Yes, I Do Work, And No, I’m Sorry, But I Can’t Help You During My Workday
Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
As a professional writer, you have likely encountered various issues regarding your family and friends accepting your work as a true job. I personally have experienced it countless times. For example, my husband’s grandmother, whom I dearly love, doesn’t drive, and therefore needs to be driven to doctor’s appointments, to get groceries, and to run any number of random errands. In her mind, I am the only person in the family who “doesn’t work,” so I am the one that gets to take her to the doctor and spend hours running around town. At one point, she actually said to me, “Well, I would ask [insert person] to take me, but they have to work, and I just hate to ask them to give up a day’s work and income, in order to take me to the doctor.” As you likely noticed, the other person’s job gets consideration, acceptance, and respect, while mine is misunderstood and virtually ignored.
After pondering why our jobs as writers doesn’t get the respect that other jobs achieve, I came to the realization that there are a couple of factors to blame. Read below and let me know if you agree:
Generational Disconnect & Lack of Understanding Today’s Common Technology
In my experience, most of the family members I have trouble dealing with in regards to my work are older. They don’t own computers, don’t even know what the internet is, and they can’t possibly understand what I do, even though I have tried to explain it time and time again. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the generational divide and lack of understanding in regards to modern day technology has much to do with their lack of respect for my job. After all, it’s hard for them to respect something they don’t understand.
Note: I know and appreciate that not all older people are technologically inept; this is simply my experience with the people in my family. Most of the older people I’ve met, outside my family, are very with it.
False Sense of Flexibility in Regards to our Work Schedule & Being Our Own Boss
My dad owned a home repair business for years, and people told him all the time “It must be so nice to be your own boss and have such a flexible schedule.” He, of course, knew that wasn’t the case. If anything, his business demanded more of his time and, for sure, was more stressful than most so-called “regular” jobs.
I think many people see our jobs as professional writers in a similar way. People assume because we can work at 2 am, we want to work at 2 am. However, what they don’t get is that, if we go with them to the doctor, take them to the bank, or pick up their kids for them, we don’t have a choice. Our writing work will get pushed back till the evening or nighttime hours, where it then encroaches on family time. To say my schedule is ultra-flexible is a bit deceptive; I do have set hours in which I prefer to work, I just don’t always stick to my guns and enforce them.
There are many other reasons that our jobs as freelance writers are not respected as much as other jobs. However, more often than not, it seems that people simply don’t “understand” the nuances of our job. What this means for us as writers is that we have to set boundaries and stick to them when it comes to our work hours and job in general. When we learn to respect our job, eventually, those around us will too. Well…maybe.
It’s worth a shot!
Brandie P is an engaging writer who enjoys her job as a freelancer, even if it is not always understood by her family. This time of year, she most enjoys spending her weekends watching her son play soccer and keeping up with her DAWGs in college football.