I don't really know who else to ask this, as not many people listen or respond or don't really know. I'm 16 year old furry from the Czech republic, striving towards being artist.
I'm looking forward to moving to the US when I'm older and I was thinking.. how possible is it to work full-time as an artist/fursuit maker? I don't know how my degree is going to help me because degrees here in Europe work differently. I will leave with woodcarving degree.
I'm more than willing to get a job outside the furry fandom, but being a furry is big part of me and art is one of the only things I genuinely enjoy and value in life. I really want to like my job.
I worry there's already too many artists/fursuit makers, so there's no need for me to do the same thing and provide the same services. And also I'm worried if the fact that I wouldn't have art degree would make a difference. A lot of people say that I'm talented and could already make living off of what I do, but I'm honestly very unsure. I'm afraid there's no possible way to fulfill my dreams. Then, also, I have friends who would gladly help me out.
I'm feeling a little lost about this issue; it keeps me very unmotivated. So, thank you for advance!
Mika Kay (age 16; Czech Republic)
P.S ; I love what you do, its very wholesome to help people like this.
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Dobrý Den, Mika Kay!
In the fandom, you will find that pretty much all fursuit makers and artists are freelancers and do not work for a corporation of any kind. Even the larger, more successful fursuit makers are small operations that aren't, generally, seeking new employees. This is because, unlike many other products, fursuits are pretty much all custom-made to match people's fursonas. Therefore, fursuits are not made on an assembly line, which would make such a business more conducive to becoming larger and hiring more people. Now, there are costume companies (many in Asia) that make standardized costumes, but these are all quite inferior in quality. Yeah, they are cheaper, but they are terrible. Odin Wolf has posted a couple of hilarious videos about counterfeit and fake fursuits from companies like Alibaba (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP_u3HaFYyM) and even Walmart (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDPX4t-8zdQ). You are not going to get quality from such places, and you do not want to work for them if you have any self-respect.
No, fursuit makers are typically individuals or, sometimes, small family operations, and it is very difficult to make a living at it. Even my maker, Beastcub, who is extremely talented and sells quality (and not inexpensive) fursuits, has trouble getting by (I highly recommend her, by the way, to any of my readers). Similarly, there are not companies that put out tons of furry art like some kind of firm that hires starving artists to paint oils for hotel lobbies. No, artists are freelance individuals, too.
Your concern should not, however, be a fear that there are too many fursuit makers. One can never have too many quality makers in a fandom in which waiting queues for fursuits are typically 6 months to a year or longer. If you're really excellent at making fursuits, then you will find customers. You will, of course, need to advertise your services, which is a whole other subject.
With your background in woodworking, you're going to need to be a freelancer for that, too, unless you want to do something such as architectural carving. This is a really cool field to get into, in my humble opinion, and there are companies you can work for who do it. What this entails is making carvings for things such as corbels, columns, mullions, staircases, brackets, and so on that are used in high-end construction. If I were you, I would look into it. See if companies such as Art for Everyday, Inc. (artforeveryday.com) are hiring (note: most such companies that I've seen are in Canada, not the United States). Another option is making wooden furniture. Again, there are many good Canadian companies (are you dead-set on moving to the United States or might Canada be an option for you?)
Anyway, when it comes to the arts such as painting, fursuit making, and wood carving, most people go freelance and/or open their own small companies rather than work for a large corporation. My recommendation for you would be to research how to start your own small business. If you are asking about U.S. employment because you want to obtain a work visa with employer sponsorship, then, again, I would recommend Canada over the United States, especially in your field of work. If you can find a Canadian firm to sponsor you, this will help you a lot in getting a Canadian visa, and, as I said, there are more opportunities in woodworking in Canada than in the United States. Another way to get a visa, of course, would be to become a student here. That would have more possibilities for you, if you were interested in attending university in the States.
In the meantime, I would recommend that you work on your carvings or fursuit design in the Czech Republic and build your portfolio. You can also start building your reputation in the furry fandom by accepting commissions from Americans. Because of our internet culture, you don't have to live in the United States to sell products here.
