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Would you recommend your children to follow your footsteps??
Old 03-10-2008, 03:42 PM   #1
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Would you recommend your children to follow your footsteps??

Like Father, like Son or like Mother, like Daughter .. that's what i was told. My father was an entrepreneur but half of his children, including me decided to igo into science/engineering and the other half went on to become business owner.

Every now and then when we have family reunion, i can't help but to notice that the other half (business) of the sibbling tends to do much "better" than the professional. Well, it's all depends on one definition of doing "better" mean. I do know that in my profession as i get older, the technology seems impossible to catch up, as a result my job tends to be more stress and vulnerable as i am aging.

if you have to do it all over again. would you recommend your children to follow your footsteps please, don't tell me ...."i would tell my kids to do whatever make them happy..." if i tell my kids that they will all be beach bum.

enuff

your comment please.
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:49 PM   #2
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I plan on steering my kids into a path focused on a career in science/engineering. Seems to be a high pay-to-effort ratio. (I'm a scientist/engineer myself).

In other words, I wouldn't feel like I was wasting big bucks paying for my children to get a science/engineering degree. I would wonder whether the money is well spent if, for example, a kid wanted to get a degree in Victorian era British Literature or something similar. Not that the latter subject isn't an intrinsically valuable intellectual pursuit in and of itself, just that a BA in Brit Lit might not pay the bills so well.
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:44 PM   #3
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As a PhD holder in a hard science, I would have to say that my career was very lucrative and a helluva lotta fun. I am semi-retired at age 50 and still earning a nearly 6-figure income which is based on my knowledge and contacts, and not really on any work that I do.

Would I recommend science to my kids? Sure, but now that they are teenagers they don't like it that dad is home so much now.
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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The short answer is yes.

In theory, I would say that she should do whatever she want that makes her happy, BUT in reality, my take is that she should find a professional profession that will earn her the money she need so that she can do something she wants to do on the side or in the future as a full-time job.

I will say I will NEVER tell her work for herself! My parents had their own business, and that worked out well for them because otherwise they would have made minimum wage their entire lives due to lack of language skills and being immigrants to this country when they were (back in the 40's and 50's where there was possibly less assistance). However, if I were to have continued on with the family business, I would definitely be making less than in my corporate job. Plus, you have to have that entrepreneurial spirit, and I and, it it looks like my daughter, have none. On top of that, I was such an unhappy kid partially due to the fact that my parents were tied to their business, never taking a day off, always worrying about theft if they weren't there, worrying about money, etc. Everything is SO personal when it's your own business.

When she grows up and wants to start her own business, I would support her, but I would never purposely push her in that direction.
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:24 PM   #5
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I would say:

Choose a career that aligns with your interests and strengths and pays sufficiently to support the quality of life that you want.

In effect, just follow your heart.
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:32 PM   #6
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I've thought that we do a disservice to our children by asking them "What do you want to do when you grow up?" instead of "How will you support yourself when you grow up?"

The first question is fine when they're 7, but by the time they're 14 we should be shifting to the second.

I would have been fine with my kids following me (I'm a "financial analyst"). The money was good and the job had both good and bad. I would have preferred being a college professor, but when I was in grad school my peers who were finishing their PhDs weren't getting jobs. So I bailed out into something that would support a family sooner.

I'd like to believe they can "follow your heart", and still be self-supporting, but I know that sometimes we have to make tougher decisions.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:08 PM   #7
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In my case it is moot. I was a career federal civil servant. My son is a software engineer in private industry and my daughter does wigs and makeup on Broadway. They both found careers doing things they enjoy and are good at. Son earns good money. Daughter struggles to make ends meet. Neither regrets their choices.

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Old 03-10-2008, 06:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Enuff2Eat View Post
if you have to do it all over again. would you recommend your children to follow your footsteps please, don't tell me ...."i would tell my kids to do whatever make them happy..." if i tell my kids that they will all be beach bum.
Too late. Our kid already wants to join the Navy.

At least we've managed to get her to move USNA to #4 or #5 on the list. And while she can't (yet) join the submarine force, she wants to drive ships for a couple years and then transfer to the Civil Engineering Corps and/or the Reserves. But she sees NROTC as the perfect solution to finding summer internships and a post-college job.

We've been encouraging her to look at tuition-free schools (Olin College of Engineering) and other schools that don't have ROTC units. We've been encouraging her to look at local engineering firms with high-school or college internships. No joy so far.

Part of the problem comes from her seeing our skills and our lifestyle. Another part of the problem comes from her believing all of our sea stories. So now we work extra hard to point out the disadvantages of a military career and to tell her the straight facts, but like any teen she thinks we're just trying to talk her out of sex, drugs, rock&roll, and all the other military "good deals".

Our only real progress came after we told her "When you wake up at USNA two mornings after Induction Day and think 'OMG I've made a terrible mistake', we want you to be absolutely sure that it was your own damn fault. But we'll always love you, honey!"

