“I can’t get no satisfaction.” Those are the song lyrics that come to mind when I think about nearly every single time I’ve tried to share a victory with friends or family or really anybody who isn’t in my industry. Nobody will ever really understand what you do besides you, and maybe a small group of colleagues who also do what you do. Even working in the same industry as you doesn’t mean someone will understand the exact struggles of your role. Very few people in your life will truly see what it means to be you every day—what your hustle and grind and struggles and victories are like.
It’s this strange and awkward thing we have to deal with: wanting to get support from the people who understand our lives the least. That’s at least true when it comes to career stuff. Your parents and family may know a lot about you on a personal level, but, eventually, your career becomes personal, and it’s a part of your life that your friends and family just may not get. You want them to get it so badly. So, you’ll make the mistake many, many times of trying to let them in—of trying to share the wins and explain to them just what that next step means. I call it a mistake because they never respond the way you want them to.
It’s hard for people to be supportive in the right way of something they don’t understand. I can’t tell you how much time I spend venting to my boyfriend about how my mom responded to my recent career news (we’re working on that relationship). And yet, I walk back into the same trap over and over again and try to tell my family about my career wins, only to hear these comments that are meant to be supportive (I think?) but come off as condescending.
Well that’s better than last time
You try to tell your family about a recent victory. You know that it’s a victory. You know that it could mean big things! You’re very proud of yourself. And they say, “Well, that’s better than last time,” recalling a previous, similar effort that didn’t turn out as well.