Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I ran into an old girlfriend who’s making lots of money now. She wasn’t very friendly — but I like a challenge. I invited her for coffee, and she reluctantly joined me.
I once told her, in a rage, that she wouldn’t amount to anything at the rate she was going! I’ve read about her work in a magazine lately, so she proved me wrong.
I hinted she should share some of the wealth with the boyfriend who told her off, and motivated her. That got her going!
"On the contrary!" she said. She told me, that after we split, she ran into someone who taught her to do what she loves — to heck with the money. He said it’d show up on its own if she followed her passion for photography.
She dumped her lousy $35,000 job, used her savings for art school and now she’s doing commissioned art for big businesses. She dumped $15 on the table for our coffees, and left rather abruptly.
I don’t know what to make of this. It feels like fate or something, because I hate my old job, my co-workers and surroundings. I started slacking off and stopped making big money at it. — Fateful Meeting? Downtown
Dear Fateful: Seeing an ex so buoyant and happy with her work could be inspiring if you are doing alright, or depressing if you’re sick of what you’re still doing and don’t feel compatible with your workmates.
Either way, psychologists who specialize in career guidance could help you find a new path. They can help you identify the best fields for you explore. The best guidance is definitely not found in online career-planning quizzes.
Honest friends can be helpful, too. Ask them, "What kind of work would you visualize me doing and with what types of people are good around me?" Co-workers and siblings can be quite insightful on a change in career path, but parents who paid for your education will not be as open-minded.
Can you remember what you wanted to do be as a child? It may not be far off the mark now that you’re an adult. Your grandma will probably remember. Sometimes your education was right for you, but your surroundings were wrong — wrong location, wrong co-workers, wrong boss, wrong everything.
It may be that you need to work on your own, or maybe you need more people around you. Maybe those attracted to your kind of work are really not of your personality type, so you may need a little independence and distance. Make it your business to work this all out.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I really got "hated on" after my last breakup. I was cheating on my wife, so out of guilt I gave her the house (all paid for) and a pot of money.
I still feel guilty, as the woman I was cheating with was her estranged half-sister and now her whole family is in an uproar. They hate my guts, her brothers want to kill me (no kidding!) and her old dad even offered to fight me. That’s a laugh!
The half-sister made herself scarce at her friend’s place in Brandon — we only had a casual relationship so no big deal.
Anyhow, I’m wondering what you think about moving? I know it’s running away, but there were no babies. My mother-in-law told me I’m "as popular as a dead skunk in the middle of the road." So I’m thinking maybe it would be safest to leave my job and move to Alberta or B.C.— So-Called Stinker, Winnipeg
Dear Stinker: If your job doesn’t require you be in the province, consider asking for a transfer to another branch. Your chances of making peace with your ex-family are next-to-none.
British Columbia is far enough away that your presence won’t be felt as painfully by your ex or her angry family. If you can’t find work there, what the heck, the Maritimes could be your second choice.
Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.