DEAR ABBY: I am a 24-year-old guy a year out of college. For a while, I had a job in my field, but it didn’t hold my interest. Management picked up on it. They let me go before my six-month probation period was over.

Now I’m stuck living at home collecting unemployment. I don’t have any idea what I want to do with my life. My days are spent watching TV, puttering around on the computer and playing video games. My parents are nagging me to get another job and treating me like a second-class citizen because I don’t have one.

I’m clear on the things I like and don’t like, but nobody’s going to pay me to watch TV for a living. I know I’d like to get married and have a family, but in terms of a career, I don’t have a clue. I envy people who have their whole lives planned and stick to it.

Every time my mother makes a suggestion, I tell her she’s way off. She complains I have no ambition, and she’s right. I’m a tad lazy. All I care about is what’s happening on “Friends” and what my friends and I are doing for fun on the weekend.

According to statistics, it takes six to nine months for someone to find another job, but I don’t know how or where to begin. Meanwhile, my bills are piling up, and I’m supposed to be paying rent to my parents. I also have a student loan hanging over my head like a hatchet. Abby, please help me get outta here! – DOWN ON MY LIFE IN EDMONTON, ALBERTA

A logical first step would be for you to go back to the college from which you graduated and consult its career counseling services. You will be tested to see where your talents and training lie. Somewhere along the line, you lost your direction and self-confidence. You should also be evaluated by your doctor for ADHD and depression.

You are obviously a bright young man. There is more to life than parties and television. Please take the necessary steps to get on with your life. You have much to offer.

DEAR ABBY: I am 34 years old, married for three years. My husband does not work. He gets a disability check but doesn’t help with the bills or anything around the house. He claims he’s looking for a job.

I recently told him about a job opportunity, and he asked me if I would forward his resume. I did. The next day, he told me he wasn’t interested in the job because it was a graveyard shift.

I thought a graveyard shift was better than no shift at all. I am struggling to make ends meet, and he is still making no effort to help. I told him almost a year ago that he would have to move out. Well, he is still here.

I want to move on with my life, but I’m afraid to take the next step. Please give me some advice. I am very confused. – STRUGGLING IN MARYLAND

It appears your husband is shiftless in more ways than one. If the present situation continues, you will crack under the stress. If he were looking for employment but unable to find it, I’d advise you to be patient and have your husband screened for depression. However, since he has you carrying the entire load and shows no signs of assuming his share of the responsibilities, my advice is to contact a lawyer. That may be the wake-up call your husband needs.

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

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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