Steel Advice: Employment isn't only for needy, so be quiet about friends' plans
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DEAR MARY ANN: I know two people, both now retired from very successful jobs, who are both actively searching for employment. Both are quite secure financially. They are looking at positions that are well-paying and have good benefits. One has been offered an excellent position in the field where she worked prior to retirement and will likely accept it. Although I have not voiced an opinion, I feel that, in this time of great unemployment, there is a moral issue at hand here. There are so many, many people who have been un- or underemployed for so long, not to mention younger people graduating from college and then our military veterans going into the workforce who desperately need such jobs, in this case, taken by people who in no way need them. Both people want to work to have this extra money to travel extensively or to acquire some sort of material goods, e.g., more expensive cars, home additions. From our conversations, neither feels a desire to work again out of any sense of needing self-fulfillment. I have gently mentioned using their skills to volunteer or in some sort of endeavor to help others in need. I know it is not my "business," but personally I could never take a job (even though I am not nearly as well off as these two) that another so greatly needs. Your opinion?
-- SHARE THE PIE
DEAR SHARE THE PIE: Your concern for the less fortunate in the job market is commendable but unrealistic. People in this country are free to work. As long as men and women are doing a good job and there are no age restrictions in their field, they do not have to step down so another can take their place in the workforce. Furthermore, there is not a direct correlation between the job you would have them forfeit and an unemployed person. I have never seen a classified ad that said "only the unemployed need apply." Wanting to work to be able to pay for an enhanced lifestyle is a personal option.
If you truly believe that you could never take a job that another person so greatly needs, let me assure you that right now there is someone out there who could use your job. Know the consequences before you step up to the plate. As far as commenting on your acquaintances' motives, if you don't have a dog in the hunt you should keep quiet.
DEAR MARY ANN: We are having a graduation party for my son. My wife and I have friends who divorced more than eight years ago who we would like to invite to the party. We still keep in touch with both of them individually. He has moved on and has a new relationship and appears very happy. She has not found anyone but appears happy with her new life. The problem is she is still very bitter (he divorced her) about the breakup. I would like to invite both of them and let the "chips fall as they may." My wife thinks we should invite only one of them. I think the other would be insulted and I do not want to be the one to pick who is invited and who is not. What do you think?
-- UNSURE PARTY PLANNER
DEAR UNSURE PARTY PLANNER: The graduation party will be a joyous time to recognize your son's milestone. Along with celebrating his launch to college or the world, your guests will enjoy reconnecting with each other. Guests from school, the neighborhood and your workplaces will mingle with friends and family. Part of being a great host is to set the stage so everyone is comfortable when being entertained in your home.
Invite your divorced friends to the party and then give a "heads up" call to both; let them decide how they feel about being in each other's company. Your party might be the social icebreaker the ex-couple need to move forward. That said, some hurts are more painful than others, and no matter how long ago they were divorced, recovery and forgiveness may not be in their cards. Don't you be the judge by choosing or excluding. Your consideration of your guest's feelings will ease tension all around and may prevent an awkward encounter or party scene.
First Published June 19, 2012 12:00 am