As I'm over half way through high school it's now time for me to start looking for a job. My plans were to hopefully work with furries for around 5 years before signing my freedom away to the military, but if I like the job too much I was going to stay. (I do realize that I'm still young and things can and do change).
My question to you is what jobs are there in the fandom? Sadly I lack the artistic still to be an artist and have yet to even try fursuit construction so those are out. (I also would like to have some furry co-workers) Currently I was looking at applying at Bad Dragon but there located in Phoenix, Arizona and I hate there hot weather. (I'm from north west Washington state). My dream was to move to the Midwest around Michigan or as I like big cities buffalo in upstate New York but I would be willing to go where the job is.
P.S. I just thought of something; is a fursuit making assistant a thing?
Hashna (age 16, Washington state)
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There really is not much in the way of jobs in the furry fandom, especially if you are not artistically inclined, because there really are not many furry-run businesses. Most people who make money in the fandom are creating things (arts, crafts, fursuits and fursuit paraphernalia) and selling them as small businesses. You mention Bad Dragon, which, if you are cool with the things they manufacture, I hear is actually a pretty good company to work for. I’ve talked to some of their employees, and they are quite happy and feel they are treated well. You say that you are “willing to go where the job is,” but that’s not true if you’re not willing to move to Phoenix. Too bad, because I also hear good things about the furry community in Phoenix.
About the only other industry I can think of that is furry-related is in publishing. There are several publishing companies that specialize in furry books, graphic novels, comics and the like. Type in “publishers” on the WikiFur site and explore the companies there. Since you’re not good at the graphics end, you can see if they need help with other areas of publishing, such as sales or administrative tasks (although for the latter you would be better off with a college degree).
Speaking of college, I’m assuming you’re considering the military because you can’t afford college? You know, if you can get some decent work you could probably afford a good community college, which is cheaper than a 4-year school, and learn a valuable trade or go into nursing or some such. It’s a very good option for many people, and it has the added benefit of the fact you usually don’t have people shooting at you like you do in the military.
Another thing I would advise—nay, beg—you not to do is move to Michigan. The economy there is in the toilet and it is an absolutely miserable place to try to find work; the weather there also sucks big time. If you are dead set on moving to the Midwest, I would suggest Minneapolis/St. Paul as a more viable option (if you really like snow). If you are absolutely convinced you have to move to Michigan, the only city that might be tolerable is Ann Arbor. Nice university town with some culture to it (stay away from Detroit and the surrounding areas).
Oh, and there is no such thing as a fursuit maker’s assistant (not, at least, as a paying job), so abandon hope there. Even the most successful fursuit makers struggle to make a living at it and usually supplement their income with other “real world” jobs.
So there’s the reality of it. It’s very difficult to make money in the furry fandom world. It can be done, but don’t get your hope up because it’s rare that people make a living in the furry world exclusively. Sorry to burst your bubble.
I am living with my boyfriend (who I will call Risuki) in his kind mother's house. We've been doing well so far, even having room to occasionally house a friend. Something has come up that has stressed me out to the point where distraction, fresh air, and meditation are not enough to calm my stress and anxiety. Risuki has an older sister who is married and has two toddlers. Apparently, they have to move back down to the house that I live in. I don't mind moving our mattress, computers, and everything else to one of the smaller rooms to make way, but I do mind them coming here because I hate them so g*****n much.
I dislike Risuki's older sister because, long story short and without too much detail, it was ultimately her decision that had my boyfriend sent to mental institutions multiple times, given medications for mental illnesses he never had and now has scars both mentally and physically from it. He is still healing from it, even though it's been at least 3 years since he's been out.
I despise his brother-in-law. I had said something that, while I didn't intend it to, sounded hateful about one of their family members and this man contacted Risuki and I on Facebook. What I assumed was just going to be a lecture turned out to be manipulation and downright awful behavior. He not only tried to tell a lie about something Risuki said about me with my back turned, but he tried to scare us into believing the cops were watching the house. This man scares me to a level where I feel like my life is being threatened by him.
I know this isn't about me. This is not my house, and they're not my family. However I cannot return to mine, for my mom doesn't even have a bed for me. I don't have friends nearby who would house me or my boyfriend. We don't have a vehicle yet, but we're planning on working some small jobs in web design and programming to earn some money.
I can't bring myself to talk about this to my boyfriend, as he was stressed out when he brought it up with me.
I suppose the question is, what do I do? I want to channel my inner dragon and not be so frightened, but I'm scared for my life as if I'll be slain. I'm sure he won't kill me, but I am afraid he can put me in a position where I'm helpless, alone, or even homeless. My boyfriend assured me that this wouldn't happen, but I can't help but feel that it's a major possibility.
-Roarar (age 21, Arkansas)
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Sorry for the delay in writing you. A question: do you or your bf have ANY prospects for employment other than these small jobs you mention? I mean, regular employment? What education do you and he have?
This will help with my reply.
* * *
My boyfriend has a rather large plan in mind involving his programming skills, but he would probably prefer that I keep the details on it secret. Other than that, no. We're in a rural area with not much in the way of being hired elsewhere and his mother's car being the only vehicle available if she's not at work.
We both took one year of college, then had some scholarship problems and dropped. It's likely we'll go back in the future, but we want a more stable income before doing something like that.
* * *
Sometimes I receive letters from furries that sound as if they expect Papabear to have a Magic Bag of Tricks to pull out an amazing, pain-free, labor-free solution to a difficult problem. No such luck. There are two possible courses for you here: in the first course, you can try and resolve your differences with your mate’s sister and husband; in the second course, you fast track a way out of Risuki’s mother’s house and find your own place.
Let’s talk about Option 1 first. From my outsider’s view, since I don’t know you, Risuki, or his sister, is it possible that Risuki actually needed to go to a mental health facility? Such places are usually short on space, and they just don’t lightly admit someone because a family member says they are ill. Perhaps his sister thought she was doing the right thing. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for your boyfriend at all, and so he complains bitterly to you about the injustice of it all, but perhaps you should try to look at it from his sister’s viewpoint or, at least, more objectively. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of; as with any other illness, it is not a person’s fault or failing and treatment sometimes can help. Is he on meds today? Has he recovered at all? You don’t say why his sister thought he should go there, so I need more information on that one. Instead of being so confrontational with his sister, try talking to her and understanding her point of view. This is not me taking her side, understand; this is me trying to make sure that you aren’t reacting angrily without really thinking this through. As for her husband, well, that could easily be a misunderstanding as well. Again, communication is key. As soon as you shut and lock that door so that no more communication occurs, there can be nothing but anger and bitterness (aka “channeling your inner dragon”). If you simply get pissed off, the situation will escalate and escalate, and you can imagine what the ultimate result would be. Anger is never a solution. The smart dragon reasons things out.
Oh, and where does Risuki's mother stand in all of this? How did she feel about him going to a hospital? Could she, perhaps, serve as mediator between the two sides?