I hope this was helpful. Good luck!
I'm writing this today as I have no else to turn to for advice, no one that will listen at any rate.
Despite my best intentions, I have ended up stuck between a rock and a hard place. I work about 12 hours a week in a part time job and am constantly told I am being lazy. The truth is that this is the only job I have ever been good at, but my family tells me constantly to leave and go for anything else... Believe me, I checked, and they haven't, there is nothing else around here job wise.
If the rubbish hours and minimum wage wasn't enough, the place is also going under from lack of customers. Two chefs have already left and everyone else is chasing suit.
If I stick around I may go down with the ship and could just be let off before Christmas. If I leave now I end up being broke and back on JSA, which I promised myself I would never do again.
Is there any advice you can offer? Thanks.
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Hi, King Rusty,
Sorry for the slow reply. Can you tell me more about your current job? Are you working in a restaurant? Where in England do you live? What is your educational background? I need more information before I can give you a decent answer.
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Thanks for responding.
I do work in the UK and I do work in a restaurant; it is more of a pub first, though, but the food is the only real reason people have continued to visit this place in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, it has gone even more downhill that when I first sent the message to you. The head chef has quit, the sous chef has left after handing in her notice and our best waitresses have left with her as they look for anything better. The place is really struggling now and with the holidays coming up I now worry about how permanent my place here is.
As for my education I would say I did two years at college but harbor no real skills from my time there besides a basic math, English and IT certificates. Nothing astounding anyways.
If you require addition info just let me know.
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Being that it sounds as if this job is not going to last you, the only reasonable thing for you to do is start looking for other employment (it is always better to interview when you are employed than when you are out of work). I did a little research and see that, for some reason, restaurants and pubs are struggling in the UK and many are closing. However, since that is your work background, I would start looking in food service—at least in the short term.
While there might be no openings last time you checked, that can change at any moment, so keep on the lookout for openings and don’t be too picky (pickiness is a luxury you cannot afford right now). Here are some options/advice:
Hello, Papa Bear,
I think it's been two years since I sent a letter, I'm feel like I'm suffering from chronophobia and gerascophobia, I believe it's a delayed reaction to almost dying earlier this year, a few months back.
Two years ago I was training to be a Forestry Fighter, I fought two fires, I really loved the job, it was hard and very exhausting
This year I did my second season, and this when it happened, I'm not sure if you know about " The Fort McMurray fire " in Canada? it was a major fire that was burning a major city, it was nicknamed " The Beast " 3 weeks after the city was burning I couldn't take the news anymore, knowing I was trained, so I throw my name in and I found a leader who would take me.
We got there literally in the worst conditions, poor water source, Limited air support,windy and one of hottest days, using only axes, shovels, and chainsaws, we had to basically beat any flames down and remove any potential fuels from the fire, we were tasked with making the escape route while the others deal with fire, while making the escape route, I worked with the chainsaw man, I was one of strongest and the chainsaw guy was the fastest, we worked together, he would cut and I'd clear the path while watching over him, making sure nothing surprises him or hurts him, I had a radio on my chest, I was part of communications so our leader told me and my chainsaw guy go head, ahead of us was a danger zone, hottest spot, if the fire on our end should ignite again this would be the spot..... and it did.
You see, our leader literally had his whole family working, the only odd ones that weren't family was me, the chainsaw guy, and our sub leader, so while I was clearing the path the leader stopped me so his son could do it, so I left what I doing and moved farther ahead with my chainsaw guy, the only escape route behind us, after a few minutes, I heard a voice yelling, it was my sub leader, I turned around expecting new orders, in stead only a solid wall of flames blocking my view and my escape route, wasting no time, I ran to chainsaw guy then we forced a path through the tree's running around the fire, we were so close to the flames they blocked the sun, making all the light around us red with thick shadows waves moving through the light, and roaring, the fire actually makes a loud roaring, I felt deaf because I couldn't hear the radio on my chest or hear the branches and twigs snapping as I smashed though them, when we regrouped with the other, other leader ordered we save the equipment, without thinking, I scooped up like 20 pounds of gear while while still running down the line, then leader told me stop and wait for his family who were slow because of the gear he wanted to save, then ordered us hide in the worst possible area, we should've died like 3 times just from his poor decisions.
