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Do You Have the Same Job as One of Your Parents?

I was fascinated by the study outlined on Mental Floss using Facebook to see if children go into the same careers as their parents.  The Facebook study also looked at whether siblings choose the same field.  The study found that,

15% of siblings share an occupation, which is higher than the 8.6% rate for any two same-gender, same-age individuals in the population. Twins’ tendency to choose the same occupation, at 24.7%, is even more striking.

Still, the study also found that “in absolute terms the vast majority of kids strike their own path and choose a profession different than that of their parents or their siblings.”

In my family, two of us are in the same field, and the other three are in three different fields, yielding four career fields for five people.

But then I went ahead and married a writer, therefore, my kids have two parents in the same field.  One wants to be a writer, too, and one doesn’t.  Though, of course, they’re young so that may change many times over before they settle on a career.  After all, I wanted to be a fish researcher or a cardiologist when I was their age.

How about you?  Same career field (not necessarily same job, but same area of work) as one of your parents?  As one of your siblings, if you have siblings?  As your partner?


1 No Baby Ruth { 03.30.16 at 8:06 am }

Interesting! My parents were both teachers, but neither my sister nor I went into education. Both of my parents and my sister were English majors, so that’s something, I suppose, and my sister married a teacher… As for me, I’m an engineer and I married an engineer, so I guess maybe my kids will follow in our paths? Or maybe THEY’LL be the ones who end up as teachers and in my family it skips a generation. 😉

2 a { 03.30.16 at 8:45 am }

Not even remotely! My parents were office workers, and that is not for me. I have a sister who’s a meeting planner, a sister who’s a dentist, and a sister who delivers stuff. I work in a crime lab. It’s very random in our family.

3 Jen@Frugalsteppingstones { 03.30.16 at 8:58 am }

My mother and 4 aunts are nurses, and I am a nurse (with writerish tendencies). Out of my 4 siblings, we also have a chef, a dog groomer, a graphic designer, and a librarian. I have 20 cousins on my mother’s side, and it’s mostly teachers, accountants, salespeople, and nurses.

My husband is from a line of engineers that stretches back unbroken to the mid-19th century. Since the boy is already coding at 7, I suspect he is headed in that path too.

4 Lavonne @ *Our Wish* { 03.30.16 at 9:20 am }

My mother has been in the medical field most of her life, and my father has been in manual labor/blue collar jobs for as long as I can remember. I haven’t gone anywhere near either of those. My job is TOTALLY different.

5 loribeth { 03.30.16 at 9:26 am }

Haha!! I hit all three categories. My father worked in the branch system for two of Canada’s large banks, working his way up to branch manager. We moved every 3-6 years growing up and my sister and I HATED it. We vowed we would never marry a banker.

So of course — my sister works in commercial banking — she started out with one of the same banks my dad worked for and now works for a credit union. I spent 28 years working for the OTHER bank my dad worked for, albeit I worked in the communications department (I always wanted to be a writer — never thought of writing & banking together but hey, it paid the bills…). I used to joke that, to paraphrase Gloria Steinem, we became the men we didn’t want to marry. 😉 Dh joined a brokerage firm… which was bought out by the bank I worked for. So we wound up working for same company too.

6 Jess { 03.30.16 at 9:28 am }

Interesting study, for sure. My mom was a music teacher and then a Fine and Performing Arts administrator before she retired, but everything involved music or art. My father is a prosthetic make-up artist for TV and movies. My stepfather worked in Animal Health and then was an executive for compliance in international pharmaceutical business, and my stepmother is (was? they divorced 15 years ago) a wigmaker for TV and movies. I am a special education teacher specializing in Reading and English, and my sister is a finance person. So, neither of us really 100% followed in the footsteps, but had some influences? Now, my grandmother was a middle school English teacher, and that I think did influence me at least from her stories. My husband is an engineer, and no one in his family was an engineer (except for one younger cousin who I think he influenced). He told me that engineers typically marry teachers and nurses, which is interesting, too. I guess the correlation is super thin in our families, but with some influence not really genetically but environmentally, which I guess is good from an adoption standpoint? Food for thought.

7 Katherine A { 03.30.16 at 9:45 am }

Interesting! Both my grandfathers were engineers. My dad has a PhD in inorganic chemistry and a master’s in engineering and a job that hybridizes the two. My mother has a master’s in mathematics and teaches at a community college (she’s one of 4 sisters, one is an engineer, another is a geologist, the third is a social worker). My brother was a CPA/business finance. In other words, all jobs that involve a LOT of math!

Me? Well…I have a BA in English then went into nursing. I can do math but I don’t enjoy it particularly. I suppose a little bit of the science came through with the nursing, but I’ve always joked that “one of these things is not like the others”. Hoping to eventually get a master’s and chipping around with the idea of getting it in bioethics to combine both the humanities and nursing backgrounds. On the other hand, my paternal grandmother *was* an English teacher, so maybe a little? Hubby is in banking, so we’ll see what daughter decides she wants to do.

