29 September 2008

Of Jobs and Careers

There comes a time when you have to stand by what you do or step away from it. That moment arrived for me a few weeks ago and I chose to stand by it. I’m just grateful that I had a solid ground option to stand on.

What am I rambling on about exactly? The continual questioning of my “other job” at my day job by well meaning people who just want the best for me because they like me so much! Usually the conversation goes something like this: “So is this your only job?” “No, I also write.” “Oh, that’s nice. But do you have another real job?” SIGH.

That would be the point in the conversation to direct them to my website and send them off to buy my novella and discuss the other works coming soon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t guaranteed that I could do that and keep my job. The owners were lovely, giving, highly conservative individuals that wouldn’t take my paranormal-poly-pansexual-love fest well at all. And yes, I know that they couldn’t legally fire me for something I do on my own time, under another name and entirely unrelated to them. But I also know that business owners and managers do it all the time and it would only take one member complaining for me to be back on the job hunt again.

In the end however it was more than the threat of sudden unemployment that had me reluctant to stand up and stand by what I write and why I write it. In the end it was the writing itself--or rather the lack of thereof--that had me silent. My ever present passion for writing and all things creative had waned in the wake of a cross-country move and long-term illness. All the half-hearted tries to get back on track had only left the page empty and my satisfaction level non-existent for what little I did get done. How could I stand up and bravely face further financial hardship for something I wasn’t even doing as actively as I once did?

I couldn’t even blame writer’s block as the voices and ideas have been flowing despite my best effort to wallow in stress and illness and do nothing. It’s there, it was simply being ignored and I didn’t know how to start paying attention again. Then that moment happened…

“Are you looking at working in this industry long term?”

“No, I already have a career. I’m a writer.”

“Well you could get your degree in Sports Medicine and always write on the side as a hobby so you have a real job to fall back on.”

A sudden anger, a deep breath, and a pleasant smile later I responded: “No thanks, I’m not the mainstream drone type. But I am going to get my certifications so that I can always do this on the side as a hobby, while I write full time.”

You should have seen her face!

I don’t know if it came out of finally feeling better and more myself, or if I’d just heard the “real job” vs. “hobby” comment one too many times, but that was it. I started giving out my card to any who asked about my writing and haven’t shied away from the conversation since.

As far as doing the work, I’m still struggling to trust my edits and send in the book to my editor. I was in a bit of a fevered funk while working on it and think it may need another once (or thrice) over. But I’m finally back in the game. I’m finally focused on the stories waiting to be told the way only I can tell them. I’m finally a writer again.

It’s good to be back.

"Evil Day Job" Ramble Done--No wait...

P.S. In the end I did have to leave the job mentioned above. I didn’t get fired but after a few conversations too many, my hours were reduced to a point where I couldn’t make ends meet and I had to look for something else. I just finished my initial training and despite being a corporate retail chain, I’m in a LGBT-supportive, Pagan-friendly, Woman-positive work environment for the first time in too long. I wish I’d started handing out those business cards and talking about the joys of Shifter sex sooner. ;)
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