Dear Amy: I am a mentee in a “future women leaders” program at my organization.
I am paired with a director of a different department. She and I get along very well, but she is not on speaking terms with the director of my department, and has gone so far as to file a complaint against my immediate supervisor, a woman I respect greatly.
So far, my mentor has not reached out to me to organize our first mentoring session.
Perhaps it is because she is very busy, but I suspect it is also because she is basically at war with my department, going so far as to instruct some of her subordinates not to speak to my colleagues (although they still speak to me).
I sent an initial, “Thank you, and I’m looking forward to working with you” email to her upon the human resources department informing us that we were paired together. I have not reached out to her again and haven’t heard from her.
I am not sure how I would handle any discussions about my department, in particular my supervisors, should it come up. More generally, I have doubts about being mentored by a person who seems to have difficulties working with others, although I have no direct negative personal experiences with her.
On the other hand, I don’t want to lose the opportunity to be mentored. What should I do?
Dear Missing: You should contact your human resources department and ask to be paired with another “woman leader” in your organization. The mentor’s lack of follow-through is reason enough to try to switch.
The prospective mentor you were paired with does not seem to exemplify the type of leadership you should choose to emulate. However, if you do end up paired with her, this presents opportunities for you. If you continue to demonstrate the sort of discretion and ability to get along with all colleagues (including her) that you demonstrate in your question, you may be qualified to mentor her.
I’ll pass along great advice I received on my very first day in a professional job, delivered by my (female) supervisor: Don’t trash anyone. Always keep your personal feelings about a colleague very close to the vest. Behave professionally, do your work, stand up for yourself and your work with confidence, take correction when you’re wrong and direction when you need it and try to demonstrate that you can work with a variety of people.
You might benefit from reading Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” (2013, Knopf).
Dear Amy: I agreed to purchase some small cosmetic items from an acquaintance. I do not know this person very well, but we have met and spoken on several occasions and have been friendly for a while.
They offered a wide variety of items via Facebook, and I agreed to purchase a few to give as small “stocking-stuffer” gifts at Christmastime.
I sent a check for the price of the items and shipping (the total was less than $10). I exchanged Facebook messages with the individual in reference to shipping the items, and they told me they were on the way.
It has now been more than eight weeks, and I have received nothing.
My check was cashed, and after messaging the person again about a tracking number for the package in case it had been lost, I was blocked on all forms of social media. What should I do now? Just let it go or pursue it with the authorities, even over such a small amount? I don’t mind admitting that it grinds my gears.
Dear Scammed: You could post a query on Facebook (without naming the individual publicly): “I had an experience ordering some items from a FB friend before Christmas, and never received the items, despite paying for them. Has anyone else in my circle had this experience? If so, please message me privately.” Others might have had the same experience with the same person, in which case you could consider contacting the police.
Dear Amy: The letter from “Three Simple Sisters” reflected such selfishness! Their big problem was that extended family members kept in touch with them and invited them on group vacations (which the sisters couldn’t afford).
It is very easy to avoid emails if you don’t want to read them. But these sisters were also missing a great opportunity to connect with family.
Also a Sister
Dear Sister: I agree. A local reunion would be in order.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.