Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Potentially Postponed Conference Causes Job Panic

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been planning a conference for my business for almost a year now. In the midst of this coronavirus scare, many conferences are being canceled, and I am getting worried. My company counts on this conference as its primary source of revenue each year. If we have to postpone it, I don’t know if I will still have a job. So much hinges on whether or not this event occurs. What can I do to help with my own job security at a time when we really are not in control? -- Facing Reality

DEAR FACING REALITY: The effects of this public health crisis on each one of us are so far-reaching that we do not yet know how our businesses and very livelihoods will be affected in the near and long term.

In times of uncertainty, survivors get creative. This is what you need to do now. Think about how this conference can be salvaged. Is there a way to turn it into a virtual event, where participants can subscribe and still have the benefit of the information and engagement, but from a distance? Perhaps you can even incorporate speakers in your virtual conference by having them speak via a video streaming service. Keep thinking. If you make yourself invaluable by using your creativity to effect positive change for your company, you create job security.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend’s father died, and the funeral is coming up. He was an elder in the community, and many of his friends want to honor him at his service -- but the recommendation for the elderly is that they not go out in the midst of this health scare. We live in an area that has been identified as having many cases of the coronavirus.

My father wants to go to the service, but I think I should discourage him. I have been talking to some of my friends whose parents are in the same predicament. I want to recommend that we, their children, go to the service but leave our parents at home. What do you think? -- Quarantine and Grief

DEAR QUARANTINE AND GRIEF: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the group at highest risk from this disease is our elderly community. Because many elders also have compromised health, it is recommended that they do all in their power to avoid contact with others who may have been exposed to the virus, as their chances of survival are diminished based on their preexisting health challenges.

With that in mind, your idea is a good one. It will be important for the family to have representation of loved ones at the funeral services. By encouraging your generation to attend the funeral -- people who grew up with this man and can appropriately honor him -- you will support the grieving family without exposing the surviving older generation to the potential for infection.

(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.)