Your dream career vs your parents

It’s a well-known fact of family life that parents live their desired dreams through their children. Once you hit a certain age, employability success becomes harder to tackle and the opportunity to change careers becomes less likely.

It’s also a well-known fact that the famous saying from My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ‘why do parents tell you to dream big, but not too big’ applies to each and every one of us – whether we like it or not!

Let's be honest, parents just want the best for their children (cliché we know). But for anyone who has children of their own, will understand that as parents, you work effortlessly hard to provide your children with the skills, expertise and knowledge to pursue their dreams; ones parents never had the opportunity to.

Nowadays, our wants and needs are literally endless and we find ourselves craving more than we need. As human beings, we get bored very easily and quickly realise, we can’t do everything we want. Career choices are exactly the same, and nowadays finding a job your love and wish to stick to is increasingly more difficult. With competition rife and wages relatively average, finding ‘any’ job has become the norm. Remember when your parents used to send you to tutors as a child to elevate your educational CV and encourage you to attend career fairs, well it’s their prerogative to ensure you live a financially comfortable life.

So what happens when you deviate from the trend and announce to your parents one Sunday afternoon that you wish to pursue a career that is considered ‘unstable’. It’s not that your parents don’t believe you can make it, but they do not want their children struggling for money and independence. So when telling your parents that you wish to become an artist, journalist or actor, their reaction will no doubt be: ‘but you won’t earn enough money’. And sure enough, it’s common knowledge that you will have to ‘rough it up’, so to speak, for a number of years and to break the industry seams before you can retaliate with your proudest statement yet: ‘I now earn £50,000’.

What differentiates success is the motivation, perseverance and experience. Sure, your parents would have always dreamed of their children becoming a doctor, solicitor or marketing director, but what is it exactly that you can do to persuade, if not ensure your parents that you are on the right path to success?

Come prepared

There’s nothing worse than being unprepared; and it doesn’t matter what occasion it is. If you are asking your parents for full support, you should research your chosen career field and write a list of pro’s and con’s and if you’re at graduate level, find some graduate schemes and their entry requirements, or courses that could help propel you in the field.

Let your passion shine through

Bottom line, if you want something, you will work hard to achieve it. Whether your parents are on your side, you should at all times demonstrate your passion for the field. Read articles, research journal pieces and find someone who inspires you. Nothing screams passion more than verbally spewing out all you know!


At this stage in the game, your parents are needing a nudge of encouragement. Okay, so the statistics for becoming an actor or painter don’t add up to the life of Doctor, but that’s okay! Bring a timeline of statistics to the table with ways in which your salary can increase with experience and qualifications. If your parents can see an improvement in salary expectations, headaches caused by endless arguments will be slightly relieved.

Persistence is key

It’s common for graduates to laze around on the sofa, eating tortilla chips and forgetting the hours wasted which should be spent on applying for jobs or courses. So once you have figured out your desired career path, persistence is key and do not expect it to come easy. You should be spending your free time applying, researching and phoning companies to demonstrate your passion for a particular job.

Do this, and your parents will know you are serious and not just doing what you do to rattle their cage. If it works for Rita Watson in Sister Act 2 going with her heart to sing, then anyone can do it!


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