. It looks like I get to step up the snacks game. First time she came over we made Christmas cookies; tonight it was hot chocolate when they arrived and popcorn during the game. I want to use his little fondue set with them sometime. I think she’d like it and he would be convinced to give it a second try. The Christmas I gave it to him, we had fruit and cookies dipped in chocolate, but he has become even less of a fan of chocolate since then. He doesn’t like cheese either. Growing up in the 70s, I remember beef fondue, but I’m a vegetarian and he doesn’t really care for beef. What else could we try?

  11. My work closes each year between Christmas and New Year, but I have been off since the 19th. It’s nice, but only the 24th, 25th and the 1st are holiday pay and the rest is vacation. Even new employees get 15 days their first year so it is manageable, but would be nice if it were all holiday. I am not checking mail and will deal with whatever on the 4th. For the first time in years, I got all of my continuing Ed for my CPA completed before the shutdown so between that and not traveling I am getting to relax much more than most years.

    Is anyone using Apple’s Fitness+? I’m enjoying it. I like that the workouts are relatively short so I can mix and match what I’m in the mood for. For the dance workouts, though, the music is not my taste. How about a little Taylor Swift?

  12. I took yesterday off from teaching my fitness class because as much as people say they will come on the Monday between Christmas and New Years, they rarely do. My classes continue based on average attendance and that day pulls my numbers down. I learned, just plan to take it off. And, if we could be traveling, we would be this week with both college DDs.

    I am working today and tomorrow; we are closed Thursday and Friday. I have a lot to do, but my productivity has been slowing since September. In different times, I would take it as a sign to consider if it is time for a job change. In these times, I am not able to directly attribute it.

    At home, we are working, mainly today, to get the house ready for the New Year. A slightly deeper than routine cleaning, but not a true deep clean is happening. Christmas is coming down and “decluttering” is occurring.

    At my other job, my department was supposed to have a meeting and training today, but then one person called in sick and with only 5 of us, that is a 20% absentee rate, so it has been postponed until next week. I am trying to get something in another department’s in box next Tuesday. If it goes in Monday it will just get buried in the holiday pile up. I really need to finish it by COB tomorrow! I guess I should get cracking on it.

  13. On putting away Christmas: our decorations are more “cozy winter snuggly” than specifically holiday-related: a red & white fleece throw blanket, red and green slipcovers for throw pillows, sparkly lights, cut metal candle-holders and a mini carousel. The carousel has angels with trumpets and one pillowcase has Rudolph on it, so they need to be packed away, along with my son’s stocking, but most of it can stay around through February. We will hang onto the poinsettia and Christmas cactus, though might eventually find a less-christmassy cover for the cactus eventually.

  14. I’m working this week, although we have a half day off Thursday and all day Friday off. It’s been pretty slow and I was done rounding early yesterday and today.

    My work closes each year between Christmas and New Year, but I have been off since the 19th. It’s nice, but only the 24th, 25th and the 1st are holiday pay and the rest is vacation. Even new employees get 15 days their first year so it is manageable, but would be nice if it were all holiday.

    So in reality they get 11 days of PTO and four extra holidays. I think it’s really rude when companies do this – “you get get X number of vacation days, but you have to take Y of them on specific days.”

  15. Im actually pretty busy trying to clear up end of year issues. I like to have all the w2s and 1099s ready to go on New Years. I’m shorthanded this year.

  16. DD, that’s what DH’s companies have always done, and I couldn’t believe it when he first told me — you mean they’re *making* you take vacation days, even if you’d be happy to come to work, because they don’t need you there? But he’s so over on vacation days now that it doesn’t affect us at all anymore.

  17. What do I do with an extra pair of boots for DD? I ordered them from Kohl’s and they never came, so I requested and received a refund. Then I ordered the same pair from Zappos, and those arrived in plenty of time for Christmas. Today I received the boots from Kohl’s that have already been refunded.

  18. I think it’s really rude when companies do this – “you get get X number of vacation days, but you have to take Y of them on specific days.”

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. But in my case when people are in the office and I’m on vacation I’m still a little stressed. When everyone is off I’m that much more relaxed because nothing is going to come up until we are all back in the office.

  19. DD – I think the right thing to do is take the boots to Kohl’s the next time someone will be driving near one. Their systems might not know how to accept a return but that’s on them.

  20. I totally understand where you’re coming from. But in my case when people are in the office and I’m on vacation I’m still a little stressed. When everyone is off I’m that much more relaxed because nothing is going to come up until we are all back in the office.

    Rhett, I have no problem with shutting down the office over the holidays, just don’t make people use PTO for it. Frame it as “you get 11 days of PTO and 13 holidays because we shut down the week between Christmas and New Years.” It’s the exact same thing, but as an employee, I would find it much more palatable.

  21. Fred, it’s reminding me of when I got a free surround sound system from Amazon about 10 years ago. I ordered it, and it arrived as scheduled. Then the next day I got a second one from them. I did the right think and chatted with them to let them know their error and get a return label, and I sent the second one back. Then they refunded me for the return.

  22. Once when I supported a manufacturing facility the annual line changeover was whatever week the 4th of July holiday fell in and so the plant was closed that week for everyone except those doing the changeover and we had to take 4 vacation days. That was fine because it was summer so even if we weren’t going anywhere that week we could do a staycation and enjoy the warm weather (or, if too hot, enjoy the air-conditioned comfort indoors), do bike rides, hikes, picnics, locally. That seems to beat an org-wide vacation between Christmas and New Year’s IMO.

  23. I try to carry a week into the new year that I need to use by March. This year for example I travelled to the home country in Feb. It is because of oddities like this, I have often volunteered in the “mind the store” role when my team is off this week after Christmas. But not this year. My manager is volunteering, I have enough days to log off completely. Most people at work are taking the week off and this year we all really feel the need to disconnect.
    Jan 4th will come soon enough.

  24. In college news, DS is thinking about changing his major already. He said looking ahead, there aren’t really any environmental science classes that excite him, and it seems to be much more “sciencey” than he thought. He’s thinking of switching to personal and family financial planning. DW and I both told him he should try talking to some people who work in both fields to get a better idea of what the actual jobs are like. He said he’ll think about it :)

  25. I have a boatload of time, but because I work a compressed work week, I have to use leave weirdly. I work 20 hours a week, compressed into Tues – Friday, so 5 hours per day. I only get 4 hours of holiday time, so for this week that is 8 hours (4 each on Thurs and Fri when we are closed). That means I either work 6 hours on Tues and Wed or take an hour of leave on Thurs and Fri. Other holidays it benefits me. For example, MLK day is a Monday. I don’t work Monday, but I only have to work 16 hours that week, so I reduce every day back to 4 hours a day.

    I initially thought about taking this week off, but then decided I’d rather take time in early March (before Spring breaks begin) and rent a cabin near a state park a few hours away. It will definitely be nice enough to hike and maybe warm enough to swim. A friend and I are thinking of going together. Depending on cases, vaccine distribution etc. we may test a few days before and then quarantine until we leave. DD#1 might go too.

  26. DD – Has he considered environmental policy? DD#2 had a policy course this semester and it solidified her desire to be on the more sciencey side.

    DD#1, as I know I have said before, is on her “away” semester. She was contacted just before the holidays to have a call with an HR rep from a company that she had spoken to before and was told there are no opportunities until summer. Am I wrong that she should treat this as if it may be an interview? I told her if it is and she isn’t prepared that could close the door. If she is prepared and it isn’t an interview, just a little prep time out of her no longer busy schedule. Thoughts?

  27. He’s thinking of switching to personal and family financial planning.

    Would a business major with a minor in personal and family financial planning be better? You’d want to cast a broad net to cover all those lucrative “smart warm body” jobs lurking out there in corporate American that no one has ever hear of.

    There appear to be tons of SLED manager jobs and they pay between $118 and $128.

    https://jobs.sap.com/job/Boulder-Industry-Advisor-Public-Sector-SLED-Job-CO-80301/633745401/

  28. “Am I wrong that she should treat this as if it may be an interview?”
    I would say absolutely treat it as a job interview. Any interaction a college kid has with an HR rep is sort of a job interview. Good luck to her!

    And good luck to DD’s DS – it is certainly not unusual to change majors. Good luck to him, too!

  29. Austin Mom – Any interaction with a company should be treated as an interview. Also, if the door is open even a crack, ask your DD to follow up say in the Spring, for a summer opportunity.

    Denver Dad – there are so many corporate jobs that need a small bit of quantitative classes to stand out and get in the door vs. a totally generic business major. Statistics, Economics and the like are good to have.

  30. DD, does DS like talking to people, strong in math, and doesn’t mind the selling aspect of financial planning? Of all the financial planners I know, almost all were in sales prior to financial planning. One of the non-sales planners was a teacher, so he is focused on teaching/coaching individuals about their financials. He has an assistant who is the math whiz. Another non-sales planner was a finance whiz at Cantor. She didn’t last long as she didn’t like selling and building her clientele, and went back to corporate finance.

    There are a lot of jobs appearing in the business world with emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG).

  31. @AustinMom: YES it’s an interview!!

    @DD: Before he jumps, he really needs to investigate the details of the other option. In addition to the selling and good at math and all that, he will need to understand tax law — like, not at the tax lawyer level, but he needs to speak the language well enough to be able to interpret changes in the law and explain to his clients how those changes affect their decisions.

    I am thinking of this right now because my mom and her partner have spent the past week scouring the 1000+-page new pandemic relief law, because it both creates a new PPP loan and changes the tax treatment of prior loans, and they need to notify their clients immediately. I am deathly afraid of anything to do with taxes, so for me, even thinking about that level of responsibility gives me the heebie-jeebies. But my mom’s business partner is a tax whiz, and his knowledge gives them a huge edge in selling their services.

