DEAR ABBY: I'm an artist and budding filmmaker with a B.A. degree. My problems are my job situation and where I live.

My dad has told me that — like him and his father — my brother and I share a similar problem. We all have trouble getting and keeping jobs. On my mother's side, however, she, her father, her brother and my cousin all have held steady jobs. Why is that?

As an artist, I feel I don't really fit into any job description. Mom would like me to work for the federal government like she does, but I don't want to. I have had people let me down the past few years, and I have fought depression and personal attacks from friends and classmates who all told me to give up and get a "real" job. It makes me even more determined to realize my dream, but it's getting harder. Can you advise me?

— Swimming Against the Current

DEAR SWIMMING: I'll try. Most people work so they can have food on their table and a roof over their heads. Their jobs serve a purpose. I agree with your mother that you should have one — but I wouldn't presume to dictate what kind.

For your father to imply that you will never get or be able to hold a permanent job is wrong and unfair to you, and I urge you not to fall into that kind of self-fulfilling rut. You can hold a job and pursue your art and filmmaking on your own time, although your success may take longer than you would otherwise like. Many others have done it, and so can you.