Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Co-worker Should Focus on Work at the Job

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have spent the past six months working out almost every day. I am proud of myself because I had almost given up. I had gotten to the point where no matter what I did, I wouldn’t lose a pound. To be fair, I was a stop-and-start kind of exerciser. But still, I tried. This year I have been consistent, and it’s finally paying off. I feel good about myself even though it’s going slowly. A colleague of mine has noticed my work and has started to rib me. She is super fit, always eats healthy food and goes to the gym five times a week. She has taken to bragging about her workout whenever I mention anything I have done. I find it annoying and petty. Everybody can see she’s practically a bodybuilder. Why can’t she cut me some slack? I appreciate when people compliment me on my effort. Do I have to stop telling my story in order to get her to lighten up? -- Pushed Aside, Denver

DEAR PUSHED ASIDE: Focus on your job when at work and find other people to validate your fitness efforts in the off-hours. You could ask co-workers to work out with you if there’s someone who seems interested, but otherwise don’t even try to compete for airtime with this woman. You do you. Eat healthy. Continue your workouts, and build a base of support that extends far beyond your office. This will make it easier for you to notice your co-worker, appreciate what she has accomplished and continue on your path to health and fitness.

Unemployed Friend Needs Support

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend got fired from her job last week, and she is flipping out. She says she doesn’t have enough money to pay her rent and to take care of her basic bills. She was working a job that had low pay because she had been out of work for nearly a year when she was laid off the first time. I don’t have any extra money to help her, and I also don’t have space for her to live with me. I am worried she could end up homeless. Right now she is in no state to go on a job interview. She is way too upset. What can I do to support her? I would like to be there for her, but I don’t know what to do. -- Help a Friend, Detroit

DEAR HELP A FRIEND: Be honest and clear with your friend. Tell her you want to help her. Let her know you can’t offer money or shelter, but you can offer a listening ear. You can also ask important questions. If she got laid off, she should be able to collect unemployment insurance. Suggest that she apply immediately so she can get some income to help her during this transition period. Encourage her to get her papers in order and contact any creditors to ask for mercy. Many will offer a grace period for payments if they know what’s going on. Suggest she brush up her resume and think about what skills she can put to work. Through this process, she may calm down enough to begin thinking about next steps.