Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Cousin Worried About Job Meltdown

DEAR HARRIETTE: My cousin had a meltdown moment. She was hired for a new job after months of unemployment. After her first day, she quit because she was freaked out by the terms of the job and the intensity of it. She took the job because she is afraid to be broke, but she felt she couldn't stay there. I told her that I thought it was rash to quit so quickly. She agrees, but it's too late now. I suggested that she send a note to the business owner apologizing for her behavior but not asking for the job back. I think she should keep looking until she finds something that she can commit to. She is wondering if she should beg for the job back even though she didn't like it. -- Shake Her Out of It, Brooklyn, N.Y.

DEAR SHAKE HER OUT OF IT: Unless your cousin felt she was in danger, it was rash to quit so quickly. However, as you pointed out, she quit already -- it is hard to reset that button.

Your cousin needs to sit still for a few minutes, review what she wants to do with her life and come up with a strategy. Sure, it would be great to get the perfect job, but when you are unemployed, any job can often be better than none. Your cousin needs a reality check. Is she interviewing? How close is she to securing other job opportunities? How long will her unemployment last?

She should also ask herself why she reacted so dramatically. What happened that made her quit so abruptly? She needs to search her soul to determine how she reached that precipice so that she does not do it again. Desperation, especially about lack of employment, can cloud people's vision. Finding calm in the middle of emotional stress is difficult, but it is the only way she will be able to get back on track. Suggest that she do some relaxation exercises, including yoga and deep breathing. As she calms down and looks at her life through sober vision, she will have a better chance of figuring out her next steps.

DEAR HARRIETTE: This is a response to the woman who doesn't want her children to participate in Halloween activities for religious reasons. I would suggest her church have a "Trunk-or-Treat" event. This is where church members circle their cars with their trunks open, and children visit each car for Bible stories, candy, fellowship, etc. -- Christian Solution, Ann Arbor, Mich.

DEAR CHRISTIAN SOLUTION: I like this idea in that it makes a creative twist on the popular activities of the holiday. Rather than drawing attention to the dark side of Halloween that is often celebrated, this activity creates space for children to have fun as it reinforces their faith.

I will add, though, that it will likely spark conversation about the overall Halloween holiday. Parents need to be ready to talk about why they have created their own version of the holiday and what troubles them about the mainstream tradition. There is always a teachable moment.