General Question

dxs's avatar

Can you give me advice on what I should do with my life right now?

Asked by dxs (11693 points ) July 9th, 2014

I currently work at a hotel. I love working here, but there are a few problems. The biggest, I think, is the owner. He is a BIG. JERK. He’s old, but the things he does and says are terrible. He doesn’t care to make a fool of me in front of people or constantly tell others and me what we “should” be doing, but don’t even think about suggesting he do anything. He’s always right. He discriminates people based on age, race, and sexual orientation. Not only is this illegal where I am, it totally goes against my morality (and I have to think of some other way to ward off people). Normally, when people see through this, I’m the one who ends up dealing with it since I feel like I’ll be getting in trouble for it. In fact, I defend him for any customer dispute because all he does is verbally attack people and say offensive things.

All of this (and much more I didn’t mention) makes me want to get the hell out of here, but there are effects of that. First, this will likely cause problems with my aunt. I think it will put a wrench in relationships between my parents, her, and I (as if there aren’t any already). Second, he refuses to hire people because that means less revenue, so the only people who clean all 50 of these rooms are three people, me being the only one under 50 years old.
So what do I do if I leave? Well I can see if my parents will let me stay at their place. They probably will. But there, I won’t have anyone to buy and cook food for me (I hate cooking and my aunt cooks and buys me food) and I doubt I’ll be able to find a job. There’s not much to do down there either. I don’t see eye to eye with my parents (or with my aunt really). I’ll be away from that horrible owner even though I like the job. Oh and I can go to a gym there…there are no gyms nearby here.

I’m lucky enough to have a place to stay, but which one do you think is best? Should I stick it out for the summer or pack it in?
My brother is going to be visiting here in a few days, so that should be good. I have to say, I’ve been treating my aunt pretty poorly lately because of all of the frustration I’ve been holding in, but she tends to side with the owner a lot.

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31 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

Unclear: are you living at the hotel as well as working there? Are you living with your aunt? Why do your aunt and parents care so much where you work, or do they only care that you are working?

How old are you? And are you in a city that has few job opportunities?

The thing is, my first thought is, “He’s young, why can’t he just get a different job and move out on his own?” But from the way you’re telling your story, I realize there are likely reasons you can’t do this. But without knowing why you can’t do it, it’s hard to make different recommendations.

dxs's avatar

I was scared about giving personal information so that’s why it’s all missing, but here’s more:
I live at the hotel with my aunt. We both work there. My parents and aunt don’t care that I’m working or not…did I say they did? I’m 18 and currently at the hotel, which is in a touristy area where there are many other hotels. Where my parents live is a small city about 1.5 hrs away. I don’t have a car and I’ll only be here until September because I’m going to school then (the season ends in September anyway).

dappled_leaves's avatar

“My parents and aunt don’t care that I’m working or not…did I say they did?”

Well, you seem to think that they will react badly to your quitting, so kind of. If your aunt works there, I can totally see why you’re worried about that.

So it sounds like your main obstacles to getting a different job are a) your aunt’s reaction, b) accommodations, c) transportation.

If getting your own apartment will mess up your school situation for September (i.e., if it pisses off your family and will make it uncomfortable for you to stay with them), then I guess my recommendation would be to wait out the summer under the awful conditions. Count off your money and your time, then celebrate when you go.

But if you can afford a cheap place for the summer, and no one would be put out by it, my choice would definitely be to look for a new job (while keeping the current one) and move as soon as you get one. Having your own place could be a good experience for you, and it’s always better not to have to work for assholes if you can avoid it.

