Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Struggles to Stay Motivated Amid Turnover

DEAR HARRIETTE: I accepted a position at a company that’s been experiencing a lot of turnover. I didn’t know this until I started working here, and I find that it makes it hard for me to stay motivated when I see people leaving every few months. The office is fairly small (around 20), yet I have seen four new hires in my two months working here. How can I stay motivated at a company where all the others just pack their bags when it gets tough? -- Keep Your Head Up, Arlington, Virginia

DEAR KEEP YOUR HEAD UP: Set a goal for yourself at this company, something big enough to be a stretch. Next, map out a strategy to meet that goal that includes working with fellow team members to show your collaborative spirit but that allows for enough independence that if someone were to leave, it wouldn’t handicap you. When people leave, say goodbye as you keep your eyes on your prize. You should know that people who stay at jobs long enough to make a positive and long-lasting impact on the company, its staff and the bottom line tend to move on successfully to other businesses because they are establishing track records of success that will follow them. You have a chance to build a stellar reputation of being responsible, hard-working, loyal and committed by keeping yourself focused -- no matter who goes through that revolving door.

Read more in: Mental Health | Work & School

Father's Hoarding Embarrasses Reader

DEAR HARRIETTE: My father is a hoarder. He saves everything from his old teeth to plastic bags. It revolts me and causes me embarrassment. He grew up during a war, so I sympathize with his compulsion to keep whatever goods he can. Luckily for me, we live oceans apart, and I don’t have to see the living conditions he brazenly fights for. (The family has tried helping to no avail.)

My husband has never met my father, and has recently expressed interest in taking a trip. I have never told him much about my father, and I don’t want them to meet. How can I keep the men in my life separate? -- Honesty Isn’t the Best Policy, Los Angeles

DEAR HONESTY ISN’T THE BEST POLICY: Don’t allow your embarrassment over your father’s life circumstances deprive your husband of meeting him. Instead, tell the truth. Admit that you are embarrassed because you have no idea what state your father’s home will be in since you know he’s a hoarder. Tell your husband that the thought of a visit makes your skin crawl, but you love both of them enough to make the effort. Without belaboring the reality of your father’s physical circumstances, tell your husband what you know and what the family has told you.

Then, focus on the good things. Share stories with your husband about your father that reveal his character as well as anything you remember about your interactions growing up with him. Be descriptive as you show positive, illustrative stories that will help paint a picture of who your father is.

(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: Family & Parenting | Love & Dating | Mental Health | Health & Safety