NOTE TO READERS: Due to a glitch in the Gazette’s new web programming, most of The Career Doctor mail for the last month was not delivered and is somewhere unreachable in cyberspace. So, if you sent in a question, please resend it. I can’t guarantee I will answer it, but I can’t answer any I haven’t received, so do send your question again. Below you will find an interesting one that did get through. Dr. Jacqueline Plumez
UNGRATEFUL HEIR TO FAMILY BUSINESS
Dear Career Doctor:
My family is being torn apart. My husband and I have a family business, art publishing. We are ready to retire, but don’t want the business to just die when we leave. Our son, who took 5 years to graduate from college, has drifted into the business mainly because he has no better ideas about his career. He is a lousy employee, hates to be in the office, resents it when we take time off and make him cover for us. He has no passion for the business, but we hope he might learn to like the work.
His attitude it nasty and has spilled over into our home, where he’s living to save money. Our other employees can’t stand him, but I know they are afraid to say anything to us. Should we just kick him out of the business? In this economy, it seems stupid to let an established business die out when it could provide a good living for our son. Any ideas you have would be appreciated.
It sounds like your business will die if you let your unmotivated, ungrateful son run it. So here’s my advice: tell him he is not welcome to sponge off you any more. Give him a specific date by which he has to leave the business and your home. Let him know this does NOT mean that you do not love him. It’s just that only chumps continue to work and live with someone who is “nasty” to them.
Parents think that if they give their children everything, the child will be happy and grateful. Not so. The child will be spoiled. I remember a patient with this problem saying to me, “I thought love bred love.” And I had to tell her this truth: only if lack of love and bad behavior are not tolerated.
What to do with your business? If one of your employees doesn’t want to buy it, contact business brokers. There are professionals who sell businesses like yours.
What to do with your son? Offer to pay for his first month’s rent and for a psychologist who can also do career counseling. I am one of them, but don’t refer him to me: he would probably just resent me for cutting off his gravy train. In time, he may appreciate the fact that you forced him to find work and a lifestyle that makes him happier than living and working with his parents in a business that he clearly does not enjoy.