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Before we went off on vacation, we were having a debate here about the appropriateness of on-call labor scheduling, which allows employers to force employees to remain on-call without being paid ... which I think is both unfair and lazy management.

MNB reader Claire Tenscher chimed in:

I’m once again feeling compelled to offer a counterpoint. Here, to the reader who discusses the on-call scheduling his daughter experienced. In the case of the writer’s daughter it didn’t sound like she had dependents, but what if she was required to be on-call when she also needed to be in class? She was fortunate enough to get a job whose on-call hours worked for her. Many of the people working in jobs with mandatory on-call don’t have a choice of where to work. Employers are not competing for their labor.

On-call scheduling is more difficult for groups of people that hold multiple jobs or have children that require care. It is too common for writers/commenters here and elsewhere to walk only in their own shoes. On-call scheduling is a benefit for certain groups that causes hardship to others. Sometimes we must give something up to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

MNB reader Tom Herman wrote:

I think that we have a very different world view. In a sense, you may see employers having all the power and employees having very little. Times have a changed my friend and millennials see it very differently. They don't see employers as the oppressors and themselves as the victims. They are more empowered and are creating a workplace environment that pushes employers to compete in the marketplace for people. The marketplace is changing for companies, consumers and employees. In this shift, both consumers and employees are being empowered with more influence and clout. Information is power.

On another subject, from MNB reader Rich Heiland:

You have written often about delivery so I thought I would check in from the Polanco district of Mexico City where we are spending Christmas with our daughter, who works at the US Embassy here, and her family.

Last night we had almost all the fixings for Christmas dinner delivered by two teams of young people – one from Selecto Chedraui (a huge Mexican superstore along the lines of a super Walmart) and Costco. Both teams of delivery folks were young, clean cut, smiling and professional and didn't mind carrying a load of stuff up three flights to the apartment. The teams, by the way, were independent contractors, not employees. 

We may eat in one night and if we do, it will be from a place that uses UberE. One call, one charge and an on-time, professional delivery.

 At 70 years old I have to admit I have raised an eyebrow at the whole delivery concept, maybe with a bit of “kids these days” grumpiness. But I have to tell you, it’s pretty cool. I think I am a convert.

On the subject of millennials' work habits, one reader wrote:

As a younger Millennial myself, I immediately saw and re-shared the Boston Globe article as it was circulating social media this week. The article mentions Millennials being “racked with guilt if they take time off.” Yesterday I was at a sporting event with a group of my peers. My friend mentioned that she wants to take a week-long vacation with her family to Greece in the new year. “How do I ask my boss?” she asked us. She said she has never taken off more than 1-2 days in a row before, and that she felt terrible for even considering such a lengthy vacation. We then spent approximately 10 minutes drafting and rewriting her request for time off so that it had appropriate levels of politeness, firmness and apology, and she solicited feedback on when the best time-of-day was to approach her manager.

For the record, I have wonderful working relationships with my Gen X and Boomer coworkers. We joke about generational differences (“I know you would prefer a text, but can we chat about this over the phone?”), and the office Millennials are happy to serve as the unofficial experts of all things trendy and technological.

And, from MNB reader Mark Boyer:

We must remember that those giving Millennials a bad rap also likely raised them.

Very true.

And speaking of generational issues, one MNB reader had a reaction to something I wrote pre-vacation:

You really dated yourself with that Jimmy Durante reference! Would love to know how many of your readers will be Googling today to find out who he was.

Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
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