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Have a job you love? Thank your mother

Stashed in: Women, Meaning of Life, Parents, Parenting, Career

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People tend to choose one of three motivations for work by the time they're in high school: money, social status, or meaning. But there are differences in how parents counsel us in selecting career-oriented motivations...

The key to not growing up to be money obsessed and unhappy at work is simple: Have a strong relationship with your mother. Father, notsomuch:

Children who have strong relationships with their mothers don’t end up with a work orientation that is all about material gain. Being close to our mother, it turns out, provides us with a value set that prevents us from putting money first and simply punching a clock.

Mothers are also necessary in raising kids who view work as meaningful, and therefore go on to have high satisfaction in their professional and personal lives. The research found that children are not likely to have a purpose-driven view of work unless they perceive their mother to model that behavior. Fathers with that value held significantly less sway.

Fathers could, however, hurt their kid’s odds at having a fulfilling life — even if they can’t significantly help them. Those fathers perceived to have a conflicting work orientation, focusing on money or status, hamper a child’s ability to adopt the mother’s purpose-orientation.

And it’s worth keeping in mind that the people who participated in this survey were raised in the 1980s. In the last 30 years, women have become more integrated into the workforce and leadership roles, which should only increase their influence on the next generation’s views of work.

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