Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m having trouble with a friend of five years. She is a self-employed
professional with a very strong personality and equally strong opinions
Usually I can handle it, but now I’m more fragile. I was laid off from
my job five months ago after more than ten years on the job. I put up
with all sorts of c**p, and the layoff/elimination of my job were part of
a structured settlement, in lieu of a lawsuit. I am legally eligible for
unemployment and very diligently looking for a new job. I knew the
risk when I took the deal but it was better for my mental health than
staying. Not sure I’d do it again, given the market, but that’s a
different tale of woe, ageism, sexism. She accused me of “bilking the
system” and is rudely sarcastic every time she asks how my job search
is going. Now she’s taken to emailing me low-level job
announcements, things equivalent to serving burgers. Should I ignore
this or call her on her elitist rudeness?


Dear Angry:

Your anger and building frustration about prolonged unemployment
are legitimate. Anyone who is responsible for her own professional life
cannot really understand what it takes to put yourself out there day
after day for the review and judgment of others. She clearly is not only
detached from the realities of unemployment but lacking in sensitivity.
That’s probably not what you should say, though I am sure you’ve
been tempted to tell her where to put the announcements.

Ignore everything until you are being social, say after a movie and
over a drink and until she says something clearly out of line. Then say
clearly, Do you realize that hurts? I’m looking for appropriate work,
and having to count every week and every dollar. I’m a good and loyal
worker who was between a rock and a hard place. I paid into the
unemployment system for more than ten years. Now it’s helping me
survive. If you want to be helpful, send me leads that are worthy of
who I am and what I do. Help me network. Please don’t discuss this
aspect of my life with me unless you are supportive. That’s how a true
friend would be helpful. Then shut up and let her think on it. If she
doesn’t change, save your social time and money for people who
appreciate you.