  32. She didn’t last long as she didn’t like selling and building her clientele, and went back to corporate finance.

    I think this aspect is very important to note. Corporate jobs can be client facing or non client facing. Sometimes people recruited out of college may not realize which side they are getting into. Many client facing jobs require travel.

  33. Louise,

    In your industry does client facing have a specific meaning? A project manager working with a new client would be a client facing role in my mind. You’d be working face to face with clients for many months. But that is in no way a sales role.

    To me facing internal clients or external clients is six of one half dozen of another. But being a PM and being a sales person are to wildly different “client facing” roles.

  34. I’m always surprised by the negative view of corporate travel on this blog (Rhett excepted). For example “ Many client facing jobs require travel” as opposed to, say “the jobs you get to travel in are usually the client-facing ones”. Is that the general stance of people in the corporate world, or just the spin out on it by people here?

  35. DD, why did your DS go into environmental science in the first place?

    If he wanted to do something that would help protect the environment, I suggest he stay in a hard science or technical major, e.g., engineering. IMO, most of our solutions to environmental problems will come from science and technology.

    OTOH, his considering financial planning suggests that wasn’t his reasoning.

  36. S&M, my main objection to corporate travel is lack of schedule control and the caregiving burden it places on the spouse.

  37. S&M,

    Most people hate it. That’s why it pays so well.

    My friend who is a financial advisor loves to schmooze. He’s involved in all sorts of clubs and charities and in the before times he would work all day and they go to various things in the evening and have activities planned all weekend. All to build his book of business. Many totebaggers would be horrified at the thought of a job that required dozens of hours a week of schmoozing. As would many, if not most, people. But if you love to schmooze then it’s basically free money.

  38. “there are so many corporate jobs that need a small bit of quantitative classes to stand out and get in the door vs. a totally generic business major. Statistics, Economics and the like are good to have. “

    Calculus?

    Seriously, for someone who’s going to be doing data analysis, I believe a working understanding of basic calculus– single variable derivatives and integrals– will be very helpful. It could also be a competitive edge in landing such a job.

  39. Denver, it’s your son’s first semester, right? Is he required to declare a major right now? Might be better for him to think carefully about ways to meet gen ed requirements, taking the options that appeal to him. Is calculus really what he wants, or if that requirement can also be met with a philosophy class in formal logic, does he want to try that out, as a way to find out what he actually wants to do while ticking off those boxes? Similar for other requirements. Once he knows what departments he likes best, he can figure out how to pull them together for a career path that makes sense and that he’ll like enough to stick with it. And have him take some geo classes ;) Bailey, Del Casino, Marston & Jones are all good.

  40. WCE, sure, once you have kids, travel becomes difficult. That’s why I’m surprised young corporate employees don’t jump at the chance to travel and spend an extra night in various locales. As I understand it, those jobs often lead to other positions that don’t involve so much travel. People have kids later these days, so could conceivably move out of the travel role as they move into parenting
    But it seems that even people without kids don’t like the travel. That’s what I don’t get.

  41. “‘That’s why I’m surprised young corporate employees don’t jump at the chance to travel and spend an extra night in various locales.”

    A lot of regulars have posted about how they did a lot of business travel when they were younger.

  42. “DS is thinking about changing his major already. “

    So is DD. She’s already planning to apply to move to the engineering college, but has to take a certain class next semester before she can apply.

    But she’s still not sure what kind of engineering I’ve suggested biomed, since that would keep the med school option open.

  43. since that would keep the med school option open.

    Do you remember what ADA had to say about that?

  44. That’s why I’m surprised young corporate employees don’t jump at the chance to travel and spend an extra night in various locales.

    I don’t view corporate travel as a negative. It’s just that people must realize what they are getting into. If you have family obligations later on, you have have to balance that with the travel or move into roles that require less or no travel. IMO, the challenge for most people comes later in their career not earlier. In my workplace this has been an unsaid challenge for many people as they move up in their careers.

  45. DW’s employers often goes to skeleton staffing levels around holidays, especially when holidays fall on Tuesday or Thursdays, with the days between the holiday and closest weekend being the skeleton days. I don’t think anyone is required to take those days off, but vacation or leave without pay approval is automatic on those days for everyone not designated as part of the skeleton crew.

    Once I’m retired, I’m going to encourage DW to take those days as leave without pay, so she can take more days off.

  46. Finn, yes, that’s what I was thinking of. I don’t recall that feeling of “I got to travel” in those comments. Maybe I read them wrong, or maybe this group is more conservative that way.

  47. Like many others here, I accumulated a lot of vacation due to travel not taken because of the pandemic, much of which was use/lose.

    I’m off this week and was off last week. I haven’t worked a 5-day week since September, taking many Fridays as vacation days.

    I’m not looking forward to working 5 days weeks again.

  48. As Rhett said, many dislike travel. As LfB said, many dislike tax. Dirty jobs and all that. The double financial premium more than overcame my sole contributor corporate advancement “deficit” so that in 15 years of work life I was able to go from insolvent to comfortable while putting 4 kids through college.

  49. Not all business travel is to London, Miami, San Francisco. Try occasional trips to Sioux Falls or Fargo. It turns out I like to help people with their problems and I’m good at it. But if I spend all day in Sioux Falls fixing problems or schmoozing so they don’t take their business elsewhere, it is exhausting.

    Even when I go to exciting places it may be cool to take in a ballgame, or dine at the top steakhouse in the city, but I’m not spending time at museums, or the beach, soaking in the location.

  50. Lemon Tree, I’m amused because Sioux Falls was joining East Millinocket, Maine, Kalamazoo, Michigan and Kalispell, Montana on my mental list of “places you wind up going a few times a year when you travel corporately.”

  51. Travel is a pretty broad term. There are posters here whose work travel took them to London and other major cities. Some of mine took me to Broken Bow, Oklahoma and other surrounding communities. When I spent weeks in Glasgow, it was very long hours in a conference room and little free time. On the other hand, my month in Montana allowed for keno and beer evenings, weekend trips to Jackson Hole, etc. Now that air travel has zero slack in the system, literally every business trip in the last four years or so has resulted in delays, missed connections, driving an hour to my hotel in a strange city at 3 am and extra nights in random cities because there were no seats available on the next flight home. For me, dining out every meal, late dinners with the team, and togetherness with my team from breakfast until after 10pm every day is exhausting. So I am one who does not consider travel to be a big perk. I put out effort to make the best of it and find some fun where I can, but the hassles of travel are kind of inevitable with air travel now. I am frequently not able to add extra days for fun on to the trip because of other work commitments.

  52. Rhett, no, I don’t. Please remind me.

    Med school admissions is driven primarily by GPA and MCAT score. They don’t care what your major was. You’d have a better chance getting into medical school as a history major with a 4.0 than an engineering major with a 3.5.

  53. “Med school admissions is driven primarily by GPA and MCAT score.”

    OK, I remember that. Also, one of our good friends who is an MD also told us that many, many times, and she typically counsels med school wannabes away from very competitive undergrad schools.

    I’m thinking more along the lines that biomed engineering would have the greatest overlap of all engineering majors with med school prereqs. My perception is that it is one of the few such majors that is also a professional degree.

    And Fred has provided another perspective on the need for high GPA to get into med school.

  54. “You’d have a better chance getting into medical school as a history major with a 4.0 than an engineering major with a 3.5.”

    A history major with a 4.0 probably hasn’t taken the prereq courses for med school. Neither will most engineering majors, but biomed is different in that respect.

    Anyone who’s taken bio, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics, and gotten a 4.0, regardless of major, along with excellent MCAT scores, is deserving of med school consideration.

  55. Biochemistry was the only course that isn’t/wasn’t required for chem e’s going to medical school, as I recall. I think material science also covers most of those prereqs.

    Given the limited job opportunities with an undergrad degree in biomedical engineering, I wouldn’t recommend it. One of my work friends graduated a year or so with an MS in biomedical engineering from University of Chicago (chem e undergrad from a state school) and she said biomedical opportunities in general are limited even with a PhD.

  56. Ok, forced socializing every night would kill me, or I’d at least want to be paid for it/go in later the next day. And I’d want to go to some “exciting” big cities occasionally. But an extra day or afternoon in tiny town America could be enjoyable. Also, none of the places LT and WCE listed are likely to be hubs, or even to have airports. A young person traveling light could spend a few hours or an extra night or two on the way out and back. Maybe it’s just the cultural geographer in me wanting to explore and enjoying the chance to observe quotidian life.

  57. S&M, most of our young engineers want to spend their ~10 days of actual vacation seeing their families, who often live back East. They would not want to take a limited precious vacation day (which is what an extra day would require) to see an assigned city.

  58. Finn, your last paragraph is correct. Your comment on history majors not having med school prereqs makes me wonder if you’ve looked at requirements for any humanities majors at all. You must be picturing the lockstep sequences of classes that engineering majors have, but in fact most humanities majors have nothing of the sort and frequently encourage/require students to take some courses outside of their main interest.

  59. “A history major with a 4.0 probably hasn’t taken the prereq courses for med school.”

    That really depends on the school, and how many courses are required for the major. Here, it is not that difficult to get in the med school requirements with a liberal arts major, provided that you start freshman year and get a good advisor to help slot in all the courses.

  60. WCE, weekends. Or arrive earlier/ leave later in the day than required. It really does sound like it’s just a personal preference that I can’t understand.

