Note: At the first glance, this will seem as a not very contextual, dry text wall. However, I hope that you will still realize the importance of the situation after finishing reading this. I admit that I am, to some extent, just writing this as a personal psychological exercise, maybe helping me to find solutions to the problem myself. Also, please do not call me or my mother “spoiled” just because we are unhappy with having to change from rich to middle class (story follows).

You might wonder why I am asking this here, but I believe that my step-grandfather, who has passed the age of 60, is capable of more than working a job he hates for younger bosses and doing their paperwork while they laugh at the old middle-class guy who never became a millionaire because he was too afraid every time. I request help and tips on how to motivate him to do proper “business”. I think that he deserves to become rich and not spend the end of his life on a mediocre pension (or even have to downsize).

I need to tell you about my father (now divorced from my mother, has a new family and refuses to pay aliments), who is a businessman, doing what you call “business” in my post-communist home country (we moved to Central Europe when I was 7, maybe you can guess which “home country” is meant). He is somewhat psychopathic and has almost no morals – actually the ideal qualities for a businessman – but an extremely poor character (wifebeater, etc…) which always prevented him from really befriending the important people. According to my mother, he was always at the doorstep to becoming a multi-millionaire but literally got kicked out of the respective company minutes before the big deal every time because more intelligent people used him as a “helper” and scapegoat. After leaving military (he worked as a military translator), he tried his luck in insurance and various other areas of commerce. Neither I and my mother really knew what he was doing; according to the vague explanations I got from him the last time I saw him and asked for his profession, he is performing semi-legal real estate investment operations. He really likes to show off and lives above his means – even though he has lost a lot of money in the divorce fight so far, he owns a Bentley. He theoretically has (or had, until a couple years ago) the money to start something good, but rather spends it on lawyers and judicial bribes. As usual in my country, he claims to be unemployable and disabled when it comes to paying child and ex-wife support. Both my mother's lawyers and the judges know that he is lying, but his tactic is that of a resource war. He has sued my mother 40 to 50 times so far for various fabricated reasons, according to her. He always wins in the first instance (where he knows which court is handling it and can bribe) but loses in the second instance (where the case is assigned to a random, smaller court and he does not know whom to bribe). Having enjoyed a rather comfortable lifestyle until the divorce, me, my mother (who has now become a semi-famous artist, sometimes featured on TV and in magazines but of course not able to become rich straight away) and my stepfather (who is a middle manager at an art retail company, also somewhat middle-class-itis affected (younger boss) but not as bad as my granddad) have to live in a small apartment in a Central European city. Most of our friends are highly-educated, but not rich intellectuals. We have a rather comfortable urban life (I can go to a good boarding school thanks to a stipend) but nowhere near becoming rich if the situation stays the same.

My mother is hoping to win the case over the unoccupied, semi-renovated luxury apartment that was bought several years before divorce as an investment so that she can sell it for a five- or six-number sum. However, success is becoming more and more vague now, the fight going on for several years. Property separation is the problem, as in most divorce cases in my home country. My father is doing everything to prevent her from claiming the half of the apartment she is entitled to. He refuses to cooperate by selling the apartment together with her and separating the money later, which would be the best and most profitable solution as nobody voluntarily buys half of a penthouse. Due to his stubbornness, both he and my mother lost a significant amount of money when a mansion bought before divorce was sold in two halves, which of course came with a severe price penalty. Both me and my mother are fantasizing about returning to our previous lifestyle, getting what we are entitled to in the divorce, but the fight is becoming a dead-end one. Several demotivating factors are forcing my mother to comply with her destiny. She is becoming more and more acclimatized to her new, middle-class level existence and is losing her battle spirit.

One of these factors is my step-grandfather, whom both I and my mother love sincerely. His attitudes and wrong habits, which will be described below, severely inhibit both his and our quality of life and successes.

My (step-)grandfather (I will leave out the “step-” from now on because I did never get to know my biological grandfather as he died in a war when my mother was 18) fulfills literally every single cliché of a white-collar, upper-middle-class office worker. Let me show you a list of only a few factors that identify this condition:

  • My grandfather had to abort medical school and take a break to work due to a familiary emergency. He decided not to finish (he literally had only one semester to go to become a doctor) but to study something economical instead.

  • He started a small firm or two but either sold them too early or failed. Since he is 30-40, he has been exclusively working for medium companies in responsible, but not too well-paying positions, stereotypically falling for the same trap many employed doctors, lawyers and engineers fall into.

  • He always openly admitted, to various extents, that he both hated his job and despised his boss.

  • While working in said companies, he always confronted and interacted with his really rich bosses and with equally rich clients. As a top manager/national director (these were medium companies with rather greedy bosses, so the name of his position never came with the wealth associated with that), he was the guy who got to pick the luxury hotel for his boss and book the limousine transfer from and to the airport. He was the guy who went to corporate dinner to watch how his boss (who always was a younger and more successful man) bragged about his new golden watches.

