Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Are Your Children a Failure if They Don’t Grow up to be Doctors or Lawyers?

Jewish mothers are stereotyped as wanting their children to become doctors or lawyers.  Given the sheer number of Jewish physicians and attorneys (notwithstanding the apparent shortage of medical professionals in Israel), it seems that mothers are doing an excellent job of influencing their children.

However, when such professions are not appropriate for a particular child, what is a Jewish mother to do?

A few years ago, I heard what I considered to be a very enlightened principal of a school say something like the following: 

I had a student come to me that got 30% on a test.  His teachers and parents were criticizing him because he had done so poorly.  I told him that I was proud of him.  He got 100% on the questions for which he knew the answers.

One of my friends, as a present to his children upon completion of army duty, spends a not small amount of money to enable his children to take career aptitude/interest tests conducted by professionals.  As an example, for one of his sons, the results showed a good match for a dietician.  Almost certainly this young man would never have considered this particular job as a profession.  Yet, because he took the test, he decided to further investigate, and now, a few years later, after completing the relevant studies, he is happily working as a dietician.

Over my years of assisting job seekers find work, there have been many occasions when a mother or father has contacted me about work for their adult child.  This is an immediate red flag for me, and I always tell the parent that their child is welcome to be in direct touch with me.  Not once has the child ever contacted me after an approach from the parent.

Choosing a job/profession is difficult enough to do based upon your own interests/aptitude, without having to take into account expectations of others.  And, living in the 21st century, making a career/job choice at one particular point of time is not as critical as it was for previous generations.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics in the US, people nowadays average more than five careers in their lifetime.  And while I would tend to believe that the longer someone must study for a profession, the less likely the person is to change, I have met with many professionals that were burned out and wanted to do something else.  In fact, I am one such person, leaving a hi-tech career after 20 years.

And, if you do experience anxiety that your child is not living up to your expectations for them professionally, and this worry is manifested by eating too much, you are welcome to be in touch with me - I can connect you with a good dietician :>)

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