Mom Is Not Always Right

, , | Related | July 16, 2017

(Because of medical reasons, I’m going to be late to school. As a result I get to sleep in. When I get out, mum calls me to watch yet another thing she has paused on the television. I am 15.)

TV: “People at the age of—”

Mum: *pauses TV* “Are you listening?”

Me: “Yes, I am.”

TV: *on play again* “—sixteen should have a part-time job.”

(The TV is paused on and off while mum talks about how I think she’s nagging and telling me off, but really she’s been trying to prepare me for life. I mention that no, I don’t think that, and I’ve been worrying about getting a job for a while now.)

TV: “Now, kids at the age of fifteen should actually know what’s going on with finances. The parents should tell the teenager how much income they’re earning, wh—”

Mum: *pauses TV yet again* “Now, I don’t think you need to know about this. It’s my business, not yours. Are you listening?”

Me: “Mm-hmm.”

Mum: “Why don’t you get a job? You really should!”

(She started a big speech about what jobs I could get and income and whatnot. I wanted to go get a job, as I can type. I should have a while ago, but social anxiety and NotAlwaysRight have made me fear jobs, as I am sarcastic and would likely be fired immediately.)

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  • Leah

    You’re 15 and still at school? What on earth are you worrying about jobs for?

    • Megan

      I got my first job at 16, and could have started working at 13. What’s the big issue here?

      • Chris Hubbard

        I got my first part time job at 15. It was only a few hours a day but it was a paycheck.

      • Kraziekat

        Considering how many kids in high school are struggling with just a full load of classes plus extra curriculars? After all, if each teacher assigns at least 1 hour of homework a day, X 5-7 classes, that’s an additional 5-7 hours of homework a day, plus extra curriculars taking an hour plus twice a week (think band or sports) plus weekends. It’s ridiculous. My nieces don’t go to bed until 12, and have to be up by 6.

        Trying to add on work hours is crazy, especially if you have managers who try to circumvent your schedule and labor laws.

        • Megan

          Many kids in my high school were going through the same thing and still had jobs. I’m not saying the kid should, just that it’s possible (and since it’s something they want to do, they are perfectly capable of doing it). I wasn’t in a lot of extracurriculars, but I did orchestra and the drama club which both took up a lot of time, plus a full course load (7 classes) with homework and still had a job. It also prepared me for when I was in grad school, taking five classes (the full time schedule was 3), and still holding down a job.

          In replying to the original comment by Leah, where she pointed out that the kid is 15 and still in school so shouldn’t be thinking about jobs, I was pointing out that it’s absolutely possible and loads of teens do it every day.

      • Kathy Joy

        Part of it I think is a) Mother assumes what OP is thinking (i.e she decides that OP thinks she is nagging, when OP actually agrees with her) and b) Mother uses TV to show OP what she should do with her life, but disregards the very next point as she doesn’t think it is important, but OP should definitely take in the first one.It’s a bit hypocritical.

        I do think OP should just dive into work even if its just serving fries.I was terrified when I started work, now death threats and such just roll off my back. I’m used to it. Not sure if that’s a good thing to a bad thing but I gained so much confidence and I was such a nervous kid – if I didn’t want to talk to somebody, I would literally put my head down, pretend I couldn’t hear them and speed off. Now I can deal with it. I’m still a little socially anxious and I really hate conflict but I can manage reasonably.

        • Megan

          I agree with you, but I was just responding to the comment by Leah where she pointed out that the kid was in school so why are they thinking about a job.

          It took me a looooong time (I’m 33 now) but I’m finally able to let most insults and complaints roll off my back. I don’t work in retail anymore but I do still deal with business owners and the general public and get a lot of crap, so it’s good to get out there early on and learn how to develop that thick skin!

      • Kathy Joy

        I got my first job at 10. I lied about my age (apparently legally you have to be 11 to be employed as a paper girl/boy and deliver newspapers). I did that job every morning before school Monday to Saturday. Then when I was 16 I got a job at a local supermarket when I started college.

    • error404

      Same. I started working full time at 15 during my summer break then weekends when school started back up. Didn’t have any problem with it.

