Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Independent Contractor Spends Too Much Time in Car

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am working with an independent contractor on a fundraising project. He seems to be good at what he does, but he does a lot of traveling to get to meetings. I feel like he spends more time driving to and from appointments than actually getting the work done. In this day and age, it seems like plenty of meetings could be handled by telephone or Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or some other interactive technology that is more efficient than jumping in a car to drive for a couple of hours. How can I get my point across to this man? He is kind of old-school and likes meeting face to face, but we have deadlines we are dealing with, and I worry that his travel is getting in the way of meeting them. -- Park Your Car

DEAR PARK YOUR CAR: Speak up, express your concerns and share your suggestions. Since this man is accustomed to the personal touch of meeting in person, he may think he’s not being professional to switch to making a call -- even if it does include video. Here’s your chance to educate him on the way many people conduct meetings these days.

You may want to guide this man through the process to ensure that he knows how to facilitate such a meeting with ease. Since you are proficient with this technology, it may seem like a piece of cake to you. Some of these commonly used technological features seem daunting for people who have yet to engage them. Make it easy for him to learn how to step into the future.

DEAR HARRIETTE: A woman volunteered to help me at an event I hosted a few months ago. She had smart ideas and did a good job, but she brought a whole lot of drama with her. She was loud. She is a chain smoker, so she kept having to go outside for cigarette breaks; every time she walked back in, a cloud of smoke trailed her. Generally, her energy was a bit off-putting.

This woman recently reached out to me to say she wants to help out at my next event. I am not sure I want to do that. I appreciate her generosity, but I worry that just being herself will be too much for me. How do I handle this? I want to be sensitive to her. I can’t really say, "I don’t want you because I don’t like the way you behave," can I? -- Not a Good Fit

DEAR NOT A GOOD FIT: You can graciously decline her offer. How? Respond to her, thanking her for her offer to support you. Then tell her that you have the help you need already and you will not be needing her services. It can be that simple. You do not owe her an explanation.

(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.)