How to Respond to “Get a Real Job” Comments

Has anyone ever told you to “get a real job” when you were trying to explain 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, or 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 their freelancing careers. 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 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.

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 of 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 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. This means 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 the 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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  1. I am currently in the process of creating my portfolio website and this has been sooo helpful, can’t thank you enough. Tres Bien, P.S check out my website to see how I am implementing some of your ideas.

    1. Hi Yayha,

      That’s so great. I’m looking forward to checking out your website.
      All the best.

  2. Hi Hassaan, Thought provoking and insightful blog post. It is true that entrepreneurs, small business owners, freelancers, bloggers and YouTubers are not considered a full time career unless they become successful. Best way to answer “Get a Real Job” comments is by becoming successful at your business. Until you become successful if anyone says degrading to about your profession it is better to smile and move on.

    1. Hi Sajan,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I love being underestimated. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most of the people out there. The mindset-building is the key to getting out of your comfort zone. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

  3. Hmm, “Pay attention to what people say I’m good at”! Thanks for this helpful statement, Hassaan! It’s something that I strongly believe will see me through the blogging ride. I think this will take me to my destination in no distant time. I’ll definitely read the book, “How to Use a Few Hours everyday and Change Your Life”. I really want to live a productive and exciting lifestyle, and I strongly feel reading this book will help a lot.

    I also want to thank you for the tips on how to respond to “Get a real job” comments. This is one particular area I’ve got so much baffled long before I read a post on your blog that teaches how to deal with such circumstances in the course of blogging. Thanks for all these, Hassaan!

    Sierra Morgan

    1. Hi Sierra,

      Thanks so much for your comment. The truth is that people don’t realize that their random comments make people go off the rails. I have been there, but I realized that it’s never going to work this way. So I started mind management (on my own) that led to becoming mentally stronger. I shared this stuff in my book you’re referring to.

      I’ll be so happy if you find my book helpful.

      Thanks for letting me know.

      Here are the book links:

      1. Excellent, Hassaan! Thanks for sharing the links with me! Much grateful! I’m going to check through the links in earnest. I’ll always follow the “Smile and move on” method to respond to a “Get a real job” comment as stated in this post. If I ever need help with anything going forward, I’ll let you know. Thanks for all the help on this blogging portal!

        Sierra Morgan

  4. Hi Hassaan
    super post here. I also got a lot of these comment in the past so I can relate pretty well. There’s no way to win the argument here so it’s best to ignore, keep smiling and move on.
    As for the motivation behind such words most people are jealous and angry at themselves and they went their frustrations on you.

    Some mean well and wish to help you but their advice is still wrong.
    So, bottom line is, keep your head down and keep going.

  5. Hey Hassaan,

    Here after a long time and like always loved your post. I do missed reading your posts as I was busy with one of my new projects, but will be regular from now on.

    Keep up the good work.

    ~ Donna

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