Write to West Star’s Advice Columnist: Little Miss Stay-At-Home, November 30th

Dear Little Miss Stay-at-home,

I am having a hard time in my current situation. I have just graduated from university and I am finding that I need to take some time out of the working world in order to catch my bearings and figure out how to apply my skills. However, my aunt and parents feel that I am just being useless waste case because they don’t understand how things are today. They also took really straight forward, socially irrelevant careers that they ended up hating for thirty years.

I based my whole life on not being like them, and for the first time, I feel that they have grounds to criticize me. I am just trying to get my ducks in a row and make decent connections, but they keep pressuring me to take superficial directions just to say to their friends and family that I am successful! This includes taking grad school, but I know that this isn’t what my instincts are telling me, I feel they are only trying to either make themselves look better or to make me feel worse. What do I do?

Trying to not be like them,
St. Albert

Dear Trying to not be like them,

Don’t worry! You’re doing the right thing! A lot of life failures are failing because they let somebody pressure them into it. It is a cycle of dumbshit that really has our left society on the 2008-sand it teeters on today. Think about it: if doing everything by the book and following what most people think is successful actually worked, then we would have a lot less failures than we do now, right? If you go to grad school, the best person you can hope to become is someone like goddamn Kitty Armstrong, with her Pink Ribbon Fundraisers and her sangria recipe she won’t share – even though you picked up her asshole son from soccer all summer. But chances are you’ll end up even worse-off, and you’ll be just like your mother.

All the people I look up to fell off the ‘right track’ in their early twenties, or at least got a decent divorce settlement before they got trapped by a ‘kid arrangement’. Don’t throw away your chances like your family did! If you’re old enough to have a job, you’re old enough to know why you don’t need one, and your suburbanite relatives don’t seem to understand that. I would never trust the life advice of somebody who lives in the suburbs. Chances are, they have bought some over-priced lifestyle during a construction boom, got saddled in with more debt than their home is worth, and their bitterness over this has caused a spending problem, which makes them have to work all the time! We call these people the ‘working dead’: people like my husband who didn’t take any risks, never took anyone to Paris, and didn’t have enough health insurance to cover the birth control which could have prevented this whole mess.

One way to change the way people try to order you around, is to change the words they can use to talk about you behind your back. If you tell most people in our city you are unemployed, they will usually treat you like you have brain damage or a drug problem. Think how your reputation improves just by telling people, “No, not unemployed! I’m…

-Taking a maternity dry run
-On sabbatical
-In mid-life retirement
-Between contracts
-In a Maritimers apprenticeship program
-Working on a fine art/writing/dance/acting career
-Taking an ‘Occupy movement’ correspondent course
-In Workaholics Anonymous
-On E.I- Enjoyment Insurance
-Dating handsome Mr. Pogey
-Rehearsing not becoming a dentist
-Performing non-productive resistance
-Practising for retirement
-Waiting for the baby boomers to die out of the work force
-A long term investment
-A slow growth economy
-Practising for a cancer diagnosis
-Accommodating the raising retirement age
– Rehearsing the looming oil bust
-Working for the Conservative civil service
-A stay-at-home backpacker
-Trapped in job purgatory
-Giving somebody else a shot
-Awesome-opportunity brewing
-Taking care of Grandma/Grandpa, somebody your parents don’t make time for
-Giving up working for Lent
-Getting to know my ‘homeless’ side
-Swearing off money
-Giving the employed a much needed confidence boost
-Clearing up my schedule
-Taking one for the team
-Taking a 2008 lifestyle grant
-Doing what every construction contractor does after a project but for some reason that’s okay

These are all passable phrases to use. Remember, our commutes and work places are filled with people who are so out of touch they don’t even know what they like! We call those people ‘potential customers.’

Good luck!

Little Miss Stay-At-Home xoxo