For many people, as they start off their academic and professional careers, their parents’ influence is the strongest. Whether their parents express a specific field or simply offer advice, it can be a dangerous precedent to set. While there are undoubtedly many reasons to trust and listen to your parent’s advice, there are many more reasons why you should not.
Here are five reasons you should not listen to your parents when it comes to your career:
1. You have to do what is best for you
While your parents have your best interest at heart, it’s not wise to rely too much on outside influence when selecting a career. If you do choose a field that makes them happy, but you miserable, they’re not the ones working that job; you are. Make sure you listen to them if you value their advice, but the decision should be yours at the end of the day. Choose something that you should be passionate about while working on.
2. The market has changed since they were on the job hunt
Many parents use a completely different frame of reference when offering advice on what jobs to take or how you should present yourself as a professional. The market that they knew when they were your age is not the current market. High-paying and reliable jobs have shifted in the past 20-30 years. To put things into perspective, there are whole new sets of careers that have been invented over the last few years that your parents don’t have any idea about, such as freelancing, digital marketing, affiliate marketing, digital nomading. What worked 30 or 40 years ago is not necessarily the only way to figure out things now. Also, there is a major trend that millennials tend to pursue these days and follow a path that helps them to create financial freedom. compare that to the traditional norm of having a secure job and working in the same place until retiring. It simply doesn’t work like that anymore.
3. Professional norms have changed
If your parents are offering advice about dressing, communicating, or acting in the office, you might want to think twice. Professional standards have shifted dramatically over the past couple of decades, with more casual rules in some areas and stricter rules in others. Make sure you are familiar with your company culture and norms.
4. You know your skills better than anyone else
Your parents might say they know you better than anyone else (and they might be right in some areas), but they likely have not observed you in a professional setting. Their perception of how well you might work in a working environment might be completely different from a field that would suit your needs.
5. You might not be passionate about the same things
While your parents have their own passions, they might not be yours. If they are pushing you towards a career that you have no interest in, whether it’s a field they have or have not worked in themselves, you may be living out their dreams and not yours. They might want you to begin a career that they, themselves, wish they had been able to do.
Your parents love you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be who you go to decide what to do and how to do it in your career. Trust yourself and find other professionals in your field who can help guide you to the right fit for you. And you and your parents should know that rushing into a specialization early and sticking to it even if the time proves that it doesn’t fit with your needs and passions, is a bad option. Instead, you can always try yourself without rushing into a specialization. In fact, a late specialization is much more powerful than an early specialization because it allows you to know yourself better and what is a perfect fit for you.