DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a college student who has started at a new job recently, and I really love it. However, I have a problem. At first I didn't notice it, but now I realize that my boss is hitting on me. When it started, the things he did seemed like simple nice gestures, which I thought nothing of, but now it is obvious. I am at a loss. Recently, he asked me out, and I don't really know what I should do. He is nice, and he is not some creepy old man -- he is 26, and I am 20. My friends say I should report him, but I don't want to lose this great job, and he seems like a nice guy. -- Confronted, Denver
DEAR CONFRONTED: Rather than report him, speak to your boss directly. I know it can seem difficult to stand up to an adult, but I recommend that you ask him if you can have a moment of his time. Then, tell him you are flattered that he wants to go out with you, but that you want to keep your relationship strictly professional. Tell him that you hope he understands. Tell him that you love your job and appreciate the opportunity to work there. Tell him that you are not interested in dating the boss.
By speaking to him directly, you may be able to squash the situation. If, however, you feel that there will be repercussions, go to human resources and explain what has occurred and what your concerns are.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am graduating college next year, and I have no idea what I want to do exactly. I have a general idea that I want to do something with law. For some reason, my dad seems to always make me feel bad for not having a plan mapped out. While I understand where he is coming from, it makes me feel like because I do not have this clear plan of my life already made, I am setting myself up for failure. I try to avoid these conversations with my father, but it is hard.
The one good thing is that my mother is very supportive and pretty patient in terms of letting me figure it out for myself. She is more of a "live life in the present" kind of person, whereas my dad is a future-thinking kind of guy. What should I do? This issue is putting a damper on our relationship to the point where I don't want to spend time with him at all. It is driving me crazy. -- Undecided, Boston
DEAR UNDECIDED: Do not get distracted by your parents. It is time for you to map out a plan for your life. It does not have to be the be-all and end-all plan. But you do need to take steps to make yourself employable. Talk to a career counselor about employment options and continuing your education. An advanced degree in an area of your choice could be a way to buy time before going into the workplace.