Supervisor has workers scared to speak up

I work in the aftercare program of a highly regarded private school. It’s a part-time job at minimum wage, but the kids are great, and I am grateful to be employed.

Dear Annie: I work in the aftercare program of a highly regarded private school. It’s a part-time job at minimum wage, but the kids are great, and I am grateful to be employed.

My problem is with the supervisor of the program. “Jane” constantly changes our group assignments, putting us with a different age group almost every day. This makes it difficult for the kids to bond with us as their caregivers and settle into a routine. Since the kids have various activities outside of our program, keeping up with the ever-changing schedules to make sure they get where they need to be is a nightmare.

Even worse, Jane sometimes subs if one of the regular caretakers is absent, and she is terrible with the kids. She frequently loses her temper and yells at them, and I overheard her tell one little boy that he was “bad” when he misbehaved. And several of us were present when she used racial slurs about some of the children.

One of my co-workers, “Sara,” finally decided she had to speak up, but when she went to Jane’s supervisor, it turned out Jane had already lodged a complaint about Sara, and instead of listening to what Sara had to say, they fired her. Sara was a dependable, dedicated worker who was loved by the kids. We think Jane sensed Sara’s growing dissatisfaction and struck first.

Sara’s dismissal has made the rest of us afraid to say anything to upper management for fear of getting the same treatment. What should we do? — Worried for the Kids

Dear Worried: You need to register a complaint about Jane in a large enough group that no one’s job is threatened. First document instances of mistreatment or inappropriate behavior with the children. Then several of you should speak to Jane’s superior, together, and present your record of evidence. Don’t make it personal. The school would not want to leave itself open to a lawsuit from parents.

Dear Annie: I am a 60-year-old divorced female and have been seeing “Harrison” for three years. Despite the fact that Harrison is a wonderful man — honest, funny, handsome, loyal and hardworking — there is one thing I can’t get past: He is terribly under-endowed, if you get my drift.

I’m embarrassed to even think of complaining about this, but it affects the whole lovemaking thing. I’ve always had a strong sex drive, and the lack of, um, size is unsatisfying.

How do I get past this? I truly care about Harrison and hate to think that I’m so shallow that his size would matter so much. It’s as petty as a man saying his girlfriend is great, but she’s flat-chested, so she’s out. But obviously it’s bothering me enough to write. What do you think? — Another Little Thing in the Way

Dear Little Thing: We won’t get into the “size doesn’t matter” discussion, because it obviously matters to you. First, try Kegel exercises (talk to your gynecologist for information). It is also possible to find greater satisfaction through different positions and techniques and the use of sex toys. But only you can determine how important this is to your relationship. If you truly love Harrison, this is something manageable. Otherwise, it’s simply a source of frustration.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “N.Y., N.Y.,” who didn’t want to visit her aging grandmothers. Guess what? It’s not all about you.

Those old people are still “in there” in that failing mind and body. Life gives us all kinds of opportunities to set aside our comforts and be of service to someone in need. Stopping by to say hello, even if we just hold their hand while they sleep or listen to their babblings, allows them to know at some deep level that we care about them. — Loving Daughter-in-Law, Eureka, Calif.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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