I’m going to preface this by saying that I love my parents. They’re great people and have provided me with more than they should have, while going without a lot of the time. However, as anyone with parents can attest to, you always have something to complain about when it comes to them. So…commence rant.
My parents are stopping by for dinner tonight. Which means there will be the inevitable questions about my book (Are you done yet? Are you getting published? What’s it about again?) that I will have to answer with gritted teeth and a smile on my face, while my mom sits there with a scowl on her face.
My parents have always been supportive of what I want to do. To my face, that is. However, if you know how to read facial cues, you can tell they’re not really interested/think it’s a stupid thing that I’m doing.
A little background on me: I have two degrees. I was the first person in my family to go to college. And I’m talking any sort of college, tech schools and community colleges included. I was the smart one, the one who was supposed to come out of my education with some sort of ‘respectable’ career. A doctor, a lawyer (they were really pushing for the lawyer), something. Something they could brag about. I doubt they’re bragging now.
The economy sucked when I graduated undergrad, so I went to grad school, thinking two years should be enough for the economy to right itself. Nope. Fast forward two years, and the economy still sucked. So my husband got a job (he graduated with me, but chose a better degree) and I stayed home and scoured the internet for something I could do. Anything. Waitressing and babysitting included. I was told I was overqualified. I lacked the ‘real world’ experience. I didn’t specialize in the right thing in grad school. So, I started writing. Well, started again. I used to do it when I was younger, but stopped in college when 20-page research papers was all my brain could handle. It was a hobby at first, something to kill the massive amount of time I had nothing to do. Then I got more serious. Then I told my parents that was what I was doing.
They, of course, didn’t approve. They assumed it was just something I would do for a minute, then get a ‘real’ job, forgetting the fact that they’re aren’t any real jobs out there for me. They really weren’t expecting me to stop looking after a year and a half of intense job hunting and focus on writing. They’re getting used to the idea now. I think. It makes some sort of sense to them, since I was never without a book as a child and used to write books made of construction paper (complete with illustrations) when I wasn’t much more than a toddler. But they still think I’m being ridiculous. You can see it in their faces.
I think part of the issue is that they don’t understand the process of getting a job nowadays. It used to be you hit the pavement, walked in somewhere and filled out an application, interviewed the same day, got the job and started the next day. No internet searching, no filling out personality questionnaires online where if you check the wrong box on one answer the computer won’t send you resume through, no resumes (at least not for non-CEO-type jobs), no second interview (or third, forth, fifth), no salary negotiations (you can do that?). So they don’t understand why I can’t find one that will pay me now instead of later.
My sister is going through the same thing with them right now. She’s working in a dead-end job, but it’s steady pay and the company treats her halfway decent. She’s going to school online for a degree that has absolutely nothing to do with her current job. She was recently offered an interview at another company in a position that closely aligns with her chosen career path. The catch is, the position isn’t permanent, but has the potential for them to hire her permanently. My parents, of course, had a conniption. They couldn’t understand why she would leave a steady job for such a risky one. They’re from the generation where you got a job then gave your life to that company, and in return the company gave you a ham every Christmas and a gold watch at retirement. The word ‘career’ holds no meaning for them. I, of course, told her to go for it. She’s 24 with no kids. If she doesn’t take risks now, she never will.
And that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking a risk with this writing thing. And maybe I’m wrong, and maybe writing won’t turn into anything for me. But I would rather try now so I don’t wake up when I’m 50 with a whole slew of regrets.
End of rant.