DEAR ABBY: I am almost 62 and struggling to get through the day at work. It’s not because of the work itself, but I am extremely unhappy in the work environment.

I have been here more than 20 years, and I have a real problem with the work ethic of the younger employees. They come in to work anywhere from a half-hour to two hours late. One of them takes hourlong breaks, two-hour lunches and then leaves early.

Another comes to work and complains nonstop about her drive, her ex and all her aches and pains. (She just turned 40.) I go home every night frustrated and so stressed out I snap at my poor husband.

I really want to retire. It wouldn’t be a financial burden, although we would have to cut back on a little spending. My husband won’t offer an opinion, but I know I’d be much happier and healthier if I did. Any advice? — STRESSED AND TIRED

DEAR STRESSED: You might be happier and healthier if, rather than retire early, you talked to a licensed mental health professional about how to manage your stress.

You can’t control the behavior (or misbehavior) of your younger co-workers. That’s your boss’s responsibility. If their lack of punctuality and poor attendance doesn’t bother your employer, you should not be letting it affect you.

And as to the woman who complains about her aches, her pains and her ex — why are you listening to that garbage?

You have only a few more years until you reach an age at which you can retire with all the benefits you have earned, and without having to cut back. Please consider what I have said and ride it out.


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DEAR ABBY: I recently had a phone conversation with a cousin who lives on the other side of the country. We talk once a month. She has always been judgmental and negative about our cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., who — for the most part — she rarely communicates with.

In the past, when she would put them down, I’d cut the conversation short because I didn’t want to listen.

During our last chat, she started in on my brother. That’s when I lost it. I gave her a piece of my mind and hung up.

Since then, she has texted and called a few times, but I haven’t responded. I feel bad for what happened, but at the same time, I refuse to listen to her talk badly about and judge other family members.

How should I handle this? Should I respond to her? In one of her texts she said she “didn’t mean to upset me,” but I don’t consider that an apology. — HATES JUDGMENT IN OHIO

DEAR HATES JUDGMENT: Yes, you should respond to your cousin. She needs to understand that you are changing the rules regarding further conversations with her.

Explain that it has always made you uncomfortable when she said unkind, judgmental things about family members, and that when she started in on your brother, you finally reached your limit. Tell her that in the future when you talk, it must be about positive things and not family members.

After that, the ball will be in her court. See if she follows through.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)