DEAR AMY: I am one of the blessed millennials who has a job I love. This job happens to involve a great deal of technology use, and a rapid pace of project completion. My question centers around an older co-worker whom I often work with and whom I count among my friends. The problem involves this person’s sometimes limited understanding of the functionality of technology. Recently, my co-worker reformatted files in our drive that destroyed a linked database that took me a week to build and another week to re-link. To be fair, this person did not know how it would affect the database. This is just one example of a few occasions where technical mistakes have cost me more work. How can I respectfully convey to this person who both out-ranks me and is my friend that they are creating issues? Furthermore, should I help this person to understand some of the technology, or go along fixing what gets broken without complaint — as I have been doing? I do not want to act untowardly or disrespect my co-worker and friend, but the problem is having an impact on my productivity.
DEAR SISYPHUS: Sisyphus was punished for his ego by having to endlessly push a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down again. So — what have you done wrong to deserve the fate of repeating a week’s worth of work? Nothing.
I give you props for being patient, hardworking and respectful. But your kindness and lack of communication has disguised the fact that this mistake cost your company a week’s worth of your valuable time.
Given that this co-worker is both a boss of yours and a friend, you owe a respectful heads-up. Perhaps you could say, “The technology has advanced very quickly and there are some instances where we aren’t using our interface correctly and things are slipping through the cracks. Would you mind if I showed you where we have had some issues lately?”
DEAR AMY: Our son is married to a wonderful woman and is the stepfather to her adorable 8-year-old son. He has embraced fatherhood wholeheartedly and we spend a lot of time with our grandson as a family. Our grandson knows that our son is not his “real” father but sees our son as his daddy. The biological father has not been involved in our grandson’s life at all — he is a recovering drug addict, spent the past two years in jail and has been out of jail for six months now. Our daughter-in-law has just informed us by text that they have decided to allow the bio-father to be introduced back into our grandson’s life. She told us that she doesn’t want to hear our thoughts and that we are to respect their decision because they feel it’s what’s best for their child. My husband and I are mortified. We believe our grandson is too young. We cannot imagine this will be good for the family. Are we wrong to be upset? Should we just sit back and bite our tongue, as she has asked?
DEAR GRAMMA: You love this child and have a vested interest in his emotional well-being. However — this parent is absolutely correct to make a choice that is her right to make. She notified you in advance (good for her), and though her statement that she doesn’t want to hear your point of view seems harsh, I hope you will take it as an acknowledgment that she knows you care very deeply. (I happen to agree with her choice to introduce her son to his bio-father, by the way — and I believe this is the right time in the child’s life to do so.) You should respond (by text or in person), “We absolutely want what is best for all of you. Please let us know how we can be supportive.” After that, yes — definitely bite your tongue.
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to your advice to “Stupid in Texas,” whose sexual hookup is attempting to blackmail him over his affair and tell his wife. Blackmail is illegal. I think he should consult a lawyer and send her a cease and desist letter and hopefully leave his poor wife out of it. If the hookup doesn’t comply, then file a complaint with the police.
DEAR J: Blackmail is when money is extorted over a threat to expose something embarrassing. There was no money involved here — just a threat to tell the wife about the affair.