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View Full Version : The age old tale of "Get a proper job!"



scarletpeaches
02-20-2006, 06:15 PM
So...I went into my local corner shop this afternoon to buy some celebratory housewife magazines (I'm single, but that's what I call those magazines you get for 75p with loads of competitions in them and prize draws. It's a silly pastime but I like it). Why? Because FINALLY the doctor at the hospital has agreed to prescribe roaccutane for my skin. I also need to go on the pill to assure them I'm not pregnant, even though I know I'm not. I hear tell you need to let a man hide his pee-pee in your front bottom for that, and though I have been active in the past I am now a good girl. Just so you know.

So I was happy at the thought of getting the top acne medication available today, when all of a sudden I'm hit with some spod who works in the shop saying, "All right, Nicky? Still writing?" Nod. "Got anything published yet?" and before I could answer, "Haven't you got a proper job?" He turned to Liz, also behind the counter, and said, "She sits in the house all day writing and calls it a proper job," and burst out laughing.

All I could think of to say, was, "My self esteem is such that I don't need to come into your workplace and brag about what I do with my time."

In truth, what little money I have wouldn't feed an Ethiopian for a month, but I'm doing what I love...and...and...

Oh bugger! But I knew my brother and sister writers would understand.

:Soapbox: :rant:

Jaycinth
02-20-2006, 06:24 PM
I hate that, dear. And when friends call to stop by and you tell them you are writing and they reply.."oh so you're not really doing anything so I'll just pop on by"

I also get a lot of.." but you have a good job, why do you want to waste your time writing...."( yeah, well you have nice lungs, why do you waste your time talking?)

There is a special hell...a very special hell...
hey Scarlet, wanna help me design it?

scarletpeaches
02-20-2006, 06:27 PM
The speakers in that hell play Westlife's Greatest Sh!ts on a loop and the walls are soundproofed and THERE ARE NO DOORS!!! Bwahahahahahaha!!!

SeanDSchaffer
02-20-2006, 06:34 PM
I have a relative who used to do that to me all the time. He would ask me how many books I had 'Publicated'. Then he would say, "Well, I work in a Pet Store and I make real money.

That's what I've been told by people who disdain my writing. I won't tell you what people have said about my Social Security Disability income. Let's just say people don't like it that I'm not 65 or older and that I'm not in a wheelchair unable to move my limbs.

They think Mental Illnesses are not disabilities--probably because they don't suffer from them.

scarletpeaches
02-20-2006, 06:37 PM
Hear, hear, Sean. Having experienced MD myself and recovered, I'm grateful I feel good now but dread a relapse. People don't believe you're ill unless they can SEE it. Of course, I say recovered, but it's like diabetes in a way. It's manageable, but not curable, if you see what I mean.

SeanDSchaffer
02-20-2006, 06:47 PM
I think I get what you're saying. It's kind of like when people talk about Cancer, and it being in 'Remission' instead of 'cured.' It makes a lot of sense.

Speaking of Diabetes, I was told by a preacher friend of mine that because my mental illness would not kill me like his diabetes would eventually kill him (and because he didn't have SSD and I did) that I was not worthy of the SSD and to "stop being a freeloader."

But like I said before, he's never been psychotic. I have. I would not wish such a living hell on anyone, not even my worst enemy.

I don't think he'll ever really understand, unless he ends up going through it someday. I hope that never happens to him. It's not fun.

scarletpeaches
02-20-2006, 06:49 PM
Bringing it back on topic rather smoothly, I WOULD wish psychosis on my worst enemies.

Those who tell me to get a proper job! HA HA!

(See what I did there)?

AdamH
02-20-2006, 06:53 PM
I've never had the "get a proper job" comment but I've had a lot of strange looks from people who think guys should be working on cars or with wood. Anything where I use my mind isn't considered REAL work.

Related to this, I love those people who ask if I've got anything published lately then when I say I've written and submitted some things they don't really care. As if the stories just pop up on my computer in a blink then are automatically published. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has to be done before the finished product is ready. For some reason, they don't want to hear about the mechanics of it all just the magic.

