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Publication: Dear Abby
Daughter Hits Glass Ceiling In Her Own Family's Business

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          DEAR ABBY - April 24, 2008 
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ABBY: I'm in my early 40s. I studied marketing and 
merchandising in college, but after graduation I chose to 
work in the family business. I married young, and my father 
hired my first husband so he could one day take over because
I wasn't considered "man" enough to carry on this third-
generation business.

I have spent the last 22 years learning this business inside 
and out. The employees respect me, and I have also gained 
respect within our industry. Although the number of women 
is still small, more and more women are involving themselves 
in this and related fields.

My day-in/day-out misery comes from my father. He is 72 and 
still works every day. He is old school. No matter how much 
money I make for this company or how much respect I gain 
from others, he will never acknowledge it. He constantly 
argues with me, and when he knows he's wrong, he walks out 
of the room. If I hear, "I have been doing this longer than 
you have" once more, I'll scream.

I would like to move on with my life -- meaning, get a new 
career. But being an only child in a family business that 
started in the 1920s, I feel trapped.

My ex- still works here, which is the company joke and the 
talk of the town. My birthday was last week, and Dad did not 
even wish me a happy birthday. Pretty sad for a man with one 
child he sees every day.

How can I find the strength to get on with my life? 

RUNNING: It shouldn't be difficult; consider the alternative. 
Your father will stay exactly where he is until he becomes 
incapacitated or dies -- whichever comes first. You have not 
once mentioned a succession plan that includes you. 

If you want to wind up working for the "company joke," stay 
where you are. If not, put out some feelers regarding 
opportunities in your industry. You say you are respected. 
You might be pleasantly surprised to find there are some 
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ABBY: How can I make my husband understand that eating out 
every Sunday after church is not only a waste of money, but 
also makes going out for special occasions not as important 
as they could be? I try to explain that we could do something 
besides eat out, but he only wants to do that.

We spend anywhere from $80 to $100 each week on dinner out. 
My husband puts it on a credit card. Now, I'll admit that 
I'm not that "up" on how credit cards work, but I know we'll 
have to pay them off eventually. We don't have the kind of
money to splurge every week. How should I deal with this? 

TIRED OF EATING OUT: Have another talk with your husband. 
If he is able to pay his credit card bills in full every 
month, then you should stop worrying. If he is not, then 
you are living beyond your means -- a practice that has 
gotten many thousands of people in big financial trouble. 
And if that's the case, to assure your future you both 
need to agree upon a budget and reorganize your priorities.

ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

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