I didn’t help a for­mer co-worker and re­gret it 40 years later

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

Dear Abby: About 40 years ago, I did some­one an in­jus­tice, and I have felt guilty ever since. I worked for a con­sult­ing firm in Washington, D.C., that fired an ac­count­ing clerk who was in my small of­fice. I didn’t know why she was fired, and I never heard a cross word ex­changed be­tween her and her su­per­vi­sor. She seemed to be ca­pa­ble and friendly.

A prospec­tive em­ployer called me for a ref­er­ence, and be­cause my com­pany told me that it did not re­spond to re­quests for ref­er­ences, I didn’t give her one. Ever since, I have wished I had shared what I knew about her.

If I was al­lowed a do-over, I would have told the em­ployer about my pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with her and my be­lief that she was ca­pa­ble and friendly. Her be­ing Black and not hav­ing my ref­er­ence may have in­creased her dif­fi­culty in find­ing a job. I am shar­ing this with your read­ers so they may avoid mak­ing a sim­i­lar mis­take. Guilt-Rid­den in Texas

Dear Guilt-Rid­den: Some com­pa­nies, on the ad­vice of their le­gal coun­sel, strictly ad­here to a pol­icy of dis­clos­ing only dates of hire and dis­charge of em­ploy­ees. This has noth­ing to do with race or eth­nic­ity. It was not a mis­take to do as your em­ploy­ers in­structed, and you should not feel guilty for hav­ing done so.

Dear Abby: My heart is heavy as I write this. Since the pan­demic started, my fa­therin-law has called us ev­ery cou­ple of weeks to ask if we are safe and OK. I have heard noth­ing from my own fa­ther.

I fi­nally called him, men­tion­ing that I thought he would call to check on us. His re­sponse was, “I’m the adult; you should be check­ing on me.” (I have two grown chil­dren and two grand­chil­dren, so I was taken aback by the thought that I was not an “adult.”) I men­tioned that be­cause he is not in a nurs­ing home, in jail or has to go to work, I fig­ured he was much safer than my hus­band and me, who still must go out to work ev­ery day and be in con­tact with hun­dreds of peo­ple.

I feel like my fa­ther doesn’t care about us like my fa­ther-in-law does. What do you think? Dis­ap­pointed in Florida

Dear Dis­ap­pointed: I agree that your fa­ther doesn’t care about you the same way your fa­ther-in-law does. He ap­pears to be so cen­tered upon him­self that there’s lit­tle room to worry about his “chil­dren’s” wel­fare.

What do I think? I think that if you love your fa­ther, you should give him an oc­ca­sional call, but when you do, ex­pect noth­ing in re­turn. And you should thank your lucky stars you have a dar­ling fa­ther-in-law who takes up the slack.

Dear Abby: I have two close, dear friends. They’re my in­ner cir­cle. Both are ex­tro­verts and quite talk­a­tive. I’m an in­tro­vert and qui­eter. My prob­lem is, I can’t get a word in edge­wise when we’re to­gether. I’m not sure how to tact­fully ad­dress this sub­ject with them. Any ideas? In­tro­vert in the South­west

Dear In­tro­vert: Yes. Speak up and say ex­actly what you told me — “Hey, folks, I can’t get a word in edge­wise!” If you say it with a smile, it shouldn’t be re­garded as in­sult­ing be­cause it’s the truth.

For ev­ery­thing you need to know about wed­ding plan­ning, or­der “How to Have a Lovely Wed­ding.” Send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus check or money or­der for $8, to: Dear Abby, Wed­ding Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. (Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.)

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at dearabby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

A PROSPEC­TIVE EM­PLOYER CALLED ME FOR A REF­ER­ENCE, AND BE­CAUSE MY COM­PANY TOLD ME THAT IT DID NOT RE­SPOND TO RE­QUESTS FOR REF­ER­ENCES,

I DIDN’T GIVE HER ONE.

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