Readers write on firings, child-care costs


November 14, 1993|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

It's time for readers of this column to have the very last word. This month, many of you addressed recent columns about how to fire an employee, disastrous friendships between bosses and employees, and the high cost of child care.

About the proper time to fire an employee, a reader of the Star Democrat from Chestertown wrote: "I agree with you on all points except when you wrote, 'Pick your time carefully -- Friday afternoons often are best . . .' I think Friday afternoon, for any sort of discipline, including firing, is the wrong time.

"Whatever the circumstances, the person deserves the opportunity for a timely and sometimes immediate appeal," he ++ added, "and usually weekends do not provide that opportunity. Anxiously waiting until the normal business day on Monday is just not fair."

A writer in Winter Park, Fla., who reads the Orlando Sentinel Star agrees. "According to the experts I have interviewed over the years, a Friday afternoon termination gives the employee the whole weekend to build anger and depression over his or her situation," she wrote.

"By contrast, a Monday morning termination means the individual can be immediately directed to positive activities, such as filing for unemployment compensation and beginning a job search. The only advantage of firing on a Friday afternoon is that it's easier for the accounting department."

After a column about disastrous friendships between bosses and employees, a New Orleans Times-Picayune reader wrote: "Because of a situation like this, I resigned from my former job.

"One of my former colleagues began to experience serious upheavals in her personal life and began to confide in our boss . . . which evolved into after-hours telephone conversations, invitations to social gatherings and the inclusion of my former boss in my former colleague's social set.

"My former colleague, sensing her relationship with our boss had risen to a new level, began to shirk her office duties, and our boss, instead of confronting her, asked me to assume them. I resigned shortly thereafter, and learned an important lesson: Familiarity really does breed contempt."

A reader of the Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald-Journal-American wrote, "We women tend to bare our souls and 'give our all' to a friendship. For this reason, when my boss made overtures about our becoming friends outside the office, I reacted just as I would have if she'd been male: 'Thanks, but no thanks. I'm flattered, but I don't need the complications.' "

A recent column about underpaid child-care providers brought in a lot of mail from providers, parents -- and folks who think the whole point should be moot.

From a reader of the San Mateo (Calif.) Times came a parent's perspective: "I pay about $10,000 yearly for day care. The government allows me a $480 tax credit per child yearly. This is deplorable. I believe that better support is necessary."

But a child-care provider in Waco, Texas, would love to be earning $10,000 a year for each child in her care. "Your article in the Waco Tribune-Herald told my story," she wrote. "I love being a child-care provider. I love the children in my care.

"But I can't get a license to take care of children in my apartment (not enough room; no yard) and I'm never going to be able to afford a house on the money I'm earning working for someone else -- $6.25 an hour after four years of experience. So with a very heavy heart, I'm searching for a different profession."

On the other hand, a reader of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch summed up the opinions expressed in many of your letters when she wrote, "Wake up! We live in an age when no one has to have a baby unless she wants to, and parents who cannot or do not want to stay home and raise their children shouldn't have any. They should get a puppy, instead."

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