Help! My Fiancée Suffered a Debilitating Stroke. How Long Before I Can Leave Her?

Advice on manners and morals.
March 28 2013 6:15 AM

Emergency Exit

My fiancée suffered a debilitating stroke. How long before I can leave her?

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Dear Prudence,
I work at a nonprofit organization where one of my main responsibilities is to coordinate a foreign exchange program. My current job is OK, but it's my dream to work at a particular media organization. I've applied to a few positions and even a fellowship at this news outlet, but have had no luck. Through my current job, I've recently met (virtually) the vice president of this same media organization because I'm sending her daughter abroad through our program. In my email correspondence with the family, the VP and her husband have remarked several times that I have done a spectacular job with this project thus far and once even told me I would make a marvelous "management consultant" because of my attention to detail. How can I take advantage of this opportunity to network without compromising my current position or employer?

—Career Climber

Dear Climber,
You don’t want the VP to feel you’re holding her daughter hostage by trying to get a new job while the girl is still mid-trip. So wait until the daughter’s home and you’ve finished your duties to the family. Then it would be fine for you to send the VP an email (from your personal account), saying it has been a pleasure getting to know her while assisting with her daughter’s program, and explaining that you have been interested for quite a while in switching from nonprofit work to the media. Say you are hoping it would be possible for you to come by her office at her convenience to introduce yourself and briefly get any advice she might have on making this move. Add that you are attaching your résumé for her to get a better idea of your background. There’s nothing wrong in your seizing this opportunity to make a valuable contact.

—Prudie

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Dear Prudence,
There's a young woman at work who uses a ton of hand soap every time she uses the bathroom. If you are in the toilet, you can hear the auto dispenser chug 10 times while she is washing her hands. I never noticed this until someone pointed it out to me, and now it is driving me nuts. I'll go to the sink and there's like a foot of soap bubbles that she will have left behind. Should anyone intervene with her about her OCD tendencies and advise her that all the girls are talking about her and think she's wasteful and weird?

—Hand Job

Dear Hand,
I hope you’re not the person who wrote in about the boss who doesn’t wash her hands after using the facilities. In general, it’s a good idea to be oblivious to one’s colleague’s bathroom behavior: their frequency, their noises, and their hygiene—unless you’re in an industry like food preparation or health care for which hand washing is vital. Until your co-worker’s habit was pointed out to you, you were blissfully unaware of it. The laws of chemistry dictate that a steady stream of water will pop those bubbles. So if you find yourself being driven mad by a tower of foam, turn on the faucet. This co-worker is not washing her hands repeatedly out of malice, but probably because she has some kind of compulsion. So have empathy and tell the other gossip girls that what she does in the bathroom is none of your business. The people who get together to make mocking comments about a co-worker’s harmless hand-cleaning habits should have their mouths washed out with soap.

—Prudie

More Dear Prudence Columns

 “Compassion Without Passion: My husband’s brain injury ended our romance. Should I take a lover?” Posted Jan. 26, 2012.
Maid of Dishonor: Should I skip a wedding because my girlfriend hooked up with three of the groomsmen?” Posted Jan. 19, 2012.
Schoolgirl Fantasy: My boyfriend wants me to call him "Daddy" during sex. Gross!” Posted Jan. 12, 2012.
Love Is in the Air: Is breaking wind in front of your boyfriend worth breaking up over?” Posted Jan. 5, 2012.

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

Workplace Rivalry: During a live chat, Dear Prudence advises a worker whose colleague impersonated her to sabotage a rival job candidate.” Posted Feb. 6, 2012.
 “One-Night Stand or Rape?: In a live chat, Prudie advises a woman whose friend revised the story of a drunken encounter with a stranger.” Posted Jan. 30, 2012.
Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?: In a live chat, Dear Prudence offers advice on whether an unfaithful spouse can be an honest businessman.” Posted Jan. 23, 2012.
Pregnant Pause: In a live chat, Dear Prudence advises an expecting woman who isn’t sure she wants to move closer to her baby’s father.” Posted Jan. 17, 2012.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column.