Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Staying Late at Work Shows Dedication to Job

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just started a new job. I am a salaried employee, which means I don’t get paid anything extra for any overtime hours. When I accepted the job, I was told the hours varied based on how much work you get done each day, but generally I'd work from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

I’ve been working here only a week, but every day, most the office stays past 6. I feel awkward getting up and leaving at 6, considering I’m the only one and I’m new. Do you think I should talk to the CEO to go over my hours again? -- Leaving Early, New York City

DEAR LEAVING EARLY: I can tell you the legal reality of your situation and also what’s practical. Legally, if you do not get paid overtime, you do not have to work extra hours. You are working the hours that were specified for you when you were hired.

That said, in my personal experience, I have always worked the extra hours, coming in early and leaving late. Nobody told me to do this, but it served me well. I know that this has been true for other people, too. If your job is one that has space to rise up the ladder, you want to show your boss that you are a team player who is willing to go the distance.

For now, I recommend that you follow your boss’s work schedule. Arrive before or at the same time he or she arrives, and leave when your boss leaves. Your dedication to the work and obvious interest in being a team player will be noticed. It may take time before you are rewarded financially for your commitment, but chances are it will come. Patience is key here. If you are able to be patient and learn the ropes as you prove your value to the company, you will create the opportunity for you to soar.

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Old Friend's Roommate Jealous of Reader

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been friends with my best friend since we were 8 years old. She’s more like a sister than a friend. We’re now both in college, but remain very close. Whenever I FaceTime her, call her or even go to visit her at college, her roommate gives me the cold shoulder. She is rude to me for no reason, and we don’t get along. It may sound weird, but I think she gets jealous of how close my friend and I are. How do I handle this situation so that it's not awkward every time we see each other? -- Battle of the Friends, Philadelphia

DEAR BATTLE OF THE FRIENDS: As friends make transitions in their lives, many interpersonal dynamics change. That includes how you interact as young adults compared to as little girls. Both you and your best friend need to figure out how to stay close without alienating her roommate. Why? Because her roommate is there every day, and your friend must cultivate a way to live with her peacefully.

This does not mean that you should walk away from your friendship. You should work together to make the roommate feel welcome when you are together. Include her when you talk via FaceTime and especially when you are together. You may even want to speak to her together about starting over so that you can get along better. Sometimes calling out the elephant in the room is helpful.

(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.)

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