Dear Annie: I'm a young woman with a degree in education. After spending several years as a student teacher and co-teacher, I decided that I really don't want to remain in teaching. I know I should have switched majors in college, but I hoped this would work out. I also was worried about what my family would think.
These same well-meaning family members are now actively pushing me to accept a teaching position in a nearby small town. I went to the interview to please them, but the entire time, I was wishing I were somewhere else. I have told only my immediate family that I'm going to turn down the job if offered.
So what do I tell these other relatives about my job decision? How do I keep them off my back? I'm already suffering health issues due to anxiety, and I don't know how much more I can take. I'm tempted to move out of the area, but I love living in my town. Any help would be much appreciated. - Ready To Run Away
Dear Ready: You have to develop a stronger spine. Your career choices belong to you, and although some folks may be disappointed, that's their problem. Their disapproval should not determine your future. Practice saying, "I'm sorry you are unhappy with my choice." You don't have to talk about the reasons, nor do you need to create excuses. But you have to be able to withstand the fallout, which will be temporary in any case. This, too, shall pass.
Editor's note: Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.