You are not your parents. While this may seem to be an obvious or intuitive statement, many young adults carve their next steps out of the same wood as their parents’. If not following in their footsteps, millennials often try to fulfill their parents’ dreams rather than their own. They may pursue science for financial stability, athletics to maintain the family legacy, or marriage to uphold cultural expectations. At what length, however, are you sacrificing your own interests or passions for your parents’ ideas of your future? This is an important question especially for women following their dreams.
Women in the Working World
As a woman, it is of the utmost importance to chase your own dreams despite the gender pay gap and patriarchal assumptions of your professional worth. When you take on a career or life decision, you are forced to confront the challenges that follow. Most often, your dedication towards your craft will fuel your drive to overcome the preliminary obstacles that separate you from your dream job.
Perhaps you want nothing more than to help children obtain proper medical attention as a doctor at a local pediatric hospital. The education and work required to achieve your dreams may be far from glamorous, yet your drive will give you a necessary push. You may be seen as “lesser than” by male peers or be denied opportunities for advancement. While unfair, you cannot let this defer you from your ultimate vision. You are a BAUCE and reminding yourself of this will help you achieve your goals.
It is also possible that your family expects you to be at home and assist with daily housework. What do you do? This is your chance to really consider your lifelong goals and personal happiness. Make decisions that will benefit your future. There are ways to balance personal ambitions and still provide support for your loved ones. If you are in a position where your family is relying on you for support, it is still essential to pursue your dreams. This may mean that you have a side hustle to provide financial assistance or that you allocate time to help with caregiving.
Your parents are never in your shoes even if they feel they once were. There are a multitude of opportunities today that were not available when your parents were at the same stage in life. Ask yourself who is going through the motions and who is dictating them. Hopefully the answer to both are the same.
A New Age
Several decades ago, women were discouraged from working outside the family home or business. The development of the internet and a stronger push for civil rights have provided new career options for the BAUCE woman to choose from. Very prevalent in recent news is the idea that millennials never stick to one thing. We are interns for a few months, we work at multiple companies, we start our own apps, we work for nonprofits, or we are self-made creatives. Every generation is different. My grandparents perfected a particular trade and ran small businesses most of their lives. My parents each worked long-term jobs in a single occupation. I, on the other hand, am sampling several careers to put money in the bank and follow my aspirations. I have found that it can be both rewarding and costly to do what you love.The outcome of following your dreams, however, will always feel worth it.
Managing a Dream Job Despite Monetary Setbacks
Parents generally want what they think is best for us. For women who come from low-income, immigrant, or other marginalized backgrounds, this often means your parents want you to follow a path out of struggles they once faced. Their desires may turn into persuasion, pushing you to consider a career in science, mathematics, government, economics, or something they deem financially stable. If one of these careers is your dream, be the BAUCE that you are and go for it! Your potential is infinite and will only grow with your dedication and sense of self-worth. If your calling is in the visual and performing arts, journalism, or entrepreneurship, still go for it! There are numerous ways to make money in each of these fields. Each day people are creating their own hustles.
Your future is just that…yours! Telling your parents you have interests that do not match their standards is not easy, but necessary. Your happiness is important. Being miserable yet financially stable can only last so long before you’ll need to switch tracks. This doesn’t mean that you should be happy in every step of your career. Maybe you are a passionate painter. Your starting salary may not be enough to pay the bills and will force you to pick up a side gig. Keep in mind that this is a temporary step. If your goal is to turn your art into a full-time career, you can get there.
There are also times when you need further education to be competitive in your field. Taking out loans or saving up funds to achieve a degree will seem grueling. Manage your time and spending well and you’re on the road to success! It takes a lot of bravery and guts to pursue your dreams, but your efforts will bring you authentic, long-term happiness that is irreplaceable.
Here are 4 quick tips when discussing your passions with your parents:
- Express your enthusiasm! Sometimes you loving what you’re doing is what a parent needs to see.
- Give small amounts of information. We are not looking for a debate here. You can inform your parents of your passions without facilitating a long discussion or waiting for their approval.
- If they voice concerns, listen thoughtfully but don’t get discouraged! Remind them that this is worthwhile ambition.
- Give it time. Initial rejection may subside after a month. Sometimes parents need time to process and self-reflect.