Parents vs. Job.
August 22, 2012 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Parents vs. Job offer...

I am a 20-year-old female who still lives at home while attending college. For a college student, I'm fairly responsible - I have a 4.0, do many chores for my parents, house-sit when asked, etc. I was never a problem for my parents growing up, and even as an "adult" I don't disrespect them and their generosity by acting like I can do anything and everything I want.

I have had a few jobs in the past: one as a sales clerk and one as a childcare provider. As I'm trying to save up money to move out next August, I have been looking for a job that is flexible enough to allow me to have plenty of time to do my work and hopefully have a social life.

Yesterday, I found a job at the local motel (run by old friends of my parents). I live in a town of ~2000 people without really any main attractions, but it does have a large highway that runs through it. The job would consist of working from 10pm-8am a few days a week, checking in people after-hours at the motel and dealing with any issues that guests have. I was absolutely over the moon to have this job offered to me because I'm a night owl and because I'll be permitted to do my class work (or even sleep!) while I work since it won't be very busy. I'll be the only person working at night, but will be in a locked lobby with a lockable attached bedroom and will be doing all business through glass.

I told my parents about this job offer, and they are absolutely against me taking it. They keep saying things like "you could be carried off and we'd never know until 8am" and giving me all of these awful scenarios of things that could go wrong. As far as I'm concerned, I really doubt that anyone is going to break glass/break down a door to kidnap/murder me in a town this small. The police station is no more than 3 miles away, and the owners live about 4 miles away. I'm frustrated because my father keeps saying he needs to "think about" if I can take the job or not. I'm torn because this seems like such a great opportunity and I'm an adult who desperately needs the money, but I don't want to disrespect my parents and their home by going against their wishes.

Additional details: I'm 5'2", 135 pounds and very charismatic which I think is partially why my parents are concerned. I'm also an only child and my parents have been known to go to ridiculous lengths to keep me "under their thumb".

I just don't know how to handle this. I understand my parents' concern, but I feel like I'm crazy to turn down a job when it's almost impossible to get one in my town.
posted by sarahgrace to Human Relations (49 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You are 20 years old. Your father does not legally get to decide for you.
Be polite but firm, and remind them that you have to learn to take care of yourself, unless they want to be housing you for the rest of your life. Remind them that you are an adult, and a responsible person, and that this choice is yours, not theirs.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:08 AM on August 22, 2012 [32 favorites]

Since it's a small town, do you or your parents know any of the police officers? Can one of them reassure your parents?
posted by desjardins at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

That's very sweet that your parents are so concerned. It might take them a while to deal with this. However, you are 20 years old, AKA an adult, and also clearly there have been steps taken for safety.

I'm presuming the job is not available because its previous holder was "carried off." (By... mole people?)

So I think the best steps are to say to them: "How can I best assuage your fears about the new job that I've accepted?" [N.B. If you want it, accept the job. They don't get to decide for you.] "Would you like to come visit so you can see the safety precautions? What else can I do to make you feel better?"
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [10 favorites]

Take the job. You are an adult. Your parents can fuss and scream but they can't stop you from taking the job if that is what you want. I'm assuming they aren't abusive or the type to make your life an unrelenting misery if you go against their wishes.

Part of being an adult is establishing boundaries. It won't get any better as you get older - in fact, it will get worse if you get in the habit of rolling over and caving to your parents' demands. If you stand up to them, chances are they'll fuss and then back down once they see they can't manipulate or bully you into doing what they want.

You are an adult. Your parents can't legally do jack to stop you from living your life. Take the job.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Can the people who run it (apparently friends of theirs) talk to them and explain the things they have in place to ensure that you don't get carried off?

At some point, I think you need to make decisions for yourself. Your dad and "think about it" all he wants, YOU get to decide for yourself whether you wish to take the job. Is some of their dislike for your taking the job rooted around the fact that the money will allow you to move out as planned next year?

It isn't necessarily disrespectful for you to make this decision on your own. As you get older and more autonomous there are going to be a TON of decisions that you'll need to make that your parents may not approve of. You can approach it as your having taken in to consider their hesitations with it, but ultimately YOU have chosen to accept it. You can discuss ways that you can put them at ease (send them a text every hour?), but ultimately phrase it as "I've decided to take the job. How can I make you more comfortable with my decision?"

