DEAR HARRIETTE: Growing up has been difficult for me, as I have been suffering with low self-esteem for a long time. My nose has never been flattering, and kids made fun of it during elementary school. I have been saving up for five years, and I finally have enough money to get a nose job. Since I don’t have any close friends, I asked my mother to come with me to the doctor’s office to get a consultation. She has agreed, but she doesn't understand why I am so self-conscious about it. How can I get her understand my decision? -- Bad Nose, Westchester, New York
DEAR BAD NOSE: Share with your mother the things that people have said to you over the years and how those comments have made you feel. Speaking your truth may be therapeutic for you as well. I understand your mother’s question, by the way. The truth is, a nose job is no guarantee that you will suddenly have higher self-esteem. You have to work at that, no matter what. I recommend that you start saying affirmations to yourself about your good qualities -- your intelligence, your kindness, your thriftiness (you have saved a lot of money!) and any other qualities that you can name. Reminding yourself of your value and surrounding yourself with others who support you are key to building a positive view of yourself.
If you truly want the nose job, go for it. But be clear that working on your inner self is what will help you to feel your best.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got a job at a bank -- my dream job.
Right away, I made the biggest mistake in my career: I miscounted money that I was giving to a customer and gave the customer $200 more than they had asked for. It was a rookie mistake. I should have double-checked the money, but I didn’t. Instead of telling my boss, I changed the total amount in the system to cover my mistake until I came up with a better plan. I told my co-worker my situation, and instead of having my back, she told our manager about it. My manager fired me on the spot, and now my career in finance is officially ruined. How can I plead my case and talk my way into getting my job back? -- Mismanaged Money, Boston
DEAR MISMANAGED MONEY: This is a tough one, not so much because you miscounted and gave away too much money, but because you lied about it and attempted to cover it up. Your integrity is in question, and that is a very difficult thing to repair.
Speak to your former boss, apologize and admit that you know you made a huge mistake. Tell him what you were planning, which, I assume, was to find a way to put the money back in the next day. Confess that you realize your plan was not appropriate, that you panicked and that you are terribly sorry. Ask for a second chance. If that doesn't work, you can ask your boss to not badmouth you to future employers if they call for a reference check.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)