Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Helicopter Parents and Students' Career Choice

Is helicopter parenting good for students' career choice? Our website offers 8 positive ways parents can make a difference in their child's career. Whether or not you are "overinvolved" as a parent depends on the degree to which you put this advice into practice. My mother was very involved, but not too involved, in helping me get into a top college. My college choice had an enormous impact on my career path in ways too numerous to list here.

My mother saw my athletic ability as a tall woman (I am over 6 feet tall) as an asset for rowing teams, and therefore a possible boost to my chances of getting into Ivy League colleges and the Seven Sisters schools. At that time in 1989, few women recruited for crew had previous rowing experience. Without my mother's guidance and encouragement, I would never have written the letter I sent to crew coaches about my basketball athleticism and good grades. I got several positive responses. Without her, I would not have gone to Princeton and enjoyed rowing ever since. But my mother did not push me into something I did not want to do, or into a situation I could not handle. Yes, in the beginning my public school background made coursework a little harder for me than an alumna from Exeter, but I ultimately improved when surrounded by excellence.

In this highly-competitive education and work environment, parents are understandably concerned about their child's future. But the truth is that no matter how much you do things for her and give advice, she is ultimately the one who has to do the work. And if it doesn't suit her or she is not competent, she won't succeed.

I'm sure there are a few parents out there that could care less about their child's satisfaction with a career, as long as it has an MD, JD, MBA or PhD in the title. But for the vast majority, success must include some component of job satisfaction. Guiding your child through the process of a good career choice increases the likelihood of job satisfaction. That's what my parents did for me and I still reap the benefits.

No comments: