My Family Made My Career Choice For Me. What Do I Do?

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10 years from now, it is you who will be controlling your own life and living with the consequences of your decisions and no one else. This is not an article to promote rebellion against your parents or family because the end goal of whatever decisions they make for you is supposed to be good and beneficial for you. It is not their fault entirely to have pushed you towards what they wanted you to do because the thought behind it was that they presumed that they were doing the right thing by making you pick a stream that would secure your future.

Our parents’ generation has been structured since their childhood into thinking that certain professions and streams are better and more promising than others and it is tough to change a lifelong belief. 

Sometimes you might feel that they are being overly pushy and egoistical when it comes to giving weightage to what you desire but, taking into consideration the basic human tendency to be right, they feel objected when you defy them or question their choices and decisions especially when they are older in age. You cannot possible deny the existence of this stereotype that is prevalent and outgrows all of us.

But this, in no way, justifies denying you the right to pursue your desired career. Your parents want what’s best for you but it’s not necessary that what they know is supposed to be the way your life is cut out to be. 

We have several examples of people around us, who have gone through this or are going through it. It’s saddening to seeing people of a young age being denied so many possibilities that they could willingly choose, and chase their dreams with full potential but instead of looking at the negative side of things, what we choose to do is look for inspiration in them instead.

There are tons of people who, on the one hand, might have given up on their dreams and succumbed to the ways they think are adjustable but there are, at the same time, people who have hit back with equal force and never given up. 

There have been people throughout history ,who, for a major part of their school and college life, weren’t aware of so many possible fields that aligned with their interests and skills simply because they did not have the “culture” for it or they were never made aware of it but when they came across it and realized what is meant for them, they fought all odds and left no stone un-turned to grab it. These are the people who decided to do what their parents want but never left the hope to achieve their goals and have been working twice as hard to accomplish both of it.

Different people use different ways to deal with the imposition of careers upon them but the only thing that is common in them is their will to never lose sight of what they want.

If you don’t want to pursue the career option your parents have put you in, find what you actually want to do. How do you expect them to back off if you yourself are not sure about what you wish to do?

Once you know what it is, find arguments or reasons as to why and how it is a promising career and how it will keep you way happier than tonnes of other things. Find concrete reasons that your parents can understand and look through. 

A major concern of parents is financial security or stability. In case you wish to pursue a career which is not that promising, it is natural for your parents to object. There are two things that might work here.

  • One, establish plan B i.e. tell them how if this fails you have planned to fall back on something else. It could be adaptive to your field or even something else. For example, you choose to pursue a career in dance but somehow it does not work out the way you wanted it to. Then tell them that instead of dragging yourself through it you’ll get a proper degree to teach dance professionally or that you’d have simultaneous degrees and try out for a job in suppose banking sector. This will give them an assurance of your career being secure. You could decide that you’d pursue your dream for, say, 2 years and if it still doesn’t produce output, you’ll shift. This establishes a sense of ultimatum for both sides and makes you work harder and them feel relatively relaxed.
  • Second, hatch a compromise. Another way to approach this is to bring a compromise into the picture. It could be anything relevant to your family or customs or culture and may vary for each and every one of us but it usually works well. It does not make your parents feel neglected or doesn’t make them think that they are not important in your life.

You can always try convincing them with logic rather than emotions if you think that’ll work better.

Nevertheless, always keep in mind that there are ample number of situations in which parents are stubborn enough and this might not work. The only way out here is that you should be prepared to disappoint your parents because you don’t want to be a person who’d like to regret not taking a decision that could have made your life. Work as hard as you possibly can and show how you are worth it and prove it to them that all those years of you dreaming for something did not go waste. 

It is not necessary to always abide by these. If you feel you can manage your life well by abiding to what is told to you, go ahead with it but only when you are sure and not at the cost of your happiness.

Don’t make their dreams your own if those dreams make you miserable. Life is too short to be miserable career-wise.

You can always consider a guidance or family counsellor in such situations as well but they way your efforts and drive towards your passion will bring a change is supposed to be of utmost value and relevance in situations like these. In short, never give up and look for inspiration and motive in whatever you choose to do.

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