  61. S&M, people do sometimes take a weekend day if the trip is somewhere desirable. Typically, the trip itself takes a day from here. You have to depart here 3-5 hr before flight if taking shuttle, 3.5 hr if taking a personal or rental car.

  62. WCE, It’s hard for me to think of a place that wouldn’t be “desirable”. The last conference I went to was in Milwaukee. I took my kid, stayed in the conference hotel, which was fancy, and he got a short stack of pancakes for breakfast in bed. I remember browsing a bookstore downtown, and walking though an indoor mall that was eerily quiet. When the conference was over, we got out of the city, rented an Air B&B for a couple days, went to a corn maze, an apple packing plant, and a pumpkin patch. Being a Florida boy, he’d never seen or played in colorful leaves. It used to drive him nuts that, on the way to IKEA in Tampa, I liked to drive under the crosstown expressway to look at the ship repair bays. Walking from the bus to Ikea here, I’ve stopped to take pix of graffiti in the underpass. I stop to watch boats go through locks. The out-of-the-way places you and LT mentioned might be close to state parks, where I’d happily spend an afternoon.

  63. I have a friend who majored in Russian Studies in college, and got into Harvard Medical School. It can be done. That said, she was (is) both very smart and very hard-working.

  64. S&M, people who have the discretionary income to rent an Air B&B or hotel often extend their trips as you describe. I’m looking at flights for a possible family vacation back east and leaving here at 8 AM with a 1 hr connection puts us in around 10 PM EST. You’re right that a 4 AM departure would put us at our destination by ~6 PM.

  65. Regarding the MCAT there is a certain totebag conceit that says certain things can only be learned in school. IIRC many of the MCAT prep courses are better at teaching the material than many undergrad programs.

    YMMV prices may differ in Alaska and Hawaii

  66. WCE, I could carry my son easily until he was in middle school (I can still carry him on my back, but that wakes him up). My favorite flights were the first departures of the day. He remembers waking up in taxis on the way to the airport.

  67. S&M,

    I tend to agree. I don’t know why everyone is shitting all over Fargo. The Radisson looks nice. And even the Holliday Inn has an actual Hollidome!

    And Holliday Inn is part of IHG which means you can use your points to stay at such places as the Intercontinental Bora Bora!

  68. WCE, maybe I’m naive about how companies spend money. I had assumed that an employee valuable enough to fly somewhere would be likely to get a room. Air Bnb says they have places in East Millinocket for $16 a night. Probably not places for a family to stay, but as a young single person, I can see wanting to see a bit more of Maine than a conference room and only wanting a room to sleep in.

  69. S&M,

    The way it would usually work is you’d work Monday to Thursday and you could have your flight booked to come bank Sunday. And you could hang out wherever at your own expense. There would never be the ability to stay someplace cheaper and extend the stay. That’s tax fraud among other things.

  70. SM. Business travel comes in many shapes and sizes. For my job I ve been to Bangkok and I ve been to Janesville, WI. I flown into London from Boston and Seoul from Singapore for two hour meetings and returned the same day. I’ve taken vacation days for side travel and other trips rushed home to domestic responsibility. But one thing that was vital on the foreign trips was the breaking of bread with the foreign colleagues. That is an important part of building trust and forging relationships that advance the employers interests. When I travel on my employers dime, I am not on an 8 hr clock.

  71. My hotel preferences are as unconventional for this blog as my site-seeing is. When my son was little, I wanted to stay in nicer places than I had stayed on my own. Now that he’s bigger, if we get to Rome, I want to spend a Saturday night in the hotel where Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian met, https://romecavalieri.com/ so we could hang out at the pool with live jazz and an open buffet the next day, but the rest of our nights in a convent (as I did in Venice 30 years ago). https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/09/where-to-stay-in-rome-convent-hotels/amp If we go to Sicily, I want to stay on a farm or in a campground where we can use our hammocks.

  72. Rhett, that’s what I meant—when the work part of the trip is over, switch to a cheaper place to stay over the weekend.

    Meme, once a person has kids, it’s a whole different ballgame. I don’t see anything wrong with any of the places you mentioned, though if I didn’t have family responsibilities bringing me back home (I think your work-related travel began long after you had kids) I’d book more extra time in Bangkok than in Janesville

  73. I’ve been to that Holidome, on a business trip!

    A conference trip is completely different from a business trip. Before and after a trip I’m working like crazy, because I have clients and issues to handle. On the trip I’m dealing with only one or two clients and have to ignore the emails and calls coming in. Once that client is done, I have dozens of other emails to deal with. When I’m on a conference trip I can usually check and handle email throughout the day, and in general it is more laid back….also, conferences are in better locations.

    When I go to Portland I try to take a few days before or after to go to Bend.

  74. “go in later the next day“

    In my team, our work trips typically try to pack in way more than what is reasonable to get done in a week just because they want to take advantage of you being physically present with different colleagues. In addition to the work that needs to get done, it would be typical for my director or manager to ask me to find time to take x to lunch just to get face to face time with someone I work with virtually, then I may have people I’d also like to meet with (like WCE, if I ever get to that office). There is just not a lot of discretionary time. And no one would ask to come in later the next day. It would not go over well.

  75. LT, interesting about client trips. I’ve never done anything remotely close, so will take your word on it. Your conferences sound different from mine. First offf, I always worked my tail off leading up to the conference, getting my presentation (I’ve never been in a department where conference funding was available if you weren’t presenting) and anything needed for Specialty Groups together. Conferences themselves were always very busy, dashing from one session to another, sometimes in the middle of sessions, meeting up with people from other universities in between all day, specialty group meetings in the evening, and then parties hosted by universities or getting together with colleagues again. Geography conferences also include field trips of varying length, from a couple hours on foot to a few days in a van. They are fun, but aren’t just for fun. I never went on an overnight field trip. After a few days at a conference, my head was ready to explode.

  76. SM, I have a friend whose business travel sounds like what you envision. She posts pics of taking local cooking lessons in China, or visits to jewelry markets or elephant rides in wherever. The people in her company make time to take her places and she typically schedules unique experiences wherever she goes. She seems to have much more flexibility in her travel than anyone else I know.

  77. When we go to SE Asia, we meet for breakfast at 7 AM and wind up back in our rooms between 9 and 10 PM to do email, depending on the dinner.

    DH had one occasion that worked out splendidly. He and his colleagues were at a customer site in New Jersey, the work got done early the last day, in part because everyone had worked long hours all week, and the customer was delighted to give them directions to Times Square to enjoy themselves that evening, which was a train ride away and which none (?) of them had ever seen.

  78. Becky, come to think of it, I wouldn’t think of skipping morning events at a conference because I’d been out the evening before. I did occasionally stay an extra day.

  79. “Biochemistry was the only course that isn’t/wasn’t required for chem e’s going to medical school, as I recall. “

    Good to know. My undergrad CoE didn’t have a ChemE program, so I’m not familiar with it, but that’s what DD is looking at for now. She’s going to take a ChemE class next semester.

    She said her research indicated that some ChemEs are hired by cosmetic companies, and that’s one path she’d consider. I pointed out that, TMK, there are no such companies here.

    I also pointed out that we as a society will need ChemEs to solve many of the problems in our sewage systems, so there would likely be work in that field that is geographically distributed.

  80. “I’m looking at flights for a possible family vacation back east and leaving here at 8 AM with a 1 hr connection puts us in around 10 PM EST. “

    We’ve traveled east (actually, northeast) quite a bit. Sometimes if the flight only covers 3 time zones, we’ll leave mid-day and get in very late, but more typically a flight east involves a redeye.

    Are you looking at redeyes? If not, I’d be curious as to why not.

  81. Finn – young kids and red eyes. Uh, no. Thinking mostly of the crankiness the day of arrival. Better to leave the west early (like 6am). Maybe the kids will sleep some on the flight(s); if not at least they should conk out around the right time at the destination.

  82. BTW, frequently flying on redeyes increases the value of status on hotel loyalty programs. Redeyes often result in us arriving at our destinations well before normal checkin time, but also tired.

    I currently have status on Marriott Bonvoy, and they’ve often let us check in early, which really makes the redeyes work much better.

  83. SM, your trips sound more exciting. I will say, I have been on some pretty cool factory tours (which I really do love), so all isn’t totally boring.

    You have been fortunate to have your son tag along with you. I’ve been on work conferences were a spouse or nanny have come along because there is a baby, but a business trip with a child or baby along would not go over well because of the long days and evening entertaining that is typically required. Business travel before children was more enjoyable.

  84. When we go to SE Asia, we meet for breakfast at 7 AM and wind up back in our rooms between 9 and 10 PM to do email, depending on the dinner.

    It always comes across like you were treated terribly and you never though there was anything wrong with the way you were treated.

    The way you describe it the only way to be treated any worse is to be a humanities post doc.

  85. “young kids and red eyes. Uh, no. ”

    How young? Those flights have worked out OK for us, but OTOH we didn’t fly OOS until DD was about 4.

    “Maybe the kids will sleep some on the flight(s)”

    They usually do on redeyes. Benadryl can help too.

    “Better to leave the west early (like 6am).”

    Not really an option for us. Interstate planes don’t usually stay here overnight, so earliest eastbound departures are planes that left the west coast early in the morning.

    That’s why Southwest flights from here to destinations beyond the west coast typically involve and overnight layover.

  86. “I have been on some pretty cool factory tours (which I really do love)”

    Perhaps our best factory tour was the Asahi brewery tour.

  87. “Your comment on history majors not having med school prereqs makes me wonder if you’ve looked at requirements for any humanities majors at all. “

    No, I haven’t looked much into those course requirements for humantities majors, but I assumed they do not typically include all of biology, biochemistry, organic and inorganic chem, and physics. Was my assumption incorrect?