      • das Wunderkind

        I started part-time at 15, then full-time at 16 while attending college full-time. I’ve always been very glad I did that, but as a former middle school teacher I can say all kids are different and some simply aren’t ready at 15.

        My two kids are starting 10th grade this week. My daughter is ready to work, would love to have a job, and I would be perfectly fine with it. My son is another story entirely.

    • Kathy Joy

      Might be applying for summer jobs or weekend/evening jobs to save up for college/university. I don’t know much about the higher education system in New Zealand, but if it’s anything like America’s, you have to basically work every day from when you’re a foetus to afford it.

      • TheWonderRabbit

        It’s nothing like America’s, and also we don’t have ‘Summer vacation’ or ‘Summer jobs’ in Australia / New Zealand.

        • Rebekah

          While we don’t have to pay as much for uni as in America, yes of course there are summer jobs!

          Mum wouldn’t let me get a job while I was at school. She wanted me to concentrate on school. I worked for a year between school and uni, and since they didn’t charge me rent or board for that year I was able to save 20k, which was enough for 3 years of uni along with working part-time during term time and full time each summer.

          I know my friend worked part time at Pizza Hutt while she was at school though. Her mother decided that once you hit fifteen you’re responsible for your own pocket money.

          • Kathy Joy

            Wow that’s really good of your mother. I had a deal with mine that I would never be charged rent while I was in education even if I was working (which I did). That way I didn’t have to slog away to make enough to make rent, or I didn’t work for basically nothing, so I had enough to buy stuff I needed for study and to go out with friends on occasion.

          • Rebekah

            Yeah. The deal was I had to save for uni though – which I did. Given I was a year ahead and started full time work at 17yrs 1 month they weren’t too much out of pocket from what they were expecting really. I moved three hours away to go to uni so my keep was my responsibility once I moved. I ended up having to get a loan for the last two years but I should have paid that all off by September this year. (Finally!) I’m so looking forward to that.

            It helps that my parents were poor enough for me to qualify for a student allowance. It’s not enough to cover rent most places but at least it contributes I guess.

            Not sure it’s done me a lot of good. My little sister (5 years younger) makes a lot more than I do, and she never went to uni. But oh well. I don’t have enough drive to try to get a better paying job, that’s my problem.

          • Kathy Joy

            Eh it can be a lottery. People with degrees generally make more money since they have access to more skilled jobs, but those jobs have to be on offer. Meanwhile it is possible to work from the bottom and up and earn a good wage – experience can also give you access to high wages. Degrees can open up many different jobs that experience alone cannot. Certainly in the UK anyone can walk into a management role in retail – doesn’t even matter what that degree is in. Most supermarkets, clothes shops and restaurants do a ‘management training program’ the only requirement is a degree, any degree. So you go back into retail but as a manager rather than slogging your way on the shop floor.

          • Rebekah

            Yeah that’s a point. I don’t really regret it anyway. History and languages are interesting. Current plans are just to climb the rungs in my current job a bit further. Shouldn’t be too hard, the call centre manager says I’ll probably be trained as a supervisor by the end of the year, and I’ve already climbed a few rungs already. I just really really hate job hunting, although I know I probably should invest the time and energy at some point in the next few years to look for something a bit better.

          • Kathy Joy

            If you already have a steady job, you can afford to be very picky. Also, I don’t know about where you live, but in in the UK there are job agencies that specialise in finding jobs for those with degrees, so they’d be a good one-stop-shop kind of deal. An while you’re working, you’re getting experience. I always think that if you can afford it, a degree is never a bad thing to have, even if you never end up using it, employers do tend to see it in a positive light – that you are smart enough to get one (that’s not to say those without a degree aren’t smart, because that’s not true, but this is how some employers see it). I never went to Uni and always regretted it, but this September I start as a mature student.

          • Rebekah

            Oh nice, what are you planning to study? (I’m in NZ.)

          • Kathy Joy

            I’m studying English Lit, and hoping if I do well in the first year I can be accepted to the dual program of English Lit with Creative Writing. If not, I’m happy just to stay on the single award or combine it with history of something. The history program at the university is great. I always did fairly well with history in school.