8 nonsequiturchica { 03.30.16 at 10:29 am }

Hmmm. I went to law school and almost became a lawyer like both of my parents but ultimately decided not to use my law degree/license. My sister and I have completely different jobs…and my husband and I have totally different jobs as well.

9 Lindz { 03.30.16 at 1:41 pm }

Interesting… My dad is a doctor and my mother was a music teacher (who hated teaching middle school) until she became a stay-at-home mom. I’m a college professor in CS. I have 4 siblings: a nurse, a sister who works in the business office of a university (who has an MFA in opera that she doesn’t use), an IT professional and a rocket scientist (no, seriously, he has a MS in aeronautical engineering). What isn’t listed is that all but one of us did music through college. The other was our professional audience member 😉 So all of us are doing something either the similar to a parent or tangential to a parent. Pretty interesting….

Now, my husband (also a CS prof) has a parent who is an engineer and a parent who was a small business owner (until she retired). His brother is in sales, so their family is much more dissimilar.

10 dayman { 03.30.16 at 1:47 pm }

As evidenced by Jen above, I *think* nursing tends to run in families more strongly than some other careers. I am a first-generation nurse in my family and I feel like that is unusual. I will be entirely unsurprised if at least one of my three kids goes into nursing. I think at least part of it is desensitization to shift work.

11 chris { 03.30.16 at 2:00 pm }

Very interesting- and a little spooky because I was just thinking about this very thing- for no special reason- last night! LOL. No, my mother was a teacher before I was born. My father ‘s degree was in engineering but he worked his way up into management by taking every promotion offered and our moving every 1-2 years (I seriously went to 3 kindergartens and 3 second grades for example) for a total of 13 schools before I graduated high school! I worked as a teachers aide in college but otherwise nothing even remotely similar. I have spent the lionshare of my career in HR. Odd fact: apparently so did my father’s sister. I don’t know her (I met her twice as a very small child) but she pops up on my Linkedin suggestions now and then). My husband works in finance.

12 ekhlas { 03.30.16 at 2:55 pm }

Interesting because my husband and I in the same filed, Import / export. we both work for different companies , he handles the export out of the country to anywhere in the world and i do the total opposite, I handle the imports coming in from all over the world.
we have three kids, two boys and one girl and they all in the same line of work as us loool, they always heard us talk about work and they were interested.
Our daughter is an import manager for a very well known shoe company. (she just turned 31).
Our son is 25 years old and he works for an aerospace company that ship airplane parts and he is in the national guard.
Our baby loool is turning 24 years old, just finished college and he works for transportation company that handle import shipments coming in from all over the world and working on enlisting in the national guard also.
My husband and I did not have educated parents, although none of my friends believed that my mom finished 6th grade, she is very intelligent and she reads and write as anyone that would have finished high-school!
But all of our siblings went on to colleges and have their own careers.

13 Working mom of 2 { 03.30.16 at 3:30 pm }

Ha! Not at all except I did some adjunct teaching for a while and my dad was a professor (not same field though).

I wonder how scientific the study was if it’s based on Facebook though. Not everyone is on it…

14 Beth { 03.30.16 at 5:03 pm }

So interesting. I am a teacher turned stay at home parent, as was my mom. One of my brothers is also a teacher. My dad owns a business but has a degree in accounting. One of my brothers works in his business with him and my final brother is an accountant. We completely, in no uncertain terms, did not strike out on our own paths. Wow. How have I never thought about this before?

15 Rebecca { 03.30.16 at 7:28 pm }

Some of both? My mother and stepfather are in educational consulting and used to be elementary and high school teachers. I am a college professor but in a completely unrelated field (science vs non-science). My stepbrother has meandered his way into computer gaming development and is now teaching college extension courses. (I was determined that I would NEVER be a teacher until I realized how much I enjoyed it when I was in college and my mother always smiles knowingly and says “yep, knew you would.”)

My father used to be a radio DJ and umpire and now does radio production. So, a little different on that side…

16 Queenie { 03.30.16 at 7:59 pm }

We all have completely different careers in my family, although my husband’s career is sort of related to my father’s, if you squint hard. This also got me thinking about the inverse. My MIL never worked, and her three daughters have not worked more than they’ve worked in the twenty years that I’ve known them. It’s interesting to think about how one generation influences the choices of the next.