    My guess is that most humanities majors who go to med school either were focused as much in premed as their humanties majors as undergrads, or had to take some prereq classes between completing their undergrad degrees and starting med school. The EEs I know who went to med school had to do the latter.

    I admit these are guesses on my part, and would welcome being set straight if I am mistaken.

  88. “Here, it is not that difficult to get in the med school requirements with a liberal arts major, provided that you start freshman year and get a good advisor to help slot in all the courses. “

    OK, but if you’re an engineering major, it’s not easy to fit in a bunch of extra classes. As WCE and I have noted here, engineering program requirements don’t allow for many free electives.

  89. DH suffers from insomnia and hates cities so if we do go East, I don’t want him any grumpier than he will already be. When I have to get up at 1:30 AM for a 2:30 AM departure from here, I always wind up getting sick from losing a night’s sleep. Neither of us has any sort of status.

    I don’t want to do a red eye because with a likely stop in the middle, it’s two 2-3 hour flight segments and a lost night. It’s not a good way to begin what I hope will be a vacation with positive memories.

    I’d rather lose a day to travel.

  90. “most of our young engineers want to spend their ~10 days of actual vacation seeing their families, who often live back East. They would not want to take a limited precious vacation day (which is what an extra day would require) to see an assigned city. “

    Don’t your young engineers want to take business trips to destinations back east near their families? Tagging a vacation on to business travel has long been a way to financially benefit from such travel.

    BITD, there was the Saturday stay discount on airline tickets, and a lot of businesses would pay for Saturday stays because that cost them less than giving up the airline discount, so it was common for people to schedule business travel to conclude on Friday, then have a couple days to explore the destination. After that went away, a lot of people I know would often use points to extend their stays, or book cheap hotel rooms, e.g., using Priceline, for the days beyond the business part of the trips.

    When I travel for business, unless I only put in a partial day on the last business day, I usually need to stay to the next day anyway, so I typically book a late flight so I have the entire day to do stuff at/near my work destination.

  91. This discussion reminds me of a business trip I once had to Singapore.

    My return itinerary started with a redeye from Singapore to Narita, followed by another redeye from Narita to HNL. I arrived fairly early, about 8am IIRC, at Narita, and my next redeye left at about 11pm or so, so I had an entire day to explore. I met DW at HNL and we took a week or so of vacation, so I ended up saving roundtrip airfare between SFO and HNL, not to mention about 11 hours in planes and all the radiation exposure that goes with that.

  92. They would not want to take a limited precious vacation day (which is what an extra day would require) to see an assigned city

    You’re killing me! You’d WAH Friday from the hote or whatever and then head out on the town Friday and Saturday night and then head back home Sunday. No need to use a vacation day.

  93. “When I have to get up at 1:30 AM for a 2:30 AM departure from here”

    By here, I assume you mean your house, not from the airport from which you will depart. If your plane takes off at 2:30am, I would think you’d need to wake up no later than midnight to allow for transit to the airport, checking bags, getting through security, and boarding.

    Is 2:30 am a typical departure time at the nearest airport (which I’m guessing is PDX)? If I had a 2:30am departure, I wouldn’t bother going to sleep until I got on the plane. I think I’d be able to fall asleep very soon after getting seated on the plane.

    Here, a more typical redeye departure time is about 11pm for west coast flights, which works well on a work day. You can put in a full day at work/school, come home, have dinner, take a shower, and avoid traffic driving to the airport.

    Direct flights to the east coast typically leave in the afternoon, and arrive the next afternoon, just in time to check in, have dinner and maybe walk around a little, then go to sleep.

  94. “I don’t want to do a red eye because with a likely stop in the middle, it’s two 2-3 hour flight segments and a lost night.”

    OK, that’s quite a bit different situation from mine, where the first leg is always at least 5 hours, long enough to potentially get in at least 3 sleep cycles.

    Do you not even bother looking for direct redeyes? That would seem comparable to the redeyes I used to take to SV. I’d usually go straight to work, put in my 8 hours, then head home and nearly straight to bed. More recently on vacation travel, we’d head straight from the airport to the hotel, check in early, take a nap, then start the vacation with lunch.

  95. “I have a friend who majored in Russian Studies in college, and got into Harvard Medical School. It can be done. That said, she was (is) both very smart and very hard-working.”

    I also suspect she planned from early in her undergrad days, if not earlier, to attend med school and thus made sure to work the prereq courses into her schedule.

    TMK, most colleges these days don’t have a major that’s specifically pre-med, so there’s going to be all sorts of undergrad majors comprising med school classes. Among the engineering majors in those classes, my guess is that a disproportionate number were Biomed or ChemE majors (thanks WCE).

  96. “But one thing that was vital on the foreign trips was the breaking of bread with the foreign colleagues. That is an important part of building trust and forging relationships that advance the employers interests. “

    Absolutely.

    I remember when I took my first business trip to Singapore, my boss two levels up talked to me before I left and told me to make sure to take my counterparts there to lunch, and that he’d approve my expense reports if I did. So I had a couple lunches where I took entire engineering groups to lunch, and had bills of several hundred dollars for each lunch, and absolutely no problems with my expense report.

  97. to attend med school and thus made sure to work the prereq courses into her schedule.

    Harvard Medical School doesn’t have prerequisites.

    Ultimately, however, it is not the number of years in college or hours in a course but the quality of education and the maturity of the student that determine readiness for medical school.

    If you’re able to get a 528 on the MCAT without ever having taken organic chemistry you’re even more likely to get in.

  98. Finn, yes, 1:30 AM wake-up for a 2:30 AM departure from my house for a 6 AM flight. There are a few red eyes but return trips on planes that came from the East Coast are more common.

    From Portland to Philadelphia, the cheapest option has a 10 hour layover in Denver and takes from 10:15 AM to 5:13 AM. Another inexpensive option is from 12:28 AM to 10:57 AM with a one hour layover in Charlotte, NC.

  99. WCE,

    Would it make sense to leave after work/school and drive to Seattle, spend the night and then go direct to PHL at a reasonable hour? Even with 80% of planes not flying Alaska has a flight leaving SEA at 7:40am getting into PHL at 3:45.

  100. WCE, I’m not sure what dates you are looking at or how cheap those wacky flights are, but a random search found United has an option leaving Portland at 11:07 am arriving in Philly at 8:59 PM with a 56 minute layover in Chicago for $206 roundtrip. Another option is a 12:40 pm departure arriving at 10:36 pm with a 1 hour layover in Denver. If you want to go early, there’s a 7:11 am departure arriving at 5:03 pm with a 1 hr layover in Chicago. All are the same price.

  101. I was going to suggest staying at a hotel by the airport if you have an early departure, but Rhett’s suggestion of going all the way to Seattle to do that to get a nonstop is a better idea.

  102. Denver Dad, those are the types of flight times I’m looking at and why I don’t choose red eyes. I hope to work one or both ends of our itinerary to get a nonstop. We’ll have to see when/if museums, etc. reopen after COVID. DH, in particular, needs to plan his vacation in advance.

  103. On taking up medicine – all the people I know wanted to be doctors. Some got into high ranking schools, some did not but all of them were committed. I think that more than anything else was the key factor.

    My comment on business travel didn’t come through.
    Post pandemic, my workplace will budget very little for non client related travel. Internal meetings, team building exercises will be severely restricted. Especially now, since virtual has become so widespread. I am not sure how going back to the office will look like. I anticipate some job functions will move to full remote, while some will be asked to come in.

  104. This is for our Boston posters ;-)

    To be fair to Baldwin, it’s refreshing to see a Boston person actually DISOWN Boston instead of treating the rest of the world like it’s a Boston suburb. If she were Hilaria Wahlberg, she’d be going on TV and being like SPAIN IS ROJA SOX NATION! NO ONE DENIES THIS! But Hilaria Baldwin belongs to the Actually I’m Kind of a Life Coach C-list genre, so she was very insistent, and remains very insistent, that Spain is her motherland:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sfgate.com/sf-culture/amp/Drew-Magary-Hilaria-Baldwin-explainer-Alec-15832768.php

  105. Very similar at Oklahoma U (for contrast – or lack thereof):
    Prerequisite Course Requirements
    General Zoology/ Biology with Lab -1 semester
    General Chemistry -2 semesters
    Organic Chemistry -2 semesters
    Physics -2 semesters
    Genetics, Cellular Biology or Molecular Biology (your choice) -1 semester
    English -2 semesters
    Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, or Humanities (any combination) -3 semesters

  106. My DD is using the break to look at colleges via virtual tours. She “thinks” she wants to study Bio or something similar. I’ve watched a few of the virtual tours with her because it is all new to me since my background was undergrad business or econ. My DH is similar so we didn’t know that it was possible to find 4 or 5 possible majors related to bio. The other option that she is considering if she doesn’t want pre med is hospital administration. Many of the universities that she is interested in have buildings devoted to public health etc. This was eye opening for me, but it makes sense since it is different than business administration.

    I hope the virtual tours become a permanent part of the college process. It is not the same, but it really does allow a student to explore more options without the time and expense of travel. In her case, it is a great tool to narrow a list of schools that she really wants to visit in person.

    It is so interesting to see that the schools all highlight the cafes or dining options all over campus. We did visit a few schools in the fall. We weren’t able to take any real tours or go inside any buildings, but we also noticed how so many libraries etc have cafes and food. This is a big difference from my undergrad experience where drinks were discouraged inside the libraries etc.
    One thing that hasn’t changed is older dorms and small dorm rooms.