There’s no perfect solution here – it’s a trade-off. You’ll have to figure out which things you want most, and what you’re willing to put up with to get them.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

There are a few details about your job, painting a fairly complete picture there. I would like to know more about your school intentions, and whether there is any flexability there. Are you currently enrolled in a school? Are we talkingt about trade school, community college, university, are there scholarships involved, who is paying school expenses?
If you are not yet committed to a particular school/program, perhaps you could look at relocating, perhaps seek a roommate or two.
If your school situation is set solid, is there work you could get which is associated in any way with your intended studies? Your boss and aunt would surely understand if you said, “I think things would work better for me in school if I got some experience doing….”
So, what is the school situation?
I agree, you are in a bit of a spot. At your age, dealing with a lot of decisions and changes is a part of daily life. It is much more difficult when a jerk throws a lot of extra garbage into the mix.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Look, you have already put up with so much for so long. The way things are, perhaps you should just grin and bear it for he time being since it’s only temporary. Time flies and before you know it September will be here and you will be gone. I know you are hurt by the injustice you see around you and at your age you want to see fairness. BUT, unfortunately in life you will come across hundreds of JERKS like the boss you refer to and there’s not a damn thing you cn do about it! You just do what your belief system tells you is correct.

My second piece of advice is that you focus hard on your education so you can get the skills to be independent in the following years. Invest in making yourself marketable and try to be able later on to stand on your own feet. Respect your parents and your aunt but build your life away from them. I don’t mean you should ignore your family, on the contrary, you have to be there for them. What I mean is you should be able to live your future life without worrying about they will think, say or do.

Finally, the jerky boss is good experience for you which will undoubtedly come in handy later in life. It’s a challenge and can upgrade your people skills. To save your sanity, just do what the jerk says with a fake smile plastered on your face and remember your time at the hotel is almost up. Make sure you meet people through your job, establish connections and enjoy the rest of the good aspects. Your education will be the key to better conditions next time round. Good luck, hang in there, don’t go back on your priciples but try to become thick-skinned as regards some people’s behavior, there is nothing you can do about it, life stinks and you just have to swim in the shit without getting it inside you. Sorry about the lecture but it’s based on life experience!

longgone's avatar

Is the owner old enough to be done anytime soon? In that case, I would definitely stick it out. Loving your job is not that common!

LornaLove's avatar

Whenever you rely on people for food, accommodation and cooking (and such things) you pay the price. Nothing in life is for free. Putting up with this or that for a cooked free meal is part of the unspoken bargain. The other route is to not put up with it and then find a job where you are happy. Many jobs have irritating horrible people. The only time you can really do anything about that is to jot down racist, discriminating remarks with date and time, then take that person to task with the correct authorities.

dxs's avatar

Wow this question is such a rant! It isn’t the first time I’ve vented my emotions through Fluther. But thanks for the responses, they’re so interesting!
@dappled_leaves I said that because my aunt may react negatively to me leaving. Here I am monitored 24/7 and I hate it. The only freedom I have is a daily walk I take down a few blocks at night.
@Jonesn4burgers But now I realize education is part of the problem, too. Right now I’m at a private university, but I have grants and scholarships so I end up only paying $8K a semester, living and food expenses included through the school. I now realize $16K per year is not doable for me if I’m a full-time student, so thankfully my parents are currently filling in the gaps. I plan on moving to Boston and studying there because I realize now I can go for free to a public school with the grant I have. I’ll just have to pay for food and living, but having my own place will give me much more independence. I do know a hotel I could stay at for a month that’s near my school. I used to work for that owner, too.
I just hope that I am not the one who gets in trouble for things. Among a few other illegal things he does is violates various safety codes and definitely pockets most of his cash (I get paid with some of that cash—the government doesn’t even know I work here!). I’m scared that I might also be in trouble if he is ever caught for all of the things he’s doing.
@ZEPHYRA @LornaLove Faking a smile is harder said than done. I guess I’m just too moral. I feel terrible for those people when he denies them a room based on those qualities, and the people just leave, clueless to his real motive. How can I not say anything? When he attacks and belittles me, how can I not defend myself? Is it really a skill to learn to be passive and hold your tongue? I plan on being a teacher, and I can understand it coming out of a young person’s mouth, but a grown adult? Again, he’s a bigot and a racist, and I can’t help but try to talk him out of it, but he’s so adamant about his beliefs. And he thinks he knows everything with his 7th grade education (which was obtained in another country).
@LornaLove I’ve thought about reporting him because he bothers me so much, also that I feel it will keep me out of trouble, but again that means I’d have to change my current lifestyle.
To correct myself if it matters, I’m actually 19. My birthday was a few days ago. I have definitely been working toward building my life away from them. The last thing I want to be is dependent .

