Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My eldest brother has a secret. Before he met his wife, he was married and had two children in a country that does not have divorce. This was 25 years ago. The first marriage was very rocky, and my brother left his wife while she was pregnant with their second child. He then met his current wife and moved to the U.S. His current wife doesn’t know anything about the previous marriage.
The eldest son from his first wife, who was 6 when my brother abandoned him, has contacted me. He wants to meet his father. He also is an emotional wreck because of my brother’s behavior. He says he wants to get to know his father and have closure. I don’t know what to do. — Worried Sister
Dear Sister: Tell your brother immediately about the contact with his son, and encourage him to make this right. While it is not your place to inform his current wife (and possibly destroy his marriage), your brother must realize that his son could easily contact another person in the family. He should come clean before someone else does it for him.
Dear Annie: My husband insists on lounging on our corduroy sofa after he exercises. He is literally dripping with sweat, and every inch of his clothing is soaked.
I have asked him nicely to please shower first, but he gets angry and says he doesn’t need to. He insists I am overreacting. I hate to be a nag, but I am tired of damp, smelly furniture. How do I deal with this? — Stinky’s Wife
Dear Wife: How lovely. While your husband obviously should not place his sweaty self on your fabric furniture, he doesn’t seem inclined to stop. That means you will have to make the necessary adjustments. The simplest solution is covering the corduroy sofa with sheets or towels or a washable sofa cover. But you also might consider giving him a gym membership so he can work out (and hopefully shower) elsewhere. If he works out at home, place the treadmill or other equipment in another area of the house so he is more likely to lounge on something that won’t absorb so much moisture.
Dear Annie: “Young at Heart” couldn’t find employment at the age of 62. You said most employers drop older workers for economic reasons.
I think the biggest single obstacle in finding a job for an older person is the question of insurability. Also, many older people feel they are worth more than the job pays. But pay is based on what that job is worth to the company, not what the applicant deems himself to be worth.
There is also a reluctance to hire people who are significantly overqualified, so applicants should focus only on the requirements for the specific job opening and stress their ability to handle it. Also, an older applicant must be prepared for the inevitable question, no matter how it is worded: If you were such an asset to your last company, why did they let you go?
My suggestion for older people would be to sign up with an agency that supplies temporary help. The advantage for the employer is that there is no obligation for insurance or other benefits, and it allows a company to evaluate a person and make a job offer if they wish. A less attractive alternative is to market yourself as an independent contractor.
Companies seldom release a person who is doing an essential job for which a replacement would be difficult to find. Sadly, 22 years of doing the same thing does not equate to a job level of 22 years experience — nor does it provide an edge over a younger person doing the same job for the past 10 years.
In most instances, a person older than age 56 would do well to understand that, odds are, if your job is lost, you have just involuntarily retired. — Retired in Florida
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.26.11