prescriptions for the soul

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Down But Defintely Not Out

Dear George:

My younger brother is twenty-eight and has come to stay with me here in Philadelphia for two months while he sorts out his life. That was the agreed upon time and a period I thought was appropriate for him to find a job and get on his feet. Well two months have long passed and he still doesn't have a job and refuses to seek even part-time employment. I bust my butt everyday at work and come home to find him sitting on the couch watching television. Any suggestions?

-- Fed Up In Philly

Dear Fed Up In Philly:

There’s nothing worse than being taking advantage of by family or friends. Oh wait, yes there is…being unemployed. Having that experience myself, I can testify to the hardship and mental anguish of not having work. Your description of your brother sounds like he may be depressed. I would ask him to consider that possibility and, if willing, to seek treatment at the neighborhood community mental health center. Often treatment is free or very inexpensive. If he’s not up for that, set an ultimatum. That should light a fire under the couch cushion. Tell him you love him and for the sake of your relationship you would like him to a find a job (any job) within the month. If he fails that, he’s out. If he gets a job, give him three more months to save for a first month's rent and security deposit on an apartment. Tough love is still love. Your brother could also consider going back to graduate school or traveling abroad. The Peace Corp is always looking for new recruits, as is Uncle Sam.

-- George

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