On The New SATs

I really liked that the SAT deducted partial points for incorrect answers. I was a strange teenager.

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm 0

On A Case Against Telling Your Coworkers What You Earn

@danyell It's a federal law - the National Labor Rights Act. However lots of workplaces have that listed in contracts or handbooks. It isn't actionable (if they were to fire you on that basis, you would have a case), but they hope that just putting it into print scares employees into keeping silent about pay. Or they just don't know better. This link explains it pretty well - you can also look up the specific text of the NLRA section 7 and 8. http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/salary_discussions.html Employers CAN restrict you from sharing your salary outside of the workplace - on the basis that it is a "trade secret" - but not from telling other employees of the same organization.

Posted on April 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm 0

On The Case of the Missing Padlock

@Meaghano We are planning to move this fall because our landlord keeps coming in without giving us notice. He likes to drop those long landlord letters off by LETTING HIMSELF INTO THE APT WHEN WE AREN'T HOME and just setting them on our counter or coffee table to find. I have no idea why; we have a mailbox, he has our emails and phone numbers. Every time we find one we contact him in writing and are like "Please let us know with at least 24 hours notice when you plan on coming in our house." Every time he is like "oh, yeah, sure...I was just in the neighborhood. I actually meant to let you know I would be stopping by last week." - Okay, but you didn't and you never do. It feels silly, but man it's disconcerting to come home and find someone has been wandering around my house and probably saw, like, my bras hanging to dry in the laundry room. LET ME KNOW AND I WILL PUT AWAY THE UNDERGARMENTS BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL. We remind him of the law, but don't want to actually push it. I think we would be able to because he will like text us after to say "hey dropped off a letter on your counter" and we have the letter and he admits in writing that he didn't give us notice. And the letter will be like "By the way, I hired a new maintenance guy! Here is his number." So it isn't urgent. But oh god. I have fought landlords before and would do it again, but it has to REALLY be worth it. Civil court battles are not fun.

Posted on April 11, 2014 at 9:31 am 0

On Happy Equal Pay Day!

@Sloane Part of the problem with this though is that many people believe and would argue that male-dominated work is valued higher than female-dominated work - NOT because the jobs men gravitate to are more difficult - but because of discrimination. It's pretty hard to compare the relative difficulty of different types of work quantitatively. So sure, it's a little reassuring that a woman who chooses not to have children (even though men can have children and will see their earnings typically increase), pursue STEM careers, and stay late at work (even though TIME working has little evidence of being connected to productivity)can make ALMOST as much as the typical man...that still sucks.

Posted on April 8, 2014 at 9:46 pm 2

On How Do Couples Use Joint Accounts?

My boyfriend and I got a joint account about 1 year after living together, for similar reasons to EM above. We were keeping a spreadsheet with all expenses and trying to split things so it naturally evened out and it just got to be messy. We only got a joint checking account. I put half my after taxes income into the joint account, as does my boyfriend (*in theory* - in reality, I have a full time job and the boyfriend has a grad student "living stipend" so his input fluctuates more than mine). We use the joint account to pay rent, buy household groceries (including liquor/beer, which we both drink, but that was a tricky one because honestly he drinks more copiously than I do), and pay utilities. The other half of my income is for me to use however I want, and that would include dates and eating out (we usually take turns, and the general protocol is that if you ask the other person if they want to go out to dinner then you are offering to pay). This works for us because we have very similar spending habits, and although I make more than him it is not a big disparity. What I have honestly liked about it is that it makes it easier for me to pay a more proportional share than when we were trying to split it evenly.

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm 0

On TV Dinners No Longer Hip

Oh man, my parents and I are a perfect example of the trend. My parents never liked cooking. Growing up, we mostly subsisted off of frozen meals (I ate a lot of Kid Cuisine, and also Hungry Man and Lean Cuisine), Lunchables, Hamburger Helper, and takeout. It was fine - I was an active kid and was never overweight or to my knowledge suffered from any other dietary issues. Then I went off to college, and was 1)poor and 2)lived with roommates who came from families where people cooked. My roommates taught me how to make all sorts of different foods with cheap ingredients so they were tasty. Pasta sauce was a huge revelation for me; I didn't know before college that it didn't always come from a glass jar, that you could actually make it yourself for less than 1/2 the price with fresh vegetables. Now I continue to cook for myself, and over the years I have gotten even more thrifty/homemade oriented. As my parents have gotten older, they have fully stopped pretending to care about having a diverse and balanced diet. They mostly eat ramen/powder soup packets and frozen lean cuisines. I think it's interesting, and probably related to generational views on cooking. For my parents, cooking was an obnoxious and necessary life task that was difficult to balance in a family where both adults worked full-time in demanding professional jobs. To me, I don't buy frozen food because I am a terrible snob (the frozen stuff doesn't taste as good to me) and having to cook to feed myself is my excuse to not do other kinds of work. I like that cooking is a thing I have to make time for, because it is a "break". And I genuinely look forward to lunch at work, even if I'm eating my lunch while on the computer answering emails or something.

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm 0

On Real Talk Résumé

@sea ermine I know a number of federal jobs (for example, the FBI) ask you about this on the application. You have to explain how you paid for college and what kind of debts you have - but I figured that was pretty specific to wanting to make sure you aren't beholden to a suspected terrorist or something...

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm 0

On Interview With a Person Who Changed Careers Without Quitting Her Job

@stealthkit I am a lady who went back to school for software engineering with only free online programming experience, and was nervous about the same thing. I am continually stunned by how encouraging, positive, and enthusiastic every programmer/developer (all male) I have met or worked with has been about my desire to learn to code. I'm sure there is discrimination and lots of bro culture problems out there, especially with hiring, but honestly I think the software culture is an exceptionally welcoming one. I do get a surprised reaction when I first say what I want to do, but it isn't bad-surprised.

Posted on March 15, 2014 at 7:47 pm 0

On More Workers To Be Paid For Overtime

@andnowlights I think this varies a lot. I have been salaried and hourly at different kinds of organizations. There are a lot of places that have salaried workers doing what used to be multiple peoples' jobs for one persons pay, and the folks working there are just stressed out and live at the office. Granted, those people should (and probably will eventually) leave, but when the employment rate is rocky folks will put up with a lot.

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm 0

On On Banning 'Bossy'

What do we call the woman we have to work with on group projects for a software class who understands NOTHING regarding the project or coding in general, but likes to panic and tell everyone else in the group that we all need to do X,Y,Z things for her by the deadline that we all know about? In a really hostile and condescending voice? Despite having done no meaningful work herself? I have mostly just been saying “I hate _______” to my boyfriend a lot, but I’d really like a concise insult that would capture her ineptitude, proclivity toward unjustified panic attacks, and demanding demeanor. (There must be a word for these people, because in my experience they are legion.) I’m fairly certain this woman is the sort who will one day reflect on her steely brilliance in a similar manner to Sheryl Sandberg, which is why I ask. She has also said that she thinks she is good at "managing". Tyrant and Micro-manager don't seem to fit, as she is not actually above the rest of us at all in hierarchy (except perhaps in her own mind) and literally can't follow along with our discussion of details.

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm 0