I am facing a moral crisis, HELP🔥

Apple fullCircle
Sep 11 62 Comments

I grew up in a small town in India where the educational standards were very substandard. My parents took a big career hit (and spent a ton of money) to relocate to a city with better educational resources for two years until I finished high school. They also paid for all of my college which I am very grateful for. The unspoken agreement all along was that I would get a high paying job after my education. I came to the US for PhD and moved to the industry afterwards for higher pay and to be able to pay them back (they are not broke but could be doing a bit better). However I am not passionate about what I am working on so I want to move back to academic research but that would mean I will not be able to send my parents money or fulfill their expectation that I have a six figure salary. I know it’s my life at the end of the day but my parents sacrificed a lot of their lives for me and I feel bad violating their expectations. Anyone in this situation? What do you suggest?

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TOP 62 Comments
  • Morgan Stanley ninja007
    Your research isn’t going anywhere. Parents won’t be around forever.
    Sep 11 8
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      @Morgan Stanley: I have been thinking of that too. I am 27 and parents are both 60. They will be alive for maybe 20 more years? It will be impossible to move back into an academic position without doing research for 20 years.
      Sep 11
    • New / Data __cmp__
      Or why not look for somwhere that intersects?

      Like how Ian Goodfellow is getting paid at Apple/G Brain
      Sep 11
    • Roku
      roku🚀

      Roku

      PRE
      Yahoo, Oath
      roku🚀more
      Baghban!
      Sep 11
    • Google BOF
      Think about what parts of your work and of your academic career appeals most to you and look for something that connects these things. Pay a career coach to figure this out if need be
      Sep 11
    • Morgan Stanley ninja007
      You don’t need more than 3 years targeted work (50k savings/year) to make sure your parents are financially taken care of - especially if they’re small town folks in India. This is at median to low salary levels.

      The 20 years can be 5 — you don’t know. And that’s a one way door. Research punted by 3 years is a 2-way door. Easy decision.
      Sep 11
  • Microsoft LowT😩
    Work for more years, make sure financial needs are taken care of for them. Then move back to your research.
    Sep 11 4
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      Can’t move to research if I am not publishing.
      Sep 11
    • Palo Alto Networks / Eng uafdbhsvh
      I second this. These days it’s possible to pursue secondary career any time provided we should have interest.
      Sep 11
    • Microsoft LowT😩
      So, looks like OP already had decided. What's the point in asking other's views?
      Sep 11
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      Not decided ofc. Weighing what is possible and what is not and see if people have alternate solutions. Always good to talk to people
      Sep 11
  • Charter / Eng
    UPGRAYEDD

    Charter Eng

    BIO
    You see, a pimp's love is very different than a square
    UPGRAYEDDmore
    This is a very 'new generation' problem. I cant wait to get old enough to regret having kids
    Sep 11 9
    • Wayfair / Eng tAcq10
      I'll tell my kids that there's no shame in being poor just to make sure they'll become investment bankers when they rebel against me. 5D chess.
      Sep 11
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      Well I am not trying to rebel against them. I just want to do what I am actually passionate about.
      Sep 11
    • Charter / Eng
      UPGRAYEDD

      Charter Eng

      BIO
      You see, a pimp's love is very different than a square
      UPGRAYEDDmore
      Everyone does. That's life. Your parents wanted to do what made them happy but instead dealt with making you happy. You dont *have* to make the same choice. Do whatever you want man/woman/xer

      Strangers on the internet posting anonymously shouldnt be your means of making this sort of choice. You are literally asking strangers to make an adult decision for you - instead of making it for yourself or asking your parents. Very 'new generation'.
      Sep 11
    • Wayfair / Eng tAcq10
      OP I used to be like you. Young, naive, full of misguided ideas about what was really truly important in life. Then, one day I realized that nothing matters except TC, and lived happily ever after.
      Sep 11
    • Charter / Eng
      UPGRAYEDD