Of course, there certainly is the possibility that Risuki’s sister and husband are simply unpleasant, ugly people. Such people do exist in the world, and in that case there is nothing much you can do about it, but you should try, first, to see if your relationship can’t be repaired.
If it can’t, then you certainly don’t want to remain where you are. That would be like having a Pandora’s Box in the kitchen waiting to be opened. All of you: you, Risuki, his sister, and husband, should not be living with Mom. Sadly, despite claims by the government that the economy has recovered, the reality is that the job market in the U.S. remains terrible, and the trend for children to move back in with parents has become commonplace.
It sounds like you need some help with strategies for moving out. You say you were both in college for a year (odd that you should both leave college simultaneously for the same reason), and I’m guessing your “scholarship problems” were related to your not keeping your grades up, since many scholarships are dependent on your doing well academically (also guessing that neither of you were on a sports scholarship). I will tell you frankly right now that no company is going to hire Risuki for his “programming skills” without a college degree or at least some kind of certification. I’m also highly suspicious of anyone who says they have “secret” plans for making an income. Frankly, that sounds either illegal or absurd to my ears.
To get a job as a computer programmer, you need one of two things (or both): a college degree OR an impressive portfolio of projects you have accomplished that you can show to prospective employers. These are what employers are looking for. You might ask about certificates. Good question. Getting certified in one of the many disciplines in programming can be done fairly quickly, and then you get a snazzy paper that declares you are “certified” in C++ or whatever. However, the reality is that the whole business of certificates is mainly a money-maker for lame mall colleges and diploma mills such as Kaplan “University” (such places should be outlawed, IMO; always check out schools to see if they are legitimate before enrolling). They can cost a lot and, in the end, probably won’t get you a job or even qualify you for one (here’s a great article about that).
Another option is the government. Places like the NSA, FBI, and CIA are in constant need of people who are skilled in Internet security, and they don’t, frankly, give a damn about college degrees. The government is hiring people as fast as it can who know about hacking and how to stop it. If this is a skill you or Risuki have, then you are golden. The government will even forgive a criminal record if you can show them you can stop places like China and Russia from hacking into their databases (http://www.fastcompany.com/3000879/nsa-wants-hackers-and-it-wants-them-its-side).
That aside, there actually are other certification courses in other fields that you could explore, offering you a quicker way to get an education in a high-paying field. Here is a list of great jobs you can get without a college degree.
Other options: if you are interested in teaching, there is a program for college loan forgiveness if you become a teacher at an inner-city or other poor school system; and, there is always the military, which offers programs to help you save for college. This might sound dangerous, but if you’re a programmer you’re probably not going to be put on the front lines and shot at. There are lots of behind-the-scenes jobs in the military. You will, however, have to get through basic training.
Anyway, if college is not an option, the best thing Risuki (and you, if you can program, too) is to get jobs doing unique and challenging projects that require you to come up with unique solutions. Build up that portfolio and show it to potential employers (which will mean moving out of your rural, isolated Arkansas home, of course, since that’s not exactly Silicon Valley).
You also need to get some income now. Since you obviously have an Internet connection (or else I wouldn’t be reading your letter), you should go online and check out two sites offered by the State of Arkansas: Arkansas Joblink and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, both of which are intended to expedite job searches for people such as yourself. Take advantage of the programs your state has to offer, including those listed here:
North Arkansas College (NAC)
South Campus at 1515 Pioneer Drive; North Campus at 1320 Spring Road; Center Campus at 303 N. Main, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-743-3000
Provides a wide variety of vocational classroom training courses plus freshman and sophomore level class for transfer to a four-year college. Day and night classes are available.
Educational Opportunity Center (NAC)
303 N. Main, (North Arkansas College Center Campus), Harrison, AR 72601, 870-391-3129 or 870-391-3130 or 1-800-257-8690 outside of Harrison.
9 am to 4 pm Monday-Friday, other hours by appointment.
Provides information about available resources which can assist adults age 19+ in obtaining post secondary education. Administers assessment, career interest inventory. Assists with applications to post secondary schools and for financial aid.
Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
2126 Capps Road, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-6107
8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
Helps needy families meet their basic needs by providing assistance with TEA, food stamps, Medicaid, children and family services issues, day care, aging and adult services, developmental disabilities and services for the blind and disabled.
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services
705 W. Sherman, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-7153
8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
Provides assessment, testing, and other activities that help put persons with disabilities to work by providing counseling, training and job placement.
Northwest Regional Housing Authority
114 Sisco, Harrison, AR 72602, 870-741-5522
7 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday
Provides rental assistance based on household income. Family Self-Sufficiency Programs helps people become free from assistance through education and employment. Serves Boone (except Harrison), Baxter, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties.
Ozark Share & Care
105 Highway 62-65 Bypass, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-3130
Office (Emergency assistance) 1-4 pm Monday-Thursday.
Thrift Store 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday.
Provides emergency assistance such as food, rent, utilities, gasoline, medicines, clothing, car seats, coats, fans, USDA commodity distribution to 13 smaller pantries. Holiday food boxes and gift program for needy children in Boone County.
Serves young people between the ages of 16 and 24 by providing them with free basic education training and vocational training. Live on campus while you attend training.
You don’t need to search jobs on your own. Take advantage of the many services out there that can help you and your boyfriend. And! if you are so inclined, also consult with local churches about assistance programs and even job help. Some churches are actually good at helping those with low income or who are unemployed (churches vary a lot, so hopefully you have a good one nearby). And still another option! The Salvation Army, which is an outstanding organization willing to help anybody. Talk to them as well.
I hope at least some of this helps you and Risuki. Time to take charge of your life and not let circumstances (such as lack of control concerning with whom you live) rule you.
Dear Papa Bear,
After spending the last few days reading you advice to others, I've decided to try this.
For quite a number of years now, people tend to think I'm being rude/angry, especially when I'm trying my hardest NOT to be. I worked at Walmart for a while a few years ago and had had customers who specifically looked for me for help, and thought I'd fixed it, but I recently learned there had been numerous complaints against me.
I didn't think much of it (I had been sick at the time, and had many days where I couldn't even speak), but at my current job, all of my coworkers have said I have a bad attitude. They also tend to make me the butt of the joke, so whatever. However, a few customers have said things like "you don't need to be rude" and "why are you angry", and many more are just nasty and snotty to me and I can only guess they think I'm doing it to them. Even my roommates and my boyfriend can't always tell when I'm not being rude.
I have no idea how to fix this. I'm already doing everything I though was polite! I smile, ask "how can I help you", apologize a lot, be quick to assemble the order, say "have a nice day", etc. It's very frustrating. How can I not be rude, when in my head, I'm already the most polite I can be?
