DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always felt uneasy meeting with people alone. One-on-one meetings give me anxiety. I used to have a job where people understood this, but at my new job, I am not sure how to get this message across. One of my co-workers understands and comes to meetings to sit in with me. No one really understands my anxiety toward one-on-one meetings, and the more frustrated I get with myself, the more anxious I become.
I work at a communications firm and cannot get through a meeting with my boss without needing a break. If I get fired, I'm not sure if I could say I was discriminated against. I don't want to have to think so negatively, but my anxiety is truly impacting how I do my job. Should I mention to my boss that firing me could be seen as discrimination? -- Struggling on the Job, Philadelphia
DEAR STRUGGLING ON THE JOB: I recommend that you get psychological support. If you have insurance, find a psychologist who is covered by your plan. If you don't, look for affordable professionals in your area. The point is to get help to work through your anxiety. There is likely some underlying reason for your discomfort that you may be able to work through so that you can be released from your fear.
Rather than trying to fight with your boss about discrimination, tell him about your apprehension and ask for his patience as you work through it.