Cheap boss living high on the hog

I work for a family company and am grateful to have a job in this economy.

Dear Annie: I work for a family company and am grateful to have a job in this economy.

But while we employees have had benefits drastically cut, the owners have bought new luxury homes and cars and just returned from an overseas vacation that included a safari.

I am a loyal employee, but it seems we are the only ones making sacrifices for the good of the company. Morale is low, and I can no longer be the cheerleader I once was.

I want my employer to know that, despite how they have treated us, I will continue to do my best, but there are other employees who don’t feel this way. How can we get the boss to take a closer look at the message he is sending before everyone walks out? I still love this company and want it to succeed. — Unappreciated

Dear Unappreciated: The problem is, your boss knows that no matter how he treats his employees, it will be difficult for them to find another job in this economy.

He takes advantage of the fact that, despite the grumbling, they are not likely to leave.

This is a terrible way to treat the people who work for you.

Since you care about the health of the company, appoint yourself the spokesperson for the staff and see if you can get a few people together to speak to the boss privately. (There is safety in numbers.)

Tell him he deserves to enjoy the fruits of his labour, but you’ve noticed it lowers morale when he appears to be flaunting his wealth at the expense of his struggling employees.

Say that you want his company to be successful and a great place to work, and consequently, you worry when your fellow employees don’t feel valued and appreciated. Then ask how you can help.

Dear Annie: I have been friends for more than 30 years with a gentleman who now lives in a nursing home. He is hale and hearty with an alert and active mind, and I enjoy our twice-monthly visits. However, although he wears hearing aids, the only way to effectively communicate is to speak quite loudly.

While I have no problem doing so when we are alone, it can obviously be disturbing to other visitors. In addition, we occasionally go to museums, restaurants and historical sites, and find ourselves facing the choice of disturbing those seated near us or remaining silent, which, of course, negates the purpose of getting together.

What is the proper way to act in situations like this?

Should I continue to speak loudly even though it annoys others, or would it be better to diminish our mutual enjoyment by keeping conversation to a minimum? — Want To Do What’s Right

Dear Want: It is OK to raise your voice, but it also helps to avoid places where there is a great deal of ambient noise.

Busy restaurants with loud music would create more difficulty hearing than a quiet meal in someone’s house. We wouldn’t worry too much about the common areas of a nursing home where visitors understand hearing problems. Otherwise, keep your conversation to a minimum when you are in an enclosed public space, and when you want to talk, consider taking a walk or visiting in your home. Also be sure to look directly at your friend when you are speaking. Most people do more lip-reading than you might imagine.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Unsure Daughter,” whose estranged father is dying and she doesn’t know if she should see him.

I, too, came from the Bad Dads Club and was faced with a similar situation. I decided to leave the past in the past and start over.

Thirteen years later, I have no regrets. I spent my father’s final months getting to know him and expressing my feelings. This is an opportunity most people don’t get, so I advise anyone in this situation to take the opportunity to say what you need to. — Canada

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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