CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 04, 2014
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How to Follow a Career Path That Your Parents Don't Approve of

Since your parents have your best interest in mind, they may want you to pursue a profitable career path. They may push you to get a business degree, go to law school or attend medical school. In their mind, it's more beneficial to choose a career that can provide some financial security. Although they mean well, you might have other plans for your future. 

Sitting in a classroom for the next eight to ten years or climbing the ladder in corporate America might leave a bad taste in your mouth. Maybe you're looking to pursue singing, acting or another career path that your parents don't approve of. You have a choice, either live your parents' dream, or live your life.

It's by no means any easy decision; but in the end, you have to choose what's best for you. Here are four ways to follow a career path that your parents don't approve of.

#1 Provide as Much Information About the Career as Possible

Maybe your parents don't approve of a career path because they don't fully understand the potential. For this matter, provide your folks with information to ease their minds. Sit down and have a question and answer session. Do your research beforehand and be prepared to provide useful information. For example, you might highlight potential career opportunities, as well as earning potential. 

#2 Have a Fallback Career

Your parents may have valid concerns, especially if the career you're pursuing has a low success rate, few opportunities or involves long hours and very little pay. However, they may offer support if you're realistic about your odds of breaking into a tough field, and if you have a plan B. 

Let's say you're a drama major and you're aiming to be the next big Broadway or motion picture star. Even with talent, your parents likely know that the odds aren't in your favor. Therefore, they may not approve of this career path, especially if they're paying for your education. But they might be comfortable with your decision if you have a few fallback careers. For example, if Broadway doesn't work out, maybe you can use your drama degree to teach drama or theater at the high school or college level; or perhaps you can explore your entrepreneurial side and open a drama school or become a private acting coach.  

#3. Demonstrate Your Passion 

If you're following a career path that your parents do not approve of, your hobbies and activities should reflect this passion. While you're in school honing your skills, look for part-time jobs or internships in the field that you are pursuing. This not only demonstrates your determination, but also your seriousness.

For example, if you're pursuing a career as a personal trainer, don't wait until you finish your certifications to build a reputation. Find a mentor and shadow this person. Also, you might workout with friends and offer tips and advice on proper techniques. Likewise, if you're pursuing a career as a photographer, look for freelance photography opportunities. Build your portfolio, enter amateur photography contents or market some of your prints. It'll be easier for your parents to accept your career if you're taking steps to make your dreams come true.

#4 Be willing to Support Yourself

If your parents do not approve of your career path, they probably aren't going to pay for your schooling. Therefore, be proactive and look for financial support, such as student loans, scholarships, grants and private funding. Talk with your school counselor and inquire about available programs. 

It's your turn. Did you pursue a path that your parent's didn't approve of? Did they eventually support your passion? Please have your say in the comment section below.

Image Credit: [Flick]

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