Just last year, I was one of the thousands of parents of a child who was graduating from high school and moving on to the next phase. Having worked so hard for so many years to maintain work life balance, the transition felt strange -- and difficult. If you're experiencing that right now, know that you are not alone.
Today, my guest blogger is Raffi Bilek, a former teenager and current parent of school-age children. He is a family counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, where he offers parenting workshops and counseling to parents, teens, and families. He loves his mom and wrote a letter to her from a teenage perspective. I enjoyed reading it and thought you would too.
(Raffi and his mom, 15 years ago)
Thanks for coming to this meeting. I know you’re really busy with other projects but I’m glad we were able to take time out for this.
I figure the best way to do this is just be direct. Mom, I’m downsizing. Now that my corporation, Me, Inc., has been around nearly a decade and a half, it’s really become clear that we don’t need the complex management system we’ve had all this time. You and Dad have been great managers, no doubt, but at this point, it’s really overkill. In the past you’ve taken on a lot of different assignments around here, which have obviously shifted with the company’s needs over time, and just aren’t so relevant anymore.
Feeding and changing was a big one when we were just a tiny startup. Remember those days? Novice mistakes and setbacks, long hours, few days off if any… you sure put in a lot of time and effort, and I definitely want to appreciate what you did for the company back then, Mom.
Then there was scheduling and logistics for many years around playdates, school, baseball practice, dentist appointments. You’ve certainly survived a lot of conflicts between the staff of Me, Inc., and your upper management team. And let’s not forget your expert direction of Me, Inc.’s Food Services Unit, your leadership in running the infirmary, and your clever efficiency improvements in areas ranging from Tantrum Weatherization to Homework Completion to Household Budgeting.
Yep, you’ve worn many hats around here. But the point is, it’s just becoming less and less necessary. As the founder and president of Me, Inc., I see the need for your skills dropping off as we move ahead into the bright future of adolescence. So, like I said, I’m downsizing. I’m afraid that, effective immediately, you and Dad are no longer managers at Me, Inc.
I know this comes as kind of a shock to you, but in truth, the signs have been all over the place for some time now. You’ve gotten a bit behind the times and have failed to notice the shifting winds that started in the pre-teen years. You sometimes treat me like a startup instead of the burgeoning corporation that I am, and it has kind of gotten in the way of progress.
Look, it’s not as bad as it seems. After all, this is really what you’ve always wanted – an independent, growing business that isn’t tied to your every move, that can function and even expand even when you’re not at the office. I’m sure you’ve had retirement in the back of your mind all along (even if you thought it was in the distant future).
And, just as importantly, please note that I said we no longer need your skills. But the truth is – and the guys in the back room will kill me if they ever heard me saying this - Me., Inc. really still needs you. We need what you have to offer – your knowledge, your years of experience, and not least your moral support.
So, think of this as a door opening, not a door closing. Take some time off to come to terms with being laid off. I know it isn’t easy. But when you’re ready to shift roles, I’ll tell you what – Me, Inc. really needs a good consultant or two. We need someone who can help guide the company from the sidelines while taking a much more hands-off approach. Someone who knows the company inside and out. Someone who really cares about the company’s growth and success.
I think you’ll be great for the job.