Dear Annie: I am a waiter in a restaurant and enjoy my job. I am 34 years old and struggled to find work that I like before I found this job. I really love being a waiter. The customers are mostly friendly, the food is good, and I try to make eating at our restaurant an enjoyable experience for all diners.
The owner of the restaurant is friendly to the customers but a stern disciplinarian to the cooks, the wait staff and the dishwashers and busboys. He is not mean to us; he's just strict and not very friendly or approachable. I hardly ever talk to him. He scares me a little. The assistant manager who hired me four years ago was nice, but he left for another restaurant and his replacement is so-so — very quiet and always trying to kiss up to the owner.
The problem is that there is one waitress who calls in sick once a week, every week, no matter what, and the other waiters and I have to do her work for her. She has been with the restaurant longer than any of us. Her sick days are all over the map. One week she calls in sick on Tuesday, and then the next week Friday. She keeps changing the days of the week, but without fail she takes one sick day every week.
I told her that when she calls in sick, we have to do her work for her, and she replied that that's how it has always been. "Besides," she said, "you can get more tips."
Money is not the issue; fairness is.
I am so fed up with her and this whole situation that I am thinking about quitting. I am also thinking about calling the man who hired me, who is now at a different restaurant, and asking him for a job because of this. But I'm afraid that he will tell the owner of my restaurant since they are still friends. I'm really feeling stick and resentful. — Slowly Smoldering
Dear Smoldering: You are allowing the waitress calling in sick to make you feel sick and resentful. While I understand that you don't want to do her work, she makes a good point that you are making more money in tips when she is out. If you don't care about the money and are that concerned with "fairness," perhaps you should look for another job. While it might seem like the waitress is "faking" her sickness because of the frequency of her sick calls, we have no idea what is going on. And I am certain that you and the restaurant customers do not want a sick waitress serving them.
If you love being a waiter and you love the customers, then look at this as an opportunity to really show management how well you can do your job. Hard work without complaining pays off in the end.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the column by the 72-year-old man who was disappointed that his 71-year-old girlfriend does not show interest in sex. Well, as a 70-plus woman, let me tell you that with declining (and absent) estrogen, the thought of sex is not prime on our minds. However, I made a discovery a year or so ago when my urologist prescribed an estrogen cream for my frequent UTIs. I suddenly love having sex with my husband again. My sex drive has returned and we are going through a second honeymoon phase. If most post menopausal women who have no sex drive would check with their doctor they might discover that sex can actually be enjoyable again.
I am assured by my doctor that the amount of estrogen in the cream is safe. So, a visit with a gynecologist or urologist may be an easy fix. So ladies, there is hope out there. — Old and Happy in Retirement