Q.: I'm new at my job, and I'm trying to get to know my colleagues. I've noticed that the director of my program doesn't greet me. So I asked around and learned from other new staff that he's the same way with them. He does speak to the veteran employees.
Because he doesn't greet us, it's hard for me to go to him with concerns. My goal is to establish a positive relationship with him, but I don't know how to do that. – Want to Bond, Harlem, N.Y.
A.: Your job is to forge a bond with your director. That means you need to be assertive. Greet him when you see him. If you have questions or concerns, speak up and let him know. If possible, speak to him about things that are going well, so that he doesn't look upon you as a naysayer. Assume the positive, and act as if you are a valuable part of the team.
Q.: I am 24 years old and live at home with my parents. I'm working and would like to save money, but I would also like my own space and some privacy. My hours are different from my parents', and I get home while they are sleeping. . I feel like I'm waking them up.
Our house has a basement that was converted into an apartment, and I asked my father if I could move down there. At first he agreed, but he changed his mind, stating that he would rather have the space for visitors.
How do I convince my father that I should move into that space? – Longing for Privacy, Brooklyn, N.Y.
A.: Your greatest chance for leverage comes if you treat your living arrangement as a formal relationship. Start by thanking your father for letting you live in the family home as an adult. Remind him of your schedule and that it can be awkward for you because you don't want to disturb them. Point out that you crave privacy. Offer to pay rent for your accommodations. Suggest to your father that you have a one-year lease on the basement for an agreed-upon rent.