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?
TOP 62 Comments
- Morgan Stanley ninja007Your research isn’t going anywhere. Parents won’t be around forever.
- Morgan Stanley ninja007You 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 5
- Work for more years, make sure financial needs are taken care of for them. Then move back to your research.
- This is a very 'new generation' problem. I cant wait to get old enough to regret having kids
- 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'.
- Your parents want you to be happy. They don't care about the money.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Qualcomm / Design JCXs83moreSame 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.
- 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.