Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Disturbed Seeing Deceased on Social Media

DEAR HARRIETTE: When someone passes away in this day and age, it is a little unnerving that all of their social media gets left behind.

There was a younger student who passed in my community whose family uses his social media accounts to post sad messages such as “Bobby would've loved this weather!” on warm days. Is it immoral to delete this account from my friends list? I don't want to dishonor the dead, but I feel as though they are misusing the account. -- Sad Status, Milwaukee

DEAR SAD STATUS: You have touched upon a new dilemma that many are facing. For one, the fact that a friend or family member had one or more social media outlets that remain open and potentially active can be both unnerving and oddly comforting for loved ones who are left behind. In the early days of a person’s death, these points of contact can be useful as they may be the way that loved ones learn about a person’s passing, details of the memorial service and other immediate considerations. Beyond that, it is true that sometimes family and friends keep the pages going. This has a lot to do with not being able to let go.

For each grieving person, the process is different as to how long you hold on to these connections that no longer are directly between you and the person who is now gone. You must gauge for yourself when you no longer want to hear from others who loved the person. Know that you have no reason to feel bad when you do let go. Ultimately, you have to live your life and be present for yourself and the people who are alive with you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: After unsuccessful freelancing attempts, I have begun working for the family business. I started off with an hourly wage, but now I am in talks of receiving a salary. I don't know how to charge my own family. I also don't know how to even begin calculating how much I am “worth.” -- Business Meets Family, Little Rock, Arkansas

DEAR BUSINESS MEETS FAMILY: Especially when you begin to work in a family business, is it incumbent upon you to do your research in every way. Learn everything you can about the industry that your family is in. Discover how your family’s business compares to similar businesses in your town, state and in the country. Figure out what the average salaries are for employees in a range of jobs that your company offers, particularly the one that you will be filling.

Be clear about what you have to offer to the family business so that you are properly matched in the company to support a successful engagement. When you present the salary that you believe best represents your value and contribution along with what the market considers fair, you will be better able to support your argument for this amount and inspire your family to view the company through this professional lens as well. Good luck!

(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.)