Q. I have been working in the data-processing department of a county government.
I like my job and my boss -- he has been fair and understanding, at least up to a point.
In May 1989, I found out that I was pregnant. Shortly before that time, I had been promoted and I had no intention of quitting after the baby was born.
My boss was under a lot of stress at work.
Perhaps because of that, he was doing a lot of drinking.
Throughout my entire pregnancy, he was horrible to me. He would complain if my doctor's appointments were on Mondays or Fridays, telling me that those were our most hectic days -- yet he never protested if anyone else took time off those days.
He said he had gotten complaints about my attitude while I was pregnant but would never give me any specifics. He harangued me all the time, for everything.
Well, my problem is that I am pregnant again. My boss no longer drinks, so I am hoping that my situation will be different.
But, honestly, I am scared to death.
I love my job and have every intention of staying here until I retire.
But if he starts in again, I may quit because I don't want to bear the additional stress.
What advice can you give me? I need to tell him about my pregnancy soon.
A. Get ahead of the problems that you are anticipating.
See your boss, alone. Tell him that in retrospect you feel that he singled you out for some extra tough treatment during your pregnancy.
Ask him if he felt any resentment toward you during that time and if so, why.
I think he will tell you that he didn't, in the most vigorous terms. In any event, listen to his answer, and discuss it with him until you are satisfied.
Then -- and only then -- break the news of your pregnancy to him.
Some weeks ago, I responded to a writer who complained about her difficulties in finding a job for which she was qualified and to another writer who had a difficult time getting a job, even at a lower level than he had before he was laid off.
I said that both of them seemed to be suffering from not fitting into the mold that was expected of them by the people who evaluated them.
I suggested that they call attention to the unusual nature of their situation at the onset of the interview to increase the likelihood of being evaluated on their own merits.
A reader responded: "I was appalled at your response.
"The problem wasn't that these people didn't 'fit the mold,' it's that they weren't young.
"Why should this individual have to look for a junior position in the first place, if not because of age discrimination?
"Your response accepts age discrimination.
"Instead, you should change your own awareness, speak out and tell your readers about the benefits inherent in hiring experienced people.
"You should take some steps to change the world."
I don't think pontificating in this column will change the world in the slightest.
Helping a reader here and there break through the prejudices that exist in the working world is far likelier to destroy some perceptional molds and consequently bring about change.
That's what I hope to achieve.
Andrew Grove is chief executive of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., and an author and lecturer on management. Please send questions to him in care of the San Jose Mercury News, Business News Department, 750 Ridder Park Dr., San Jose, Calif. 95190.