Monday, June 22, 2015

Doctor, Lawyer, or Bust!

Unless you go Engineering.... or Accountant.

Chuckling already, are we?! Just like some previous posts, you laugh because you know it is true. This is an old, and yet, strangely common adage of the modern Asian culture. Sadly, this is also severely damaging to the mental, emotional, and intellectual health of the Millennial Asian. Not to mention, it is a terrible limitation placed upon the career options of the millennials.

Let's go back to the roots of the issue.

Asian history is a rough one. After many centuries, we've discovered that doctors (and now lawyers) are spared ill will in rough times because their services are welcome on all sides. Therefore, after two generations of this pursuit, we've basically screwed ourselves out of any meaningful placement in higher education because we ALL look the same. Asians perceivably all have straight A's, do extracurriculars of a rather non-athletic nature (because brute strength is for dumb people, right?); we all play a string instrument/piano... but, Heaven Forbid that we did anything in performing arts, especially, in acting, since only fools who can't make a living on a stage... as it is so very obvious, actors make zero money in our society.

OFFENDED?! You should be.

The issue is that certain flawed philosophies have been brought OUT OF CONTEXT and into the millennial age. They serve only to inject inaccuracies, fallacies, and worse, have forced our Millennial Asians to submit to conforming into a perpetuated stereotypical existence. The result? They all look the same. Which means, increased difficulty in differentiating themselves as capable candidates for higher education, for career paths, for just about anything. Because....!

If everyone is special (ie super high achieving and all of the same ilk), then no one is.

Didn't hear about this yet? Oh yeah... all that straight A, piano playing, math team nonsense is actually making it HARDER for Asians to get into college. See here and here.

So why Doctor? Why Lawyer?

Because, they have a "skill," which better translates in English to a "license." They perform services which all societies value... (kinda, *insert lawyer joke here*), and, they make a lot of MONEY. Isn't that was ultimately leads the decision making process in the cultural mind's eye? Doctors and lawyers are distinguished in the Asian cultures because they make a lot of money. This means power, position, honor, and bragging rights... particularly of and by the family.

"My son is a doctor!" ... "My daughter is going to law school."

And yet, shouldn't the Millennial Asian go to a school, choose a major, focus on a career path... shouldn't all that be for THEIR good? For THEIR benefit? For THEIR future? Why does so much pressure upon our poor children ultimately become about how much the parents and the family can brag... to impress people that the children may never meet nor mean a thing?

Am I saying that working hard and finding a good career isn't important?

Of course not! Look at me. I'm a doctor, have an MBA, and went to a UC college. That's not what I'm saying. What I AM saying is that we need to look beyond the doctor-lawyer paradigm. That doctor-lawyer-or-bust framework shouldn't be ALL we fashion our children's lives into becoming.

  • What if they are seriously talented in music?
  • What if they are excellent painters?
  • What if they are great on stage?
  • What if they like working with their hands?
  • What if they wish to join the military and serve their country?
  • What if they bake decadent delights?
  • What if they are home cooks, needing a launching pad?
  • What if they love animals?
  • What if they have a natural ability in sports?
  • What if they have a voice of an angel?
  • What if they like to dance?
  • What if they like business?
  • What if they want to go work for themselves?
  • What if they wish to be an entrepreneur?
  • What if they have a natural attraction to politics?
  • What if they love video games? (see here, "Video Games are Evil!")
  • What if they DON'T WANT TO BE A DOCTOR?!
  • What if they HATE the idea of being a lawyer?
  • What if they just want to live a humble and simple life?
  • What if they want to be happy?
There are so many opportunities in life. So many ways to make a living. And sure, some of these paths in life don't make as much money. So what?! There is ultimately a trade off in life; an equilibrium which we meet.

I've worked jobs and turned down jobs that paid obscene amounts of money. Why? Because, it took away from my family, my friends, and the fulfillment that life was worth living beyond the money.

Money is something we need in life. It is a tool for us to sustain our living. Yet, it shouldn't be our sole purpose... particularly where careers are concerned.

I've seen too many kids go to school to become things which were not their idea to begin with.

Doctors handing their diploma over to their parents, then going off to pursue their passions. Lawyers quitting forever, because of the stress. Engineers with no interest in the math. Accountants bored out of their minds, knowing that their life's work has summed to nothing purposeful.

Doctor, Lawyer, or Bust? My thoughts: If you pressure your child to become a doctor, lawyer, or anything else that really isn't the passion of THEIR life's pursuit. Then, it IS as bust and you have broken your child.

Instead, we should empower our Millennial Asians to pursue their dreams. The state of our economic ecosystems isn't so fragile that only being a doctor of a lawyer will garner them any stability or leverage in life. Rather, I would offer that Millennial Asians be empowered and encouraged to pursue interests, passions, and their natural abilities... that they break out of the shell we created for them... so that they can become more than just "Doctor-Lawyer."

And to be honest, more and more doctors and lawyers I know at present are telling kids to run from such professions.  I highly recommend the reading of this blog post by a lawyer I know personally:

Together, let us craft a new age. Let us encourage school, career, and achievement to be about them... about our kids. About the Millennial Asian and their own life choices. Trust me, they will keep the work ethic and the values you've brought them up with. Through this freedom, they will become more... in fact, they will surpass the paradigms and completely surpass what we were and are.

They will become a new generation: Millennial Asians... a generation with no limits!

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