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Home for the Holidays

Bob Goldman on

It's good to be home for the holidays, but if you're in your 20s or 30s, it may be far better to be far, far away.

Think Tahiti. Think Mozambique. Think St. Paul, Minnesota.

Yes, St. Paul, Minnesota.

St. Paul is not only an exotic destination, but it is also where Amy Lindgren, the owner of a local career consulting firm, writes the "Working Strategies" column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"Millennials, here's how to handle career advice at holiday dinner" is the title of a timely, recent post, and though you may be decades away from being in that dreaded demographic, Lingren's advice still holds. As long as you've got relatives who are even one day older, they will feel perfectly free to turn a festive holiday dinner into a no-holds barred career coaching session.

Am I right, or am I right? Before the cap is twisted off that bottle of Trader Joe's Spatburgunder or the marshmallows in Granny's sweet potato souffle are set afire, your relatives will turn into professional life coaches, committed to straightening out your miserable life before the pumpecapple piecake is served.

If you expect to find yourself in this uncomfortable position this holiday season, Amy Lingren has some good advice for you. (Not as good as a pumpecapple piecake, but pretty good, all the same.)

"Drop any illusions of privacy that you may be holding," she cautions. "In these days of texting, tweeting, Skyping, Facebooking and LinkedIn connecting ... it's likely that everyone at the table will already know more about each other's lives than previous families would have learned in a decade of holiday visits."

Sad, but true. And totally your fault. By constantly using anti-social media to complain about the pathetic state of your working life, you will not be able to rewrite history with a cheery, "Work is going great; thanks for asking!"

You know what this means: No more waving away a history of lost jobs by announcing that you have just been accepted for astronaut training. No more derailing extra helpings of unsolicited advice by claiming you are working undercover for the CIA and can say nothing about your prospects until Granny gets her security clearance.

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