I am a single working parent. As part of my responsibilities, I have to attend trade shows. My job is to make sure that our company booth is constructed properly, that all the appropriate literature is there, etc.

I have now gone on nine such trips. Upon my return from the last one, to my shock, my expenses for the overnight baby sitter for my children were denied. These expenses have always been paid in the past.

I spoke to my boss, the vice president of sales, and he told me the president has decided not to pay for such expenses anymore. I then made an appointment with the president, who told me it was my boss who decided not to pay.

I am very upset. Not only can I not afford the cost of the overnight care of my children, but one of my superiors has lied to me. What should I do?

Write a letter to both the vice president of sales and the president. Factually and unemotionally explain your situation: your need for the overnight baby sitter, the fact that this expense has been reimbursed the previous eight times and that you had not been advised before your last trip of any change in this practice.

Ask to be reimbursed for the last trip you took with the understanding that the previous practice would still be in force and ask that they reconsider their new policy. Explain that without it, your ability to take overnight trips will be limited.

Do not rehash the discussions you had with each of them -- backing your bosses into a corner will just make it that much more difficult to resolve your problem.

My boss has ulcers. Whenever he has a flare-up, he "downloads" on me and nothing I say can stop him.

I know how to handle his outbursts when I am the one who caused the problem, but I don't know how to deal with them when they are not caused by me.

Should I push back when he starts on me? Suffer in silence? Complain to his boss?

None of these alternatives will do wonders. The key to dealing with a person like your boss is to develop a sense of timing.

I don't think there is anything you can do when he is on an emotional rampage. Let him have his say -- don't try to interrupt him, don't agree or disagree with him. Just listen.

Only when he has had his say -- all of it -- should you tell your side of the story. You may need to wait a few hours or a day. After a few such incidents, I think you'll find the right time when he is most able to deal with an objective response.

Andrew Grove is president of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., author of the books "High Output Management" and "One-on-One with Andy Grove," and a frequent lecturer on management. Send questions to him in care of the San Jose Mercury News, Business News Department, 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, Calif. 95190.