For the past two and a half years, I’ve worked with a lot of seasoned professionals.
Most are executives who are 15+ years older than me, have a family and have been in the industry for a while. Recently, I spoke with an executive who has a kid in high school and we were talking about college and careers. He then revealed something very interesting to me; he expressed that he didn’t know how to help his kid figure out and be what he wanted to be.
It was hard for me to sympathize with him, not having any kids myself, but then I looked at this valid concern from a different angle; the kid’s point of view.
I thought, what would I want my parents to do for me along my career path? It varies for everyone, but I think there are five key things many young pros can agree on about parents’ involvement in their career.
- Support me no matter what: Even if you don’t agree with my career choices, offer your opinion and concerns, but ultimately give me your blessing. Don’t be afraid to let me fail, it’s how I will learn and become a better person and professional.
- Offer advice: I don’t always ask for your advice, but offer it anyway. Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten was unsolicited. If you can sense I’m struggling and I’m not asking for help, take that as your cue to enlighten me.
- Help me when you can: If you or someone in your network can help me advance my career, offer me your help. Even if I don’t ask for your help or you know I won’t take it, it’s nice to know you want to support me.
- Do not threaten me: Do not tell me that if I don’t do something along my career path that you will stop talking to me or punish me in some other way. Let me make my own decisions and just be there for me during my successes and failures.
- Check in with me: Make sure I’m happy with what I’m doing. Sometimes I need someone to ask me how I feel about where my career is heading to actually reflect on it and make sure it’s still going in the right direction and I’m happy.
What else should parents do to help their kids along their career path?