Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When I grow up, I want to be a banker

“When I grow up, I’m going to be a banker,” Baby announced recently.

I must have looked as shocked as I felt. She wanted to be a banker? Not a painter, ballet dancer or entertainer, as little girls are wont to? Not a noble career such a doctor, or an aid worker or a teacher? Instead, my angel wanted to be a banker??????

“What’s the matter?” she asked. “You did say I could be anything I liked when I grow up, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did.”

The refrain going through my mind was: I have nothing against your becoming a banker. Really I don’t. But aren’t you a tad young to be making practical career choices like that?

‘Then it’s okay that I go to school to become one of those people who count things … what did you call them?”


“Yes, them! I’ll become an accountant and maybe work for (name of the big SA bank),” she said.

“Of course it’s okay. As long as you are happy with your career choice and you make enoug money to live comfortably, I will be satisfied. Anyway, I hear (name of bank) pay very well. And they have a good pension plan, so everything should work out well for you.”

She was silent for a few minutes, thinking over my words.
“What is a pension plan?” she asked.

I don’t know what Baby will eventually do when she grows up. Maybe she will be banker, an artist, a doctor, lawyer, or a company CEO. It doesn’t really matter, as long as she’s satisfied with her choices.

My job as a parent is to provide her with as much information about possible career choices as possible.

I realised I have biases regarding what little girls like or dream of becoming.

Revised game plan for mom: provide exposure to as many career options as possible,so she can make informed career choices. Don’t assume you know what will interest her / not. No career too practical, technical or far-fetched. Let her rule out possibilities.

Who knows, she might find out that her passion lies in being a banker anyway. Wouldn’t that just boggle my mind!

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