The Upside & Downside of Following in Your Parents' Career Path

The Upside & Downside of Following in Your Parents’ Career Path

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Stepping into unknown territories can be a frightening change. It’s easier at times to simply stay put in the familiar safe zone. Do we want to stay put and be assured security? Or do we grasp every risk life offers us? These questions are especially evident when it comes to what careers we wish to pursue.

If I told my father I see myself as a criminologist one day, he’ll tell me you’re better off being the criminal himself. Whatever career or passion some of us have that in no way align with what some parents desired for us, we have inevitably had “the talk” with our parents. It’s as if we’re cosmically screwed to only follow in the career our parents, or at least the dominant parent sets for us. Assuming that we enter that specific field as requested, the passion may at times seems to be non-existent. Some do get a passion that seems to sprout out of nowhere in the career they did not intend for themselves, and as a result excel in it. Others however, create a thick comforting wall of denial that engulfs them into believing they love what they do. Fear plays a role in some of these decisions, or perhaps lack of decisions. The fear of confrontation we have with facing our parents and setting down all the cards we got. Perhaps the fear of not being validated by them or not pleasing them. There is a difference between pleasing someone and only pleasing someone.

A person who doesn’t perform in their job with love or passion, shouldn’t be doing it at all. Of course there are exceptions, where temporary mind numbing jobs are required if we go through transitions, as we all do at some point. Having our future career decided is like buying any book with the ending on the front cover. It’s like having the menu of life set. Take for instance the boy whose ambition is to being a musician. The father might tell him this isn’t for men and this isn’t how you’ll be raising a family. Problem is, you’ll find that same parent a music jock himself. He probably puts on Abdel Halim’s “Kariaat El Fengan” concert on occasionally while sipping on Turkish coffee. Perhaps he fancies some of the greatest classical composers by visiting the opera house. He is a musician in his mind, a creator of symphonies in his own world. However much he appreciate legends of music, he may still stubbornly stand his ground in the mentality of, “music is beautiful, but it’s not for my son.” This controlling behavior is not a cycle that is genetic of any sort. It is taught, it is passed on.

How do we know it is not genetic? Very simply, the chain continues to break by the sons and daughters themselves. There is a positive side to all this nonetheless, which is some children aren’t sure what they want anyhow. Perhaps the career their parents set them on may be expressed with gratitude. Parents don’t do this out of any intentional abuse of course. They want to be assured their children are secured financially and well respected undoubtedly. The children perhaps may one day encourage their own children to yearn for the contents in that book, rather than stand still at the front cover. In regards to the repercussions within the son or daughter’s lack of direction, this is something that ripples for miles. Terms such as self-esteem, self-acceptance, or self-loathing are not merely words in a dictionary, they are a reality. They drive us to do absolutely anything, or absolutely nothing. Parents not understanding or cooperating for communication is not necessarily a defeat to us, unless we give in. They don’t have to change. It’s a matter of perspective. There are days we wake up and look at a tree and are mesmerised by the beauty. Then there are days we look at the same tree and decide to concentrate on the worn out leaves and the muddy waters nearby. If it all doesn’t work out the way you wanted and you switched careers, remember that you courageously tried to begin with. The equation of knowing what you want can be simplified into knowing what you don’t want. At any moment it may seem easier to be on autopilot, to be a silent spectator, and having choices made for you. Some parents change their perspective towards you when you ambitiously chase what you’re passionate about. If your future career doesn’t involve being an heir to El Chapo, the odds are good.

Having a career and merely a hobby are two distinct things. Commitment into what you, and only you want to do requires a daily renewal of willingness and practice. Freedom isn’t necessarily doing whatever you want or please. Freedom also requires into being willing to accept the possible consequences of whatever choices you’ve made.

Photo Credits: Photography by Tommaso Del Croce | Fotoblur

Omar El Mallah, studies Criminal Psychology and Radio/Broadcasting. He is aligned with the right frequency; the most with silence, self-examination, 40's-70's music, hammocks, traveling to Southeast Asia and Latin America, writing, questioning, reading, and coconuts. He believes everything the mind offers deserves to be put to pen and paper, and everyone should know something about everything, rather than everything about something.