DEAR HARRIETTE: The new girl at my job is making me look bad. I trained her myself, but none of the training is seeming to stick. She’s in a probationary period right now, and I’m due to give my analysis of her in a week. I really like her, but she’s performing so poorly that I cannot cosign. Should I give her a chance to get her act together, or should I be honest about her poor performance? Giving an inaccurate report could put my job in jeopardy. — Poor Performance

DEAR POOR PERFORMANCE: Lying helps no one, especially in this situation. Talk to this new employee before her formal job performance meeting. Ask her what is happening that is making it hard for her to complete her duties efficiently. Tell her that you are concerned that she does not seem to understand what she has to do or is choosing not to do the work in the manner you taught her. Encourage her to talk to you about what is preventing her from doing her job well.

Listen carefully so that you can gain insight into what’s going on with her. Remind her that her evaluation is coming up and that as it stands, she will not get a good review. Give her suggestions for what she can do now to improve her job performance. Then, at her evaluation, tell the truth. If she shows any sign of improvement after your conversation, you can note that. But, by all means, you must be direct and honest in your analysis. Otherwise, you damage your reputation and put the productivity of your company at risk.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I currently share an apartment with two other people. I can’t afford to move into my own place just yet, but it’s been a goal of mine for a few years now. My father recently invited me to move into his detached garage after he and my mother renovate. They plan to turn the garage into a guest house. I could save a lot of money by moving in, but my parents are sneaky, and I’m afraid they’ll use this as an excuse to snoop on me. What should I do? — Moving Back

DEAR MOVING BACK: If you move back home with a plan and a timeline, you may be able to manage your time there. You will need to establish ground rules as a renter with your parents so that everyone is clear about expectations. It will be important for you to pay rent of some kind. This gives you more independence. Thank your parents for giving you this opportunity to have a more comfortable place to live and an opportunity to save for your own apartment. Tell them your plan — to live there for a specific period of time as you prepare to move out on your own.

Address your biggest concerns. Tell them that your privacy is important to you, and you want them to treat you like a tenant, meaning they should not come into your place without your permission, and they should treat you as an adult.

Know that it may take time for you to establish enforceable boundaries with your parents, but it may be worth it for a limited duration to help you get on your feet.

Email Harriette at

Recommended for you