Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

New Employee Worried About Job Expectations

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got a job -- finally. I am excited but also a bit worried. I will be working at an upscale restaurant that has many expectations about how the staff behaves. They expect us to speak perfect English and to know all of the rules of etiquette. I’m not sure how I was hired, because there is so much that I do not know. Still, I will give it my all. Do you have any recommendations for how I can get up to speed quickly? -- Knowing the Rules

DEAR KNOWING THE RULES: The good news is that you were hired even though you don’t think you have all of the skills. This means that your employer has faith in you. What you can do is to get some books to review the basics of etiquette. You may want to look at etiquette podcasts for guidance, too. These are from the Emily Post Foundation: You can also get a grammar book to study the nuances of grammar to help you refine your public speaking. You may consider joining Toastmasters, an organization that teaches communications skills.

Finally, you should talk to your supervisor and ask if there is a manual or other handbook that is used at the restaurant that can help you to master your job.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am confused about our current political landscape. When I listen to the president talk, I hear him proudly saying all of these things that he has done for the benefit of this group or that. Then I listen to a variety of pundits who discredit each point with tremendous energy. I can’t tell what is the truth. How can I figure it out? -- Where Is the Truth?

DEAR WHERE IS THE TRUTH?: If your goal is to discover the truth independent of political party, you will need to do a lot of digging. You have to look at what the president and others say and then look at news sites on both sides of the aisle to see how they are being unpacked. Further, search online for legal documents that may provide evidence of truth. You may be able to find them in the Congressional Record.

Beyond that, your responsibility is to sort through all that you find and hear and make an assessment of what you believe to be true. In politics it is difficult to know for sure when the truth is being told. That seems horrible, I know. But the reality is that politicians often twist the truth to support their claims.

You should know that whether or not you support the president, there are positive things that the administration has done as well as some that are questionable. Your job as an American citizen is to pay attention so that you are aware of what is happening with our government. When you appreciate something, say as much. When you object to something, speak up. You can write to the president, write to Congress and communicate with the news media to share your views.

(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.)