          • Rebekah

            Yeah history can be pretty fascinating. It was one of my majors. I hope you do well!

    • otje91

      If op does not need to save for college, it will help too learn too deal with finances. A parttime job during highschool will help alot with finances later in live. You get a feeling about money, and how expances things are. My parents wanted me to have a job in highschool for that reason.

      • Skip Bin

        I had the opposite experience. I got a job when I was 11 and for the first few years I worked I wasn’t paying a share of utilities bills or food shopping or anything, which meant I had a surplus of money and could buy whatever I pleased without putting a dent in the money I had saved up.

        In other words, I had zero understanding of what I was in for when I started actually paying bills and expenses, saw my thousands in saving go down the drain in months, and was suddenly unable to buy anything that wasn’t strictly necessary (this sounds over the top and brattish, but that’s because I was still a kid at this point).
        Honestly, a few lessons in the cost of living/taxes/financing would have made a stack more difference than a job for me.

  • Cathrope

    I’m puzzled about this story. Your mum is more worried that you don’t have a job instead of getting you to school?

    • heymoe2001

      I’m confused about what the first paragraph even has to do with the rest of the story.

      • Kathy Joy

        Often, kids laying in makes parents think their kid is wasting their life away, especially if they are also in the process of job hunting. Even when I had a job, and was at college, my mother would still make me get out of bed as I was ‘wasting my day’. I’m like ‘It’s my day off, if I wanna spend it in bed all day, I will.’ When I was job hunting, when I did anything but job hunt, I was told off and like got the whole ‘I know you think we’re nagging but it’s for your own good’ thing.I get it, it was. They were trying to motivate me, but jeez, don’t assume I’m sitting watching TV because I put off job hunting. I already applied to everywhere and I’m taking a break.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_aardvark

    If you can do typing and filing work, that’s usually less insane than retail or fast food. Not that all offices are perfect — I had some loathsome temp jobs, back in the day — but that simply not dealing much with customers removes a source of frustration. Being among the same coworkers daily is also easier on social anxiety, as long as your coworkers aren’t awful people (and most aren’t).

    The biggest danger with sarcasm is the one you can teach yourself to avoid: don’t use it as a defense when you are legit wrong and the other person is trying to help you correct a problem. Second biggest danger (again, avoidable) is using it to put other people down when they’re just doing their thing. You may already not do either of these things, in which case, you’re in great shape!

    This doesn’t mean nobody will ever come at you using unfair tactics, but the thing you can control first is whether you come at people with unfair tactics. You can always escalate toward being snarkier, but it’s harder to ramp down a conflict once it’s started.

    • Alan

      Very well said!

  • Deadpool

    Glad we could help!

    • Asiyd

      So comforting XDD

  • Kitty

    “Mom, you know why it’s difficult to get a job? Because this economy is complete s***. Everybody offering good jobs demands about 10 years worth of experience from you, but woe behoove you, if you are older than 25! Because then, you are ‘too old’ to get this job, cause you’ll obviously be going into retirement soon. Oh, and don’t even BOTHER applying if you are in your mid-twenties and are a woman, because everybody will secretly believe that you aren’t worth hiring because you’ll obviously ‘disappear on maternity leave’ within the next year or so, because everybody has kids in their mid-to-late-twenties. Not that they’ll TELL you that. They want cheap f***s like teenagers, but don’t want to bother teaching them the necessary skills, cause that would require time; so everybody is stuck in the middle of the s*** pile when it comes to wanting a job: teens don’t know anything; young adults will start families; and middle-age and up will be ignored cause they are too good and expensive.”
    …was that rant personal? Kind of. But you can’t deny its truth.

    • Katrin Schirmer

      i actually have no idea what the New Zealand economy is like at the moment.

      • Rebekah

        I think it depends where in NZ and what kind of job one is looking for.

        • Siirenias

          That’s true everywhere I’ve been.

        • Katrin Schirmer

          that is probably the case in any country.

    • Vyrmis

      You can’t deny its crazy.

    • Asiyd

      Watched this happen time and time again here in America right after the 2008 crash. It was heartbreaking…

    • rebelwithmouseyhair

      yes it had nothing to do with the OP’s difficulty with finding a job

  • Mouser

    These stories are mostly the outliers. If any of this is happening to someone on a day to day basis, they need to get a new job.

