It would really help if people learned how to send emails

Too much sharing I have a colleague with whom I have become relatively close over the past two years. For a year, I was her direct man...


I have a colleague with whom I have become relatively close over the past two years. For a year, I was her direct manager, although she has since moved to another department. We shared somewhat personal details about our lives. While I prefer to deal with issues like these outside of work, I was happy to act as a sounding board, as I felt like I was one of his only sources of support.

Recently, she went through such a difficult time that she took a short sabbatical. She came to see me first because she needed help handling the situation which is good, but now I know a lot about her medical history and mental condition and she keeps coming to me with regular updates, even when I encourage him to seek further help. I had to report some serious concerns about his mental health to HR, so I feel like I’ve done my part professionally. It just seems totally inappropriate to me to know so much about her condition, and I want to set a limit, but I don’t know how to do it without really upsetting her. I care about her deeply, but I don’t have the emotional or professional bandwidth to handle it.

How do I handle setting this limit in an empathetic but appropriate way?

– Anonymous, Boston

Your colleague sees you as a friend while you see her as a colleague with whom you are friends. But, to be fair, I don’t think you’ve set a clear line around what you’ll be discussing and not arguing with her. When she approaches you with her problems, you listen to her, even when you try to redirect her to more appropriate resources. It is very likely that she has no idea that she shares too much; she thinks she is confiding in a friend.

I totally understand that I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with its problems, which seem overwhelming and heavy. It’s up to you to set limits and apply them gently but firmly. The next time she comes up to you and wants to share too much, you’ll need to tell her that you care about her, but that you’re not in a place where you can give her the emotional support she needs. . It’s nicer to be upfront with her about what you can and can’t provide. I would also remind her of the mental health care options available to her in the workplace. I wish you both the best going forward.


I have several years of experience in my current workplace, but relatively little direct management experience. Although my employer does not have a formal training plan for new hires, I have developed training materials and do my best to proactively teach new colleagues. With a recent new colleague who is my direct report, there were issues and questions that I think could have been answered had he listened more carefully to my previous explanations or reviewed the instructions I sent by. email. However, I also recognize that I may not be explaining things as well as I think I do. How do I balance the tension between feeling that his performance is not meeting my expectations while not knowing if I am giving him the proper direction he needs?

– Anonymous, New York

Why do you doubt yourself and view its shortcomings as indicative of your own? It’s important to hold yourself accountable and be open to constructive criticism, but nothing in your letter suggests that you are not providing adequate guidance. Its performance does not meet your expectations. This is what you have to face right now. Instead of worrying about your job, develop a strategy for solving its performance issues, with a plan for how it can improve, as well as the consequences if it fails to meet the new expectations. And then, you have to go all the way.

I have had moderate success in my career. I have developed a specialized expertise and I am excellent in some parts of my job, just good to fair in others. I could probably keep doing this for the rest of my life. Sometimes it can be rewarding, but there are a lot of elements that I hate, and I end up feeling exhausted rather than productive or fulfilled most of the time.

I will be 40 next year. I have spent most of the pandemic locked in a free room working remotely and becoming more and more exhausted. I also read articles about the Great Resignation and the workers who are fed up with moving forward. I am fortunate to have a job when so many lives have been turned upside down by Covid-19, but I wonder if this is it.

What is the right balance between passion and salary? Am I to be grateful for the occasional rewarding time, ignore the hurt, and otherwise understand that work is a means to an end? Or should I start looking for something else? Do people who say they love their jobs really love their jobs, or is it a fantasy?

– Anonymous

It is not a fantasy to love your job. There are, in fact, people who love their work, are passionate about what they do and are deeply fulfilled. This level of job satisfaction can be elusive, but it does exist. Most of the time, it requires a combination of hard work, risk taking, and luck. I like what I do. Even though I’ve been dealing with burnout lately, I’m generally excited about all the cool things I’m working on. When I finally have some quiet time to write, I’m really excited to see what I can get on the page. And it took over 20 years to get there.

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Newsrust - US Top News: It would really help if people learned how to send emails
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