DEAR HARRIETTE: Two months ago, my supervisor told me I would be working from home. When I heard the news, I became sad. Although working from home has its advantages -- I save on gas and commuting time -- I miss seeing my co-workers in person. When I worked in the office, it was easy to go to dinner or grab a drink after work. Nowadays, I'm having a hard time trying to catch up with my friends from work.
I'm having second thoughts about working from home, and I'm afraid to tell my supervisor. What should I do? -- Off-Site Worker, St. Louis
DEAR OFF-SITE WORKER: I can hear my older sister Susan saying, "Get a life." She is always direct, and sometimes harsh, but the point is that work is work.
While you obviously have grown fond of your co-workers, you must remember that your job is not, nor should it be, your life. It's fine to have cultivated friendships at work, but it's important for you to see things for what they are.
Now is the time to evaluate your personal life and figure out how to enrich it. This includes expanding your pool of contacts and friendships. Is there anybody you feel close to who may want to go out for dinner or drinks? What relationships would you like to cultivate further? Focus on those.
Of course, if you have key co-workers who are now true friends, invite them to hang out from time to time. But mostly, do your job as efficiently as you can so that your boss and co-workers will keep you top of mind even though you aren't physically present.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I need some advice on how to stay cool in the heat. I have two small dogs, and I'm not excited about leaving the air conditioning on at my house while I'm at work. Do you know of some cost-effective ways to stay cool this summer without breaking the bank? -- Hot Times, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR HOT TIMES: You have two issues -- how to deal with the heat for yourself and for your pets.
For your pets, I would recommend that when it is sweltering, you may want to keep the air conditioning on if you think your home will get too hot. Perhaps you can keep the dogs in one room with a separate air conditioner so that you aren't cooling your entire home. You can fill their water bowls with ice so the water will stay cool longer. On bearable days, keep a fan blowing instead of using the air conditioning.
For yourself, choose to engage in fun activities after the sun goes down, when it's cooler outside. Go to air-conditioned venues, such as museums, movie theaters and libraries. Visit the local pool when you need relief from the heat. I found an article with additional ideas in your area that you may want to consider: ilovememphisblog.com/2010/06/11-ways-to-stay-cool-in-memphis-this-summer.