It always goes the exact same way.
“So, you’re still working from home, then?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Hmmm. Still doing that ‘blogging’ thing?”
“I am, yes.”
* Pause *
“And you actually make money from that then?”
No matter how prepared I am for the question, it rankles every time. And Iknow why people ask it. I know blogging is still, despite the apparent “buzz” that still surrounds it, not something that many people understand, and something that still fewer people understand as a money-making enterprise. Many people, especially those of the older generation, don’t really know what a blog is, and those who do know often assume that all blogs are personal diaries, and how could you make money out of telling people what you had for dinner that day, anyway?
Even so, the vague implication that the career I’ve had for years now can’t possibly be making me any money, is always a little disheartening. What do these people think I live off, anyway? Thin air? But no matter how resigned I am to constantly being asked whether I actually make money from blogging, it’s the next question that always takes my breath away:
“How much do you make, then?”
Again, I know the subject is interesting to some people. I understand that they may even be wondering if they, too, could make some money out of sitting around in their pyjamas all day watching daytime TV, which is what most people seem to assume those who work from home do all day. (Isn’t it funny how the phrase “Working in your pyjamas,” always seems to come up in these conversations?) But I was brought up to believe that it’s rude to ask people about money, and I wouldn’t dream of asking someone how much they earn. I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned. But the thing is, many of the people who ask me what I earn, wouldn’t dream of asking the same question of someone with a traditional job either, so it seems that we bloggers/freelance writers/work from home-ers are a special case, and normal manners don’t apply to us.
I long ago learned to hedge the question with a smile and a “Well, enough to pay the mortgage and keep me in shoes!” but some people can be incredibly persistent and won’t take the hint, choosing instead to pursue the matter, saying, “No, really: what would you make in a month, say?” and leaving me opening and closing my mouth in astonishment, not really knowing what to say.
Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps I’m just more private or old-fashioned than most, but the constant questioning of my bank balance is one of the aspects of working for myself that I’ve found hardest to deal with, and I don’t really like being asked to disclose my earnings at the drop of a hat.
What about you? Are you asked questions about your earnings by friends and family members? Does it bother you, if so?