How Mom and Dad Impact Your Career

How Your Parents Affect Your Career Approach
by Jessica Howard
January 19, 2016

Your parents teach you how to walk, talk, to not put your hand on the stove—and how to be kind to others.

It begins with them helping you with your homework, later they’ll edit your college applications. The two people who brought you into the world are the two people who have the greatest impact on your life, but as an adult, should they have an impact on your career?

I have always been a passionate, hard working go-getter. I busted my butt to get good grades in high school so I could go to a good college. Once there, I studied, studied, studied. I had several internships so I could get a great job. I worked hard for everything, and I don’t apologize for any of it. But even as a fiercely independent career woman, I’ve got to admit: I had help the whole way through.

I grew up seeing my dad demonstrate the strongest work ethic of anyone I know. He goes the extra mile to get things done and done correctly. My mom set the example that life and work are all about balance and that putting your family first is the way to happiness.

When you’re a kid, you think of your parents as just that: parents. Now that I’m a working adult looking back, I realize they were only human and that by watching them follow their dreams, I was empowered to do so myself. Learning from their experiences and mistakes before I’d experienced professional successes and failures of my own made a huge impact on how I approach my career—and really on me as a whole.

But even as a fiercely independent career woman, I’ve got to admit: I had help the whole way through.

We often scoff at the idea of a woman (or man) who seeks the advice of her parents for help when times get rough. As adults, we’re supposed to separate ourselves, to take charge of our own lives. And it’s true to a certain extent—at some point, you must stop asking your parents for help on rent.

But our drive for independence means we often forget that our parents are actually a tremendous resource. You wouldn’t hesitate to ask your friends, a mentor, or even your significant other for career advice so why would you avoid asking your parents?

When I have a performance review, I discuss my talking points with my mom, and not just because she’s my mom. She worked in marketing and so she gets it. I value her opinion, and she helps me better isolate the arguments I want to pinpoint. If I have to give a presentation, I always think, “What would Dad do?” He is a great presenter, and having spent years under the same roof, I can emulate his style. When I think like him, it always goes well.

Like most young adults, my parents have an impact on my daily life, including my career. My mom talks me off the ledge when I’m having a bad day. My dad helps me navigate the corporate ladder and how to be the best employee possible. The key is to remember they’re human and working professionals just like you. Having real, unguarded conversations with them about your professional path and life is one incredible element of growing up. Take their advice as you would take advice from anyone you trust and respect. You’re so lucky to have them.

What are your opinions about taking career advice from your parents? Let us know below.