WOW | People
KEEPERS OF THE FLAME
Will they be carrying the legacy of their parents forward or begin their own?
From doctors to actors to politicians, it rarely comes as a surprise when their progeny decides to follow in their parents’ professional footsteps. Born and raised in families with strong career-orientated lifestyles, children not only inherit the tacit knowledge, but the network and goodwill of their parents. But do they inherit their preferences of work? WOW hears out what the next generation has to say. Excerpts:
Are you passionate about your parent’s business?
Abhimanyu: I am, extremely. I was always fond of automobiles since childhood. In fact, my dream job as a child was to be a taxi driver, getting paid to drive around all day! Who wouldn’t want that?
Vedika: I’ve never been very passionate about the business my family is into. It’s interesting to see how they’ve grown it from ground up, but the industries they’re involved in have never caught my interest.
Suryansh: Since the time I can remember, I have always been interested in the family business and business in general. My parents have raised me to build such a deep passion for what they do, and I am so thankful for that.
Shivalika: It isn’t very difficult to be passionate about shoes and it’s quite lucky that shoe manufacturing is what they do! My dad especially loves shoes and how they work for different types of feet. I remember my dad buying shoes just to cut into them to see what material they were made of. He called it his own form of R&D. I hope I can be as passionate as him in his business!
Astha: Yes! Since a young age, I’ve always been very passionate about my family business.
Satyam: I am very passionate about my parents business that has diversified into a wide variety of businesses in forms of trading and manufacturing. Their business and its long history of more than 150 years support many livelihoods here and I plan to expand it even further.
Do you want to follow in the footsteps of your parents or build a career on your own steam?
Abhimanyu: To be honest, it’s a mixed approach. I think it’s a little irresponsible to just neglect all the businesses your parents have created and just try to create your own. When you have been given a platform, you have to use this to your advantage, gain some confidence and channel that to your area of interest.
Vedika: I was definitely influenced by the entrepreneurial mindset that I have been raised in and that pushed me to build something of my own rather than directly follow my parent’s footsteps.
Suryansh: My future is already planned in my head. I want to expand my knowledge at University and build my own empire to prove my worth. Eventually, when the time is right, I hope to bring my world together with the organisation that my parents have worked so hard for.
Shivalika: Although I would like to believe that I could build a career on my own, I know this may be difficult in practice. At the end of the day, business is what I want to do and I am tremendously grateful to have access to boundless knowledge and experience in this field. I am very lucky to have a family business to fall back on if things go south.
Astha: Buddha Air was established when I was four, and it has been an integral part of my life ever since. I have always had the desire to build on the hard work of my family, follow their legacy, and hopefully bring it to newer heights.
Satyam: I want to build my own career on the stead of my parent’s blessings and teachings, and hope to receive their guidance every step of the way.
How challenging is it to create your own identity?
Abhimanyu: I think it is difficult, especially in the workplace, where a company is accustomed to a certain type of leadership, and trying to modify that to your style can be a challenge. But I focus on creating value and using my exposure as strength to contribute to the company.
Vedika: It is definitely difficult since all my life I have been identified as their daughter rather than have my own identity. However, there’s a great sense of achievement building my own reputation and being acknowledged for the work I am doing now.
Suryansh: I don’t think I sit in the shadow of my parent’s identity because they have raised me to be a person of my own and they support me in every endeavour I set out to accomplish.
Shivalika: Their identity was never forced onto me and so I never felt it as a burden while I was burgeoning on my own. I don’t think I have, or am trying to come out of my parent’s shadow as of yet, and I genuinely don’t believe I will ever need to. I feel as though my identity is and will always be related to them and their legacy, just the way it should be.
Astha: I believe that one’s identity is created only after their work is reflected. Since it has just been two years that I have started working, my priority at the moment is not to create my own identity but to work hard and add value to my company.
Satyam: Trying to come out of the shadow and make a name for myself is something that I believe can only happen gradually. I hope to build an identity of my own with the values that my family have instilled in me.
Do you feel like you have a constant reputation to uphold, both in personal and professional life?
Abhimanyu: I think there always seems to be pressure to emulate your parent’s way of working at the office. The biggest challenge is being able to put that behind you and just focus on creating values and taking up responsibilities.
Vedika: Since I have been identified as my parent’s daughter, I feel like people constantly expect me to perform a certain way professionally and, at times, even personally. It puts pressure on me to not make any mistakes in my professional field, but I have come to realise that everyone has made a ton of mistakes in their work, including my parents.
Suryansh: I do have a reputation to uphold, especially in the small, tightly-knit society of Nepal. This is not because of my parent’s expectations, but instead, I hold myself accountable to be the best possible version of myself to make my family and close friends proud. I want people to see me in positive light. I want people to know me for the good I do.
Shivalika: Of course, I have a constant reputation to uphold, as does anyone who works for a living, but I don’t think it is something that I have to consciously think about. More than maintaining a reputation, I would be content in not disappointing my family in both personal and professional fields.
Astha: In my personal life, I don’t really feel that. But when it comes to my professional life, being the daughter of the head of the company, it occasionally feels intense. However, I try to channel such pressures as a fuel for motivation which brings efficiency to my work.