  107. Louise- Thank you for sharing that. It delighted me. I’m going to start following HilariaBaldwin on Insta because her life is so improbable. Unless everyone else has amazing portraits, in soft focus, taken by their 7 year old, in lingerie, holding baby #5.

  108. I just discovered, via the article Louise posted, that my mom’s former primary-care doctor is Hilaria Baldwin’s mother!

  109. I’ve been reading about the Hilaria Baldwin story too. It is interesting that it took this long for the truth to come out. I get that Alec Baldwin is famous, but why would she ever want to build a family with someone that could be a grandfather is beyond me. I am reading about it because it is a a nice break from all of the news about covid, the vaccine, the federal budget etc.

  110. Now all of a sudden I’m totally fascinated by Hilaria Baldwin. Where did she go to school? With a BigLaw father and an MGH-doctor mother, I’m guessing either a fancy Boston prep school (or maybe a boarding school), or perhaps a Wellesley/Weston type public school district. Did she go to college? What is the path that led her to being a yoga teacher? (Not that there is anything wrong with that — I would love to be a yoga teacher! — but it’s unusual given her family background.) And what was the appeal of Alec? As Lauren said, he’s so much older, and has a history of having a really bad temper. Sure, he has lots of money, but I imagine Hilaria’s folks have quite a bit of money, so it’s probably not like she was destitute. So many questions!

    (Can you tell that I really don’t want to face all the work that I need to start doing?)

  111. Med School admissions

    One thing I recently learned from DS3 is that according to the head of admissions for NYU med their entering classes are typically >50% from their waiting list, and that many people across all med schools are not settled on their med school until summer. They may get in sooner to someplace but be waitlisted someplace else better/more preferable and not clear that till June or even July.

  112. but why would she ever want to build a family with someone that could be a grandfather is beyond me.

    $

  113. @NoB. Hilaria, or more properly Hillary, went to the Cambridge School of Weston. For non Bostonians, although there are a range of rich kids at every prep school, that one is known for current and future artists/new age/assorted-flakes over future business/law/medicine.

  114. Finn – Also look into licensing requirements when starting to consider Med Schools. Some states have very stringent licensing requirements and it is hard and in some cases impossible to get a reciprocal license. Just know your options….

  115. Rhett, money – yes and no. She benefits from his money while he is alive, but he is probably going to leave his money to his kids if he dies. If he divorces, his personality doesn’t seem like the Mr Generosity. They seem happy enough and she might be with him until he dies, but she will have to put up with elder care while raising many young children.

    I bet there were plenty of younger men with $$$$ that she could have matched with if she really just cared about $$$$.

    As someone that has dealt with elder care for the last ten years – I would never make her choice. I know my mom and many of her friends have no wish to remarry because they don’t want to go through it a second or even third time.

  116. @Austinmom -I’ve never heard of that. Most states have a process for licensing (and Texas is considered the most laborious, as far as I know), but a graduate of an American medical school can be licensed in any state, as far as I know.

  117. I vaguely knew who Hilaria/Hillary was prior to this story. Of course I knew who Alec was, but I didn’t really follow his personal life post the phone message he left his daughter years ago screaming at her that she was a pig. He seemed like a really angry jerk.

    But I have been reading this new stuff with fascination. Apparently they had a wedding that included readings in Spanish, she wore a mantilla and waved a flamenco fan at said wedding, she gave their children Spanish names, she told everyone that her family could not pronounce her new last name, and she pretended she didn’t know who Alec was because she didn’t have a TV in Spain and was 19 when she came to the US for college. She was committed to this. I wonder at what point Alec figured it out. Sounds like she conned him at first. Apparently he had a thing for Salma Hayek and Hillary knew that and was trying to appear much more interesting than upper middle class from Boston when she arranged their meeting.

  118. Ada,

    Interesting I thought with the MCAT being a subject matter test that would be enough to demonstrate proficiency. In the small print that’s what it seemed to be saying. If you can wow them with your brilliance you’re in – in other words.

  119. “but why would she ever want to build a family with someone that could be a grandfather is beyond me.”

    She wanted to be famous. Strong narcissistic tendencies at least.

  120. Business travel: it’s not that I hated it as much as that I’m over it. First, I do not handle the physical part well — never been good with jet lag or time changes and such, sitting on planes is physically uncomfortable, etc. Second, yes, it’s fantastic when I can go to Chicago or NY or SF, and that 6 weeks in New Orleans was pretty fun, as was (believe it or not) the month in Des Moines and the various trips to Kalamazoo (I like the midwest). But 90% of my business travel is to places like Port Arthur, Texas — most often in August, it seems, where I get to walk around outside in Nomex. Or places truly in the middle of nowhere (friends got to spend months in the boot-heel of Missouri). My travel isn’t luxurious; the places I go, the best hotel tends to be the Hampton Inn, but even when there is a nice hotel available, my clients do not pay for that level of travel. Again, I’m good with that — y’all know I’m the Residence Inn junkie — but after trip after trip, it loses its luster. Same with food: I’m lucky if I can find a dive with really good local food, but most of the time it’s Sonic or the company cafeteria. Which, again: I’m good with! I tend to like low-end food, even though it’s horribly bad for me. But, again, it gets old fast. And then even the nice places, you’re usually in offices or on plant tours most of the day, and then dealing with other client business at night; even that 6 weeks in New Orleans was morning to night in an office getting ready for trial. Once again, perfectly fine, I’d rather get my work done and be able to enjoy my weekends, but there is zero glamor involved.

    The biggest issue for me, though, is that I don’t get to choose. When you are in a role that requires client travel, you go where the client needs when the client needs. If that’s Port Arthur in April during a heat wave when you’re 8 weeks pregnant and you spend most of the trip lying on the 1968 couch in the 1968 wood-paneled ladies’ room because you got so sick on the plant tour, you get yourself up and go back into the meetings. Obviously, that was the worst trip — emblazoned in memory from almost 16 yrs ago now. ;-) But it’s juggling the rest of your life around client needs (including those of other clients who don’t go away just because you’re out of town).

    I know I sound like Debbie Downer. And I do make a point of enjoying what I can — there is a really cute B&B in Orange, TX (which actually has an old-fashioned downtown neighborhood), I always stay over in NY and SF if my schedule can manage it, I loved getting to see my dad when both he and my clients were in the general Houston area, I love visiting our Austin office, I love running along the lakefront in Chicago, and I definitely love the airline and hotel points, and just the “getting out of Dodge” feeling. But after 10+ years of doing the same thing, going to the same uninspired places, it just gets old.

    Probably another thing that’s different is that in my job, there really is no chance to graduate into a lower-travel role. I mean, if most of your clients are in TX, and you live in, say, Baltimore, you’re going to be on a plane fairly frequently. So if you don’t want that, choose a different line of work. Personally, I chose to NOT do international business transactions because I do not do well with jet lag, and because I knew that if I had kids, I would want to be closer to home. But I did not fully realize the amount of travel involved in the field I did pick, or the true glamour of the Holiday Inn Express in Port Arthur. ;-)

  121. Lauren, typically to go into hospital adminstration, she would do a masters degree in healthcare administration or possibly healthcare informatics. Most of the programs are accredited, which is important because the healthcare world is very legalistic. You can major in most anything and go into these programs, but business or nursing are common undergrad degrees.

  122. Lauren, a friend of mine is the COO of a hospital system. That is the first I learned that hospital administration is its own separate field of study. She really likes what she does, and, at least in the markets where she has lived, it has sane work hours and expectations while also being interesting and lucrative.

  123. My post seems to have disappeared. This is for Lauren… Hospital administration is a very different field than Bio. Usually people get into it through masters programs, which are accredited through CAHME (accreditation is a big thing in the hosptial world). You can major in many things and then go into one of the masters programs, but business and nursing are common undergrad majors. Here is a link to the program at Columbia, which is considered to be an excellent school in both public health and healthcare informatics
    https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/become-student/degrees/masters-programs/master-health-administration

  124. Hospital administrators do not typically have degrees in healthcare informatics, or even healthcare administration. They are often MDs or RNs or CPAs, with a JD thrown in. My sense is that the MHA degree is usually a distance or executive degree for someone working their way up in the field.

    An example of a large hospital group with bios of their administrators. Theology! Accounting! Probably a history major or two in there as well.
    https://www.sclhealth.org/about/leadership/

  125. Finn: you don’t need me to tell you this, but I’m going to anyway ;-): your DD should take a hard look at the biomed engineering prereqs as compared to the med school prereqs. My DD had to give up on the premed track within her first year, because she couldn’t fit all the premed prerequisites in with all the engineering requirements and the required core classes. That is probably not an issue with a school that has an actual biomed program; DD’s program is general engineering and so has a heavy overlap with physics and inorganic chem, but not the bio/organic chem path, so it was basically organic chem and the follow-ons that she couldn’t fit in alongside the required courses to stay on track for her engineering major. The only way to have done both would have been to take only STEM classes for her first two years straight, which would both threaten her sanity ;-) and leave her to struggle to fit the core classes in in her final two years.

    BTW, we have been slowly nudging her away from the “bio” side and more toward the “engineering” side, based on the issues WCE identified. She’s not really a lab geek, so I can’t really see her doing R&D or teaching, and she’s not interested in the robotics or instrumentation part either, so I’m really not sure what she thinks she wants to do. But she loves math and has set her mind on a math minor (in addition to the bio minor), and we’re encouraging her (softly) to take some more statistics classes since she liked her first one a lot, because those skills can get you jobs in a lot of places. I will be interested if she goes on the S. America trip, because that trip focuses on game theory in political/public policy issues, and I wonder if that sort of real-life application of math might float her boat. But we’ll see. She really wants to make a lot of money, but she’s also really NOT good at tolerating boredom, so I’ll be interested to find out what path she chooses to follow to support both her intellectual curiosity and her desired lifestyle. Maybe she’ll be an international jet-setter like Rhett!

