One time I had a meeting with someone who asked about my father’s profession. “He owns a construction company,” I said. To which they said, “he’s an entrepreneur” implying I didn’t realize that my father and I were cut from the same cloth. It was slightly condescending, like a “didyouknowconstructionworkersarejustlikeus?” and it kind of perfectly embodies what I fucking hate about start up culture.
Yes, my father is an en-tre-pre-neur. I’ve known this. He called it being “self-employed” - it meant we had awful insurance. My father worked from 6am-5pm everyday and he didn’t tweet about it to anybody.
And this was manual fucking labor. Your quotes about working hard and prospering? You sit at a computer all day or get coffee at Balthazar with a client. Want to know hard work? Lay some brick.
Think you’ve been nervous before a fundraising meeting? There aren’t safety nets in construction. Our family’s income was contingent solely on him getting new clients. He got new clients through referrals. Those referrals were based on how well he built someone’s house.
There was no networking in my father’s world. No “construction meetups” for him to hear inspiring talks or meet someone who can help him with his business. Everything fell solely on his shoulders and if he fumbled it meant his livelihood.
He used duct tape for bandaids of cuts from saws and errant hammer mishaps, so don’t tell me about carpal tunnel. When you complain about wanting a standing desk, I think about how he laid cement on summer days. Your seminar for “building and managing a great team”? Let me give you my dad’s phone number so you can ask him about making sure workers who each speak only one one of three different foreign languages communicate well enough with each other to get a roof raised.
So don’t patronize me as if I don’t realize that my father is an “entrepreneur”. I watched him live a life harder than most just so he could say he was his own boss.