Are Nigerian Parents Forcing their Children into Unhappy Careers?

I saw an article in the ABA Journal recently, and it simply said "Associate attorney is the unhappiest job in America, survey says."  The article referenced another more popular article in Forbes, where Associate Attorney was named as the unhappiest job in America.  I was not surprised.

Then, I saw nursing (Registered Nurse, specifically) on the list.  It was Number 4.  That's when I started to wonder ....

You see, Nursing is a popular career choice not only for Nigerians migrating to the US, but for other immigrant groups as well.  Law is a lot more restrictive, as very few states allow you to practice law without a degree from an American law school (and passing the bar, of course).

So, on the list of unhappy jobs/careers, we have two major fields which Nigerian parents force encourage their children to enter, i.e. law and healthcare.

Now, the question staring you in the face is this: Are Nigerian parents forcing their children into unhappy careers? (You know I just had to repeat the post title like Nollywood movies do).

Taking this list seriously, the answer to that question is a resounding Yes.  I use the word "force" here deliberately.  At the time a child is about to start college or university, parents tend to be very heavy-handed with what course the child should study in school.  Of course, there are a million and one reasons why parents, especially Nigerian parents, emphasize certain careers over others,such as the "perceived" income an individual is expected to earn in that field, job security, etc.  And since parents are usually the ones funding the child's education, their word is law.

... And since I have nothing else to add, let me ask you: How's the weather in Lagos / Enugu / Bauchi / Port-Harcourt or wherever you live? It's Spring here, meaning the weather is in the funky state between extreme heat and extreme cold.  In short sha, I'm loving the weather right now!

Oh, we can still talk about unhappy careers if you want .... *grinning*

*Image Source

Lol.... and "fortunately/unfortunately they are the ones funding the education" #gbam. I don't know, I've actually put a lot of thought into this in this short lifetime of mine lol and I think occasionally, the parents have a point.

Especially for folks like me who really didn't know what to do with their lives through school and parents insisted on doctor. And then growing up I knew only one thing: I don't know what I want to be but I know that I won't become a doctor.

I think parents should be careful lest they create this rebellious attitude in their children to the said career, and it turns out to be the one they would have chosen anyway. I say let them know why instead of what. Let them know that they need a job that secures their future and pays them well enough to feed and let them decide of their own accord that oh nursing is the way for me, I think I want to become a lawyer, maybe engineering?

Fact is, no be only parents like money... guide a child in the way he should grow, not impose on 'em biko

After the parents 'force' the child, the child still has the choice to do whatever he/she likes in future, except the child is a people-pleaser.


Well to an extent parents still force their children into some occupations/fields...but then it depends on the child and today's economy does not really care what you study.

Kiky Brown

Nollywood Reinvented: I agree with you that parents have a point, especially since they are the ones paying for the education. I think most people, at the time they are preparing to go to college/uni, don't really know what they want to be in life. Some people have a clear picture, but for others, it is helpful to get advice from parents, counsellors, etc.

I agree 100% with your why v. what argument. It makes a lot of sense, especially in today's economy as Kiky Brown [@Kiky Brown] pointed out. If they understand that the career they pick is essential to survival, maybe there'll be less tension or quarreling. But some children get strong head sha ...

After graduation though, whatever you do with your degree is your business. At that point, I think parents need to back off.

Atilola: Indeed. Whatever the child does with the degree after graduation is his or her business. You can't claim at that point that your parents forced you to use your degree for X instead of Y.

MsJB: ... If you let them! There is such a thing as standing your ground and having a mind of your own. A child might not have much leeway in choosing what course to study, but when it comes to marriage, that person is no longer a child, but an adult. I think once a person has a degree in his or her hands, that person needs to steer the course of his/her life from that point forwards.

Kiky Brown: They certainly do and I think it is because of the perception that people in those fields earn more money and are more prestigious in general. I used to think it was only Nigerian parents who were guilty of this, but no, I've seen Filipino families, other African families, etc with the same mindset.

Your last point is very important and I think many people overlook this part: Today's economy affects whether or not people get jobs nowadays. I know for sure that law school enrollment has decreased over the last few years because the economy has severely affected legal jobs for new graduates.


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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