You say it is almost impossible to find a job.
You're desperately in need of the money.
This one would work well with your schedule.

take the job.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

And yes, you are an adult and it's ultimately up to you, but it would be better for all involved if your parents weren't hysterical about it.
posted by desjardins at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2012

This sort of job sounds ideal for a college student. You need to find a way to address your parents' fears. Of course you could be kidnapped or have any other number of horrible things happen to you. That is a possibility. It will always be a possibility, no matter what you do or where you go or how you live. The world is dangerous.

The question is whether the possibility of danger outweighs the benefits. So see if you can get your parents to think about that. There are a lot of statistics that show that "stranger danger" is rarely the actual likely danger for people. As a young woman, you are much more likely to be assaulted by somebody you know and trust, in your own home or the home of a friend, than you are by a total stranger in a dark alley, for instance. The actual odds run counter to our expectations, which are finely honed by the stories we hear and the ones we pay attention to.

I believe that the book "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker addresses this topic and talks about helping people to assess whether their fears are founded or unfounded, and how to manage the anxiety that comes out of their fears. I have a copy of the book but haven't read it. Maybe your parents can read it and think about their anxiety.

In the mean time, you are going to have to navigate your living situation, which is something that only you really know how to do.
posted by gauche at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2012

You need to take this job.

"Dad, I understand you're worried. I will do [reasonable safety precautions] and of course the motel has [safety features]. For the first [brief time period] I will phone you at [time they go to bed] and [time they usually wake up], but this is only short term. I need the money and the work experience, and this job is perfect for me because [reasons as you mentioned]."

Your parents will almost certainly calm down with time. This sounds a bit like they are pre-worrying about when you move out.
posted by jeather at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2012 [13 favorites]

also, as stated above, you're 20 and an adult. If I were you I'd be careful to set the prescedent that you are going to be making decisions that they may not like from time to time or else you run the risk of their always forcing you to do what THEY want and your never being comfortable making decisions for yourself. Live YOUR life, not the life they want for you. (Most of the time your life and the life they want for you will probably align, but in times like this I think your life needs to trump.)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:13 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're an adult. Take the job.

That said, are there any precautions you can take to help your parents get over this? Have your parents' friends talk to them, sign up for martial arts classes, maybe arrange to call at pre-arranged times? I've found taking concrete actions like these helps mitigate my own family's overprotectiveness.
posted by Tamanna at 9:15 AM on August 22, 2012

Your parents' concerns are irrational, but I'd be wary of taking this kind of job that requires you to work weekday nights while you're taking classes unless it is somehow directly related to what your career plans are.
posted by deanc at 9:16 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

At some point in your life, you are going to have to start making decisions that will upset you parents. It is called, being an adult, or living your own life.
posted by Flood at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Threadsitting, but -

desjardins: My father was formerly a social worker in our town, so he does know police officers in town. The way he's behaving, however, makes me feel as though it wouldn't matter if he did talk to them.

As PuppetMcSockerson said, I do feel like part of their dislike of this job is that they don't want me to have my own income and be independent. Also, the life they want for me isn't the life I want, which may also be part of the problem.

My mother has already talked to the owners, and has been reassured about safety... my father wants to visit the motel this weekend, so hopefully that will help to assuage their fears.

deanc: All of my classes are online, which makes this an even more ideal job. :)

I've got to return a movie to another business that the motel owners run today, so I'll talk to them then and accept the job. Thank you all so much for your input and ideas on how to assert myself to them (which has always been an issue in my life - my mother, especially, is a huge bully).
posted by sarahgrace at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2012 [12 favorites]

Can you go ahead and take this job over their screaming objections? Sure.

Is it a good idea, since you're living at home and have to do so until you save up for an apartment? Probably not, especially since it sounds like getting along with your parents is something you value.

