On Communal Living & Class Antagonism in a Poor City

While I agree with vaderlyn's point that defining 'family' is not the right way to handle traffic/density concerns, I can also understand why if that's the only existing limitation on density, people might not want it removed. Density is also a concern that can't be hand-waved away with 'noise ordinance' and 'traffic regulation' - the streets necessary to handle high density are (a) often difficult to retrofit and (b) a decidedly different living experience than living on a rarely-traveled road. While I'm sure there are some classist/ridiculous folks involved with this issue, I also don't see why it's necessarily wrong to say 'this is zoned for low-density housing, and there are now folks using it for high-density housing. This has traffic/noise/parking implications that folks who like low-density housing don't want, and moved here in no small part because it was low-density.' If the outcome were regulations that deal with density (no more than 4 adults per 6,000/ft lot, say, or some other, similar standard), that seems like that would be a lot clearer for everyone. Then, if the cohabitating folks are actually occupying a mansion on a mansion-sized lot, everything's fine (double lot = double people); if they aren't, then they need to move elsewhere. As tempting as it is to say 'but they aren't a problem!', the neighbors are right about precedent/slippery slope - if you care about density, then any one household having a few extra folks isn't a problem, but many households doing so is, and the only fair way to deal with that is to not let anyone skirt the rules. Or you could argue that there shouldn't be any low-density housing in the city, period, and that if what you want is low-density housing, you need to move to the suburbs; maybe that's the author's point, but it sure doesn't come across that way.

Posted on November 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm 0

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

I've run into this with 'dude'. Since moving to the west coast, I've seen it used as a gender-neutral term of address, and become very used to that. This really startled a coworker, though - upon hearing me addressed with 'hey dude, how's it going?', they started to take umbrage on my behalf ('What? Doesn't that bother you?'), and I gave them a blank stare for a good 10 seconds before I realized what they were objecting to. Partly as a result of that, I will very rarely object to any term that someone uses to identify me, as long as they seem friendly, but will generally not direct any informal identifiers to someone I don't know.

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm 0

On Infinity Zillion Vacation Days, the HORROR

+1 to the folks who say this is a great idea in theory, bad in practice. Having worked at companies with this policy, and ones without, the ones with limited vacation were much better about employees actually using their vacation - at the 'unlimited vacation' place, they switched to the policy because it was better for their books to not have to pay out for unused vacation time; there was unused vacation time because it was difficult to take vacations. So all that changed was folks effectively got paid less, and burnout from never taking time off was a huge problem.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm 1

On Mass Transit is Amazing For Everyone (Else)

@eatmoredumplings THIS. I would like to take public transit to events in nearby Big City, but said transit stops running at 10pm. Or to work, but that takes 2 hours (vs 30 minutes driving). If there were more/better transit options, I would happily take them.

Posted on September 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm 0

On Here is Your Open Thread

@Punk-assBookJockey Definitely apply! It will probably take at least a couple months for the whole process to go through, and who knows? Maybe they'll offer you a higher hourly rate. To paraphrase some of the best career advice I've received, 'the worst they can say is no'.

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 2:08 pm 1

On Tipping Housekeeping is Controversial? (No It Isn't)

Honestly, I don't think it *is* standard, I think it's becoming so (based on comments here and from informal social circle survey, if a large chunk of folks don't know about it, it's not standard). Which is terrible - generally speaking, once tipping some industry is standard, there's no (ethical) way to roll it back, and it becomes a part of the person's wages. Which means it ceases to be a tip, and just means that part of someone's base income depends on the whims/cultural savvy of their patrons. Which leads to things like pooling tips at restaurants, which means you actually can't tip someone in particular for particularly good service (because it goes into the pool). Minimum wage laws get adjusted to assume tipping, etc. Most of which never occurred to me until I was talking with someone who works on economic development in rural Peru, and he was mentioning how one of the big challenges is keeping a no-tipping (a la Europe) culture. Which is to say, it would be a way better move for Marriott to give its housecleaning staff a raise, and leave notes saying 'your standard tip is already included!' rather than envelopes implying 'so, we don't actually pay our staff, could you take care of that?'.

Posted on September 17, 2014 at 11:17 am 4

On How to Work as an Extra and Regret Doing It

How does one find out about these things? Do you have to go to them at any regular frequency? Because, original poster's sentiments notwithstanding, this actually sounds like a great way to make some extra cash (although useful to know: bring a book/food/pillow) on a very flexible schedule.

Posted on September 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm 0

On A Decision to Settle

@deathcabforcutes I could see a path through the flow chart that goes: Do I need it? No -> Can I afford it? Yes -> Would it make my life better? Yes -> Would buying it mean I can't afford ? No -> Buy it. If the only things you buy are 'needs', you either have an overly-broad definition of 'need', or you're living the life of an ascetic. If that's all you can afford, that's fine, but if you can pay for, say, a trip to Antarctica, that's good too. As far as the article goes, kudos to the author for realizing she can't be trusted with credit cards, but it seems weird to me that that's where she stopped. This sounds like every bit as big a problem as an alcohol or gambling addiction in terms of its effect on her life, and all getting rid of the credit cards does is make sure her savings rate isn't negative. The fact that she's kind of ok with just never saving anything is weird/alarming to me.

Posted on September 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm 1

On Open Thread: When Do You Replace Your Phone?

I hate switching to a new phone (spending weeks finding where some UI designer hid the features that I use - migrating all my contacts, text messages, pictures, etc used to be the worst part, but with a smart phone much of that is automagic/in the cloud), so I keep mine until it's not usable, usually about 4 years. For flip phone users looking to upgrade, the things I'd recommend looking for: Good keyboard support - you will pry my Swype from my cold dead hands (the existence of Swype is part of why I got a smartphone), but other folks prefer real slideout keyboards, or other autocompletes. Good GPS - having a map you can rely on is very handy, and the sensor quality can vary widely across phones. Check out reviews for specific models. Right size - for me, things like the n5 may as well be tablets; I can't comfortably hold it securely for long periods in one hand, much less use it one-handed. My Nexus S is about the biggest I'd want to go, which seriously limits my options if I did want to upgrade (thankfully, it's still going strong after 3.5 years).

Posted on September 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm 0

On Going Above and Beyond Doesn't Help You

If 'Exceeds expectations' means 'large bonus/promotion', most managers understand that and hand it out accordingly. So the goal is not to 'exceed expectations' literally. The goal is to make your manager think you deserve a bonus/promotion. The article suggests that one way to do that is to be incredibly reliable, and that matches up with my experience - someone where I can say 'Hey, will you do X by Friday?', they say 'sure', and then X is reliably done by Friday, that is an awesome person. Someone who just randomly does extra stuff? That's great, but not as good.

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 7:13 pm 2