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

On Magic Words That Will Save You $$$

This is actually a good strategy to use well before things get to the going-to-court state - shoddy record keeping is certainly not unique to shady debt collectors (I speak from experience), so while I wouldn't advocate this as a way to get free money (as a different person in the Ira Glass interview is described as doing), if charges/interest amounts don't look right to you, say something about it. Possibly repeatedly, and in the face of aggressive guilt tripping from the billing department.

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm 1

On The Most Vain Thing I Have Ever Done Cost Me $96 And I Regret Nothing

@jquick I use tweezers, and I have crazy thick eyebrows. But, I don't go for the pencil-line-thin look, which I could see being tricky to get on your own. That said, I also don't really do the salon/beauty treatment thing (makeup is for special occasions like weddings, and I get my hair cut every year or so), so maybe I just look unkempt and don't know? Sounds like I save a bundle by my obliviousness, though.

Posted on August 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm 0