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Advice | Ask Amy: Fired co-worker asks for money back she contributed to a group gift


dear amy: I work in a department with about 20 people. Recently “Jo” has been released.

I don’t know the full circumstances, but I was told there was a ’cause’. Since then, many of us have kept in touch with Jo, offering compassion and support. Meanwhile, my colleague “Hannah” is about to have her first child.

A bunch of us chipped in to get her a present. Today the person who organized the gift received a message from Jo, asking for a refund of his contribution for the baby gift.

We’ve already refunded Jo’s dues (around $20), but most of us feel that asking for money back for a baby gift is tasteless and even a little petty.

Hannah had nothing to do with Jo’s termination, and I know that Jo and Hannah were close to work. Jo had even signed the card before leaving, and wrote Hannah a very kind message – one that Hannah won’t see because we all feel we should replace the card now!

This whole incident changed many people’s opinion of Jo. So a few people are reconsidering giving references for Jo. Did Jo go way too far, or should we give this person some slack?

– Bewildered presenter

Perplexed: My first thought is that “Jo” is in a spiral and can suddenly be very worried about finances. It’s not necessarily rational for Jo to believe that reclaiming this $20 will substantially affect the outcome, and yet when your work situation has suddenly changed, immediate choices aren’t always rational.

My next thought is that Jo is hurt and bitter. Hurt plus bitter is petty. And yes, this person’s pettiness is out of order. It’s always pettiness.

Of course, this will affect your opinion of your former co-worker, and yet my experience tells me that you’ll hardly ever regret giving someone some slack, especially if they’re hurt and acting out.

Think of it this way: Once slack has been granted, you can always “break off” later, based on the person’s subsequent behavior.

When providing a job reference, you should comment only on your specific knowledge of that person’s job performance. You don’t know why Jo got fired, but to use this episode as a reason to decline a recommendation would also be petty in my opinion.

dear amy: A close cousin of mine just got her first dog (after a life as a cat person).

I am very happy for my cousin because honestly this pup is absolutely adorable, well behaved and an all round cutie.

When she first got the dog, we organized an outdoor picnic and she asked if she could bring her pup. Of course we said yes. Her puppy enchanted everyone and the visit went very well. Then we organized another (very small) event on our porch. Pup showed up and again, the visit went pretty well.

We are planning to host our first larger indoor gathering since she got the dog. We don’t want to set a precedent where the pup is automatically included in every event, but we don’t know how to reverse this.

Insecure: Like many people, I bought a “pandemic pup” – also cute and a real crowd pleaser. And while my dog ​​is of the portable variety and has been welcome in others’ homes, I assume each host’s preference is no dog visitation. I know this because I wouldn’t want to host a guest’s dog at an indoor gathering.

You’ll have to train your cousin. Just tell her, “We’re enjoying your dog, but since we’re having a larger indoor gathering this time, we hope you can safely leave the pup home.”

People with cute dogs sometimes seem to have a blind spot regarding the people in their lives. Your cousin may insist her dog won’t be a problem. You’re going to have to stand firm and say, “We just can’t do it this time.”

dear amy: “To tell or notasked if she should disclose sexual abuse she experienced as a child to a potential long-term partner.

My wife could have written that letter 40 years ago when we were dating. The first six years of our marriage were extremely difficult because I couldn’t understand why she was emotionally restrained. With the final help of a good therapist, she was able to share this vital part of her life.

Of course I hurt for her. The result of having that knowledge and confidence is that we have had a strong, loving, and wonderful marriage.

Satisfying: I am so touched by your account. Thank you.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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