Satyam: Maintaining respect and reputation is necessary and should constantly be kept in mind. In Nepal’s close-knit community, where both personal and professional life is so intertwined, I do feel it is necessary to uphold a reputation that encompasses my family’s honour.
Have you ever felt judged for being the ‘the owner’s offspring’ or ‘having it too easy’?
Abhimanyu: All the time! But that’s natural. I am extremely fortunate to be given such a strong platform to start with, and people do say life was handed to me but it does come with its unique set of challenges, which sometimes people tend to overlook.
Vedika: I have never experienced the judgment of being the owner’s offspring as I have never worked in the family business. However, very often, people have told me that I do have it easy and don’t face challenges that someone else might face, which I think is completely misjudged. I think everyone faces a set of challenges when starting out on their own, and I don’t think my background has made it completely easy to venture out on my own.
Suryansh: I have not felt judged or at least I have not noticed it. I try not acknowledging these negative vibes that people tend to give out. However, I do make a conscious effort to not take advantage of being the owner’s offspring.
Shivalika: I’ve never directly felt this judgment, but I am sure that people judge me for ‘having it too easy’ all the time. All I can hope for is that it doesn’t affect my work ethic or my passion, or even if it does, it only adds to me positively.
Astha: I don’t think so. My father has not let me ‘have it too easy.’ In fact, I worked in every department for three months as a trainee after which I finally have a team now.
Satyam: No, I’ve never felt this. I think judgement only arises from the interaction that you have with people. If I stay grounded and humble, I do not think that there will ever be a point when I’ll feel judged.
Do you feel taking on your parent’s legacy narrows your own potential?
Abhimanyu: To be completely honest, I think it does to a certain extent. Since I was a child, I have grown up listening to business discussions at the dining table, and in the back of my mind, I always knew this is where I’d finally end up. So that does play a role in your thought process, and your eagerness to explore interests outside of business.
Vedika: This doesn’t apply to me as I don’t intend on taking on my parents’ legacy professionally. One reason could be because I thought it may narrow my scope so I decided to get into a sector which I was more interested in than continue working in the business they’ve established.
Suryansh: I don’t think to take on my parents’ legacy would slow me down. Once I receive the family torch to carry on, I hope to build the flame into a behemoth before I pass it on to the next in line.
Shivalika: I do not know how this could be true in any way. Finding myself jobs has nothing to do with what my parents’ legacy, and if ever it does, I do not see how it could hinder at all.
Astha: I think that it differs for each individual. For me, that wasn’t the case. Like mentioned earlier, I have always had a strong desire to work in Buddha Air so I take their legacy as a blessing.
Satyam: For me, my family’s legacy actually gives me the opportunity to explore and discover new arenas for doing business. It gives me the leeway to try new things.
What do you think of the transition from being a university student to having a high work position straight away?
Abhimanyu: I think that rarely works. In my example, I worked for a couple of years outside of Nepal after I graduated college, and I think that was the best learning I got. If you haven’t experienced what it’s like being an employee and starting at an entry-level position, it’ll be very difficult to empathize with your team.
Vedika: The general norm is to start at the bottom in a company and then move up to a higher position. However, deciding to take up work that directly puts you at the top position has had its pros and cons. It’s been a great learning experience to have control and make every decision on my own, but it can be difficult not having an immediate supervisor. I often have to seek external advice or mentorship to ensure that I am making the right decision and heading in the right direction.
Suryansh: I have never envisioned myself in a hierarchical system but rather a business that works as a team where people are put into positions where they can provide excellence based on their strengths. I attained this idea from Ray Dalio who believes in the implementation of meritocracy in the workplace. The idea of having a high work position right out of university is one that can be controversial but I believe that whatever position you are put in, you should give your 110%.
Astha: I didn’t start at a high work position straight away. My father has always believed in the importance of earning a position as opposed to simply handing it out. Thus, I started as a trainee and now I am working my way up.
Satyam: I think it’s definitely important to prove my worthiness before I can move to a higher position at our organisation. After university, I plan on working at my parent’s company as an assistant and working my way up the ladder. It’s important to learn the workings of a business in every department.
Do you feel constricted or grateful for having recognised parents?
Abhimanyu: Grateful, of course! No matter how many challenges I face, the benefits heavily outweigh them. Also, I think my parents would read this so I can’t give another answer even if I wanted to!
Vedika: I think I feel grateful for having recognised parents because it has given me so many opportunities I may not have had otherwise. I have been exposed to great networks that will help me professionally and personally. There’s always the social constraint of keeping up to the reputation but regardless, I am extremely grateful.
Suryansh: Every morning I wake up feeling blessed. Blessed for having the most supportive parents, family and friends. I wake up feeling proud of my family’s achievements. It overwhelms me when my parents are recognised for being such amazing individuals. I would never feel constricted being my parent’s child because they are the crucial support system who have made me ‘me’.
Shivalika: Definitely grateful! My parents have always been very supportive of the ‘gain as many experiences’ mentality and have given me innumerable opportunities to be able to do so.
Astha: I definitely feel grateful and proud to have a family who has created a lasting impact in the aviation industry of Nepal.
Satyam: I feel grateful for having parents who have achieved a great deal in their life. They have been my support system and a support system for many in Nepal. It is now my time to follow in their footsteps and bring our name forward.