Did Your Parents Guide Your Path?

Was reading some old threads about rich parents and how their kids may have a leg up in the professional world and it got me thinking... Did your parents lightly or directly guide you to where you are now? Or were they completely hands off?

For example, I'll start. My mother worked at Cargill, formerly CarVal Investors doing acquisitions and asset management. I never knew what she did until I got to college and she explained how pretty much everything worked. She then kept telling me how she was able to travel all around the world to scope out assets, meet some very sharp businessmen in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc and the value of connections.

Honestly though, I only heard her part about the money so that is when I changed my major from marketing to RE finance and subsequently got into CRE post college. Now, I'm at a Top 20 REPE firm doing just what my mother did when she was about my age, even though she got paid way more. She didn't force me into this line of work, but without hearing her professional stories, I doubt I would have even thought about having a career in real estate.

Curious if anyone's parents directly told them what they should be doing post college, lightly guided them to at least the business realm, or were simply hands off and let you do whatever you wanted.

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Comments (18)

Most Helpful
Feb 27, 2020 - 11:53am
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My parents most definitely guided me, perhaps not directly in terms of my professional career path, by through the examples their lives set.

  1. My parents were both the first individuals in their respective immediate families to attend and graduate college. As such, they were the only people in their immediate families to "leave home" so to say and then not move back to the town they grew up in after graduation. (I had two great uncles attend college and go on to terrific successes which would out me if I stated them, but that was a bit more distant on the family tree.) Between the two of them, they earned three graduate degrees. This instilled in me both an appreciation for higher education and educational success, but also removed any fear of leaving the roost, so to say. To date, I have a graduate degree and have lived and worked in 4 different cities and states. My siblings all have graduate degrees too.

  2. My mother became a social worker, and while I am incredibly grateful for the empathy her example gave me in my upbringing, I also witnessed and continue to witness how poor her compensation is, given the tremendous hours she works and the commitment she gives. My father worked in insurance and earned his way to a EVP/board-level position, but while he had a strong salary and tremendous respect within his organization, I always noticed how much more other people on his level but in different roles within the company made. The reason? Much more of their compensation was based on their individual performance. My father, for all of his strengths, was and remains incredibly risk adverse. From these examples, I vowed to pick a career path that not only provided strong compensation, but allowed me some control over my individual compensation by tying it to my personal or my team's performance.

  3. My mother catches a lot of shit from within her department for "only" being a social worker. The nurses have a union and collectively bargain for increases. The doctors think they walk on water and are obviously compensated. My mother is an essential player in what she does, but isn't adequately appreciated for it. My father too ran into some issues at work and was unceremoniously dismissed as a result. After 20+ years, he was cut, and while money wasn't an issue for him at that point, it was so easy for his boss and his work friends to simply erase him from their lives. As a result, I vowed to make sure that one day I would not be reliant on an organization or company to arbitrarily determine my value as a professional. I learned the value of being an entrepreneur and my ultimate goal is to develop my own projects, as my own boss, in control of my own destiny.

I don't say these things as an insult or some sort of put down on my parents - they were exceptional and really let me find my own way - and they gave a terrific example of how to move from middle class to upper middle class by focusing on education, working hard, and, in my father's case, progressing up the corporate ladder like a champ. They also gave me examples of how I do not want my life to go, which I am also grateful for,

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 18
  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Feb 27, 2020 - 3:59pm

Parents didn't necessarily force me to do anything, but both were in business growing up and that's all I thought was in the work world. Besides like retail, restaurants, etc. And all of my friends' parents were in business too so it really was all I knew.

They didn't pressure me into a major or career path, but that's because I chose to major in finance on my own. If I decided to major in, say, humanities, they wouldn't have that and would not have paid for my schooling (which I am extremely grateful for). On the career side now, it's nice to call them up and talk industry with them because all of us know at least a little bit about finance/real estate and can converse intelligently. Truthfully speaking, I wouldn't want a job outside of the business/financial sector anyway now that I am a little bit older.

Good question

Feb 27, 2020 - 9:27pm
AnOlympianGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not at all. My mom died, and my father was a blue collar worker who meant well but didn't really know much about the career world. Found out all of this about target schools and investment banking when I was really young scouring the Internet.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Feb 27, 2020 - 10:13pm

Not at all, my dad worked as a machinist and his idea of networking with "investment bankers" was the guys selling annuities at the local Comerica. My mom is CNA at a senior assisted living facility.

