Q: At 14, my daughter has told me that she wants to follow in my footsteps to become a chartered accountant. I think she sees that we've had a comfortable life with lots of foreign holidays and it's also a career that will make the most of her mathematical skills. The thing is, I am bored to death in my job, and have been for two decades. I felt it was too late to change direction, due to the constraints of having mortgages, children in private education etc, but it's not too late for her to change her mind. Do I share my concerns with her?
A: Remember two things. By trying to dissuade a 14-year-old from any course of action, you may well harden her determination to pursue it. And not all chartered accountants regret being chartered accountants.
So don't actively try to discourage her; just help her realise that many people's ambitions change over time and there's no shame in that. And if she goes ahead and qualifies and then regrets it, there'll still be plenty of time left before she finds herself irrevocably trapped.
- Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.