TV's Father Know Best family
A colleague at my office is telling me about his 26-year-old son--the eldest of three. When he got out of college, he moved back home and took some "non-career" jobs while he job hunted. After a year--"not a happy time for us; adult sons should not live home" says my colleague--the son finally landed what his father calls a "suit and tie" job. Three months later, he was laid off as the company reduced its work force. Within a year, the company was out of business.
The son moved south--to a beach community where he hooked on with a beach-umbrella business where he had worked during summers past. He was, the father reports, really happy. As the beach season ended, the business owner, who moves his business to beaches around the world as seasons change, offered my friends son a permanent position. The son was delighted.
That was okay with dad--his son was independent and managing his own finances. But then a neighbor contacted the son about a job interview with a "suit and tie" company. The interview went well; the son was offered a job. But now he is telling his dad he would rather stay with the umbrella rental company, that he doesn't really like working in an office.
The dad is frustrated. He feels his son doesn't understand the implications of his decision--that he will need the benefits and structural support of an office-based business. But the son is adamant: He is much happier in his new life.
Does father know best? Do we know what will be a more satisfying career for our grown children than they do?
There is this consolation for the dad. His son is making a real-world choice. Not a choice between something [beach umbrella job] and nothing, but between something [beach job] and something [office job]. That suggests he's making a much more thoughtful decision than when he was just going with the serendipity of opportunity.
As this dad admits, his preference is for the suit-tie career but that may not be what works for his son. He's given him his best advice. Now he and the mom will watch it play out. If it doesn't work out, they won't say "I told you so,"--or so my colleague assures me-- but they have also made it clear, there will be no return to ye olde homestead. He's got two other sons living at home, one of whom is a young adult who has been put on notice about how long he's welcome to stay.