I really feel sorry for Annie Lane. Her advice column is sort of… horrible.
This is what she’s been doing lately: she’ll have a letter that seems to deal with deep issues, but then at the last minute, the question asked is a commonsense question that anyone could answer. Here’s an example I made up:
Dear Annie Lane,
I’ve had a difficult life. My parents were poverty-stricken, and they barely managed to feed us one square meal a day, if that. Now, I hoard food all over the house, just in case. But I’m wondering if I’m required to leave a tip when I buy coffee at the café? Please advise.
Now, if you all don’t believe me, allow me to display “evidence A” from one of her recent columns.
Dear Annie: I’m in my mid-60s and have worked for the same hotel chain for almost five years now. I have worn every hat imaginable there and have rarely missed a day of work. When the pandemic first started, a lot of co-workers just stopped coming in, so a few of us picked up the slack. I pulled any and all shifts just to keep the hotel up and running. I am a salaried employee, so I didn’t get overtime for the extra hours that I was putting in.
In October 2019, my fiance was admitted to the hospital due to illness. He ended up staying there for months and contracted COVID-19, which he eventually died of in March 2020. While he was sick in the hospital, I visited him every night but never missed a day of work.
I ended up getting COVID-19 myself a few weeks ago. Fortunately, I’ve recovered and the doctors gave me my release letter, stating that it’s safe for me to return to work. My problem is that I don’t want to get sucked into the same routine as before — working 12- or 14-hour days. I have high blood pressure, prediabetes and spinal stenosis. Also, I have another job offer that could provide health insurance and other benefits that this hotel job doesn’t offer. How should I tell my bosses that I’ve had enough? — Overworked and Over It
Dear Overworked: I’m so sorry for the loss of your fiance. As for your work situation: I have a feeling you’re the type to silently shoulder the world and never mention when your back is getting tired. Well, Atlas, it’s time to speak up.
If you want to stay with the hotel, then tell management you will only be doing the standard eight-hour days from here on out. If they give you trouble, you can look into employment law in your state. In some states, even salaried exempt employees are entitled to overtime compensation.
On the other hand, if you’ve already made up your mind to take this new job, then congratulations! Type up a dated letter of resignation addressed to your supervisor, noting your final day. And when you start your new job, be careful not to work yourself too hard. It sounds as though you might be your own worst boss. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
See what she did there? This poor letter writer lost her fiance to the coronavirus and then got sick with it herself. It’s heartbreaking and tragic. But then, as the letter progresses, the letter writer just wants to know how to leave her job. [Facepalm.] Like, you’ve got to be kidding me. I’d be too grief-stricken to care. And then we have three whole paragraphs about the commonsense issue of leaving a job.
I’m not trying to sound judgmental of the letter writer. I doubt anyone wrote that letter to Annie Lane. Either Annie Lane doctored the letter heavily, or she just made it up. Points for creativity.
Another irritating thing that Annie Lane keeps doing is publishing public service announcements written by her readers. This way, Annie Lane doesn’t have to write any content herself.
Dear Annie: My husband and I built a lovely home on a picturesque bubbling creek in the mountains. For years, we hosted friends and family and created memories to last a lifetime.
When we issued invitations, we added “please bring what you want to drink and any favorite snacks.” In addition, we said we have only one housekeeping request: “fresh clean sheets are on the closet shelf. Please remake the bed before you leave.”
If anyone asked to bring fixings for a dinner or something to throw on the grill, or to take us out to dinner, we said, “Sure!”
All this made for a wonderful time for everyone, and we were never worn-out hosts. We also never detected any hint of dissatisfaction. EVERYONE who came always wanted to come back — and did many times. — Made It Clear
Dear Made It Clear: I love your letter. You took the initiative to set your ground rules from the beginning, and everyone agreed to them. That is the absolute best way to have a positive experience. It works in games — why wouldn’t it work in life? Thank you.
It’s painfully obvious to me that she has no advice-giving abilities.
A third thing she’ll do is tackle easy pitches. These are letters where no one in the world is going to disagree with the advice given. There was one once where it was like, “Dear Annie, I just had an orgy with my nieces and it was amazing! It lasted all weekend! Wow! I’ve found religion. But my wife is angry. How should I make it up to her?” Not surprisingly, Annie Lane came down hard on him, as anyone would. So you can see that Annie Lane picks questions that are no-brainers.
At any rate, it’s always good for entertainment.