Career Key

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

Monday, April 19, 2010

Career Guidance from Dr. Mehmet Oz's Father

Are we sometimes too soft on ourselves or our children when it comes to our career decision status and career development? What do you think about the story I quote from below about Dr. Mehmet Oz, the popular and talented doctor you see on Oprah who now has his own TV show. Here it is from page 3 of Frank Bruni's Sunday NYT Magazine article, "Dr. Does-It-All":
"Reared in Wilmington, Del., he [Mehmet Oz] decided to become a doctor at age 7, in line in an ice-cream parlor. “I remember it like yesterday,” he said. “There was a kid in front of me who was 10. My dad, just to pass the time, said, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The kid said, ‘I don’t know, I’m 10.’ My father waited until he was out of earshot and said: ‘I never want you to tell me that if I ask you that question. I never want you tell me you don’t know. It’s O.K. if you change your mind. But I never want you not to have a vision of what you want to be.

“I told him that day that I wanted to be a doctor,” Oz added. “And I never changed my mind.” (emphasis added).

What's your reaction to that story? Was Dr. Oz's father, a Turkish cardiothoracic surgeon who was born in poverty in the Depression, being too harsh or pushy with his son? Or is it right sometimes to push ourselves and our children into action?

I have mixed feelings, leaning more toward pushing yourself or your child into action. Although age 7 seems a little young to demand a career direction for someone. For me, the key phrase is"it's okay if you change your mind." Time and time again we are told (and we know to be true) that setting goals gets results. (see step 4 "Plan" of our High Quality Decisions article) If you have no career goals, it's safe to say your results will reflect your lack of direction.

What do you think?


Laura E. Sanchez-Gonzalez said...

I also have mixed feelings about it, and I totally agree, that 7 years old is too young to know what do you want to do with your life, but at least his father was flexible enough to tell him that it was ok to fail, sometimes parents want the best for their children and don't realize that part of that is let them be children.


CHOICES Career Advice said...

I just have to respond. I agree with both you and Dr. Oz. I understand why you would feel that 7 is rather early to be "pushed". It has something to do with being part of a society where there is enough for everyone and even with very little "push" you can get by in life and maintain some semblance of a reasonable life (style).
I also understand where Dr. Oz is coming from. In poverty-ridden circumstances like that from which he emerged, parents will want to push more, push harder, and more consistently than parents in comfortable circumstances.
The kind phrase and the key phrase as you say is "it's okay if you change your mind". I agree wholeheartedly but, at least, have a positive and successful vision of yourself in life. Know where you want to be in life and try find a way to get there.
Everyday in the society in which I live we see young people,, especially young men, who have not fulfilled their potential; becoming more mature and getting older with still no clear and direct path in life. I ask myself why all the time but cannot find the answer. Could it have been the lack of that "push" which they required and the lack of the interest of someone to give that "push"?

劉WileyMares said...


Adam said...

Well, Heck, I'm 33 & still not really know what I am doing but getting them out in the World to experience it all is a must, kids need the feel of working before they are out on their own. It will help them in the future.