Almost New Knee

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

When I worked professionally, for thirty years, I was in Human
Resources. I have helped far more than my fair share of relatives,
friends, friends’ children, etc with their resumes and career goals.


Generally I start by asking them what they would most like to do, and
then compare their existing experience, education, and skill sets to
their goals. Recently my PT asked me to counsel his son, a college
dropout with four years of experience managing a food truck, who is
now working in an office job. After a lengthy discussion, I counseled
him to follow his passion, music, by approaching his former
employers– who now have a very hot and successful Peruvian
restaurant—about managing their evening shifts and introducing
performances to increase revenues and clientele. He hung up with
stars in his eyes, motivated and ready to draw up a plan to present.


But his father called me furious. Apparently the only thing he wanted
was for his son to go back and finish his BA. From what I can see, that
is not this kid’s path, and that’s what I said. I had three months of PT
scheduled but am now leery about putting my pain into the hands of
someone who is angry with me and am thinking about changing to
another PT. Am I being too cautious?

Almost New Knee

Dear Almost New Knee:

I think it’s a fair question to ask your PT if he can separate your
personal and professional interactions. You shouldn’t have to suffer
more than you already will. I’d like to think that he’s an honest and
compassionate therapist and that being cruel is not in his skill set. But
if you feel wary, resistant, or even to unsure, explain to him that
you’re changing your therapy plans based on your concerns. At worst
you get a less competent PT, but any regimen you undertake will
mean pain and you should not have to anticipate or endure more than

As for the counseling, no parent or outsider can make any young
person return to academia if that’s not a goal. The expense, time, and
effort would be wasted without a clear sense of how higher education
would serve him. There’s no time limit on degree completion; many
colleges specialize in programs for returning adults, many of whom are
working fulltime. If your PT’s son decides to return to school later, I
am certain he will have options. Many fine people pursue their
passions and succeed, and many others fail. I’d rather see him try and
find motivation than become a wage slave and feel he had never
pursued his dream. I think you did well and good.