How to tactfully respond to friends and relatives who say get a real job?


My friends and family who none of which own a company
keep telling me I should get a job. From my perspective creating a job
is a job. I explain that I am developing a software company and it takes
research and development plus project creation. Their lack of
knowledge about how to start a company plus their need to
make sure everyone has a job is not just a passive question.

In my culture people literally enact "witchunts" if they perceive
you as not doing as much work as them. What I mean by that
is things like giving you the cold shoulder, or finding opportunities
to make your interactions with the group more difficult. The groups
I am referring to are interactions with family members or Church activities, and activities with friends. I rarely have time for social interaction as it is
but on the occasion that I do I do not want to be treated as though I have the plague
just because from their perspective I don't have a "job". What is a tactful way of saying
"Please, don't bring up jobs to me because I have explained to you what I am doing and you are not listening."


asked Aug 25 '11 at 04:53
18 points

1 Answer


I think it's hard for someone outside of your culture to comment on the dynamics you're talking about here. Here's my bit of perspective for you, in hopes of helping you out.

Having all but the most ludicrous dreams squashed by friends/family is incredibly demoralizing, especially when done with such disdain as you describe here. My heart goes out to you on this. I think you have three choices as it goes.

First, give up. You seem like you are going to be fighting cultural norms, and possibly alienating friends/family as you pursue your dream. You probably can't change these, and if you, after much deliberation, decide it's too much to pay for the dream of starting your own company, you should quit and hold your head up high. Not everyone can do it, and not always because they can't - it's just as likely their circumstances put up walls they can't break down.

Second, ignore them. Refuse to bow to their pressures to conform, and work towards fulfilling your goals. Put it out of your mind, and if possible, find a support structure to keep your morale up. If you can't find a local group of like minds, hit up some IRC chats or message boards or something - no one starts a company in a vacuum, they always need someone there to ground them and give them someone to bounce things off of. You really have to do this, to keep your spirits up after taking that kind of abuse.

Third, get tricky. I don't know where you are, and what type of business you have here, but in the US registering your business (to do business as yourcompany LLC or something) with the IRS, getting your EID, opening a checking account and such are things you do pretty early in getting up and running. Register your business, and tell everyone you started working for CoolName Technologies - just don't mention it's your business and you are the sole employee. You're not lying, and you can legitimately claim you have a job that you'll pay taxes under. And you can then avoid the crap you're dealing with. This might be your best bet, but only you really know.

Hope this helps, and good luck to you - I hope you much success and hopefully you get this sorted out satisfactorily.

answered Aug 25 '11 at 05:37
Craig Saboe
423 points
  • Well I certainly can't quit so options number two and three will suit me perfectly. I am thankful for sites like these Google+ and Twitter. What I am taking away from this is to not expect them to understand at this point. I am willing to put up with being ostracized until my venture is a success. For now I find comfort in social networks, blogs, and forums that consist of like-minded individuals. – Waterfallrain 13 years ago
  • Good attitude. And good luck going forward! – Craig Saboe 13 years ago
  • I have to say I can commiserate with your situation. In my family, I was ostracized just for going to college, let alone graduate school, and even more for trying to start my own business. One thing that has helped me immensely was surrounding myself with a positive group of like-minded people. There are entrepreneurship organizations all over, at least in the US, where you can network with other business owners, and have some positive feedback about your company. Having a support group, and some cheer-leaders, can be a great boon to an entrepreneur. – Bwasson 13 years ago

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