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Geez! Considering this latest info, I say head for Boston pronto. Don’t be anywhere near a guy who pays you with stolen money! Pack today and hop train, plane, whatever. Get away from Mr. Hot Potato!
You know a hotel where you can stay when you first get there. Get a job where meals are provided, at a resort hotel, estaurant, whatever. Then, at least for some meals you don’t have to heat something from a can.
It might be a slightly scarey change, but you seem like a pretty solid guy. I think you can do it okay.
Get your credits transferred, advertise, or search ads for a roommate. If I remember right, Boston has pretty good public transportation. You should be okee dokee.
I sure wouldn’t want to be there hanging towels when authorities come to look over the books.
Keep us updated, so we know you are coping okay.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

If your “employer” is committing illegalities, report them. Do it right now.
If you don’t report them and your employer gets caught, then you might be prosecuted as an accessory. If you are the one to report the violations, then you might be able to avoid that. Don’t do illegal stuff, buddy. Prosecutors play rough.

If you hate cooking, it’s probably because you don’t really know how to do it. If you learn a few techniques and skills, it can become easy and fun. No one can ever cook something for you as well as you can do it yourself, because you know exactly how you like it.

You’re going to have to change your current lifestyle no matter what. It happens. It’s not a big deal.

I strongly advise you to avoid comfort. The idea of “building character” is hogwash, but once you find out you can sleep on concrete, get used to being out-of-breath and sweaty, and learn to do things well that you don’t (yet) like doing, you’ll be very much more free to make choices that you can be proud of.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius “If you don’t report them and your employer gets caught, then you might be prosecuted as an accessory”

He’s not going to do that and risk causing his own aunt to get in trouble with the law, or at best lose her job.

I agree about the independence, and I think life just gets miles easier once you know how to do things for yourself. But given the economy, be careful about when you choose to launch yourself. If you are able to save money, please do that. You’ll need it when you’re finishing school and finding it hard to get your first job as a professional.

If you’re going to continue to live with your aunt, ask her to teach you how to do a bit of cooking – you’ll be very grateful for this later. And so will any prospective mates. ;)

dxs's avatar

@Rexcoracofalipitorius, et al. I can cook minimally, and she is actually the one who taught me almost everything I know about cooking. I had been cooking for myself through almost all of high school. I guess I have to take the first step and that’s the hardest. But is it too much? I guess I have three options:
1) Stay.
2a) Live with parents.
2b) Live on my own.
If I’m not going to stay here, which is what I’m leaning towards, why shouldn’t I stay with my parents? I know a hotel I used to work at near my school and hopefully they have rooms and even more wishful, they’ll let me work for decreased rent. I can call them. I have $5173.31 in my bank account (and that’s after tuition costs). It’s $250 a week at this hotel, and if I left in a couple weeks, I could pay $1K for 4 weeks. I’d also need money for food.
I love the idea of having freedom, but I feel terrible that I left my aunt and my parents like this. They still did a lot for me, and I don’t want to feel ungrateful.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

