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What should I do when I want to become something different from what my parents want?


Hi Su, I edited your question to make it more clear. Please feel free to edit if I misinterpreted what you were asking Gurpreet Lally, CareerVillage.org Team

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Bob’s Answer

What should I do when I want to become something different from what my parents want?

This will vary depending on whether this is because you know what you want to do, or you just want to go against their wishes and be independent for the sake of it. If the latter then all i can suggest is you get closer to them and get into dialogue to find a way through it - your parents want the best for you - they know you well and have your best interests at heart.

If its because you know what you want to do then you need to build your case and this may take long time and include the following components:
- learning to describe it in a simple way, demystifying what it is and what its not
- demonstrate excellence at what you want to do - this can include understand it, part time work
- look at ways to link it to what they would like you to do
- how you will finance this - self or with support of your parents, and what it will cost them
- look to build allies - family, friends, their friends, teachers, professors
- lay out what the next 5, 10, 20 years could look like if you are successful

Hope this helps
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Christy’s Answer

The answer to this question varies a lot because I do not know how your parents are and how your relationship with your parents is. There are a few reasons why our parents want us to take a certain path. They will always push us to do whatever they think is the best for us, so they may want us to take a certain path because it makes a lot of money, it has job stability, they have been in a certain industry for a long time and can only help you in that industry, or because they do not have any exposure or have friends or acquaintances in any of the other industries. In the end, our parents want us to be happy in the long run. The first step for you is to find out the reasoning behind why they want you to take that certain path.

After this, you need to evaluate what you really want. In the end, it is your life and you are the one who is going to work, not your parents. After your parents pass away, you cannot blame them for the misery that you have in your work if you choose their career field. You are a person of your own and you have the right to choose what you want to pursue. Once you decide what you want, you need to go to your parents and explain to them in terms that they understand. For example, if the reasoning behind their desired path for you was salary, you can explain to them that in your desired industry, it is possible to make a lot of money. It would also be advisable to explain to them the different opportunities available to make money. Show them examples of other people who are successful in your field. Explain to them the steps that you are planning to take to get there. This way, they see that you are dedicated to what you want to pursue. Also, give them a backup in case it does not work. Lastly, explain to them that this career makes you happy. If you are a child of an immigrant, it is helpful to say that they sacrificed a lot so that you have the opportunity to pursue what makes you happy instead of just putting food on the table. In the end, thank them for their efforts in providing you with everything that you need.
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Su,
I have a similar clarifying question as Tessa has, but on the Fall forward Sunday of time change, I'll give it a go based on what you may be asking.

There can be many different reasons why parents want a particular career path for their child. The primary ones are 1) they really want you to be happy. 2) concern for your safety/future ability to earn and/or 3) having the belief that your career choice and path reflect on their parenting skills.

#1 Can be paradoxical because you know what makes you happy, and your parents "think" they know what makes you happy. This can result in needing to have some uncomfortable conversations. By allowing your parents to see how you think and how your passion rises while talking about this path, you have given them an opportunity to see how your choice can bring you happiness.

#2 This can be really fun! Do some research! Do you already know the earning potential for this career path? As you look for information with your parent's views in mind, you also will find more information for yourself. For example, how much training is required? How much will it cost? How much training is usually accomplished by people who are ultimately successful in this field? Would you have the ability to work or be paid while you train? Knowing the answers to these questions will better help you prepare for your parental conversations and bolster your confidence in having the conversation in the 1st place.

#3 As you may imagine this may be a longer series of conversations. A good place to start is appreciation. Appreciation for your parents helping you get to this place in life where you are willing and able to grapple with such a large life decision. Appreciation that it is important to you that they understand where you are coming from coming from in wanting to make your career choice. That says something about your relationship. And a sincere and heartfelt appreciation for their journey. Their journey, at this juncture, We'll be coming to appreciate back to you that do that while they may not a not agree with this choice they can come to respect it. As you approach them with both appreciation and re spett you have a better chance an opportunity for that to be reflected back to you. You may also need an ally, Or more than one ally, depending on the family dynamic, to be present with you for the discussion and also to gently whisper in their ear. A family friend that your parents trust and who listens to you can be a good choice here.
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Geoff’s Answer

Su,

One of the greatest gifts of life is that we are all a product of our parents and our life experiences. Each and every one of us shares common and different interests from that of our parents. That's life! Please follow your heart and passion. Be true to yourself. Pursue something of interest to you and let your parents see how and why it brings a smile to your face. It's perfectly fine if you are not sure what you want to be when you grow up; a number of children - and adults - experience this each and every day. I wanted to be an architect, but I didn't have the artistic skills required to succeed there. So, I pivoted to engineering. I studied it, but I never pursued a career in it because my interests evolved as my life experiences and circle of friends grew and evolved. You may, too. Keep an open dialog with your parents about what excites you. They may be able to introduce you to their colleagues and friends that share your passion. Network with them to learn what a day in the life of that career is like. It may confirm or invalidate why you are interested in it. Either way, that's fine. Life is an adventure. Explore it and enjoy every moment of it!

