Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Employee Desires More Quiet in the Office

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in an office with a lot of young people who are pretty rambunctious and loud. I hate sounding like an old lady, but it is hard for me to get my work done because they are either gossiping with each other, looking at videos online or otherwise talking. I don’t understand how they do it. Some of our work requires focus and quiet in order to get done. I don’t want to turn into one of those old farts who is always complaining about the young ones, but I can’t concentrate. Can I ask them to tone it down or go to another room when they need to talk a lot? We have a room just for that purpose, but they don’t use it. -- Needing Silence, Washington, D.C.

DEAR NEEDING SILENCE: Since the group of young folks do not use the break room, can you use it? It will be hard for you to corral a whole group of noisy people and get them to be still. It’s far more efficient for you to find a way to isolate yourself. In this way, you get to do your work in peace, and they get the freedom to work the way that makes them feel at ease.

By the way, what may seem like fun to you, such as watching videos, could actually be looking at material for work. These days, everything is online. Don’t judge them; find yourself a quiet place to work. And hang out with them sometimes, too. It will teach you how they think and keep you young!

DEAR HARRIETTE: My college friend’s best friend just died. It is so weird. He looked fine in the photos she used to post of him and of the two of them hanging out. When I asked her about it, she said that he had high blood pressure and other ailments and that as much as she tried to get him to take care of himself, he never really did. He was not even 60 yet.

This death scares me. I have high blood pressure, too. I do take my medicine, and in recent years I have started to exercise. Honestly, I have been slow to step up to take care of myself. I worry that it could be too late for me, too. I am afraid to go to the doctor. I am embarrassed that I could be near death. I promised myself that I wouldn’t end up like my father’s family, and here I am. What can I do? -- On the Edge, Atlanta

DEAR ON THE EDGE: It is time to be vigorously proactive. Schedule a physical immediately. In order to protect yourself and get on course, you need to know what you are facing. Heredity figures in to your health, as do your eating and exercise habits. Commit to eating as suggested by a doctor or nutritionist and moving your body at least three times a week. This sounds like basic stuff to some people, but if this has not been your practice, it can seem insurmountable. That’s why the concept of "one day at a time" is so important. If you do something each day to fortify your health, it is likely that you will become healthier.

(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.)