When Parent and Child do not agree on Career Choice

feuding_cups_1Career selection is becoming more and more complex in the modern world. With globalization and new technologies sprouting newer choices every day, there is more confusion than excitement. In this scenario it is not uncommon that a budding student may develop an attraction towards a particular "sunrise" career while his parents prefer to stick to the beaten path and play safe. Let us first analyze what each need to do to ensure that the student is on the right track in career selection:


  • Are you aware of the new careers that are sprouting up offering good prospects? Do you take the trouble to periodically update yourself?
  • Are you aware that some of the traditional careers that were very poorly paid in the past, have now become lucrative and very rewarding financially?
  • Have you taken the trouble to speak to people in different careers and find out how each field is doing and the changes that are taking place?
  • Are you enforcing your unfulfilled ambitions on your child, making him take up a prestigious career that you could not achieve? Or, are you wanting your child to follow in your footsteps and take up your career, so that he can succeed you?
  • Are you aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your child, and are you in a position to match them to the requirements to his prospective career?

If you can truthfully introspect and answer these questions to yourself, then you know that you are in a position to guide your child suitably.


  • Are you getting fascinated by a career only because of its "glamour value"? For example, if you love driving cars, are you thinking of becoming an automobile engineer? In reality the automobile engineer spends his time in the factory, not driving around in fancy cars.
  • Are you aware of the wide choices available to you, and have you taken the trouble to explore and find out many of them, or do you think that the only lucrative fields are engineering, medicine, chartered accountancy etc? That will frustrate you, particularly if you are not good at competitive exams required to qualify in these fields.
  • Can you match your academic capabilities to the requirements of the course you want to take up, and are you aware of the costs involved and whether your parents can afford it? Try to be realistic.
  • Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses, and can you match them to the requirements of the career you are thinking of taking up? It is not enough to be interested in something, you also have to be good at it in order to succeed.
  • Do you get influenced by careers that have "scope", and are going into a particular field only because everyone else is doing so, and there are many jobs being offered currently in that industry? Ten years from now there may be a recession in that industry, and you can be in trouble.

Coming together:
Once parent and child have done the above introspection, they are far better prepared to discuss and even argue out their own contention. It is important that each student chooses a career for which he has not only interest but also aptitude. Aptitude is the potential to develop the skills required for that particular career. It can be checked out either by undergoing an Aptitude Test, or by checking out your own strong points and comparing them to the skills required to be successful in any particular field.

Nothing comes out of being obstinate and adamant, on either side. Parents may find that forcing a child into a particular career against his choice will lead to such a level of de-motivation that he stops performing, and loses his self-esteem. Students may find that rebelling against their parents will deprive them of their support in the crucial years when they have to struggle and build up their life.

Keep in mind that there are multiple choices in each field today. Also, one can combine two different streams and make a career out of it. Try to look for such a combination if parent and child disagree. Some examples are: Engineering and then move into design or graphics; Medicine and then take up writing, documentation or publishing; Law combined with a management degree; Commerce degree followed by mass communication, the list is endless. In this era of specialization and competition, it helps to have dual qualification.

If all attempts to come to a consensus fail, it is ideal that the issue is referred to a knowledgeable elder or a counsellor who can evaluate objectively and in a non-biased manner, and come out with a solution suitable to both. Do not get frustrated and take steps in haste  there is always a way out, and a career choice is for life.

Career Guidance

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