DR. WALLACE: My parents are always arguing about money and how to spend it, and I feel like that’s all I ever hear them talk about. I want to get married one day, but I don’t want to replicate this pattern.
When I do get married, do you think it would be wise to insist that my partner and I have separate bank accounts and split all the bills equally? I don’t want to risk the possibility of constantly fighting about money like my parents do. — Break The Cycle, via email
BREAK THE CYCLE: I admire your desire to learn from your parents’ conflict so that you can avoid similar problems from arising in your future, but I don’t think that your current strategy is the best way to take preventive action.
Marriage is a partnership that involves learning how to share resources and make decisions collectively. This is by no means an easy process to navigate, but both you and your partner will learn a great deal about yourselves and each other by figuring out how to work together as a team. Setting up separate bank accounts may sound like an easy way to avoid future conflict with your partner, but it will rob you of much of the experience and purpose of marriage.
My advice to you right now is to learn how to be financially responsible while you are single, and to look for a partner who is financially responsible as well. Don’t commit to a relationship in which the two of you are unable to handle conflict in a healthy way or work through difficult situations together. Conflict is inevitable in marriage but arguing and fighting can be avoided if both individuals are willing to collaborate and negotiate with each other. If you find yourself in a relationship in which you think the only way you can avoid getting into nasty arguments about finances with your partner is by setting up separate bank accounts, that alone signals that your relationship may not be ready to morph into marriage in the first place.
THEY WEAR PAJAMAS AND SLIPPERS TO WORK!
DR. WALLACE: I’m 19 years old and just got my first job. What surprises me most is how people dress for work!
Some people dress like they just rolled out of bed, as they wear wrinkled clothes that look very much like they are pajamas and slippers — and trust me, these are real slippers meant only to be bedroom slippers!
I understand that many dress codes these days are “business casual,” but isn’t this type of dress unprofessional? I don’t see how “business” fits in at all with this type of dress.
I’m actually embarrassed for a few of my co-workers, but I’m afraid to say anything because it might upset some of them or even be considered harassment. Is there anything subtle that I can do, or should I just ignore that some of my co-workers look like they are dressed for a slumber party? — Surprised Co-worker, via email
SURPRISED COWORKER: Today’s employees are obviously a bit less interested in how they physically look, and perhaps more interested in how they actually perform their jobs.
The key for you is to dress yourself as you see fit, and to look as professional as you feel your job warrants.
I agree that it is not your place to make any comments directly to your co-workers about how they dress. If you’d like to get your point across very subtly, simply ask the owner or manager of the business you work at if your manner of dress is appropriate — or if it might even be considered “too formal.” This will at least get your concept of work attire addressed and will not specifically mention any other employee.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.