Things have changed since our parents were our age. Although we value most of the seasoned wisdom offered by parents, in conversations with fellow young professionals (YPs) it seems parents are not always as right as they think they are about a few things. In their defense, we live in very different times and circumstances. Even so, sometimes you just want to shake them and tell them to get with the program and actually listen to what you have to say. Here are a few things our parents may be wrong about.
Risk is Foolish (actually, risk can result in amazing things)
Admittedly, our parents seemed to “figure it out” earlier than we did. But most of them also played it a lot safer. Today’s YPs are risky people. We take risks in everything in our lives, whether it means taking a year off to travel, going for someone way out of our league, embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavour, or even trying a new type of cuisine. Our parents? Probably not so much. It worked for them, and it may work for some people – but not us. Not taking risks means boring. It means accepting status quo and potential regret for not taking chances.
Professional Stability is the Way of Life (stability is over-rated)
Our parents, for the most part, chose professions that made sense and were likely neatly laid out for them. This likely meant the same job, at the same company, for the majority of their careers (and accompanying benefits and retirement packages). We modern-day young professionals play it a little differently. Yes, we need a degree of professional stability in our lives to allow us the funds to take full advantage of our cities and lives in general. But we have some good ideas, relentless drive, and “settle” is simply not part of the vocabulary of most YPs. Many of us have ventured from the so-called professional safety net offered by the corporate world in pursuit of following our passion, becoming our own boss and actually liking what they we for a living. Others have taken major pay cuts to work for startups simply because they believed in the vision or valued the experience. And everyone seems just fine with their decision.
30 is Old (it’s not)
Thirty years ago, if you weren’t married by the age of thirty, others wondered why and you were probably considered “over the hill” at a much earlier age. By the age of 30, most of our parents had given birth to us already, or at least to one of our siblings. They likely owned houses, had mortgages, savings and probably wouldn’t be found out at the bar on the weekends, continuing with the cocktails until the early hours of the evening. They likely even looked older than we do at 30. Fast-forward to today. We know a handful of YPs close to 30 who have even moved back home with mom and dad to facilitate a return to the classroom, a changing career path, or even a desire to work or travel abroad for part of the year. Though we are sick of hearing the phrase thirty really is the new twenty.
You’ll Regret it (you won’t)
How many times have we heard our parents say that we will regret certain decisions? We’d be hard pressed to find an urban young professional out there who hadn’t done a thing or two in his or her younger years that they have regretted. Those same YPs will tell you that they learned from those experiences. But there are things you probably regret not doing already in our relatively young lives – like applying for that exchange program, accepting that job or following that sexy stranger’s lingering glance through with an exchange of dialogue. Once we actually are over the hill, you don’t want to question whether you lived up to your true potential, whether you tried your hardest and what your life could have become if only. People who make both their mark and a lasting impression don’t think in terms of should have, would have or could have – they just do. The only regret they have is what they didn’t do.
In short, even though we can still hear our parents’ voice in our head telling us that we will regret it, we usually didn’t. And though we may take a little longer to figure it out, we’re all doing OK.