Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Woman's Abrupt Manner Leads to Issues

DEAR HARRIETTE: I worked for a year on a project with a woman who had good intentions but who was often late and even more often was abrupt in the way she talked to me and to others on our team. I endured it during those 12 months, but I’m wondering if I want to work with her anymore. It was hard, and I’m kind of sensitive to lots of things, including timeliness and communication style. She is a team member and equal to me, but her behavior makes it hard to work as a team.

I was recently asked by the boss to stay on. I can use the money, but I worry that I will become angry if I have to keep making up for what this woman lacks. What can I do? -- Filling the Divide, Milwaukee

DEAR FILLING THE DIVIDE: Talk with your boss about the opportunity being offered to you. Thank him or her for believing in you and wanting to keep you on the team. Describe to the boss what you like about the job and ask if you can share what you consider the difficulties to be. Explain that you have experienced conflict with the woman in question. Admit you have considered not staying on at the company because of the specific interactions you have had with this woman. Ask if the boss can help make the work experience more comfortable.

Know that you risk losing your job by bringing this up. Since you were ready to walk anyway, you might as well tell your boss what your concerns are. He or she may not be aware of what’s going on in the office and may be able to help.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School | Money

Full Social Calendar Leads to Exhaustion

DEAR HARRIETTE: The fall season is upon us, and it’s busy for me. I am happy that I have lots to do at work and in my social life, but I can’t figure out how to juggle everything. Just last week, I was invited to three events on one night and at least two on every other weeknight. I am young, and I understand this is my time to be out and about, but I can’t do everything. It’s making me too tired at work. How do I manage my schedule, bow out of some things gracefully and not make enemies? -- On the Go, Newark, New Jersey

DEAR ON THE GO: Keep a schedule of your week, including all key work duties as well as all invitations. Prioritize the invites that will further your career ambitions, expand your knowledge or fortify your friends and family. Your goal should be to strike a balance in your life between work and play. Agree to attend the key events and stay there only until the time that you know is your cutoff.

When you know you are overextended, RSVP that you cannot attend. You can write a brief note saying you are sure it will be a great event and you regret not being able to be there. Be honest with yourself and those who have invited you.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Work & School | Friends & Neighbors | Holidays & Celebrations