DEAR AMY: I am a freshman in a new high school.
I love my new school. The teachers are awesome, I am involved in sports and I have made many new friends.
However, there was a recent gossip incident that has me scratching my head. What is the best way to deal with a false rumor and figure out who started it without making a big deal out of the rumor, especially if it involves boys? -- Not Big on Gossip
DEAR GOSSIP: You are being tested. This is common in ninth grade, and the fact that you are new to the school makes you a handy target.
Let your parents know this has happened; they need to know what’s going on with you, even if you don’t want them to do anything about it.
Tracking this rumor to the source might invite more scrutiny and ignite an escalation. For now, do not react at all. Ignore this rumor and go about your business of doing well and making new friends. Rise above it and move on.
If you become aware of anything beyond this, speak to a favorite teacher and/or the counselor at your school. In rare cases, this can get seriously out of hand. If so, you must alert the school officials; they will intervene to shut it down.
DEAR AMY: I work for a large trucking company that is owned by a family. I have been a loyal and very dependable employee for 1 1 / 2 years with an excellent attendance record.
I always complete my primary job on time with good results and have been given several extra projects that no one else will do, and I always complete them in a timely manner.
However, I have not gotten a raise, and, according to the HR manager (a member of the family that owns the company), my evaluation has been on the owner/manager’s desk for two months.
I feel I should not have to continue asking HR about it because that should be part of her responsibility to see that raises are taken care of.
I have not had any negative feedback about my work from this employer. It’s a multimillion-dollar company and can certainly afford to give raises. Should I begin to look for other employment? Any advice? -- Unappreciated
DEAR UNAPPRECIATED: It is not the HR department’s ultimate responsibility to make sure you get a raise; this responsibility is shared by you and the company owner/manager. The HR representative is supposed to shepherd the process and the paperwork along and serve as a liaison between you.
I assure you: No one is going to care about your raise as much as you do, so advocate for yourself.
Send an e-mail to the manager/owner and copy the HR representative. Say, “I understand my evaluation may have gotten lost in the shuffle, and so I’m following through to see if there is anything further you need from me before you can process my paperwork. Please let me know.”
DEAR AMY: I agree with your advice to “Bewildered,” who felt gifts that are brought to children’s parties should be opened at the event instead of packed off to be opened at another time.
I had issues with gifts at kids’ birthday parties, so we tried a different tack with my three children, which was seldom met with resistance.
Prior to sending invitations, the birthday child was encouraged to select a charity such as the food bank, animal shelter or organization that provides hygiene kits to homeless children. In the invitation, we would request that guests bring items to donate in lieu of gifts.
We replaced gift opening with fun activities (like a craft project) so the guests would leave with something special they made.
After the party, the birthday child and I would make a special trip to the charity to deliver the collected items. These opportunities provided a far greater gift to my kids: learning that giving can be more gratifying than receiving. -- Party Mom
DEAR PARTY MOM: I think this is a wonderful idea, especially if you are hosting a large event (including all of the children in the class, for instance).