DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who suffered a serious health setback earlier this year.
She is improving. In some ways, it seems miraculous. But there is still a lot of rehabilitative work to do.
The problem is that my friend thinks she is ready to do anything, and she’s not. She told me that she is about to make a pitch to her old job to see if she can come back. I know these people really like her, but she did physical work, and her body just isn’t up to that yet.
How can I help her to be more realistic about what’s happening with her? I don’t want her to get her feelings hurt when she tries to get reinstated for a job she cannot do right now.
— Want To Help
DEAR WANT TO HELP: Tell your friend you want to help her prepare for her discussion with her old job.
Invite her to pitch her idea to you as a sounding board. Respond to the idea she presents and ask tough questions, including how she will be able to handle the physical challenges of the job. Then encourage her to think of what she has the strength and capability to do. Is there another role at her old job that might be a better match right now?
Encourage her to be realistic about her current circumstance. Remind her gently of what you have seen her limitations to be. Further, let her know that as much as her former company may love her, they cannot hire her for a job that she is ill-equipped to handle.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriends and I take a vacation trip together every year. We have been doing this forever, it seems.
Since we’ve started, some of us have gotten married and had babies, some have gotten divorced — the whole nine. Due to life circumstances, people miss the trip occasionally, but mostly we carve out time to get together.
This year, I don’t think I can go. I got laid off from my job a few months ago and haven’t found another one yet. I can barely pay my mortgage these days, let alone splurge a few grand for this trip.
Still, I need this time with my girls.
Usually when people bail it’s because of those things I mentioned, like a baby or something. I don’t know if I want to tell them what happened. I don’t want them feeling sorry for me.
What should I say?
— No Girls Trip
DEAR NO GIRLS TRIP: Losing a job is a legitimate life circumstance. While it is stressful, it is not something you should hide.
Tell your friends you will not be joining them this year. Tell them before you have the stress of trying to get back deposits and disentangle from contracts. And yes, explain that finances are tight this year as you are currently unemployed. You hope to join them again next year.
If anyone offers to pay your way, consider that carefully. You may not want to set that precedent unless you feel it would be no burden on whomever offered.
If someone wants to talk to you about what’s going on, accept the overture. Rather than moping and sulking, though, talk about what you want to do next. Create a window for others to help you find a new job, not just console you for your loss.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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