On What Do You Do All Day?

I love this series! I majored in Chemical Engineering and have never practiced it professionally. My work to date has been in consulting or as a strategy/business analyst in retail. I think I've had such flexibility in my career because most companies prize the way engineers think and find us capable of learning pretty much anything, much faster than your average joe. I love your idea of how people from different disciplines could all work in the same field and bring diverse skills/ways of thinking to the table. Maybe we should suggest kids think about learning a way of thinking/working when they pick a major -- like engineers think differently from mathematicians, from English majors, etc. if I were to have a do-over for picking my major, I'm not sure I'd stray far from engineering. I always was creative and also really smart, so engineering was a great way for me to learn how to use that in the real world. It's definitely been an asset in my current job.

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 11:21 am 0

On House Hunters International, Billfold Edition: East London, Vol 1

Ha, I love that the photo is from a building in Buenos Aires. Best of luck while buying! We bought a house in a small city where the market favors the buyer, and even then it was a bit of a headache (but a relatively fast process). London sounds like a pain!

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm 0

On How A Person With a Five-Figure Income Buys an Apartment in New York City

@rhinoceranita I am 100% financially on my own, no help from parents, and my boyfriend and I just bought a home. Granted, not in NYC or SF, or even Boston, which is our closest large city. You can buy property at some point, it just involves some sort of compromise. Not quite the ideal location, move out a bit further, wait around and save more, needs a bit of work. I think buying an apartment in NYC is a huge challenge and frankly would've never been in the cards for me, so I applaud the writer for making it work on a 5-figure salary.

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm 0

On Infinity Zillion Vacation Days, the HORROR

I really wish most companies did this -- it's the kind of benefit/perk that sounds really appealing to potential employees, yet if they did a study, I'd venture say most people do not take much more than 2-3 weeks per year. I don't think most people would abuse the privilege because people will judge them accordingly... My 3 weeks/year at my current job for vacation & sick time feels really restrictive coming from 5 weeks at my previous job, and I really wish I could take unpaid vacation!

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 9:57 am 0

On WWYD: Should I Be Upset Because a New Hire is Getting Paid the Same Salary as Me?

@julebsorry Oof, I would have agreed with you in the past, but I feel differently now. Truth is, as much as we want to treat this as "just doing business", it is NEVER just business. The personal shit counts. If you leverage an offer to get a raise at your current job and actually get it, 2 things will happen: 1) your boss will walk away thinking you have no personal commitment to your position and can be convinced to walk away at any point in time, thus limiting your prospects 2) the people who made you an offer will get a totally sour impression of you, and you will not be considered for any other positions at that place. Do that enough times, and job hunting will be much harder. I speak from experience -- I tried doing this on my way out at my previous job, and in hindsight it was really unclassy, as matter-of-factly as I tried to be. Good thing I never want to work there again! But I'd be embarrassed if I were to cross paths with those people in the future. My advice would be: If you get a job offer for something that sounds cool, and the money is there, do it. Try to finish on good terms with your boss and move on to bigger-and-better. People switch jobs all the time, and everyone is hungry for a dollar. But don't hit them up for cash on the way out.

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 11:36 am 0

On Only Suckers Don't Buy Generic

Private Label evangelist over here! I work for a private label and I feel pretty confident that as far as OTC pills go, generic is totally the way to go. Most people don't think about this, but private label drugs go through the same regulatory process that name brand drugs go. Some retailers' private label divisions even have their own QA groups that visit production plants and test products picked at their own stores to make sure everything is of the best quality. I get free products to sample all the time, and there are very few private label products I have tried and actively disliked. I know some people get creeped out by the lower price, like how can something be good and cost half as much as the name brand? Private labels sell for significantly less than name brand because their COGS are lower (economies of scale for the supplier, who often sells the same pill to many retailers), the supplier likely paid for all the R&D so the retailer doesn't pay for that, and there's no (or low) marketing costs to the retailer. A huuuuuuge percentage of what you pay for name brand items goes towards advertising. I generally buy store brands for most things, including groceries and health care, but I make exceptions in places where personal preference (e.g. taste/smell/texture) and proprietary formulas play. If you buy OxiClean and only OxiClean for laundry -- totally get it. Nothing works like OxiClean. I am also incredibly loyal to Colgate toothpaste (got used to the taste) and Heinz ketchup (golden standard). But buying name brands when it comes to commodities (rice, for example) or items that you use but don't really care much about (paper towels for me) is crazy. Switch to the private label and see if you notice or care about the difference.

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:20 pm 1

On Riding the Chinatown Bus, and Considering Its True Cost

@emmabee I was in the exact same situation, and I loved being able to roll up to South Station and buy a ticket for the next Fung Wah, and there were always seats and they were always $15. By the time Fung Wah shut down and possibly became the Yo! bus (love that name), my love and I were living together in the same city, but we mourned the news. Our whole relationship was possible thanks to the Boston-NYC Chinatown connection.

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:48 am 0

On Riding the Chinatown Bus, and Considering Its True Cost

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:48 am 0

On GOOD ENOUGH Homes & Destinations: What You Get for $125K

@E$ When I first moved to Providence, everyone was like, "OMG you HAVE to go to Waterfire". Well, I finally went 2 weeks ago, and color me unimpressed. So many children everywhere!

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:40 am 1

On The Burrower, Part II

@NoName So I was on board with "you gotta do what you gotta do" during the period where her family lost their home, but once the home was rebuilt, she still chose to squat and that is strange. I know commuting sucks, but to me, that was an extreme decision. I also lived in NYC for a while (and moved away because it wasn't financially sustainable, surprise, surprise) and I know rents are cray but you can find rooms to rent for less than $1K/month in parts of the city. I too have friends who are broke grad students and it is a struggle to live in the city, but I know it can be done without resorting to squatting. That is why I have a hard time believing that this is 100% due to circumstances.

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm 0