After a while air support came in and we evacuated, at base I started looking for answers as how we lost control, I found out that our leaders sons wanted videos of flames that they could post on YouTube, so they noticed that the escape route was on fire, and they polled out their phones to record it grow, you can see me standing on the other side, but they comment on fire and become a family moment that almost ended with me burning alive, the chainsaw thanked me, saying I probably saved his life going back for him and at camp I removed my shirt to shower, then I looked in the mirror and my body was covered in bruises and stretches from my desperate escape, I spent 28 days there.
While working it didn't bother me, but after work when I got home, I was hearing voices and having nightmares, I felt like I was losing my mind, it only lasted a few days, but occasionally I still get nightmares, now I get borderline panic attacks at night from chronophobia and gerascophobia being the main causes and another interesting thing, while working, I'll sleep fine, as if nothings wrong, but during days off my phobias hit me hard, I was thinking of possibly seeking professional help or if you had any other options?
Hale (Alberta, Canada)
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First of all, I think you are a hero. What you did was amazing. If they don't pin some kind of medal to your chest, it will be a grave injustice.
Secondly, I would like to meet the people who thought this was a great thing to put on YouTube and kick them and beat them to a pulp and shove those phones up their arses. OMG, disgusting!
Thirdly, I'm not sure how gerascophobia (fear of aging) comes into play here. I get chonophobia (fear of the future), since you cannot be blamed for being anxious about what might happen with a fire in the future, but can you explain further why you fear getting old?
Finally, you clearly are having a PTSD issue here. What you suffered through was a nightmare, and it is completely understandable that you would have nightmares and other issues afterwards. Does your employer offer any counseling benefits? I would be surprised if they did not. Talk to your superior about getting some help with PTSD through your employer (government, correct?) benefits. I mean, you're in Canada, so I would think you could get some help with this.
If you have not already, I would think a formal, written report should be composed by you and given to your boss concerning your sub's incompetence and the digital recording incident. These are gross lapses in judgment and the fire chief should know about them, yes?
Write again if you wish to chat more, and I hope the above helps.
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Thank you so much for the reply and your kind words
PTSD? I've never consider that? And gerascophobia I guess is more of me being worried that, I'd be too old to experience things with my mate, who is only 3 years younger then me, it's seems kinda silly, but it still scares me, my Mate is American, Sometimes I worry that I may never raise enough money to visit or be with him.
I've never thought about asking for counselling, but its a little late to request it, since any benefits expire when we get off work, however, I've heard of there being counselling offered near by, might be worth talking to them about PTSD and Phobias.
As for reporting My Leader and his family, their stupidity didn't just effect me and my co worker, but roughly 30 other people almost died that day, even after we got evacuated, less then an hour, the whole area burned, so everybody had something to say about it, as for the video they recorded was deleted after they realized it was basically evidence against them
Thank you again for taking time to read this ^w^
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1. Try reading about PTSD on the Canadian site http://www.ptsdassociation.com/.
2. Three years difference between you and your mate? That's nothing. There were 9 years separating me and Jim, and I might be starting a relationship soon with a man who is 17 years my senior.
3. The incompetent boobs you worked with fighting the fire: it's never too late to file a report, if you want to. Or, another option, leak the story to the Canadian press. That's up to you. I realize that it might stress you out, but just think if these people keep their jobs they could cause more damage through their negligence.
What does Papabear recommend as a first job? And what was your first job out of high school?
Failaria (age 18)
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Hmm, interesting question. My first job was actually while I was still in high school. I worked at a burger joint called Boomer's Burgers in Tecumseh, Michigan, and then I worked as a cashier at Meijer's. While in college, I had the good fortune of having a father who could pay for my college while I lived at home, so I didn't really work much. My first job after college was as a factory worker in Ohio at a plastic extrusions company for the auto industry, and then I got my first "real" job as an assistant book editor in Detroit (annual salary $13,500--yikes--but that was back in 1988).
