If you work in a creative industry, you have probably been given strange looks when you explained your career choice. Some people have trouble believing you could make money doing something you actually like when they are stuck at jobs they hate. Even though their doubt says more about them than it does about you, it still hurts. To get the haters off your back, the next time someone asks you when you are going to get a real job, this is what you should say:
“Self-fulfillment is more important to me than money.”
Explain how your milestones are not the same as the rest of society. You do not care about having the biggest house or the most luxurious car. You care about making a difference in the world. You care about following your passions. You care about pursuing the dreams you feel like you were placed on this planet to fulfill. Money is nothing in comparison to peace of mind.
“I am never going to give up on my dreams, if that’s what you’re asking.”
Some people are going to judge you for following ‘unrealistic’ urges, but really, they should be proud of you. They should admire your resilience. They should look to you for inspiration, because most people give up on their dreams soon after childhood. It is rare for someone to keep chugging along, chasing their passion, even though everyone around them is warning them to give up. What you are doing takes strength. It takes surges of faith.
“I already have a real job.”
You make real money. You work real hours. You are under real stress. Your job is legitimate, despite what anyone else argues. Do not let someone who has chosen a different path in life convince you your lifestyle is inferior. Different does not mean lesser. The world needs businessmen to sit behind their desks and answer phone calls, but it also needs creatives to paint the art for their offices and write the novels they read during lunch breaks.
“I am not willing to settle in any part of my life, including my work.”
When someone asks you to get a real job, they are really asking you to give up on your dreams and settle for second best. However, you are not the kind of person to settle in love or in friendships or in your career. You are going to keep putting effort into creating the most fulfilling life possible. You do not care if you have it harder than everyone else, because you would rather be broke than say you settled.
“What do you consider a ‘real job’?”
They might fumble to answer this question or they might have a predisposed answer about stability and structure and working nine to five. If they believe a ‘real job’ involves repeating the same exact process day after day, or that it involves having a boss to give you orders, then you are the one who should feel sorry for them — not the other way around.
“I’m going to have the same job for the rest of my life.”
You are not stupid. If you were interested in any other field of work, then you would have changed paths a long time ago to make life easier on yourself. The only reason you are trying to achieve the unachievable is because nothing else would make you this happy. The work you are doing now is what you plan on doing for the rest of your life. You have no plans to change course. You couldn’t imagine giving up on your dreams at this point. It would be the worst mistake of your life.
“When are you going to stop asking insensitive, intrusive questions?”
What you choose to do with your life is your business. No one else has a say in where your future takes you, not even your parents or siblings. You are in control of your own fate. If you are happy, that is all that matters. Your loved ones should be less concerned about how you are making money and more concerned about how they are making you feel with their unfair questions.