DEAR HARRIETTE: I just hired a recent college graduate for her first full-time job. She's been doing a good job, but I can tell she's nervous about the three-month trial period that my company enforces. She's been here a month, and she constantly tries to do a good job, though she's made a few minor mistakes with the copier and coffee orders. I can't reassure her she'll have her job past the three-month period because she may get complacent, but I want her to stop being a ball of nerves at work. She's doing well! -- Reassurance, Denver
DEAR REASSURANCE: You can be a cheerleader. Point out to this young woman that this is her opportunity to demonstrate how well she can do the tasks she is given, as well as how quickly she can recover from mistakes. Point out that every single person makes mistakes -- from the boss all the way down to her. That's life. How you face and fix the mistakes you make is what the job requires.
Encourage her to relax into her role so that she can notice how best to do her job. Point out that staying skittish about the future is one way to cause more mistakes. She should try to feel confident in her ability to figure out how to solve problems, to ask questions when she has them and to stay committed to doing the very best that she can. If she can stay that course, she should be putting herself in the best possible position for success.