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home : columns : dear harriette February 25, 2021

12/22/2020 7:41:00 AM
Boss won't let employee check phone at desk

DEAR HARRIETTE: My job doesn't have any written policy about allowing phones at our desk. I've worked for this company for more than 10 years, and I've never had an issue. I have kids, and I am a nervous wreck with them in high school during the pandemic, so I check my phone and text them throughout the day.

We just got a new manager, and she is completely against cellphones at our desks. She asked me to use my phone in the bathroom only, but now I am constantly away from my desk. Other co-workers in different sections of the office use their phones with the permission of their managers, but mine won't budge. What is the big deal? I am a responsible adult and would not let it interfere with my work, and it's never been a problem. It seems as if this manager is overcompensating for being new. Am in the wrong for how I feel? -- Bathroom Cellphone

DEAR BATHROOM CELLPHONE: Take a deep breath and develop a new strategy. Creating friction with your boss is not going to invite success for you. I understand your concern about your children being in school at this uncertain time in our world. But it is likely hard for them to text you all the time. I recommend that you come up with times that your teens can text you with updates -- preferably in between classes -- unless there is an emergency. Then have them text you when they are leaving school and when they get home. These can be standard check-ins. Keep your phone in your pocket or wear a smartwatch so you can feel the buzz. If they text outside of the normal times, you will know you have to check right away to ensure there's no problem.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents want me to be a doctor. They have paid for my college tuition to pursue a career in medicine. After my first year of school, though, I realized that I want to be a veterinarian. It still involves many aspects of being a doctor: I wanted to be a surgeon, and I can be, just performing surgery on animals. But to them it's not good enough. They have threatened to stop paying my tuition unless I become serious about being a practicing doctor. They don't believe helping animals will give me the right success. I believe success can only be measured by our own goals, and mine is to help loving animals with no voice. How can I get them to see that my choice is just as good and not lose their support? -- Pet Vet

DEAR PET VET: Your parents are attempting to set you up for success. Becoming a doctor is one of those goals that many families have because they believe you can do good in the world and make a lot of money. I believe it is also very important to carve a path that fills your spirit; otherwise, it could be hard to live in joy.

To convince your parents, do your research. Gather information about the type of work that veterinarians do these days and the range of income that they earn. When I was growing up, veterinarians had far fewer responsibilities and opportunities than they have now. Household pets can suffer from diseases similar to humans, and surgeries mirror those that humans can undergo. Pet owners now get insurance to have the resources to care for pets that are ill. The work can be fulfilling and lucrative. Keep up your studies, and gently ease in information about your area of interest. Be prepared to get loans if they refuse to pay.

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