DEAR ABBY: I have worked for the same doctor for 29 years. My 30-year anniversary is approaching. People think I should be ready to retire when he does. The problem is, I live paycheck to paycheck, and there is no retirement plan. What little money I had saved went out the window when I got a divorce a few years ago.
I know I need to quit and go somewhere that offers real benefits, but I feel like leaving will create a huge rift. I adore the patients, and I know they will ask him what happened. I don't want to seem ungrateful.
I know it's my fault for not demanding more earlier. I get depressed when patients tell me about their retirement plans, or I hear about his. I will be working until I die. I'm afraid he will take the staff out for a nice lunch to celebrate my 30 years, and I will be so sad or bitter that I won't be able to hide it. -- LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK
DEAR LIVING: Talk to your boss about your dilemma NOW. In light of the fact that you have worked for him for so long, perhaps he will consider instituting a retirement plan now. If he is unwilling, then it's time to look for other employment with better compensation and hope you can find a match even if it means missing the luncheon.