What would I recommend for a first job? The ideal situation would be that you already know what you wish to pursue as a career, and then take an entry-level position or an internship at a related job. If you don't know what career you want but have some special interests, see if you can do something you will enjoy doing. For example, perhaps you like dogs: you could become a self-employed dog walker or dog sitter. If you like kids, you can try babysitting. If you like being outdoors, try gardening or maybe being a lifeguard. Endless possibilities. If that is not something that works for you, the next thing I would say is try to find work with a small, family-operated company rather than a large, heartless, soulless corporation. I would much rather work for a Mom & Pop gift store or ice cream shoppe, for example, than as a fry cook at McDonald's or pizza delivery guy at Papa John's. It's much nicer to work at a place where you know, trust, even like your boss(es). Even if you don't particularly like the job itself, a pleasant work atmosphere goes a long way to making for a happy job experience. The best way to find jobs like this is to talk to friends and family and ask them if anyone they know is hiring.
First jobs are a great way to learn the ropes of a wage-earner. Learning to save money, pay taxes, and the joys of having FICA yank dollars out of your paltry bi-weekly check. More important is that these early jobs help you to learn how to work with other people and to explore what tasks you are good at and which ones you stink at. Always keep a lookout for an occupation you believe you will really enjoy, because if you find a job you enjoy you will never have to work a day in your life. Lucky are those who look forward to their daily jobs.
Sorry, I seem to be a boomerang, always coming back to ask questions. I'll try to keep this short. Hope you are doing well. So I work at a Vet Clinic and they work me to near absolute exhausted, I make the least about of money and they promised a raised but they never came through. I'm a really hard worker, coming on days off, never had a vacation. Do all the holidays. I know that they don't appreciate me as an employee and don't care what happens to me. I was in the hospital and the ER doctor got into a fight with them because they demanded I come in, but I had a head injury and couldn't. I'm extremely disappointed and sad about this, I always hoped to work in a place that cared about its people. Do I just accept that, this is a myth, really no company cares about its employees? That no matter where I go it will always be the same? I don't know if I should quit, won't it all be the same? I'm not even super sure what to expect from employers.
Galileo (age 27)
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As with people in general, everyone is different. There are good employers, and there are bad ones. Doesn’t sound like you have a good one, but that doesn’t mean they are all bad. If I were in your situation, I would not be happy with an employer who gets mad that I didn’t go in to work when I’m in the ER with a head injury. That’s ludicrous.
My recommendation is this: do NOT quit your job … yet. Instead, start putting out feelers for a better job elsewhere. Scope out businesses you think might be good for you and see if you can talk to some of their employees. If you wish to remain in the veterinary clinic field, you can do a little research online, such as at http://www.usa-veterinarians.com/reviews. Customer reviews are a good indication of whether or not a business is good. In my experience, businesses that are good to their customers also tend to be good to their employees. For example, if an employee is cheerful and helpful to a customer, this is probably because they are happy at their job, which means they are likely happy with their bosses, too.
While you are doing this, be the best employee you can be at your current job. You do not want to burn your bridges—meaning if your current place of employment is dissatisfied with you, word can get around, even if they don’t write you a recommendation.
Be patient. Work deliberately and methodically as you do your research. Do not jump at the first opportunity, but check it out thoroughly. If you find someplace that looks like a needed improvement for you, give your two weeks’ notice and make plans for the move!
I live with my 24-year-old brother, and my 78-year-old grandfather. My grandfather and my brother pay for the rent and food, more or less, they pay for everything. I contribute to the household by helping my granddad remember to take his medication, helping him cook dinner and clean the house, and making sure he doesn't fall asleep why baking or cooking, which has happened before. My brother and I agreed to this arrangement together and I don't want to get a job, I like the arrangement. Lately, after my brother gets off work, I have been leaving social media to bring him his dinner, and rub pain relieving gel on his joints because he's had arthritis since he was five. My friends hate it even though I have explained in detail that I like our arrangement and why, and they have recently began asking why he can't do things for himself and why he can't act like a grown man. They treat me helping him do things as something that is weird or gross and one went so far as to say I need to get a job and help pay bills because women have equal rights. What is a nice way to ask them to mind their own business?