Anonymous (age 21, female)
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There are several ways that people might misread you other than by what you say or do. It might be the tone of your voice, your body language, your facial expressions, or even the way you dress. For example, if you, say, have eyebrows that naturally slant downward or the corners of your mouth slant downwards, even slightly, when your face is relaxed, you might be perceived as being angry or scowling. A heavy brow or forehead that is too pronounced may also be seen as having a harsher appearance. If you stand with your arms crossed or tap your foot nervously, this could signal you’re impatient. Sometimes, believe it or not, women who dress very nicely and professionally in the workplace (or, say, put their hair up in a tight bun rather than letting it hang loosely) can come off to some people as being “bitchy” (I know, unfair, right?) If you speak with a monotone voice (or, as when you were sick, your voice sounds a bit gravely), you could sound indifferent or mad, too.
What you need to do is take some time to be more aware of how you look. At home, spend time examining yourself in the mirror. This article shows how even subtle changes in how your face looks can send positive or negative signals http://www.today.com/health/do-you-have-happy-or-angry-resting-face-it-may-1D80234661. As an exercise, try emulating the more positive features; be conscious of what your mouth looks like (upward- vs downward-turned corners), how you stand, and so forth.
You can also try dressing in cheerful, even silly clothing. As an extreme example, if you wore a T-shirt with a big yellow happy face on it, people would be less inclined to think you were an angry person. Or wearing a floral pattern vs. a sharply geometric one. Warm colors (red, orange, yellow, pink) come off as being more uplifting that drabs (brown, grey, khaki) or cool colors (blue, purple). Makeup that brightens the face may also help (http://makeup.allwomenstalk.com/makeup-tips-to-brighten-your-face).
Culturally, Americans are rather an anomaly in that we expect people to be chipper, smile a lot, be happy. This is very different from countries from Japan to Europe to the Middle East, where overly happy people (people who are upbeat and smile for no apparent reason) are often looked at as either being insincere or possibly crazy.
You live in a crazy place (and the South is especially noted for people often being exceedingly nice and hospitable [Northerners are seen as a bit more cold and deliberate, often]), so this is even more true in a place like Texas than, say, Minnesota or New Hampshire.
This all might seem rather shallow because, well, it is, but it might actually help you reverse the incorrect opinion people have of you.
Dear Papa Bear,
This is Overworked and Stressed Out again, but now I have a different thing worrying me.
Roughly four months ago, I wrote to you about a new full-time job I had acquired at a bank as a teller. At the time I wrote to you, I said that I was enjoying myself at my new job and that I felt I could do it.
Let’s just say it was a one month stand.
Recent weeks haven’t exactly been the best for me at that place. Largely because I feel that every time I walk in, I feel like something doesn’t feel right. Sure, my coworkers are nice, the hours are terrific, and even though the pay could still be better, there’s a little voice in my head telling me that I shouldn’t be here. And trust me it’s getting harder to ignore with each passing day. OK, I’ll be honest, I have a total lack of interest in my job (No pun intended with that remark).
I feel as though I made a horrible mistake in taking this job. Even though I’m great at greeting the customers and processing their transactions, during the downtime I just idle away online. I have absolutely no interest (Again no pun intended there) in expanding my skills in the financial world, I keep messing up my duties, and I just feel like I’m not going to last long at all in this field (One day, when I was still doing both jobs the situation at the bank got so bad I suffered an emotional meltdown). In fact, just the previous week I made a series of slip-ups and near slip-ups that I’m supposed to know by now. As you may or may not know, banking is one of the most highly regulated industries. Well, I wish I knew that going in, because I find it difficult to keep track of all the different regulations the industry has, and has led me to several slip-ups as I have previously mentioned. I’ve been written up for several (in my mind and humble opinion, minor) violations, and my confidence is taking a real beating.
That being said, I want you to know that there is something else that I am interested in, a field that I should’ve spent more time in that I’m now realizing might be my one true calling – Voice Acting. I actually took a voice over class a few years ago (in Spring 2011), and I liked it. While I was a little slow in getting started, I enjoyed the challenge of putting my demo out there and I actually have had some success in that field even going so far as to do this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6AK0Go5MFc
Pretty neat huh? Well, I was so focused on trying to get steady work that I had let this dream of mine get sidetracked, and now I’m looking at restarting it again. A few weeks ago I have started taking a weekly course on voice acting skills and techniques to nail auditions. I’m doing this for three reasons: 1) to refresh my voice acting skills, 2) to gain some contacts in the business (this course is taught by four separate people), and 3) because it’s something I enjoy. When I did my first voice acting job, I didn’t care as to what time it was or how many takes I had to do.
All I knew was it was something I really enjoyed doing. Whereas with my job at the bank, I’m constantly worried over getting something wrong, over having nothing to do (this is particularly true in the middle of the week) and whether I’ll be getting the axe. On top of all that, just today my supervisor kept pointing out mistakes I’ve been making over the course of the month (most of which were generally minor), something that already gives me anxiety overload, and I’ve already gotten written up over mishandling check cashing procedures. To be honest, I feel that this business is WAY too anal retentive.
On the other hand, my instructors at my voice acting class are more than willing to constructively critique me without tearing me down, and just the other day one even said I showed great potential in the sense that I initially come across as shy, but when I start reading my script, I really get into it and all my shyness melts away. Plus, I’m much more interested in this field than with banking. My only problem is I don’t know exactly where to start looking for voice over work.
So yeah, that is my current dilemma with my employment situation. Oh, and I haven’t told my family yet about my recent work struggles, and I don’t know if I want to (or even if I can) tell them that my new job just isn’t working. I mean, they’re so proud of me for finally getting full time work that I don’t want to upset them, but I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I’ve already suffered no less than three emotional meltdowns (breaking down sobbing) in the last two weeks (My recent one was today when I broke down in front of my head teller during our monthly one-on-one review, however she told me that maybe banking just isn’t my niche and seemed genuinely supportive when I told her of my dream career). I just feel like I really screwed up my working life here.
One last confession, Perhaps it was the first thing to come along, but I took this job not only for the money, but because it was full-time. Guess I should choose my next job a little more carefully, huh? I’m just so worried I’ll get fired soon and then who knows what’ll happen.
SMALL UPDATE: I wrote out this letter over the course of several days, but this evening I looked at some articles about new jobs not working out and I realized something…why am I fretting over a job I hate? I know, sounds crazy, but I figured it something to mention.
Overworked and Stressed out and lost and confused and (amazingly) calm and hopeful
P.S. Contrary to your advice in your last letter, I’m still hanging on to my old grocery store job for the moment. I’m just too scared to quit that one with the issues I’m having at my new job.
P.S.S. Maybe quitting my teller job is the right thing to do. God forbid what would happen if I was faced with a robbery.
P.S.S.S. Get well soon Papa Bear!
