Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I have an ethical question. I wonder if I should fire an employee. I own my own business. I fired one of my employees after months of uneven and shoddy work. This employee (an older woman) has a very close relationship with another employee — a young, attractive woman. After I fired the older woman, the young woman approached me and offered herself to me, sexually, if I would rescind my firing of her friend. “Give her one more chance and I’ll do whatever you want,” was what she said, and when I said no, she offered a whole weekend of ... whatever. Taken aback, I said that even if I did rescind her friend’s firing, that her friend would just mess up again. She then said that she’d give herself to me as long as I kept her friend on the job — “doing anything, whenever” I want. I know the two employees are close. My question is, should I fire the young woman? I admire loyalty to one’s friends, of course, but the young woman crossed a big line, I think. I’ll be honest: I fantasize about agreeing to what she suggested. I am not saying that I’ll do it, but I do find it a distraction. I’ve also thought about firing the young employee (she’s 20 and I’m 54) and then calling her once the dust settles, but that’s another matter. — Challenged Boss

DEAR BOSS: You know this younger employee has crossed a huge ethical line — and yet, might it be working? A word of warning to you about this temptation — anyone who would offer sexual favors in order to control your business decision is capable of much worse. I suggest you take a good look at your books and inventory to make sure that incompetence and unethical and sexual line-crossing was all these two were up to.

You don’t mention what kind of business you are trying to run, but all of this cannot possibly be good for the bottom line.

Both women should be gone.

DEAR AMY: I am a college freshman with cerebral palsy. I came home from my first semester with not-so-stellar grades, and I suspect they were caused by my recently discovered learning disability. I’ve always tried to make up for my physical disability by getting good grades, but now I don’t have that anymore. I feel stupid. Plus, my parents say that they’re going to be more involved in my life next semester, but I feel ashamed that I need my mommy and daddy’s help when I’m trying to be an adult. Any ideas on coping with my new difficulty and/or my parents? — Academically Challenged

DEAR ACADEMICALLY CHALLENGED: You don’t say how your parents will be “involved.” Will they take your classes for you? Study for you? Write your papers? Or is their grand plan to pour on the pressure?

You may have always gotten good grades, but getting average grades in college does not mean you’re stupid. Your grades are measuring how much you have to learn, and this is what college is all about!

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College is not like high school. It’s supposed to be challenging and to force you toward growth. That’s the whole idea. If your grades aren’t stellar, then you are probably being academically challenged — possibly for the first time.

Encourage your folks to step back and give you some time to make adjustments in order for you to get the most out of school. Maybe you should cut back a little bit on your schedule.

You don’t say what your recently discovered learning disability is. Is this a disability or is this a difficulty? Your school has a counseling center, and it would be helpful for you to see the counselor and academic dean in order to discuss your classes and develop some boundaries with your folks. If you feel you are managing, your folks would be wise to back off and take the pressure off.

DEAR AMY: You asked for examples of “bad” thank-yous. After years of sending my grandchildren gift packages, cards with generous checks, etc. without any (no phone call, e-mail, text, etc.) response, I decided to try enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope with a “Thank-You” card inside their next gift box. I heard back almost immediately with a phone call telling me that I was being rude! That was the last thing I ever sent to them. — Rude Grandma

DEAR RUDE: Well, it turns out they do know how to pick up the phone!