Rosie (age 21)
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I’ve always been of the mindset that whatever works for you is what you should do, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone (including yourself). Taking care of your grandfather and brother, as well as the house, including cooking and so on, is what you enjoy doing, and Papabear thinks that’s fine. Not that long ago, we used to call people like that “homemakers” or the less PC “housewives.” Being a homemaker was considered an honorable and helpful thing to do with one’s life. There was no shame in it.
Today, as you’ve experienced, Americans expect both men and women to be career-driven; they should “want to do something with their lives.” Well, who says taking caring for one’s family isn’t doing something? (Note: this doesn’t apply to just women; men make perfectly good homemakers and, in fact, many do so). Papabear agrees with you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you are doing with your life so long as you enjoy it and find it fulfilling.
That said, you should not be entirely closed-minded to your friends’ advice, not because you need their approval or anything like that, but rather for self-preservation. Let me tell you a short story. My mother was a professional dietician when she met and married my father, and they agreed that when children came along she would quit work, stay at home, and raise me and my sister. All well and good. She didn’t work for decades, and then when the marriage fell apart she ended up with no job prospects because she hadn’t worked for so many years. She had to live with my grandfather, who treated her like a slave until he died (fortunately, she inherited enough from him to survive afterwards). The point is this: had she had a job to fall back on, she wouldn’t have been placed into such awful circumstances for many years. In other words, be prepared.
What happens to you on that sad day after your grandfather dies? And then, say, your brother gets married and doesn’t need you rubbing his joints any longer because his wife helps him? You need to think of such things because what works well now could be gone tomorrow.
Always have a Plan B.
One suggestion I have for you, since you enjoy taking care of others, is a career as—get this—a caregiver. This is a growing business, especially with the soaring number of senior citizens in this country as the Baby Boomers reach retirement. Here is a concise and helpful article about becoming a professional in the field: https://www.caring.com/articles/how-to-become-a-professional-caregiver. You can find employment from businesses that require little or even no previous experience or education, but you will likely do better salary-wise if you get some extra training.
Of course, you don’t have to become a caregiver; you could find another job that strikes your fancy, but that is a suggestion from Papabear. I would also suggest you begin exploring your options now, while you are in a comfortable situation, rather than waiting for something to happen when you become desperate for a job.
As for the question you ask at the end of your letter, try something like this: “I really appreciate your concern about my welfare and your interest in my life, thank you. Right now, things are working well for me and I’m happy, but I am seriously thinking about what you have said and am exploring my options in life.”
I need some advice on what to do with scheduling life.
You see, I work as a Sales Associate at the local store of a Liquor Store franchise, and it's conveniently located by my apartment. My schedules are Saturday to Wednesday, all 8 hour shifts, with Thursday and Friday off. I have full time hours, and I'd hate to give them up. I'm very happy with this schedule, and I have things that I do on those two days.
However, I formed a sort of Star Wars/Jedi club with some friends last year, and two of them have set up a regular training schedule, seeing as we do light saber duels.
Problem, it starts on Saturday evening, and that's when I start my shift. Granted, with the school year just about over, a lot more free time is available. The issue?
There are now possible scheduling problems. If I do it Thursday evening, after a Dungeons and Dragons game I have in the morning, I may not be able to join some other games held in the evening. If I do it Friday, I would have to meet up with them at 4pm, and then leave for the game I play in every Friday.
The best option I have is to see if I can switch my days off to Friday and Saturday, but I’m scared that to do so, I'll lose my full-time hours, and that it'll affect my social life with my friends.
Jesse (age 23)
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Part of being an adult is learning how to set priorities. In your case, the number one priority should be keeping your full-time job. I would not risk losing full-time status for the sake of playing games with your friends.
Schedule fun time on the Thursdays and Fridays you have off. If you can’t, and your friends are not willing to try and accommodate your work schedule, then try to find friends who will.
