Let me out into the real world!

My parents have given me everything but now it’s time to prove myself. 

Take it step by step, says our elder. Explore what you want to do and gain some work experience in the meantime.


Dear EWC

I’m 15 and a sophomore in high school. All my life, I think I’ve only done well in school because I knew it made my parents happy, and I liked that. Now, I realize that there are only about two more years until I’m out and about in the real world. I don’t know what career to pursue. And quite frankly, putting it off hasn’t helped me at all. I’m scared to think about the future. My friends keep telling me if I don’t start now, I’ll hate myself in years to come. And I’m well aware of that, but the fear is just overpowering. I don’t know what profession to pursue. And I don’t know where to start. My parents, they immigrated here to America and they have endured so much – abuse and poverty. All they want is a good life for me, so I understand why they implore and push me to become a pharmacist. And I know when I’m 18, most definitely, I’m going to argue with them. I don’t want to be in the pharmaceutical industry or in the medical industry either. I just want a job that I’ll be constantly passionate about – that provides me not only emotionally, but financially. 

I’m stressing myself out because I know what I don’t want. But as for what I do, I don’t know. And because I’m an only child, all my life, things were done for me. Never have I ever actually done something on my own accord. I’m dependent. My parents want me to do nothing and live a relaxed life because they went through so much when they were little. And I understand that. But they keep trying to push me away from thinking about out-of-state colleges and use my weaknesses as justification. They might think they’re doing it for my sake, but I think it’s selfish. Of course, if I had a kid, I wouldn’t want them to move to the other side of the world, never to be seen again, but that’s a part of growing up. And I would want to see them grow and become more of who they already are. There’s just so much and I’m just scared and stressed.


Wise-Old-Grandpa replies

I’m truly impressed with your insight into yourself and your parents! I feel you have a gift for understanding your own personality as well as your parents and their cultural and life experiences. In my case, I grew up as a child with stories of my parents’ difficulties growing up during The Great Depression here in the United States. However, let’s take a closer look at your situation.

I find it very encouraging that you want to test yourself in the “real world”. You describe yourself as “dependent,” but by step by step testing yourself, I’m quite sure you will grow in confidence. Your parents had difficulties forced onto them and they survived. Your letter seems to tell me that you already recognize that in the coming years you will need to seek out challenges to build your own strength and independence. You rightly see that in the future you will need to have good discussions with your parents. You clearly respect them. Be sure that you tell them of your respect. However, I’m sure they have huge concerns for your future security and may have difficulty understanding your need to prove yourself. You can be a survivor too!

The career question: One, you are young. Explore a breadth of subjects and build a good foundation. As much as you can, include both the sciences and the humanities. Solid education = Many life choices! 

Work. Consider getting some kind of work experience as soon as you legally can. Even if it is hostess in a restaurant, part time factory work, clerk in a drug store, etc. Maybe a friend of the family can find a position for you. I say this because this is the “real world” as much as a distant college campus. Don’t let this work interfere with your studies. I mention this because I feel the low pay, hard work, part time/summer jobs I had as a teen gave me insight and confidence that served me well in my future career.  

One last thing: You strike me as a very understanding of human nature and individual people. This can be a real asset in professions such as counseling, teaching and the supervision and management of people. Also, you might check out being a genetics counselor. This is one profession that will be in very great demand for many decades.

One more last thing!!  Have some fun and give your parents a hug. They are very lucky.

Article #: 413389

Category: Career

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