Social Question

SkulpTor's avatar

Should I get a real job?

Asked by SkulpTor (578points) July 13th, 2010

My girlfriends dad likes me but thinks I should get a real job as he puts it. He doesn’t think my art work will ever fully support his daughter and now she is starting to pressure me too. I make OK money, always have, but now I am beginning to wonder if I should just cut my hair and get that job for her sake. What should I do?

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32 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

If you were an artist before you married, they would be a little late with advise. Would continue what you love to do!

Sariperana's avatar

You should stay true to yourself and do what makes you happy. If you can survive and live of whatever income you currently make then I don’t see any problem with it.
Define a real job anyways?! You have income then you have a real job!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It would help to know a few more details. What do you consider ok money, do you want kids, what’s your girlfriends lifestyle expectations, etc. A starving artist is one thing, a starving family is another. I’ve worked real jobs that sucked, paid well, but still sucked. I walked. Welcome to fluther by the way.

ninahenry's avatar

do what you love. There are always ways you can make a little more money. But you don’t have to have a stable income to be happy. Don’t bore yourself in a consistant job that you feel is leading nowhere and brings you no new excitement. In the end, it’s much better to find excitement and newness in the work you do instead of being bored and looking for excitement and newness in your relationship which could destroy it. If you want to make a little more money google it. There are people living in busy cities who rent out their garage/driveway as a parking spot, do surveys online, “comps for cash”, etc. You may get lucky :) try ways to save money too by making stuff yourself, fixing it yourself and buying cheaper options, but whatever you do pursue what you love the most.

stardust's avatar

I would advise you stay true to yourself. However, as @Adirondackwannabe mentioned, if you want a family, among other things, then as happens with life, priorities change. It’s probably time to get resourceful and think of ways to generate more money in doing what you love.

ninahenry's avatar

I also agree with @Adirondackwannabe and @stardust. Although she’s just your girlfriend, if you were planning a future with children and bigger things than you currently have you’d have to make a bit more money. Maybe you could find a full or part-time job and do your art work as more of a hobby, although I realise how time-consuming that would be. Don’t stress yourself out too much as that would also affect your relationship. Also, does she have a job?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with having a day job, and you can do it while still being true to yourself. Be a waiter, or get some technical support gig for AT&T or some other corporation – you’re providing, and you can still be an artist.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m just curious,but for the younger crew, could people also give a ballpark age when they answer this? I’m in my 40’s.
It would help if I could spell.

SkulpTor's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I pay the bills including my mortgage on my studio/home/acreage, I have my dry spells but never not had money in the bank. I don’t need a crazy car payments for a new car routine but I think because I don’t have a 401K and health insurance her dad thinks my income is too unreliable!

I have been doing this for 20 years and have proven my ability to be comfortable but I refuse to belly up to the corporate bar just because. I am in my 40’s too!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’m in my mid-20’s.

BoBo1946's avatar

@SkulpTor hey, go for it…you just answer your question. Cool…it is your life! Your s/o and her father knew that upfront. (that you were an artist)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@SkulpTor I agree, the corporate game blows, the politics, the ass kissing etc, but the pay is pretty good. You’ve got 20 years in the record book, which says you can support yourself. The lack of insurance should be a concern at this point, if you’re thinking family. I guess my best answer is my rocking chair answer. If you live to be 80, and your setting on the rocking chair looking out at the past. what’s going to put a smile on your face? Knowing you’ve done it your way, or playing the corporate game. That’s one you’ll have to look inside to find.

SkulpTor's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Funny, I am sitting in my rocking chair writing this! Thanks for your comments!

CMaz's avatar

Yes. You want to be cool or have a life. Do you want to party or enjoy security.
Make the effort now, you might eventually get pretty close to having your cake and eating it too.

Cool is not what you project to others, it is who you are within. But, it does not pay the rent and society will not be a baby sitter for you.

So get with the program, or accept that there will be things/people you will not have in life.
It is all about what you are “cool” with. :-)

betterdays's avatar

I’m going to rock the boat a little bit. I’m from the corporate world and I’m in my 40’s. I have wealthy friends, middlle-class friends, and friends that are barely getting by. The wealthy friends had businesses and worked hard making making them successful. However, they paid a price for this success. They missed activities for their children, celebrations with their families, vacations due to problems with their companies, etc. But when they retired and sold their businesses, they are able to enjoy life, take vacations, have second homes, and have financial security.

Our middle-class friends however were able to do more things with their children, take vacations, and have nest-eggs, but on a smaller scale. They seem to be happy and comfortable.

The friends that are hardly making it financially followed their hearts in relation to their jobs or businesses. One is a caterer that honestly did not put much effort into making his business a success. Another has a business that could be highly successful, but he refuses to work more than 35 hours a week, so the business is doing poorly. However, they have enjoyed all of their childrens activities and are active within the community. They are now worried because they lack health insurance and savings, are unable to help their children with funds for college, unable to help pay for weddings, etc. They are now being forced to go to family and friends for loans to help them pay their medical bills and house payments.