SeanDSchaffer
02-20-2006, 07:02 PM
What you say makes sense, I suppose, Scarlet....

This 'get a real job' thing really does bother me a lot. I don't think people realize just how hard it is to write something that is publishable.

A friend, many years ago, showed me his story that he 'knew' was publishable. It was three paragraphs long, had horrible grammar, and barely made sense (sentence-structure-wise). I didn't have the heart to tell him an editor would most likely not even look at it before tossing it in the circular file.

But it just goes to show that a lot of people think writing is just "sit at the typewriter, pound out a couple sentences, and get it published." They don't really look at it as the hard work that it is.

It's like what we were saying a moment ago about the illnesses. They don't see a problem, therefore they assume it must not be real. In the same way, people don't see the hard work that goes into writing, therefore many people assume writing must not be real work.

It's sad, but I think it's quite true. Ticks me off, though, to hear people treating writers like they don't do anything real with their lives. The work can be excruciatingly (is that a word?) hard. To say we don't do anything worthwhile is quite ignorant, in my opinion, of those who have never even tried it.

scarletpeaches
02-20-2006, 07:04 PM
Excruciatingly must be a real word - I use it! :D From the root word meaning 'to be crucified'. :(

preyer
02-20-2006, 07:24 PM
i own a little corner store. it's literally attached to the house part (it's kind of a weird set-up, but i like being able to measure my morning commute with a yard stick). though the place has been a community staple for 56 years, the previous owner really ran it into the ground, so that and the time of year (winter in ohio) are some major hurdles to overcome business-wise. most morning i sit here without much to do. some mornings, though, i'm damn skippy busy, particularly when the engraving part of the thing is hopping.

i say that because my sister-in-law, who's single and with four chilluns, thinks we've just all the time in the world to do her little favours, like run her brat to pre-school or pick him up or whatever *she* 'doesn't' have time to do (she's also unemployed ~ yep, she's a complete loser, but, hey, a more pious hypocrite you're not likely to find. she lives off the fact she's a skinny blonde and most guys apparently finds attractive, though i think her face is better suited on a horse).

just because i'm not inundated with customers every single second of the day (thank gawd), some people like her doesn't consider what i do work. besides, it's not like brain surgery here ~ it's a convenience store, for cryin' out loud. it's a lot different when you own the thing as opposed to just banging on the cash register all day and someone else does everything, though, but you just can't impress that upon some people's feeble mentalities. to them, i just run a cash register.

because you're not a best-selling author, you just sit on your asss all day not doing anything but playing around. what they don't grasp is the majority of books and scripts *come* from people 'just playing around.' it's like they don't understand you're not hired by a publisher or movie studio to work a forty hour a week job, or that since you're not in l.a. or new yawk you're just spinning your wheels sinking in a pipedream.

at the same time, ya gotta pay the bills. being slow and still in the process of rebuilding a clientele (not to mention wanting to get this pizza oven going and wanting to check into some other revenue streams), i've been (sort of) looking for some part time stuff on the side. jobs are great for writers because it more often than not forces you into the lives and minds of a divergent class of people you'd otherwise have to imagine. and to say that it's impossible to get writing accomplished while holding a full time job is just a bullsh!t excuse. the last novel i wrote i did in about six months (though there are a few things still that needs done to it, it's only because i'm lazy). it helped that i had a mind-numbing job in a factory, actually.

so, i feel ya, but at the same time you have to pony-up the dineros for rent because unrequited talent doesn't feed the dancing monkey. plus, even if a job is really terrible, it's good for a *writer* who's paying attention. what mental illness is keeping y'all from working? my friend is a paranoid schizophrenic and he's able to work. hell, he works *and* goes to college, not to mention very active in church activities. i've worked side-by-side with people who have serious brain damage (albeit through a state programme and those people are shadowed by a special helper) and folk suffering depression. hell, the person who actually ran the day-to-day operations of this very store suffered from muscular dystrophy. i guess the idea here is that, in my experience, having a physical or mental disability may preclude a person form certain kinds of work, it doesn't mean there's *no* work they can do.