  • Rich people he knows (including a former finance minister of my home country's national government) always were just “friends” or “friends of friends”. He never got the courage to ask them for advice on his career. Telling one's boss or a friend of one's boss that you want to become as rich as them and asking them for tips is heresy for him. The aforementioned, now-senile ex-minister invited us for lunch at his country house several years ago. During said lunch, when he declared a toast for my grandfather, he told him “Dear [NAME OMITTED], you have had many chances to rise up into high society in your life, and you surely will have many of them in the future.”. We all know that the ex-minister is a wise man. What was intended as incentitive for my grandfather to rethink his life flew into one ear and out of the other.

  • Whenever there was a change for my grandfather to earn big money, he refused to take the risk. Amongst his bosses and co-workers, he quickly earned the reputation of a helpful and submissive employee who will work hard and not demand to receive what he deserves for his efforts.

  • Over the years, my grandfather became a rigid nine-to-five person. Come to work no earlier than time A, leave no later than time B. Only exception is an order from the boss. Weekends and holidays are holy for him, every day has the same structure. Wake up early, tend the garden plants, eat breakfast, drink coffee, either take the train to the city (if it is a work day) or turn on the TV to watch sports and news (if it is a non-work day).

  • My grandfather and my grandmother live in a very modest house in a very modest exurban neighborhood full of middle-class, upper-middle-class, “friends of rich” and “formerly rich” people (including the widow of a diplomat who used to live in a mansion but then downsized to a really small house; I can't understand where her family fortune went). They do not know most of their neighbors well and never come or invite them to dinner.

  • My grandfather always treated work not as a stage for self-fulfillment in his life but only as means to earn money, nothing less, nothing more. For him, having fun at work is even somewhat negative. He never did more than was expected of him, more than he was paid for.

  • My grandfather always needs to have a boss over him. My mother summed it all up several days ago – “He is not a businessman”.

  • My grandparents (especially my grandfather) cope with their jealousy for the wealthy with a despise for the upper class. According to them, you can only become rich if you inherit or win the lottery, all rich people are criminals, all rich people have poor characters, all rich wives and kids are spoilt, et cetera. They protect their social position against those above them. They try to legitimate their lack of effort by outlining alleged negative effects of wealth. Of course, they claim that they have enough in their life.

  • At the same time, they try to protect their social position against those below them. They never give money to beggars, call all southeastern Europeans dirty gypsies and so on.

  • They demotivate anybody with aspirations to wealth. I am a common target for this – I openly admit that I want to become rich, found a company in or after finishing uni (I want to study Aerospace Engineering and do business). They call me a “dumb surrealist”, “not prepared for life”, “not knowing the reality and worth of money”. My grandfather and my grandmother, both dire pessimists, really like to paint the future in various shades of black, repeatedly tell me that I will never become a businessman, that I will probably be unemployed, that I lack social skills and will be lucky if I find an assistant position where there will constantly be somebody telling me what and how to do, that I should bury my dreams of joining the high society and such. My mother had a really good business idea (a furniture-related app) recently and my grandfather talked her out of it quickly.

  • And the worst thing is: my grandfather does, at least subconsciously, acknowledge his mistakes yet aborts any attempts at correcting them. It seemed as if he was starting a company – instead, he just changed his branch of business. He moved to a smaller company, with a young and (according to him) idiotic, rich boss and interacts with wealthy people without aspiring for wealth himself. He hates his new job even more. Having been a pacifist and sworn that he will never, ever hold a gun in his life, he now passed his gunmanship exam with full marks to be able to sell handcrafted weapons to wealthy hunters and collectors. He does not like his new job, it was the only thing that was offered to him at his age. He admits that he is only working to finance his retirement plan.

  • I think that he is somewhat jealous of my and my mother's ambitions, at the same time knowing that being rich is good and thinking that he will never become rich. His constant speeches on how about I will never be successful in my life smell like Wernicke's commands (read it up on Wikipedia if you don't know what this means). Does he maybe subconsciously want to actually prevent me from fulfilling my goals, instead embracing a mediocre existence like him?

My grandfather is not guilty of anything of the above. He did not get to pick his character, it's by no way his fault. I think that he deserves to get to know his real potential, finally “wake up” from his prison of submission and compliance and become an enterpreneur. I want him to finally be able to say no to bosses, to demand a fair salary (or a share of the company earnings). I want him to stop being the “dumb, stubborn middle-aged middle-class colleague”.

My question to this subreddit is:

How can my grandfather's inefficient middle-class mindset be changed into that of an enterpreneur, of a successful person who does not depend on the paycheck? How can I help him realize and exploit his full potential? How can I help him actually become a lucky person who attains fulfillment in his life?

View Reddit by MedwedianPresident-1Source

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