If you could imagine yourself 20 years from now, what would be your main regret? Personally, I honestly think that it would be great if you could combine the best of both worlds by getting a job that would provide health insurance plus 401(k) benefits, plus keep doing your artistic work. If you have been able to be this successful at your art, you must be very talented. However, you need to be realistic also.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Get a job. Get a job that will allow you to paint on weekends and in the evenings. Get a job teaching art at a college (community college). Get a job running an art gallery. Get a job at an arts supply store. Re-train in digital graphics and get on the internet. Get an agent and sell more of your work and also get a job on top of that. Believe me, I am the last person who wants to sound like a “Stepford Family” member…but I know how difficult it is to be artistic and have to make a living. In the USA, being an artist isn’t at all appreciated. Unless you are selling canvases for 100k.

I wish I could tell you not to do it…but my concern isn’t about the frigging 401k’s and the security and all that (which we all know at this point, isn’t at all secure, anyway.) My concern is this….the number one issue that tanks a relationship?

Money….or lack of money. The surefire way to torpedo your relationship is not to make enough money or to live in lack and have your future in-laws breathing down your neck. Most fights and most points of contention in a relationship are around money.

Does your girlfriend have a job? You didn’t mention that. Or are you supposed to carry the full burden? What if you have children? So many, many things to consider.

You need to think about all these things. And I definitely would not marry, get engaged until you sort this out. This is a very important thing you need to resolve.

And cut your hair….you will look a lot cuter. Whether or not you will stay with her. :)

dynamicduo's avatar

Honestly, if you make your way with your lifestyle, I think you should keep at it, and find a girlfriend who is more suited to your personality (and one whose dad doesn’t add pressure on the pile).

The corporate world is a shallow scum sucking abyss of malcontent and bullshit. Happiness is really not found there, at least that was my experience. I am way way more happier living a lifestyle similar to yours now than I was living a high paying lifestyle and I doubt I will ever go back to city living. Maybe my experience resonated more because I am an artist too – when I saw all my hours and energy being drained away to profit a big company doing ethically dubious business, it killed me, literally. Pieces of my soul were flaking away rapidly. Worst of all was coming home at the end of the day and having only enough energy to regret not being able to heavily pursue artistic endeavors before going to sleep and waking up and doing the exact same shitty day over and over and over again.

Beyond this one instance though – if she pressures you on this, what else will she pressure you on? You are in your 40s so being a dad can be a bit more challenging, I would really hope she wouldn’t pressure you into this, but she could try depending on her age. However I think it’s a bit naive to think that she will stop pressuring you to conform into the mold she and her father fit into just because you get a job. I think it will be more likely that the pressure will change to ‘encouraging’ you to work harder, trading in your tools for a minivan and diapers.

And keep your hair long! Fuck those who want you to cut it. You do what you want and love to do in your life. Those who express discontent at your way of life and happiness are only unhappy at the fact that you are content in your spot whereas they are not despite ‘having so much more’ or ‘being in a better place’ or whatever other bullshit they’ve been brainwashed into believing.

So I think this clash between you and your girlfriend can be used as a way for you to determine what you want to do in your life, and whether your girlfriend and her dad will help or hinder your goals. If your girlfriend wants to raise a big family, and you do as well, then you might have to sacrifice part of your creative energy in order to gain more financial stability. Or you can pursue your art harder and become more successful in it. But if you love your art or your current way of life more than the thought of creating a family, then it is in no way wrong to admit that and to let that reality extend over into you and your girlfriend’s relationship as a whole.

As for me, I am extremely content in my current position. I have no desire for children or marriage and neither does my man-mate. We don’t need lots of money to get by, nor do we subscribe to the city-living thought of working for someone else doing something you do not love to do in order to get money which you then use to support yourself. We have chosen to cut the middlemen out of this and work to support ourselves directly. Certainly one of us will need to get part-time jobs to bring in some consistent money, because even out here in rural-land there are bills and mortgages and crops don’t grow all year long to fund them, but at least we won’t be forced to take on a full-time career job, because we simply don’t need this type of income in exchange for the price it takes from your soul. However, me and my man-mate communicate very often about our desires and wants in our lives, and based on your posts I am not sure if you have this level of communication with your girlfriend. I find without this level of communication any serious lifelong relationship is pretty much impossible to handle.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If she truly loves you, she would not encourage you to give up your career for something that pays better and might make you miserable. She can get a job that provides additional income and health coverage.

I’ve worked with many females that do this, and they all really like their jobs and are good mothers. One of them works part-time, but enough hours to be eligible for insurance…her husband is an independent AC repairman.

