When I was growing up, it was a boom time. Everybody was rolling in it. Cuts in schools? Unheard of. Layoffs? Rare. If you had a modicum of talent in this area, you could do anything.

I was also one of those talented kids. Art ribbons, public speaking awards, good grades, and always preforming above grade level.

All I ever heard from my family was scorn. "You want to do X? Can you really make money doing that? You should have a back-up plan." You can replace X with:

  • Teaching special education
  • Becoming a programmer
  • Doing art
  • Writing
  • Basically anything I loved

Their feeling was that I should not do anything I loved, because if I loved it, it would obviously not bring in money. I eventually shrugged off their advice and did what I loved, and yes, I make money with it.

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Fast forward twenty years. My nephews are at the end of the college careers, and one has realized that his chosen field may not be all that stable or lucrative. He also may be realizing that he doesn't have the talent he thought he did.

What does my family say? "You'll be fine! You're so smart and talented! Do what you love!" These are the same fuckers who told me to go be a government worker because it was 'stable.' This is the same family where they still pretend like they haven't heard that I'm a published author and pretty well-known in my field. Even though I've been invited to speak at a dozen conferences now, they're still shocked when it shows up on my Facebook timeline. "They pay you to speak?"

To cap it off, he's going into journalism... and I work at one of the largest media outlets in the country. You'd think he'd be mining me for connections and internships. Nope. He didn't even know where I worked. When he found out, he shrugged it off.

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Honestly, I should just pour a drink and watch him crater. His writing isn't that good, and he can't even manage to Google me (and I am insanely Google-able). He's set to graduate soon, has no backup plan, and only seems to listen to people who tell him he's the second coming.