I’m sure many people reading this would happily pack up their cameras and send them so that this poor girl could have one sweet thing in her life. Given your description of his upbringing, it’s no surprise where this young man’s beastly behavior comes from. Thus the chain of pain continues. The mother is intimidated and ineffectual, the brother a strong, young bully. Mom needs to step up and set some standards or else tell the boy it’s time he got a job and his own place to live, but it doesn’t sound as if she has it in her, in which case your gift may be irretrievable. I'm wondering if it would be possible for you to look for a decent camera, affordable for you, on Amazon or eBay, etc. If you don't think even a replacement camera would be safe at the girl's house, maybe you can hold it for her at yours and invite her over for a weekly photography lesson. A caring adult who notices how special she is can truly make a difference in a bleak life.
At 22, I was hired straight out of college to report at a daily newspaper. I'm lucky, I know, especially given the volatility in the economy and news industry. I am five years younger than the newest hire, and I am infinitely more efficient, clear with my writing, and communicative with my sources than the new reporter. The other reporter constantly works overtime, is defensive to managers, and is overall awkward and completely aloof to her bizarre treatment of sources, other reporters, and bosses. I wonder why nobody ever suggested to this girl that she pursue copy-editing instead of reporting, within the realm of being a "communications professional" of all things? The management here is terrible. I get so angry sitting behind her on days when I'm supposed to work, listening to her futilely pound at the keys (she finger hunts). I feel like I'm not furthering my career because I'm practically getting carpal tunnel just filling the news hole to make up for her inefficiency, rather than writing thoughtful investigative pieces. Should I suck it up, or speak up?
I guess I’m a “communications professional” too, and as one to another, you’ve impressed me with your whiny ingratitude and entitlement. You’re right that given the state of the news business you are lucky to have landed any job right away. No doubt your paper’s lousy management and your colleague’s annoying typing (typing, in a news room—the nerve!) are keeping you from those Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative pieces you’d otherwise be doing. Maybe if you spent less time focusing on the habits of your colleague, you could get out and do some reporting on those stories. I understand you’re a great communicator and all, but for now, I advise you keep your unhappiness to yourself.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Sins of the Father: I think my dad has a secret love child. Should I confront him?” Posted Nov. 10, 2011.
“The Monotony of Monogamy: I married my first sexual partner, and now I’m itching to cheat.” Posted Nov. 3, 2011.
“Indecent Proposal: My colleagues are framing our boss for harassment. Should I expose their evil plot?” Posted Oct. 27, 2011.
“Bye-Bye Baby: My sister is making a huge mistake by placing her child for adoption.” Posted Oct. 20, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“Morbid Memento?: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose fiance is too attached to his dead sister-in-law—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Nov. 14, 2011.
“Sniffing Out Trouble: Dear Prudence advises a woman who caught her fiance's dad in a sleazy act—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Nov. 7, 2011.
“Halloween Hangover: Dear Prudence advises a dad whose buddies hit the bottle too hard on the trick-or-treat trail—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 31, 2011.
“Sleeping With the Frenemy: Dear Prudence offers advice on confessing to an affair with a BFF's husband—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 24, 2011.