It's possible that she'll try NROTC for a year or two and then decide that she can handle her own job search. Just as long as it's her own damn fault decision.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:54 PM   #9
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Happiness is paramount, and helping your children to achieve this is a very personal, individual and difficult thing to do. Our son is very timid and wants only enough to cover his basic needs. We directed him into a degree in computing as computing was a big interest to him. He now has a BSc in computer science and is very content working in the IT Help desk at a bank earning a modest salary but with excellent benefits. He seems to be very happy with his lot.

Our daughter is a very headstrong person and was a pretty talented musician who played multiple instruments between ages 12 and 18, including piano, church organ, clarinet and flute. We encouraged her in these endeavors but quietly showed her that it did not pay very well and fortunately we all became very good friends through our church with quite a number of musicians who she admired greatly and was able to see that they practiced their talents in their spare time and to keep bread on the table they held jobs such as programmer, lawyer, teacher, HR manager etc.

There was no way we could direct her into something she thought we wanted her to do, and we never attempted to. She made her own deisions and went to college and got a BSc in Computer Science with a minor in music. She has been married 7 years, makes very good money as a Unix O/S programmer and is now planning to work another 6 or 7 years before going back to college and switching careers entirely.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:00 PM   #10
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Too late. Our kid already wants to join the Navy.
..........
Part of the problem comes from her seeing our skills and our lifestyle. Another part of the problem comes from her believing all of our sea stories.
Kids tend to evaluate their parent's career, life style and quality of life to see if they should follow their parent's footsteps. My father was a chef, working in usually crowded, stuffy and hot kitchens. I could not pictured myself working under that kind of working conditions. We hardly ever saw him since his working hours were 9am - 11pm, everyday except for Monday. He never gave us any career guidance. Needless to say, none of us (kids) followed his footsteps. My brother is a gastroenterologist . He works from 8am to 9pm at various clinics, Monday to Friday. However, he has nightly rounds at the hospitals and standbys in the weekends. When he is at home, he does his paperwork. His two kids could not see themselves working the long hours and chose not to follow his footsteps even though the money is good. My daughter is majoring in electrical engineering (same major as mine) at the same school that I attended. I did not encourage, suggest or influence her into that direction (at least not consciously). I always advocate that she should identify her talents and interest and then choose a career accordingly. Surely, whatever she chooses has to pay well enough to support the life style as desired. Apparently, she thinks that my income and life style is in line with her expectations. I guess time will tell whether she will change her mind. I have no doubt that she will pick the "right" path since she is such a gifted student and also a talented artist.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:19 PM   #11
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My own father worked like a dog all his life down a deep coal mine like all my male relatives had done for generations. Their advice to us was to get an education and get a career that did not involve working in nasty conditions under the sea bed 25 miles out at sea. Great advice which I duly followed. My brother (3 years younger) got a degree in mining engineering and is still working down coal mines today (in Queensland Australia after all the pits in England closed down) and loves it.

I think the best think you can do is to try and show what options are available, and support your children in whatever they choose to do.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:21 PM   #12
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My dad told me specifically don't do what he did. He was a tool and die maker. He was right the field is basically dead or dying. If I had children I would definitely tell them don't follow my footsteps. I got lucky in the scheme of the world.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:21 PM   #13
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I plan on steering my kids into a path focused on a career in science/engineering. Seems to be a high pay-to-effort ratio. (I'm a scientist/engineer myself).

In other words, I wouldn't feel like I was wasting big bucks paying for my children to get a science/engineering degree. I would wonder whether the money is well spent if, for example, a kid wanted to get a degree in Victorian era British Literature or something similar. Not that the latter subject isn't an intrinsically valuable intellectual pursuit in and of itself, just that a BA in Brit Lit might not pay the bills so well.
I do agree with you about the "wasting big bucks" statement. I would guide my kids toward science/engineer just because it's a little bit easier,higher pay and i can help them along the way . it would break my heart to pay $20,000.00/year for my kids to major in music or liberal arts.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:26 PM   #14
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I don't have kids, but do have children in my life that ask advice. I tell them that a good science and technology education kept my options open and my powder dry, and enabled me to switch careers when switching was the best thing to do. It's ok if math is hard - keep trying until you get it.
Of course some kids just aren't interested in or have aptitude for science or technology, in which case I'd tell them to try to get a degree in something anyway, even if they can't handle going straight through and they need to take some time off.
If you're going to work, and most of us have to, you might as well get paid well enough to give you options for the future.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:47 PM   #15
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My kids are still searching for what they want to do if when they grow up. One is an IT manager in a local university. He is doing OK but is experiencing the same things he disliked about my job when he was growing up; long hours, lots of stress, working on "vacations", etc.

My other child is just finishing up their undergraduate degree (after being pushed to do so for the last couple of years) but plans on taking some specialized courses to be an audio technician; which is what he wants to do. He has had a very wide range of work experience in part time jobs so he knows a lot about the "real world"; dock worker, telemarketer, internet credit card resolution support , musical instrument saleman, bartender, etc. I hope he finds happiness in his selected field.

