Life Advice



Ask Amy: Family business creates ‘family business’

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I currently work in a family owned office that my mother manages. My sister and I both work there.

I've helped her since she acquired the business from the previous owner a few years ago. There are no issues in our working relationship/dynamic. However, my mother doesn't pay very well, and can't afford to pay me more.

I don’t believe I’m financially stable. (My sister's husband earns a hefty salary that provides them with financial stability.)

I don't have any superfluous bills (really!) but also have no savings, and I realize this must change!

My question is, how do I leave? How do I broach this subject and find other employment while maintaining a good relationship with my mother?

I know this will cause her an immense amount of stress because there is no replacement and potential candidates are difficult to find, but I cannot currently survive on the meager income.


I have plenty of customer service/professional experience (plus prior military service) and have done some job searching to ensure I am marketable for a better salary in other career opportunities with similar job duties before settling on the idea of leaving.

I am just unsure of what to do next and I'm fearful of her feelings. I also believe that I'm really overthinking this.

I'm ready to move on, but find it difficult to have the "break-up" talk when I know how important loyalty is to my mother.

— Daughter’s Day-Job Dilemma


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