Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I work in a small office with two other people. The office was understaffed to begin with, and my boss is now undergoing chemotherapy and is out two weeks of every month. Then my co-worker decided to retire. As a result, I had to work a fair amount of overtime in our busiest season.
Right now, the office consists of a part-time worker and me. Even though our busy season has passed, I still often end up with an hour of overtime each week. My boss’s boss has decided that since my peak-season overtime wasn’t “pre-approved,” she isn’t going to pay it. Furthermore, she had my time clock hard coded so that no matter what time I log in or out, I only get credit for a standard workday.
I’m the only full-time, fully compensated employee, and I have significant responsibilities. If I don’t stay late and do whatever needs to be finished, I get in trouble. If I do stay late, I don’t get paid. I guess in this labor market, the boss wins.
Needless to say, I am looking for another job. In the meantime, what do I do about this no-win situation? — Workplace Dilemma
Dear Workplace: You are being treated unfairly. However, in a small, privately owned business, there are likely no higher-ups to complain to. And although we agree that you should be compensated for the overtime, one extra hour a week is, frankly, not that much. What many employers fail to realize is that employees need to feel valued. You put in a lot of hard work during a busy season when you were effectively flying solo. The boss could alleviate much of this ill will (and the possibility of losing a loyal employee) simply by letting you know how much she appreciates you. We hope she sees this.
Dear Annie: I am 50 years old and have been widowed for a year. I recently met a nice man, and we went on a couple of dates. But I had mixed feelings. I still felt “married,” and it was causing me great turmoil, so I told this wonderful guy that it was too soon for me to date. He said he respected my feelings and to give him a call when I am ready.
Now I’m regretting my decision. He’s a great guy, and we share similar interests. I don’t know how to sort this out. My family still mourns the loss of my husband, who was an exceptional man. I don’t know how they will react to my dating so soon, and I’m afraid to ask for fear of upsetting them. What should I do? — Widowed and Confused
Dear Widowed: Dating is such a personal decision. Some people are ready in a month, while others never feel comfortable. Most folks would agree, however, that a year is a respectable amount of time to wait. You should feel free to date if you want to, but we also recommend you discuss this with your children. Let them know their father will never be forgotten, but you want to feel that happiness again someday and hope they will want that for you, too.
Dear Annie: I’d like to comment on the letter from “Wedding Gift Nightmare,” who gave her niece some antique china as a wedding gift.
My husband and I had been married less than five years when we took a vacation to meet his Aunt Susie. She served us a delicious lunch. As we cleared the table and washed dishes, she asked if I liked a particular serving bowl. I said I did. She replied, “Great. It’s your wedding present.” It seems it was a family heirloom and came with a neat story.
After 40 years of marriage, I still have the bowl and a story I never hesitate to tell. Treasure those old gifts. They can be quite special in years to come. — Lucky Niece
To all our Muslim readers: Happy Eid.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.30.11