“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Confucius
The words of the famous philosopher Confucius continue to reverberate in the minds of the young, more than 2000 years after his death. Everywhere across the world, with proof visible on the internet, people are following unique career paths, rebelling against their parents and forging success in their own way. However, when those who love you the most in the world – your parents – have different views regarding your career choice, whose dream do you follow? Theirs or yours?
In a competitive nation such as India, to be successful requires hard work and perseverance. Parents tend to encourage certain standard career paths, for example, engineering, medicine, accountancy, the family business or military. The job environment, on the other hand, has evolved drastically in the past 20 years, giving rise to a multitude of careers that were earlier not possible, and traditional careers are losing their appeal while gaining extreme competition.
Confucius had a point when he said you should choose a job you love, but it’s equally important to choose a job that matches your skill set and goals in life. It is only then that you can make a career out of it.
If your views on your future career vary considerably from your parent’s goals for you, consider the following points before you make a decision.
1. Understand Your Parents’ Views
Irrefutably, your parents know you the best, have known you the longest, and have your best intentions in mind. Trust that it’s your parents dream that you have a successful and stable life and try to understand their reasoning behind the career path they want you to pursue. Maybe they believe you would be happy in the field, or that it would suit you. It might also be a dream that they wished to pursue themselves but were not able to.
For example, if your parents want you to become an engineer or doctor, try to understand their reasoning behind this and most importantly why they want you to pursue that specific career. Is it because they believe the field would suit you, or that there are opportunities in this field, or is it a dream of theirs? In either case, once you understand their reasoning, you have a better chance to reach a common understanding to find a career that is both stable and interesting.
Recommended Read: 5 Things You Need to Know to Communicate Better with Your Parents
2. Identify Your Personal Dreams
The world is full of opportunities, and in the day and age of globalization and the internet, there is no field out of your reach. Think carefully about your interests, capabilities, aptitude and passion.
The best way to notice patterns is to write everything down. Taking a cue from your interests, you can narrow down which career holds the most interest for you. Once you identify your ‘dream’ career, or if you already know what your dream career is, then do research. Thoroughly research the job market for your dream career, which opportunities are available and where, and how you would reach your goal.
Also, keep in mind to consider the viability of the career in practical terms.
For example, if you wish to become a painter, the field is full of competition and has a great deal of risk involved. In comparison, you can use your artistic talent to become a graphic designer or animator, both fields with plenty of opportunities. Examine up-and-coming careers such as artificial intelligence, ethical hacking, space exploration and many more that have an immense potential for success.
If you are passionate about attempting an unconventional career in a highly competitive field, for example, acting or singing or sports, consider keeping a more stable career option as a backup. There is immense competition in such fields, and thus the chances of success can be rare. However, don’t just let the idea of competition deter you from your path. Just make sure you map out your path step-by-step and consider all your options.
Resources such as the ‘The Future of Jobs Report’ published by the World Economic Forum offer a detailed view of the future potential of various jobs.
Recommended Read: Turning Passion Into Career: 5 Reality Checks You Can’t Ignore
3. Plan A Discussion With Your Parents
A career choice is a major decision, so take out the time to prepare and have a formal discussion with your parents. This is the time when you can see how your parents’ goals and your dreams align. Narrow down which career fields are the closest to your dreams, what the opportunities are in the respective fields and the path which would be required to reach your goal. Listen to your parent’s views and discuss with them the reason behind their choice of career option for you.
In an ideal situation, you and parents would be able to narrow down certain career options that are suitable for both, but if that doesn’t happen, and you both have different views on which career would be best, don’t worry. The next step is discussion round 2.
After letting a suitable amount of time pass, so that you and your parents have a chance to reflect on the previous discussion, it’s time to return to the drawing board and conduct even more research. Think about the main points your parents raised during the discussion and how you can calmly, with facts, respond to those points.
Research the career options suggested by your parents to see if you can visualize yourself in that field, 5 years down the line, even 10 years later. Use hard facts such as statistics, success examples, and job growth projections to help back your career goals, whether you wish to pursue your own career choice or one suggested by your parents.
Recommended Read: How Should I Convince My Parents to Let Me Pursue My Dream Career?
4. Seek An Expert View
The choice of career is one of the biggest decisions you will make, and will literally affect how you spend the rest of your life. It’s important to make one that you and your family will be happy with and that you can achieve success in. If you find yourself to be in a stalemate situation in the career debate with your parents, where you are not ready to accept their view and they are not willing to accept yours, it may be time to call in the experts.
Opting for career assessment and career counselling is an ideal choice at this step. This is because there will an unbiased person with knowledge of career options, who will be able to guide you and your parents to agree on a suitable career option. If you are worried that your parents are not taking your dreams or views seriously, a career counsellor may be able to help convince your parents. Alternatively, the career counsellor can point out any errors in your thinking and help guide you to the correct path. In addition, a counsellor can help you identify career options you may not even have considered earlier, but that may be a perfect fit for you, your abilities and aptitude.
Recommended Read: 6 Pieces of Career Advice I Wish Someone Had Given Me in Class 12th
Choosing and dreaming of a career is an exciting time in life when the possibilities seem endless. When the time comes to make a decision, it can be difficult to narrow down on one choice, especially if parents are encouraging you to pursue a different career path. Remember, your parents are not the enemy in this discussion, and they only want the best for you. If despite research and calm discussion, you are not able to make a choice, career counselling can help ensure that you make the right decision.
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