Dear Diane Column — June 10, 2012

Dear Diane,

All of my life I have tried to go with the flow when it comes to other people’s needs. It seems like a lot less trouble to just take care of things for other people than argue about it.
For example, I’ve been looking forward to a cruise with my husband for some time. Our plan was that we would book something fun in July when we were both slow at work. My daughter has contacted me to let me know that her husband won a trip to Italy and they will be going in July. They need us to watch the kids, as this is a once in a lifetime trip. I told her that if she had no other options, we would watch them. She responded with hurt feelings, but the kids are coming to stay with us anyway.
My husband told me to stop letting everyone walk all over me. I know that we had plans, but now I feel caught in the middle, and both he and our daughter are “disappointed” in me. I’m tired of being the bad guy when all I try to do is please people. How do I stop this from happening again?

Caught in the Middle

Dear Caught,

You stop this from happening by setting some boundaries for yourself and sticking to them. I know from personal experience how hard this is, but it’s not too late to set some rules for the future.
I pick up that there was a lot of chaos in your family when you were growing up, and that the easiest thing to do was go along with whoever was making the most noise. That may have worked as a temporary measure, but a lifetime of it will drive you crazy. It’s unfair to you, and unfair to others when you change plans in midstream.
Perhaps your husband can help you in coming up with some basic rules of protection. One rule might be that you will not cancel important personal plans except in case of emergency. Another rule might be that you put your own health and wellbeing at a level equal to that of those around you, instead of “taking one for the team.”
I know how difficult it is to begin setting up rules late in life, and some people may complain that you are no longer the woman that they knew. Allow the comments to roll off your back, as eventually your family will salute the new flag that you are flying. Don’t be discouraged, as it’s going to get better!


Dear Diane

I’m at a really crucial point in my career, and I’m torn about how to proceed. I’ve been at the same company for nearly thirty years, and I’ve always gotten glowing reviews for my work. While I have worked under several supervisors in that time, I’ve always been lauded as an outstanding employee.
Last year, a new executive started overseeing my department, and nothing I do seems to please him. He’s negative towards me, and other employees have noticed. I’ve tried to get his input on my work, but when I had my annual review, he rated me below average, and this was my first bad review in all those years. He’s not clear about any specific problem he has with me, and I’m beginning to think that my age has something to do with it.
Recently a friend of mine alerted me to a position in the company she works for. It actually turned out to be a better position at a higher salary, and the benefits are good. The problem is that I feel cheated by the prospect of leaving my job. I have many good friends there who are more like family. I’ve done a good job for so many years, yet I feel I’m being thrown away like trash.
What does it look like I should do? I’ve got to make a decision within a week, and if I thought my boss would leave eventually, I would stay put. I’m confused. Any insights?

Employee of the Century

Dear Employee, 

I feel for your situation, and I do pick up that your boss is singling you out unfairly. Unfortunately, he is indeed looking to replace you, so the important thing now is to protect your financial future.
You have happily stayed in one place for a very long time, and this new job will not only challenge you, but lead to a further promotion. My advice is to take the new position, as I see you spending many happy years there. In the end it will be a good move for you, and a blessing for the company that hired you.
As for your supervisor, his behavior needs to be reported to human resources as part of your exit interview. Bring written documentation relating to your time at the company and past performance, and be clear in stating that you felt threatened and harassed. This is not the first time this man has treated employees unfairly, and the company needs to stay aware of this problem. I predict that this man will no longer be with the company within two years, while you will remain eligible for rehire.
Put the past behind you and celebrate your new job. You will one day see this as the best move you could have made. Blessings!


Dear Diane,

I have the chance to move to California with a very dear friend of mine, but I’m on the fence. While I’m retired and my income is limited, she is recently widowed and quite well off. Her idea is that she will buy a house and I will pay her a small rent each month. Neither of us wants to marry again at this advanced age, and she will leave the house to me if something happens to her. I have no children of my own, and her daughter thinks this is a great idea for both of us. I’m just afraid of giving up the bit of security I have here, and start over. It’s exciting to think of living near the ocean, though. What do you pick up about this move?


Dear Ruth,

I pick up a wonderful friendship here, so you can feel secure in moving if you wish to do so. I don’t feel your friend will remarry, so it will be wonderful company for you both. If you have concerns, discuss them with your friend. I feel this move will give you both a new lease on life. Congratulations!


Submit your review

Create your own review

Diane Gremmel
Average rating:  
 0 reviews

Written by

Leave a Reply