Freelancing is a career and lifestyle unlike any other. Back when your parents were young this didn’t exist. There was no such thing as working from a computer at home in your pyjamas. This can make it difficult for a lot of parents to really understand what you do for a living. For a lot of freelancers, the only way to show inquisitive parents what they do is to show them that they do actually earn money.
According to LinkedIn, half of all parents wanted to know more about what their children did. And a third of the 16,000 surveyed said they didn’t really know what their offspring did for a living.
If they compared it across different career fields, we’d likely see these numbers rising for freelancers. Let’s take a look at how you should go about explaining what you do to your parents.
Treat Them Like Clients
An easy way to tick off your parents is to treat this conversation like it’s a lecture. Don’t dismiss it as if they won’t be interested. The truth is a lot of parents do want to know what their children are doing. It might be tempting to do otherwise, but try to treat them like a prospective client.
This is the easiest way to explain what you do and give them something to be interested in at the same time. After all, if you can’t get your mother interested what chance have you got of getting a stranger interested?
Use an Example
If you find your parents getting confused, try to frame your career in a different way. Use an example or an analogy to explain what you do. You don’t have to do something overly cheesy, but try to use an example someone without industry experience can understand.
Here’s an easy analogy for a freelance writer. Say your career is like a three-legged stool. One leg is for writing about the subjects you’re passionate about. The second leg is for corporate writing that allows you to write about the subjects you’re passionate about. And the third leg is for any collaborative job that gets you out of the home office and into the real world.
It’s a wonderful example because it explains your motives, what you actually do, and where you work.
Stick to the Hard Details
One way to get your parents confused is to start implementing tech speak and other industry jargon. Don’t delve into flowery descriptions about how you’re changing the world one step at a time. Stick to your actual tasks you encounter each day. If you write about a specialist subject, say you write about that specialist subject and nothing else.
You can go into the detail after your parents fully understand your job. And if you’ve explained your job well, the chances are they’ll ask for these details themselves in time. Just make sure you continue to encourage them to ask questions about your work and lifestyle.
Make Them Grasp the Seriousness
It can be difficult to convince parents you’re actually working because you don’t have a morning rush-hour. This is why you need to make them see how serious it is. Start by setting boundaries where you won’t be available for anything other than emergencies. If your mother continues to breach those boundaries, don’t respond to her. She’ll get the message and she’ll understand you do have a real job.
And if none of these tips work, remember that you can still keep trying. More conservative parents who aren’t clued up on all the techy stuff might need a few explanations to get them to understand your day.