Dear Annie

Still wanting to kick it

Dear Annie: They say that you’ll never forget your first love and that forbidden love excites the most desire, and lately I’ve been thinking nonstop about my first love. I’m not talking about a man. I’m talking about soccer! At 6 years old, I learned what it feels like to be completely free, present and powerful when I stepped on the field and scored my first goal for the Super Soccer Sisters. Every fall, spring and summer was spent engrossed in the sport until I went to college, at which point I stopped because of emotional instability and an eating disorder. Last year, at 25, I joined an adult league and was seriously lit up the minute I stepped back onto the field. Unfortunately, my legs aren’t what they used to be, and I ended up with a minor concussion from a tackle and a torn ankle ligament.

My mom (half-joking, half-serious) says, “You’re not a teenager anymore. You’re getting old.” She thinks I should retire my cleats. Though I’m no spry teenager, I believe I could get back into it with proper agility training. Annie, the thought of never feeling the joy of soccer again firsthand upsets me so much. Should I keep with it and risk hurting myself more or move on and just look forward to kicking the ball around with my kids down the road?

— Craving Kicks

Dear Craving Kicks: I have a feeling you’ll be kicking yourself later if you don’t give soccer another go. Your brain is precious, and concussions are serious, but there are steps you can take short of quitting the sport. Invest in a soft helmet designed for soccer, and talk to your doctor about other recommended precautions. Then dust off those cleats. Living well isn’t just about living as safely as possible, after all. It’s about following your bliss off the sidelines.

Dear Annie: I’ve been working within my industry for over 25 years. I’ve been working at my current firm for a year. Recently, we advertised a job opening. As regional manager, I screened the applications and passed my selections on to human resources to finalize. The candidate I preferred was a woman with 24 years of experience, “Barb.” Barb was making $115,000 per year but said she was willing to take a cut. We decided to offer her the job.

When I got a copy of the offer letter from HR, I was astonished that the head of HR, “Sarah,” had offered Barb $120,000. My other seven sales reps’ salaries were averaging between $100,000 and $105,000. Only one of them was making $110,000, and he has 19 years of experience.

I had a talk with Sarah as to the reason for this unfairness. Her reply was that she had crunched the industry salaries on the market and decided to offer this amount. I told her, “But she’s close to my actual salary!” I told Sarah that if my other sales reps were to hear Barb’s salary, they’d start underperforming or quit.

To make the frustration worse, now, after three months, I’ve been informed that Barb was also offered six weeks of vacation time. I, as regional manager, get four weeks. My boss cannot believe what’s going on, either. I’m wondering whether Sarah is just a chauvinist person. My boss and I will have a talk with our vice president about this. What do you propose, Annie?

— Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: The system your firm has in place to decide on compensation doesn’t seem to be working. This is an organizational issue, and you should raise it as such — not as an issue of Sarah’s being a “chauvinist” — when you speak with the vice president. Drop the name-calling and finger-pointing, as they only reflect poorly on you.

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