Author: Dear Ms. Harriet

Living in two worlds

Dear Ms. Harriet, I love my family, but it means I’m living in two worlds.  It’s impossible to sit around and compare notes about our lives like I thought we’d be doing by now. Believe me. I’ve tried. I’ve tried talking about what it’s like to be a boss. They say nothing, but their eyebrows go up having been bossed their whole lives. I bring up the news. Their faces go blank. We can’t even discuss the latest movies. Trying that ends with, “now that was good” or “I didn’t like that one at all.” Subjects I bring up...

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Library blues

Dear Ms. Harriet, What’s going on with our libraries? I went to the library by myself as a kid growing up in a city. No one thought twice about it back then. Now, my kids don’t go to our local library alone. It’s just too unpredictable–drug users, flashers, people viewing questionable websites on public computers, and adults sitting in the kids’ area having loud conversations about subjects I’d rather my children not hear. The librarians seem like nice people, but why are they letting this happen? I’ve thankfully achieved a level of success that my family doesn’t need to rely on...

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Seeking answers

Note: Another letter provides a nice counterpart to this one. See Asking Questions. Dear Ms. Harriet, My parents taught me to work hard from an early age. And, if I didn’t know how to do something, they showed me how to use what I know to figure out what I don’t. Their strategy is helping them look forward to a good pension after decades at the same job. It got me through college and, now, into my first real job. My parents take pride in me not being blue collar. I’ve got a good boss. She’s friendly and encouraging. Since...

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Asking questions

Note: I respond to another letter that provides a nice counterpart to the one below. See: Seeking Answers. Dear Ms. Harriet, I help others succeed. I’m not a career coach or anything like that. I just hire a lot of entry-level staff. I don’t baby them. They’re professionals. Instead, I aim to guide them, make [sure] they’re stable with their training wheels off so to speak. Then, I saw Hidden Figures. Good movie. It made me think about who I help. I noticed I tended to help those who ask me for help. If they didn’t ask, I just figured they didn’t need anything....

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Giving back while Black

Dear Ms. Harriet, I’ve come into a part of my life in which I’m able to give back a little something. I usually hang up quickly on solicitation calls, but I was happy to hear from my alma mater. My college years rocked. After anticipating 4 years of being a token, I showed up on campus to a critical mass of Us! We students of color received funding, got matched as roommates, and enrolled in classes focused on our own cultures, history, and people. We studied, partied, cheered, and eventually took the long walk together, graduating into the great unknown. Although...

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Message Dear Ms. Harriet

All messages to which Dear Ms. Harriet responds will be published anonymously and all references to specific people and organizations will be made generic. So, go ahead and click here to send her an email message with your burning question.


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