  • Goldstart

    Dear OP, you being sarcastic and fearing these kinds of situations are exactly why you should get a job now. Having to work a sh*tty job, retail or adjacent is one of the things that build character and humble you if you let it.
    Also: at home everything pretty much revolves around you when you are a teenager and working in a setting where it is not all about you for once is good preparation for the real world. So you learn to distinguish between situations where you can just flat-out say what you think from those where you should keep your mouth shut not to sabotage your long-term interests

    • Laren Dowling

      ^This! So much this!
      What’s more, getting your first job as a teenager is good, as well, because more folks expect mistakes (like those caused by anxiety and lack of polished social skills) from a teenager. So you’ll have more forgiveness if you do screw up.

      • Ryan Brogan

        And their surprise when you don’t screw up

      • Alan

        Yes! Learn your work skills while people’s expectations are relatively low. You’ll do much better later when you’ve learned the unwritten rules and people who haven’t are looking like bozos.

    • Not to mention the respect it will hopefully give you for people working such jobs should you find yourself elevated to some higher position later in life.

    • rebelwithmouseyhair

      can’t see my comment here now but I was saying much the same. Sarcasm is not a medical condition and you have to learn to control it before you get to adulthood and really can’t afford to lose your job.

  • heatherjasper

    That sounds so much like my mom. Not just with “you need to get a job”, but with everything else as well. It is really annoying.

  • Kathy Joy

    OP – all jobs are like this, from retail right up to being a skilled professional or even being self employed. It’s scary, but once you take the plunge, you get used to it.

    I can relate a little with your mother. One the one hand ‘get a job – this guy on TV says you should, but the other stuff is nonsense’. Also assuming your thoughts. That’s one I know very well. I used to get ‘well when you pay the rent you can make decisions’. So I did, and even then, I was never allowed to make decisions about stuff around the house, or decorating, or furniture because I was just a kid what did I know etc I know for a lot of them, they were just trying to show me how to make right decisions.

    Also, tell your mother she is very wrong about finances – she should actively engage and involved you when it comes to finances. It is very much your business.How else are you going to learn when you move out? If you crash and burn and end up moving back home, she’s only got herself to blame. It’s not like schools teach this stuff (though I think they should). My mother sat me down with her and showed me how she paid all the bills from when I was 14 onwards. In fact sometimes she sent me to the Post Office to pay a few of the bills (with money she gave me) as part of my chores. Some months or weeks, we didn’t have enough, so she talked me through which bills we were putting off and why, and how to budget to catch up. She also actively involved me in shopping so I knew what to buy that would stretch my budget to as many meals as possible without having to buy too much cheap, nasty food. When I moved out I knew how to phone the utility company to tell them I was there, arrange to get my phone connected, get my name on the council tax bill and everything else I needed. Meanwhile many of my friends didn’t even realise they had to pay for their energy and thought that all they had to pay was rent. I cannot tell you how invaluable her lessons on that front were – they saved me from starvation on more than one occasion.

    My mother made me get a job when I started college (well not made me, I had been considering it too, she just made me get up off my a** and actually do it). I’m glad she did.

    • Huck Perry

      Just curious, why do parents think telling their kids about their finances is not good idea? I mean, I would like to learn about how to save money and spend it wisely and such when I move out.

      • Kathy Joy

        I know, right? Parents absolutely should involve their kids in the finances. When my kid is old enough, I will.

      • rebelwithmouseyhair

        because they suck at managing it and don’t want their kids to know?

      • Kilian

        Maybe they don’t want their children to see how bad they are at managing their finances. I remember my mum only telling me about their finances when money was running low, but then they went and bought a new TV/Phone/thing a few weeks later…

      • KurtWagner

        in my case being aware of my family’s finances at a young age caused me severe stress and anxiety, to this day I still don’t ask them for money even though we’re in a much better spot now financially and as a University student they’re more than willing to lend me some (and I do occasionally really need it.)
        So maybe some parents worry about that.

