Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Upset By Former Colleague's Lies of Omission

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am struggling with how to handle a conflict with a former colleague who basically has rewritten history.

I hired a woman years ago to work with me on a project. The way she describes her work at the time doesn’t include me at all. It’s amazing to see how she talks about what turned out to be a pivotal period for her, and it is as if I wasn’t even there. Yet she literally worked under my direction.

This might not bother me as much, but she has been featured in the national media recently, and she highlights this period in her work history and talks about it as if she were the leader of the team. She doesn’t mention me at all. I’m dumbfounded by it. I don’t go around tooting my own horn, but this is ridiculous. In fact, a lot of people have brought this oversight to my attention because it is obviously untrue if you know anything about the company and the period of time she is describing. Part of me wants to write to the media outlets and clarify the truth with them. Or should I just confront her about her lies of omission? -- Revisionist History

DEAR REVISIONIST HISTORY: I would start with the direct approach. Reach out to your former colleague and ask if you can get together to talk. Congratulate her on the positive media she has been getting, and then ask her why she has chosen to tell an incomplete story. Point out what you believe the truth to be about the period in question. Say how disappointed you were to discover that when she tells her story, she puts herself in a role that she didn’t have while eliminating you from yours entirely. Tell her that many people have reached to you, upset over what she has said. Point out that it was recommended that you clarify it by going directly to the media sources that reported it wrong, but you decided to come to her first.

Listen to what she has to say. If you do not believe she is going to correct her mistakes, you may want to go to the media outlets, but only if you feel it is necessary for your own career. Engaging the media could turn it into a bigger mess.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like peer pressure is taking away my teenage son’s brain. It was freezing this week, and my son tried to go to school wearing shorts. Shorts! I mean, it snowed a week ago. I know that kids these days don’t like to wear coats and other basic winter attire, but shorts? That's taking it too far.

This has become a battle with my son. How can I get him to understand that dressing to match the weather is a sign of intelligence? -- Poor Wardrobe Choices

DEAR POOR WARDROBE CHOICES: Stop fighting with your son and put your foot down, as my mother used to say. Tell him that he has to wear long pants until the weather gets warm. Period.

If your son continues to defy you, take away a key privilege, like the use of his cellphone. For many people, especially teens, the cellphone is their lifeline. You have to pick something that will make your son pay attention to you and realize that you are serious -- then you have to follow through.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)