DEAR ABBY: Just before my daughter returned to college, my wife and I took her and her boyfriend, "Justin," out to dinner. It was the first time we'd met him, although they have been going out for about six months. They attend colleges a good distance apart, and see each other about once a month but talk daily.
As the dinner conversation progressed, I asked Justin what his major was and what he plans to do after college. He said he wants to be in the film industry. I asked what he planned to do if it didn't work out. He responded, "Go into the family business." I asked what business Justin's family was in. He responded that his family didn't have a business, that he had meant our family business. Then he said, by the way, he would change how we were running it to produce more cash by slowing down our expansion plans. I was speechless. My daughter told us later that she and Justin had never discussed it before.
My wife and I are in our 40s. We don't plan on retiring soon, or letting any of our own kids take over running the business. My wife says we should drop it. I think we should make it clear to Justin that our family business should not be his backup plan. If he did marry our daughter and wanted to come to work for the family business, he might be welcome. However, he certainly would not have the control he thinks he would. What are your thoughts on this matter, Abby? -- NOT READY TO RETIRE IN N.Y.
DEAR NOT READY TO RETIRE: I'll say this for Justin, he has youth and enthusiasm going for him; he speaks his mind and his contingency plan shows he has an eye to the future. Your wife is telling you to let it drop in the hope that the romance will go nowhere. However, on the chance that it will go forward, you'd be doing the young man a favor to bring him back to planet Earth regarding your business.
P.S. If I were you, I'd think long and hard before deciding to welcome him into it.