Social time is important, but work is more important. Welcome to adult life!
I hope you are doing well. I've been meaning to write you for a while, if nothing else but to check up on you. You have been in my thoughts and prayers and I haven't forgotten how kind you have always been to me in my letters. This next one has some positive vibes for a change! My parents have started to relent and are even going to anthrocon 2016 with me and three other friends whom I've swayed. The rest of this email is a little serious however, but there's no problem this time I promise.
I love the fandom, but could it get in the way of a potential career in the future? This coming fall I will be attending Iowa State University to pursue a degree in education. I am a bit antsy about college but definitely am ready for something new. With my future plans, there come some necessary questions. Since educators are one of the most trusted disciplines in the world aside from nursing, teachers are expected to possess that air of professionalism and have the record to prove it. Teachers are role models of the school district and the communities they work and live in. With all the scrutiny that will come from both my peers and the people around me, if the question somehow arises of me being one of those "furry people", could this be potentially problematic for me? I think this is a question that takes some consideration, given my chosen line of work. I believe myself perfectly capable of handling people with standard questioning of the fandom. You know, the kind we've all heard before. Heck if I were to mention being a furry right now at school, everybody would immediately send fifty text messages to everybody else and I'd get yiff thrust into my face with incredulous exclamations of "you're into this???" before I had even finished explaining what a furry was. To be clear, I don't plan to be openly furry. That business has no bearing in my work and doesn't belong there at all. If I have my way, nobody will even know. I don't intend to hide it, I just plan to be strictly business and being furry is part of my personal life that does not and should not influence my job. The potential problem I see however, is faculty or a parent googling me and raising some drama with what they find. We can assume anything they find is clean. There is no explicit content in my name or of my character and there never will be any that is of my knowledge. Because of this I do not fear serious repercussions, trying to terminate me on claims of my simple interests-especially one that is harmless and kept professional-causing loss of public trust could be borderline discriminatory and the school likely wouldn't use that against me. But all it takes is some gossiping for my name to get purposefully dragged through the dirt. Part of it could be people thinking they are more buddy buddy with me than they actually are. Part of it could be being rude for the sake of being rude because they don't get it. What do you think? Will I just have to watch myself, or should I consider looking at other options?
Thank you again for being yourself. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please hit me up and I would jump at the chance to give back and pay your kindness forward.
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I’m glad that things are improving with your parents—good news! Thanks for sharing.
Okay, on to teaching…. Teaching is one of the noblest professions, and I think it’s wonderful that you wish to help others learn. I’m going to have to say some things that you might not like, however. It’s really not so much about being a furry as it is the state of our current educational system.
I have known several teachers in my life. All but one of them got so frustrated with the job that they quit or retired early. One was even a teacher-turned-principal. He was fired from a Catholic school when they found out he was gay (private school, so they can do that). Another teacher was white in an all-Hispanic school. In an interesting case of reverse discrimination, the administrator there made his life so absolutely miserable that he retired early for the sake of his sanity. A third teacher quit because he got so tired of parents running to the principal because he had given Little Johnny or Mary a bad grade, and then the teacher backing up the parent instead of him. He was a young teacher and quit the profession in two years. American teachers live in a system where the students are passed from grade to grade even though they fail the course, where they are forced to stick religiously to a teaching plan and actually berated by administrators if they, God forbid, teach something that is not explicitly allowed. The self-esteem of students takes precedence over actual learning. Learning methods are absurd to the point of being counterproductive (especially true in current math-teaching methods). Add to this restricted or diminished budgets that are so bad many teachers (except in rich districts) end up buying their students’ supplies, and the fact that some teachers have even been attacked or poisoned (in one case I know of personally, even murdered) by their own students, and you can kind of see why some teachers freak out and are caught on camera letting loose on a student (not forgivable, but understandable).
