My parents want me to have a stable job in a good company. I understand where they are coming from, but I know deep inside me I want something more than that. I want to be able to contribute to society––to the growing culture, to create, to inspire and to make a difference, just like you guys. I’m working in the IT industry—which is completely the opposite of where I want to be—because I need to earn money to help with obligations at home. I just started a month ago and it feels like a year already. I’d like to hear your take on this.
~Charles, via Tumblr
Let’s write a book together, shall we? It’ll be one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Here we go:
If you want to identify your parents as the source of the issue, turn to page 6.
If you want to dig a tunnel to freedom, turn to page 12.
You will continue to exercise the ability of sourcing out and staring at the problem, instead of exercising your brain to come up with a creative solution. Tension between you and your family may very well continue to grow, and communicating with them will become difficult. There will be a silent tug of war, and you will either burst and have an unpleasant parting, or continue to live in discontent for the rest of your life. (Boo to Page 6.)
*Applause* *Cheering* *Confetti*
You have just entered the wonderful world of positivity, passion and productivity. This is where I live, too. In this part of town, we spend the majority of our days doing things that society deems appropriate, things that may seem robot-like and routine. Here’s what you should do. Clock in. Commit to the work that is expected of you. Play little games with yourself to keep your mind active. I like to challenge myself, combating the “cranky” by cranking out work harder, better, faster, stronger. This makes the time bearable (because let’s face it, you’re going to be there, anyway).
Use your day job to flex muscles like “discipline,” “efficiency,” “promptness,” “quality,” “positivity” and “respect.” They will come in handy later for your passion projects. I promise.
The second you clock out, the fun begins. This is where you get to test your passion. You’re tired from work, but something inside you will not be quelled. Use that to get you through the next couple of hours. When you’re in the privacy of your own room, dream on paper.
Plot solid and realistic goals that you can achieve by working on evenings or weekends. Be creative. Attract other people with energy as infectious as yours and work collectively.
Plant seeds, go to work. Water them, go to work. Watch them grow, go to work! Do this constantly and consistently, and FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT.
Smile around your parents. When the seeds finally bear fruit, take them, arrange them nicely in a basket, and sit in front of your family with all that you have grown, and tell them your story.
Parents would love for you to show them you’ve got things under control. And what better way to do that than to actually take control.
I didn’t sleep properly for years, trying to survive my “what’s best for my family” job and finding the energy to match it with my “this is what I love” hustle. It’s possible to do both. I convinced myself it was. The passion takes a while to buffer the bank account, but if you’ve got the daily grind supporting it, or the power of determination and focus guiding it, hey—the world is yours.
How much effort are you putting into communicating with your parents? I used to complain about my mom not really understanding my life. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized it’s my responsibility to communicate my dreams, thoughts and plans to her. She can’t read my mind, and she isn’t with me all the time to be able to see how I’ve grown through the years. You know, sometimes, your parents will always see you as their little baby. (Shout out to my mom!)
A big part of gaining your parents’ trust is to be responsible enough to be able to communicate with them. Tell them your plans and show them the concrete steps you’re taking to make your dreams a reality.
If it’s a real career you would like to pursue, you need to take concrete steps and be involved in the field you want to be in. Show your parents you’re dead serious.
Is there an internship you can apply for? Who are the mentors you can seek? Find ways to find real work in the industry you want to be in and not just be a watcher from the sidelines. If you want to be a part of the culture, you need to find ways to make this passion more concrete.
If your parents still don’t trust your decision-making, then back away for the meantime. Work quietly on your own to develop the knowledge and skills you need for the industry you plan to move to, while still working on your present job. It’s realistic to save money and gain work experience before jumping into another one with no plans. What you want to do is to prepare yourself for the next step. Let go of any anger towards your parents and focus on giving your all on your present job.
Understand that “They want me to have a stable job in a good company” isn’t a statement of complete terror. It sounds more like concerned parents. Who wouldn’t want their child to be secure financially? Think of this as riding a bike. They are watching you and making sure you don’t fall, but if you show them how much you are committed to practicing and learning, sooner or later, they might just take off the training wheels.