Look, Dad; No Job!
Contrary to TV nirvana, family affairs can be vexed.
And when children choose different paths to their parents', the relative thickness of blood doesn't stint its flow.
This has been a big issue for my small business.
I'm keen to know if you think I'm a spoilt brat or part of a statistically relevant pack.
Working for yourself may not go down well with your family.
My decision to ditch a career that was killing me body and soul was greeted with stony family silence.
There followed a salvo of pointed questions that left me doubtless as to the unpopularity of my choice.
Pressing on regardless was a major breach of domestic protocol.
As I built my business over several years, the advice to go back to 'the workforce' was regular dinner fare.
Finally, when I proudly announced that I'd doubled my former salary, the advice shifted from fiscal to spiritual. In summary:
A bit slow.
Hmm. Maybe you should give it away and get a real job.
Hmm. Hope you're not burning yourself out.
Can't take a trick!
What I perceived as lack of support was described as devil's advocacy and parental concern.
Yet it consistently left me frustrated, deflated and angry.
These feelings compounded when I learned (third hand) that my business success had been lauded (at length) to family and friends (in my absence).
I went crying to my mates, who had markedly different takes on the matter.
One reported that his dad had pooh-poohed everything he'd ever done. When he finally earned a company car, he was chided that it was an SL, not an SLX.
Another said that when a man has taught his son to hunt buffalo, it doesn't do anyone any good (except the buffalo) for the son to be always looking back for approval.
I later watched an interview with a famous Australian chef.
When his mother saw him showcased on Japanese TV, she thought he'd been arrested.
She nearly had a heart attack, having no idea what he did, or how gifted he was.
Last week, after spending over a decade in Phases 1 and 2, I tried a bold, new tack:
Perfect! I have just the right amount of work coming in at exactly the right rate.
Hmm. Very good.
End of story. Praise at last! All I had to do was lie.
I've since quizzed my Twitter followers on this topic.
Results have been mixed, so I'd very much like your view.
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.
- The Feisty Empire
Paul Hassing's high-end blogging, copywriting, editing and proofreading services website.