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Uncomfortable making a recommendation

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: I would like your input on how to handle a tricky situation. Many times, I am asked to write a letter of recommendation or make a recommendation for someone seeking a new job or promotion. What do I do if the person is qualified for the job/promotion but I do not feel comfortable writing the letter of recommendation as I have nothing of value or significance that I would like to share on behalf of this person?

Recently, I was asked by my supervisor to write a letter of recommendation for another person that I work with. We started at the company at the same time and I went up for promotion first. I did all the groundwork in getting my papers and reviewers in order. My co-worker did the same, however, one of the reviewers dropped out at the last minute (felt uncomfortable in evaluating), and this person had no backup plan for another reviewer. Although this person is fairly competent, I did not feel I could wholeheartedly write a letter of recommendation on their behalf. I felt cornered in doing so, as my supervisor asked me to do it. What is your recommendation in this situation? — Stuck in the Corner

Dear Stuck: When you write someone a letter of recommendation, you are putting your own reputation on the line, at least a little bit. If you don’t feel good about writing one for this co-worker, then don’t. Politely let your supervisor know. They should leave it at that. It would be out of line for them to pressure you into vouching for someone whom you’d rather not. We’re only as good as our word; don’t devalue yours.

Dear Annie: The morning of my husband’s birthday, I emailed almost all of his relatives and friends and requested that they contact him with birthday wishes. Because we’re sitting out the pandemic in Hawaii, cards hadn’t arrived yet from those who sent them from the mainland. It worked out really well: He had so much fun fielding calls and texts and emails all day! — Hanakeaka

Dear Hanakeaka: That is wonderful. Over the past six months, I think that we’ve all come to better appreciate connecting with our friends and family.

I’ve enjoyed seeing people find new and creative ways to celebrate their loved ones on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions this year. Readers, please share any stories you have on this topic.

Dear Annie: I’m a man with a very difficult problem. My deceased wife and I separated. I was halfway through a six-month cancer treatment when she left. After a few days, she called and told me that she had made the biggest mistake of her life by leaving me. However, she would not return home. I got tired of the everyday battle with the chemo, so I went to my dad’s.

He, my wife and I talked often and even met to spend time together. While all this was going on, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and wanted to be with her family in her final days. I agreed, and she went back to her hometown. We talked periodically, and I knew she was very ill but did not know that she was so close to death. She passed away in 2018.

My problem is that I still love her. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I live alone and have friends but I don’t have a close relationship with a woman. I miss that very much. What am I to do? I’m still young enough to fall in love again. — Missing Love

Dear Missing: I am very sorry for your loss. There is life before you lose someone you love deeply, and life after. And you, my friend, are living in the after.

While I can’t take away your pain, I can suggest a few things that might help. For starters, find a support group for people who have lost spouses. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You will find love again, but you must deal with your grief first. Be patient and give yourself time to heal. You will always have memories of your wife, and, in time, you will start making new memories.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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