A self-fulfilling prophecy. (This whole ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ nonsense!)

This pressure is enormous in our society and it’s hard not to become anxious.

This whole ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ nonsense!

We ask this terrible question because our parents asked it and because everyone around asks it.

This question is like teething, growing hair or getting wrinkles. We can be sure it will appear sooner or later.

Adults treat this question as a normal, obvious and necessary part of preparing children for adulthood.

Almost nobody ever questions things that are part of our upbringing and culture. It’s good with things like washing hands after peeing and brushing your teeth twice a day, but it can also prove fatal.

The question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ is a fatal question.

Young adults grow up with this limiting notion that as a rule people have only one career in their lifetime. Once they realized that their initial career choice was unfortunate they can only fantasize “If I could be born again, I would pick something else.”

In other words, they are being discouraged from switching to a different career from a young age (by adults who tell them that the clock is ticking) and they assume that those who made a wrong choice will have to stick to it whether they like it or not.

That’s precisely the reason why most of them will stay in jobs they hate.

Plus they end up thinking that they need a school / diploma before they can start a new career so it’s unthinkable to them that they could become students again. In other words, the only time to build your future is in your late teenage years/ early 20s (college years) and if you’ve screwed up this short time window you’re doomed.

This is a ridiculous belief that then becomes the reality.

They feel unable to move and the statement ‘the only time to build your future is in your late teenage years/ early 20s’ becomes a true statement — a self-fulfilling prophecy.

They see it’s very true and they end up polluting the minds of a new generation of people. They (people from the new generation) buy into it, become anxious, then see that it really is true what they’ve been told (this initial career decision really is everything) because that’s their experience now after they realized how much they screwed up by not studying in their early 20s, or by picking a wrong college major.

So, the bullshiting goes on and on.

There are thousands of questions on Quora which confirm this. People in their late 20s or early 30s asking questions like “I’m 29. Is it too late to switch to a different career?”

Why do they come up with such questions?

Because they know (they’ve been brainwashed by the society!) that they should have figured out their future career a decade ago. And now they’re really, really anxious.

Another reason people ask this fatal question over and over is that we don’t like the uncertainty. Families need to know what those young adults will do in the future. They want to secure their future.

They show them the tried and true path and tell them that other paths are too risky. They (parents/ grandparents) want a peace of mind and risky moves aren’t welcome. They offer those young adults a menu of traditional (tested) career choices and expect them to pick from this menu. Unconventional choices aren’t welcome because nobody has any clue as to where they will lead those young people.

The parents’ anxiety (and their need for certainty), and their belief that it’s the only path, that it’s how you should prepare your child for adulthood, plays a pivotal role in how those young adults will think about their adulthood.

This is sick!

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Writing is my oxygen. I write every day. About parenting, career life and the challenges of being a young adult.

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