* * *
I recall your last letter, but for the life of me can’t seem to locate it on my website, hmmm. Anyway, at the time you had just gotten the bank job and were stressed from working that job and the grocery store job, so I advised you to quit the grocery store so that you wouldn’t get exhausted and possibly compromise your health. You are still working that job. Is it at all possible that you are having trouble concentrating on the finer points of banking because you are tired? Just a thought, but if you DID quit the grocery store and got more rest, perhaps you’d be able to think more clearly and not make so many mistakes at the bank. I know that when THIS bear gets tired, it is very difficult for him to think clearly; he also gets grumpy and sometimes overly emotional. Check out this link from WebMD http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss about all the bad stuff that happens to our bodies when we don’t get enough sleep. It includes symptoms you are experiencing right now, from forgetfulness to depression.
If you are not getting 8-9 hours of restful sleep a night, this could be your problem.
So, that is one possibility. The other could be just what you said: that you just aren’t a banker at heart and don’t like the job, period. Voice acting is your dream. That’s swell. Everyone should have a dream, but you must realize that being a voice actor is not easier than being a movie or stage actor. It is very competitive and only the very best survive in the field. It’s not enough to have talent, either. You must have a lot of drive, ambition, and business sense. Here is a good article on the challenges of voice acting from someone in the field: http://iwanttobeavoiceactor.com/get-ready/.
I’m not posting that to discourage you, but, rather, just to make sure you’re grounded and realize the tough road ahead of you should you choose voice acting as a career. There are many opportunities in the field, from cartoons to commercials to video games to business videos and on and on. Many people DO make a career of it, so I’m not saying it isn’t possible.
If you wish to make this career change, go about it carefully and with great planning. I still say that, for the above reason, you should quit the grocery store job. You have a full-time job and income shouldn’t be the issue; you are just clinging to the store job out of fear. What you need is not fear, but more rest. It would also be helpful to combine more rest with regular exercise and a healthy diet, both of which will also help you rest. And make sure that when you go to bed you rest your head in a quiet, dark, comfortable place to assist with a more sound sleep.
After you quit the grocery store (pardons for assuming), go to your supervisor and tell her that you feel you were having trouble in the job because you were working that second job and not getting enough rest. Tell her (even if it’s not completely truthful), that you wish to do well on this job and would like her suggestions on how to improve and do better with the finer points of banking and government regulations.
While you are doing this, continue with your voice acting lessons and try to find work in voice acting without quitting your full-time job (full-time jobs are hard to come by and shouldn’t be lightly dismissed). Should the time come when you are making regular money at voice acting, then quit the regular job.
Another thing you can do is look for another full-time job in another field besides banking. But I advise you strongly not to quit your regular work before having a solid income source from an alternative job.
I hope you will listen to Papabear this time. I think a big part of your problem is that you didn’t listen to his advice in the previous letter. And don’t be afraid! Everything will be okay in the end, and, if it is not okay, then it is not the end. :-)
How are you? And Happy (belated) Valentine's Day. I've been in the furry fandom for at least two years (or three, I haven't been keeping up really). I was a gamer ever since I was 8 years old, and at age 15, I found out that I wanted to have a career in the gaming industry as a game designer. And in 2013, I gained interest in the furry fandom and it has really helped me through many things. But now I seem to have hit a dilemma, should I give up being a furry just so I can have a successful career?
Neo the Demon Skunk
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Your question no doubt stems from the all-encompassing fear among furries that they will be “found out” and fired for being a furry. Nonsense. If that were true, nobody who was a furry would be able to hold down a job and we would all be living in our parents’ basements. Furries of all sorts have great careers, and you can, too.
To have a career outside the fandom, just adhere to the same rules that everyone else follows while at work. These are obvious things, such as don’t use company computers and company Internet connections to look at furry websites and chat with furries; use them ONLY for business activities. When in the office, follow whatever dress codes are expressed in company policy (this likely means no tail, ears, partial fursuits, etc., except perhaps at a Halloween party). Office time is for the office; keep your personal life at home and you will be fine.
As with any “rule,” there are exceptions. Some offices are totally cool with furries. The best example I know of this has to do with my buddy Tycho Aussie. He has worn his fursuit at work, and the people there love it. Now, this is not typical, but it is possible.
You do not have a dilemma at all. Stay furry!
I feel like I'm trapped in an uninteresting life. I'm living somewhere where I feel rather isolated, I have “friends” but they're mostly just family friends, I have very few people who I feel truly close to, and they are almost all online. I feel like I'm uninteresting, both socially and sexually. I have kinks, but no way to really practice them. I have an unsatisfying sex life, but I'm not sure how to resolve that. I feel like I'm unhappy with my love life, but I'm not sure if the problem is the relationship, or me. I feel like I'm just drifting through life, not accomplishing anything, and I have no idea how to change that. People make it all sound so easy—go somewhere else, figure out what you love and do it, and things like that—but I'm not sure where to start with any of that. What am I supposed to do?
Bear (age 22, Canada)
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While the advice of moving or finding your passion can be true for many people, the particulars on how to do it can be problematic. Your friends are trying to point out that you are in a rut and need to shake things up, but unless you know where you are going this might not work. For example, if you move from Canada to New York City, it might be an exciting new environment, but you can’t run away from your problems or lack of ambition or lack of goals. Those things follow you. Likewise, you can’t just snap your fingers and say, “I summon my passion!” Many people, frankly, go through their entire lives without finding their passions.
Why is that?
There are several things that stop us from doing what we really want to do. I call these “The Shit Factors” (it sounds better in French: “les facteurs de merde”) and they are:
The Shit Factors are not established in us from birth. When we are little kids we do things because we love it, even if we are terrible at it (e.g., drawing people as crayon stick figures). It isn’t long, though, before we start to “learn” that such joys are not valued by our parents and peers. Parents tell us we must get an education and get a degree so we can find a job and make money; peers will take the first opportunity to make fun of and mock us at almost anything we attempt so that they can feel better about themselves. These two outside forces squash the joy out of most people, effectively turning them into boring drones who do all that is expected of them: go to school, work, raise a family, pay taxes, and die.
One of the saddest lines ever penned was by Henry David Thoreau: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
My passion when I was younger was to be a writer. I struggled a lot with this, and my early stories were, well, awful (SF #1). I remember submitting a bunch of them to the creative writing program at Bowling Green State University, where I was considering going for a master’s degree (MFA). They gently suggested I just register for their standard MA. I was crushed. Slowly, though, I began work on my fantasy novel. Took years, got hundreds of rejection letters, and then I got “the call.” A publisher liked it! So, spent a year in contract negotiations, after which the publisher changed her mind, postponing publication indefinitely. Another year wasted (SF #5). I then submitted it to a small press in Canada (Double Dragon) that was having a writing contest judged by Piers Anthony (“Xanth” series), and I won! The book, The Steel of Enadia, was published, but didn’t sell worth a damn. I made no money off it (SF #2 and #4). The book got some online reviews that were pretty upsetting, too (SF #3).
