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Back Off-Let Son Do Hunting

Q. I'm retired after a very successful sales career. I invested and saved, so my wife and I live well. But our son who is now approaching 50 is in terrible shape. He had a good sales job too for a book publisher for 20 years, but when that book publishing company folded, he couldn't find another job. Most companies in his industry that he networked with are also closing or cutting staff. I desperately want to help him and am calling everyone I know trying to network for him and get some introductions to someone in a position to hire. He's agreeable, but feels so beaten down he's less than enthusiastic. What can we do?

Ans. Back off. As tough as it is, this is his problem, not yours. It's very similar to the days you took him to kindergarten, then sent him to high school, and possibly college. We can't do all the work for our kids. We can only hope that we've provided them with enough stamina to get through difficult times by making calls on their own. You can offer financial and emotional support to him and his family, and suggest places that he may want to follow up and contact.

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