“Dear Dee…” Making a second start at work / this lady’s still waiting

By Donna Rustigian Mac, “Dear Dee” Advice Columnist

Dear Dee – Episode 12

Well hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can speak your truth, be clear, forthright and influential. Let’s create healthy human connections….and trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.  

Dear Dee,

I don’t have a great relationship with my boss…I’ve worked for the same company for 7 years and have been denied a raise 4 times. I don’t want to change companies because of the distance to work from home and my kids are at the age where moving is not an option and college for them is around the corner. How can I address my relationship with my boss and address the raise at the same time?


Dear R.C.,

It’s pretty late in the game to be asking these questions.  If you have been denied a raise 4 times in 7 years, your boss is clearly communicating how you are viewed and valued.  

Remember this statement, R.C.. We teach people how to treat us. When you went in for those raises, it sounds like you weren’t very persuasive. It’s much easier to become influential in the beginning of a working relationship instead of trying to alter your boss’s perception of you at this point.

That’s not to say you can’t learn the guidelines of asking for a pay increase. But when your boss knows you will stay and work without a raise, no matter what, why should they give you one?

I recommend you get yourself in a position (financial and otherwise) where you are able to jump ship if your salary doesn’t increase. Otherwise, you’ll be writing to me 7 years from now in the same exact position. Also begin logging all the reasons why you deserve a pay increase. That way, when it’s time to go in and ask again, you’ll be armed and ready.

Dear Dee,

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2.5 years. We’ve been talking about marriage for about 2 years now, but my boyfriend still hasn’t proposed. Every time I bring it up to him, he says, “I will soon” or “let me just get through xyz and then I’ll buy a ring”. Twice he mentioned specific dates when he would propose but still no ring! I’m starting to take it personally! How can I talk to him about it without making him feel like I’m setting an ultimatum?

Megan in Waiting

Dear Megan,

The question shouldn’t be, “how can I talk to him”. Instead, begin communicating with yourself! Take a breath and ask yourself if what is transpiring in your relationship now is an indication of things to come. It sounds like you want to be married but you didn’t say anything about how strong your relationship is.

If your boyfriend is saying the words that you want to hear, but not taking action please remember the old adage that… “actions speak louder than words”. What does his inaction communicate to you? If your boyfriend continuously prioritized other things before you and your future together, this could be a pattern you’ll be stepping into once you’re married.

Is that what you want for yourself?

It sounds like you’ve given the power over your future to your boyfriend. You, Megan, need to decide when you’re done waiting. Once you do, calmly tell him.

I am a true believer of the commitment of marriage but not before each individual commits first to themselves.

So, make a commitment to Megan. What do you want and need?  What kind of life do you want to build? When you love and respect yourself, you’ll be able to love and respect another.

Dear Dee is published every week. To send your “Dear Dee,” question – in complete confidence – just email: – Put “Dear Dee” in the subject line. Please keep your information private in not identifying specific people – and sign your note with your initials or as you would like it to appear – such as “Perplexed in Providence”.

This is Dee, signing out for today, creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication. You can find me at That’s the letter i…Voice