Afterwards, I was pretty sad. I continued to write, though, publishing a number of nonfiction titles for young adults until finding my next passion: writing a history about Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan. This was a labor of love. The zoo, the oldest in the state that was accredited, had never been written about, so I dove in. This took a couple of years of research, interviews, and writing. I then submitted it to the Michigan State University Press (MSU’s vet school had a long history of working with the zoo and so it was a good fit). The editor loved the book, but they didn’t have a budget to publish it and kept delaying (see, all the money from sport programs never goes toward anything academic or artsy, or else they would have had the money in spades). Soooooo, I found a place that, basically, was a vanity press and got it published. However, I got absolutely NO support, either from the publisher, or, frustratingly, from the zoo itself, which refused to sell the book in its gift store (“We don’t sell books” and “You only want us to do that because you want to make money off of us” were two reasons I got). Although the people I know who read the book loved it, I couldn’t sell it and it is now out of print (thanks a lot, Potter Park Zoo, you putzes).
I stopped writing after that for a long time. Then, I found the furry fandom, which has now led me to writing this column. I make no money from it. None. Zilch. But I love doing it. I am grateful to those who write in and who read this column because it gives my life a sense of purpose, and it would not have happened if I had given up on writing because of the five Shit Factors.
My success with this column has also inspired me to begin research on my next project: The Furry Book: The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the Furry Fandom, which I hope to complete by the end of this year.
Not to make this a column about me, but I offer you my experience here as an example of how dangerous the Shit Factors are and because I suspect that you may be in your current rut because you are being stopped by one, some, or all of these factors. To find personal satisfaction in your life (note I am not saying “to find money” or “to get a career” or even "to find love," although these things can happen, too) you must break through all five factors and then ask yourself this question: If your doctor gave you one year to live, what would you do with your time?
This is not a frivolous question. We all die, of course. Any one of us could die tomorrow, could die later today. I just got an email from a friend of mine who is 56 and a bit shaken up by the fact that a cousin of his who is his age went to bed last night and never woke up.
The future is never certain. Live your life for today. Do not be complacent, content to sit on the couch watching “Survivor” or playing “Final Fantasy.” Live.
As for the Shit Factors, let’s look at them again:
Much of what I have above here is about your vocation or avocation, it seems, but it can actually apply to your love life, as well. Why do you suppose your sex life is unsatisfying? Could it be due to a Shit Factor? Such as you are afraid to tell your lover what you really want (related to SF #3)? Why did you choose this particular mate? Was it because they were low-hanging fruit (related to SF #5)? Because they have a good-paying job (related to SF #2)? Think about it....
I hope this helps. Please write again if it doesn’t and we can continue the conversation.
First off, I just want to thank you for what you do. I discovered your site a couple of years ago and very much enjoyed reading through the questions people have sent and your thoroughly kind and thoughtful responses. I just randomly thought of you again recently and decided to write you a letter about an issue that’s come to the forefront of my mind lately. It’s a rather awkward issue and, since I’m a pretty reserved, private person, I don’t know anyone personally who I could talk to about it.
I’ll try to keep things brief as I explain my problem (I have a tendency to ramble when writing about myself).
I stumbled across the Furry fandom around the time I was starting middle school and immediately found the whole subculture fascinating, since I have always had in interest in anthropomorphic animals. But at around the same time, (the beginning of puberty) I began having these interests and sexual fantasies involving male cross-dressing and generally feminine males. I’ve only ever felt really attracted to females IRL, so I guess I’m sort of mildly bisexual. And, not to be pious, but my interests aren’t anything straight-up pornographic, mostly more romantic and intimate, somewhat risqué at worst. I’ve never been comfortable with pornography or anything hardcore; it’s just not my cup of tea.
Now to be perfectly clear, I wouldn’t say that I find furry characters inherently sexually attractive, any more than I find anime-style art to be more attractive than real-life humans, but the majority of my sexual fantasies ended up involving furry characters anyways, and that, along with my understanding of the general public perception of furries, led me to keep both of these interests as private, shameful secrets.
Being a relatively imaginative person, I ended up constructing whole fictional settings/worlds for these stories, branching out to subjects erotic and chaste, furry and human. Gradually these turned into written short stories (mostly the fantasies) and eventually I started trying my hand at serious drawing, beginning in late 2010.
I’d never considered myself artistically talented before, and most of my early attempts were fairly terrible, but the arousal and personal satisfaction I got from transforming my ideas into a form of reality did a lot in helping me get over that initial awkward stage and start getting somewhat talented at art. But because arousal was the main reason I drew, most of what I made involved cross-dressing, so I was too embarrassed to show it to anyone.
Over time, as I got more comfortable with drawing, I started showing some of my family members my non-furry, non-CD art, and got back some mildly positive responses. At around that time, I ‘came out’ as a furry (with much preparation and nervousness) to my younger sister, the person in my family I have the most in common with, and she was totally okay with it, even if she herself wasn’t interested being a furry. Since it’s never been a pressing issue, I never brought it up to the rest of my family or to any of my friends/acquaintances. Based on a few offhand remarks, my family’s awareness of the furry fandom is limited to “weird people who dress up like animals” or, in the case of my brother-in-law (and maybe my dad since he watches so many of those CSI-type crime shows) “Perverts who like to have sex dressed up as animals”.
But lately I’ve been making even bigger improvements in my art abilities, drawing on a daily basis, and getting to the point where I feel like I could gain a lot of admiration and even be able to make a living if I put my art online and. did commissions. Making a webcomic is something else I’ve been hoping to do for quite a while, and I’ve spent more time recently doing some solid character, setting, and plot development.
This is all floating around in my head lately since, with my 20th birthday in a few months, I’m reaching the point in my life where I really need to stop hoping and imagining and wishing for things that could happen and actually start doing them.
I’ve been working part-time for about a year and a half, and taking classes part-time at my local community college for even longer (I started in high school with a dual-credit program) and now I’m only a couple of classes away from getting my Associate’s degree. My parents (who I still live with) want me to continue my education and get a Bachelor’s in a general business degree, (something I have already done a few electives for) but I’m having doubts about it. I’ve never really felt comfortable or excelled in the academic environment and I’m not exactly looking forward to taking 20-odd classes with names like “Basic Marketing Principles” and “Workplace Leadership”. I took a college-level art class once a couple of years ago, but I had trouble with the assignments and ultimately dropped out of it. I don’t really want to, or feel like I need to, get an art degree. I understand the benefits, but I just don’t think it’s necessary for me.
As for my current low-paying employment at a grocery store, the work itself is fine, but there isn’t really any room for promotion aside from being a manager, and I just don’t see myself as having a ‘managerial’ personality, and I don’t really connect with anyone in my small group of co-workers, mainly since they come from a very different background than me, and a fair few are immigrants don’t speak English very well. There are some nice people, but not really anything more than work-friends.
I understand having a career as an independent artist is a bit of a long-shot and not nearly as secure as an office job, and I don’t have a problem with having a “day job” that pays more than $10 an hour (unlike my current job) to support myself until (if ever) my dreams become a reality, but I just don’t know if I can make myself sit in all of those classes and pretend to be interested in something I’m not for a couple more years just to scrape by and get a potentially pointless degree.
