Dear Annie: I've been at the same job for eight years, but since the boss' wife died, it's become almost impossible to work for him. He has started drinking at work and making inappropriate comments to customers. I'm at a loss as to what I should do.
This is a small business — it's just the two of us running the place, so there is no one else to turn to for help. His children live in other states, and contacting them about this could result in them shutting the business down, putting me out of a job. He has some family here, but they don't see a problem with his behavior. I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Do I contact his children? Do I let things continue, letting him destroy what remains of his reputation and mine in the process?
I enjoy helping the customers. I was planning on starting a similar business when he retires, but it feels like he's dragging me down with the ship. — Concerned Employee
Dear Employee: Your boss is grieving and needs help. First, try to speak to him and suggest grief counseling. His doctor, local hospital or hospice can offer referrals. But you should also contact his children. They need to know that Dad is in bad shape and spiraling out of control. At the rate he is going, there won't be a business left to close down, so you have little to lose. Please help him out.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our mid-70s and slowing down a bit. My problem is Thanksgiving. For most of our married life, I provided elaborate holiday dinners. When the kids grew up and left home, the get-togethers took place every other year, so they could spend alternating years with their in-laws and other family.
This year it is our turn, but frankly, I am tired of doing this. I feel like it is time for someone else to step up to the task and invite us to his or her home. The family will be together Labor Day weekend, and I am wondering if you have any suggestions as to how to approach this subject. — Need Some Relief
Dear Need: Yes. Be direct. Say to your children that you no longer have the energy to cook and host these big meals. Ask whether one of them would like to take over the hosting duties, or perhaps they would do the cooking and bring the food to your place and help you set up and clean up after. Or go to a restaurant.
Even grown children can continue to believe their parents are indestructible, and unless you tell them that you are tired, they don't realize it. But kids can also be tremendously helpful when asked, and they may have ideas of their own. In fact, they may have wanted to change the holiday setup for a while, but thought you might be offended. Give them the opportunity to step up.
Annie's Snippet for Labor Day (Credit Martin Luther King Jr.): "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.