Author Topic: Need something better than the stock phrases  (Read 4465 times)

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norrina

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Need something better than the stock phrases
« on: June 07, 2013, 05:54:52 PM »
Relevant background:
I graduated law school in May '12, took the My State bar exam in July '12, and was officially sworn in as a licensed attorney of My State in Nov. '12. Due in part to the poor economy, and in part to wanting to practice a specific type of law, I had no success with finding a position with an established law firm, though I made diligent efforts for many months. In Aug. '12 I decided to open my own practice, and I had all systems in place to open my firm's doors the day that I was sworn in. Since then I have had some good months and some lean months, but overall I had been able to get by. Admittedly, this survival has been due in part to a very generous monetary gift from my grandparents at the time of my graduation (before I had decided to open my own practice), which is now gone, although I do still have a retirement account that I can break into if absolutely necessary. My fiancé is a full-time student, and will graduate with his bachelor's degree in International Business in Dec. of this year.   

On to the dilemma:
Since November, every time I have talked to my grandfather he has asked me if I am "looking for a job yet". The first gazillion times I explained that I was greatly enjoying working for myself, and that I would really like to continue in that path if I could make a go of it. The last time he asked I responded that I have a job, and I really like it.

Perhaps that finally got through, because when we spoke today he didn't bring the subject up again. Instead though he wanted to discuss my fiancé's career prospects. My fiancé has been tracking the job market in his field for some time now, and the possibilities look promising, though we won't know for sure until he is in a position to actually start applying. I told grandfather some of the big name positions that we had seen. Grandfather then wanted to know if DF was only looking at jobs in our area, and when I replied that he was grandfather latched onto that as the new wrong-thing-to-do. I explained that DF has a son here, and that we are not willing to relocate him again (we moved here 2 years ago for DF's son's mother's career), so we will be staying here until the (now 12 y.o.) child is 18. That only got a lecture about how much that was limiting DF, and he needed to look into international positions. I reiterated again that that would not be possible, if for no reason other than DF has a child here. At that point grandfather dropped it, but I suspect this is not the last I've heard of the subject. (It actually isn't the first time it's come up either, come to think of it.)

So, eHellions, I need suggestions. How do I respond when my grandfather, who is elderly, and has been very generous with me my entire life,
  • Wants to know when I am going to get a "job" and launches into the lecture of the day about malpractice suits, the dangers of my chosen field of law, or my impending certain bankruptcy, and/or
  • Sees fit to criticize my betrothed for his decision not to abandon his child and wife-to-be in pursuit of financial riches?

Right now my thoughts are to respond to his lectures on the necessity of looking for a "job" or seeking international employment with "That is an idea," and then doing our own thing. But what I really would prefer is to shut down the idea that it is okay to tell a 34 and 40 year old how to conduct their career path or raise their family. I'm not sure how many times I can listen to grandfather suggest that DF take a job out of the country when doing so would mean all but never seeing his child.



NyaChan

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 06:03:47 PM »
Since its your grandpa and he's getting older, I'm going to advocate for a softer approach.  I am wondering if maybe grandpa is worried that you will find yourself in financial trouble, or not secure and he might not be around to help you out (or maybe just the worry that you will be in financial trouble).

I would sit him down and ask him about it.  "Grandfather, the last few times we've spoken about jobs and the future, you really pushed hard on DF and I making different choices.  Why is that?  Are you worried about something?"

Not the best wording, but that general feel for it.  If he has some specific concern, you may be able to resolve it by calmly explaining.  If he has no specific concern, this could be a case where someone who is getting older is trying to keep themselves involved in your life by giving their advice which they feel (IMO wrongly, but still worthy of tolerating) they are entitled to give.

Aquamarine

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 06:07:13 PM »
"Oh DF is doing great and my job is going great too".  Then ask questions of him to change the subject.  Many elderly are easily distracted and redirected.  Sit down and make an actual list of questions that you can ask him to change the subject, it will make things easier for you on the spur of the moment to have this handy.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 06:27:07 PM »
"Oh DF is doing great and my job is going great too".  Then ask questions of him to change the subject.  Many elderly are easily distracted and redirected.  Sit down and make an actual list of questions that you can ask him to change the subject, it will make things easier for you on the spur of the moment to have this handy.


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doodlemor

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 07:06:48 PM »
I'm afraid that as long as Grandpa is alive he is going to give you unnecessary advice.  He likely was raised with the mindset that youngsters listened to their elders and did what they were told.  My family tended to be like this, too.  Aaarrrrgh, so aggravating!!!!!!!

The only advice that I can add is this.  When he suggests that your DF take a job away from his child you should be a shocked and affronted.  You could say something to the effect that DF would not be the man that you love if he would abandon his son, or that DF has more integrity than to run away from his son, whom you both love very much.

Brisvegasgal

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 07:15:07 PM »
I totally agree with NyaChan on this one.  Ask him if he is worried about something specific. A discussion may help. If it doesn't then I think you need to continue being kind about it.  I'm not sure your grandad is being rude or forgetful or is caught with attitudes of the past.

gmatoy

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 08:00:22 PM »
I just want to add that if Grandpa lived with or near his children and was a good parent, you can point out that one of the things you looked for in a partner was that he was or would be a good parent, "like you, Grandpa!"

