By ‘unorthodox’, I mean anything that differs from traditional office jobs. This could be Social Media influencers, professional organizers, gamers, and so forth. These are newfound careers not necessarily recognized by the general public, especially not by those who belong to older generations.
When I expressed an intention to start a public Studygram page back in February 2020, my parents were dubious. “What is the value sharing a picture of your math notes?” they would constantly ask me, “Why would anyone want to see them? And is it really worth your time running an account like this?”
Considering that I was only planning on running the account on the side while pursuing education, those who have decided to pursue these paths as their formal career must have been questioned and doubted a lot more often. The lack of recognition can become extremely discouraging in pursuing these careers if people around you do not give you support, so it is important to demonstrate your ability and earn their credibility. Here are some simple ways to do just that:
#1: explain how your job works
A lot of the time, elders discourage us from pursuing ‘creative’ careers because they are worried about the stability of these jobs. They do not know where the money is coming from or whether the income is sustainable.
Let us say that you are a full-time YouTuber, as an example. To some, it looks like you are simply ‘having fun’ filming videos and entertaining your audience. They are sure to wonder, how are you paying for your bills by doing this, acting like an idle teenager?
Instead of getting mad at them or starting an argument, find some time to sit down with them and explain to them how your job works. Explain how you have monetized your videos and how the YouTube Ad Sense program works. Be sure to touch on how the more effort you put into making your videos entertaining, the more views you will likely get, and the more income you will generate from your Ad views. Once they have made sense of your income stream, they will probably support you in making your videos more attractive to increase your profits.
#2: display your struggles, hard work and passion
Another common reason why ‘creative’ jobs are not respected is that they seem to be ‘easy’ work. If you are exempt from being stuck in traffic going to and from work every day, if you do not have a hypercritical boss to report to, if your job does not include meticulous yet often pointless tasks such as weekly meetings and monthly reports commonly found in regular office jobs, then it is likely that some will consider your job a piece of cake which lacks the integrity required in the ‘grown-up’ career field. Prove them wrong by demonstrating how hard you have to work and how many challenges you have to face. Show them that your career is not just about messing around.
For instance, if you are a professional organizer who organizes your client’s households, it is very likely for people to smirk and say “Pfft, you are getting paid for just folding clothes? I can do that too”. But, if you show them the Before and After pictures of catastrophically disorganized wardrobes, closets, and kitchens, and mounting items stacked from floor to ceiling, they will realize that decluttering and creating storage space are just as time-consuming as many other office jobs, and require a lot more thought than simply ‘folding clothes’.
The same goes for TikTokers–showcase the amount of time and thought you put into editing your videos to demonstrate that you are doing a lot more than lip-synching, and online store owners–display how carefully you design your products to show that they have won the hearts of your customers truly because of their niche. Often people believe that hard work leads to success. If your hard work is constant, then those around you will eventually believe that your success is sustainable.