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What I Want Versus What Other People Want For Me

Why does this keep happening? I internally ask myself.

I’ve almost reached the end of my second week studying in the hotel hospitality program. That’s six more intensive weeks left. I feel very accomplished that I’ve made it this far and intend to keep going.

But tonight a single sentence from my mother nearly shattered me. Once again I felt (or perceived) that she was not being supportive of my endeavors.

I hadn’t, until tonight, briefly specified to my parents what I’ve been learning in school. I didn’t really offer up the information. It was more like my mom asked and I answered.

I hate my own discomfort with telling my parents almost anything. Yes, there is a language barrier. I try to speak in mandarin, and for words I don’t know how to say, I say it in English for them. Sure, there are times there are things I do want to share with them. It never really lands the way I want it to; whether I am clumsy with my words or they don’t react the way I thought they would.

After my short explanation about my Monday and Wednesday classes where I learn interview skills and the other days where I learn about different departments in a hotel (including housekeeping), my mom said, “The best would be if you don’t work in housekeeping because you’ll be very tired.”

I didn’t say anything back but I felt an immediate impact from her words. What I got was she disapproves of my job choice. The school program itself is for a room attendant or houseman position (houseman is basically the male equivalent of a room attendant, a position mostly held by females but men can work as room attendants too).

It bothered me that I perceived she thinks I am not suitable for that career and that I am not living up to her standards. I know if she had it her way, I would be working as a bank teller like she did. She offered, more than once in the past, to get me a job in a bank since she knew employees there. I always said, “Let’s talk about this again in the future”.

I never had the heart to outright tell her I wasn’t interested. Not because it wasn’t a potential for me to earn money but because I knew some of the expectations I would have to do for the job wouldn’t work in my case. For example, being bilingual as a bank teller. My mandarin is only so-so in a casual environment, how could I eloquently explain bank protocols to a customer? Plus, in a lot of banks that service Chinese customers, it’s preferred the employee is fluent in both mandarin and cantonese, for the simple reason that some customers speak one dialect over the other.

Last time when my application for acceptance into the school program was still pending with no status update, she was the one who suggested I didn’t get in because I wasn’t robust enough in body type for the job. Which, by the way, wasn’t even part of the criteria that applicants had to meet to be eligible for enrollment.

She was wrong then and she is wrong now, too. I have to scoff at myself a little here. There was a time I found it extremely hard to separate myself from my family. I didn’t feel like I had an identity of my own. I am still in the process of knowing who I am, and part of that is gaining confidence to stand on my own two feet without needing approval from others.

I almost wrote “approval from those closest to me”, however, that is not really true. My parents and my brother are closest to me in terms of blood relation but not emotionally. It is an extremely hard fantasy to let go of; that I can be in a world where I live up to the standards of what my parents want for me. It is awful I determine my own worth by gauging how positively they perceive me.

It’s also my life, not theirs. So however much my mother doesn’t believe in me, I am not going to stop. Maybe she said what she said out of care rather than a warning. The reality is what she prefers for me isn’t necessarily what I want. I am my own person and I can make my own decisions.

My question for you the reader: Has anyone in your personal life disapproved or expressed disapproval of your school/job choice(s) and how did you deal with it?

7 thoughts on “What I Want Versus What Other People Want For Me

  1. Not very nice to hear what your mum said to you when you told her about what you were studying D: True it can come from a place of concern, but I guess it also wouldn’t hurt to be at least a bit supportive. There are different kinds of housework – home chores and cleaning up rooms in a hotel are two very different things. Growing up my parents also wanted me to work in a bank and they reckon being a teller was better than working in hospitality or in the arts. Working in a bank doesn’t necessarily mean we will be good at it or have the skills to move upwards. Maybe from your mum’s perspective, she might feel trapped doing housework at home, having done it for a good part of her life. Then again, especially in today’s modern world, we all have a right to choice.

    Family can be hard to define, and like in your case, the people we feel closest too emotionally may not be the ones who are related to us by us. Sometimes two people are just two very different people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, my mom is used to doing home chores. So maybe she thinks that is what being a room attendant is supposed to be. But actually as I am learning about the job in class, it’s true that a room attendant’s main duties are to clean a guest room, but it’s not like being expected to clean 50 rooms in a day. The average is 10-17, and after being hired, a new hire won’t even start with 17 rooms. And a room attendant won’t have much interaction with guests, but part of the job is being knowledgeable about the hotel facilities because guests will stop room attendants in the hallway to ask them and they can’t say “I don’t know.” So you see the job is much more than cleaning up after other people’s messes.


      1. 10-17 rooms a shift per day doesn’t sound too much. Probably a role you need attention to details – and you’d have a list of things to clean and arrange in the hotel room. As long as you show up on time and pay attention on the job, you should be fine 😛


  2. My parents both disapproved when I decided to go to grad school for physical therapy. Eventually they both got over it and were happy and proud of me. Even though I didn’t stay in the physical therapy field, my experiences in PT directly led me to the work I do now that I love. I think your courses are a huge step for you and are something you need to do for yourself, regardless of what your parents think. Even if hospitality/housekeeping isn’t what you do with the rest of your life, it is a springboard into a job, some financial independence, and potentially new jobs in the future that you find fulfilling. You have to start somewhere, and it sounds like you are doing a great job embracing this challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That must have been tough to go after something your parents were against. But yes, even if it was a career field you didn’t stay in, it’s good you tried it out and it helped you figure out what you like.

      Financial independence would be a great starting point! I look forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To answer your question, yes, my well-meaning , very loving mother has often planted seed of doubt in my mind about my choices and ability to take care of myself. I hope you will continue to work through this and get past it. You are doing great. I’m really excited for you to finish school and start your new job. High five!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my mother meant well too, in the sense she is afraid I’ll be worked to death. But I get that she may also have assumptions about the job position that aren’t accurate. For myself, so far I am enjoying the class and getting a better understanding of what a room attendant does in a hotel besides cleaning and tidying up a guest’s room. It also helps that the instructor worked as a room attendant before so it’s nice to hear her experiences and see that it is a manageable and stable career someone can go into.

      Liked by 1 person

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