That bit of "honey" might make him look at this differently.

norrina

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 08:41:54 PM »
To those that brought it up, I know that grandfather's questioning comes from a concern about financial stability. I briefly lived with my grandparents in my early 20s (3 months while I was taking a program in their area), and about 6 months after I moved away I ordered my credit report and it was sent to their address. Rather than forward it, my grandmother saw fit to open it.  >:( I had about $2500 in credit card debt, and clearly I have been headed for financial ruin ever since.  ::) I started law school debt free but did have to take out substantial student loans to obtain my law degree, and that bothers them. I have explained income-based-repayment, but they are not appeased.

Neither of my grandparents are easily distracted, they're like a dog with a bone. So bean dip doesn't work very well.

DF and I do both have back-up plans (he could go back to the field he was in before school if necessary, I substitute teach for a little extra cash), but these plans do not seem to be mollifying the grandparents. It's interesting, on the one hand grandfather seems to understand that jobs are hard to come by these days (hence thinking DF should look abroad for work), yet on the other hand he thinks I should just snap my fingers and have a job rather than carrying on with this uncertain self-employed business.

I was completely appalled that grandfather would suggest DF move away from his son, but I didn't let the extent of my distress show, which may have been a mistake. Then again, while grandfather did work a local job that let him be home with grandmother and the children every night, I don't know how involved he was as a father. It was a different mindset then. And that may be part of why he doesn't see a problem with DF going away for extended periods of time, in his day the mother did the bulk of the childrearing anyhow, and it was largely unheard of that a father would need to coordinate parenting time with an ex, much less have 50/50 time such as DF has with his son.



*inviteseller

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 09:19:50 PM »
Your grandfather comes from a time where women (if they worked) worked for someone, not for themselves and when the father was the breadwinner and the mother raised the child.  He is probably like my dad (who is 80) who still believes the way he grew up is the right way..we tease my dad when he gets in these moods that it is not 1940 and Donna Reed is no longer meeting her husband at the door with her pearls and a martini, and children are seen AND heard.  Just keep gently telling him that you have your own practice and it makes you happy, and that DF knows what opportunities are out there, but helping raise his son is just as important as a job.  Tell him that you know he worries but these decisions you have come to have been well thought out and what you both want in life. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 11:34:41 AM »
There are no "magic words." (Did you see art's great post on that?)

Can you fix it so that you stop caring about Grandpa's opinion on this? You love him, sure, but it's completely NOT necessary for him to agree with you. He can have an opinion different from yours--that's fine. You and your fiance don't need to follow his opinion.

Maybe you just get out of the conversation and off the topic as fast as you can. Be Teflon.

Say "hmmm"  a lot. If he asks you questions, say, "Grandpa, please don't quiz me. That's really no fun." And then change the topic, even if it's just to say, "Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom" so that you can walk away from him. (A bit of behavior modification there--he brings up the topic, and--whammo--he loses all your attention and company.)

norrina

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2013, 12:27:32 PM »
There are no "magic words." (Did you see art's great post on that?)

Can you fix it so that you stop caring about Grandpa's opinion on this? You love him, sure, but it's completely NOT necessary for him to agree with you. He can have an opinion different from yours--that's fine. You and your fiance don't need to follow his opinion. ...

Training myself not to care is probably going to be my best bet. In our infinite wisdom, DF and I decided to invite our immediate family to stay in a big beach house with us for the week surrounding our wedding. This is more likely than not going to mean a week of opinions on every aspect of our life decisions, so I need to learn to let it roll off my back or I'm liable to have a mental breakdown before the week is out.



CookieChica

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2013, 04:39:09 PM »
This is a little OT but your fiancée IS in the market to apply for jobs now. I work for a global company and we started hiring summer grads in November. In the next month, decisions will be made about December grads.

Okay so there's more of the unsolicited advice you want to avoid. I'm in a similar position to you where I often "need" to explain myself to my generous grandfather. It's gotten better since I gave him a great grandchild so maybe try that?  >:D

CaffeineKatie

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2013, 06:15:44 PM »
Also, if your family is anything like my family, the fact that you accepted a generous amount of cash from them (in their mind) gives them the eternal and unlimited right to meddle in your finances for the rest of your life.  I'd go broken record on them--"we have our plans in place--thanks for asking."

Redsoil

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2013, 07:14:50 PM »
"Grandpa, I understand your concern, and I'm touched that you worry about us.  But you know, I'm really positive about the progress I've made in opening my own practice - it's looking really solid for future growth, and I've done well in a such a short time.  DF has some thoughts on managing his career so he can ensure his son has his Dad around and we think that's really important.  DF is very responsible about his parenting obligations, which I think is great.  We'll keep you up to speed with developments."  Then beandip / go off at a tangent about work issues/areas of particular interest to you in your field etc.
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norrina

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Re: Need something better than the stock phrases
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2013, 10:37:47 PM »
This is a little OT but your fiancée IS in the market to apply for jobs now. I work for a global company and we started hiring summer grads in November. In the next month, decisions will be made about December grads.

Okay so there's more of the unsolicited advice you want to avoid. I'm in a similar position to you where I often "need" to explain myself to my generous grandfather. It's gotten better since I gave him a great grandchild so maybe try that?  >:D

That's actually very helpful to know about the timing of applications, thank you. Like I said, DF has looked at job postings, but I don't know if he realizes that at least some companies may be hiring so far into the future.

As far as great-grandchildren though, the practice isn't doing quite that well yet.  ;) Also, my brother did give him great-grandchildren, and that just opened up a whole new arena of opinions.