Here Is Your Open Thread

According to a Gallup poll based on a survey of more than 178,000 interviews with American adults across all 50 states, North Dakota residents had the highest “well-being” in the country in 2013 while West Virginia was at the very bottom. North Dakota has benefited from an oil boom in the last few years, and now has the one of the highest rents in the country.


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echolikebells (#3,272)

ALL OF THE SNOW MELTED. It stormed last night and has been above freezing for three days in a row and I can see my street again! I’m going to celebrate by consuming a LOT of wine when I get home, and maybe bleaching my hair and dying it lavender if I get really bored this weekend!

(Also of course Ohio is in the bottom ten.)

kbn22 (#1,414)

Is Ask A Mortgage Person still happening? I remember the idea was floated a few weeks ago, but don’t remember seeing a follow up.

drydenlane (#5,919)

I’m marking six months at my first full-time, permanent job since grad school. I don’t make much (entry-level nonprofit), but I’ve built up some savings and am trying to figure out how best to maximize those. I’ve talked a bit with my family’s financial managers, but I don’t really like the guy and I want to try to figure things out for myself. Anyone with suggestions on reading or things to look into?

jquick (#3,730)

@drydenlane Go to the library and peruse this section. Millionaire next door, Cramer, suze orman … In the meantime, open a vanguard account and put your money in an index fund…provided of course this money is above and beyond your Emergency Fund. If you need learning about budgeting and ER fund sort of stuff. Read Dave ramsey.

andnowlights (#2,902)

Has this week been a SLOG for anyone else? This has been one of the longest weeks in memory to me and I am so ready to go home and just zone out.

It’s brought up so many questions and no answers and I don’t even know where to start GETTING answers.

RadScientist (#3,081)

@andnowlights YES. And I even took Monday as a holiday, but the remaining four days have felt like eighty. Am I allowed to blame the weather? I’m blaming the weather, it has put me in an emotionally volatile place.

@RadScientist Yeah this is the longest short week I think I’ve ever had.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@RadScientist I worked Monday, unfortunately. But I’m taking three days off the first week of March just get my life under control/my students are on Spring Break and it is going to be AMAZING.

Blackbird (#2,196)

@andnowlights Yeah, even with monday off this week just felt like the longest ever. It didn’t help that I felt I needed to be at work but didn’t have enough to do, and even doing what I needed to do was a drag due to lack of energy.

Marge (#4,715)

I find myself saying ‘no’ to my boss a lot, as in:
‘no, I can’t write a brief for you about digital marketing for year out.’ My title at the nonprofit would imply that I’m in a support position, but I’m often put in a position of having to act as a strategic planning person. I don’t get paid to do that! These files are not going to file themselves! I can barely keep up with all the administrative stuff I never get to.
Am I a bad employee? I’m just always so close to my breaking point in terms of my workload.

ETA: I’ve been pushing for a title change for over a year now and it didn’t happen during the last review period. I know it’s supposed to be great to take on extra responsibility but that’s how THEY GET YOU. You just take on extra stuff and extra stuff and extra stuff for forever, it’s utterly sisyphean.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@Marge there’s another way to look at this. You’re being given opportunities to work outside of your job description. Let’s take the strategic planning paper as an example. You can write that paper now (while still receiving your current salary, of course). If you do decide to apply for a job as a strategic planner, you can use this paper as evidence that you’ve acted in this role previously. In effect, you’re being given the opportunity to get hands-on experience in a number of areas.

Obviously, if you want to only perform the tasks that are in your job description, that’s up to you. There’s no problem doing that. However, you may be missing opportunities to get hands-on experience in other roles that you may want to do in the future. You can also use these roles as evidence of going above and beyond your current position in the next round of salary reviews.

When you say “that’s how they get you”, what do you mean to that? I don’t understand that comment.

jquick (#3,730)

@Marge I agree with waydown. Do you want to continue to be a file clerk at a non profit? Are you making a living wage? Learn and do everything you can. You may not be paid for doing this right now, but LEARN! Make your mistakes, pick bossman’s brain. Then add to your resume and get a better job. Your job should be to better yourself and keep always learning.

