This has nothing to do with jazz but I need to vent. Continue at your own peril...
I moved here about 14 years ago with my ex-wife. I was working for a local guitar manufacturer and moonlighting doing construction. The ex and I split shortly after we got here. I didn't know anyone, and ended hanging out at the bar with work buddies feeling sorry for myself a good bit of the time. Then the recession came...that didn't help things.
But life is peaks and valleys, and sure enough, the economy turned around, I met a great girl and got remarried, and life has generally been much better for the last several years.
A couple of years ago, I decided to go back to school to get my engineering degree. I'm 41 now and it's been a huge shift in my day-to-day life trying to be a good student. But I'm not doing bad. I currently have 70 semester credits completed and a 3.3 GPA. I'd like that to be better, but not terrible for an old guy. I haven't been working much since I've gone back to school, but we knew that going into it. We're not missing any bills or going into debt for any of this. We're not wealthy, but we have plenty of money in the bank to support this endeavor.
My wife sees this as a good long-term life plan and has been very supportive. She encouraged me from the beginning and is probably the biggest reason I decided to return to school.
However...my friends are the least supportive group I can imagine. They all think I'm wasting my time. Rumor has it there has been some actual wagering on whether or not I will fail. One of these friends lives for free in a house his parents own and works occasional construction jobs for beer money. Another friend blows glass in his shed as his main source of income. A couple work minimum wage assembly-line jobs. But they think I'm the one wasting my time and have even called me lazy for doing this. They seem to think that since I'm not at the bar drinking with them, then I'm not doing anything.
This probably shouldn't bother me, but it does. I'm trying to do the right thing and think long-term instead of in the moment. It's taken a lot of time and effort to make it this far in school, and it will take a lot more time and effort to finish. But the haters are wearing on me.
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Thread: supportive friends?
07-12-2018, 11:45 AM #1
07-12-2018, 11:59 AM #2
Dude, they can never take your education away from you...keep up the work.
Sadist thing about this post is that after you get your education, you are not likely to hang with this bar crowd.
Nobody hates you. They dislike your motivation which is a gift you should not forsake in any pursuit.
I hope you're a player because music can relieve some of the tension.
Good luck.If you can distinguish between rehearsing and practicing...you're better than half way there!
07-12-2018, 12:30 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
There is an foreign language expression which translates loosely as: "The cat's paw can't reach the meat, so the cat says that the meat smells bad".
Anyway, your friends are wrong. Keep your head up.
07-12-2018, 12:35 PM #4White belt
07-12-2018, 12:47 PM #5
07-12-2018, 12:52 PM #6
Forget the haters. You have something on them if you want to think about it that way.
Many years ago I was in a relationship and decided that I was going to pursue an advanced degree during nights and Saturdays. It was really for the benefit of both us for me to do it, but she didn't see it that way. We broke up and she was engaged to someone else within 90 days. That told me that all she really wanted was to be married in short order. I think they were divorced within 3 years. I am glad that I stuck with it and got the degree. She wasn't the right woman for me anyway.
07-12-2018, 12:58 PM #7
I'm glad my wife is supportive and sees the big picture. It would be impossible if she didn't.
07-12-2018, 01:26 PM #8
07-12-2018, 01:44 PM #9
- Join Date
- Sep 2007
- SE Michigan
If your "friends" aren't adding anything positive to your life they aren't worth spending time with. Life's too short.
Keep working towards your goals and don't waste time with those who will drag you down.
07-12-2018, 01:46 PM #10
When you finish your engineering degree (Civil Engineering, I guess, since you were in construction?), morroben, they will still be carping and nothing would have changed with them. But you have changed and for the better, for I do not think education is ever wasted. The anti-education crowd lives in a world where they fear change. The world is changing whether they want it or not. Education is the only buffer against obsolescence. Good for you that you are going back to school. Solving those differential equations wiill keep your mind sharp and beat off dementia! Let them cry into their beer...
I will keep those construction skills sharp though. I don't subscribe to the thesis that a white hard hat engineer does not have to know how to lay a brick wall or mix Portland cement.
PS My brother in law was a civil engineer, retired now, who went to MIT and Northwestern Uni Kellogg School of Management. He knows how to scree a cement floor and lay a brick wall. He started in construction as a lad and worked his way up. Blue collar working class and proud of it.Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)
07-12-2018, 02:18 PM #11
It's your life, not theirs. Do what you think is best."I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg
07-12-2018, 02:38 PM #12
- Join Date
- May 2010
- North Coast Pennsylvania
You are on the right track. Stay the course. Better friends will find you. And be grateful for a supportive spouse - priceless!Best regards, k
07-12-2018, 03:31 PM #13
That being said...I've had a couple of knee surgeries, and a couple of years ago had a bad shoulder injury. While I don't want to lose my trade skills, I also have no desire to be climbing ladders, swinging hammers, screeding concrete etc when I'm 50 or 60. At least not on a regular basis. That was a pretty big motivating factor in going back to school as well.
