Short Answers: Aspiring actor needs to get a day job

Dear Short Answers: One of my children desperately wants to be an actor and has worked very hard to be a success. But no matter what he does — classes, auditions, networking — he doesn't get any paying jobs. Which means that I continue to pay his rent so he doesn't end up on the street. He is 26 years old now. If I continue to pay his rent, am I helping him to achieve his dream or am I just helping him to avoid facing reality and get a real job?

— Paying Parent

Dear PP: We are great believers in the life saving value of personal independence.

You are enabling dependence, which in our view, is not good for any of you. Tell him you wish him all the best, but that achieving his dream must include financing it.


Dear Short Answers: I have a large family that I see rather infrequently (due to distance, not compatibility). Every couple of years one of my siblings or cousins shows up at our house either "unannounced" or with only a day or two notice. I used to find it extremely annoying and mentioned it to them after their visit but that didn't do any good.

So I've just gotten over my annoyance and now just accept that this is my family's way of doing things. Unfortunately, my husband has not gotten over it and will remain angry and silent for the duration of their stay, which makes the visit even more stressful on me than it needs to be.

We are both in our 70s and things are not going to change. How do I convince hubby to chill out a bit and relax. I do all the work when guests are here anyway.

— Joan B.

Dear Joan: We commend you both on your commitment to your family and your unconditional acceptance of their quirky ways. Tell your husband that he's right. And so what. He isn't going to win this one so just "man-up."


Dear Short Answers: A woman who works for me recently resigned in order to take a better paying job at another company. My staff is organizing a going away party for her and they expect me to pay for it (or, at least, pay for most of it). Obviously, I wish her well, but I don't think the department should celebrate her departure. I don't even want to attend the party, let alone contribute funds to it. But I also don't want to alienate the people who still work for me. What's the right thing to do?


Dear Sir: We get it and we agree but go along with this one. In a few weeks, publish a policy that says department funds will be used to welcome new folks and celebrate accomplishments — good byes are private and personal and will no longer be a company expense.


Dear Short Answers: My niece just had a baby. No one called me — I found out on Facebook. I am sick of being an internet gift service. Do I have to send yet another unappreciated offering?

— Distant Auntie

Dear Auntie: No. It is better to risk their anger than assure yours.

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