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Man Who Hates His Job Drags Girlfriend Down With Griping

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend for three years. We have lived together for the last two. We have a great life together, but there is a problem I don't know how to solve. "Jeremy" hates his job.

We met in the education department of our college, and after graduation, we both took jobs in the public school system. I enjoy my career, but he loathes his. He complains constantly without seeming to take action on the issue. I know he's miserable, but he hasn't looked for other jobs or enrolled in a new school program.

I have bad days, too, but I've reached the end of listening to the constant griping. I am usually a positive person, but he is dragging my mood down because of this. He says I need to guide him and give him some direction, but I don't know what to say. I don't think it's my responsibility to tell another adult what he should or shouldn't do with his life. I don't mind helping him talk through his choices, but he wants more from me.

This is the man I want to marry. Is there a way to get past this issue and make it work? -- UNCERTAIN AND LOST

DEAR UNCERTAIN: Until your boyfriend has settled this uncertainty about his work life, any discussion about marriage should be put on hold. I agree you are not qualified to give him career advice. However, you might ask him to tell you what exactly it is that he hates about his job, and what he would rather be doing. His answers may give both of you insight into what he may be better suited for emotionally, and stimulate him to do something positive about his future. Once he has more clarity, there may be places he can go for career counseling that can help him decide what his next steps should be.

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