Magazine article New York Times Upfront

The Babysitter's Dilemma

Magazine article New York Times Upfront

The Babysitter's Dilemma

Article excerpt

When I arrived to babysit for a family whose children I adore, the mother told me her daughter was coming down with a cold. Shouldn't she have warned me in advance? I'm a student and don't have time to get sick. I stayed, knowing this mom needed the help, but my dad says I should have left. Is he right?

EVE RYBNICK, WEST ORANGE, N.J.

HE IS NOT. You did well not to reave this mother in the lurch, although she should have told you promptly about her child's health and let you decide if you wanted the job.

An employer should not significantly after the terms of employment. But her failure to alert you to this minor malady is not enough reason to walk out on her. And there's the possibility that her child's symptoms emerged too tare for the morn to make other arrangements.

Let's keep things in perspective. The daughter didn't have the plague; she had a cold--a routine hazard for anyone who leaves their house, and certainly for anyone who has contact with kids: They're walking petri dishes of who knows what.

Incidentally, nobody has time to get sick. But with ordinary precautions--like washing your hands frequently--most people don't need to become hermits to avoid catching cord.

I'm a student intern at a nonprofit theater. When I was assigned to do research on a new play, I discovered that many passages were taken verbatim and without citation from various sources, ranging from websites to literary journals, I'd like to alert the theater's artistic director, but I fear tensions and recriminations. …

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