Dear Annie: I work for a small family-owned company, and there are fewer than 10 employees. There is no office cleaning service. For years, one of the employees has been compensated for cleaning the building after hours. This person was recently promoted, but continues to be in charge of the cleaning. That’s the problem. For months now, the office has looked like a fraternity house. The trash is overflowing, dust is piling up, and dishes are left in the sink for a week or more.
The rumor mill has it that the promotion didn’t come with a large enough raise, so this person is now doing the bare minimum of cleaning out of spite. The other employees refuse to lift a finger because they feel the person being paid to do the cleaning is solely responsible.
I understand both sides, but at the end of the day, nothing is being done. I get mad at myself and at the person responsible every time I give in and clean up, but otherwise, the office is unpleasant and looks unprofessional. We have clients in daily, and some have commented on the condition of the office. This has caused me undue stress, but it doesn’t seem to bother the other employees, especially not the one who is supposedly cleaning.
We don’t have a human resources department, and I definitely can’t go to the person who is supposed to clean, because he is now my supervisor. Help!
— Dirty Mess in South Carolina
Dear Dirty Mess: Surely your supervisor has a boss. That is the person you need to speak to. You don’t have to speculate on the reasons why the cleaning is not being done. Simply say the office is getting messy, clients have noticed, and you think the company might need additional help to clean up after hours. If they do nothing, your decision then is whether to let it pile up, continue picking up after everyone else or find another job.
Dear Annie: I believe it is cruel and unusual punishment for department stores, groceries, etc. to force their employees to stand up at all times. These employees are often elderly and need to work due to their financial situation.
What is wrong with placing a hip-high stool at each cash register where employees can at least park their rear ends while not busy? I believe employees would be more productive and lose less work due to backaches and sore feet.
If managers were forced to stand on their feet for eight hours a day, I believe stools would be brought in by the thousands.
— Germantown, Tenn.
Dear Germantown: We agree that standing on one’s feet all day can be debilitating, even with occasional breaks. We hope managers are reading this and paying attention. Thanks for your concern.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Father Who Can’t See His Child,” whose daughter, “Linda,” hasn’t spoken to him in 20 years, and he doesn’t know why.
She has to reconnect with her dad before it is too late. My husband died two weeks ago after a horrible battle with cancer. He tried for years to reconnect with his children in Canada. As their stepmom, I tried to let them know of his desperate need to be forgiven for “whatever” it was that caused them to stay away. They all knew he was dying. He cried through one short phone call from his daughter. He begged her to come see him, but it never happened. He came away from that phone call even more disappointed and depressed.
Our son and I watched him struggle in agony for the last two weeks of his life. He would not let go. He was waiting for those children to come and say goodbye. I beg that daughter, for her sake as well as his, to reconnect before it is too late. She won’t regret it.
— Grieving in Fort Myers
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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