@dappled_leaves Why would the aunt get in trouble? Is she doing something illegal? I must have missed something :^/

dappled_leaves's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius She works at the same hotel. If @dxs is at risk of being “prosecuted as an accessory” for not reporting the boss, then she must be, too.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I like the staying with the parents until the school move can be made thing, if hey are okay with it. A grateful son would do things to help out, for the privilege of staying someplace with no rent. While it is time to venture out on your own, you WILL want as much of that savings account as possible to be available when you venture up the coast.
By the way, don’t advetise your balance. While your diligence with saving is admireable, there are people who will be all too happy to relieve you of that bottom line.
Don’t fear leaving the nest, but don’t be in such a hurry that you do something uneccessarily risky.
As far as reporting goes, I would want to sit on that. See if you can get some pro bono (free) help with that, someone who can make sure you will be safe reporting the guy, without implicating yourself or your aunt. Getting the guy reported is important, but you mustn’t risk school and your future doing it, or mess up that lady who’s been feeding you. Lawyers are required to do a certain amount of pro bono work during their careers. You probably wouldn’t need them to actually do anything for you except advise you how to approach the situation safely. Let them know you have had a moral dilemma, wanting to do the right thing, but not wanting to get swallowed up doing the right thing.

dxs's avatar

What he does is disgusting. He needs a dose of reality. He also complains about everything the government does and how they’re scamming him. What a hypocrite! This is why I want to report him. But I don’t want to get involved with lawyers or anything…too much on my mind.
I think I’ll stay here for another week or two and see how it goes. Then I’ll explain (again) to my aunt how it’s against me to work here, and hopefully she’ll understand and I’ll leave, leaving her and the other old lady with a 50 room, three story hotel to clean. I think I’ll go to my parents’ place after that, but act like it’s impromptu.

Thanks again for your words everyone! You’ve helped me a lot!

jca's avatar

You’re only an accessory to the crime if you are helping him. That’s what an accessory is – a helper. It doesn’t sound like you’re helping him. From what I read, unless I missed something, the boss’s “crime” is that he discriminates against people based on their age, sex, etc. That’s not something that is easy to prove, and it doesn’t sound like there’s any prosecution or arrest coming any time soon. Unless the OP is engaged in hiring employees, this is not an issue for him/her.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@jca, OP is only a piece of the story. More information comes out through the thread, and knowing about a crime without reporting DOES make that person an accessory. If someone is selling drugs in an alley behind your house, and you know what they are doing, and it takes place regulrly, you are an accessory if you don’t report it, even if you don’t personally know anyone doing the selling or buying.
Prosecuting someone as an accessory is usually chosen according to how much damage their silence allowed, and how helpful they become eventually. An accessory doesn’t have to actively do anything, except KNOW and not tell.

dxs's avatar

@jca He violates so many laws, it’s crazy. But he gets away with SO MUCH and that’s what pisses me off. Why should I be making him money? Why support someone who’s putting a wrench in society? You know, as I said I’m not filing taxes for this job, so technically it’ll even take some effort to prove that I work here! edit: Too bad I have to sign the registration papers for the people I rent to haha.

jca's avatar

If the OP reports anything, he/she can get in trouble for working off the books. As I explained above, I think the gender issue will be hard to prove so IMHO it’s not worth opening that can of worms.

If someone were selling drugs behind your house, how could someone prove that you knew it was going on? “That lady looks out the window every day and sees me selling drugs.” “Prove it.”

All the time in NYC crimes are committed and there are no witnesses. “I didn’t see nuthin.”

dxs's avatar

I haven’t even thought about next year. What I meant to say was that I didn’t file taxes for it last year. But doesn’t the owner have to report how much he payed me as well?

dappled_leaves's avatar

The thing is, if you are working under the table, you are not only breaking the law yourself, you are taking advantage of the fact that your employer is willing to break the law by hiring you, for your own personal gain. You don’t really have any moral superiority in this situation. You find it odious that your employer complains about how the government is scamming him, and you accuse him of “throwing a wrench in society”... but you are scamming the government, you are throwing a wrench in society.