- Geoff
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David’s Answer

So many of us have faced that challenge. Many parents want their child to pursue a career (e.g., doctor, lawyer, join the family business) out of a sense of duty to the family or to give the parents comfort that their child will have a successful career or good life.

Talk with your parents. One possible approach would be to gently let them know that your interests and passion take you in the direction you are explaining to them and that will make you successful. If you don't want to take a career path they are advocating, you may not put the energy into it and won't be successful. You can also let them know that you will remain open minded to other paths and you may evantually take a different path as many, many people do.

It is not uncommon for people to have different career paths through their working life as their interests change. It can be vey healthy and refreshing for a person to switch to a different career path during their working life.

Good luck. You will do great.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Su,
This is a tough one! It really depends on you and your parents. I will say, I really tried my hardest to do something close to what my parents wanted when I started college. It left me pretty unhappy, and I ended up seeking career (and personal) counseling to help. I was able to pick a job that I felt met more of my needs, but some of the requirements they had for me too. I still have other dreams I want to pursue, and find myself pursuing them now while I am working toward my full license in my current career. I would say pay attention and discover the way you learn best and approach the world--then you can pick a career that allows the use of your best strengths, regardless of what it is. I hope you are able to pick something that uses your strengths, and not the strengths your parents only think are valuable--whether that is in your dream career, or in another job. Good luck, and I am thinking and rooting for you! Do what you can, and don't beat yourself up no matter what decision you make. You know your own situation, and you may get opportunities to fulfill your dreams along the way, whether that is directly or indirectly as I find for myself. I hope you just stay true to your strengths!
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Chris’s Answer

Great question, many of us have asked that same question ourselves. Part of growing up is making difficult decisions, especially when we have little experience, not to mention the unknown certainty of how things will unfold. Being pressured to do something we may not want to do, may cause animosity with those we love. It comes down to communication and understanding. Below are are few steps that you can do to collaborate on your choices. Keep in mind that our parents may have experienced the same when they were in your shoes, as we age, our advice has merit.

You may find this article helpful

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/unsupportive-parents/
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Payal’s Answer

Hi Su, I would say that you should discuss this with your parents so that you understand their point of view and make sure they understand yours. But at the end of the day follow your heart and do what you feel will be right for you.
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Sutang’s Answer

Su, first congratulations that you know where you are heading! I will suggest that you convince yourself first by laying out Pros and Cons of your choice vs. your parents'. This will help you to stay focus and positive in convincing your parents.
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Akansha’s Answer

Talk toyour parents and try to explain them your intrests. If your intrest is good for you future also they will definatley agree
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Tressa’s Answer

Su. not exactly clear on the question - is it that you KNOW what you want to be and need assistance getting your parents on board OR is it that your parents WANT you to be something (for example: doctor, lawyer) that you really are not interested in.
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Girish’s Answer

Just focus on your goals and be kind!
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Daniel’s Answer

Firstly, there are LOT of great responses and perspectives here. And based on the number and varying perspectives, it should tell you that this is not a simple thing to "answer". I love this question because I have parents who are immigrants to America which is another factor to keep in mind when thinking about this. So for those out there that may be in similar scenarios, our parents don't know what they don't know. But the same goes for each of us; especially when we're younger. So there is this dynamic where you're wanting to express your perspectives while at the same time needing to understand the other's (in this case your parents). Our parents carry with them knowledge, experience and cultural elements that shape their advice and guidance for their children. Some of this is good, some maybe not so much. And it's mutually understanding that which is important. And to give room to each other to be "wrong". You don't want to feel any resentment down the line.

I personally navigated this myself and my advice (which may sound very simple; but is actually not easy) is to build a strong foundation of communication with your parents. Like ground rules. Speak from a place of love, understanding, and mutual respect.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Su,

I have had the same experience. All my life I have wanted to be a writer and I thought that meant author or journalist. And my parents protested. Now that I am older than they were when they tried to crush my dreams, I realized that all that they were trying to do was keep me safe. I had chosen a competitive and potentially heart breaking industry with no guarantee of making enough money to support myself. Looking back, I can see how that the narrowness of my choices and their inability to give me other options where I could use my talent - writing - and get what they wanted for me - financial security.

With that in mind, I would want you to consider their perspective. Do you know why they are protesting? Have you told them about your own desires? What has been the response? Now my parents ultimately wanted me to be married and dependent on a spouse to take care of me. So that had little to do with a job per se. I ended up finding my own way into writing but it was a long hard road because I didn't know what I was getting in to. I ended up finding the job of trainer and then instructional designer. In these roles, I could tell stories but use that talent to help people learn and grow in their jobs in the workplace. I had not idea that this even existed or how to access it. Later my mother told me that she was proud of me, that I had found a way to get what I wanted - to write for a living - and to be financially stable.

The road in front of you may not be easy. Not having my parents support meant that I didn't have an outlet for advice or empathy when I struggled. I just had to believe that my own happiness would win them over. And ultimately it did. I wish that I had communicated better and done more research on how I could use my talents in a way that would ease my parents fears. This happened before the days of the Internet, which now can give you a lot of information on job skills and job salaries to give you a broader picture of what is available for a person with your talents and skills.

Gloria
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