Elincoln
02-20-2006, 07:27 PM
I've never been told right off to "get a proper job", except for my mom when I first told her what I wanted to do when I grew up. But I have gotten the "look", and the needling from time to time.

One time I got so mad, I almost lost it. I was attending a luncheon at one of the prominant NYC Universities because my husband was teaching a Graduate course there. We were seated with another Professor/Professional and his wife (who was obviously several years younger than he was). When we talked about professions, he was a Lawyer or something in the legal field. When I asked his wife what she did for a living (she was Chinese and very shy), HE told us she did Interior Design work (winking as he did so). I got the gist. This was not a real career, more like a hobby to occupy her. My husband (who isn't good at subtle, seeing it or doing it), told him about my writing and how I'm writing a book. The Lawyer gave me a look that plainly said, "You're just a housewife and that's not a career." When asked what I published, I told him I had done several research articles on Domestic Abuse and Elderly Scams (which isn't a lie. I did do a lot of research for local Law Enforcement and a domestic abuse shelter for their brochures.). I proceeded to ask him on his opinions about current issues. He seemed to get very uncomfortable of my knowledge on how little protection victims received and needed to leave to talk to someone else.

I really wanted to tell him off, but Hubby was there and I promised to be good. :D

NeuroFizz
02-20-2006, 07:51 PM
Scarlet, some people suffer from small particles of brain in their heads. Unfortunately, by definition, pointing it out to them does no good. Next time, tell him you ghost write for people who can't string two correct sentences together, and ask him if he has any story ideas.

Jaycinth
02-20-2006, 09:18 PM
Bringing it back on topic rather smoothly, I WOULD wish psychosis on my worst enemies.

Those who tell me to get a proper job! HA HA!

(See what I did there)?

Pfft pfft sputter sputter mmmrrrfffft (Save us from the people who would save us from ourselves......)

Get a PROPER job. Be a PROPER wife. Act like a PROPER mother. Go to a PROPER church. Vote for the PROPER candidate. Eat A PROPER meal. If I hear any more about trying to fit myself inside of someone else's idea of PROPER, I will have a PROPER tantrum and.......

The very special Hell I envision is 108 degrees farenheit in the day, 97 at night and has Barney the Dinosaur.....smelling like a PROPER Tyrannosaurus, very PROPERLY inserting large prickly objects into the PROPER place for an enema.

My other contribution to the special hell will be an extreme version of PROPER-ty law.

Yeshanu
02-20-2006, 09:41 PM
Bringing it back on topic rather smoothly, I WOULD wish psychosis on my worst enemies.

Those who tell me to get a proper job! HA HA!

(See what I did there)?


Ha! But they already are psychotic. Or neurotic. Or some such thing... Who's the brainy guy (it had to be a guy) who thought up the idea that the only way for a human being to be "productive" is to leave the house for up to twelve hourse a day, to slave for someone else, earning only a small fraction of the actual value of his or her work?

The slave owners, that's who!


Scarlet, some people suffer from small particles of brain in their heads. Unfortunately, by definition, pointing it out to them does no good. Next time, tell him you ghost write for people who can't string two correct sentences together, and ask him if he has any story ideas.

No, NeuroFizz! NO!!!!

He'll bore you for hours with his trite story ideas that have already been done to death, and then expect fifty percent of the cut.

I'm in favour of Uncle Jim's reply -- turn that on its head and say you have some great story ideas, and why doesn't he write them down and give you fifty percent of the cut. You'll end up with nothing, even if he goes for it, but every time you see them you can ask, "How's that book coming? I'm waiting for my fifty percent..."

scarletpeaches
02-20-2006, 09:49 PM
Or I could say, "I'm not the one who'll be working in a shop for the rest of my life just cause daddy makes me."

Pfft. He actually said, "You've been talking about writing for years." (Disdainfully, of course).

No, no, no. I've been writing for years. It's him who wastes my time asking about it, so I foolishly tell him what I've been doing. From now on I'd be as well asking if he wants me to spend my hard earned in someone else's store.

Unique
02-20-2006, 09:52 PM
From now on I'd be as well asking if he wants me to spend my hard earned in someone else's store.

Now there's the ticket! That should shut him up.