07-12-2018, 05:16 PM #14
You would think as you get older you should get less sensitive to slights, but that's not the case. But, you do have the perspective of wisdom and experience to help out.
Maybe you can find a way to deal with and deflect the friends' criticism while still remaining buddies...don't know if I could, but some people can. (Hey, some people are friends with their exes...)
Anyway, my hat's off to you. This is probably the last time in your life it will be relatively easy to make a move like that. Believe me, after 50, it gets astronomically hard to make a big change.
He who isn't busy being born is busy dying. A Minnesota guy said that, and I agree with him.
07-12-2018, 08:21 PM #15
- Join Date
- May 2010
- Mystic CT
They're afraid they're losing you. I went through a lot of that when I quite drinking, which was literally to save my life, but my "friends" couldn't deal with it. Turns out the next batch of friends weren't lazy drunks, and I found myself in better company. As a full-time guitarist, I've made lots of changes through the years, because new challenges come along and I am a "Gemini Project Person", so I have to go after the next cool thing that excites me. This has given me experiences in jazz, classical, flamenco, rock, blues and African music, and as my career winds down, I find that my music reflects all of those experiences and is quite original-sounding, even if playing standards. It takes a while, but one should build one's own life, I think.
07-12-2018, 10:25 PM #16
There's a saying that basically states "you become an amalgamation of the five to 10 people you spend the most time with"; the group behavior is the normal/standard/acceptable thing to do. It's up to you to decide the quality of people you surround yourself with.
"They seem to think that since I'm not at the bar drinking with them, then I'm not doing anything". Well, if that's all one ever does, it could be difficult to imagine or remember what else there is to accomplish. Keep moving on; seriously, if they're actually betting on you failing it shouldn't be too difficult to walk away from them. The sign of an absolute loser is to criticize someone not for failing, but for trying.Ignorance is agony.
07-12-2018, 10:31 PM #17
Also, you are showing your friends that one can change their life if they are willing to sacrifice and work hard enough. By pursuing this educational goal, you are taking away their excuses - plus, you are probably a good party buddy. Who wants to lose a good party buddy?
In the end, you may inspire some of them, should they want to create more economic options for themselves.
07-13-2018, 01:11 AM #18
Beware the power of the weak over the strong...
07-13-2018, 02:39 AM #19
Friends who discourage you from following your dreams aren't friends, they're drinking buddies.Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints...
07-13-2018, 05:12 AM #20
You're married...and also have friends?
07-13-2018, 09:53 AM #21
- Join Date
- Jun 2017
At 41 you're not old, you're young.
Say goodbye to the proletariat, and hello to the bourgeoisie.
07-13-2018, 10:55 AM #22"I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg
07-13-2018, 11:20 AM #23
Those aren't friends, just acquaintances. Friends don't act that way. Keep on with what you're doing, and make some real friends, and leave the losers in the bar.
07-13-2018, 01:02 PM #24
“Waste of time?” Not to get all metaphysical, but time just is. It can’t be wasted. Are you enjoying what you do? Do you have a sense of purpose? Then guess what? Turns out you are enjoying what you do and have a sense of purpose. Lots of people lack that. Many people believe that is what it looks like to be living a good life. If you can answer “yes” to that, it sounds to me like your “friends” may be the ones making less use of today than you.
Yes, it’s true. An engineering degree is no guarantee of improved economic situation. This isn’t the seventies anymore. You don’t go to free higher education and automatically get a high paying job. There are thousands of hard working young people graduating with crushing debt, an engineering degree, and a job asking you if you want soy in your latte. There may not be a big payoff in economic opportunity for you at the end of your studies.
If you are living today solely for some payoff tomorrow, if today lacks joy, purpose or meaning for you, if today is only a grind, then maybe your friends are being friends.
But just from reading your post it sounds to me like what you are doing is engaging you and giving you a sense of purpose. What better use of your time can you have than that?
07-13-2018, 01:19 PM #25
07-13-2018, 02:10 PM #26
We won't be going into any debt. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed in life, but I'm not too worried about my prospects after school. That's pretty well lined out already. I'm fortunate to have a lot of connections at various engineering firms. I had discussions with people about job opportunities before I ever started back to school. I wouldn't have started it without an endgame. There are a couple of paid positions available to me already that pay similarly to construction work, but I want to get through another semester or two before I take on a 9-5 job again. That will require me to cut back on the credit load at school, which will make it take even longer to finish the degree. The degree improves the pay scale substantially.
07-13-2018, 03:44 PM #27
- Join Date
- Feb 2017
Besides repeating the advice you should ditch those guys, think hard about your major and what industry you want to be in. I'm an EE, my major was in electronics, now my specialty is machine controls for pharmaceutical equipment. Automation is ever increasing in manufacturing. My sense is that construction is cyclical- but I know that the power field needs people. Lots of retiring engineers in the utility sector, and growth in solar & alternative energy, smart grid tech.