DEAR ABBY: I am an older IT professional (58) who had a very successful career until a year ago. I was part of a major layoff at the company I worked at for many years. I have not been able to find a job in the IT field since.
Besides my skills and knowledge in IT, I'm an accomplished handyman with skills in most of the trades. The issue is, my wife is insistent that I get another job in IT -- mostly for the benefits.
Older IT workers have a very hard time finding work in the field. I'd like to start a handyman company since I enjoy this kind of work. If I start a handyman business, my wife, for the first time, would have to go from being a part-time worker at her job to full time to provide us with benefits. This will cause a lot of strain on our marriage because she has made it clear she does not want to work full time.
I think she's being selfish. I have provided her with a very nice lifestyle for many years and feel it's time she step up and do her part. I'm not sure how to broach the subject without an argument ensuing. Help? -- SWITCHING GEARS IN NEW YORK
DEAR SWITCHING: Expect an argument and be prepared for it. You are not responsible for having been laid off. It seems there is plenty of ageism in your field, and it isn't surprising you can't find a comparable job in IT when the preference appears to be for hiring younger, cheaper workers.
Frankly, you are fortunate to have both an alternative and the initiative to start a handyman business. Good handymen are hard to find, and your wife should make the effort to support you in what could be a successful endeavor once it gets on its feet. That's what partners in life are supposed to do, isn't it?
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for a couple of years. He has three siblings, all in their 20s, none married.
Today I received a group email from his mom addressed to him, his father, his grandmother, all three siblings and their boyfriends/girlfriends (including me) asking for Christmas wish lists. She wants to know what we would like for Christmas and would like all of us to "reply all" on the email so everyone else will have ideas for Christmas presents.
I don't know how to respond! I don't want to appear greedy, but I do like the idea that she wants to get us all presents that we will like. Can you give me any suggestions on the best way to respond? -- PERPLEXED IN ALABAMA
DEAR PERPLEXED: Your boyfriend's mother is a generous -- and sensible -- woman. She is soliciting ideas because she doesn't want to waste her time or money buying something the recipient won't like. Answer her question. Tell her what you would like, as long as it isn't something that will break the bank. Your boyfriend can probably give you some hints about her budget. I suggest you talk to him about it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.