Have you ever helped a "misguided" friend get on a career track?

My old roommates girlfriend, later his wife, was a nice person I’ll call Jen. Jen had a kind of hippie/bohemian/earthy/artsy lifestyle. She made money by the occasional odd job or by selling crafts. She lived super cheaply with roommates. Clothes were from thrift shops. She had no health insurance and no retirement. The extra time she had she enjoyed reading or making crafts. She was about age 30 but didnt feel like making any changes.

Well along came Phill. He persuaded her to start thinking about her future and to get a regular job with the federal government where she would have a good salary plus full benefits and working towards a civil service retirement. After about a year of this she looked around and lo and behold, she LIKED having money. Liked being able to go out and do things. Liked being able to buy a new car. Liked that she could look forward to a good retirement.

Sadly I see many people like this. They might even work full time and all and love their jobs, but sadly its at jobs that pay little and offer no benefits or retirement. Examples are artists or persons working at bookstores, farms, and coffee shops. Even some people who lived in a commune but left after a few years because they realized they needed to “get something going in their lives”.

Question is, have you ever helped someone or known someone who had a “nice” lifestyle but didnt have any long term plans or have a career that would enable them to make a better living or retire? Did you help them to get a regular job, even one they didnt like, because it offered long term benefits?

I have known people like that, including some very good friends, but I’ve never seen a situation where they changed their minds. To this day, there are living hand to mouth, with no long term plans for the future. One was even a paramour of mine, and a lovely person, but we eventually parted ways because our visions of how to live ones life were just too different.

Were the persons ever concerned about their future, things like having a career and retirement?

And that brings up another issue is that some people are just happy where they are and refuse to change.

Fuckin’ hippies man! :persevere:

Help someone else get on a conventionally productive career path instead of doing what they enjoy? Why in the seven hells would I do that?

Honestly, great question. On one hand we should support our friends and relatives in what they do but on the other, we care for the person and see things we think should be changed. If for example the person seems depressed and frustrated about their lack of money or even worse, they start sponging off you, then I think its good to push them.

But like you say if they are truly happy.

In my above case I think Phil pushed Jen into getting a real job because of several things. 1. He felt she wasnt living up to her potential. 2. He wanted to marry her but wanted her to be able to bring in money also 3. She herself at age 30 was starting to get depressed about her situation and was discussing change but didnt know how.

I suspect you’d be even sadder if you found yourself living in a world with no artists, bookstores, farms, or coffee shops.

No. I’ve let people know I’m available if they want to explore a career change.

Also in Jen’s case she was old enough, experienced enough to see and understand. To me it sounds more like and extended “hitchhiking across Europe” sort of phase of life. She was ready to move on but maybe needed a little help figuring out how.

I’ve mentored a few people here and there, but if someone refuses to change their direction in life, the advise I give is limited in quantity.

No… the closest I’ve come is to encourage a smart and educated, but low ambition friend of mine to aim a little higher. He’s not some kind of couch-surfer or anything- he can hold down a job, but just isn’t willing to put in any more effort than the minimum in most cases, and is sort of chronically underpaid and overly attached to his mom.

My wife and I helped a friend of hers sort of get their shit together. She was living on her brother’s couch and working some crazy ‘job’ that really didn’t have any legitimacy.

Moved her, got her an apartment for her and her cat, she got a ‘real’ job and seems pretty happy to have her own place and money for stuff like food and a car that actually runs.

Not really for me to judge, but I would assume she is better off now. She seems happy.

Somewhat. My close friend had a habit of threatening to quit his job and move back home every time he had a bad day at work. And, he had job jumped quite a lot in his 20s. I finally told him that I was tired of talking him off the ledge. All jobs can suck on any given day and he really should stick with one place for a while. Let’s just say he’s quite successful now and is taking his second European trip this year.

My ex bf had to slap some sense into me. I’d spent a good part of my 20s working dead end jobs because I was always ‘going to grad school soon’ That never happened. It was time to actually get a ‘real’ job and I did. I can’t say I’ve always been happy but at least it was a step in the right direction.

It’s unlikely that all the artists, bookstore workers/owners, farmers, and coffee shops are going to quit or close.

Not exactly what the OP is referring to, but *somewhat *similar.

When I got married, my new spouse moved across the country to live with me. They are an intelligent, educated, and very capable person. They had previously been decently employed, but had been laid off about a year previously, and had not found a new job where they lived.

When they got to where we live, they weren’t really making traction in a job search and I deduced, based on what I saw and their prior period of unemployment, that they lacked the skills for this task. Within short order I hooked them up with a friend who pointed them to a good job. Later on they expressed that they wanted to find a better job but didn’t really make any moves on that front. I pointed them to a resource for job postings where they found another better job. Over time they have moved up in their career to great success.

So, I wouldn’t call them misguided, like in the OP. Instead, they just have a low skill at the job finding process. Whereas it is something I could do for them with ease. Once they have a job they’re great.

That’s just it. None of them were concerned at all. They were perfectly happy living a bohemian life with virtually no material assets. When I eventually figured that out, I realized that I was like the psychiatrist trying to change a lightbulb.

Art can be a career. But you really have to WORK at it. They not only are creating art they are marketing it also. You can “help out a friend” by working at their bookstore or farm or coffeeshop because you simply like the lifestyle or people and they pay you what they can but you shouldnt look at it as a long term career.

I’ve known a great many people in creative vocations. I’ve seen some achieve great success and I’ve seen others struggle. (Most will do the latter for at least a while before they’re able to do the former.)

Never once has it occurred to me to suggest to someone that they would be better off in a different career. How arrogant would that be of me?
In fact, having held “conventional” jobs for most of my life, I have much respect - even envy - for those who are willing to stick with something they’re passionate about, regardless of monetary promise.

Is Phill as controlling in other aspects of his relationship with Jen?

Also, I’m happy helping to support my artist friends materially, if they want. I would never suggest they change their work, though I might offer ideas if they wanted them (e.g., “I know you need money and hate people. Would you like help finding a list of jobs that require low interaction?”)

This, pretty much, is how I’d describe several friends of mine.

When I first started working, in my early 20s, I rented a house with them – one was an artist (and, at that time, he was my closest friend); the other was a performer at the Renaissance Faire. They both made fun of me (at least a little bit) for being the “responsible one,” who was looking at my job as a career rather than a means to an end, but I know that they also realized it meant I did have a stable income.

30 years later, they’re both, more or less, doing the same things that they were doing back then. The artist still draws and paints, self-publishes some weird books that no one buys, and goes to conventions where he sets up a booth in the art show, where he might sell a print or two. The performer and his wife still work the Ren Faire circuit, living utterly hand-to-mouth, and regularly posting on Facebook about how they’re looking for help from friends to get to the next show.

Both of them have some serious health issues – the artist has had skin cancer, and it’s pretty clear to me that he also suffers from mental illness. The performer has had a heart attack, and is on expensive meds. Neither of them have health insurance, and I suspect that neither of them have any savings of any sort.

Both of them have worked “mundane” jobs in the past, but quit them, as they were unhappy at them. In one sense, they’re “living their dream,” and nothing else other than that has ever made them happy; any counsel or advice that they’ve ever gotten to “do something else” has either fallen on deaf ears, or been met with “but I won’t be happy doing that.”

I have no doubt that both of them realize that, financially, they’re in very bleak shape, but following their muses was always what was important to them, and they have never been particularly rational or realistic about the fact that doing so was not a particuarly wise decision.

In a way, it’s tragic to tell people that they have to chain themselves to something they hate and earn money for someone else in order to be considered worthy of life. But it’s the reality of the system that exists. It can be a tough situation.