Aren't we all familiar with those raised eyebrows, taunting statements and disapproving looks of pesky relatives when they get to hear we are going to pursue something different?
Ohh, you are working at an ad agency? "But I thought you were going to do something related to engineering after you graduated with that B. Tech degree. That is such a good career for boys!"
"Arrey woh sab toh theek hai beta, but when are you going to get that MBA degree?"
Such is the case of the Great Indian Family (overextending to super concerned family friends too). Their responses to our career choices range from genuinely concerned to outright nasty and critical.
Here are a few strategies to help you deal with those nosey relatives:
1. Know Who Is The Audience
Who is this person? How much does your relationship with them matter? Are they an important part of the family food chain? Coming head on with the head of the family might get you into serious trouble! If the disapproving party is a close family friend or relative, it's worth trying to make them understand. If they are someone you don't care much for anyway, it might be easier to not explain or seek their approval anyway.
2. Make Them Understand
It's almost instinctive to feel defensive when someone questions your life choices like it's their business. If you feel up to it, explain why this particular field appeals so much to you. If not, just become thick-skinned and immune to those critiques! Know that the people who love you only want the best for you. Most parents who question their children's choices are simply worried. They want to ensure that their child grows up to be self-sufficient and financially stable.
However, also explain to them that in the 21st century, and with the current unpredictable nature of the economy, no career is really "safe" anymore. All are more or less equally volatile. If they see that you are happy and making a decent living, family and friends will back off eventually. Sadly not everyone eventually comes around. There will still be some parents who will still see an unconventional career path as plain bad and an aberration in the family. These situations are always painful. The best thing you can do is to create your own "family," i.e. to seek out supportive friends and partners who understand and accept your career choices.
3. Ditch The Doubters
It is said that an individual is the product of his five closest friends. Who we choose to surround ourselves with directly impacts our motivation, goals and what we believe is possible.
Don't be afraid to step away from friendships and seek out new friends who have lifestyles and beliefs that are more aligned with the direction you want to move in. You aren't obligated to hang out with people who are critical of your life choices. It can be hard to let go of friends and family you've had for most of your life, but sometimes it must be done!
4. Seek Out Supportive Community
Consciously select the people around you. Look to surround yourself with people in your life that are making different life choices. Seek out groups of artists, entrepreneurs, or other people who are doing their own thing.
5. Believe In Your Right To Be Who You Are
You need to live your life and do your thing. Get out there, start pursuing the things that fascinate you, and find your people. Because You Only Live Once, mate! (Said at the risk of sounding like a hipster!)
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