How to Respond to “Get a Real Job” Comments

Spoiler alert: this is going to be a controversial blog post, and I might get emails and Facebook messages afterward.

Has someone ever told you “get a real job” when you explained what you do for a living?

Hang on.

Don’t feel discouraged.

Gary Vaynerchuk often says, “look at the person who is giving you the advice.” And it makes sense. Meaning, the person who is advising you might be someone else’s employee. Maybe, he or she is miserable at work. Maybe, the person is having a bad day. If neither is true, then most probably the person has no idea about the freedom of being self-employed.

Freelancers hear a lot of comments, especially when they’re starting out their freelancing career. Bloggers and YouTubers are no exception. The reason I’m writing this blog post is that I want to mentally prepare you so that you could avoid headaches and stress during your progression.

Trust me; I have been there. I’m a blogger and freelance writer, so I know exactly how it feels when you hear “get a real job” comments from people who haven’t seen your bank statement.

Had I not become mentally stronger, I’d have been easily depressed over such comments.

how to respond to "get a real job" comments

So here are three ways to respond to “get a real job” comments:

1: Smile and move on

You might think: “why shouldn’t I reply to such suggestions?” or “I can’t take it anymore.”

The idea is that why to waste your time and energy on something that doesn’t bring any ROI.

On the contrary, you must spend your 20 minutes if someone wants to learn how to get started with freelancing or blogging. The reason is that the intention is completely different.

My ebooks on Freelancing:

How to Start Freelancing When You Have Zero ExperienceMy Answer to How to Get Hired Through a Blog

I have been smiling and moving on for quite some time because:

  • I don’t want to think about it and get depressed
  • They don’t know what I do, so why bother?
  • Some of them might be jealous or insecure with me
  • People often expect quick results without understanding the game
  • Most of the doubters are job persons who can’t stand the fact that I’m self-employed

So sometimes smiling and moving on is the best solution.

2: Talk about your happiness

They may think you’re a fool or they may laugh at you, but you can always explain on some occasions. Sometimes, you come across people that are open to ideas and differences of opinion.

I’ve responded to some people who asked me very politely about what I do for a living, and they were fascinated by my work as a freelance writer, especially how I use my blog to generate leads.

The point is that you must know how to sift through the right people to respond in a specific way.

Similarly, it’s essential to understand when and where you can talk about your happiness and why you prefer freelancing over an in-house job. You can’t argue with everyone you come across, and surely, you can’t convince everyone on this.

So get to know when and where to explain your work and when and where to pivot.

3: Learn the art of avoiding the confrontation

If I tell you that you should avoid confrontation with anyone who doesn’t agree with your career choice, then some of you won’t like it.

I know that you can explain what you do, how your freelancing career is progressing, and where you’re heading, but you have to understand it might not matter to others. Sometimes, people just want to make you feel bad. So why worry when you know there are people out there that might not understand what you do, and explaining to them won’t work.

I don’t want you to get into the arguments over teasing comments made by a friend or relative because mental health is extremely precious. When you confront someone or even pay attention to a doubter, you feel hurt or angry. As a result, it could mentally and physically disturb you for the next few hours.

Being a freelancer, I know that every minute is precious; I don’t want to spend my time thinking about what others think of me. So I mastered the art of avoiding confrontation by avoiding toxic people and not paying attention to them even if I bump into them.


The “get a real job” phenomenon is rather complex. Meaning, you can’t always wrap it up with factors like jealousy, toxicity, and narcissism.

Maybe, someone who genuinely cares about you and wants you to progress would also tell you to get a real job. You have to analyze the job and what suggestions you’re getting continuously.

In my newest book “How to Use a Few Hours Every Day and Change Your Life,” I mentioned that pay close attention to what people say you’re good at.

Let me share a true story:
A cousin of mine was working in a data entry field on a freelance basis. I knew that the data entry he was doing was merely copying and pasting. He wasn’t honing any craft whatsoever. So I told him to find a passion or learn a skill that interests him.

He didn’t pay much attention to my suggestion, and later on, the data entry project got stopped, and he was jobless. Then, he realized what I said to him, and then he got into video editing and started paying attention to learning a skill.

Now, he might end up getting freelance video editing clients or a full-time job as a video editor just because he chose something solid to work on.

The point is that you have to figure out what you’re doing, where you’re heading, and where you want to end up.

Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you would still be freelancing after 9 years. If you stick to a niche and keep exploring new ideas, you can always move up the ladder and look out for other opportunities.

Furthermore, the core purpose of this blog post is to ensure that teasing comments and unnecessary taunts don’t mess with your head. Just remember that it’s you who can make a difference by just changing the way you think.

It doesn’t matter what people think of you as long as you’re happy with your line of work.

You must feel sorry for people who try to put others down on purpose.

Let’s end this!

Does this blog post make any difference in strengthening your mindset as a freelancer?

If it does, make sure to leave a comment.

All the best.

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