Dear Annie: I recently graduated from college with a degree in journalism. I interviewed with several media companies in New York and landed my dream job at a major online magazine. I was thrilled.
Everything went smoothly the first month. It was the second month when things fell apart. We had a companywide meeting, and I was supposed to give a presentation about a project I was working on to drive more traffic to the site. Well, I got the days totally mixed up. I thought the meeting was Wednesday, when in fact it was Tuesday. My boss came to my cube first thing Tuesday morning and said, "We can't wait to hear your presentation." That's about when my heart stopped. I froze in my tracks. I was planning on finishing the bulk of the presentation that evening, and now I had only a half-hour to throw stuff together.
I walked into the boardroom completely unprepared. I started off trying to wing it, but after about 30 seconds, I clammed up completely. My face was burning hot. I mumbled, "I got the days wrong," and then I awkwardly took my seat. And as I sat down, I spilled coffee all over myself. I left the meeting feeling embarrassed and like a failure. My supervisor talked to me about it afterward and was pretty understanding but said not to let it happen again. Now I'm afraid every day there is going to be my last. — Disappointment
Dear Disappointment: There's no use crying over spilled coffee. All people with an office job can name a time when they wanted to shrink to the size of a paper clip and hide in the desk drawer. But mistakes are proof that you are trying, and you can't learn without making a few (or a hundred). Your colleagues don't expect perfection, especially because you're just out of college. What they do expect is consistent hard work and a positive attitude. So get back at it and show them that. Use your mortification as motivation. And I think this goes without saying, but never wait until the night before a presentation to prepare.
Dear Annie: I've always been curious as to why you and most other advice columnists always take the position that family is sacred just because it's family — that people should bend over backward to maintain family relationships, no matter how dysfunctional.
My husband and I are retired, and at 70, we are still blessed with good health and are financially secure enough to truly savor our golden years. We do this by always collaborating over big decisions and eliminating toxic influences from our happy life — including relatives.
We do not bail out children who get in trouble because they didn't follow our advice. We love to share our coastal Florida home with friends and family who truly cherish us, but we politely decline requests from freeloaders who obviously care about nothing but our pool and its proximity to the beach. And as for those who go on social media to attack our political views? We ask them to please not contact us anymore.
You would be amazed how freeing and uplifting this is. Life is just too short — especially at this age — to be governed by guilt or a false sense of duty. — Living Free
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