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Ask Miss Day
We could all use some good advice, so ask for it!
Introducing Miss Day, our anonymous advice columnist. Miss Day is the alter-ego of someone who does work for us and is a peer. Ask her any question on your mind via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use the anonymous form below.
July 2022 advice:
Dear Miss Day . . .
This might be insensitive or rude, but I can’t handle it anymore, and I need advice, or I’m going to implode. My coworker who works near me has the loudest, most obnoxious laugh I have ever heard, driving me insane. It’s very distracting, and I know others feel the same way but don’t want to be rude. I get the need to spread joy, but I’m working here. Any advice or headphone recommendations?
Dear Eagle Ears,
We can’t love everything about our coworkers, that’s why we aren't married to them and go home to the quiet serenity of our own apartments at the end of the day. That being said, disruptions at work are never conducive to our own productivity. A loud laugh from a coworker can make us build a grudge over time which also isn’t good for the atmosphere of an organization or for our own sanity. It’s never fun when a coworker becomes the ‘b**ch over there eating her crackers like she owns the place.’
I have two different pieces of advice for you in this situation:
One is to change the perspective on things. What if this coworker or any of your coworkers thought your laugh was obnoxious, or you chew your chips real loudly. How would that make you feel? At the end of the day, to an extent, this is a YOU problem. What can YOU do to get over these negative feelings? You mention getting a good set of headphones to help you focus and I personally think that is a great idea.
Secondly, there is a thing called a supervisor. If a coworker is actually distracting you and others from their work and being disruptive that is an issue for a supervisor to resolve. Not to be a Karen, but maybe think about talking to your manager.
Hope you find silence in your work life,
June 2022 advice:
Dear Miss Day . . .
Miss Day, I need some help. I am confused as to why I am admired from the outside but feel as if people can see right through me. I do my best to be visible to everyone but yet I am only wanted for my fortune. Some refer to me as a bow but yet I can't be tied. What am I?
Dear Untied Bow,
I see what you did there… You seem like a confident soul whose colors are beginning to fade. In my experience faking it till we make it can help us build confidence in life, but it also can tend to make us feel like we are faking who we are to the people around us. It can be our superpower but putting up a shield of confidence can become tiring.
My advice to you is to let people in to see the real you. Be vulnerable to the ones you love and show them that even though you come across strong, there is a soft side that worries about your own perception in this world. At the end of the day, it’s okay to be a bow that can’t be tied. Some might even refer to you as a rainbow.
March 2022 advice:
Dear Miss Day . . .
I'm trying to support my friend who's going through an epically rough patch. I got them set up with some stability and have been trying to keep taking care of myself while giving them the support they asked for but now they're pulling away. I'm kinda relieved because I have my hands with everything else in my life but I'm worried they're going to slip back into the tremendously unhealthy situation they just got out of or worse.
What am I supposed to do to be supportive but not lose myself?
Dear El Capitan,
One of the hardest parts of life is letting those we love fail. Unfortunately, it's something we often don't have any control over.
Throughout the years there have been many people in my life that I felt like I needed to or wanted to "save". From close friends with abusive spouses, who no matter how many times I told them they were being abused by a jerk, kept going back to them. To family members continuing to use even after expressing wanting help/to change. I too have had many situations in my life that no matter what someone did or said, I, unfortunately, slipped back into unhealthy situations because I wasn't ready to change.
It sounds to me like you are a good friend, who wants to see the best for this person. Giving support when they need it, even when it might have stretched you a little thin. Although I would hope you take care of yourself first, it is commendable. Anyone would be lucky to have a friend like you. At the same time, I understand the feeling of both relief and guilt for letting some of this burden go.
My advice to you El Capitan is to stop running this friend's ship. This doesn't mean that you have to get offboard, but maybe they're telling you that it's time for your lunch break. I know that this is hard to do in what you describe as a tremendously unhealthy situation they got out of, but first and foremost you have to take care of yourself and listen to what they are telling you. If they are pulling away, maybe that is what they think they need. Allow them to fall if that's what they need to do, no matter how hard it feels. Hopefully, they will find good footing again in the future. And in the future maybe try to co-captain the journey together.
With love and empathy,
February 2022 advice:
Dear Miss Day . . .
Every workday I carefully pack a nutritious, calorie-controlled lunch with the dual goals of building my health and saving money. At least once a month someone nabs my lunch bag. This is maddening! Who would steal lunches and why? -Sad Luncher
Dear Sad Luncher,
I can’t deny I have been one to take an unlabeled can of soda from the staff fridge on a whim or scoop out a bowl of ice cream from the staff freezer on occasion, so maybe I’m not the best to give advice on the consumption of what is not your own.
When I lived in a house with 4 other roommates, I had a roommate that would often get so many snacks she was incapable of finishing them before the gnats and moths got to them. I did at the time get into the habit of eating her food in leisure. This of course would infuriate her beyond belief even though I knew that if no one ate it, the food would eventually be tossed out.
I guess I tell these antidotes as a means to an end. We are all guilty of imperfection. Although we try as human beings, for the most part, to do good, stay in our own lane, and follow the rules. My experience is that there is always a part of us that wants to break them, and when tempted by a delicious item in the office fridge or pantry, sometimes that urge takes over and we make the mistake of eating food that isn’t our own.
My advice would unfortunately be something you don’t want to hear.
Be thankful that it is just once a month, and make sure to have a healthy alternative in your office drawer for those days, or decide that day of the month is going to be your cheat day. Go out to lunch with a friend, splurge both calorie and money-wise. Of course, always label the food you leave in the fridge, but accept the fact that someone might have needed it more than you that day.
If you are a food stealer, think about your actions as having consequences. Try to replace what you stole, and do better.