Dear Barb

Dear Barb:

I am a twenty-five year old guy who is sharing an apartment with two other guys. We are all in different stages of our university education. I am in my last year of my undergraduate degree. My roommates are both first year students and this is the first time either of them has lived on their own. The problem is they are both lazy slobs who never clean up after themselves. I’m not a neat freak, but the apartment is such a mess that I can barely stand it. I feel embarrassed to bring my girlfriend home. I’ve tried to talk to them about this but they basically ignore me. Do you have any ideas on how I can get my roommates to help out and pick up after themselves?
Thanks, Mark

Hi Mark, congratulations on almost finishing your degree!

I suspect this is typical behaviour for two guys being out on their own for the first time. You definitely do not want to start picking up after them. That would just perpetuate this behaviour. Perhaps setting up some guidelines would help. I assume the rent is being split three ways and each one of you has your own room. Their room is their private domain, whether they choose to clean up is their business, however the common areas are different. I would suggest each of you choose a chore that will be done each week. For example, one of you could be responsible for the kitchen, the other for the living room and another for the bathroom(s). The problem may simply be that these boys lack initiative and don’t know where to start, as mom probably did everything at home. Knowing what is required may be all that is necessary.
Hope this helps.

Dear Barb:

My fourteen year old son has been working as a host at a popular roadhouse for the last few months. This is his first job and he’s doing really well and getting lots of shifts. Recently my son went in for his shift and apparently too many hosts had been scheduled to work and someone had to go home. One of the other hosts was a twenty year old girl with a child and she has not been getting many shifts. She made my son feel bad as she told him she really needed the money, therefore he offered to go home so she could stay, even though he really didn’t want to. As my son was leaving his boss pulled him aside and said he had tried to call the other host to tell her not to come in, but couldn’t get hold of her. Clearly, this indicates they would have preferred my son stay. Since my son is so young he gave in to the other hostess even though he would have preferred to work. Not sure how he should handle this situation if it arose again.

Hi Melanie,

your son obviously has a good heart, but he needs to learn that the work world functions a bit differently than everyday life. Without a doubt, I believe this other hostess was taking advantage of your son. She probably feels that since he is young and living at home and she has a child that she needs the work more than him. If this situation arises again your son needs to let the boss make the decision who will go home. If no one volunteers he will have to make a decision based on seniority or whatever criteria they use. This is a good lesson for your son to learn if he is going to survive in the world of work.

Thanks for your question.

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