I want you to be aware of some of these things before you decide to go into teaching, because from what I’ve learned from those in the field, it is a thankless profession, at least in public schools. This might be different in private schools. I don’t know, although the case of my friend who worked at a Catholic school shows that it’s not a good situation there, either. Now, if you want to teach at the university level, that can be a bit more calm; however, my sister is a successful professor here in California and it is very frustrating for her, too. More and more, professors are taking on administrative tasks to the point that she and her colleagues joke that “teaching is something we do in our spare time.” She loves to teach, but, sadly, has little opportunity to do so. Add to this the bureaucracy (she was once in charge of a committee that spent two years compiling a report only to have the university president decide, when it was done, “Naah, I decided not to do that”; two years completed wasted) and she has also told me she would love to retire early.
I would not be a teacher if you offered to pay me double what I make now. It would not be worth my sanity.
But that’s just me. If you don’t care about any of the above because you have a burning passion in your heart to teach, then go for it, and God bless.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve gotten your degree and you’re now a teacher at PS 39 in Brooklyn, working at a lovely historic building. Super duper. I would keep my personal furry life completely separate from my professional life, if I were you. Do not associate your real name and real life in any way with furry, and you might get by. When you are a teacher, or cub scout master, or baseball coach, or any such job where you work with kids you are subjected to a standard different from that of the ordinary working world. My friend Tycho Aussie works in an office surrounded by adults and they accept his furry work and even enjoy it, no worries. But when you’re associated with the fandom and are around little kids, you will be subjected to incredible ignorance, fear, and suspicion from administrators, colleagues, and parents living in a hypersensitive world in which everyone believes that a pedophile lurks around every drinking fountain and teachers’ lounge. They won’t care if you keep your nose clean, because it will be guilt by association. To use an over-the-top example, it would be like someone who is in the KKK saying, “Well, I never burned any crosses.” Doesn’t matter, you’re in the KKK, and as far as many are concerned the fandom is a haven for pedophiles, perverts, and pagans (oh, my!) True? Of course not, but you’ll have a bear of a time convincing people otherwise once word is out, and once you are outed you can never go back.
I’m sorry, this is not a very upbeat reply, but I want you to be prepared for the worst. If you are, anything better will be happy news. This is also not to say that things can’t change. I’m hopeful my book will help clear things up, and I also know that there are others doing similar work, both in book and movie versions. As well, the fandom is growing by leaps and bounds all around the world, and I think that, as it does so, it will seem less and less like a clandestine, deviant society and more like something that is mainstream and out in the open, like comic book fans (this is why I strongly agree with those who say we should not ever talk to the media). The articles I’ve been reading of late that are published by mainstream presses are much more understanding and honest than they were in the 1990s and 2000s. And movies like Zootopia help, too, actually. It might be that, by the time you finish college, things could be very different from what they are now.
I can’t tell you what you should do with your life, nor would I want to, but it’s best to go into something with your eyes wide open and cleared of all naïve and idealistic notions of what you think it’s all about. If you can do that and forge ahead anyway because you love the idea of teaching a new generation about the world, then I am your sincere fan.
Hello, again. I just want to start off by saying my deepest condolences for your loss. I can't imagine what it's like to lose someone you care for so much and thank you for continuing to do this in spite of it.
I'm not entirely certain how to work this question, so I'm really sorry if it's confusing.... I used to be really smart, but not anymore, so I lost a lot of my vocabulary. Anyway, how do you know when to give up on something? I mean, does a person get a great realization or something? It's just I've wanted to work in veterinary medicine since I was 6, and now that I'm doing it ... I'm positively awful at it.... I can't do anything right. I'm just shy of a year at my job and I don't seem to be getting any better at it. I'm always being yelled at for my screw ups and I'm trying my very best but it's pretty clear it's just not enough.... I've had two panic attacks at work already. Thankfully, I was able to keep it hidden both times, so at least I didn't get fired. But I'm starting to think my mom was right, I'm just useless and not good at anything. That I should just find a dead end job that requires no skill or brain power and that's it. But, I'm just not ready give up.... Am I, as the expression goes, not seeing the forest for the trees?
Once again, thank you for your time.