      Charter Eng

      BIO
      You see, a pimp's love is very different than a square
      UPGRAYEDDmore
      TC is life - amen
      Sep 11
  • Qualtrics / Other qualtricdo
    Your parents want you to be happy. They don't care about the money.
    Sep 11 4
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      They were shocked when I told them a PhD doesn’t get you a lot of money and were regretting that they encouraged me to do a PhD so I think they had some concern about my salary too.
      Sep 11
    • Qualtrics / Other qualtricdo
      I'm sure they were, but I'm sure they sacrificed because they love you - not because they thought it was a great investment for them
      Sep 11
    • M&T Bank / IT nzfX62
      I bet you'll find OPs parents want him/her to be successful, and happiness is secondary.
      Sep 11
    • Amazon pringle
      You obviously don't have Asian parents 😂
      Sep 11
  • Amazon kgdhfh
    That's one of reasons parents shouldn't sacrifice too much for their children. That "unspoken" debt/obligation/whatever is too hard for the kids to carry around.
    Sep 11 4
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      Personal experience?
      Sep 11
    • Amazon kgdhfh
      Kind of. I completely feel you and have carried that "unspoken" obligation around for many years. No matter what you do, it never ends. There's no limit for it, so you can't buy/stop it.
      So the best way is just to live your own life (not make yourself miserable, but live a decent life) and forget about that obligation.
      And most importantly, if you decide to have kids someday, don't burn your life for them. Sure help them, but live your life too, to avoid that obligation. Be crisp and clear with them that they don't owe you.
      Sep 11
    • Wayfair / Eng tAcq10
      Amazon, are you my parent?
      Sep 11
    • Kaspersky Lab / HR
      mayfair

      Kaspersky Lab HR

      PRE
      Heineken
      mayfairmore
      Oh come on, it's a circle of life, parents always have high expectations of their kids and kids always resent their parents for something. This type of a situation is a part of growing up from parent-child into partners relationship. You didn’t have a say in your parents sacrifices, it was their choice. To be or not to be in debt with them, and how to express your gratitude or not to, it’s completely your choice.
      Sep 12
  • Wayfair / Eng tAcq10
    Wtf. High TC is fulfillment. TC is love, TC is life.
    Sep 11 1
  • Google PCBro
    What makes you think academia will make you happy? Huge pay cut and no autonomy. Try Google X instead, or something similar, i.e. research in the industry, where you paid well.
    Sep 11 5
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      I am in an R&D division and honestly I think academia has way more autonomy 🤷‍♂️
      Sep 11
    • Pivotal phewchild
      I mean you get to conduct research for yourself rather than for the advancement of a company. Makes sense that it's autonomous from that standpoint. I am curious, what is your wlb like? There must be other activities or side businessness you can build up for now until you figure out your life plan. This supplementary income can go straight to your parents.
      Sep 11
    • Atlassian / Eng
      Schnorlaxe

      Atlassian Eng

      BIO
      I may grow old, but I'll never grow up
      Schnorlaxemore
      Academia has a lot more autonomy... once you have tenure and no longer have to kiss a ton of ass... assuming you aren't in a field where you need a ton of funding to do anything
      Sep 11
    • Google PCBro
      ^ *once you have tenure*
      Sep 12
    • Google PCBro
      @fullCircle - what about pay cut? Don't underestimate that - your lifestyle will change and be much worse. What I mean is they money matters a lot
      Sep 12
  • King / Eng
    zmWY81Yp

    King Eng

    PRE
    Cisco
    zmWY81Ypmore
    Look, I am a parent. There is no way I would make my kid feel like this, no matter how many things I sacrifice for them. I am not expecting them to pay back a single cent to me. Of course I will be grateful if they help me when I am struggling in the future, but for sure they go first.
    You owe nothing to them. The only reason you feel like this is because they raised you with this kind of values.
    You have to understand your parents are probably emotionally immature as well. Like most people.
    Live your life. Parents' job is to support their kids, not to go after them asking for money or status.
    Sep 11 2
    • Charter / Eng
      UPGRAYEDD

      Charter Eng

      BIO
      You see, a pimp's love is very different than a square
      UPGRAYEDDmore
      Hopefully as a parent your child(ren) at least facetime you once a year around your birthday zmWY81Yp. It will help the last 5-25 years at a nursing home be less soul crushing knowing the abuse and neglect has to stop for the 12 minute call, and maybe you will even get bathed that week.

