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He needs a real job

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  August 27, 2010 05:20 AM

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Sinus surgery at 7:30 a.m. today. Up my nose with a rubber hose. Thanks to those who had book suggestions for recovery boredom.

And finally, here are your self-help book reviews.

And today's letter ….

Q: Hi Meredith,

I'm a Bostonian in her mid-20s and have been in a relationship with an amazing man for two years. We moved in together a few months ago and I have no doubt in my mind that he's the one for me. Everything about our relationship is great except the fact that he has absolutely no career goals or ambitions what so ever. This drives me crazy! Everyone always tells me not to worry about it because we are both still young (he is 27) but I do worry about it. To me, 27 is not that young. We talk about our future all the time; getting married, buying a house, having kids. I don’t see or want this to happen until we either have acquired or set ourselves on the right path towards a career.

I come from a family of women who all had children by the age 20 and most have yet to (and I doubt ever will) find a career that makes them happy or is lucrative. They all struggle financially and I see how this affects every aspect of their lives. I am not that woman and never want to be. I have finally figured out what I want to do with my life and am taking steps towards making that happen (i.e. graduate education and new job opportunities).

He has a steady job that he excels at but it is not something he can make a career out of. Pay is decent but not something you can build the type of future we talk about. He did not attend college (minus the 2 or 3 classes under his belt from a community college) and I fear his job options are minimal. I try and bring up the subject but never succeed in getting my point across to him for fear that he will be insulted. What is the best way for me to bring this up to him? How do you tell someone you don't think their job is good enough? I believe he has so much more potential then he thinks but I don't know how to put it so that it's positive and inspiring instead of negative. I just flat out don’t know what to do. Please help!

– Help Me Help Him, Boston

A: "He has a steady job that he excels at."

Is he happy, HMHH?

If the answer is yes, let me help you, HMHH. Don't put your timetable on him. Don't put your women-in-my-family-could-have-done-better-for-themselves stuff on him either. Love him as the wage-earning guy he is or don't.

If the answer is no, you can tell him that you'd love to help him find a job that makes him happy -- because you want him to enjoy his life. You're willing to order food while editing his resume, play music while he hunts for jobs online, and take him to the movies when he's done. Make sure you tell him your offer is about his happiness. You just want to help.

He has to do what he wants to do. If he wants a career and just can't figure out how to take the steps to get one, fine -- offer suggestions. But don't assume he wants what you want. Not wanting what you want is OK.

The women in your family gave up careers for kids. It's your wish not to do the same. I'm sure there are a bunch of people out there who are committed to working to live as opposed to living to work because their parents spent too much time at the office. You're going to be a rock star career-wise no matter what you do. You need to decide whether you can be with someone who isn’t.

Readers? Is she trying to help him or is she helping herself? If he is unhappy and does want a career, how can she help him take the steps to get one? Should he have a career by 27? Should she put off plans with him until he finds a more appropriate job? A friend and I were just discussing this story. Relevant? Discuss.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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