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by Abigail Van Buren

Politics Put a Sudden End to 20-Year-Old Friendship

DEAR ABBY: I work as a secretary in a big law office. At the end of the year we are supposed to box up and summarize our closed files so they can be stored in our warehouse. For some reason, all the women in the office seem to think I should find a man to help me carry the boxes. All I'm doing is picking them up and putting them on a cart so I can take them to my desk.

Abby, I am more than capable of carrying a box that weighs anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds. I'm in my mid-30s, fairly active and have never had a problem with this. I have worked here for about three years, and it's always the same reaction. Today my supervisor made a big scene and insisted I find help.

I hate having to hear the same thing every year. I don't know why it bugs me, but it does. My feeling is if I can do it, why not? Should I just give in to their demands or stand my ground? -- DOING MY JOB

DEAR DOING: Your supervisor may have told you to have a man place the boxes on the cart, I suspect, because of possible liability should you injure your back doing the lifting. Because ignoring the request could lead to "issues" with your employer, you should comply.

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