I wish to be a… but my parents…


Question. If you have proved your parents wrong by making your own choices.. Are you right? And should they be happy for you? 


I would make a blanket statement that globally (especially so for Asians), one would deem occupations such as doctors, engineers, politicians and and the likes a success in terms of career. As a result, these are a few easy career options for parents to make on behalf of their kids. However, through the passage of time, with many external forces influencing the growing up process, a kid will develop their own character and personality, aspirations, goals and of course… choice of career. As a result, in eyes of their parents, swaying away from their “predetermined” trajectory into the working world may mean disappointment and failure. 


Over the years, I’ve participated and overheard conversations from my peers, colleagues, relatives that goes something along these lines, “This is not something I wanna do, but my parents….”, or “if given a choice I will do something else besides my current job”. And mind you, many of whom are people that hold positions higher up in the hierarchy of their respective jobs. 


From their grievances, I’ve derived with some thought provoking and paradoxical questions for you to ponder over.


  • Suppose you are successful in your career, but dread waking up everyday (due to work), would you consider yourself a success?
  • If making your parents proud is your goal, are you proud of yourself if you have achieved that goal?
  • If you have enough money to buy almost everything on earth, would you trade your health to obtain that kind of money? 
  • If you influence someone to do something against their wishes, how will you feel if someone do the same to you?


If these questions really got you thinking. Let’s explore why parents think the way they think with regards to paving and propelling their children towards their own career decisions. And reading on might inspire you to take charge of your own career life path.


Origins to parental influence




A major factor that influence the happiness of one’s life is their career. And every parents in the world would want the best for their children. Therefore, since adolescence, parents incline to push them towards “success” as they deem fit. However, their definition of success is solely based upon their own perception, irregardless of their children’s choice. 




In my opinion, “bragging rights” is certainly one at the top of the list as to why parents would influence their kids towards certain professions. I would say this is one of the most prevalent symptom amongst Asian parents due to the traditional stereotypes. It does inflates the parents ego to claim that their son is a doctor or engineer much to the wows of their jealous friends. The victim, however, would be their children if the choice of career wasn’t their own.


Following in the same footsteps


Family legacy may also be a motivating factor for parents to shape their kids choice of profession. When one achieves success and satisfaction in their career life, often they will have the positive bias towards that profession. Therefore, they will have the tendency to push their personal ideology upon others to take that same direction. As a result, this may translate to exerting that influence on their children to take their own career route, expecting them to achieve equal success and happiness. 




These are definitely some potential downside to children that have been successfully influenced by their parents for their career choices. And these negative consequences can be pass on to the next generation, creating a vicious cycle. 


Less efficient work


When children enters the workforce in the field pressured into by their parents, often they end up doing nothing significant due to the lack of interest and focus. And therefore, achieving less career fulfilment and promotion prospects. 


Failure to attain success

Without dedication and concentration at work, very often one find themselves climbing up the corporate ladder is an arduous journey, despite clocking the required hours day-to-day. When one’s heart is out of the workplace, achieving a name or fame in the company is often a futile dream. 


Unnecessary pressure

When there is a lack of interest and lifelessness at work, one feels unnecessary pressure to accomplish their given task even if there isn’t any external pressure. Under constant pressure, one’s work quality will tend to reduce, leading to dissatisfaction from their superior. 



In line with working without a passion and disinterest, even when one manage to accomplish their given objective, tendency for mistakes is usually high due to negligence. 


Lack of future security

The future will be pretty bleak for those whose work quality and commitment isn’t up to par. It goes without saying that the first to be let go are usually the worst performers in the company.


Do the right thing


The influence of parents can be both positive or negative in choosing the career of their children. It becomes positive when they allow children to follow their decision and dreams. In general, one works well when they are determined about something but fail to produce the best results when being forced to do something else. The role of parents is therefore crucial to act as a guiding force rather than an influential one for the lives of their children. They should understand the needs and desires of their children instead of pressurizing them to their own personal ideas which may hamper their abilities for growth.

The rule of thumb

To break this vicious cycle and take control of your own life, simply follow the rule of thumb.


 Be involved, but not in control

 Advise, but do not decide

Support, but do not dominate.


Only do what your heart tells you! Take the leap of faith people!