Ask Mindy: Respecting the Office

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Readers, it’s that time again: time for a another “Ask Mindy.” Welcome back to the world of Mindy Morals, the incredible shrinking head shrinker from Buxton, Maine. Every week, Mindy cleanses doors of perception. And readers? Things appear pretty darn infinite. This week, she answers questions about dealing with bosses and coworkers.


Dear Mindy,

Well, it happened. After months of circling the drain with my boss, I was let go. Well, not let go—I don’t like how civil that sounds, how it makes it seem like I just wasn’t fitting with the company’s vision.

No, let’s be honest and direct: I was shit-canned, Mindy. I was taken out back like a dog and shot. Everybody knew that things were tense between me and the big guy. And yes, all the rumors that I had spoken about him behind his back are true—compared to everything I’ve said, the quotes that got leaked were respectful. But I thought I was doing fine all the same. I was failing at my job in just the way he wanted—being opaque and distant to my employees, not staffing much-needed openings, giving no interviews to the press. But he still wasn’t happy with my performance.

It’s fine, I really didn’t need this job. Believe me, I was happier before I took it, and I’m happier now that I’m gone.

It’s just…I don’t like the way it ended. I expected a tense meeting, or a backslappy dinner that suddenly gets awkward. I didn’t expect what happened instead: a cold, unsentimental tweet. How do I square the man I am with such an undignified exit?



This Job Has Me Wrecked


Dear Wrecked,

We’ve all been there, believe you me. In fact, yours truly was once let go from a wonderful job at a greeting card company. I thought people liked my cards, like “Dear Lover, You Better take Cover/’Cause when you see me smile/you’ll melt into butter.” But I just couldn’t make things work with the man upstairs. “Mindy,” he’d say to me, “I need those ‘niece’s Quinceañera’ cards yesterday! Or you’re on the street!” I’d get them to him alright, but it still wasn’t enough. Finally, one day, I received a card on my desk with a sad clown on it. I remember it still. “We’re sorry, but we can no longer employ you at the Harriman MacCauley Card Corporation of America,” it read on the front. Inside was a picture of the same clown, a banana pie smashed into his face, tears streaming through the frosting. “And that’s the honest GOOF!”

You say that you won’t miss this job, Wrecked. But I don’t think that’s true. It sounds like parts of it were fulfilling for you. Even though you denigrate yourself as “failing,” I’m sure you always tried to do the best that you could. I’m sorry that your boss didn’t feel that way. But remember this—somebody who doesn’t have the courage to let you go to your face doesn’t deserve your service.

You’ll bounce back. Just look at me. Just two weeks after the card company let me go, I was by chance offered a job as a psychiatrist’s receptionist…which led me to go to medical school, to open my own practice, and, finally, to answer letters sent in by people like you.

So even though your firing was undeserved, I’m sure you’ll find another way to pursue those same talents. That is, unless you were ill-suited for your job in the first place, and had never done anything like it your life prior to getting hired—in fact, had spent the bulk of your career pursuing interests that ran counter to it. But I doubt that’s the case.


Dear Mindy,

For over 60 years, I’ve been one of the top carnival barkers in the country. You ever heard somebody say, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up?” That was mine.

But lately, I’ve felt like I’m being pushed out. Everybody seems to think so. “You don’t have that same razzmatazz any more—yes, I agree, he doesn’t have that same razzmatazz,” the conjoined twins say to me. According to the fortune teller, my “future in this business seems very, very slim.”

And the geek told me “Fsheueh ughea giea.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

He swallows. “Sorry—I said, I don’t think the circus has a place for you anymore.”

I know I’m old, Mindy, and that I can’t get the crowd going in the way I used to. But who can? Kids these days, they don’t like clowns, or circuses. They just like their video games, and Skype.



Hard to Bark


Dear Bark,

Growing old isn’t so great. Things that once seemed easy are suddenly hard, and it seems like everybody suddenly treats you like some burden who can’t do anything right. Ageism is an unfair part of modern society, and all too often it’s completely ignored.

But if so many people are telling you to consider rethinking your current role—and saying it in such gentle tones—than it might be worth hearing them out. We like to valorize hard workers like the 85-year-old bus driver who still drives his route every day. But life is more complicated than that. Sometimes, there’s a time to step back and reevaluate what strengths you still have, and what you can’t quite do anymore.

There’s no shame in gracefully maturing into a new stage of life, Bark. Just make sure it happens on your own terms.


Dear Mindy,

This isn’t about me, but it’s something that I’ve been wondering. How do you come up with your advice? Do you consult books by smart philosophers? Do you meditate? Or do you just ask your family to help you?

I’m a fourteen year-old boy (ok, thirteen-and-a-half), and I’d love to be a big-time advice giver like you one day. All my friends always say I’m really good at helping them with their problems, but I want to get even better.

Will you help me? Please make this little boy’s dream come true!





Hi Timmy,

You are so sweet! It’s always great to hear from a fan—especially a younger fan. Kids like you are what make this job so much fun!

To answer your question, there are only three people I turn to for my advice: me, myself and —you guessed it!—I. Yes, it’s true that I’ve only developed my values and outlook thanks to all the smarter, wiser people in my life. But when I give advice, I need to tune them out and focus on myself. Too many inputs and perspectives, and things get a little muddled. There’s a lesson there for all you readers—don’t get advice from too many people. At a certain point, it stops being helpful, and starts being a distraction from the most important question: what would you do?

Hang in there, Timmy. I expect great things from you.


That’s it for this week, but Mindy is always taking questions. Need help solving your dilemma? Just email mindy@manhattanmedia.com. You just might read your answer in next week’s column.


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