Keep calm and career on

Dipali Limbachia Wednesday 18th April 2018 12:07 EDT

As young people, are we supposed to settle for easy 9-5 jobs or challenge ourselves with ambitious career plans? One area that is not spoken about enough, is the line of work we are expected to go into as British Asians.

Asian Voice spoke to six people from the ages of 19-35, to find out what they experienced when it came to choosing their career paths.

Rahul Patel, said that he didn’t feel pressured to pick medicine and was told to pick whatever made him happy.

“But I totally understand and know people who are ‘coerced’ into doing things they don’t want to do.”

However, he then went on to say: “I guess deep down, another aspect is to make my parents and family proud being a doctor...My parents and family (especially grandparents) have sacrificed a lot so I can have a good life and deep down maybe it’s a bigger factor than I realise into why I chose this career path.

In a Reddit post, ‘Hoo’ explains how emotional blackmail can be used by some Asian parents, to get their ‘desired outcome’ through their children.

It is a control mechanism that stems from guilt: ‘If you don’t do what I want you to do, you obviously don’t love me.’

The more you are told this, the more the message is ingrained in your psyche. It then develops into guilt, when you are not on the path that your parents want you to follow.

Another message that is often ingrained in the minds of Asian youth, is this idea that you are not going to get a secure, ‘proper’ job in subjects such as literature, history and the media.

Haresh Nayee*, was offered a place at Kings College London (KCL) to study dentistry.

“If I had the choice, I think I’d probably go into property development and architecture now.”

Even though he would have liked a career path in the construction industry, Haresh told the Asian Voice that it would have been “kind of silly” not to accept the offer at KCL.

In general terms, Haresh claimed that “Humanities subjects such as maths and english don’t really lead to an actual job.”

“My parents and I are very happy with my career choices and I am so glad I was never pressured to study finance or anything to do with science,” Henna Limbachia graduated with a first class honours in Illustration and Visual Communication at the University of Westminster, July 2017.

Since then, Henna has set up a successful logo design business.

On the other hand, Jaanki Patel made it clear that she did not choose pharmacy for security: “My parents encouraged me to pursue my skills and interests as a primary reason for any chosen career path, with the financial benefits of my field being a secondary factor.”

Jaanki’s husband, Ronak Patel, also a pharmacist, said that his parents and relatives “encouraged” him to follow a career in science: “ would provide me with a safe and stable career.”

Prem Patel, has a background in engineering and claims that his college teacher introduced him to the subject.

“My teacher was more of a mentor to me, they provided me with an insight into engineering, how things work and about the importance of design.”

Unlike others, Prem linked his career path to his childhood: “I used to work on the car, fix the boiler and constructed a garage with my father. So it is the mixture of the two that lead me to where I am now.”

Educationalist, Professor Alan Smithers said that: “The most important thing a parent can do is to allow a child’s abilities and interests to unfold.”

It’s not the industry that gives you a secure, stable job, it’s what you make of your chosen career path.

*name has been changed to protect identity

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