When the pandemic hit and we were all sent home, my job went remote. After about six months, I moved in with my parents because I couldn’t afford my apartment in the city. Now, nearly two years later, my company is saying we all have to come back to the office in the fall. There’s no firm date yet, but it will be soon. I don’t want to do it. I couldn’t afford to live alone in Los Angeles before the pandemic, but I had a couple of roommates, and we managed. I’m not willing to do that again. I dread talking to my boss about it.
While I have no idea when my company will make us come back in- house (because of variant worries), I feel like I should let my boss know what I’m thinking. I have been a loyal employee for six years. I don’t want to leave the company, but I think I should start looking. How do you think I should handle this? — Need To Be Virtual
TUAL: If you are 100% cer- tain that you do not plan to move back to the city to work in-person at your job, start making plans. Since you do feel loyal to your boss, you can be upfront about your issues. Schedule a meeting to talk about your thoughts. State your case. If you truly want to stay with the company, say as much. But also start looking for a job. Once you express your intention not to return, if the company policy does not change, you will need to find work else where at some point. Hopefully being upfront about your thoughts and plans will be seen as respectful of the company and valued by your boss.
Dear Harriette: I took my dad to a birthday party for one of his peers who turned 90. They are all elders, which is amazing and difficult sometimes. My dad is the one in decline right now. While I think he was happy to be with his friends, he wasn’t very animated or engaged. He has many physical issues, but I still thought this would be a bright spot for him. I wonder if I should just keep him in smaller social settings where he feels more in control. How can I know when it’s time to stop taking him to these special gatherings? Dad in Decline
Dear Dad In Decline: Talk to your father and ask him how he felt about the party. Prompt him by reminding him of moments that he shared with friends. Describe what happened at the party and ask if he remembers. Also, think back on how he behaved. Did he seem engaged at all, even if it wasn’t at his normal level? Were there happy moments?
Next, think about what activities clearly make your father happy. Could it be when you visit with him or when he interacts with grandchildren or other family members? Often the simplest exchanges count the most, like a tender hand massage with hand lotion or reading him a book or sitting together quietly.
When another occasion comes up with a group of friends, ask him directly if he would like to attend or perhaps pass on this one. Tell him you can send a gift in his name or even attend as his representative. Give him options and see how he responds. Trust your gut on next steps, based on his reaction.