DEAR HARRIETTE: I just graduated from college and am looking for a job. I am looking for a job now only because my parents are making me. I wanted to take some time off over the summer and relax after having a busy school year.
I am the youngest of five, and all four of my older siblings are extremely driven and successful. I did well in school and have a strong work ethic, but I’m just different from them. I don’t want to start working right away like they did. I don’t want to jump into a position that I am going to be unhappy in, but my parents don’t understand that. I told them that I wanted to take the summer off, visit my boyfriend in California and maybe travel a bit before I start. They said that I shouldn’t be doing that and should focus on starting my career. I’m 21 and will have the rest of my life to work; I just want some time off. Do you think I would need to have another conversation with them about taking some time off for them to understand? -- Postgrad in Need of Time, Westchester, New York
DEAR POSTGRAD IN NEED OF TIME: I hear your pain, but I can’t co-sign your efforts. If your parents were on board with your time-off strategy, it would be one thing. That would require them to foot your bills for another year while you enjoy some downtime. That’s a lot to ask.
If you are set on fulfilling this plan, check your bank account. Can you afford to take care of yourself for the time you want to travel and possibly six to 12 months longer? It often takes up to a year or more to secure a job after you graduate from college.
Why not consider a compromise? Ask your parents if you can take off a couple of weeks before you start your job search. They may be more amenable to your desire for play if they can see that you are also considering your future seriously.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have three siblings. We are my maternal grandparents’ only grandkids. We’re close with them because they live around the corner. I’ve been noticing lately that both my grandpa and grandma favor my younger sister out of all of us. They invite her to do a lot more activities, like going to museums or having dinner, than the rest of us. It doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers my other siblings. As the oldest, I feel like I should say something to them. What do you think I should do? -- Speaking Up to the Grandparents, Shreveport, Louisiana
DEAR SPEAKING UP TO THE GRANDPARENTS: This is a delicate matter. Unfortunately, loved ones often pick favorites, and it can be extremely hurtful to those who were not picked to watch. Will your saying something make a difference? I doubt it. But it could be worth a try.
As the oldest, request a meeting with your grandparents. Tell them how much you all love them and appreciate spending time with them. Then, point out that you have noticed something that they may not realize they have been doing -- spending a lot more time with the youngest grandchild than with the others. Tell them that all four of you want to enjoy their company and it hurts your feelings that they seem to forget about the three of you in favor of the baby. Ask them to try to remember you three more often.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)