Dear Amy: When the pandemic started, people were sent to work from home. All many people could do was complain about how difficult this was.
Being a nurse and manager of a medical unit, I obviously did not get to work from home. Nor did I have any "boring" days like so many people complained about.
Many people settled into working from home and love it. Now they're complaining about having to go into an office a few times a month.
Speaking on behalf of those of us in the service industry, I wish people could appreciate their situation. Making every work setting or situation into a complaint is obnoxious for those of us who do not have these luxurious options.
Amy says: I want to thank you for your service, and also for the invitation to ponder and potentially reframe a category of human inquiry that we should be grateful exists at all: post-pandemic problems.
So let me start by removing from its case the world's smallest violin and playing a plaintive tune for anyone who has the temerity to complain to a health care or service worker about the burdens of being called back into the office a few times a month.
Now for the reframing: We're back! We're back to overlooking our obvious lucky breaks (we're alive, being one) and already are starting to take for granted the simple privilege of being able to visit with, touch, hug and kiss one another.
We've resumed our habit of laundering our petty complaints, even if the rest of the world is on fire. You have my permission to remind others to put their problems into perspective.
Dear Amy: I'm a recently married woman in my mid-20s. During a job interview with a private school, I was asked if I had a "plan for balancing children with work." I coldly said, "My husband and I have spoken about it, and we're not concerned."
I got offered the job but didn't take it. When I told the company that I was declining the job, I included a link to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines on pregnancy discrimination. They responded with a general reply wishing me well in the future.
Was there a better way to handle it?
Amy says: Your follow-up was appropriate. Given that this baby-balancing query was made at a school, you might have responded: "Given that I'll be working with children, the entire job is to balance children with work. I look forward to it."
In the future, when you're asked about your family planning in a job interview, you might respond: "I'm curious: Why do you ask?" The interviewer likely will offer a benign-sounding explanation. If after that you're still interested in employment at that particular workplace, you could deflect by saying, "I have an outstanding work ethic."
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