If having their friends talk to them about it doesn't help, I've found that with my parents in situations like these (I'm a small lady, too) talking them through specific, concrete plans helps a lot. "If a motel goer does X, I will do Y" and "These are the security precautions the motel has put in place." You may even want to consider something like, "Each night, at midnight, I will send you a text. If you don't get it by 12:30, you're allowed to come by and knock on the window."
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Since they're worried about you, I'm guessing they won't throw you out of the house for taking the job. They could try to influence their old friends to rescind the job offer, in which case they might have some power over the situation. But like others above, I think it's important that you insist that this is your decision, not theirs. If your dad is going to play dirty then you need to know that so you can start finding ways around it.
posted by jon1270 at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2012

As I'm trying to save up money to move out next August

Are your parents on board with this plan? I wonder if this is a dress rehearsal for what's going to happen when you try to move out. If so, that would make me want to take this job even more as it will establish a level of independence. And if you don' take it, I would try to figure out another way to accomplish something similar before the big move next year.
posted by mullacc at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

I had a friend whose parents were adamantly opposed to her having a particular job. It was, legitimately, the only job she could find at the time. They paid her a significant portion of the amount she would have made not to take the job. I'm not clear whether your parents are in a financial position to do that, but there you have it.

[my parents would not have wanted me to take such a job at the age of 20. Even now, in my mid-30s, I basically refuse to stay at my office job alone at night if I'm the only person in the building. YMMV, obviously, but I don't think they're being irrational, exactly. Shit happens. You can't always be protected from all the shit, but that doesn't mean fearing it is irrational.]

[on the other hand, if you really think they're trying to control you and not want you to make money, well, screw that and do what you need to do]
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:21 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

As PuppetMcSockerson said, I do feel like part of their dislike of this job is that they don't want me to have my own income and be independent. Also, the life they want for me isn't the life I want, which may also be part of the problem.

All the more important that you take the job.
posted by cmoj at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2012 [13 favorites]

I do feel like part of their dislike of this job is that they don't want me to have my own income and be independent. Also, the life they want for me isn't the life I want, which may also be part of the problem.

You need to absolutely nip this in the bud or you will be spending the rest of your life placating them - especially when the time comes for you to marry and/or have children. (If I had a nickel for all the AskMeFi questions about controlling in-laws I'd be rich.)

I am assuming they are basically mentally normal and not abusive (if they ARE abusive, please get help). They will learn they can't control you and they will at least have to try to treat you as an adult worthy of respect. It's far better to start setting boundaries now than when you're 30 and have years of knuckling under to overcome. Take the job.

BTW, I'm a very small woman and I've worked night-shift jobs; nothing happened to me other than having to hear and smell a co-worker with snoring problems and smelly feet taking long naps under his desk. And this was when I was the only woman on my shift.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:27 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreed with cmoj. If you think his dislike of the job has anything to do with keeping you home, keeping you from becoming self sufficent and independent, keeping control over how your life takes shape... yes, all the more important that you take the job. Not taking it would just reinforce the behaviour, and the next time you look to do something he doesn't approve of he'll do it again and you'll be right back where you are now, only it will be harder because the prescendent has been set that you'll cave.

Very very glad to hear you're taking the job!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:27 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I was 19, I started working as a guard in a museum on my college campus. Several of my shifts were overnight shifts, where I was the only person in a big huge museum full of mummies on the southside of Chicago. I worked 10pm-8am. I was excited (I got paid to study watch movies all night!), but my parents were...concerned...when I told them. My grandma was very concerned. I was told this was maybe not the best idea, and to just take as many day shifts as were offered.

My approximate response: lolno. It helped that they lived 1000+ miles away and really and truly couldn't do a damned thing to stop me, but even if I were in their house they would have gotten the same answer.

Take the job, tell your parents in no uncertain terms to sack up, and use that money to move out of their house.
posted by phunniemee at 9:29 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You're an adult. Part of what that means is that, while your parents are absolutely a good source of advice, you don't need to consult with them about anything. You don't need their permission and you don't need to do anything to get them to feel okay with you taking this job. If they want to check it out to feel better about it, that's their problem, not yours.
posted by VTX at 9:44 AM on August 22, 2012

As PuppetMcSockerson said, I do feel like part of their dislike of this job is that they don't want me to have my own income and be independent. Also, the life they want for me isn't the life I want, which may also be part of the problem.

