Q: I fly for business much more than my boss does. Recently, we were on the same flight, and I got upgraded to first class because of my frequent-flier status. The next day, he told everyone what a miserable time he had in a middle seat in the back of the plane while I was “living it up in first class.” Clearly, he expected me to offer him my seat. Should I have?
A: Is your boss a five-year-old? Because he’s being a whiny brat. If you fly a lot for your job, surely he’s aware of it, and I can’t understand how anyone would begrudge you the perks you’ve earned spending so much time on the road for your company! I imagine most others at your office realize this too, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
So should he have expected it? Nope. Should he have whined about it? Absolutely not. Would switching with him have gotten you major brownie points? Maybe. It would be a very generous gesture to offer a first-class seat to a colleague stuck in coach. But anyone who acts as childish as your boss doesn’t deserve such generosity.
Q: I took a cab from the Dublin airport into the city and the driver spent the whole time grilling me on American politics and my stance on hot-button issues. I don’t discuss these things with my friends, let alone a random cab driver! But I didn’t know how to make him stop. What could I have done?
A: Yawn conspicuously. Then say, “I’m exhausted—didn’t sleep a wink on my flight. Could you please wake me when we get to the hotel?” Feign sleep. (Note: This also works for talkative seatmates on planes.)
Q: My husband and I and our three kids live in Seattle. My parents live in Florida; my husband’s parents live in Texas. We usually spend Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with the other. This year, though, money’s tight, and airfare would eat up our entire year’s vacation budget. What can we do? We want to stay home but will are dreading the guilt trip we’ll get.
A: Guilt trip be damned. Tell everyone it’s too difficult for all of you to travel this year but they’re welcome to visit you instead. You could even offer to help cover the cost of their tickets—four round-trip tickets are much cheaper than 10.
by Lesley Carlin
© 2009, originally published by Scripps Howard News Service