• "Are your parents ... Asian? Hahahaha, it’s true: most Asian parents want you to be doctor, dentist, lawyers, accountant and – number five – pharmacist." (Blend Images/Getty Images)
Life's too short to get stuck in a job you hate. But how do you get out of a career path your parents have already laid out for you? The 'real' Jenny advises one reader's parents to stop being so greedy.
By
Jenny Law

15 Jun 2017 - 12:26 PM  UPDATED 16 Jun 2017 - 10:26 AM

Dear Jenny,

I am a pharmacy student about to go into the final year of my degree. I have a high distinction average but I hate it. I don’t want to be a pharmacist. But my parents are obsessed with the idea and my two older siblings are pharmacists already.

They’re happy with their lives and that’s great, but when I think about being a pharmacist for the rest of my life I feel dead inside. But I want to make my parents happy (and also they’re paying for uni). I have saved some money by working part-time and living at home and what I’d love to do is defer my degree, go and travel and maybe not finish the course at all. I’m not sure what I’d do instead. Should I just do it? 

JENNY SAYS: 

First question. Are your parents ... Asian? Hahahaha, it’s true: most Asian parents want you to be doctor, dentist, lawyers, accountant and – number five – pharmacist. (“Doctor" always comes first though.) 

But parents should not – never – pressure their children to do something they do not like. Especially something that will kill them inside. Life is too short to do something you hate. I always say “hate" is a strong word, so I feel really sorry for you being pressured by your parents like this. 

If they love you enough and your soul unconditionally, they should let their obsession go and let you live your life to the fullest. 

So go live your life! If they love you enough and your soul unconditionally, they should let their obsession go and let you live your life to the fullest. Go travel, see the world: there are so many opportunities out there. You never know ’til you go out and experience it – the world is so large. Huge. 

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At the same time, you can still finish your course. See, I try to wear your shoes. You could please your parents and have something to fall back on – you sound smart and have good marks. And in case the world out there is too ugly and competitive, you can have something you can fall back on. You’ve only one got one more year to go, so you could finish it off then travel as a reward, and then your parents won’t kill themselves.  

They already have two other kids as pharmacists and still want you to be one too? Bloody greedy! 

You say you feel guilty because your parents are paying for your uni. Not many children are that grateful, and not many parents can afford to pay either. But personally, as a parent, I’d never pay for my child’s university degree, at least in Australia where you can get a loan. It’s a form of spoiling them. Parents have already paid from preschool to Year 12, and that's a lot of bloody money they’ve invested already. 

I think you would have finished the course if it was your own money – it’s a psychological thing – and if you chose the degree you loved. Remember, in the end, your parents are nice to pay, but they are also greedy too! They already have two other kids as pharmacists and still want you to be one too? Bloody greedy! 

The Family Law airs on SBS every Thursday night at 8:30pm. New episodes and the entire first season are streaming now via SBS On Demand:

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