Having observed parent/child situations like this in my extended family-- it's important to keep the long game in mind when you deal with what seems like unreasonable parental disapproval/controllingness. If your parents are generally feeling anxious about you and the broader life path you're on, it's totally possible for that anxiety to focus itself on weird, inappropriate obsessions about smaller stuff in your life. But if your parents are generally normal and healthy themselves, that kind of behavior should get markedly better over time as they see that you are in fact happy and safe and successful in the life you've chosen.

All of which is NOT to say that you should bow to your parents' demands or back off from setting reasonable boundaries-- but as you're doing so, try to have some compassion on the difficult situation they're in. Understand that having a child engages deep, biological drives for protection and nurture-- which can't be conveniently "shut off" all at once when the kid turns 18-- and that relinquishing that all-important child to the vagaries of a dangerous world and (what appears to be) their own poor decision-making is an experience of risk and utter powerlessness that must be tremendously painful. I'm not looking forward to it with multiple children; I can't even imagine it with an only child. So do try to be kind to them even if they're acting a little crazy through this process.
posted by Bardolph at 9:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Would it be possible for the motel owners to install a panic button that alerts the police the way banks do?
posted by mareli at 9:53 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I was 19, I started working as a guard in a museum on my college campus. Several of my shifts were overnight shifts, where I was the only person in a big huge museum full of mummies on the southside of Chicago.
There's a difference between being the only overnight worker in a closed museum and the only one in a small motel which might have a lot of cash on hand and which deals with patrons checking in at 3AM who might notice that the only person guarding said cash is a tiny lone female. I don't mean to unnecessarily frighten sarahgrace, but I would give some serious reconsideration to accepting this job. Small independent motels do not, as a rule, attract middle class families or yuppie-type business travelers. Those types tend to stay at your Holiday Inns, your Sheratons, or even your La Quintas. This particular motel sounds like it's either in a sketchy area or it has already had some crime problems since the front desk person is behind glass. Word gets around quickly about business that are easy pickin's for quick robberies - one person on duty, located on a large highway for easy getaway, etc. I don't think the OP's dad is being over-protective in this particular case.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:56 AM on August 22, 2012 [18 favorites]

Take the job. Be gentle but firm with your parents, thanking them for their concerns and letting them know you will be careful, but also letting them know this is not open for discussion: you are taking the job.

Pretty much all the important points have been made by other posters: you're legally an adult and responsible for your own choices, your parents are trying to keep you under their control, and you can't let them tell you how to live your life.

I would suggest you not make a deal with your parents that you will call home hourly to check in, nor should you accept such calls from them: this is a job, a professional situation, and they're just going to have to accept that. As you say, you'll be in a locked lobby and dealing with guests only through a secure glass window; your parents surely know from the motel owners or the local police (all of whom are "their old friends") if there has been any real problem with crime at the motel.
posted by easily confused at 10:03 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a parent, I don't think this is an issue about control (although loss of control is difficult to get used to). On the other hand, they probably are genuinely worried for your safety. You'll be working alone, sometimes sleeping, according to a set schedule that can be observed and taken note of by anyone.

To allay their fears, it may be a good idea to come up with some sort of "check-in" plan, where you do connect with someone, perhaps every hour, to ensure your safety. Perhaps this is a police officer, perhaps not.

But yeah, I would be worried too.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2012

Being the only night manager at a motel by a highway when your daughter is a 5' 2" 20 year old is precisely the type of job that parents are allowed to have serious misgivings about.

Being a night manager means you have to leave your bullet proof office in order to fix TV sets, find roll out beds, unplug toilets, etc...

While your parents may in fact be trying to keep you in town, this on its face does not strike me as out of line controlling behavior.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:13 AM on August 22, 2012 [7 favorites]

Take the job. Your parents have reasonable concerns for your safety, which is nice, but they are not addressing their concerns to you in a reasonable way. (A reasonable way to address their reasonable concerns would be to ask you what safety precautions you and the owners are taking, and/or to make helpful suggestions for things you could do to improve your safety, such as arranging to check in regularly with someone you know who also works at night -- not to tell you flat out not to take this job.)