My advice to them growing up was to get a decent education and real world work experience before you make a final choice on your career field. I am still waiting to see how that will work out for them.

I am starting on my newly acquired grandkids. Their parents did not see the value of a college education but they have done well despite it so far. The not so subtle message from this grandpa is "what do you want to do to make a living?" "Why? and how are you going to get there?" They all know we created a 529 for each of them. We tell them every time we add $$$ to it and remind them it is for school only. If they don't go...it is given to the child that does go. We hope it gives them hope that there is a way to get a better education and perhaps a better life for them.

Time will tell.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:26 PM   #16
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Not having kids, I can't say for sure, but I'd encourage them if they thought they had a shot at a career they really loved, even with low (but survivable) pay. If not, I'd encourage the science/engineering route which is the one I went myself, mostly because it pays reasonably well while potentially leaving time for other interests.

My parents both wound up working in the academic/university environment, and until I hit college I thought I'd follow in their footsteps because they obviously loved what they did. It wasn't till high school that I realized how rare that was. Halfway through my undergrad, it hit me that I didn't love it enough to suffer through the downsides of physics/astronomy, so I switched to engineering and wound up in computer support. Totally agree about getting real work experience in any field before commiting to it - it was a summer job that showed me I was on the wrong track.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:30 AM   #17
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No kids, so I can't really say what I'd tell them. I have a niece who wanted to be a Rockette - has a degree in dance - she's the one who literally ran off and joined the circus. Traveled the world and loved it. Was an entertainment director on a cruise ship for a few years. She now does part time "Lucy" impersonations at shows in Las Vegas and is a civil process server/investigator. She about 50 now and insists she wouldn't change a thing, saying "If you don't chase your dream you'll never know if you could have". When she can't work any longer she'll be living on SS.

I went into law enforcement, I've written about that before. The pay is okay, the retirement benefits unheard of now, the hours are the pits, the stress is high. I went to too many funerals. Being wealthy was never one of my life goals. But I did what I wanted to do - I made a difference. If I was 22 I'd do it again.

I've seen so many people, including many on this forum, slave away at jobs they hate just for the money/security and I think that's sad. So I'd tell them do what you want to do, but be mindful that things don't always work out the way you want and have a "plan B" in mind.

Career choices involve so many individual variables, values, judgments, that it would be almost impossible to give much "good advice".

The advice to "get a degree" is good I think. It opens a lot of doors since many places, govt. in particular, often don't care what the degree is in, just that the applicant had the perseverance to get one.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:47 AM   #18
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My son is pursuing work similar to mine - although on the beltway bandit side rather than within government. My daughter is just graduating from college with a degree in studio art and will likely head off in a completely different direction. DW and I avoided pushing them toward anything but did emphasize trying to find something that pays the rent and has a future (as opposed to working at Club Med or something). I also touted the advantages of finding employers where there are opportunities to make big changes in the type of work you do in case you find you don't like your initial choice. That saved me at the Fed when I burned out on HR and was able to switch to IT - a lot easier to make such a move inside an organization that knows you are smart and reliable than convincing a new employer to give you such a shot.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:03 AM   #19
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I do agree with you about the "wasting big bucks" statement. I would guide my kids toward science/engineer just because it's a little bit easier,higher pay and i can help them along the way . it would break my heart to pay $20,000.00/year for my kids to major in music or liberal arts.
Exactly. I would really like it if the kids chased intellectual pursuits such as literature, fine arts, foreign languages, history, etc. Those are some of my interests from which I derive great pleasure personally. It's just that when I look at friends from college that got a BA in one of those subjects, they generally haven't gotten very far in life.

I would be more likely to encourage the kids to get a minor or second major in one of the arts, humanities, or letters-type disciplines to supplement the breadwinning major. And I plan on encouraging study abroad if feasible.


My thoughts are that one can pursue interests on their own without spending $20,000/yr for a college instructor to spoon feed them knowledge. With access to the internet, great libraries and cheap plane tickets, there's lots of better ways to spend $20,000/yr on intellectual pursuits than sitting in a classroom for 15 credit hours a semester...
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:41 AM   #20
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I would never think to tell my kids to do what I do. Their interests and quite frankly the way they were raised are completely different from how I was raised. I put much more emphasis on education than my parents ever did.
With that said, while my daughter is pretty much exactly like me (except with her mother's good qualities) the route she has taken in college is pretty much the opposite of the direction I went. Actually, knowing what I know now, I wish I had her insight, I probably would have taken the direction she did. As to my son, he is the exact opposite of me personality-wise and I couldn't imagine him in any sort of sales job.
I guess it's much easier to offer advice on how to succeed, or at least what mistakes not to make, if they follow in your footsteps, but I could never be so bold as to assume that my decisions were all the correct ones. I've made so many mistakes in life, I wouldn't know where to start retracing my steps.
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