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DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother and I were jokingly poking fun at our mom the other day. My brotherís girlfriend kind of laughed with us, but now she thinks that she can join in as well. The jokes that we make at my motherís expense are funny only when we, her kids, make them. Itís inappropriate for an outsider to join in. Should I say something to her, or should I ask my brother to say something? — Stay Out of It
DEAR STAY OUT OF IT: Someone definitely needs to speak to her about this situation. You cannot expect her to know that these jokes are off-limits to her. She is not a mind reader. Ideally, it should come from your brother. Speak to him about it. Remind him of the scenario that recently occurred and what was said. Point out that you consider your inside jokes with your mom to be just that — ìinside jokes.î You think it is inappropriate for a non-family member to chime in on them. Suggest to your brother that he tell her to stay mum when you guys have your fun with your mom. If he feels uncomfortable expressing this to her, let him know that you will.
The conversation does not have to be heavy, by the way. It can be matter-of-fact. Tell her that when you and your brother poke fun at your mom, itís better for her to remain a bystander. She is welcome to hang with you all, but the private family jokes are reserved for the three of you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: When do you know it is time to quit a job and take the next step in your career? How do I know when I am ready? Iím someone who believes in destiny — I always felt that if I were destined to find another job, a better job would present itself. Is this a naive way to look at my future? — Ready To Move On
DEAR READY TO MOVE ON: Make a list of what you like about your job and what you donít. Make another list that outlines your career goals in one year, five years, 10 years. What do you need to do in order to meet those goals? By reviewing your short-term realities and long-term plans, you can create a strategy for your life.
How you can know if itís time to leave your job is often by how uncomfortable you are. Agitation, frustration and other strong emotions often indicate that something is wrong. Welcome those feelings as signs that you need to make a move. Rather than complain, welcome the discomfort, as it can help accelerate your plans and allow destiny to show her face!
It takes a high dose of courage and faith to leave a job. If you can, look for work while you are still employed. If you believe your environment is toxic and you must leave immediately, make sure you have resources to take care of yourself in the short term, and create a plan of action to find your next job. Use your network to search for a good fit. Then step out on faith.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.