I lost my job six months ago due to ‘down-sizing.’ My husband completely understands. He lost his last year for the same reason. Thank heaven he found something new within a few months or we’d really be in trouble right now. The problem is my extended family. They seem to think I don’t want to work but actually I’ve been looking religiously almost from the moment I realized my days were numbered at my previous place of employment. My mother, in particular, thinks I’m being lazy. I think she’s being hypocritical. She hasn’t worked since she married my father. Nobody except my husband understands. I just don’t know what to do. Please, advise. I feel so lost.
Carol in Yonkers
Dear Lost in Yonkers:
Cheer up – you’ve just been found!
Personally, I’d tell Ma’ Industry that she needs to mind her own store since the last time she actually received pay for services rendered Eisenhower was still occupying a seat in the White House. Honestly, this ain’t the same ‘get up and go’ culture that it was at the end of the Second World War.
If you listen to today’s analysts, they’ve spun a little web of capitalist dreams that proclaim a strong economy. I’m not exactly sure where – but they say it’s there.
Okay, sure - the economy’s booming – if you count the increase in jobs that require you to warble that time honored catch slogan “would you like fries with that?”
But if you’re actually looking for a career and not a part time hobby with no benefits and no hope of advancement beyond the chicken crisper – this just is not the right time for you.
Sad but true – most of today’s employers don’t want to train somebody new. They want a ready made plug-in with forties years experience poured into a twenty-two year old body. Somebody should explain to them that that ideal candidate simply DOES NOT exist.
Want some good advise: take what time you have off right now to put your home in order. Attend some local job fairs, but don’t go desperate. Just play the field. The old cliché: Good things come to those who wait often seems valid simply because those who aren’t really looking tend to exude an air of ‘hey, I’m your guy/gal’ and ‘if you don’t want to hire me, the competition most certainly will – see yah!’
The crabby critic
My husband is having an affair with his secretary. The other day I found some soiled panties in our trunk and they weren’t mine. But more importantly, I also found his secretary's home phone number and some rather pornographic messages and photos on his text messages. I don’t know what to do. I thought we were happy.
Janice in Manhattan
Dear Manhattan Melodrama:
Clearly, you’re not…or that is – you are and your husband’s not – or is, but for all the wrong reasons.
Okay, so you didn’t pick him for brains or fidelity. I’ll assume he’s the kind that you could – and have - bounced quarters off his pecs, only now it’s his secretary who’s holding the jar load of change.
Janice – your guy’s a pig, plain and simple.
You didn’t mention children with him so I’ll assume there aren’t any. My advice to you is leave. Today!
Don’t confront him.
He’ll just make up some cock and bull scenario about ‘Little Miss Dictation’ that will have you cast as the witch, her as the misunderstood ingénue and himself the guy wearing red and blue spandex – flying into the fray as her hero and savior.
But here’s the wrinkle you should remind him of – that the part of the hero is always reserved for the one true love, and when he put the ring on your finger during that ceremony where you wore white and walked with him, hand in glove, down the isle that ‘true love’ status officially went to you – not Staple-Gun Sally and her throbbing interests in sharpening your hubby’s pencil!
The crabby critic
My life’s a mess.
My ex-wife is suing me for more alimony. My new girlfriend is cheating on me with my boss and I think the two of them are conspiring to get me fired. I don’t like where I’m at and I don’t know how to get out of it. My spiritual advisor said it’ll all work out one day but that doesn’t help me any. I’m close to giving up.
Jarvis in Wilmington
Dear Willie-Nillie in Wilmington
I’ll concur with you on one point – your spiritual advisor’s a kook!
I’m not saying he should have suddenly put on the Dale Carnegie/Tony Robbins thinking cap or give you the ‘10 simple things guys do to mess up their lives’ speech a la Dr. Laura – but to cop out with a ‘God works in mysterious ways’ and leave you hanging without any sort of modest suggestion is tantamount to him simply turning his back on his commitment as a pastor to invest a little more time molesting some choir boys!