Galileo (age 27, New York)
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Before I answer in more depth, what do you mean "I used to be smart but I've lost a lot of my vocabulary"? Did you suffer an injury that caused you to forget words? What's going on there?
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Not an injury, but couple years ago, I terribly sick and it really messed with my mental facilities.
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What was the illness, please.
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Would you believe Lyme disease? I was in the that lucky percentage that it affects brain. I haven't been right since.
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Okay, I believe I have enough information now, thank you. Let’s talk first about the Lyme disease. Very sorry that happened to you. If you haven’t already done so, I would apply right away for social security disability (http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/social-security-disability-lyme-disease.html and confer here, too: http://www.ssdrc.com/ssd-lyme-disease.html and here http://fromlymetolife.com/category/social-security-disability-for-lyme-a-how-to-guide/). You are probably eligible for government assistance because of your condition. You need to get documentation from your doctor and go through an application process, of course. Sometimes, sad to say, you also need to call an attorney to get what you deserve (our lame government often fights tooth and nail before it gives money to people who qualify, but it is worth the effort).
Okay, next: your job. Do your bosses at work know you had Lyme disease and it affected your mental faculties? If not, they really should know. Perhaps they can change your workload in order to compensate; if they do know and are still treating you this terribly, shame on them.
It’s not your fault that you are having these problems. Please don’t blame yourself and put all the guilt on you. You had a disease and it hurt you; would you blame yourself if you had fallen, struck your head, and suffered some mental impairment? No, you would not, and neither should you for this. Also, shame on your mother for calling you useless. I wish I could hit her on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. “Bad, Mom! Bad! No! No!”
What you need is a supportive voice or two or three in your life. I suggest you take a look at the following links for resources and advice:
Galileo, before you go worrying about your career, you need to take care of yourself and learn how to manage what has happened to you because of this disease. Please take some time to do that, and then we can talk again.
A few years ago I finished University and my friendship group dispersed; so much has changed since then and people I thought would be my friend for a long time turned sour. The biggest problem was with a friend of mine, whom I lived with, that had a strong crush on me. We were good friends for years but his crush was very domineering. It never was spoken about until he asked me out, and I politely declined.
I had never had a partner before and I did not find him attractive, so never reciprocated his emotions, but he persisted to the point of obsession; as time went by, and graduation loomed, he began stalking me, and on several occasions he threatened my life. He told a friend he could kill me if he wanted, and I got frightened of him. He had a history of depression and we always knew it, but it seemed to become very bad and he would not get help.
I was so offended and scared of who he became after my rejection, I severed all contact with him. Now, three years later, I am seeking a job in a company that I dream of working at and have found out he works there too.
How should I deal with meeting this person again? I have a loving boyfriend now and am nervous of meeting this old friend. How will he react - how should I act? Any advice is appreciated.
Blackwolf (age 25, England)
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The biggest mistake that people make when they feel threatened by others (fearing sexual or other physical violence) is to keep it to themselves. I would also suggest that you familiarize yourself with English law about harassment and stalking (cf. http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/stalking_and_harassment/#a03a).
In retrospect, I would have advised you to keep a record of any and all instances of previous harassment, including taking note of what he told other people, who these people were, and when he said it. I would have recorded conversations on the telephone, emails, etc. For now, though, I would say that it would be a good idea for you to reconstruct everything you can remember about what happened for future reference.
Next, as per the above, I would go to the head of your Human Resources Department and make sure they are aware of the situation. This isn’t the same as bringing charges of any type, since he hasn’t yet done anything at your workplace, but your employer should be aware of your fears now and don’t feel embarrassed to suggest they keep a discreet eye on him, including his Internet activities (many businesses are very capable of seeing what their employees do in emails and Web activities). While you are in the HR office, pick the brains of the people there and ask them for advice on what you should do, whether police should be notified, and what company policies are about harassment and stalking.
If at all possible, avoid meeting or talking to this guy. If you can’t do that and have to deal with him, keep it at a 100% professional level; that is, only talk about business. Do not discuss ANYTHING personal about your life, either now or in the past. He is a robot to you, a functionary, that’s all.
Good luck! HUGS!
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