I really don’t have an excuse for not already doing what I want to with my life, other than that I’ve always had trouble making myself do difficult things someone else doesn’t expect or require me to do, and well, what I want to do is something that no one has ever told me I should do.
After quite a bit of thought, I’ve come to a three-option fork in the road, and thus, my dilemma. See, for all my love of drawing, a large part of what I like drawing the most is still cross-dressing focused stuff, and I am still very hesitant about revealing that aspect of myself to others.
I don’t tell anyone I know about my art, I just start posting whatever I’m inspired to draw online. The good part of this option is that I’m totally free to just be myself and not self-censor my creative flow. The bad part is that it means I either can’t show my family what I make and love to do, or I do show them and let them, well, know that I’m interested in that sort of thing. I can understand coming out as gay or transsexual, but you don’t really need to ‘come out’ as enjoying a particular sexual kink. That’s not the kind of thing you should just go shoving in people’s faces. Also, I might feel uncomfortable about meeting people IRL at conventions and whatnot who aware of that element of my personality. And sure, I might be able to get commissions from like-minded people of cross-dressing related art, but I feel like my other art and webcomics and whatnot would be ‘tainted’ for some people by the association of my personal ‘interests’.
I start showing my art online, but not any of my cross-dressing related stuff. This option has the benefit of me being able to tell people I know about it, and not experiencing any form of guilt about it, but at the cost of self-censoring my creativity, which would make it more difficult for me to ‘give my all’ in the art I make. It’s not that I only like drawing CD stuff, it’s just that my ‘muse’, as it were, gives me more fuel to make the best art I can when I have a *ahem* vested interest in the subject matter.
This is a combination of the other two: I have one account where I post all of my regular stuff on a place like Deviant Art, and another account on a different art site where I keep all of my CD-related stuff. That way, no one would have to see what they don’t want to. But I don’t think I would be able to keep them so separate that people couldn’t put two-and-two together and catch me with my metaphorical pants down. If so, that might be even worse than the first option where I’m open about everything, since it would make me look like a two-faced hypocrite.
I just… I feel like my life has been stuck in a rut for a long time, and I have no good reason to be. I have a car, plenty of money (I’ve been saving practically all of what I’ve earned from my job), and seem to be an intelligent, creative person. I mean heck, I live pretty close to a good-sized furry convention (like, less than a half hour’s drive) and I’ve never been. I’m a lurker on all of the websites I frequent, and I’ve grown apart from the people I was friends with in middle and high school, so I’m basically friendless now, and I have difficulty interacting with people I don’t know well, even online. I hardly leave the house anymore for a non-work non-school reason, and when I do, it’s with members of my immediate family. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being afraid to be myself, but at the same time, I have no idea how to get out of this rut and start doing things and meeting people and not just being comfortable with mediocrity anymore.
I know my parents want what’s best for me and to support me, and I love my family immensely. This is part of the reason why these thoughts are troubling me. I want to be able to share my life with them, not just run off and do my own thing entirely, or put on a mask every time I see or talk to them.
So, to take all of this and try to condense it into an answerable question, “How should I handle my personal sexual interest in relation to my overall artistic ambitions”, or more broadly, “What am I gonna do with my life?!”
Thanks for taking the time to read through all of this, and I hope to be hearing from you soon.
–The Invisible Artist (age 19)
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Wow, this is a lot of questions, actually. My general policy is to answer one per letter. Basically, I guess one could summarize it as: what should I do with my life? And so I will try to respond at this more fundamental level.
At 19 you’re going through a major transitional phase in your life between cubhood and adulthood. No breaking news there. But it is a chapter that many people make the mistake of allowing others to write. Often, it is the parents who write it; at other times, it is peers; sometimes, it is just circumstances in life. I’ll give you a case in point: my sister was pressured by our dad to major in business at the University of Michigan (kind of like your parents wanting you to take business courses). She hated it so much, but for three and a half years she did what Dad wanted. Finally, just a few courses short of a bachelor’s degree from a prestigious university, she couldn’t take it anymore. One night, we got a telegram (I was still living at home with my parents, as I was still in high school); all it said was she was okay but that she was leaving. She quit school and disappeared for months (although she did call a couple times). She spent a couple years working odd jobs, but eventually went back to school and got a Ph.D. in a subject she actually liked: biology. Now she is a tenured professor.
The point is that she decided to do what she wanted to do, and, although it was a huge struggle, she eventually achieved her goal and is so much more happy than if she had listened to Dad. But, because she had listened to him for so long, she really wasted years of her life that could have been better spent working toward her biology degree. Oh, and she also came out as a lesbian and is now happily married to a doctor.
What you are seeking, fundamentally, is happiness, no? And you won’t find it by doing things to please your parents or to please furries online or to please your bosses. I can’t tell you what you want to do, but what you need is to really figure out what your passion in life is. Finding a passion is not easy, and many people live out their lives without discovering it. The lucky ones not only find their passion but live it. Happy is the person whose job is his passion for he will never work a day in his life.
On the complementary issue: your sexual interests and how they influence your work. Unless sex is your job (i.e., you work in the profession), I wouldn’t advise mixing them together. From what I’ve seen in the art world, if you wish to be a successful artist, you really won’t become one by just drawing porn—even soft porn, and especially not furry porn. I agree that you don’t necessarily need an art degree (many great artists are self-taught, and many artists with degrees end up working at White Castle). If you want to make a living at it, you will need to work hard at improving and marketing your work. Same is true if you wish to be an author. I’ve been down that particular road, and it is extremely difficult. The key to both is—and you might hate me for saying this—learning the ropes of business, marketing, and public relations. The most successful artists excel at marketing themselves. Therefore (ouch), you might actually learn a lot of valuable skills by taking business courses (how’d we get to this point, eh?) You’re now, like, wait a minute, but you said about your sister...? That’s different. A biology professor has no need to market herself to succeed. If you go into the arts, you will definitely benefit from those skills.
My conclusion for you, then, is to go to business school with the intention of learning how to market yourself as an artist. In other words, don’t do it because your parents said so, do it because it will help you get what you want (this is all assuming you want to pursue the arts). Specialize, for example, in how to market and do PR in the entertainment industry. I know a couple people who specialized in organizing and promoting conventions (not furry ones, although furcon organizers could certainly learn from people who organize, say, auto shows) and entertainment acts and they are now quite amazingly wealthy.
Meanwhile, keep your sexual interests to yourself, where they should be. Your sexuality is a private matter and should be kept separate from your career goals. Concerning this: examine deeply why you wish to post soft porn furry art on the Internet. Are you doing it because you want an art career (buzz! wrong! see above!), or are you doing it for validation, the deep-seated urge to be recognized? If the latter, then keep that to the side, an avocation rather than a vocation.