  126. I agree with the others about travel. I LOVED it in my 20’s – it was the era of the Saturday night stay over which gave me so many great mini vacations that I could not have managed on my own. I also had no personal obligations to speak of, hadn’t traveled much as a kid, and I felt like a glamorous woman-of-the-world being 23 and jetting off to the West Coast on the company dime. Heck, I felt that way just taking recruits out to dinner.

    When DS was young (my 30’s), I actively avoided travel because the impact on DH & DS was so great.

    Now, I don’t mind it so much, but it gets tiring. In my current job, the locations are generally really good – mostly big cities and mostly cool downtown locations, although we have a couple offices in the suburbs. Even then, they are nice suburbs with lots of hotel and dining options. But what everyone else said rings true. If you are traveling with others, your time often isn’t your own as there are expectations to go to dinner and your “free time” is really from 8pm (or later) till 8:30 or 9am. You can beg off once in awhile, but not all the time. And even if traveling alone, days in the office are generally long with catch up work to be done at the hotel. It’s tiring getting up at the crack of dawn to get on a plane on Monday and getting to your home airport at 9pm on Wednesday with two days of work ahead. That said, I still enjoy working in person with people in other offices, trying new restaurants, having a bit of alone time, etc. There are moments. I usually try to get up early & go for a long walk. Our Manhattan office was near Central Park in The Before Times, so I would walk around the park at dawn when it was uncrowded, for example. Sometimes I’m able to meet a friend in the place I’m visiting.

    I’m surprised by how much I have NOT missed business travel this year. I’m curious what will happen in the future. I have teams in other cities that I manage, so I imagine at some point once things calm down, I’ll need to go in person. But I think travel will be diminished for a long time post-pandemic. The company saved millions and millions of dollars this year – they won’t let that all roar back.

    And I agree with others – very, very rarely does it make any sense to have family members travel with you. Maybe for a conference – I have been to some in Orlando where they had optional family activities – but they will be off doing things without you. It won’t be fun family time.

  127. A friend of mine is CEO of a hospital. His undergrad was Kinesiology, with and MBA and a Masters in Hospital Admin. He always knew that healthcare was his focus. It is a very rewarding field, and his connections have paid off in terms of moving mountains to save a family member’s life. The downside is that he has moved all over the country to move up to the ranks, and he has to attend a lot of donor parties and galas, including many political events. Also, Covid has probably aged him 10 years. A lot of sleepless nights.

  128. Ada – Texas is, as you mentioned, a more laborious state to get licensed in. For example, it has a limited number of licensure exam attempts (generally 3, with some limited exceptions) that is less than other states. So, if it took you 4 attempts on 2 parts, you cannot meet the requirement.

  129. Accounting!

    Tons of accountants and business majors. I know so many people who have done so well with finance and accounting yet that path is never mentioned here. I’m not sure why.

    East Central Oklahoma State University
    Bachelor of Science – Business Administration

    The horror!

  130. It’s interesting that Texas limits attempts; I suspect there is some specific incident that led to that rule.

    Unlike law, medical licensing exams are quite easy to pass.

    Passing on first try:
    Step 1: US/Canadian Schools: 94%; Non US/Canadian schools: 75%
    Step 2 CK: US/Canadian Schools: 96%; Non US/Canadian Schools: 78%
    Step 2 CS: US/Canadian Schools: 94%, Non US/Canadian Schools: 73%
    Step 3: US/Canadian Schools: 97%, Non US/Canadian Schools: 86%

    These tests are national. Your ability to pass them is (mostly) independent of where you attended medical school. Thus, your ability to be licensed in Texas (or any other state) is not particularly dependent on which state you attended school in.

    I hope I am not coming off as too confrontational about this. I’m mid-night shift and arguing on the internet is the only thing keeping me awake.

  131. I have a newer client in Orlando and I’m annoyed that COVID has impacted my ability to do a business trip there. I went down there once in the Before Times and it was fly in Tuesday evening, meet client at restaurant for dinner. Check into hotel at 10pm, spend next day onsite, and catch the 5:30 flight home. I had dreams of flying down on Wednesday/Thursday, having family meet me there and we get a long weekend at Disney….in February. As LfB has mentioned, I don’t get to choose my locations, so Orlando is a highlight.

    Traveling while leaving little ones at home with the spouse is hard on everyone, but when I went on a business trip when DD1 was 6 months old, the benefit of having 3 nights of sleep, in an amazing hotel, was priceless. I did miss her though….

  132. Other things keeping me awake:
    Black tea with milk (I’ve finally crossed over from coffee at work, mostly because the coffee is so bad).
    Reading every single article about the Hilaria scandal.
    Saving Lives (well, not in any acute sense, but one can hope).

  133. “the benefit of having 3 nights of sleep, in an amazing hotel, was priceless. I did miss her though….”

    Even ONE night of sleep was priceless. I can still remember the wonderful feeling of going to bed in a nice hotel room (with the room service card on the door) secure in the knowledge that no one would disturb me until breakfast time.

  134. Rhett – 100% on accounting. From a decent school (I would think most flagships qualify), it’s enough of a credential that you’re smart, work hard and are a reasonable rule follower that getting your first job isn’t very hard. And as we all know, you work from there on getting the next one. I couldn’t get my kids to do it, but geez, I still highly recommend it to any totebag kiddos who might listen.

    Be a consultant, travel your heart out in your 20s then find a more rooted job when it’s time to have kids. I’ve had some good travel, but most of mine too, was to non-glamorous places with short notice. In my jobs, I had zero control over when the trip happened. And unfortunately, most of travel really happened in the jobs I had once I had kids. Even when they’re older, it’s hard. I will forever recall being in the back of a minivan with a group of colleagues 5 states away from home when I got a call from my 15yo that his car wouldn’t start at the orthodontist office, and my DH was at dialysis with his phone off. Yes, we managed. But even the little things can be harder to deal with and that takes a toll after a while.

  135. From a decent school (I would think most flagships qualify), it’s enough of a credential that you’re smart, work hard and are a reasonable rule follower that getting your first job isn’t very hard.

    I think it holds true for places like East Central Oklahoma State University. By no means does it need to be from a flagship.

  136. I had to travel domestically when I had older high schoolers at home. The international job was after youngest went to college, but I was only 48 at that time. My ex was no use, so they just had to manage on their own for a day or two or even three at a time. I left my home for college at 16, so I tried to bring them up to be reasonably self sufficient by that age. You do what you have to do to get by.

  137. “the benefit of having 3 nights of sleep, in an amazing hotel, was priceless.”

    OMG yes. I remember my first trip when DD was an infant — could not avoid it no matter how hard I tried, was sobbing on the way to the airport. And then I sat down in my (coach) seat and realized I didn’t have to entertain anyone, and could just sit there and READ A MAGAZINE for two hours. OMG!!! First time the flight itself felt like a vacation! I don’t think I even left the room that trip, except for the necessary meetings — ordered room service, watched Netflix or whatever was on HBO, and just enjoyed the luxurious feeling of knowing I was completely alone and could sleep *without* being woken up in the middle of the night. The hotel and food were of course mediocre, but it felt like the most luxurious vacation I had ever taken. ;-)

  138. LfB, community colleges offer the premed coursework, if your DD decides she wants to attend med school later. A friend’s daughter got a dietetics degree, was bored, and took the premed courses in a year at community college to qualify for our state med school. She’s a pediatrician now.

  139. I don’t think my DIL would leave her now 10-month-old baby overnight even if you held a gun to her head. She hasn’t been at all interested in even letting her own mother babysit. I worry about her.

  140. I have several friends that went back for a year or two of classes to take organic chem etc. when they decided they wanted to go to med school. Also, some med schools prefer if students aren’t coming straight from college. This is a shift from when some of us were younger, but it reminds me of how MBA used to prefer students that had little life experience before enrolling in grad school.

    Was that sarcasm about the accounting degree? It seems like we have discussed this so many times. It is a great foundation for anyone that wants to work in business or so many other friends. The ability to understand financial statements, cash flow etc. is an awesome skill that can be useful in so many different careers.

    Also, accounting is like nursing – meaning the name of the school doesn’t always matter as long as you graduated and obtain the CPA certification. This is also occasionally true in some other fields. For example, the CFA (chartered financial analyst) is required for many asset management careers. It is also a challenging exam over 3 years, so employers sometimes care more about the CFA than the name of an undergraduate school.

  141. Lauren,

    The question is why it’s so unpopular on the totebag. In terms of dollars per unit of effort accounting blows engineering out of the water. Yet it seems to be poo-pooed as somehow not calculus worthy.

    I think it could be because accounting as a career is better than one would think.

    The average person thinks lawyer and they think:

    They think doctor they think:

    You think accountant and you think boring job.

    But the day to day practice of the law doesn’t look very much like The Good Wife and the day to day reality of being a primary care physician doesn’t resemble House. But the day to day reality of working a few years in public accounting and going to work for Acme Widget is probably better than one might think.

  142. And if you were a liberal arts major who didn’t take pre-med courses, and you decide after graduation that you actually really want to be a doctor, all is not lost, at least not if you have the money to pay for a post-B.A. program. I know two people who did dedicated post-B.A. pre-med programs like the one below, and both did end up getting into medical school and becoming practicing physicians.

    https://www.brynmawr.edu/postbac

  143. Rhett, I’ll guess accountant is undesired on the Totebag because there seems to be so little room for creativity. My Dad was an accountant for a few years and hated it. He preferred the creativity of being an exterminator. All four of his children became engineers and we enjoy the creativity, I think. Maybe the accountants will come out of the woodwork and tell me about opportunities for creativity that I’m unaware of.