As a woman who, long ago, when I was younger and poorer, worked at night, I did feel unsafe at times -- not at work, but actually on my way to and from work, because my commute involved a lot of walking alone in the dark. I was actually assaulted once on the way to work -- a man grabbed me and tried to physically drag me off into a wooded area, with fairly obvious intentions. I did fight the attacker off without too much trouble, and without any permanent damage to my person, but it was still a very unsettling experience. And I was also harassed in a threatening way more than once while going to and from work. And I do think these things happened to me specifically because I'm a woman, and I'm not very large.

But that did not make me quit working at a job that I loved (I worked backstage in a couple of different theaters). It just made me think very carefully about how to manage my own safety at all times, while still doing my job. But just being a woman in this world makes you have to do that anyway, no matter where you live or what sort of job you have.

Frankly your job sounds safer than mine -- you live in a small town and I live in a city with a high crime rate. I do think you SHOULD consider ways to make this job safer for you -- that's just being prudent -- and let your parents know that you are doing so -- that's just being nice -- but don't give up a really awesome job opportunity just because your parents are freaked out. You're an adult now. They don't get to decide.
posted by BlueJae at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ugh, this is not the motel's problem at all. What is the history of crime there? When was the last time a clerk was carried off by the mole people, or even regular human people? I'm probably a little more agitado and projecting than others here, but if your mom is a known bully you might have to say something to the effect of "a parent's job is to prepare me to be an adult. I'm now 20, are you worried you didn't?" Put it on them to provide rational reasons why you shouldn't take the job. Ask them if getting a license to carry a gun would assuage their fears, that should bring their arguments down to the basics in a hurry. If they want to pretend like your 2000 person town is Detroit, you can respond with Detroit-style solutions.

My prediction is that talking to the owner and visiting the motel is not going to change anything but their rationale, "No, it looked fine, I just don't like the idea..." It's not just that they're afraid something might happen to you, but also that you would be helpless to avoid it. This last part is crucial.

No motel manager is going to fix a TV at 3am.
posted by rhizome at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I was 18, I took a job as closing manager at an indie video store in a fairly bad neighborhood. It was a quirky job where I could wear whatever I wanted and so I was happy. The manager assured my mother I would not close alone, but over time, that proved to not be the case. Nothing ever happened to me, but I learned years later that a friend of mine--who also worked as a closing manager there--once had to call the police when some guy wouldn't stop pounding on the windows and insisting he be let in after while she was counting out the safe. In retrospect, most of the legit jobs I had never had anyone, male or female, close alone. And I don't think I'd take a job like that, knowing what I do now.

In some ways, it was important for asserting my independence, but it wasn't exactly safe or a great idea, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:21 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I did your job for over a year when I was your age, without the glass and locked doors to hide behind. There's nothing to be concerned about. You'll spend the majority of your time studying or watching HBO in the lobby.

In a town your size, even with a major highway running through it, the only customers you'll end up with will be truckers passing through, locals looking to hook up behind their partners backs, and a smattering of random people just passing through. The vast majority of these customers will be checked in by the time you get to work, and you'll likely only deal with one or two people per night, if any at all. You're really just there in case someone decides to drop by after primary business hours.

Truckers will talk your ear off if they can't sleep, but they're really harmless, usually just looking for some conversation.

So long as you can handle staying awake all night, it's a great job for a student, however be prepared for it to possibly impact your classes, as you'll be fighting the urge to sleep during those hours, and sleeping during the day is not as easy as it might seem.

As far as security situations are concerned, I'm not sure what your particular situation is like, but I had police coming through our parking lot all the time, as they like to check the hotel guest's license plates for an easy catch, and being so close to the station you'll probably meet them at some point and they'll keep an eye out for your safety.
posted by Monkeyswithguns at 10:23 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You have plenty of good advice, which boils down to this: you need to stand your ground with your parents on this small issue, so that you are able to do it on the bigger issues. If they are not comfortable with you working a job at night, why would they ever "allow" you to move out. Living on your own seems to have the same risks that your parents are worried about. Being firm on this issue is going to make your life easier down the road.
posted by Nightman at 10:38 AM on August 22, 2012

I VEHEMENTLY disagree with everyone telling you that this job is safe - and I was running around at all hours and clubbing in Lower Manhattan when I was 14 years old. Frankly, that was safer than what you have planned here. At least there were people around! You will be alone, vulnerable, and isolated.

