Thursday, September 30, 2010

Following in my Footsteps?

My eight year old loves to visit my office. On any given day, if presented with the choice to roam around the mall or sit for hours secreted away in the muted tones and dull electrical hum of my firm's headquarters, she would choose the latter. She moves methodically from office to office, greeting the familiar faces that she's pretty much grown up with, updating them on her progress in school or the adventures of summer camp. She knows who has the candy stash and who keeps kids meal toys in their desk drawer expressly for her visits. She knows that the VP will reach to hug her and then toss her into the air. Once she's made her rounds, she sidles to my desk in search of a free computer so that she can check the health level of her Webkinz pets. She's told me more than once, "When I grow up, I'm going to work at your job." I laugh at this and assure her, "When you grow up, this company probably won't exist anymore!" While that may sound a little harsh, I don't secretly wish for the demise of the company. I mean it in a generic sense. To me, change is striking like lightening, who knows what state the world will be in by the time she reaches working age. I like to think that we might transcend capitalism and find some new way of existing on this planet but, of course, I can't say this to an eight year old who hasn't even seen Back to the Future.

Regardless, if I could sit down and write out a script to her little life, I could honestly see her excelling in the art of assisting simply because she is so like me, so meticulous, so calculating and intuitive, necessary traits in this industry. But, despite her obvious prowess, I wouldn't attempt to steer her toward this kind of work. As a mother, my hope above hopes for my child is that she make her way through the the world in hot pursuit of her passions, whatever time reveals them to be utilizing the character traits that I work feverishly to instill in her. The dream sequence that this thought triggers includes backpacking across Europe, scaling the Great Wall, rafting the Amazon and feeding hungry children in Anytown, USA. Getting coffee and making travel plans for a high level executive doesn't occupy even a millisecond worth of footage.

This article presents findings from an Adecco survey that reveals just one in four working parents want their kids to pursue the same profession or career path as they did, 28% for dads and 21% for moms. I agree with Heather Boushey who is quoted as saying, "Everybody wants their children to do better than they do . . .If mom is a home health aide or has an office job she has a dream her kids will rise above her situation in life." I do want my daughter to do better than me but the motive is not entirely economic. I want to have more choices, more freedom, more full on happiness than I've had which I believe will require her being slightly more original than just following in mommy's footsteps.

3 comments:

Amrita said...

:) sweet

balletnews said...

very sweet. have a lovely weekend..

Anonymous said...

If I have children one day, I don't think that I will have any expectations about them following in my career footsteps. In fact, my main goal will be to encourage them to find their passion and follow their dreams. Adults oftentimes get stuck in careers we don't love and I don't want my children to suffer that fate.