Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Help Kid Think Straight

Q. I don't know what's happening to my great kid. He was always a dream, good attitude, good grades, good everything-and after two years of college he's turned into what he calls "a minimalist." He got all As on the honors business courses in his university for two years, then decided to change his major to "media" which he explains will fit well with his business minor in the corporate world. We agree, but this summer, with a good internship in a fine corporation that may hire him eventually, he is talking about how he doesn't care about money, doesn't need material things, and really wants to focus on the important philosophical issues in life because he can get along without anything. He wants to help the poor and downtrodden.  He's living at home where he gets room and board free, and we're paying for his education. His nice salary is going into his bank account for his future. So how do I convince him he's talking nuts?

Ans. He's not talking nuts. He's talking a language that should be called "college kid."  It's something many kids go through after dipping into college. Of course this is the best time of his life and he doesn't need money for anything because you are providing it.  Point out that unless he seriously goes to work with the right attitude to provide his own necessities, he's going to be one of the poor and downtrodden. He should be kissing the hem of you jacket for providing this luxury of time to find his real focus in life. You sound sensibly supportive, and should just keep assertively repeating your mantra:  "I like your values but you have to first make enough money to feed yourself before you can take on the burden of feeding the world's poor."

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