DEAR AMY: I have been in my current job for just over two years. I like the work and most of the people that I work with, but my boss is a bully to me and everyone else. He has yelled at me at least 10 times. I don’t mind being corrected, but he swears, calls me names, and really degrades me. He does this to everyone in the office — even his own boss. A few people have filed complaints about him, and one person even needed anxiety medication. The last time he yelled at me was about a month ago. I walked into work and could tell he was already in a bad mood. All of a sudden, he started yelling about a memo I sent. I’d finally had enough and respectfully stood up for myself. The memo he yelled at me about was the same one he had approved a week before. Following that incident, he sent an email apologizing for his behavior. I come from a long line of strong women, but I am scared to lose my job if I stand up for myself. The men in the office are also his targets and they are scared because they feel that no one will listen because they are men. How do we put a stop to this?
DEAR NERVOUS: You already stood up for yourself, and it worked, so you should continue to stand up for yourself, respectfully countering any bullying behavior and unfounded accusations that are flung your way.
Keep a written record of any bullying behavior you consider out of bounds, including dates, times, and his response. Others have filed reports about him, and you should, too.
Upper management and/or HR should act on these reports. His behavior is damaging the work environment and affecting productivity, certainly if he is punishing you for work he has previously approved.
If you are fired because of advocating for a professional atmosphere at work, then you should have grounds for recourse and/or an appeal. That’s why you should build your case, while always behaving professionally and respectfully at the office.
DEAR AMY: My grandparents are very narrow-minded. I am of mixed nationalities, and as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to understand they are set in their ways. I avoid topics that might stir the pot. Things are so bad in my family that my stepfather (who is of Mexican heritage) no longer speaks to my grandmother, due to her upsetting comments. We no longer celebrate holidays together. My boyfriend is also Mexican. He met my grandparents once, and no issues arose. I graduate from college soon and will be having a barbecue to celebrate. This includes the mixing of my grandparents and my boyfriend’s large family. I am worried I will not be able to enjoy the celebration, because I will need to baby-sit or censor my grandmother’s comments in order to prevent offending his family or my stepfather. I’m afraid of a huge scene. This is the first time our families are mixing and I’m terrified of a blow-up. How do I go about setting this event on a smooth sailing path?
Mixed with Anxiety
DEAR MIXED: Some landmark events are almost designed to bring on anxiety, and this is one of them. Understand that you have a role to play, and that is to be the gracious guest of honor. Make sure you take responsibility for introducing your boyfriend’s family around.
A nice introduction can set everything off on the right foot: “Grandma and Grandpa, this is Angelo and Rita, Sam’s parents. You have something big in common — you both love to garden.”
If there is no common ground between them, don’t worry about it. Just be upbeat and make a polite introduction.
Do not attempt to censor your grandmother. If she can’t keep her mouth shut, and ends up offending guests, your parents should ask her to leave.
You are not her keeper, and you don’t control her. Her bigotry reflects badly on her, not on you. If the worst happens, you can say to those offended, “I’m sorry that happened. I wish my grandparents were open and kind, but they’re not, and I’m sorry you were exposed to that.”
DEAR AMY: I dealt with the same issue as “Loving Grandmother,” about how to arrange sleeping arrangements with opposite-sex grandchildren. We got inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags, and can set them up anywhere!
DEAR GRANDPARENTS: Kids love to camp at their grandparents’ houses. Great solution.