17 Charlotte { 03.30.16 at 8:10 pm }

Hmmm. This is interesting. Where I work I know several families who share the same field of work, often times the same title as well. In my department alone we have mom/stepson, mom/daughter, 2 sets of sisters, and a couple of couples. It’s also very common in the hospital for entire families to work in different areas.
My sister and I are in the same field and speciality, and she also has a sub-speciality as her main focus. One brother is also in our general field. One brother is a lawyer. One is a hippie who lives off the land and does odd jobs like wood carving and airplane repair for money. My parents were both government workers, and my dad’s background was criminal justice. My husband and I are in seperate fields. So far none of my nieces or nephews are in any field anyone else in the family is. I have one child that wants to go into healthcare and that seems likely as she is older. My son wants to be a NASCAR driver and a police man.

18 Cristy { 03.30.16 at 8:23 pm }

Both my parents are in the medical field (dad is a physician; mom is a nurse). So yes and no for me. Yes with sticking to a biology profession, but no for career track. Grey is a definite no, though we see some parallels now with his father as far as being a small business owner.

Zero clue about where the Beats will fall. But I also fully intend on discouraging them from becoming scientists. The current environment is brutal. Engineers, economists, business-people or computers: sure.

19 Justine { 03.30.16 at 8:54 pm }


My parents were both educators, and told me not to go into education. So … I’m in education. (Though in a more advisory role than they were; I have no desire to teach.) I suspect that N. will be a scientist. I. wants to be an architect, but who knows …

20 torthuil { 03.31.16 at 12:14 am }

My mother was a commercial artist before marriage, then a stay at home mom, then reinvented herself as a draughts person. My dad was a professional engineer, but also spent almost 20 years working at a technical college. My brothers are an aeronautical engineer and a computer programmer. I am a special education teacher. So I am following one of my dad’s careers in a general way, but while I resemble my family members in many ways and have a strong loyalty abd sympathy for all of them, I also feel quite different. I think the mix of similarities and differences in my family is partly responsible for my huge curiosity and interest in how people think and navigate life.

21 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.31.16 at 8:15 am }

You wanted to be a pescatologist?

My first answer was nope, I’m neither a chemical engineer nor an admin assistant. But my second answer is yes, I’m a writer and I work in schools.

22 Catwoman73 { 03.31.16 at 9:14 am }

Nope- not me. My parents both grew up very poor, and dropped out of highschool to join the Navy, which is where they met. Getting an education and pursuing a career of their choice was just not an option for either one of them. Even if it were, I highly doubt either of them would have chosen a medical profession like I did, though.

Same goes for my husband- we are in completely different fields. And I have no siblings. My daughter says that she would like to be a respiratory therapist like mommy, and I just keep praying she isn’t serious. Job prospects are pretty poor, as are opportunities for growth and advancement. She’s young… so I’m hoping she’ll develop other interests as she grows up.

23 Nicole { 03.31.16 at 2:44 pm }

This is SO interesting. My husband and I have worked in similar fields as adults. When my husband was eight he wanted to be the “guy” who held the flashlight in the movie theater and when I was eight I wanted to be a fashion designer. Clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because our eight-year-old wants to solve world hunger and create vehicles that use pollution as energy and clean the environment. A bunch of world changers in this family 🙂

24 noemi { 03.31.16 at 8:48 pm }

You know there are a ton of Vimeo movies embedded in these comments right?

I’m a teacher, like my mom. She told me over and over not to be a teacher but I didn’t listen. I wish I had…

25 Middle Girl { 04.01.16 at 12:01 am }

I am not doing what my parents did ( my dad started as a postal worker and ended up some kind of repair (heating / cooling) guy. I think. My mom was kind of a Jill of all Trades, single mom with 3 kids. In short, she was a magician. I’ve been an office drone with writer/artist tendencies most of my adult, working life. The last two years the office services: medical billing. My son is an actor/writer. My daughter is a cook training to be a chef. My brothers didn’t follow anyone’s career path.

26 Mali { 04.01.16 at 4:51 am }

My work and my parents’ lives have been very different. From a small rural district where my parents farmed, I’ve been a diplomat and worked in international marketing and have sat on company boards. My husband though is an engineer (electrical), his three brothers are engineers (chemical), and his father was a civil engineer. Talk about keep it in the family!

27 sharah { 04.01.16 at 12:40 pm }

I don’t share careers with my parents, but my sister and I are both engineers.

28 JustHeather { 04.01.16 at 3:21 pm }

Neither me nor my husband followed in our parents’ footsteps. However hubby and brother are both computer/software guys. My sister does work at the same exact store that my mom worked at for 20 years. I honestly hope she will go back to school and do something more with her life (as I know she isn’t fully happy).

29 Geochick { 04.02.16 at 7:23 pm }

There’s 4 in my family. All of us are I. technical fields like our parents. That’s broad, and when you break it down, 2 of us are in fields more closely related to our parents vs the other 2. S went into a completely different field from anyone in his family. But, our kids are saddled with 2 engineers, we’ll see what happens next!

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