@RosemaryF What I don't understand is engagement parties. We went to one last month, and made a conscious decision not to bring a gift, because according to the sources I consulted they are not customary...and we were literally the only people who did not bring a gift! We flew in for it (BF is the best man) so given our travel costs, it didn't bother me as much as it would have otherwise, but still! Having to give gifts on two occasions is bad enough, let alone three.
@stuffisthings Haha, true. Better us than them, I guess? The other main concern, though, is that they could essentially build kill switches into their networking equipment that would take down any network-based communications in the event of a war. It sounds somewhat like your garden variety anti-Chinese sentiment, but it's pretty legit, and it isn't limited to the US by any means.
So, this isn’t related to the cost of phone service, but having seen Huawei smartphones mentioned here, I thought it was worth noting. While their phones may be cheaper than iPhones or Samsungs or what have you, Huawei’s networking equipment has already been banned from any networks considered to be a critical part of national infrastructure by the US and Australia, as well as by telecom companies like Sprint, due to their murky connections to the Chinese government and a fear of “digital back doors” that could be used to spy on commercial and government data. Similar concerns have been raised about their consumer products. And those are just the espionage concerns – they’ve also been accused of all kinds of things ranging from IP misuse (which was proven) to price dumping in Europe (still under investigation). Any ethical consumer should think twice before purchasing a Huawei smartphone.
@KingCash I am also still on my parents' plan, as are my two adult brothers, and they won't accept payment from any of us. Fine by me. If I wasn't on their plan, I would have a phone through work, so my out of pocket cost would be $0 regardless.
Also, the summer interns at my company are paid, but in order to be one you have to be the child of an employee, so, nepotism. (They are also all either about to enter or have just finished their freshman year in college and thus one could argue that they are not particularly useful, but, experience?) We do have six-month co-op type interns who are also paid, most of whom are engineering Ph.D. candidates.
@stuffisthings Do you have a recommendation on a program? I've thought about looking into this, but given the comically inaccurate results that Microsoft Speech Technology gives when transcribing my voice mail, I wasn't sure it would be worth the time or effort.
Is transcription really that bad? During the nine months of the year in which I don't have a (paid) intern, I do my own transcription because it seems like less of a pain than setting up a new vendor with Accounts Payable, and it is, to co-opt your phrase, way beneath my pay grade. Also, I did two internships while in college, but because my college based their academic programs around most students doing one to two years of internships over the course of a five-year degree program and thus had an entire department to develop and maintain relationships with companies accepting interns, as well as to place students, both of mine and the vast majority of them overall were paid. I wouldn't have done an unpaid internship. I couldn't have afforded to.
I would agree with this point of view in a vacuum, but in reality it assumes a level of financial savvy that, let's face it, practically no 18-22 year old has. I'm glad the way you did things worked for you, but you are in a small minority. And I say that as someone who worked full-time throughout most of college and has a relative low student loan balance to show for it. Also, I resent the judgement with regard to in-state vs. out-of-state. It's great that in many parts of the country there are excellent state schools where people can get educations comparable to those at private schools, but that's just not the case everywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with the New Hampshire state university system, but there is no way in hell I was going to go to UNH, not least because it didn't even offer my (initial) chosen major. In fact, in the whole of New England, I would argue that, no offense to state school grads, the public schools are not comparable to the better private schools at all. You can get a great education at them, of course, but you would have to have far more of an eye on your wallet than average at age 17 to get into, say, both BU and UMass Amherst and choose UMass. Not everywhere is like California.
I actually left my last job because it was bought out by a company with this type of culture. Most of my team was in India, so most days I would either have calls in the 8-10 PM or 5-8 AM time frame (or both!), and so worked from home on days when my outside-of-normal-business-hours meeting schedule was heavy. The new leadership expected us to keep up the same call volume, and be at our desks 9 to 5 every day. With a 50 mile commute each way, that did not work for me, so needless to say I quit the moment I found a new job (thankfully just a few weeks after they cracked down on my telecommuting).
I don't really understand why you would calculate the median price. Unless there is some notable difference in quality, if cost is a concern, why wouldn't you just get the cheapest option? Certainly the cheapest cheese or beef at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is still far higher quality than "comparable" items at the dollar store, so it's apples to oranges anyway. I usually shop at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, with occasional trips to Safeway for ethnic foodstuffs (their Asian and Latin sections blow the higher end grocery stores away). I enjoy grocery shopping though, and usually dedicate a few hours to it on Saturday afternoons, so the multiple stops don't bother me. I don't know if anyone else is in San Francisco but I recently compared the cost of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses that I had bought at Bi-Rite to the same cheeses purchased from Safeway, and was surprised to find that the Bi-Rite cheese was $1-2 cheaper per pound, for a much higher quality product. I thought that was totally crazy, since I usually think of Bi-Rite as an ultra-expensive, special occasion stop.