Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Assistant Might Need Help With Drinking Problem

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a lovely new assistant who helped me tremendously at a recent conference where I was a vendor and presenter. Everything was going great until the champagne started flowing. She turned into a monster. She got loud, obnoxious and belligerent. I was shocked. I didn't know what to say to her. It was awkward because others noticed. How should I handle this? -- Mouth Hanging Open, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MOUTH HANGING OPEN: Be direct with her. Tell her you want to review the event and go over how it worked. Tell her what went well, and give her specific kudos for the things she mastered. This is important so that she knows what you value. Then describe the behavior that was unacceptable. Paint a clear picture. Let her know that she represents you and that as your representative she must always carry herself as you do. Otherwise, she cannot continue to work for you. Make a strict no-alcohol policy at all work events.

You may want to ask her if she needs help. She may have a drinking problem that needs to be nipped in the bud.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I asked a neighbor to watch my dog, which I do from time to time. This time she agreed, but I later learned that she let somebody else take care of him when she went out of town for a day. I was gone for a week, and we agreed that she was in charge. I don't like that she pawned off my baby to somebody else. What can I say to her? -- Dog Lover, Chicago

DEAR DOG LOVER: This is why people use kennels. Though you cannot ensure that nothing will go wrong in a kennel, you do know that you are paying for a specific service.

In your friend's case, ask her why she put your dog in another's care. You don't know what happened in her life that changed her plans. How is your dog? If it is fine, maybe this is a nonissue. Figure out why you are upset and mindfully let her know. Use a kennel in the future.