Elayne wants to be a horse trainer. But you know how it is with horse training — like its sister occupations, exotic dancing and prostitution, parents will stop at nothing to keep their children out of this sinister line of work.
Or so it appears.
I know you’ve answered this type of question a lot of times before, but I’m just going to bother you with it again.
Hey, go for it…maybe it’ll be easier for me to answer today if I’ve answered it a few times already! 🙂 I could use an easy day today. I’m already feeling the holiday laziness set in.
So. For about two or three years of my high school life, I’m set on going to college for botanical conservation, aka a park ranger who’s smart in plants.
That sounds exactly like a job someone in high school thinks she would like — and then switches to something else later because there just aren’t too many jobs like that and therefore are extremely hard to get.
Come my senior year, I realize…it’s not where my passion lies.
It’d be just a job I have to do because everyone else has stable jobs and that’s what’s expected of you by, essentially, everyone.
Well, let me stop you quickly and say:
a) I’m not really sure that’d be too stable of a job, actually. It’s a government job, usually, so the benefits are probably good. But botanical conservation isn’t quite a sacred cow, so I could see those jobs getting slashed at some point when your state’s budget is underwater. And unless you live in Wyoming or North Dakota — your state’s budget is currently underwater. 🙂
b) Stability is great, but not essential. I’m sure you know this already, but it really doesn’t mean a damn what anyone else “expects” of you. In terms of career choice, you don’t really owe anyone anything except yourself. Or, as the refrigerator magnets say, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
But it won’t bring me happiness. I want to LOVE my job. I want to wake up every morning and smile, because I know I’m doing something with my life that I won’t regret.
Well, I can’t promise you that you’ll actually love your job, but you’ve certainly got a better chance of that actually happening in your current frame of mind (that of seeking what you love, etc.). So you’re already a leg up on most folks.
I’ll save you the suspense, it’s equine studies. I really want to become a horse trainer, and go to college for that.
OK. My initial reaction is that you might be able to do that without actually going to college, but I don’t know. I know that a lot of horse trainers get their horse-training “education” on the job rather than in the classroom, so that’s just something to keep in mind while you make your decision.
Now, my parents disagree greatly with this decision.
They believe I will be heading into a poverty level job of shoveling horse shit day in and day out, with no health or any other benefits.
a) You may very well be headed toward a low-paying job, but if the satisfaction of your job outweighs your inability to have big piles of money in your bank account, then that’s your business and yours alone.
b) You definitely will be shoveling horseshit every day; however, no horse trainer I’ve ever known (and yes, I’ve actually known a few — my uncle was a really, really good one) has ever minded that part of the job. If you’ve ever owned dogs, you’ve probably gotten used to cleaning up their dogshit in the backyard. Big deal.
c) Health benefits will either come from your full-time job, or you can buy an individual policy on your own (they’re expensive, but you can still buy them). You can obtain medical care if you need it here in the U.S., so there’s no reason to think you’ll go untreated if you decide to venture into the horse industry.
They want what’s best for me, I know, they just want me to have a good life without difficulties. But I want to be happy. And I know this would.
Well, here’s a website I found with descriptions of various horse-industry jobs and also job listings.
They have said their final word on it. That I am either going to the college they want me to go to, or they are disowning me.
Are you f**king serious? They’re going to DISOWN you over wanting to train horses?
Yeah, just a little.
but that’s the direct words.
Well then, first of all, I’m very sorry to hear that you have such shitty parental support. You deserve better than that. In fact, you could be spitting in people’s food at Quizno’s while sleeping with your married manager and taunting his wife with the details anonymously via email — and you still wouldn’t deserve to be disowned by your parents.
Cost and expenses aren’t going to effect my decision at all, so there’s no point in really discussing those. (Both are cheap enough that could go to both nearly debt free).
Well, that’s one bright spot in this conversation!
So I’m just at a loss. I feel abandoned by my family for pursuing what makes me happy, all for the sake of money.
Well, man…I don’t know what to say about your family. I mean, I do, but I don’t want to go off on some 1,000-word rant about people I don’t know and for whom you probably still feel some deep affection despite the fact that they’re acting like complete dickheads toward you right now.
I guess I’ll just say this: you’ve got friends, and you’ve got family, and they both are supposed to serve basically the same role in life, which is to love and support you unconditionally (within reason).
You can choose your friends, but unfortunately, you can’t choose your family. Your friends support & love you first, then your relationship becomes permanent. With family, though, the relationship is permanent from the beginning, and then sometimes it takes ’em a while to grow into that love-and-support thing.
Not that it soothes the current ache, but in my experience, these things tend to work themselves out in time. Parents tend to outgrow the “I disown you” stage — even when it’s over something serious, and not their minor child’s course of study.
Until then, though — you’ve got a decent plan in place, I think. It’s a career you think you’ll enjoy that you can pursue without any student loan debt. Hell, that’s more than a decent plan, actually — it sounds excellent.
What’s the worst that can happen? You can study equine science, come out, start to view horses not with love but as your mortal enemies, and then be all of what, 23 years old? You can start over from there if need be. Many people — including many readers of this site — have started over much, much later than that.
So go for it, and good luck as a horse trainer. Come back often and let us know how it goes!!
Thanks for your advice,
You’re welcome. Hope it helps, and hope your folks re-own you soon. 😉
— OK, everyone. What do you think Elayne should do? Are her parents nuts, or am I being too critical? Let us know in the comments below.