Steel Advice: Let family of friend plan birthday party

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DEAR STEEL ADVICE: A friend has a milestone birthday coming up, and I want to do something fun for him but think his siblings or wife should take the lead. Should I plan a party or sit back and wait?


DEAR PARTY PLANNER: Cool your heels. Your friend's family may know he wants to low key this one and does not want a fuss. Parties are not everyone's cup of tea.

Celebrate the big day in an out-of-the-ordinary way the two of you can enjoy. Get top-notch tickets to a sporting event or concert and then begin the evening splurging on a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant. You can do something memorable and special for your friend without commandeering his family's plans.

You may be this guy's best friend, but you are second tier when it comes to his wife and siblings. Do not try to orchestrate a birthday party unless you are asked.

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: Government, insurance companies and hospitals all fighting over dollars makes me concerned about career choices for my children. With all the uncertainty I don't think I could recommend a health care career to them. Am I overreacting?


DEAR ANXIOUS PARENT: Unless your children are thinking about going to school to learn to repair typewriters, you should try to remain positive about their choices. Do not discourage a young person from a health care career simply because you perceive the industry to be in transition.

No matter how good your intentions, steamrolling your children can backfire. If health care is their passion, let them run with it. They may be working for more years than previous generations, so they should choose a career they think they will love.

Expose them to multiple opportunities and encourage them to talk with people they admire. Focusing solely on future job dollars is a recipe for disaster.

Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.

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