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Olga Offers Relationship Advice To A Restaurant Manager With A Family

DEAR OLGA

I am a restaurant manager that works for a well-known casual dining chain. I've been in restaurant management for over 10 years, and it is all I know. But my wife and her mother think my career is 2nd rate. The truth is that I very much enjoy it, but I don't want to be a disappointment to my wife. The biggest issue is that I work long hours and evenings. I am unsure if I should pursue another career, as I have no college or other formal training, and I have no talents other than restaurants. But I want to be there for my family, we have a 3-year-old daughter, too. Thanks, Jared

Dear Jared,

You have a couple of things to think about. You have invested 10 years of your life in pursuit of a career that you say that you enjoy. You also say that it’s all you know.

Do you do it because you enjoy it or do you do it because you are afraid to start all over in a new career?

The hours in the restaurant industry are indeed long. Is the money worth the time commitment?

In 10 years you have learned any number of skills that can help you in another field. Managing a restaurant staff is not easy. You undoubtedly deal with a number of employees who can prove challenging. That is a valuable addition to any resume.

You need to consider what makes you happy. If you feel bullied into quitting a career that you truly enjoy, you may be home more but you won’t be the husband or father that you want to be. Resentment tends to bring out the worst in people.

The other issue is the nature of the conversation that takes place at home. “A second rate career” is a hurtful way to describe your profession. Perhaps your wife misses having you around more often but that kind of demeaning language probably doesn’t make you feel anything other than shame.

You and your wife have chosen to be partners in each other’s lives and in raising your child. Try to establish some boundaries for disagreements. When you shred your partner you shred the relationship. Each of you will be more likely to have your individual needs met when you treat yourselves and each other with respect. Your child will benefit from that too.

As for your mother in law, she may be a wonderful woman but her interference is inappropriate. By making negative comments about you to your wife, she undermines your relationship. You and your wife need to discuss how to address developing some boundaries with her too.

Relationships are delicate. You need to protect them.

Sincerely,

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