      It's not indian/asian/non-indian on this one. It's new age everyone's a special winner vs reality
      Sep 11
    • King / Eng
      zmWY81Yp

      King Eng

      PRE
      Cisco
      zmWY81Ypmore
      Reality is having kids is a choice. If people choose to have kids then they should not be upset because they are in academia instead of industry.
      Sep 11
  • Oracle
    not_larry

    Oracle

    PRE
    Amazon
    not_larrymore
    How much do you have to pay them for you to fulfill your obligation? Pick a number, hit that, then GTFO.
    Sep 11 0
  • M&T Bank / IT nzfX62
    Have you talked to them? Ask their advice. Tell them about this conflict you're feeling. The choice is between making lots of money or (hopefully) having enough and doing interesting, influential work, between using the education they sacrificed for and taking advantage of the opportunity they sacrificed for. You're in a tough spot, I sympathize, but I would hope you can trust your parents enough to tell you the truth about what they think. With that info I think you'll be in a better position to make a confident decision.
    Sep 11 2
    • Kaspersky Lab / HR
      mayfair

      Kaspersky Lab HR

      PRE
      Heineken
      mayfairmore
      This.
      Sep 11
    • Zyzyxtech ⚽️s
      ☝️
      Sep 11
  • Uber Avesh
    1. Living your life isn’t selfish.
    2. Fulfilling ur parents expectations is noble.
    1 will make u happy
    2 will make u unhappy
    Sep 11 0
  • Kabbage / Data fxnM15
    Maybe go back to India tbh. You might end being closer to family and actually help them out. I’m sure you can get a decent job as well.
    Sep 11 0
  • Qualcomm / Design
    JCXs83

    Qualcomm Design

    PRE
    Maxim Integrated
    JCXs83more
    Same situation here. I am currently supporting my sibling through graduate school at exorbitant international tuition rates out of the same guilt. Now that I have my own family and kids I am beginning to resent it. So before you start to resent them for your lack of freedom you should have a talk with them. They will understand.
    Sep 11 3
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      How old are y’all?
      Sep 11
    • Charter / Eng
      UPGRAYEDD

      Charter Eng

      BIO
      You see, a pimp's love is very different than a square
      UPGRAYEDDmore
      JCXs83 is 36 this year
      Sep 11
    • Apple fullCircle
      OP
      How do you know?
      Sep 11
  • Uber Melina
    Get married, then you would not have a choice to put your parents first, neither choosing a relaxed career option.
    Sep 11 0
  • VMware qmw30
    Do what makes you happy. Don’t live based on expectations. It will only make you resentful. Unless you were a mistake, your parents chose to have you. You don’t owe them money, just love.
    Sep 11 0
  • Bloomberg EvfF06
    My 2 cents...why make decisions based on immediate compulsions?? looking back after many years it should still be worthwhile.
    Sep 11 0
  • Kaspersky Lab / HR
    mayfair

    Kaspersky Lab HR

    PRE
    Heineken
    mayfairmore
    You really should just talk to them. First of all, they would be over the moon if you still come for their advice. Second, they want you to be happy. Third, they might give you a decent advice
    Sep 11 0
  • Western Digital huntermind
    Become research scientist
    Sep 11 0
  • Amazon mofer
    They didn’t do a favor to u. They jus did it to make themselves feel good.
    You paid them to make yourself feel good.
    Jus do what feels good to u
    Sep 11 0
  • Pivotal phewchild
    Tough situation. You mentioned that they're living just fine without your assistance. You may want to follow your passions but it really depends on how much you hate your present life. If you can hold out for 5 years and make consistent income and prop yourself up, then do it. You do risk living and unfulling life which costs more than any money could buy. So if you choose to invest in yourself long term and follow your passion it won't pay off now, and might pay off in the future. Tough pick, but it sounds like your parents aren't in a terrible position so you wouldn't be letting them down too much. If you choose your passion, don't bullshit it. Give it your all 24/7 and make the most of it. Otherwise that choice would be a waste of even more resources. Goodluck.
    Sep 11 0

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