Poll Question: How Much Influence Did Your Parent(s) /Guardian(s) Have on Your Career Path?

Have you ever said or done something and realized that you’re slowly morphing into your parents or guardians?

It happens. But that doesn’t mean you’re a direct copy. For this month’s poll, we’re trying to see what type of influence your parents or guardians had on your career. Maybe your dad was a police officer and you enrolled in the academy to follow in his footsteps. Or perhaps your mother was a nurse but you pretty much faint at the sight of blood and never considered that as an option.

Some take over the family business or go to college at their parent’s insistence. Others rebel, choosing career paths that make sense to them but are hard for their parents to understand.

Whatever your situation, we want to hear about it. Let us know your thoughts in our poll!


  1. Debbi Cook

    My mom had always done various types of office work, and encouraged me to take typing school, and both parents encouraged me to attend vocational school. My dad also used his contacts in the construction industry to get my foot in the door at a bank in my early career years.

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  2. Laura Nass

    My father was a chemist who always wanted a son. My mother dabbled in substitute teaching and real estate. Well, I am the last of three girl; my father never got that son he wanted so he kind of raised me like a boy anyway. He taught me how to use tools (hammer, screwdriver, wrench, pliers, etc) and got me a Radio Shack electricity kit. I also ended up with my sisters’ chemistry sets as hand-me-downs. He taught me some math, and some chemistry, brought me to the local mine to learn about minerals.

    I ended up as an engineer. My eldest sister went to MIT to study nuclear physics, changed her major to biology, went to medical school, and has a career as a doctor. She recently retired from the emergency room but still has her private practice.

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  3. Kat

    I’ve shared employers with both my mother and my sister multiple times, but those were jobs, and not career choices. And they’ve been the product of one person already working there, informing others in the household about openings. But ultimately my mother never gave me much input on school, jobs or career choices. I was creating my own class schedules in high school, without ever even thinking to ask her for help. That’s just the way I have always been, even as a small child. I just do things on my own, because I can.

    My pragmatic career path, which I am returning to school for in a couple of weeks – which is Communications, specifically focused on non-profit support and social/political policy – is something I’ve slowly come to later in life, via my volunteer work and social advocacy. I originally went to college for Public Relations, with a focus on the film and television industry. But I was forced, out of family obligation, to drop out of school and had never had the change to go back before. But as I said, I am returning later this month, to finally get my degree.

    My dream career path, of being a film and television writer (one I’ll never give up on but can’t make it my primary focus), is a choice I made when I was 5 years old and had never seen my mother work a day in her life, because she’d quit work when I came along and never went back to it. She didn’t return to work until the survivor’s benefits from my father having died (when I was 6 and she was 26) became not enough to support us adequately.

    And even when she did go back to work, it was always jobs, never careers. She just had no real interest in anything one could call a career, or ambition beyond making enough money to live somewhat comfortably. As such, it never occurred to me for a moment to ask her what she thought of any career choice I made. We’re just very different people, with very different views on life and work.

  4. Calleigh

    Unlike helicopter parents of today, our parents did not offer guidance nor advice in choosing a major, developing a skill set that matched abilities or researching *realistic* job prospects. From today’s perspective it sounds kind of odd but we were let loose on the world w/o a solid plan. Jobs were fairly easy to get, the US was much less crowded -this is a significant aspect that doesn’t get much discussion.

    While we had freedom to explore possibilities, after a certain point you start to wander, becoming a jack of all trades but a master of none. When young, there’s a tendency to think you have time to get serious about picking a career, getting a grad degree, but time speeds by.

    Today you need to hit the ground running to compete with so many more applicants per job opening. HR figures you won’t stay much past a couple of years anyway, the day of being a lifer are long gone. The person with the best contacts scores the job over ability and experience. Very different climate from when employers considered the new hire as an investment (miss that aspect). Many co’s had good mentorship training programs that unfortunately have mostly ceased; are costly, not worth the investment as employees job hop every few years.

    It depends upon the young adult, some are very focused and know what they want to do (best case scenario) while a great many do not. The latter group needs guidance; some are immature, don’t yet know themselves, their abilities while some overestimate their abilities and others get stars in their eyes, caught up in seeking fantasy dream jobs, etc., clouding reality. Dream jobs can always be a hobby.

    While helicopter parents do too much thus crippling their kids, some parents don’t do enough, these kids can get lost and meander as they lack focus, is a frustrating and unproductive place to be which often leads to job misery.

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