On FB, a writer posed the question about whether one would prefer a soul-sucking job making $100K a year or a satisfying job for beans. (I'm paraphrasing there, but that was the gist.) Then farther down, in the comments, he explained that he had recently realized certain people thought less of him because of the amount of money he was making as a writer.
First off, let's address the question. Obviously, I'd rather be working as a writer making $100K a year. Durr. But yeah, that wasn't one of the choices. And since I've never had a job - soul-sucking or otherwise - that paid anywhere near $100K, I can only imagine. I have had soul-sucking jobs that paid way less, though. It wasn't a question whether I could quit them to follow my bliss. I worked them because I needed money to keep myself alive. You can't eat bliss.
I don't need money to keep myself alive right now, but I would take craptastic employment in a heartbeat if I had to. A soul-sucking job is better than starving to death while your bills slowly mount and someone comes along to take your home. Am I right?
As for the second part, it makes me sad. There will always be people who look down on you for one reason or another. Screw them. If they can't be supportive, one hopes they at least won't be negative. If they're negative, you need to determine how much value you're getting by keeping them in your life. Are they enriching you in some other way? Great. If not... Well...
I imagine a big set of scales. Put the good of your relationships on one side and the bad on the other. Which side weighs more? If the bad outweighs the good, then you've probably got some hard decisions to make.
Yeah, it's harsh, but it helps keep you sane.
Listen, nobody promised this writing thing was going to be a road to riches. :waits for laughter to subside: It's hard. Sometimes, it's deciding whether to buy a new washing machine or pay the editor. (If it's whether to buy groceries/pay bills or pay the editor, I might suggest finding a day job and writing in your off hours.) Sometimes, it's waiting for sales to come in to pay an editor before you send her anything, and that can take months (err... lots of months... :thinking of last year:) If writing is your bliss, you'll find a way to do it even if it means not publishing anything any time soon.
But if you're waiting for validation from the peanut gallery as part of your pay, don't hold your breath. You'll turn blue, pass out, and wake up with a tremendous headache. You've gotta do this for yourself or you'll go nuts.