I grew up pretty lower middle class, - my dad filed for bankruptcy at one point forcing us to switch our rented homes yearly from 5th grade - 8th grade until my dad managed to get a mortgage for 95% of the cost of our house (140K). I went to a state school and financed the entire cost with student loans / grants / work study programs / summer internships

Did they guide me for any career paths? Absolutely not, BUT I lived in a household that shaped me as a humble, hungry, and mannered person which I think has led 99% of people I meet to always enjoy my company, never have negative things to say about me.

My dad forced us to eat dinner as a family every single night for the first 21 years of my life, always reprimanded me if I ever misrepresented us to neighbors - family friends etc.

At the end of the day I knew I never wanted to live like this financially if I could control it after I moved out, so I immediate looked for the highest paying job industries - law / finance struck me the most interesting.

I had to open my own doors career wise, but the people giving me opportunities seem to have always appreciated the type of person I've been raised to be.

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Feb 29, 2020 - 6:48pm
se111, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nah, I'm from a lower middle class household - dads a public sector accountant, mother is a social worker - and I found out about all of this from the internet. Didn't even know what investment banking was until I found out about it after procrastinating

Feb 29, 2020 - 7:00pm
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My mom is an accountant, my dad a C-Level executive. My mom pushed me to do whatever I liked, always like numbers so it was either finance or stem subjects. Realized that STEM stuff was getting quickly boring as I am more of a social type thus finance was my pick. My dad helped my understand what is finance all about because here in Europe unless you are one of the super-hardos you in most cases have no fucking clue about it. I remember for my first OCR event asking where was the M&A division because my dad had recently bought an other company and thought it was cool - needless to say I looked a bit stupid not knowing it was part of IBD.

Mar 1, 2020 - 2:11am
Jacoby n Myers, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Unfortunately not at all. Both of my parents were/are stereotypical boomers who went through the motions and didn't plan effectively.

All I knew was that I wanted to make it in entrepreneurship while in college, work in investment management/banking and work in management consulting.

I've crossed off all three but it honestly worries me how much time my parents wasted in life, since the generations before them were extremely successful for generations dating back to pre-1776 because the family's original roots were altruistic and each generation paid its price so the next once could do better...if anything the example they set of what NOT to do led me to my principles and my outlook in life and in my career. I do NOT want to end up like them in any sense or fashion.

Ironically, this + being an only child -one of my goals is to have like 9+ kids and reestablish the family's glory by mentoring them and encouraging them to develop, I want to pick up where my parent's and their siblings generation missed the mark, so none of my future kids ever have to endure what I did growing up

Mar 1, 2020 - 11:03am
larry david, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not directly, but certainly had a big influence. Parents were small business owners. I grew up in a really economically limiting part of the country (Western NY / NE PA). Parents told me from the second I started high school that I had to GTFO. Did well in high school (academically that is, I was a massive loser). Went south for college. Did very well and got a job basically on my own in RE finance and now work on the development side. Parents never understood the intricacies of how to get a finance job or anything like that, but instilled in me that I had to bust my ass if I wanted to make anything of myself. Now here I am, slaving away modelling waterfalls on a Sunday while I comment on WSO.

Mar 1, 2020 - 11:03am
financeabc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My parents had no influence on my education or career path. They let me do whatever I wanted to do, which I guess could be good or bad. They did have a positive influence on how I interact with people, though.

Mar 1, 2020 - 1:38pm
SBPref12, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My parents were hands off for the most part career wise. they just told me I had to go to college and they/grandparents paid for most of it. Dad was chief engineer at a large auto parts manufacturer and got his MS from MIT, so education was big for him. he's still trying to get me to go to grad school and I'm mid thirties. haha.

  • VP in S&T - FI
Mar 3, 2020 - 8:24pm

My family owned a business growing up that both my parents worked in. My parents have MBAs and were certainly "business minded" but beyond pushing me to do well in school and go to college they did not give much advice in terms of career choices. As long as I am not asking them for money they are happy.

Mar 4, 2020 - 1:59pm
lanutanuc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My parent ha ve never told me what to think, act or become. Why should they?

Mar 4, 2020 - 2:08pm
user987654321, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You parents never told you how to act? Why shouldn't they? That's a pretty big piece of being a parent.

Maybe that's why you're so dismissive to the topic at hand.

Mar 5, 2020 - 1:34am
Bushi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Officia et qui ratione et quod. Error sed minus delectus aut iste. Doloremque sit sunt est et est quasi et. Minima recusandae ullam sunt deleniti dicta.

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