Just so we’re clear on one point: I can’t offer you a step by step either, Jarvis. But what I can do is make a few constructive suggestions about avenues you may want to explore.
First things first: your ex.
She’s a cold fish and a gold digger besides, yes? Time to hire a legal piranha as your defense. Don’t get someone who just wants to plead everything out.
Get a hatchet man who understands that not every guy who gets a divorce is or was an abusive sponge. It never ceases to amaze me, just how many women with nothing to gripe about decide to stick the ax in the back of the guy they promised to love and cherish till lilies sprout from their butt simply because a bit more creative thinking and hard work was required after the flush of the honeymoon had worn off!
Want some advice about the girlfriend?
Introduce her to your ex. By my thinking these two should be bowling partners!
They’ve both had a crack at the same set of pins and balls – if you get my drift. Ditch her. Let her have your boss if that’s who she really wants. Seriously, I don’t think she knows who or what she wants. If there’s a President or CEO in your company roster I wouldn’t be too surprised if she’s starting her take over bid right now.
Can you say loveless social climber? I know you can.
About your boss – provided you’ve been doing your job correctly, he has no legal cause to fire you. If you get the proverbial pink slip now you can sue him for wrongful dismissal. But in the meantime – before economic Armageddon leaves you homeless, start the search through the Yellow Pages for another place of business. Call in sick to secretly go to as many interviews as you can. Then, when you find something worth your time, pick up stakes for a fresh start. Really, it’s that simple.
Last piece of advice, Jarvis.
NO NEW OFFICE ROMANCES!
Not at your current place of employment and certainly not at your next. You need to do some serious housecleaning and invest some personal time in getting your life back on track before you invite someone else to share the wealth. Right now you’re working from a deficit. But cheer up – you can turn pennies into progress with just a bit of down time. Good luck.
The crabby critic
I’m sooooo lonely.
- Barbara in Sidney
Yeah…and I’m new in town. Could I get directions to your place?!?
If you had said you were constipated I’d have a quicker solution. As the situation stands, I’ll thank you to shove a couple of prunes between your ears to get your mind off of how lonely you really are.
Everybody goes through bouts of minor depression. Yours will pass faster than you can flush an American Standard if you simply make the effort to loosen up whatever has made you ‘sooooo lonely’.
Go to a play.
Take a jog in the park.
Volunteer for any number of charities.
All these activities will put you in contact with other people who may or may not share your feelings of isolation. Even if they don’t – they’ll probably put you in touch with folks who have some ideas how to alleviate your cramping resolve to be by yourself.
Flush the blues from your mind – Babs.
They’re not permanent.
The crabby critic
My girlfriend of nine years is driving me nuts about getting married. I don’t want to get married. The thought of it makes me sick. What should I do?
Jorge in Stevensville
Swallow a box of Valium before saying ‘I do.’ I’m kidding!
Seriously, why does the thought of marriage make you physically ill? Did you come from an unhappy/divorced home? Do you have friends who are married or got married and now hate their lives together? Perhaps the reason the ring finger set your heart aflutter (but not in a good way) is because you’ve equated marriage with an end to a perfectly good sex life.
Sorry, boy – can’t help you there.
But on a more clairvoyant note – I’m wondering why it’s taken your gal pal nine years to press the question. Clearly, she wants her day and probably won’t settle for just another warm and fuzzy romantic evening topped off by a bottle of wine and a rental of ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ as her consolation prize. You have two choices, Jorge. Either break up with your girl (which, in my opinion would be a HUGE mistake) or move forward with plans to pitch a little rice on the side.
Now, why is option #1 a mistake?
Simple: you’ve been with your girlfriend for NINE years. Do you realize that if you two were married your 10th anniversary would be right around the corner?
Anybody who can put in a decade of fidelity is deserving of at least half your pension after you kick off.
You’ve found a very patient (if, slightly odd) woman to love you, Jorge. Don’t blow it by jilting her now. She’s given whatever she’s given for almost ten years. This is what she expects as repayment for that investment. Don’t disappoint her. You may even surprise yourself.
The crabby critic