Dear Amy: I am incredibly hurt by not being invited to either of my two employees’ baby showers. It’s just the three of us in this office. Because of my choice to provide growth and creative opportunities for these employees, as well as flexibility and generous compensation and benefits — my life is pretty miserable.
They are flourishing while I am left with a hugely complicated list of administrative tasks, including being a one-person HR department.
This is in addition to managing the many other responsibilities essential to the existence of the organization.
It is very hard to find someone willing and able to handle these essential but extremely boring tasks, although I keep trying, while I chip away.
We all know a lot about each other’s personal lives, which are entwined in various ways (through relatives and friends), and I care about them very much.
This feels like a personal rejection. Do you think I am overreacting?
— Hurt Boss
Dear Hurt Boss: I don’t think you are overreacting.
After addressing this with these women calmly and honestly, you should also reassess your business model.
You’ve described your own life as “pretty miserable,” while these employees flourish. The experience of small organization proprietors is one of extreme hard work and sacrifice, but you should not place your own needs below that of the people who work for you. Ideally, everyone flourishes, each in their own way.
Perhaps you could rebalance the workload, offering your employees fewer creative opportunities and more of the administrative tasks which you currently shoulder.
If you professionalize your office experience, you’ll create more of a boundary between yourself and these employees; thus you would also be less hurt by their personal choices.
Dear Amy: We live in a quiet cul-de-sac. Our homes are spread apart and noise has never been an issue.
Our next-door neighbor is a sweet widow.
When the pandemic hit, her thirtysomething son “Brad,” who worked in the restaurant industry, moved in with her to make ends meet after his restaurant was shut down.
He has a car that has been modified to be very, very loud.
You can hear it coming from almost a mile away.
Their garage is right next to our master bedroom. Brad has a habit of starting the car and sitting for up to 30 minutes before he leaves the driveway.
He will also sit for an extended period before he turns off the car when he arrives home, which — because of his shift — is often in the middle of the night.
We didn’t say anything initially, believing Brad’s tenancy was only temporary.
But it’s been three years now, and he recently purchased another vehicle — one that is louder than the first!
Because we have waited so long, I feel bad saying something, and struggle with what to say.
What should we do?
— Vroomed Out
Dear Vroomed Out: Most towns have noise ordinances, and “Brad’s” hot rod is likely violating yours.
Tolerance is a virtue, but so is speaking frankly about an issue when it first comes up. This gives everyone the benefit of making adjustments.
I assume that Brad’s car bothers everyone in the area as he circles the cul de sac at night and then sits with the motor running (this also likely violates a local ordinance). And imagine the impact on his mother!
So — tell him now. Say, “Brad, we appreciate having you as a neighbor, but our bedroom is right next to your garage. Your new car is even louder than your previous car and you sometimes run the engine for several minutes right underneath our window. I should have said something sooner, but can you be more aware of the impact on us?”
That’s the friendly first attempt. Depending on his response, you might need to rev up your efforts.
Dear Amy: “Frustrated Mom’s” letter was ridiculous, and your answer was terrible.
Grandmothers the world over have given their grandchildren treats and sweets, and let them do things they can’t do at home.
You should not side with parents who insist on ridiculous rules.
Dear Upset: I am a grandmother and … yes I do side with parents and respect their basic rules when their children are with me.
Do we enjoy an occasional soft serve ice cream for dinner and an overly long game of mini golf afterward? Guilty.
But do I let them open secret social media accounts to use at my house, as this grandmother had done? Nope.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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