DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Martha," works as a cleaning lady for a company that sends crews of women into homes to clean. One of the cleaning women forgot to put a remote control back on a table after dusting. The homeowner called the cleaning company, claiming the remote control was missing. The company made the crew return to the house (after work) where they found the remote lying in full view on the floor next to the table. It seems the homeowner wanted to teach the cleaning women a lesson!
Mrs. Homeowner, Martha didn't get paid for the extra hour and a half it took to get to your house and back. Her daughter was at home alone. Martha received a speeding ticket, which of course she must pay. In her frustration, she slammed the door of the company car, was reported and lost driving privileges, which paid a little extra.
Martha is in a desperate situation. She finally found the courage to leave her abusive husband and is working this crummy job to support herself and her daughter and barely makes ends meet. This pushes her further down.
The moral of this true story: Please, people, try to be more tolerant. Your actions can have profound effects on the lives of others. -- M.C. IN ROBINSON, ILL.
DEAR M.C.: Your friend's frustration is understandable -- in any business there are always a few "difficult" clients.
Perhaps it's time Martha sought a job with another cleaning company or employment in another field. Often, women thrust into the job market must start from scratch to develop skills that make them employable. (That's why I urge women to wait to marry until they have the kind of education that guarantees they can support themselves if they have to.)
Many branches of the YWCA offer a program called "Employee Preparation Services," which teaches women how to fill out job applications, set up resumes, practice job interviews, and provides traditional (clerical) as well as non-traditional job training (e.g. construction).
Although not all branches offer this program, by calling a YWCA in her area, your friend can be referred to a branch that does. Or, she can call the national toll-free information line: 1-800-YWCA-US1 (1-800-992-2871). The YWCA also offers child care, shelter and counseling.