Yeshanu
02-20-2006, 09:53 PM
From now on I'd be as well asking if he wants me to spend my hard earned in someone else's store.


Yes!

NeuroFizz
02-20-2006, 10:08 PM
No, NeuroFizz! NO!!!!

He'll bore you for hours with his trite story ideas that have already been done to death, and then expect fifty percent of the cut.
It was a suggestion for a wise-a$$ question--if he answered it, he'd be making an admission about his mental abilities. Any response on his part would be met with laughter.

Yeshanu
02-20-2006, 10:10 PM
It was a suggestion for a wise-a$$ question--if he answered it, he'd be making an admission about his mental abilities. Any response on his part would be met with laughter.

Ah, I get it...

Kind of like how one should treat guys who get off exposing themselves. :e2teeth:

NeuroFizz
02-20-2006, 10:16 PM
Ah, I get it...

Kind of like how one should treat guys who get off exposing themselves. :e2teeth:
"Looks like a peni$, only smaller..."

scarletpeaches
02-21-2006, 12:21 AM
I just point and laugh.

Liam Jackson
02-21-2006, 12:23 AM
Or, you could just drive your thumb through the jokester's orbital socket, then ask about the current job prospects for mouthy, one-eyed change counters.

(with proper apologies to all non-mouthy one-eyed change counters.)

roach
02-21-2006, 03:15 AM
OMG...the "why don't you get a real job?" question.

I've gotten this in all sorts of ways over the last few years. First with my parents ridiculing everything I said I wanted to be when I grew up (lawyer, botanist, computer programmer, none of those were acceptable, the right answer always being "teacher").

There was the boyfriend in college who made fun of me when I told him I wanted to write for a living (he was a theatre major).

There was the first time I sold a story. My mother's first question was "How much did they pay you?" When I said $5 I could hear her roll her eyes over the phone.

And of course there's been the mother-in-law who has found fault with every job I've taken (I've done a lot of cashiering, etc.) because it wasn't office work. When I started my publishing company she had a tizzy. "You publishing what? E-books? What are those? You mean you just sell files of books?" So she and my parents both just started telling people I was a housewife, because they couldn't wrap their minds around it.

And now that I'm back to just writing I've given up trying to talk to anyone outside friends and my husband about it. If I get this book done and published then I'll take my parents and mother-in-law out for a fancy dinner and let them know I paid for it. Or maybe I'll just go on vacation far-far away on my advance and laugh at the thought that they're freezing their behinds off back home.

Elincoln
02-21-2006, 03:24 AM
And now that I'm back to just writing I've given up trying to talk to anyone outside friends and my husband about it. If I get this book done and published then I'll take my parents and mother-in-law out for a fancy dinner and let them know I paid for it. Or maybe I'll just go on vacation far-far away on my advance and laugh at the thought that they're freezing their behinds off back home.

Better yet, invite them to a book signing at a popular local bookstore and MAKE them pay for their copies.

(One of my more darker plans for the 'folks back home'.)

Cabinscribe
02-21-2006, 06:56 AM
Once upon a time ...

I encountered the same type of response from people when they found out that I write.

A friend of mine suggested that the basis for their attitude is that they are so small-minded, and think so little of themselves, that they don't believe they could ever know a "real writer".

I think my friend may have made a good assessment, and it made me feel a lot better.

However, I have simply stopped telling anyone that I write, except for my husband and you guys! I figure there's no need to set myself up for another blow to my self-esteem; what's left of it.

Keep writing, Scarlet, and don't let anyone discourage you!
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

special needs
02-21-2006, 06:59 AM
I'm told the same thing about my job all the time--and I don't write for a living!(If I did, I'd be homeless and starving) Girls 'dont belong' at the track. :rant:

reph
02-21-2006, 07:23 AM
A friend of mine suggested that the basis for their attitude is that they are so small-minded, and think so little of themselves, that they don't believe they could ever know a "real writer".
A mystique attaches to writing, as to acting. Maybe they don't have low opinions of themselves but only regard writers as remote, glamorous, superhuman personages and have a hard time understanding that the lady next door could be one.