November 8, 2018

What do you do if your family thinks you're not doing a "real" job?

My family thinks I'm wasting time. Maybe I am if making money is the only thing that makes it not wasting time. But I'm just a student, how can I draw in money? I have to be studying and all shouldn't I? But does my studying look like other field of studies where they use paper, pen and headache? No. They think I'm looking at games, even though I developed them myself. They think I am looking at some app on my PC and not studying even though I developed it. I don't know how to explain them that "this" exactly is my job, no matter if it pays in this point in life or not, it will one day. And that its noble.


  1. 14

    From my experience, you should try to manage the influence that your family's opinions have on your professional career, especially when they are not experts in your field. I know it's tough, they are your family and their opinions matter, always, but if you take them too seriously you will end up doing what they want, not what you really want.

    So my recommendation is to focus on the impact that those opinions have on you rather than trying to convince everybody that what you are doing is worthwhile. Focus on yourself, not on the others.

  2. 7

    I've been doing this for 20 years and yet majority of my family AND many friends don't think I work a real job.

    Don't sweat it and do what you want to do regardless of what someone else thinks, including your family.

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      Im the same projected towards my first £100k and my mother asked me to get a "real" job the other day. I was taking home £2k/pcm when I was 18 and yet still should go work at McDonalds... I just gave up trying to explain.

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    It's your life dude, you have the last word; as much as they may voice their opinions, take it with a grain of salt. It's your life, you do what makes you happy; building games and apps is definitely not a waste or ignoble. Try showing them the multitude of coding and Q&A you have to do to make your games look and perform like they do. And if they scoff at that, tell them how much $ candy crush made/makes and tell them you're shooting for that.

  4. 3

    Old parents have no idea about the epic business these days. My mom has the same thought like yours, even though i'm no longer student. Don't mean to be a mean person here, but this is how to impress them. Keep working on it silently until you make it. They will only cheer up when you mention the $$$ from it. It doesn't mean they're gold diggers or whatever. But most old parents just understand how business works if it has made money.

    1. 1

      It's nothing to do with age. I suspect my parents are a lot older than yours but they understood what I was trying to achieve and why.

      My Mum died just over three years ago so never saw me succeed but she understood all too well why I wanted out of corporate and a "real" unsatisfying job.

      My partner's mother, on the other hand, is significantly younger than my non-techie housewife Mum yet doesn't get it at all, despite having worked for much of her life and despite being married to a serial entrepreneur.

      I think it has more to do with the type of person you are rather than your chronological age.

  5. 2

    Some others have made a really good point. The main issue is how you feel when others have these opinion about you. Your parents thinking a certain way is not an issue. You can't control how others feel, but you can control how others make you feel. After a while if you focus on yourself, and your success starts to show, they will see that as well and their opinions will likely change. No guarantees though.

    In my own experience, when I told my parents and friends that I was going to learn how to code (I dropped out of community college and worked as a blackjack dealer) and do startups, nobody took it seriously. I've worked for a couple successful startups now as a software engineer, and now working for myself as a freelance consultant. Still struggling of course, but when I tell my parents what I plan to do now, they just take my word for it.

    Another advice is, don't use your parent's money if you can. That goes a long way to show you are serious.

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      By far the best suggestion I've received yet; Its not about what they say, its about how you react.

  6. 2

    I don't even worry about it and enjoy the mystery of it. Tim Ferriss used to tell people he was a drug dealer 😂

  7. 2

    Read "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand

  8. 2

    Ah. Reminds me of being in Jr High, when my parents used to kick my brother and I off the computer because they thought we were goofing off. The only thing that made them realize we weren't was... when we got jobs making 2x more than they ever did.

    It's pretty hard to explain, esp. to a family that's never had a lot of income. Maybe you can equate the stuff you're doing to job titles. "I'm practicing [web dev/desktop apps/db/etc] because people with that job make $x/yr."

    But it's pretty hard to convince family. Might just have to deal with it.

    Getting money early on can be difficult. You can always try to follow methodologies to come up with a good product. But maybe finding local freelance work would help show the potential.

  9. 1

    Maybe you need to talk more about what you're learning and creating? And what you're aiming for. Both with them, and publicly (e.g., social media).

  10. 1

    Play the long game.

    Once you've earned your first million, I have a feeling they might just come around ....

    In the short term, ask them what they drive, where they shop and pray, what equipment they use for work or leisure, how they fly to holiday destinations, how they are able to read e-books, talk to friends and family in far-away places, how they are able to control diseases and medical conditions, go into an operating room with the reasonable expectation of coming out again in one piece and still breathing, or even see at night when they are in the house.

    Everything they use, every process with which they engage, had to be invented by someone of vision. That someone may have struggled for years and would probably have been told by his or her family that they weren't doing a real job. Many of the things they now take for granted came about through trial and error, trial and more error, trial and eventual success.

    Then stop caring what your family think. Your life; your inspirations. Let them follow their own stars - if they have the vision, imagination and courage to look up into the night sky and follow a dream.

  11. 1

    I stopped caring what others think a long time ago. I am much happier now :)

    In all seriousness though, I think we have all been through what you're experiencing. I had family telling me the same thing half my life. It was hard to hear that from them but internally I would say, "Well, I'll show them! I am going to go build a business and prove them wrong!" After still being on my own for 5 years now, they no longer think I am playing around. They now ask me how things are going and seem interested in it instead of judge. So, maybe your family will come around. Maybe they wont.

    I wouldn't trade my job for anything. It doesn't matter what others think to me. You are the only one who decides what you do with your life. No one can take that away from you.

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    This comment was deleted 10 days ago.

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      I really really hope you are joking.

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        I really, really wish I knew what he said that led to this response! He has deleted the original comment and I'm left completely in the dark.

        P.S. Don't repeat it if it is likely to lead to ill-feeling. I like the fact that IH is a respectful community so I am curious to know what was said but not that curious.

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          Now i am also curious