Since having their baby, my niece has gone back to work part-time and puts Baby Chompers in daycare a couple of days a week. You all could do something similar in order for you to accomplish what you need to while she is at work.

perspicacious's avatar

Can’t you do both?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@SkulpTor Do you have a web site where you sell your art? If so, post it here. There might be some Jellies that appreciate it and want to purchase it. :)

SkulpTor's avatar

@betterdays I can afford the insurance just never felt the need to get it, plus she has her own through her job. I just don’t have the weekly paycheck and do have occasional dry spells and work for what I need when I need it with my projects. I am not poor I am just free and he doesn’t like that part of my life.

janbb's avatar

Whose life is it anyway? I don’t know how old your girlfriend is, but I would only worry about what you and she think and not her Dad. It sounds like you want to stay with the life you have. Either you and she can work it out or you can’t.

SkulpTor's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Thanks for your thoughts but she is not the problem, it’s her dad. If he would stop harping then I feel she would not feel the pressure of him either. She wants to have kids and so do I but she is adamant she won’t work while raising our kids and that is the dilemma for me. I feel she should keep her job as I could be Mr. Mom and do my art but she says no to that trade as that is her job she says and I should be willing to support her. I think I can do it but daddio says he thinks I should get the guaranteed job to support her and his future grand kids!

janbb's avatar

@SkulpTor Sounds like a tough dilemma – I don’t envy you.

evandad's avatar

If you think you are doomed to be a starving artist then wise up. As @perspicacious mentioned you can always continue with the art as a side project. You’ll still have the same chances at success – slim to none.

dynamicduo's avatar

If she wants to be a stay-at-home mom, and you want to be a stay-at-home-and-artsy dad, and she won’t work while raising your kids, and you say she is not the problem, by that logic you condone her actions and agree to her plan. So you have to get a job, because you need at least one full time money earner in a family with kids plural and a full time stay at home mom. Or, you need to have $50,000 in your savings account (and even that is too low) per kid. Families are expensive and you cannot support one on your salary based on your own information. Babies cannot be put through dry spells. They die.

Who is she to say that it is her job to be the mom and your job to be the dad? You are completely valid in wanting to be a stay at home dad. But again, if you say she is not the problem, then you must be willing to adhere to what she thinks is right, and thus go and get a job. Otherwise you can stand your ground and try to talk sense into her, but I’m not sure how far that will go. She seems determined to have her way with things no matter what they are. Are you willing to always acquiesce to what she wants?

My dad was Mr Mom. He was also an artist, musician, and child care giver. My mom was and is the career woman. I had a wonderful upbringing, and find your girlfriend’s opinion that “it’s her job to be the parent” to be disrespectful to men and limiting to her own self worth. But if you love her and want to be with her, if she wants to be the mom and you love her enough to let her do this so that you stay together and have a family, then by that logic you should go out and get a full time job.

But boy, if I were in your shoes I would so hightail it out of there. She seems very controlling and set in her ways and you seem to be a free spirit and open to change and different ideas. I’m not sure how you two can compromise on this and other issues in your relationship when one of you (girlfriend) is simply not willing to compromise. Completely ignoring her father’s influence, it seems to be her way or the highway. So make your choice.

ratboy's avatar

It’s customary to be dead inside by the time you’re forty—get with the program.

Jeruba's avatar

Pleasing Dad should not be part of the picture. Dad has to learn to live with things he doesn’t like.

But prudence says that you should plan for times when you can’t work, temporarily or permanently. Accidents and illness can happen to anyone. And if they don’t get you first, you’ll eventually face old age. Your provisions have to keep you not just today but also tomorrow. You and whomever else you have taken responsibility for, such as your own children.

If you plan for a family, you also have to be able to cover the expenses of prenatal care, childbirth, and raising kids. Just from a medical point of view this could be a huge sum without insurance. Here are a few sources on medical and hospital costs:
Length of stay and hospital costs
Average hospital stay
Will your insurance policy cover your hospital costs?
Average medical costs for prenatal care and childbirth in U.S.

And of course, health is only one dimension of possibility than can drain your resources. Are you thinking about what it’s like to be in your sixties and have several kids in their teens and twenties? I have first-hand experience with that.

The issue isn’t how you take care of things. It’s whether you take care of things. If you can do this in your own way, it doesn’t matter whether Dad approves or not.

I can’t really blame Dad for worrying if he’s suddenly going to find himself financially responsible for his daughter and all her offspring (and maybe you too) if something goes wrong. He might not have planned to spend his own retirement funds supporting a whole second family. Can you allay his concerns?

But damn, cutting your hair is a whole other matter. Your hair is your own. Here in Silicon Valley, I see men working in high-tech with waist-length braids and ponytails. Unless you agree to certain restrictions as a condition of employment, nobody should be telling you how to wear your hair.

YARNLADY's avatar

It would probably be a whole more satisfactory to simply get a 401K or similar, and purchase insurance. You do need to protect you wife and future family, if any, in case anything does happen to you.

We carry private life insurance on both Hubby and I, and he has a key-man policy at work as well. We also carry house insurance, car insurance, and pay at work for the full coverage health insurance.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The real in the deal, what type pr kind of art do you do? Could you expand your artistic avenue to other areas of art that has more leverage like producing serigraphs, lithographs, block prints etc.?

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