DEAR ABBY: This letter is in response to "Totally Lost in North Carolina," whose husband cannot or will not keep a job. She said he didn't like to work and "somehow he always messes up and gets fired or quits."
I had similar problems with my husband. He would keep a job no more than six months maximum. He finally heard about a program called "Operation Improvement." The people there gave him an aptitude test, suggested a job he would never have considered on his own -- truck driving -- and paid for his training.
He's been driving a truck for six years now and loves his job. I'm not suggesting truck driving for this gal's husband, but he should take an aptitude test and find something he'll be happy doing. If he doesn't, he'll continue to go from job to job and create stress for the whole family. I wish them the best of luck, and as much happiness as my husband and I (and our kids) now have. -- LISA IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR LISA: Thank you for caring enough to share your personal experience. When I read the letter from "Totally Lost" about her struggle to cope with her husband's unwillingness to hold a job ("He doesn't like to work") and her valiant efforts to keep the family from going under ("I work for two companies and do extra work on the side ... make good money, but not enough to pay all the bills"), I felt sympathy for her. She said she'd like to throw him out, but was afraid he wouldn't leave. I told her to draw the line; from my perspective, she'd have one less mouth to feed.
I see marriage as a partnership, with the division of labor agreed upon by both parties. I also thought she was being taken advantage of. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My very intelligent, considerate husband has adult attention deficit disorder. One of the symptoms is difficulty holding certain jobs. He has finally found his "niche" as a talented photographer and an outstanding teacher. (Two jobs!)
Perhaps there's another choice for "Totally Lost" other than evicting her husband, and another reason for his problem other than irresponsibility. -- FAITHFUL READER IN DELAWARE
DEAR FAITHFUL READER: You have insight, and I agree that the husband should be evaluated for adult attention deficit disorder before any decisions are made about ending the marriage. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: In response to the letter about the husband who "doesn't like to work" -- there may be an underlying cause or causes for his occupational failures. I offer three possibilities:
1. He may be functionally illiterate. Many people work in low-level, nonskilled jobs that are unsatisfying because these are the only jobs that don't require reading skills. When confronted with work that is equal to their intelligence but beyond their level of literacy, they are unproductive and either get fired or quit.
2. He may have adult attention deficit disorder and not know it. Many adults carry this problem from childhood into adulthood and suffer because of it, not realizing the underlying reason for their lack of achievement.
3. There may be health problems underlying his apparent laziness. -- HOPE THIS HELPS, GARLAND, TEXAS
DEAR HOPE THIS HELPS: It hadn't occurred to me that the husband might be suffering, too. Thank you for pointing it out in a helpful letter.