Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I love my job. My boss, “Hal,” is extremely generous. Hal can be demanding and exacting, but most of the successful people I have worked for were like that, and I’m used to it. Last week my mother was admitted to the hospital with a broken bone. I called Hal right away to let him know I was going to go straight to the hospital. Hal asked me to go to work before going to the hospital to type up some paperwork needed for an appointment that day. I was pretty shocked that he would ask this, but I did it. That afternoon, one of my co-workers sent me a text to let me know that some paperwork needed to be done early the next day. The co-worker offered (twice) to do the paperwork, but Hal insisted that I had to do it. My mother’s surgery was scheduled for 10 a.m., and the office knew this. I raced in to type up the paperwork, and by the time I was done, the surgery was over. I was there when she was brought to recovery, but I really wanted to be with my father during that time. It was obvious that I was extremely upset that Hal required me to come in, but he still didn’t get it. A co-worker explained to him why I was so upset. He then delivered a semi-apology, stating that he was sorry that I misunderstood him, and that they could have figured things out in my absence. So now I’m extremely angry. There are many positive aspects to the job, but this is really bothering me. How do I get over it?

Disenchanted Employee

DEAR DISENCHANTED: You work for someone who is not particularly clued-in to the nuances of human cues. If you want a different outcome, you should try to handle things differently.

Some of your communication regarding this emergency was second-hand, relayed back and forth through co-workers.

In the future, if you have an emergency, you should communicate this to him by saying, “I have a medical emergency in the family. I’ll need to take a personal day to deal with it, and likely a half-day tomorrow.”

If he asks you to come in to the office instead, you can try to offer him a clear-cut path toward him achieving his goal: “Jerry has all the paperwork you need and I’ll ask him to submit it to you,” or a simple, “I’m sorry. I won’t be able to come in this morning.”

As it is, you went in to the office, competently performed the task, and so he was left with the understanding that you were able to juggle both the work deadlines and your family emergency — and, guess what, he was right.

You get over this by learning from it. Review the company policy on emergency absences or personal days, communicate clearly about your own intentions, don’t sulk about this and move on.

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DEAR AMY: I, my friends, my family members and our children were very engaged and excited about the recent presidential election. I took my daughters to the polls on election day, and they were so excited about voting. Now, we don’t know what to do or how to feel. I feel genuinely depressed. None of us knows what to say to our daughters. Do you have any words for us?

Disappointed

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: The words I have were given to me on election night by a friend. We were all talking about the disenchantment that envelopes you when things don’t go your way.

When things don’t go your way on a grand scale, it can feel overwhelming. We were also talking about all of the young children who had been led to believe their world was changing in a very specific way.

We had two revelations that night: The Republic will go on. That’s the whole idea behind our democracy. The second revelation was this: If things don’t turn out the way you want them to, it simply means that you have more work to do. People in our generation can continue to do the work, but we may need our children to see it through.

DEAR AMY: “Grossed Out” was disgusted at her friend’s choice to date a married man. She should tell her friend this: “If he’s cheating on his wife (and children), he’ll also cheat on you!”

Run, Don’t Walk

DEAR RUN: This logic often escapes people involved in extramarital affairs.