Dear Short Answers >> My co-worker won't stop making sexual advances on our tech guy, who happens to be a minority. Should I tell on her? Her past convictions make the situation more complicated.
— The Bystander
DEAR BYSTANDER >> We think the tech worker's degree of interest in her and her history are none of your business. Even if per chance you are called upon for advice, we would demur, unless if course, you work for HR.
Dear Short Answers >> I am expecting a baby in June. If it's a boy, my husband wants to call him John, after himself. What do you think of the practice of naming children after a living and present parent?
— Expectant Mom
DEAR MOM >> Although this is a common custom in many cultures, we remain dubious. Inevitably, the child becomes "little John" or another diminutive like "Chip" or Junior. The same name also carries with it the invidious expectation that the child will be a replica of the parent in more ways than name. Whatever devices parents can employ to remind themselves that they are welcoming a brand new person into the world who may or may not be a "chip off the old block" is a good thing. That includes giving each child it's own name.
Dear Short Answers >> Last year, I volunteered for a wonderful non-profit organization in the small town where I live. Little by little, I got more responsibility until it seems like I am doing more work than I can possibly handle. But if I don't do it, it doesn't get done and the people we serve (women with breast cancer) suffer. I am torn between feeling that I am doing something worthwhile and feeling like I'm being taken advantage of. How do I fix this?
DEAR D >> We've been there. The issue really is no different than for profit work — finding the balance between productivity and "the rest of life" but somehow the lessons learned don't transfer as easily as one might expect. Perhaps because in NFP there are fewer responsible folk to hand off to. Or perhaps because we mistakenly think that we are the only person that can or will do the work. But try to remember that no one is doing this to you. Set your boundaries and communicate them cheerfully. No one ever thanks a martyr.
Dear Short Answers >> A friend of mine often asks to borrow evening clothes. It makes sense to me to share things like that since they are expensive and not frequently worn. But my friend returns my dresses without dry cleaning them, which strikes me as ... vulgar. Should I say something?
DEAR WANDA >> Yes! Next time she asks to borrow something, tell her you hope she enjoys the occasion, but she will need to take it to the cleaner of your choice after she wears it. Make no apologies.
Freedom to be admired or at least acknowledged
Dear Short Answers >> Lately, I feel very competitive in exercise class. I used to be "perfect" — now nobody notices and it makes me feel bad. Is this normal? What should I do?
— Former Star
DEAR FORMER >> Sure it's normal. Try a different class.