Ask Amy: My parents are not supportive of my career ambitions

Dear Amy: I’m a financially independent 27-year-old woman. I work in the beauty industry. My parents do not support my career advancement and skill development.

I need to move and leave my current job, but I will not jump ship until I have something else lined up. I attend conventions and trade shows to make connections in the professional world, learn new skills and keep up with trends.

It’s an investment in myself. My parents express their disappointment and call my efforts a waste of money — and dangerous. I can’t understand why.

Recently, I was very down, because I had to cancel a three-hour trip to a skills development show. I’d spent weeks preparing. My parents said I should be happy that I saved money by not attending. They refuse to acknowledge this as a lost opportunity.

I’ve suggested counseling for them, but they don’t believe in it. I can’t keep stalling my career to appease their comfort.

I’ve expressed what I need from them. I only want moral support. They refuse. If I have to hide my interest for professional growth, I don’t know how we’ll be able to maintain a close relationship.

They’re getting older and live a few hours away. I don’t want our rare visits to be spent getting yelled at for choosing my path.

Striving: I agree with you that counseling would be beneficial — for you.

You are 27. You are doing exactly what you should be doing with your life: charting the course of your future and working hard to succeed. Other ambitious self-starters will counsel you to hitch up your trousers and keep at it.

This is the entrepreneur’s journey you have chosen. You must encounter some risk to reap your reward. Where you seem to have strayed from the path is in your reliance on your parents for applause, assent or moral support. They won’t give it to you, so stop asking for or expecting it.

It is so frustrating when people won’t give you what you want, but if you change your focus away from others and train it on your development, your frustration will also disappear.

If your profession and your efforts are all you have to talk to your folks about, then you’ll have to steel yourself to their negative responses. Otherwise, do what young adults the world over do when talking to their folks, and edit your narrative.

My (unsolicited) opinion is that you should get a second part-time gig to pay the bills, and plow ahead with your efforts to develop your skills and network with other pros. You’ll get there.

Dear Amy: My 50-something son, currently unemployed, has struggled financially and career-wise since he graduated college 30 years ago.

He is a sweet guy, and a great husband and father. Sadly, he’s been laid off from many jobs over the years. I think he only left a job once to take a better job, and that was early in his career.

He thinks he has excellent communication and leadership skills. I think his writing skills are good, but his in-person communication skills are a big problem. He does not present well. Also, he is very passive and does not have leadership skills.

I have offered several times over the years to pay for him to see a career counselor. He is always lukewarm to the idea.

My question is: Should I keep my mouth shut or be brutally honest? I’m not sure there is a middle road.

Saddened: If your son approaches you for career advice, you should offer it. Be honest, but not brutal.

However, you say that he is a great husband and father, and those are qualities to be celebrated. He might be fulfilled being a stay-at-home parent, and if he has a willing partner, keeping the household going is a worthy career.

If he has good writing skills but poor people skills, working remotely might be an answer for him. These opportunities are increasingly available.

Dear Amy: Parents calling themselves “Ashamed” wrote that they were ashamed that their daughter, who had been cheated on in her marriage, was now seeing a married man.

I appreciated your analysis of what was going on: She was hurt, and now she was consciously hurting other people. I am also ashamed that I did the same thing after I was cheated on.

Recovered: I hope not too many people were hurt before you wised up.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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