Bianca Knows Best ... and Fights the Depression 

Dear Bianca,

My brother-in-law has fallen on some hard times lately. He lost his good-paying job due to the economic crisis, and his wife filed for divorce after Christmas. So my wife and I let him move in with us until he can get on his feet.

In mid-January, he landed a temporary job as a cashier at a local grocery store. It was a major step down from what he was doing, but it offered a paycheck. After the second day on the job, he was already complaining. Two weeks later, he quit because he felt overqualified.

After not working for two more weeks, he got another job -- this time at a coffeeshop. He immediately hated it too. This weekend he went into work but came home an hour later, saying he was sent home because of the snow. Then he didn't go in the next day. We learned yesterday (from a mutual friend) that he quit the job over the weekend and was afraid to tell us.

I don't understand why he would lie to us and I'm worried that he may become an unwelcome houseguest if he keeps quitting his jobs. How should I politely explain this to him?

--Free Room and Board

Dear Free Room,

These are tough times, and it's probably been very hard for your brother-in-law to deal with the transition from a well-paid worker in his chosen field to working with college students sacking groceries.

As for the lying, I'd suggest confronting him politely. Ask him why he hasn't been to work in a few days? If he doesn't come clean, tell him you know that he quit his job, but make sure he knows that you understand. Explain that there's no need for him to lie to you and your wife.

He's only been out of his good job for a couple months, so bear with him a bit longer. Perhaps you could help him find a job by checking sites like or

However, if he falls into a deeper depression and continues to foolishly quit jobs, you and your wife should consider asking him to move on before his presence puts a strain on your marriage.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at


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