    • Alan

      Good for your mom (and you)! We didn’t do so well with that for our daughters and when one of my daughters was assigned (in college) to put together a budget and I told her how much housing costs she was floored. $10 an hour sounds fantastic when you don’t realize how much you’ll spend for taxes and housing and transportation and food and clothes and …

  • Kelly Culp

    If you have anxiety, might I suggest switching to Not Always Hopeless for a while? It may turn out to be healthier for you.

    • Zania Sovijarvi-Spape

      No, go to NotAlwaysWorking. If these incompetent idiots can keep a job somehow, there’s no reason why you, with nothing wrong except sarcasm and anxiety, couldn’t. I hate telephones so much mine mostly isn’t on, and yet I managed once to land and keep a job in a call centre -wasn’t even particularly bad, if not particularly great, at it. If you turn up in time and don’t do anything heinously idiotic you’ll be fine.

  • Adrian Mckeehan

    Get a job, worse case scenario we get a couple of not always working stories.

  • Alan

    “social anxiety and NotAlwaysRight have made me fear jobs”: I can relate. I’ve always had office jobs. I would hate dealing with the public. I’m simply not a people person. But I do great working on my own in a back room. Find a job that fits your personality and your working years will be much more enjoyable. And being sarcastic is okay but like someone below said, you need to couple it with some humility. The biggest challenges I’ve had over a 35-year career have been learning to work with other people. Practice saying “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong” and “Maybe you’re right. Help me to understand.” and people you work with will put up with a lot of personality quirks.

  • TheWonderRabbit

    You’d be fired in America.
    I hear New Zealand is pretty much like Australia when it comes to working so you should be fine.

    Good luck with your first job, when you get it.

  • I’m amused by Mom’s “listen to what they say — but not this part!” approach. I mean, I get it, but at the same time, maybe just say the parts you like yourself?

  • Vyrmis

    “News just in: teenager has a mother.”

  • Max

    It is possible to control sarcasm….

    • Big Daddy

      Thank you! It is actually NECESSARY to control sarcasm. Removing sarcasm from my habits saved my marriage, and made me less unpleasant to be around. Sarcasm is just nastiness disguised as humor.

  • Austin Blessing

    and this is were i tell off the mom by saying if you discredit one part of the show then what makes the rest of it binding?

  • Ares Zax

    So Mom tells you to listen to what this TV is telling you but ignore the part where it tells her to tell you how much she earns? Way to cherry pick there, Mom… Personally, I see nothing wrong with letting your kids know how much you earn once they’re old enough to know not to blab it to everybody they meet on the street. It can segue into a good discussion on finances, budgeting and the workforce.

    • Kathy Joy

      I think a lot of parents get funny about things like that, like they don’t want to admit they’re not earning big bucks when they’re telling their kids study hard, stick in or you’ll never get a great job but if they see them in a crappy job on low wages or even just sufficient but not big bucks, it’ll be like their advice doesn’t mean anything. Like parents feel like they have to be pillars of perfection and really, it’s good to let kids see you’re not always right and you do mess up.

  • Jess Thompson

    I agree with the guy on TV, especially in regards to finances. My parents always told my brother and I that it was none of our business whenever we asked about finances. As a result, neither of us are particularly switched-on about money management.

    My cousin, a mortgage broker, is very open with his kids about finances. He’s eldest son is already saving for a car at twelve.

    • Kathy Joy

      This is exactly why parents should be open about finances as early as they can. How else are their kids going to learn? Many think it should be obvious, but it’s not. Yes, it is obvious that you should never have more money going in than out, but budgeting is so much more complicated than that.

    • Darth Pseudonym

      It can also help your kids modulate their desires. If you’ve let the kids in on the whole finance situation and they know how tight things are, if they know you’re right on the edge with groceries and can’t push the budget much, they’re less likely to get upset when you say you can’t go out for dinner or buy them a bike or whatever. Especially with teenagers who wanna do what they wanna do and are testing their freedom, but still expect mom and dad to fund their exploration.

      • Jess Thompson

        This is another problem my brother definitely had. We’re both adults now. His first car, he bought brand new mid-range with a car loan. When he defaulted, he just expected mum and dad to pay for it.

