The Results Are In: How Your Parents Impacted Your Career Path

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by Refresh Leadership on September 7, 2018 in Surveys, Polls, and Infographics

In August, we asked readers how much influence their parent(s)/guardian(s) had on their career paths, and with 36% of the votes, “my parent/guardian had no influence on my career path” was the top choice, followed by “My parent/guardian encouraged me to achieve a four-year college degree or higher” with 33%. Rounding out the top three, 10% of respondents selected “I work in the same industry/profession as at least one of my parents/guardians.”

The rest of the results are as follows:

  • My parent/guardian’s career paths made me stay away from their industry/profession – 5%
  • My parent/guardian used their connections to help me find a job – 5%
  • My parent/guardian encouraged me to go to a career tech school/learn a skilled trade – 5%
  • I took over a family business from my parent/guardian – 1%

Another 5% chose “Other” and submitted their own thoughts on the topic, including:

  • Both were business owners and so am I
  • No influence on my career path, but a major influence on work ethic
  • Instilled the value of learning, inquisitiveness, being assertive
  • My parents encouraged that we could become anything with or without college
  • Any type of skilled training/higher education equaled a better life
  • My parents told me to “choose a profession, ANY profession!”

Addtitionally, some readers shared stories in the comments section about the impact their parent(s)/guardian(s) had on their career paths.

“My parents encouraged me to explore my interests and then helped me find experiences that would allow me to deepen and explore those interests and thus led me to my current career. At the time I didn’t really appreciate it, as most of my friends were being told what to do, they didn’t have to think about it, and they were handed internships and jobs that helped them get a faster start in their careers. I felt a little like my parents were disinterested based on the type of help they were offering. But in the end, my friends who were guided into a career by their parents are unhappy or left their industries. I, on the other hand, have found my calling. My parents subtly supported that. NOW I appreciate it.” – Janine B.

“Dad was a city police officer. When I was about 11 or 12, I expressed an interest in becoming one and he brought home a copy of “Policewoman” by Dorothy Uhnak. I couldn’t put that book down—I was hooked! When our city opened applications for women to become street patrol officers, I was 18, working as a receptionist, and ready to leave the ‘rat race.’ I casually asked my Dad for his thoughts about me applying. He simply said, ‘sure, why not? You should.’ I’m not really sure if he was humoring his youngest daughter, but two years later after a written exam and physical and psychological testing, I was accepted into the police academy. He couldn’t have been more supportive. Being among the first women assigned to street patrol in my city, there were challenges with acceptance along with the police work itself, but knowing I had the support of my family added to my tenacity to succeed. Although police work is never as glamorous or exciting as depicted in books or movies, it was an amazing life experience!” – Eileen W.

How did your parent(s)/guardian(s) impact your career path? Let us know in the comments section below!

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