The "friends" who offered you this gig do not have your best interests at heart.

This is dangerous. Don't do it.
posted by jbenben at 10:39 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

When I was 17-18 I worked night shift for a Pepsi Bottling Plant. It was an odd job, where I worked alone in a pump station 3 miles from the actual plant, along train tracks. It had pretty much the same dangers as your job, and the same precautions (able to lock/barricade myself inside with a phone, nearby to police, etc.)

My parents were not thrilled at this prospect, but I was able to convince them by saying "In 1 year I'll be at college, and you won't ever really know or be able to control what I do. But you can trust the fact that you raised me well and not to be an idiot, and I understand you're worried but at some point you need to let the bird fly out of the nest and believe that I can be responsible for myself."

In alot of cases like this, and in a small town like yours, you may even be able to get the police to check in on you at night, and if they do make sure you have a box of Dunkin's / warm coffee / something to keep them coming back to make sure you stay safe. I knew a girl who was a security guard who would do that, and her boss loved it due to the extra night security of having a cop car or 2 in the lot every couple hours.
posted by el_yucateco at 10:42 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think a really key question is whether you will be expected to go to guests' rooms at night (for minor repairs, like unplugging the toilet, as above).
posted by endless_forms at 10:52 AM on August 22, 2012 [9 favorites]

If you never have to go out from behind the glass, then I think you should take the job; if you have to go out into the parking lot, etc., then I would be concerned for your safety. As Monkeyswithguns says, mostly you won't be interacting with anyone at all.
posted by mskyle at 10:56 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are an adult and you are allowed to chose the job that you wish, but I don't think that unilaterally dismissing your parents' concern - which many parents would have about a job like this - is particularly wise.

However, you need a job, and this is a job that fits your needs.

Still, I fear that the next several months until you are able to move out will be unpleasant - between your parents' legitimate concern and what they will perceive as your willfulness.
posted by sm1tten at 11:02 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I understand everyone's safety concerns. The fact is, we don't know enough about your town, the motel, the clientele, the managers, the police, the history, etc. to really be able to tell you that this is safe or unsafe. Your parents have more info than we do, and think it's unsafe. The managers have more info than your parents do, and say it's safe. Both those parties are biased.

Take the job. That part of the decision is a no-brainer.
Talk to your parents about what you can do to make them feel more comfortable with it.
In a couple of weeks, you'll know what your least favorite part of the job is, how hard it is to balance your sleep schedule, and you'll have a pretty good idea of how often you have to do things that are borderline unsafe.
Next comes the hard part: do you keep the job? How do you balance all your information to decide if you're happy with it? How do you best talk to your manager and your parents and come out feeling like you've made the right choice, and are not risking your safety or your grades or your sense of adulthood?

In the long term, yes, keeping a job for a month doesn't help the resume, but that's not what this job is about anyway. Don't think of your current decision to start working at the hotel as being a major life event - you're not signing your life away on a long-term contract.
posted by aimedwander at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

First, contact the police department, and ask them for statistics about crime related to the motel over the last ten years (or less if they can't go back that far.) If they can't do statistics, at least get informal info about it; is it a place they get called to a lot, never, or somewhere in-between? Let them know you're a young, small girl considering a job there, and that's why you're calling, and they'll be likely to share info that can help you decide whether to take the job.

Assuming you decide to take the job at that point, you can tell your parents what the police told you, by way of saying "hey, I know you love me and worry about me, so I want you to know I didn't take this job without doing suitable research. I will also be behind locked doors and glass, so I'm not going to be carried off, but you are *absolutely* free to call me once a night to check on me, if it will make you feel better. It's the least I can do, because you are my parents and I know you're just worrying about me like parents do."