Wishing you luck,
I admit, I'm concerned about talking about my problems because with how my life's been lately it does feel like I have a laundry list of problems. However, I do have a specific topic I'd like to focus on, so I'll try to adhere to it: my concerns regarding my career path.
When I was in college, I majored in theater, something that I've discovered is one of the hardest subjects to build a successful career in. Specifically, what I focused on was making costumes, so at first I figured I could use that to get a career in the fashion industry. Unfortunately, now that I find myself working for a company that specializes in designing, manufacturing and shipping garments, I'm finding myself more unhappy than ever; the pay's barely over minimum wage where I live (and will be the minimum wage at the start of next year), I don't connect with any of my coworkers, there's no indication that the job is going anywhere, and my boss has managed to convey three rather concerning things to me: she doesn't care about my problems, she would rather have a situation arise where only I have to suffer, and she appears dead set on making sure I continue working for the company.
Since joining, I've found myself less and less enthusiastic about sewing in my free time, my sleep schedule's been out of whack, and I've been finding myself experiencing physical pain in my stomach and back at times while at work, especially at times when I feel particularly stressed. I want to talk to my doctor about this, but with the pay I receive, my abnormal work hours (7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. most days, not counting the 45-60 minute drives to and from work) and the number of things I already need to set money aside for between pay days, I'm concerned about whether I can afford to schedule a doctor's appointment. I understand that my health is important and I shouldn't be neglecting it, but with how my job's set up right now I'm not exactly sure how I would be able to maintain my health.
I've been given a list of local theaters I could apply to, though I've been told the positions would primarily be volunteer positions. I'm not sure I'm in a position where I can afford to not earn money, and I don't have enough time in my schedule to be able to do both things. I've been asked to consider going back to college for a two-year degree in something that's more profitable, which I'd honestly rather not do because none of the jobs that my therapist presented to me that are in high demand in my area sound like things I'd enjoy. I've been trying to connect with some of my old college professors to ask for advice, but so far this has proven fruitless.
Ultimately, I guess that the question I'd like to boil all of this down to is this: was it a mistake for me to major in theater when I was in college? I love theater, drama, the creative and performing arts, and would like to believe that I could still find a career pursuing this, but is such a belief just naive, wishful thinking?
I'm worried about admitting this concern to my therapist, since I feel like his responses to my concerns have started becoming formulaic and impersonal. I feel like if I were to admit these things to him, he'd just state some variation of “you should be happy you even have a job” or “there are other people in the world with the same problems you're facing” or the like. I understand these things already, specifically because they've been statements that have cropped up repeatedly in our sessions already.
I'm sorry if I'm going overboard or pushing my boundaries in terms of keeping this to a single question. Thank you for at least taking the time to read this; I look forward to hearing your response at a time that works best for you.
Valeyard (age 23)
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This is the third time you’ve written me about an issue, so I am flattered you have come back. Let’s start by tackling the health issue. Judging by your letter, I would say your stomach and back pain is caused by stress. You might even have an ulcer. One question I would have is: if you can afford a therapist, why can’t you afford a doctor’s visit? Do you not have insurance? You know, at 23, you are still able to have coverage under your parent’s insurance for three more years; also, with your low income, you should be able to find affordable insurance under the Affordable Care Act. You actually are required to have insurance, so, with that, a doctor’s visit should run you about $50-$60 bucks. Take care of your health, hon. That’s a top priority.
A lot of your pain could go away, however, if you resolve your work problems. Do I think you chose the wrong career path? No. I think you have the wrong company. You don’t need to go back to school if you have a college degree in a field you love. Many people make an excellent income in fashion design, and you can, too. If I were in your paws, I would start a job search coupled with networking my brains out with everyone I could think of who might have a job lead. Also, if at all possible, do not limit yourself to a specific location. The wider you cast your net, the more fish you will catch. Leave yourself open to possibilities—including other areas of the theater besides fashion (so many choices, such as stage design, sound engineering, or even areas like promotions and marketing and producing), and you might be surprised by what is out there.
In the meantime, to gain some satisfaction, you might try a little freelance on the side. As a talented sewer, have you ever considered making fursuits? A good fursuit goes for $1,000 and up a pop, and you can do it from home in whatever spare time you might find. If that doesn’t interest you, how about costume accessories for furries? As a fan of the theater, I would bet you like things such as period clothing—sewing costumes with a Medieval or Pirate flare, perhaps? Steampunk? What fun! You could start your own business (a website is ridiculously easy to create and inexpensive to start these days) and sell your original creations. You can start by approaching local shops with your clothing and seeing if they will put some in their stores, selling your creations yourself online, or, if you get really inspired with designs, there are companies that will assist you with taking your concept from sketch to factory manufacturing. A good example of this is Maker’s Row at http://makersrow.com/.
The American business world has changed dramatically over the last generation. The traditional work model of being hired by a large corporation and dedicating your vocational life to it has gone to the wayside. Entrepreneurship and cottage industries have blossomed with the help of our Internet culture and computer technology that has brought manufacturing within reach of the small businessperson. This is a world of digital and 3-D printing that is truly stunning. You can print books on demand, or order a special shirt just one at a time, and I even saw a young man who designs athletic shoes that are customizable and producible right inside a local shop.
People with creativity and a little business chutzpah are the ones who will climb out of the minimum-wage hole that is beloved by Corporate America and find themselves standing in the sunshine of opportunity.
So, no, don’t go back to school to get a degree in some field you don’t give a rat’s buttocks about. Instead, you must rediscover the joy of fashion design and the theater that your current employers have sucked out of you. Find it, grab it, cling to it, and it will be your key to a happier life.
* * *
I admit, I was strongly considering writing to you about these issues for a while but felt like it might be in bad taste, considering the previous submissions were regarding issues other people I knew were facing and how I wanted to help them through them. I always feel bad whenever I try to talk about myself because I don't want to run the risk of seeming clingy or selfish.
Anyway, in regards to the health issues, when I said I couldn't afford to go to the doctor's, I'd meant in terms of having to take time out of my work schedule, since the job doesn't offer benefits, not even for people working full-time, save for occasional paid vacation days, which tend to fall on holidays and are only grouped over one or two days.
In terms of looking in other venues in theater, I also have some acting experience and have worked on props and in wardrobe for a few shows. Furthermore, I'm also learning about audio equipment and recording since I'm also in a band (lead vocals and keyboardist), so that's something also I guess. In addition, voice over is something else I've recently taken interest in, though I'm still working on getting confident enough to feel comfortable recording myself.
...Now I'm worried that I'm trying to do too many things at once. I guess this was partially what I meant when I said I felt like I had a laundry list of problems. I probably should have mentioned this sooner, but I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome when I was in grade school. I'm not trying to pin that as the cause for any of my problems, or use it as an excuse for why I'm struggling with things, I just thought I should mention it in case it might be relevant. But I digress.
