Follow Your Passion, Not Your Families

Spending time with family before ringing in the new year? I bet work and your career will come up. Here's how to deal with nosey family members!

Family gatherings = you locked in extremely close quarters with relatives and acquaintances whom you may or may not like. Opinions on your lifestyle and career choices are bound to be voiced; in most cases by someone who clearly doesn't have a clue about your personal and/or professional situation. So, how should you manage these conversations mentally to ensure you don't lose sight of your goals?

Easy. Dismiss their comments and don't second guess your career decisions.

Remind yourself that your hyper competitive brother in law has no clue as to what your career path should look like. Focus on what you want, not the meandering opinion of someone at a family party.

Also, tackle negative comments head on.

Instead of second guessing your career decisions, and stressing out over negative comments, head critics off at the pass by simply believing in yourself. You're more than capable of making career choices and you should never seek to make anyone else happy with those decisions beyond yourself.

I can speak to this personally. Had I listened to other people in my life, my profession would be different, I’d be married to someone else and I wouldn’t live miles away from family and 30 minutes from the beach!

It Is Not Your Responsibility To Live For Someone Else

Friends and family want the best for you. But sometimes what they believe is the best for you, is actually best for them. Maybe they want you to take over the family business, become a doctor or an accountant. Whatever it is, ask yourself why? Why is this so important to them?

When someone pushes you to follow a career path, they may be focused on what they wish they had done with their career. Maybe they didn’t follow their passion and now they're trying to live their life through you. Maybe they want to keep the family business intact; if you don’t take over the business,  their legacy will end.

Whatever the reason, they're likely unaware of the stress they're causing you. While the pressure they are placing on you may be unintentional, that doesn’t make it any less problematic.

Talk Candidly About Your Plans When Your Career Becomes The Topic

No one likes conflict, but sometimes it's necessary. Standing up for yourself regarding your career choices allows you to move forward without a dark cloud looming over your head. As you pursue your passion, you should feel excited, not guilt ridden!

Don’t look for an argument with friends and family regarding your career, but be direct when the pressure begins. Simply thank friends and family for their advice; then politely state that you're comfortable making your own decisions regarding your career.

If you have a career path in mind, or are planning on transitioning to a new industry, share how you arrived at your decision and why you're excited about the next chapter in your life.

When you lay out a plan, most people will get the message and will support you as you move forward. Some may even genuinely be happy for you once they hear your enthusiasm. Others will quickly realize they don't understand your profession at all and will quickly become uncomfortable with the conversation. In all cases, being forthcoming in a non-argumentative way will shut down the negative component of a conversation.

If you've tried some of these strategies, and are still battling with an outspoken stressor after sharing how you feel, be extremely pointed and candid with the person. Tell them you appreciate their concern, but you're not interested in the career path they would like you to pursue. Let them know they're stressing you out and making you feel as if your interests and desires aren't at all important to them. While a direct conversation will be uncomfortable, it should yield the result you are looking for.

Your Happiness Should Be Your #1 Priority

When you look back on your life the last thing you want to feel is regret. Regret that you didn’t follow your passion, regret that you spent your life in a career you hated. Regret that you didn’t challenge yourself to do more.

Your life is yours to live. Sure, you’ll make bad decisions and maybe a few really bad decisions, but trust your gut. At the end of the day, you’ll find most of your decisions will be great decisions for you in the short and long run. If you let someone else control your career, you’ll always wonder what might have been.

So, whether you're just beginning your career, or you have 15 years under your belt, it's time for you to stop making career decisions to please other people in your life! You spend a lot of time at work, and it is important that you follow your passion and do what makes you happy! - Be Amazing - Jeanna

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About The Author

Recognized nationally as an industry leader in resume writing and career coaching, Jeanna McGinnis, CPRW is a Founding Board Member at ReResumeMe.com, a Board Member at A Players Executive Search Group Inc. and a recognized Coach for Forbes Coaches Council. Leveraging more than 16 years of experience directing hiring practices for multiple Fortune 100 companies, Jeanna and her team are refreshing how busy professionals brand, market and drive their careers. Please connect with Jeanna on LinkedIn or the ReResumeMe team on Twitter to simplify your career with updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!