I’m not judging you for taking the job, but perhaps you should be less judgmental of him.

dxs's avatar

@dappled_leaves I realize that, but I can’t change the past. In my defense, I’m still learning how things work. I’ve tried so hard for people to explain how taxes work and I still don’t have a good grasp on it. I was completely unaware at the time and I can’t change the past. So basically by working here, I’m buttfucked either way then, right? I don’t mean to be a hypocrite, and I didn’t even think I was until now.
You speak as though I had the option of taking this job. Well consider this: Where else was I going to live? What else was I going to do? This is my life in the summer, and I doubt the owner would let me stay here without working for him. I have to evade to not break the law.
I can’t believe I’ve been brought to his level. This place is my childhood because I live with my aunt when I’m not in school. I wasn’t even “hired” here, I just started helping my aunt out, and then the owner started giving me money (but now my work is much more serious obviously). It was a way of life and only now do I realize what he gets away with. My intention is NOT to fraud the government even though I already (unintentionally) had. I’m not taking this money and running off to buy cars and sex with it…it goes to my tuition. I don’t have that much money and I don’t want to be a problem to society, but I seem to have no other option until now, hence why I asked the question. And he hasn’t even paid me yet; he gives me money at the end of the season. So what do I do? Burn the money and move to Mali? You know, if I need a place to live, there’s always prison, and now I might me eligible.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@dxs I think you need to read my last line again. A lot of people have worked under the table at least once, and especially when they are first starting out. I’m just saying that you should recognize it for what it is, and see that you’re not in a great position to judge your boss for his actions.

In your first few years as an employee, when you are working part time (maybe around your school hours) or for a very low salary, you will often not make nearly enough money to be paying taxes. Therefore, if taxes are being taken off your salary, it’s in your best interest to file a tax return so that you can claim that money back. If you’re not paying taxes, then this is of no concern to you. Just keep it in mind for your first “real” job – filing a tax return is not something to be afraid of. It just adjusts your taxes from whatever your employer thinks you should be paying, to what you should actually be paying, given your financial status.

dxs's avatar

It’s under 5k, and I’m still a dependent so for all anyone knows the money could’ve just been from my parents.

Fine, you’ve proved I’m a hypocrite. Congratulations. Now let’s get back to giving me advice on what I should do with my life, if anything else has to be said.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@dxs I’m trying to give you constructive advice, but sure, throw it back in my face if you like.

dxs's avatar

@dappled_leaves I already knew I was breaking the law and I’ve already filed my taxes. He’s been at this for thirty years anyway.

You’re throwing back into my face the problems I know I already have. Why would I even ask this question if I felt that I wasn’t doing anything wrong or wanted the hidden cash for my personal gain?

dxs's avatar

For those wondering, here’s an update:
I left the job a couple days ago. It was more difficult than I thought because I had to explain it to my boss, but even worse, my aunt. I told her the night before I left and I felt like I just ditched her. The next morning, I went to the train station without even saying bye and I saw her looking at me from her window with a sad expression on her face. I felt terrible because I love her and I just left her. I don’t know when I’ll see her again but I’ll miss living with her and being at that hotel, which is my summer childhood. I hate writing about it…even just thinking about it. Even though I really felt like I had to move on, I still have regrets. I’m at my parents’ house now, but am leaving in a week to go live by my school for three weeks. My parents don’t know I’m leaving, so I guess I should probably tell them too. I’ll let you know when I’ve left.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

It does sound heartbreaking.
It is painful for we old folks to see a little one we’ve cared for deeply grow, and leave. Pain has to happen in our lives. In your case, you can be glad the pain is related to moving forward, and seeking progress. Don’t lose sight of the goalposts.
Babies learning to walk fear letting go of the wall, table, sofa, it is frightening to face crossing that huge floor with nothing to hold. It may require a few bumps on the butt before getting it right, but eventually it brings greater freedom and adventure.
You are working on that letting go and step away thing again. It is tough, but rewarding.
I am on your cheer team. Success dxs! Success dxs! ............. see?

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