Dear Abby: New hire disappointed to be a gofer

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I recently landed a new job and was excited about doing work that would be directly in line with my education and background. I left a job of more than a decade to pursue this field. My problem is, I’m being asked to carry luggage, make coffee, run errands, etc. This was not in my job description, nor was it what I was hired for.

Abby, I have worked many intern positions. I do not believe I am too good for any job, but I have worked my way up and have abilities that could contribute greatly to this company. What they have me doing now is not beneficial for me or them.

If you believe I should say something, what should it be? I’m afraid they can easily find a substitute who may perform these tasks, as they aren’t every day, but it’s often enough to make me uncomfortable. It’s a small company, and my pay is good, so I don’t want to leave. Please advise me, Abby.

— Scared to Speak Up

Dear Scared: I see nothing wrong with having a discussion with your employer. However, because you are so new to the job, it should be done delicately. Tell the person you feel you could be contributing more to the company than you are currently doing, but do not complain about the menial tasks. It often falls to the newest member of the team to do these things, and the last thing you want is to be perceived as someone who is not a team player. In time you will see if this job is the right fit for you.

Dear Abby: My dad died of cancer a couple of months ago. While we were a bit estranged, I did love him, and his loss was painful. Despite this, I have accepted things and moved on.

The issue is that anytime I talk to my friends about it, they assume I’m really in shock. My friends are older, so I suspect they think it’s because I’m only 22, but it’s frustrating that they disregard my personal growth and the way I’ve dealt with his death.

I realize I have moved on fairly quickly, but the way I see it, death is a part of life, and what’s done is done. How can I explain to them that while I’m sad, I have accepted what happened without sounding like I didn’t care about my dad?

— Moved On in the West

Dear Moved On: Point out to your well-meaning friends that your relationship with your father may not have been like the ones they had with their fathers. That you were “a bit estranged” may have made his death less traumatic than if he had been a major part of your life. It should not be necessary to put on a display of sackcloth and ashes. Everyone grieves differently, so remind them of that.

Happy New Year to My Asian Readers Who Celebrate the Lunar New Year: The Year of the Rat begins today. I wish a happy, healthy new year to all who celebrate this holiday. People born in the Year of the Rat are said to be instinctive, acute and alert, which makes them exceptional in business. They are sophisticated and popular in social interaction. But they can sometimes be stubborn and picky. Notable individuals born in the Year of the Rat include not only George Washington, Wolfgang Mozart, William Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte, but also Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Eminem, Prince Charles of Britain and his son Prince Harry.

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