Worker Gets Ahead of Herself

By Annie Lane

December 30, 2018 4 min read

Dear Annie: I work as an editor at a publishing company. It has been difficult to find capable proofreaders. I've had one working with me for the past few years who proved herself to be capable. She showed great attention to detail and would make occasional suggestions to books that added value. In the past few months, she has grown frustrated that she hasn't advanced to editor and has let her proofreading responsibilities slip. I've noticed obvious errors that she's missed. More importantly, she has become more vocal about making story suggestions and has gone behind my back to make these in an attempt to prove herself. I am supportive of her advancing, but at the appropriate timing, which is dictated by the company and our needs, not based on her desired timing. Do you have any advice on how I might approach her and motivate her? — Frustrated Editor

Dear Editor: Trust takes years to earn and seconds to lose. Careers are built over a long period of continued success and having a positive attitude, and a change in course can destabilize everything a person has worked for. I recommend taking this proofreader out of the office for lunch, coffee or a walk and asking her about her career ambitions, both short-term and long-term. Taking her out of the office will make it less formal, and you will have more success helping her plot a course to achieving these ambitions in a realistic time frame. Some mentorship and guidance should go a long way toward creating a grateful and loyal person and a successful career path.

Dear Annie: I am sending this out to anyone considering suicide. Please reconsider what you are thinking. My father killed himself in 1978. I still think about the many what-ifs. What if I had called? What if I had gone to see him? Why didn't I notice that he was down and depressed when I saw him two weeks before he did it? The guilt is always with me, even after all these years. He has missed so much in our family — grandchildren, marriages, etc. I think of my dad often and will always wonder whether I could have done more to let him know how much I loved him. Don't do this to the ones you leave behind. I know you probably think they would be better off without you, but that is not true. The guilt we carry is awful. — Daughter

Dear Daughter: I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your father. Please do not blame yourself for what happened.

Though I understand you mean well and speak from the heart when you implore suicidal people not to go through with it because of what it would do to their loved ones, I want to note that this style of appeal can heap guilt onto suicidal people when they're already depressed beyond management. To anyone reading this right now who is considering suicide, please seek help immediately. Dial 911 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-799-4889. Counselors are waiting to listen. You do not need to be considering suicide to call the hotline; if you're struggling with depression, give it a call, too.

To anyone worried a loved one may be considering self-harm, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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