I’d be interested at what others say, but I rarely ever said NO to being asked to do a task. I really can’t imagine how that scenario would play out. Probably a difference in working at a non profit vs Corp America. In Corp America you’d be lucky to keep your job after repeatedly refusing to do work.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@Marge I’ve thought of another couple of ideas for you. I’ve never worked at a non-profit, though, so these ideas may not be relevant for you.

One of the reasons that you may be turning down these additional activiities is that you feel that you can’t finish the work you currently have. If your manager asks you to do more work, then the question is which has a higher priority. If your manager asks you to do work which will cause you to miss completing your exisiting work on time, you can simply ask which has a higher priority. If the answer is the new assignment, then you can reach agreement on who will do your existing work in the meantime or how much it can be delayed.

I agree with @jquick that it works a bit differently in private corporations. If my manager asks me to do something, I am expected to do it (provided that it’s not cleaning out the toilets with a toothbrush, etc.). In effect, the company, not my job description, determines what I do. This is in contrast to contractors, who are usually brought in to complete a specific activity, complete it, then finish up.

It’s possible that this is what your manager expects as well. If you keep refusing additional tasks at the same time you push for a new (presumably better) job title, I don’t see how you’re going to get what you want. If there’s any competition for the new position, the person demonstrating more flexibility will probably win.

You ask if you’re a bad employee. No, I don’t think you are. I do think that your expectations of the job don’t align with your manager’s expectations. As long as these expectations don’t agree, your job stress will presumably continue to rise and your chances of promotion will decrease. It’s in your interest to sit down with your manager, discuss the differences in your expectations and how to resolve these expectations. Saying no a lot is not a good look, as you recognise.

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@jquick “Probably a difference in working at a non profit vs Corp America. In Corp America you’d be lucky to keep your job after repeatedly refusing to do work.”

Really? I mean, Really. It’s been said before on here, and I’ll repeat it: non-profit work is Work. A non-profit is just a corporation (yes, Corporate!) with a different tax structure. That’s it. No sitting around singing kumbaya. No surfing buzzfeed and checking out the latest hot noisepop bands. No bathroom selfies.

I coordinate multiple projects with firm deadlines, I live my life in Excel and Access and Outlook, I manage up and down, I interface with government and private sector experts, and my work directly impacts people’s livelihoods. Oh, and I make 40% less than I would in the private sector.** And hey, guys, people in the private sector refuse work all the time. See the phrases “I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now,” or “Final deliverables are soon due on my current projects.”

And re. “THAT’S HOW THEY GET YOU,” it’s totally true, and a particular affliction of the non-profit world. This idea is that because everyone is cause-oriented that the most committed and passionate will give every single inch of themselves for the job. That’s how Corporations (again, because non-profits are still corporations) squeeze 100k of work out of someone earning 35k.

**And yes, I did study STEM. I left because even non-profits pay better than academia.

jquick (#3,730)

@DebtOrAlive Wow. You certainly sound angry. I guess I would be too if I felt I was making 40% less than I should be and of the mind set of “that’s how they get you”.

Waydownsouth’s post above is spot on.

I maintain that, in the places I’ve worked (which you have heard of), if people refused tasks, they would be fired or demoted.

A friend is employed at a uni, and he thinks he works hard (in reality he prob puts in 2 solid hours of work each day). I guess it’s all relative to what you have been exposed to. But my work philosophy has paid off – retired early at 45.

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@jquick You lost me at the “you’re just bitter because you make less” canard and your snide commentary on academic work ethic.

MargaretMead (#2,229)

I mean I am not literally saying no to my boss, it’s more like an ongoing ‘i’m at my breaking point with my current workload / what you’re asking me to do is logistically impossible and requires access to information that only the directors of the organization are privy to.’

Nonprofit work is about doing the most with the least amount of money, employees take on crazy loads of work from their supervisors mostly in the name of stretching a dollar from a managerial perspective. People just burn out after a point. I really don’t want to be a burnout. I want to be able to do my job really well! I can’t though, I’m too burnt out. I would say about 80% of my coworkers are in the same boat right now, it’s a strangely toxic work environment to be in.
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