DEAR ABBY by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: After 16 years of loyal and dedicated service to my employer, I find myself out of work. Months ago, I needed double knee replacements. I gave him three months' notice about my surgery, planning to return on June 1. It was a one-girl office; I was responsible for all the administrative duties.

When I called my employer, he said, "Sorry. No work," and hung up on me. I am 64 years old and jobless. I haven't written a resume in more than 20 years. How do I start rebuilding my life?

Life is not kind when you are over 50, and I never thought this day would come. I had intended to work until I was 70. I can't think straight, and am hurt beyond words that I was tossed to the curb after being a loyal and dedicated employee all these years. — DEEPLY HURT

DEAR DEEPLY HURT: You have my sympathy. For your boss to have kicked you while you were down is disgraceful. Run this scenario by an attorney who specializes in labor issues and ask if you have any recourse. Although you can't think straight right now, I assure you the lawyer will be able to advise you with a dispassionate eye.

And while you are at it, start constructing your resume. Although there may not be a job opening in the field you were working in, surely there is work for someone with a 16-year history of loyal service to one employer and the skills you have acquired and polished along the way.

DEAR ABBY: My brother "Nick" was married for 17 years until he got caught cheating on his wife with her much-younger niece. He's 34; she's 20. They say they are in love.

Nick has come home to be near family because he has been a stay-at-home dad for the last four years and doesn't have the means to start over without help. (They lived 10 hours away.) The problem is, he has asked to stay with me, which would've been fine, but he's bringing along his new love. We all love Nick's wife, and they have three children together. To let his lover stay here with him feels like a betrayal of my sister-in-law.

Out of all the siblings, I have the most room (we are recent empty nesters), and I could swing it financially. I suppose I should just get over it and help because he's family, but I'm afraid my husband won't be so forgiving. — CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

DEAR CAUGHT: It's difficult, but I'll refrain from commenting on your brother's morals or judgment. Whether you should get into the middle of this mess because Nick is family isn't a question I can answer. And you won't know the answer until after you have discussed it with your husband.

P.S. I'm so mad I changed my mind about not being judgmental. It would be poetic justice if the niece met a handsome hunk her age and dumped your brother.

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.

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