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Hey, Colleague: What if your parents don't support your career change?

Hey, Colleague: Practical advice on careers and maintaining a work-life balance.
Parents of adult children can be reluctant to accept career changes, particularly if they worked for only one or two companies in their lifetimes.

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Hey, Colleague:

After several years in my career, I’ve decided I will pursue my passions. It means switching career paths entirely, and while I’m sure it’s the right move, I’m unsure if my parents are going to feel the same way. They put me through school, and I want to make sure they’re not going to resent me or be worried that I’m making the wrong decision. How do I navigate this when I break the news? —anonymous

I hear you. We never want to disappoint the ones who raised us, but most parents want the best for their children. No matter how the conversation goes, it would be best to think about your future. If you let the guilt of your parents “putting you through school” hold you back, you are only holding yourself back from your full potential.

Your inner voice is telling you to pursue a new passion. Do it for you. No one can decide that this is the “wrong decision” other than yourself. If you feel an urge, it’s worth exploring.

It could be hard to accept if your parents don’t agree, but sometimes you have to disagree and not listen to them. Heck, rebel a little.

No matter how much you love or respect them, you have to consider the fact that your parents may be stuck in their “old-school” perspectives. They want the best for you, and if they are against your decision, you need to know that there is a possibility they are unconsciously projecting their fears onto you. They raised you, so they may be thinking that if you fail, it’s their fault. Of course, this is most likely subconscious, and they don’t realize their true intent.

They want you to be on a particular path based on how they know life, but we live in a dynamic world.

They may not understand the new society we live in where everything is invariably changing, and we have to hustle to keep up. Gone are the stable days of staying with the one company forever and depending on government pensions.

Who knows what this world will look like in 10 years? Forget about 50 years from now.

Technology is expanding at an exponential rate. Adaptability, continuous learning, and relentless curiosity are crucial to our success for our generations.

If your parents disagree with you at first, do whatever it takes to prove them wrong. Once they sense how happy and fulfilled you are, they will accept your new career. After all, they are your parents, and all they want is for you to succeed.

Trust me, if you stay focused on your personal growth, everything will eventually fall into place, including your parents’ approval. I’m not saying this will be easy, but you have to remember to put yourself first and foremost. You are the only one in your life that has control over your future. 

Kate Pn writes about mastering a healthy work-life balance by focusing on productivity hacking. Write to her at [email protected].