  144. I know two people who did dedicated post-B.A. pre-med programs like the one below

    Yeah, I know someone who did just that, using the program at Cal State Hayward. There seem to be a number of universities that offer a “Forgot to be a pre-med? Sign up here!” program.

  145. East Central Oklahoma State University
    Bachelor of Science – Business Administration

    The school is in Ada, OK, so I feel like this is a cosmically circular example provided by Ada.

  146. Just ask the accountants at Enron about the opportunity for creativity.

    Joke among my extended family – Becky Older Sibling is writer for xxx, Becky younger sibling is author – what happened to Becky? Oh – she’s a CPA – she’s a fiction writer too!

  147. There a good number of business type posters on the Totebag who I reckon have degrees in accounting, finance, economics, statistics and the like. Some are certified CPAs, some are not. Others may have the CFA designation which people get when they work in asset management. The posters have done well for themselves. It’s just that the Totebag tends to highlight engineering, law school and medicine. I would say that kids looking to get business degrees should look into a statistics or data science minor. I think of business process improvement all the time in my job, I think of this as creativity. How to do things more efficiently, at least cost or not do things at all.

  148. Rhett, I’ll guess accountant is undesired on the Totebag because there seems to be so little room for creativity. My Dad was an accountant for a few years and hated it. He preferred the creativity of being an exterminator.

    Just for clarification, I’m talking about an accounting degree as an entree into corporate America not an accountant to be come an accountant for life. And even for accounting accounting my understanding is it can be very creative as your making critical business decisions. What product lines to expand, which to cut. What types of headcount to expand, which to cut. Do we borrow to expand or do we take a little longer and utilize retained earnings? Should we build a new factor or lease an existing one? What should be price the product at to maximize both revenue and market share.

  149. “ Rhett, I’ll guess accountant is undesired on the Totebag because there seems to be so little room for creativity. ”

    I think you are confusing Bookkeeping and Accounting.

    FWIW, I would absolutely encourage DS to major in Accounting or Finance. And I’m with Lauren that I don’t think I’ve seen it poo pooed here too much except that it is not a degree offered at the HSS and is more “vocational”. We happen to have a lot of engineers here, which is funny to me as the origination of the blog was from the WSJ.

  150. Rhett, I consider all of those “management” functions, not accounting. Accounting is one way to get into management, which is interesting work. That probably accounts for the difference between our viewpoints. My company does a really poor job of explaining its accounting decisions and so when the foreseeable long-term negative effects of short-term decisions become apparent, I become annoyed.

  151. I think you are confusing Bookkeeping and Accounting.

    I was thinking the same thing. And compared to a midwest manufacturing company in the 70s, wouldn’t many of the true bookkeeping tasks be handled by the ERP system now? In the 70s presumably there was still a lot of physical ledgers and such.

  152. As far as I can tell, the tasks that my cousin’s daughter with an accounting degree does are no different from what her mother (no degree) did as a bookkeeper. Certainly there’s less manual labor, but inputting people’s data for mortgage approvals, etc. and helping them navigate the associated hoops seems to have less room for judgment than it did 35 years ago.

  153. Eh, the terrible PR machine for accounting ensures that accounting salaries remain high due to supply and demand. Worked for me. I quickly pivoted into finance roles rather than accounting and then into jobs with a lot of strategy as well. Even among my finance friends, we remark that what we do isn’t rocket science, it’s just not work most people want to do. People do a lot worse for a lot less though.

  154. WCE – none of my accounting friends took jobs anything like that at all, even right out of school. I do think that’s a bit of a difference among flagship vs. directional state u’s. Our recruiters were Fortune 500 sized companies and big 6 (at that time).

  155. @Rhett – Sure. A lot is automated, so junior accountants spend more time reviewing for errors and corrections than grinding out long manual entries. But there still some of that. Some of it is also done offshore in a lot of big corps (including mine). But even since the 90’s when I started in corporate finance there is way less. I can’t imagine since the 70s or 80s. When we remodeled the office area a few years ago, my old boss (now retired) was showing us the dot matrix printed financial statements from 1985. It was a trip!

    I would think a straight Accounting career path would have you end up in a partner role at an firm on the audit side, doing advisory/consulting work, running an internal audit group, or in a Controller role. All of those require quite a bit of a certain type of creative ability and definitely require high level communication skills.

  156. It sounds like the discussion here is focused on what accountants in the top quartile do, not what the bulk of people with accounting degrees do. My cousin’s daughter has a pretty good job (mortgage loan officer) compared with what’s available in her town of 6751 people.

    She would have more professional opportunities if she and her husband were willing to move, but then she’d lose family support for handling her baby logistics. It’s the geographic factor we’ve discussed before.

  157. WCE,

    The vast majority of Americans don’t live in rural areas. I think that shades your view of the median persons’ experience.

  158. Rhett, I never got the impression it was unpopular on the Totebag. Also, for those that mentioned that you can’t be creative with an accounting degree, it just means that you’ve never worked on Wall Street. I also received my accounting degree from a HSS.

    In grad school, I took a class about private placements. Those are complex deals and if you don’t understand cash flows, you can’t structure the deals. To succeed in investment banking, you have to understand financial statements.

    My MBA is in finance, but the combination of accounting and finance helped me in my career. It is possible to gain similar knowledge in a bank credit training program, but accounting is not the same as bookkeeping.

  159. Finn, your 9:04 comment made my point for me—engineering majors can’t fit in extra classes their last couple of years, but humanities majors generally can (unless they’ve just switched majors).

    LT, once you have kids, I totally agree that work travel is a different thing, and much harder. I didn’t have anyone I could leave my child with, would’ve preferred family come take care of him (or let him stay with them), but made do with sitters I hired sight unseen before we got into town. Some were good; three were awful, including two who put him in danger & lied to me about it.

  160. Accounting: I think a lot of kids aren’t attracted to accounting because they are idealistic and want to do something that feels like it is helping people in some tangible way. Doctor = saving lives! Lawyer = defending the downtrodden! And then you have accounting: either adding and subtracting big columns of figures all day every day, or finding ways to help big companies avoid taxes, justify big executive payouts, or both. None of that is true, of course, but it does seem to significantly limit the pool of people who are interested in accounting as a path to a business-ey career, while expanding the pool of potential doctors/lawyers (many of whom will fade away to a different career path as they get into the coursework and discover other interests).

    We have the discussion with the kids all the time about how even their chosen engineering path isn’t some sort of “I’m going to putter in a fantastically-equipped workshop and create wonderful new things/discover a cure for cancer.” They’re most likely going to work for a company, and their job is going to be to help that company make money, and if it’s work they’re interested in and/or a product/company they believe in, that’s about the best you can expect on a daily basis. Sure, in the best scenario, there are days you will feel like Superman and know you made a difference, but it’s not realistic to expect that every day in any career.

  161. Laura, Port Arthur in August, pregnant, is more than I’d want to deal with! Your description of how you enjoyed your travel to different places and then had enough of it after a while is what I imagine, but is apparently not so typical. I’m surprised that travel doesn’t get less in your line of work, would’ve thought that you could send out law students to do the prep work and then the big bad senior attorney (you) would show up to put all the pieces together in the finale. Not sure where I got that idea.

  162. so many people who have done so well with finance and accounting yet that path is never mentioned here.

    Do we even read the same blog???? I hear way more about finance and accounting here than I ever have in the rest of my life put together. Lauren’s involvement with Wall Street before the break in 2008 (and we haven’t heard the stories still), Fred’s university position, Meme’s accounting, Ivy’s job…. tons of others, and then there are those like Mooshi’s husband who are adjacent to it.

    Ada, I drink tea sometimes too, usually with milk & spices. DS’s GF just gave me some jam-type things that go in yea.

  163. Accounting: I think a lot of kids aren’t attracted to accounting because they are idealistic and want to do something that feels like it is helping people in some tangible way.

    You’re giving people too much credit. When the question comes up, “What’s your major?” Most people want something cool to say.

  164. I hear way more about finance and accounting here than I ever have in the rest of my life put together.

    From what I’ve gathered that’s not saying a lot.

  165. The average person thinks lawyer and they think:

    They think doctor they think:

    You think accountant and you think boring job.

    My stepfather was an accountant and he always complained they never made moves about accountants. Then the Shawshank Redemption came out and he was so excited there was a movie about an accountant.

  166. My nephew majored in accounting and graduated about 3 years ago. He is working for a small financial company in NJ doing something with mutual funds and really enjoys it.

  167. Rhett, lol—that’s true. My cousin is married to a guy who was partner at a Big 8 accounting firm. When he was posted in LA, they “had” to go to the Emmys. The last 20 years of so of his career they were in the Queen of the West, the original Porkopolis. He had a couple clients there, but regularly traveled to others, coming home every weekend.

  168. Corporate America types saving people’s lives – I know a lot of corporate type people who in the current crisis thought of themselves as very essential. The economy was in danger, businesses and Main Street consumers were panicked, some businesses were expanding, others retooling or fighting to stay alive. In their various roles, they really felt that way. It’s the same way, the logistics/supply chain people had to figure out how to retool for stay at home.

  169. SM – check your sources. I have never, on this blog or TOS, mentioned where I work. Close reading may allow keen observers to infer.

