Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

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Career Doctor Archives

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Career Doctor: Ungrateful Heir To Family Business

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


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.


Dear C:

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.

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4 comments to Career Doctor: Ungrateful Heir To Family Business

  • LarchLady

    Good advice. It’s always hard to push adult children out of the nest, especially when the nest is so comfy and the outside world is so rough. Previous generations of parents had no trouble doing it, though. We are raising a generation of “Me first” kids, I’m afraid.

  • Eleanor

    Your son sounds troubled. It was “his choice” to work in your business. He should have found his own “career path.” However, if he reads this…and recognizes his own parents showing their lack of respect and apparent anger towards him…gosh, I think he will be devasted.

    I think that a “family intervention” may be needed very soon. Counseling would be a good idea for all of you. How did you allow this to happen? You also played a part by allowing him to work with you. It appears that “it was your dream…not his.”

    Sell your business and let him find his own path.

  • DC

    Eleanor, I agree that they should have guided their son toward another career path, but maybe he at some point seemed to want to go into the family business. Family businesses aren’t uncommon, and often they provide a good living for several generations. It all has to be handled right, of course, and it would have been better in this case if the son had tried his hand at something else first.

  • Eleanor

    I am in the same situation as the writer with a business that he could inherit. However, I told my son to follow “his” dreams. Had it been to come into my business, that would be great. But, my dreams may be different than his dreams. As parents, we have to make our children independent people. I can’t imagine describing my child as “lousy and nasty.” Something else is going on here. I think this family needs some help and counseling to sort it out.