How to Talk to Parents about Art Career Interests – A Follow-up to the Thanksgiving Conversations

If you had the chance to read my blog before Thanksgiving, this blog is what I consider Part II of that discussion. For those of you who talked about your major and/or career, I hope you left the Thanksgiving table feeling great, but you still may have concerns about how to talk to your parents about your particular fine arts major and career prospects.

Here’s some tips (and some funny videos) before you head home for winter break:

  1. Get rid of any negative thoughts and stay positive. If you already have the assumption that parents won’t listen to you or they won’t understand what you’re interested in, you’re likely to go into the conversations very defensive. So stay positive and expect the best outcome!
  2. Remember, your parents have your best interests in mind and want the best for you. However they may find it difficult to understand your interests and goals if you haven’t taken the time to discuss your major and career interests with them.
  3. With that said, go into some detail about the courses you really enjoy at school and some of the career possibilities that can result from these. Tip: Use “What Can I do with my Major” for ideas.
  4. If the conversation starts to feel stressful, take a break and shift the focus a bit by asking what  they wanted to be as a child and whether they were able to fulfill those ambitions.
  5. If you get the question: “Why don’t you become a doctor or lawyer?” or similar question, inform your parents about the range of career opportunities that pay well (this should be where the CCD comes in as a resource to help you). In the meantime, you can take a look at ONET for lists of hundreds of job titles and corresponding salaries including job outlook information.
  6. Remind them (nicely) that job titles have changed over the past several years with new technology. You can be really savvy and share with them a few careers that perhaps they have not heard of to show you are doing your research and are keeping up with job trends.

I hope by the time you arrive back to snowy (?) campus, you will have had some exciting conversations remembering that your parents are your biggest cheerleaders in providing support and advice!

For a few laughs where artists explain their work to parents, check out these videos!

Source: http://www.careers.govt.nz/plan-your-career/im-at-school-and-need-ideas/talking-to-parents-about-careers/

Video Source: Artists Explain Work to Parents: http://artbistro.monster.com/benefits/articles/11617-artists-explain-their-work-to-their-parents

By Jennifer Grunwald
Jennifer Grunwald Career Consultant, School of Fine Arts Profile Picture