    Accounting and creativity. @Lauren “you just haven’t worked on Wall St”. It’s not just the big players. DW’s company has had a good financial year, so I am hearing her side of conversations the last few days with her internal and external accountants in re ‘what are our options for limiting current year profit?’ etc. Then she has been bouncing some of the ideas off me (not an accountant, but I have played the year-end financial options game in several industries over the past 35yrs). Plenty of creativity in what I’m hearing. Some is edgy, pushing the envelope. None hiding income/gross receipts. All on the cost side which, IME, has always been easier to have a spirited discussion about vs hiding income.

  170. DD: Not to mention “The Accountant”!! Which we actually loved, but I suspect is not an accurate real-life portrayal. ;-)

  171. Fred, I was trying to be circumspect and apparently was inaccurate instead. Sorry.

    Louise, really? That is mind-boggling.

  172. Some kids think lawyers spend time in courtrooms, but that is far from the reality of how or where most lawyers spend their days (and nights). Most of my friends are lawyers. A handful are in litigation and I think they have terrible lives. Even as a partner. Their weekends and nights are often consumed by work and they sometimes travel for clients snd or trials. They may temporarily move to those places for a trial. Their spouses or partners are always “on call”. It reminds me of someone that is married to a surgeon. BTW, several of my friends are doctors. They spend hours on administrative crap even when they work for a hospital or large practice. charts have to be completed. There is a lot of paperwork in medicine.

    The images that Hollywood portrays is what some teens believe, and that is how some students pick their majors. I can’t tell you how many times I thought that myself when working on a deal. It seems exciting due to the clients and money involved, but the day to day work to make sure every sentence in a deal doc is correct isn’t fun. The attorneys that work along side the bankers to do that work are critical, but that type of legal work is about as glamorous as accounting.

  173. My favorite accountant movie is Midnight Run. So good. And SM, what do you find mind-boggling about Louise’s comment?

  174. In 2009, accountants did a lot of the emergency unwinding and tracking that helped keep all those finanicial companies solvent during the crisis, keeping us out of a great depression. Yeah, yeah, I know, the bailouts certainly helped a lot in that effort, but even with those, accountants were needed to keep track of everything.

  175. The images that Hollywood portrays is what some teens believe, and that is how some students pick their majors.

    You mean all doctors don’t look like McDreamy and McSteamy?

  176. “The economy was in danger, businesses and Main Street consumers were panicked, some businesses were expanding, others retooling or fighting to stay alive. In their various roles, they really felt that way.”

    Exactly. Peter Bailey knew that too:

    George: Oh, now Pop, I couldn’t. I couldn’t face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office…Oh, I’m sorry Pop, I didn’t mean that, but this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save three cents on a length of pipe…I’d go crazy. I want to do something big and something important.
    Pop: You know, George, I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It’s deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we’re helping him get those things in our shabby little office.

  177. “My nephew majored in accounting and graduated about 3 years ago.“

    Mine graduated last year. He’s now working in an accounting firm and studying for his CPA exams.

    His dad, my BIL, is also a CPA, and I think he wants nephew to follow in his footsteps and eventually take over the company BIL is running.

    BIL started college in engineering, but switched to business very early. DW says he didn’t want to study. I also don’t think he’s cut out to be an engineer, not that he couldn’t have done the academics, but he is totally uninterested in understanding how things work, or any sort of DIY, not even changing his own oil.

  178. “You mean all doctors don’t look like McDreamy and McSteamy?”

    Re. lawyers on TV, even Julianna Margulies, the actress who played Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife, doesn’t look like Alicia in real life. I read an interview with her in which she said that she had to wear a wig to get Alicia’s perfect, sleek, high-powered-litigator hair.

  179. “You mean all doctors don’t look like McDreamy and McSteamy?”

    TMK the majority of med school students now are female.

  180. “It sounds like the discussion here is focused on what accountants in the top quartile do, not what the bulk of people with accounting degrees do.“

    Given that the overall context is our kids’ career choices, isn’t that the most relevant quartile?

  181. Speaking of making the world a better place, I was reading about all the efforts to deal with the fact that COVID patients require 10x the oxygen flow of typical respiratory patients and that’s taxing the system. And who, among others, is stepping up to deal with the problem? The Linde Group originally formed by Carl von Linde in 1879 as Gesellschaft für Linde’s Eismaschinen Aktiengesellschaft after he invented an industrial scale process for liquifying atmospheric gases.

    Since 2018, when it bought back Praxair, its American division that had been expropriated during WWI, it is now the world’s largest manufacturer of (among other things) liquid oxygen for the healthcare industry.

    I’m sure we’d all agree that the 80,000 employees at Linde Group are making the world a better place. Even the accountants.

  182. The oxygen reference reminds me that BIL is the only plumber at his firm who has successfully passed the medgas (medical gas) licensing test and is plumbing new health care facilities.

    Finn, I guess I didn’t think of the discussion context as careers for Totebag kids but rather as opinions about how people should make career choices in general. I make choices for my children that are quite different than what I suggest for other people. (Off to check up on the status of the online portion of Hunter Safety Training…)

  183. “We happen to have a lot of engineers here, which is funny to me as the origination of the blog was from the WSJ. “

    Do we have a lot of regular posters who are engineers? I can think of three off the top of my head.

    There are also some regulars whose spouses are engineers, and ilengr used to be a regular.

  184. “I also don’t think he’s cut out to be an engineer, not that he couldn’t have done the academics, but he is totally uninterested in understanding how things work, or any sort of DIY, not even changing his own oil.”

    @Finn – See this is why I wonder if DS will be interested in engineering. He loves math and has a high aptitude for it, but he is not a tinkerer in any way, and he is not all that interested in how things work. He’s gotten a number of “build a *blank*” kits – robots, clocks, etc, but they never get opened.

    And on the other comment I made, to be fair, there are more lawyers than engineers among the regulars. But there are more engineers than Accounting/Finance people (at least in my head), which seems odd given the birthplace of the blog.

    @Fred – I have had many of those “how do we spend money this year” conversations this month! (I’m sure that’s no surprise.)

  185. I’ll post a true anecdote here that ties into today’s themes.

    My mother was a banker in the home country. A chemical engineer came to her for a loan to produce a small electric heating gadget on which you could place a small square of mosquito repellent. The small plate heated up releasing the repellent in the mat. It was going to be a tie up with a Japanese company. He had been denied a loan by a number of banks. She decided to approve his loan application, he got the funds to build a factory and market his product. It was an absolute blockbuster. It also probably saved millions from malaria.
    It was not an easy decision for my mother, given that other banks had rejected his application and she being a woman, her decisions were subject to more scrutiny than her male peers. I grew up with accounts like this, where people’s career choices intersect in unexpected ways.

  186. But there are more engineers than Accounting/Finance people (at least in my head), which seems odd given the birthplace of the blog.

    A lot of people who read TOS didn’t subscribe to the WSJ or read it at all. TOS had nothing to do with finance.

  187. “TOS had nothing to do with finance.”

    Yes, it was literally about the juggle. Back then, our kids were much younger and a lot of the discussions were about things like dealing with teachers who didn’t adapt well to smart kids.

    I’d had a lot of the same sort of discussions on an internal notes group at my previous employer, so most of the people in those discussions were technical professionals.

  188. Finn – she was very successful and rose in the ranks. In the early years, hers was a similar experience to what Totebaggers describe – factory inspections and trudging to small towns to meet clients.

  189. Don’t a lot of us totebaggers have MBAs? My concentration was operations management, but I took a ton of accounting and it was far and away the most useful thing I learned there. My undergraduate mathematics major wasn’t as practical. Very useful for general thinking and problem solving, and for signaling my quantitative orientation, but boy is accounting useful for everyday business.

  190. It does seem like a lot of Totebaggers have MBAs or studied economics or undergrad business. There are a lot of lawyers too.

    This is from another town in Westchester. My community and some of the surrounding communities have discussed something like this for years, but we have never pulled it off. Mamaroneck does this every year for HS seniors and it is very interesting because you can follow the paths of different community members through their bios if you open the brochure. There are business roundtables if you look further and look for the May 15 2020 event which they did virtually.

    https://lmstemalliance.org/mhs-talks-for-experts.html

  191. “ that type of legal work is about as glamorous as accounting.”

    There are so many ways one can use a law degree, and not having one, I’m sure I don’t even know half of them.

    I have one friend who is a litigator and flies around the country regularly. Another started his litigation practice when he kept getting in trouble with a certain thing while traveling around the state as the lawyer for an organization. His cases now are entirely local.

  192. “all the efforts to deal with the fact that COVID patients require 10x the oxygen flow of typical respiratory patients and that’s taxing the system.”

    Do most patients that require oxygen get it from a tank? Is the system that’s being taxed the system that provides filled oxygen tanks?

    When we were looking into oximeters, I also looked into getting an oxygen concentrator, which filters the nitrogen from air to provide a gas that’s over 90% oxygen. Is the system to supply those also being taxed?

  193. Do most patients that require oxygen get it from a tank?

    From a large central tank, yes. Then it’s piped through the hospital to the bedside:

    The small green panel to right of the bed with the plastic thing attached is the oxygen supply.

  194. Finn,

    As for the oxygen concentrators those are in short supply and the focus is getting them to patients so they can be discharged. The problem they are having is patients are well enough to go home with supplemental oxygen but they can’t be discharged without home oxygen support. And they really need to free up those beds.

  195. green panel to right of the bed with the plastic thing attached

    Technical term is “Christmas tree”

  196. “The problem they are having is patients are well enough to go home with supplemental oxygen”

    My understanding is that there are a lot of patients that don’t need to be admitted if they have supplemental oxygen.

    Perhaps I should have bought a concentrator a few months ago when availability seemed to be quite good.

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