Truth is, after a few nights of waking up at 2am to call and check on you, they'll realize they don't have to worry (and they'll get sick of waking up in the middle of the night) and they'll get used to you being more independent.
posted by davejay at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

YOU need to talk to a police officer before you take the job. They know what goes on and where. I do not think that your parents are necessarily being controlling in this particular instance. Maybe this set up is safe-and maybe it isn't-and the adult thing to do is to screen it carefully.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:46 PM on August 22, 2012

As far as the history of crime in the motel, if there had ever been any we would know about it. The extent of crime in our town was a murder a few years ago where everyone knows who did it and the murderer got away with it without even a trial because of the circumstances and maybe a missing person. Our town has the occasional meth lab, but that's out in the country, far from town. The highway running through the town isn't a parkway/interstate. It's this road. It's basically a very small town that nothing much ever happens in - someone riding a tractor to prom makes front page news here.

As far as I know I won't be leaving the lobby to run errands for guests. If I have to leave my locked area I doubt I'll keep the job just because I'll be paranoid.
posted by sarahgrace at 12:47 PM on August 22, 2012

Also, the last person to work there overnight was a guy I graduated high school with - he quit to move away for college.
posted by sarahgrace at 12:48 PM on August 22, 2012

Then you know that the police will say it is safe, and so you should ask, so you can show your parents how responsible you are being. Cheap and easy parent-approval insurance.
posted by davejay at 1:53 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Even with all the reassurances and positive circumstances, you are still a small-stature and young woman, doing an overnight shift where you could conceivably run into strangers who will seize the opportunity to do you harm. It's just the way of the world: a woman is more at risk at a job like this than a man is.

Take the job, but even the odds: get a handgun, a concealed-carry permit, and learn to shoot. Just on the off-chance that a bad situation arises, you'll be prepared.
posted by Ardea alba at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You are an adult. Take the job if you want the job.

It's flattering that your parents worry about your safety, but as an adult, the person in charge of your safety is you. You can always quit if you start working and discover that you feel unsafe at work.

As an adult, this is the sort of judgement call you're going to have to make day in, day out, for the rest of your life. If you have children, you will have to make it on their behalf, too. Someday you may be forced to make decisions about safety on behalf of your parents.
posted by Sara C. at 4:22 PM on August 22, 2012

I was dubious about the position until you said you're likely not required to come out of your glass box, and that you would refuse the job if that was expected of you. That sounds like a reasonable level of caution. A couple extra safety measures might demonstrate to your parents that you take your safety very seriously, too. I got that kit for solo hotel stays and I feel much safer knowing a loud alarm will alert me if anything's amiss with any entrances, so I can pick up my pepper spray and call 911 loudly and obviously.

It's probably good to have/ask about getting a panic button to whack to summon police in case of trouble of any kind. Getting police/fire/ambulance there with no fiddling with a phone is important, in case someone is on fire/dangerous/creepy on the other side of the glass and your adrenaline is going up.

My big concern, that I haven't seen above, is about being safe going to and from your car. Have the outgoing/incoming shift employee walk with you/watch from the door until you're safely in your car? Empty dark parking lots are much more worrisome for personal safety than the sealed desk area.
posted by BigJen at 7:45 PM on August 22, 2012

I grew up in a small town like yours, with a hotel like that, and I think you're far more likely to die or be seriously injured in a car accident driving to the grocery store than you are to have that happen while you're working at the hotel. But your parents haven't made you give up your driver's license yet.

Sheesh, some people are worriers (and I have noticed that their worries are often disproportionate to the actual risk of certain sensational-sounding events happening, and not focused enough on the everyday risks that statistically, are what's going to get you!)
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:58 PM on August 22, 2012

The glass actually makes me wonder about the safety issue.

But mostly, yeah, you're an adult and can make your own decisions as others have said -- but that's not really true, is it? You're living with your parents. You're living with your parents whom you have described as big bullies. As long as you're living with them, they have power over you... and I suspect telling them "tough shit" is not the best way to handle them. I would try to negotiate with them and try to persuade them to agree with you that this is ok.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:11 AM on August 23, 2012

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