Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned that a woman I used to work with is running one of my favorite cosmetics companies. That is really big news, and part of me wants to congratulate her. But a bigger part of me hates her. She was horrible to me and plenty of other employees when we worked with her. She targeted a whole group of us for downsizing, and, rather than calling it what it was, she started questioning our job performance. Can I prove any of this? Not exactly, but I know it happened. We did not sue or anything. But I mention this backstory because it makes my blood boil every time I think of it. So imagine how conflicted I was when I learned that she got this big fat job at MY favorite company. Part of me wants to write to the owner to say, "Watch out. She's a snake." The other part says just leave it alone and say nothing. What do you think? -- Mad All Over Again, Chicago

DEAR MAD ALL OVER AGAIN: Leave well enough alone, as my mother used to say. Since you chose not to call her on what you thought was unethical or illegal behavior when you had the chance, it doesn't make sense for you to pose hypotheticals now. Leave her alone. If you learn of any wrongdoing from her company in the future, that's when you can add your voice. Otherwise, stay out of it.

You should also know that she may have been following company policy when she orchestrated the downsizing at your old job. She may have come up with the plan, or she may simply have been the voice for the company's needs. Point is, what she did was probably bigger than her. Holding a grudge against her does you no good.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son used to be on the football team at his school, but he got kicked off because of poor grades. My husband and I have been telling him for months that if he doesn't get it together, he will suffer consequences. Now he is moping around the house feeling sorry for himself. That isn't helping him either. He needs to buckle down and do his schoolwork. How can we convince him that this is a good idea? -- Worried, Milwaukee

DEAR WORRIED: Sometimes it takes defeat for someone to wake up to a shortcoming. Sometimes it takes more than that. Get your son evaluated for any learning disabilities, and find out what kind of support he needs to get up to speed on his classes. Invest in a tutor for the subjects where he is weak, if you can. Instead of scolding him, talk to him about his future and about the need to excel, even in areas that do not interest him. Tell him true stories from your life or of others he may know when working hard and struggling through difficulty paid off. He needs to be inspired to see that staying focused and deciding he can achieve is worth it. If the love of the game is still in him, wave that flag, too. He may be able to enjoy playing football again if he gets his grades up.