Q: A co-worker of mine is reliable only about one thing – how late he always is. I have adjusted my expectations accordingly and give him fake early deadlines so that he does not mess up my projects. For the most part, building in this buffer has worked out OK. A new person has just been hired for our team. Is it bad if I tell them right off the bat my technique or should I let them figure it out for themselves?
A: It depends on your growing relationship with this new co-worker. Admittedly, I am many moons away from having worked in an office “team” environment. But my gut says you could come across as a talks-behind-back-er.
If you find yourself in a nitty-gritty, show-me-the-ropes-off-the-record conversation with the new hire, then yes, you might hint at best practices (is that office-speak enough?) for getting stuff done. But if right now your contact is on the formal side, and there’s no easy conversational opening into the interpersonal nuances of your office, I’d hold off for now on what might come across as a gossipy complaint.
Q: My mother seems to be having serious memory issues lately – not just senior-moment type of stuff, but disorientation. She has always watched my daughter for date nights for me and my husband and occasional weekends away. Now I am not so sure I want her to do that anymore. But the idea of having this conversation is breaking my heart. My daughter is her world.
A: This is just one part of a much larger issue – the long-term plan for your mother’s health and care. Has she had a neuropsychological evaluation to assess her functioning? Does she live alone? Drive? What might happen when she’s no longer able to live independently?
Whether she can baby-sit would be best handled within the context of this plan. Whatever happens, your daughter will still be her world, and I’d urge you to prioritize that above all. A unique and close relationship between them can be sustained and protected, and it will be something that enhances both of their lives for years to come. She can be a caregiver to your daughter in all the ways that matter even if she’s not technically alone and in charge when she does so.