Job didn't pan out; not sure what direction to take now

DEAR ABBY: I recently was rejected for a job that would have turned into a career. I put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak, and told everyone around me during the process that it was looking good. I am humiliated because I now have to tell my peers and co-workers that it didn't work out.

My confidence is shaken, and I don't know what to do. In my middle school years, I used to know what I wanted to do, but somewhere in high school up to this point (25 years old), I've lost my vision, my dream. How can I find my way again?

- In a Slump Out East

DEAR IN A SLUMP: The path to success is rarely straight. Most of us learn more from our mistakes than our successes, so take heart. While this experience has been disappointing, you have learned valuable lessons from it.

If you do not wish to stay in your current job, finding your way again may be as simple as inquiring if career counseling is available at your nearest community college. Ask whether aptitude tests are offered, then research what kinds of jobs are available for someone with your qualifications and interests. And when you are again in the running for a new position, keep it to yourself until you have officially accepted it.

Controlled by money

DEAR ABBY: My daughter married into a wealthy family. Since the beginning, her mother-in-law has used money to control her. Although it bothered me, I didn't say anything.

We now have a granddaughter, and the mother-in-law is controlling how much time we get to see her. Unfortunately, my daughter allows her to do this. What can I do? I am heartsick.

- The Other Grandma

DEAR OTHER GRANDMA: Your mistake was in not speaking up when you first noticed what was going on. If you haven't expressed your feelings, you should. Whether it will lead to any improvements, I can't guarantee. But if it doesn't, and your daughter continues to allow herself to be ruled by her MIL's checkbook, you will have to accept that the daughter you raised has seriously misplaced values.

You are obviously someone with a lot of love to give. A program that has been mentioned before in my column - and that might interest you - is Foster Grandparents, which is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The website is nationalservice.gov. Click on "Programs" and you will find it listed under "Senior Corps."

Can't afford a party

DEAR ABBY: My son is going to have his first communion soon. We don't have the money to have a party - even an inexpensive one - and invite the whole family. I would like to restrict the celebration just to my husband, myself and my child's grandparents. However, I feel bad not inviting his godparents, their siblings and other extended family. How do I tell them they are welcome to stop by the church, but aren't obligated to come, and we won't be having a party?

- Trying to Keep it Simple

DEAR TRYING: I don't think it would be rude to explain to your son's godparents and extended family that they are welcome to come by the church for your child's first communion, but because of financial constraints there will be no celebration afterward. It's the truth.