Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,
I’m a second-year pharmacy student and thought that I would be able to handle my schoolwork and having a job at the same time. But instead of passing with flying colors, I am having a hard time keeping up in a few classes. I’m so stressed out beyond belief and feel like dropping out. My parents don’t know about my status in my classes and think I’m doing as great as I did last year. I know they would be beyond angry if I dropped out, but I don’t even know what to do at this point. Any advice?

-Disoriented Ex-Pharmicist

Dear Disoriented,
All those math formulas and scientific terms you have to learn are most definitely overwhelming. You do have yourself in an uncomfortable position and I can’t blame you for freaking out about your current status. Now I know saying “calm down” is easier said than done, but in this case you have to take baby steps. First decide what should come first. Find out how you can save your butt in those classes- perhaps you can take up tutoring or worst case scenario, you can retake them during the summer.
As for your parents, holding back this vital information from them is only going to make them distrust you in other situations. It’s best to tell them now, so they know what you’re going through. Their reaction may be either relief that you told them or complete fury that you didn’t tell them sooner. Either way it is best to be mature about it and fess up to them no matter what the outcome will be. Perhaps you can talk to your boss about cutting your hours even though for you that means less money. If you have a job just for recreational purposes, drop it and pick up on it some other time when you don’t have such a heavy workload.
Don’t give up easily; remember that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,
I’ve been interning at a law firm and really enjoy working there. The only problem is that there is a lawyer there who makes me feel uncomfortable when he makes sexist jokes. I don’t know if it’s just me but I think those types of jokes have a time and a place, and that place isn’t in the office.
I have mentioned it to the other employees but even though they also disapprove of his humor, they don’t bother reporting it to their bosses. Some have told me that that lawyer is one of the best in the firm and they don’t want to lose him. I still think it’s wrong either way.
Should I speak up and risk losing this great internship opportunity or should I suck it up and roll with the punches?


Dear Humorless,
Now, I can take a good joke starting with “So a guy walks into a bar…,” but this type of humor is clearly happening in an inappropriate setting. It shows this lawyer’s unprofessional side and should not be tolerated.
It’s one thing is to joke around in a group of friends over dinner but another is in the workplace where respect for others should be considered.
Reporting it confidentially to a boss would be a good idea, especially if others are also made uncomfortable by his comments. Just because he is one of their best lawyers doesn’t mean that everything he does and says is right. One gains respect because others feel they’ve gained the right to deserve it, not because they are expected to respect them due to their status. This all comes down to determining what is right and what is wrong.
I recommend that you go with your instinct. No job is worth having if it is an uncomfortable setting for yourself and others.