    • chickenface

      My mom said when each of her siblings turned 16, her dad showed them how to balance the checkbook and turned over the in-flow/out-flow info to them, and they had to write checks for all the bills and get everything paid on time for a year. Sounds like a smart idea. Hard to do with my kids now, though, since everything is autopay.

  • rebelwithmouseyhair

    Being sarcastic is not a medical condition. It’s up to you to learn to speak respectfully. It’s part of growing up into the kind of person people want to be around rather than the kind of person nobody likes.
    Also, being sarcastic and socially anxious? It’s sarcastic people that cause social anxiety you know. So just stop now. Your mother is right.
    If you’re frightened by what you read here, you probably deserve whatever might happen to you.

    • RubyTuesday

      “It’s sarcastic people that cause social anxiety you know.”
      Well, that’s not remotely true. Anxiety disorders are caused by some combination of genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors.

  • Big Daddy

    I usually hate to simply repeat what others have already said so well, but there are two important points here that need emphasis.

    1: Sarcasm is like smoking – most people don’t want it around, and you can quit any time with a little willpower. It’s a bad habit, passive-aggressive, unproductive, meanness hiding behind humor. It can be funny on paper, but rarely in person. Just stop it. (This advice saved my marriage.)

    2: The stories on the NA* sites are posted because they are unusual. 99.9% of customers are decent people just trying to buy stuff and will treat you politely, or at least indifferently. 95% of co-workers are just trying to earn an honest buck and have learned that co-operation, staying busy and a pleasant demeanor make the day go by quickly. Become one of those people.

    Also, tell your mother that cherry-picking her sources just weakens any point she might be trying to make.

  • Darth Pseudonym

    You should try not to mouth off and get fired, but if you do, who cares? You’re a teenager. That’s the point. If you gotta get fired for your smart mouth, do it when you’re 15 and it doesn’t really matter, not when you’re 22 and have a car loan, rent/mortgage, and so on. As a teenager, you can fall back on the parents with no real impact to your life. You wait more than a couple years, and it’s a lot less forgiving.

  • EG


    I can relate with you because I also have social anxiety and I was afraid of working in retail as well when I turned sixteen because of all the horror stories I heard from my older cousins and friends. If you really don’t want to work in retail or customer service, I suggest you start out by getting a babysitting job where you can work on just the weekends or look into a office job when you turn 18 or even look into a cleaning job where you don’t have to deal with that many clients and you won’t have to be afraid of getting fired because of being sarcastic.

    I worked in retail for nine years and yes there were some situations like the ones that are on Not Always Right and Not Always Working but there were other times where I really enjoyed working in retail because of there were some customers who were really nice and there were some places I enjoyed working for.

    After working in retail for so long, I couldn’t handle it anymore due to my anxiety and am now working at an office job and I clean on the side. Both environments are a lot better than retail and it isn’t as stressful either.

  • KurtWagner

    I remember reports like that when I was 15/16. Applied for every job going for someone around my age.
    Still didn’t get my first job until I was 18.

  • rebelwithmouseyhair

    Sarcasm is not a medical condition. Time to learn to control it. Your mother is right on that score.

    I have social anxiety too you know, and it’s mostly caused by nasty sarcastic people. So I have no sympathy for your social anxiety. You can reapply once you’ve learned not to hurt other people with your sarcasm.

    • RubyTuesday

      How can you possibly say you have no sympathy for someone suffering from social anxiety if you have the same problem and understand how hard it is to live with? I know a lot of people with social anxiety, myself included, and none of us would EVER say that we have no sympathy for someone in the same situation. Honestly it seems a little hard to believe that you actually have social anxiety, especially since you have no idea how the disorder even works…

  • James Smith

    This is the first time I’ve seen sarcasm classified as a disability. “I can’t work because I’m sarcastic.” Christ.

    These excuses are stretching thinner every day. Just shut up and do your job, and sarcasm won’t be an issue.

  • decius

    Don’t be mean, don’t be hurtfully sarcastic, and don’t put up with customers, coworkers, or bosses who are.

    Getting fired a few times is no big deal; anybody who won’t hire you because you stood up for yourself would just walk over you anyway.