Unfortunately, understanding the business side of theater was something that I'd neglected looking into while at college. The job search places that I've spoken to, including the career center at the university where I studied theater, have sadly demonstrated little understanding of theater-related business also. I was told that I would need to build a portfolio if I want to apply for costume-related jobs, though I received little assistance with actually learning how to put one together. I guess that these are things I should consider getting assistance in through networking?
I'm sorry if I'm coming across as making excuses at this point.
* * *
I've received many letters from furries with Aspergers. While that can be a challenge (depending on how strong or mild the case) you can certainly work and function in society as many have done. So let's table that issue, unless you feel it is really hampering you. I imaging your therapist knows about it and is working with you on it.
And please, never feel "clingy" or "selfish" because you nee to reach out to someone with a problem and need some help. That is what being a human being (or furry!) should be about: helping each other in a communal society. Never feel like you have to apologize to me.
Concerning the doctor: whether it is money or time you are lacking, it doesn't matter. If you are ill, seek professional medical care, please! Again, it's a top priority!
So, back to career. A portfolio is a simple thing to do. All you do is gather together samples of work that you feel is your best and represents well what you do. Put it in a folder or put it in electronic form, it doesn't matter. All a portfolio is is samples of your talent that you take with you to show to prospective clients or employers.
As for your other talents, such as music and acting, it's all good. Many professional actors are also singers and musicians. A lot of actors got their start in other areas, too (Harrison Ford helped build sets, for example, before he was hired to play Han Solo). Being multi-talented should be a plus, not a minus.
If you wish to do actual stage work, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get involved in your local community theater. Some of these are purely amateur productions, others are supported by Actors' Equity; with the latter, you're more likely to get paid. You'll likely have to get in at the ground floor, meaning unpaid.
If you truly want it, if it is your burning desire, you will make the time to do this. If not, if you are just too afraid, or if you cannot surmount the anxieties brought on by your Aspergers, or if you spend too much time making excuses, then you are much much less likely to achieve your dream.
Talk to your therapist about your goals and ask what you can do to rise above your disability to live the life you wish to live. Or, even better, tell yourself, "Screw Aspergers! I'm going to live my dream!"
It's all about having confidence in yourself. Lack of confidence, overly developed humility, a sense of shame or guilt, these are all things that hold you back. Can you do it? If others can, you can, too! Here, my friend, is a list of great and talented people with Aspergers who can inspire you:
People in Entertainment
I'm not pressuring you to try to imitate their achievements, but if they can reach the stars, surely you can make a living doing what you love!
I am 19. Through the course of my life people have made me believe it's the year of golden opportunity for me something that defines my life forever. And I'm not doing anything with it. I wanted to go to college, but due to circumstances that didn't work. So instead I wanted to go to New York and help in volunteer work. That didn't work out either. So now I'm left with just me, I don't have a license, I don't have a job, and I'm not doing anything. And I know I shouldn't be in a rush to finish life, but shouldn't I be starting a life?
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One of the toughest, most stressful things in life is trying to decide your career and all your future life before you even are 20 years old. We are all so constantly pushed about this that it can make many of us miserable, and we can often make the wrong decisions. In the good ol’ days (geezer alert!), when milk came to your door via horse-drawn wagon there was a common system of apprenticeship. Only rich, educated families typically went to colleges and universities. Most other people worked in retail, trades, and factories. You were pretty much assigned from the time you were born as to which direction you would go, with a few exceptions of some brilliant people born to families of modest means.
Today, it is expected that everyone should go to college and if you don’t you are somehow a loser. This system is wrong-headed, and also crippled by the fact that our public education system is woefully inadequate and dominated more by Washington politics than common sense. So, what happens, inevitably, is a lot of young people drop out of school, or they join the military, or they keep trying to get into college, not really knowing why they should and, like you, feeling lost.
I’m not sure what type of volunteer work you were looking to do in New York, or why that idea fell flat, but what you need to do is take some time to decide what you want to do with your life. Don’t rush it. Think of hobbies and interests you have and how that might relate to a career. Don’t limit yourself to careers that need a college degree. You know, some people are really skilled with their hands. I have great respect for people who are talented carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, electricians, and the like. Or perhaps you enjoy working retail. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe you want to start an online business. There’s lots of potential out there to start businesses with little start-up money.
You do not have to determine the course of the rest of your existence today. Even if you decided on a career path, remember that it is now common for people to change careers three or four times during their lives. For instance, I started off wanting to be a sci-fi/fantasy novelist. Well, that didn’t work out so well. Now I’m an editor, but I want to do something more profitable and am seriously considering some business options. You never know where life will take you, so don’t panic just because you aren’t sure right now.
Also, remember that we are more than just our careers. Life is not all about work. If you succeed in other aspects of your life (family, love, spiritualism, etc.) but don’t do so well at a career, you’re still having a successful life.
For a little inspiration, here are some examples of famous people who started off sucking at life:
You get the idea. So, don’t be discouraged just because you’re having a rough start. What do all the people listed above have in common? They never gave up trying. Follow their examples and you'll be okay.
It seem for a while now I been working as a medical assistant I help nurses and doctors on a daily basis, mostly with the disabled and mentally handicapped. so I deal with an array of medical issues, I help with some type of end of life care, and I have to be so positive I haven’t had time to let out my stress. It’s starting to wear me out. I haven't been feeling happy. My fursona, Mr. Silvius, I feel like he's becoming negative. Are my emotions affecting Mr. Silvius?
Thank you, Papa Bear
Mr. Silvius (21)
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Dear Mr. Silvius,
I would say that yours is a very astute and likely correct observation. When we are unable or unwilling to express our emotions—especially negative emotions—in some way, all that aggravation, frustration, and pain has to come out in some manner or else we would explode. In extreme cases, this is why you see some people “go postal” and actually murder people. They feel that no one listens to them or that they are powerless and it becomes way too extreme for them, overwhelming them into lethal behavior.
I’m not saying you’ll do that, don’t worry. You have found, subliminally, a safer way to release your emotions, transferring them to your fursona. I can certainly understand how your work would leave you sad, frustrated, and even angry. You have to plaster that smile on your face and force your voice to be upbeat even in cases where you know there is no hope. Congratulations on being so unselfish and helping people the way you do.
Now we have to help you!
The best way I’ve found to release anger and other pent-up emotions is vigorous exercise. Ever feel like you want to kick the you-know-what out of something? Go to the gym and hit and kick a punching bag. Even better, take martial arts lessons, which show you not only how to kick butt but also how not to. By having discipline combined with physical exertion, you can really manage your darker emotions.
Other ways to do this are things like running and swimming and weight training. Not only will this release a lot of energy from your body, it will make you healthier, and good health is an excellent way to reduce stress in your life.
I think you will find that if you follow one of these strategies that best suits your interests and needs that the negative feelings will dissipate into the air and there won’t be any left to transfer to your fursona. If it doesn’t work, write to me again and we’ll talk some more.
Good luck! Be Blessed!
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