CHOOSING A CAREER / MAY. 12, 2015
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Why Should you Follow your Parents' Career Path?

Stop me when this starts sounding familiar, or whatever point it is where you start rolling your eyes: “Back in my day, it was so easy to get a job. You didn’t bother with university, you just walked out of school and found yourself a nice position and stayed there for as long as you wanted.” Thanks mum and dad, but it’s not quite that easy any more. That said, is new always better? Nowadays we go to university, which is great for learning independence and meeting new people, but ultimately leaves you with a mountain of debt and no guarantee of a job.  Let’s see why following your parents might be the better idea after all... 

They’re Older and Wiser (aka Been There, Done That)

Just because Google is the enquiring minds’ best friend doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take advantage of the people who were ever so patient when you were too young to ask the internet and relied on them to know why the sky is blue.

If your parent’s job, or a job similar to theirs, is where you see yourself in a few years, then why are you trying to find the best way to phrase a Google search about it and not asking them? The working world may have changed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have invaluable advice they had to learn the hard way that could still help you from looking foolish, and they might still know people in the industry.

They’ve been where you are. They’ve been on the job hunt. It might have been a lifetime ago, but they got that job and they found the way to do it well.  Once you have the job, of course, you want to make sure you’re seen as you and not Daddy Jr by making the job your own: industries have to change somehow, and it starts with you.

If you’re going to turn into them anyway...

Usually used as a joke on sitcoms – “turn into her? The horror!” – our genes and our upbringing really does turn us into some kind of copy of our parents. It’s our choice whether we simply inherit their attitude or their looks, or whether we also follow their example and make use of their wisdom to become as good in their field of work.

You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself. - Buddha

As Karen Sullen reminds us, young children who want to be like mummy and daddy when they grow up might find that their shoes are too big to fill, or they simply change their mind as they get older; in which case, you have not become the path and it’s probably not for you.  Parents can also be at fault if they try to force their children to become the success that they never managed themselves, and you need to make sure it really is what you want and not you trying to make your parents happy; you can’t become a path that you don’t really want to do.

Nepotism still exists

The idea of parents favouring their children - or a friend’s child - over another candidate might sound outdated in these times of fairness and non-discrimination, but let’s be honest; we all know it’s still out there. If you have the opportunity to take advantage of it and get a job that’s not only easy to get but easy to keep, then why shouldn’t you?

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that he doesn’t want his sons to follow him into politics, and this article on The Telegraph’s website agrees that while he’s right that they shouldn’t, and their options will be far from limited, that:

Even away from the lofty worlds of politics, fashion and Hollywood, one of the most common ways to find a job is through family or friends. A child’s social class is sadly usually the most important factor in determining his or her success in life, and a lot of this is determined by networks of support and inspiration.

The writer argues that the reason nepotism is so common - and desired by children - is that schools fail to properly prepare them for any other industry that they can’t learn about from their parents. Children are encouraged to branch out and find their own path, but when it seems like you’re constantly being told that the situation is dire in every industry, why would you stray into the unknown?

See also: How to Make Your Parents Understand You Don’t Want to Follow Their Career Path

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you leave school not knowing exactly what you want to do, so you go and rack up three years’ worth of student loan debt doing something you may or may not even end up doing when you could have been working with your parents discovering what you definitely don’t want - or might love. What are you planning on doing? What did you do? Let us know!

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