Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Sexual Advances Remembered Years Later

DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that so many stories are coming out about sexual misconduct at work, I have remembered several incidents that I faced in my job when I was a young woman. I shrugged them off as part of life because my other female colleagues had mentioned that our boss was a serious flirt. As I recall it, though, I ended up leaving this particular job because my boss wouldn’t stop trying to get me to go to bed with him. He was married, and I was barely 20 years old. I have gone on to build a fine career for myself. I’m wondering, though, if I should add my voice to this discussion. My former boss is still running his company (even though he doesn’t own it) and still could be harassing women. I’m still working and don’t want to cause a problem for myself. What should I do? -- Speaking Up, Denver

DEAR SPEAKING UP: What is powerful about the groundswell of voices in what has come to be known as the #METOO movement is that there is power in numbers. As women (and men) in many fields have spoken up and told stories of how they were harassed on the job, the message is ringing loudly that it is not OK to violate another’s rights.

In your case, to protect yourself you may want to go to your current boss first and explain what you remember. Tell your boss you want to expose your former boss for the violations that occurred with you because you are concerned about his current employees. Keeping your boss in the know should protect you during this process.

Go to your former company’s owners -- whoever is above your former boss. Let them know what happened to you and that you think it’s important for them to know. Ask them if they intend to address it or if it will be necessary for you to go to the press or social media to out this man.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just went through some old photos from my childhood, and I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I saw many old friends at events when we had a wonderful time together. I also saw friends who have already died. And most of us don’t look anything like we did when we were young. I have been struggling with my weight and health for a few years now. Seeing myself as a young person makes me realize I didn’t take good care of myself. I feel ashamed. Part of me feels it’s too late to turn things around. My doctor says that if I work hard, I can regain good health. Seeing the photos makes me long for the past when things weren’t so hard. -- Giving Up, Raleigh, North Carolina

DEAR GIVING UP: Let those old photos inspire you -- not to become your teenage self, but to claim good health and work toward it. You may also want to reach out to old friends to reconnect with them. Don’t let your transformation over the years hold you back. Everybody has changed, not just you. Enjoy your friends and move your body.

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