05 March 2014

Job Insecurity

It's that time again! The first Wednesday of every month is the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Click the link to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and learn more!

First Wed of Every Month

I had an interesting day on Friday. I spent the morning writing a blog post which I was really excited about, then spent the rest of the day visiting other blogs and getting another chapter edited before sending it out to my readers. One reader got through the chapter right away and even quoted it on his Facebook. I had work at 5 and I was in such a good mood that I couldn't stop smiling. But then, of course, I was at work. It didn't take long for the smile to vanish. I realized that this is a pretty accurate representation of my life at this point.

When I first started at my job almost three years ago, I was in a tight spot. The place I had worked at closed the day before my college graduation. I had no job and needed to quickly find a place to live as well. I was desperate. So when I applied and was told to come back for an interview, I was just glad to get anything. Since I hadn't quite figured out what sort of career I wanted, I thought this would be a good job to have while I finished my novel and figured things out.

Well, that was a long time ago. If you've been to this blog often, you know how long it took me to get the first draft of my novel done. And if I really admit it, my job is at least partially to blame for that. I have an erratic schedule that's never the same week to week. When I work days, I'm usually too tired afterwards to get anything done. When I work nights, I spend the whole day dreading going in. Honestly, this job had the opposite results of what I originally thought. It kept me, and still keeps me, from getting what I need to get done.

I've been thinking about it for a while now, and the more I consider it, the more of a good idea it seems. I've considered finding another job, but I don't know what sort of career I want if writing books doesn't work as quickly as I'd like. I don't want a lateral move--a job that has nothing to do with what I care about or went to college for. And after almost three years and several raises, I would probably be forced to take a pay cut if I changed to another random job. That's part of why I've stayed at my job for so long. I've always been a hard worker, as well, and am in a slight position of authority/importance. I know if I left my job I'd be letting a lot of people down.

But there comes a point where I have to think about myself. My job makes me miserable. It's not what I want and honestly, I've put up with it for far too long. But what I'm thinking about doing is not getting a new job. It's having no job at all, at least for a few months. I have enough money saved to cover bills for quite some time, although I am concerned with eating up my savings. It may be necessary for my sanity, though. What I want to do is take a few months to focus completely on writing. Finish my book, get queries out, spend more time blogging and networking. I could also search for freelance jobs or even a full time career that's related to writing or publishing. I mean, I don't even have a resume, because I never have time to sit down and do that sort of thing. If all of my time could be focused on writing, it wouldn't be like it is now, just getting whatever I can done in my little free time. I could make a schedule for myself, work on specific things every day, have goals in mind.

I'm not really sure what exactly I want to do yet. I know I have to give it a lot more thought before I take any action, talk to different people, and have things mapped out. It could take a few months just to get to the point where I can quit my job. I'm definitely open to some advice here. But the thought of it isn't all that scary. It's exciting. Which leads me to believe it's the right thing to do.


  1. Hi, I'm your reflection, have we met?? lol

    I'm not sure how old you are, but you sound just like me after 2 years in a data entry job when I graduated with a BA in English and had to come home because I didn't get the internship I'd applied for. It's a terrible feeling to not be doing what it is you love to do, and when I quit, the first thing I said was I'm going to fnish this novel, and it will be my income. Three years later, I'm still not there yet.

    At the same time, I didn't have any money saved up to live off, so you're probably in a better place to do that and figure out a day job you will enjoy enough and that won't suck away your time to work on your writing. I still don't have the means to travel or move closer to places that have a flourishing need in the writing/publishing market, but you can probably consider if you have enough money to do that, too.

    I really hope you figure this out! Keep us posted. :)

  2. Ah, the necessary evil of the day job, eh? I can sympathize. I've been with the same company for nearly 15 years now, and I've watched it dwindle in size and change significantly in terms of values and philosophy. It's been a pretty grim place these last 2 years, but having made the shift to working from home this week, I feel like I have a fresh start. I'm still doing the same work, but I'm free of that poisoned sort of atmosphere, and an awesome side effect is that setting up a home office will allow me to get more writing done.

  3. You never know what doors might open when you close another one.

    Take care of you. Fingers crossed for you!

  4. I can totally relate to this and have been focused on building up my savings for a while now in the event I am able to make this leap. I hope you can figure out what is best for you and then go for it, good luck!

  5. We're kind of members in the same club. Since losing my job 5 years ago I haven't replaced it. I went through savings and now collecting social security. If it weren't for my wife's income we wouldn't be doing very well at all. I'd like to have a part-time job to supplement my income, but I'd hate to give up my flexibility and the time I have now. It's tough and I understand where you're coming from. In my younger days I was in a similar situation as yours at various times and it can be challenging, scary, and exciting all at once. You'll make it though. I'm pretty sure of that.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  6. You should read the post from The Dragon Writes, he includes an excellent little video about following your passion. Good luck to you whatever you finally decide, but being stuck in a job you hate is no way to go.

  7. It's very easy to advise someone to completely rearrange their life from behind a computer screen, so I won't. I will say that I make my living from freelancing/ghost writing and enjoy it, but it took time to get into a position of making a living from it.

    In terms of your own writing, while the temptation is always there to say that you'll get the book done if you just take some time off, it doesn't have to work that way. People can and do finish novels in all kinds of situations without giving up their jobs. I believe Sir Terry Pratchett finished his first one at a rate of three hundred words a day while working for the Electricity Board.

    If you do find yourself in a position of needing some more info on freelancing and don't know where to start though, please feel free to get in touch. It sounds like you're at the stage where a little more information might help.

  8. Find your passion and try to find a job that still allows you to develop and work on what you truly want to do the rest of your life. Don't leave it for later because time passes quickly and when you notice, years are gone doing what you didn't want to do.

  9. Very brave move you're considering! I wish you the best regardless of what you decide. And I gotta say, totally impressed with your savings. I wish we were in that position...but medical bills kill your budget and I'm a walking (right now...) medical apocalypse as my clever 14 year old named me.
    Take care whatever you do. Nice to meet you!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014
    Co-hosting the IWSG

  10. I hope you find a job you want to do and encourages your writing. I've been reading this book called The 4 Hour Work Week, and it seems to be aimed at people with miserable work environments. I'm only 1/3 of the way through it, so I can't quite recommend it yet, but you should check it out. If you're thinking about going jobless for a few months, it might be something up your alley.

    I hope things work out!

  11. That would be a huge step. If you can afford it for a few months and spend that time looking for something better while writing, it might be a good thing. No one should go to a job they dread.

  12. Writing seems like it's always a slow process. Takes forever to write, to query to sell, and then forever before it hits the market and it's a rare thing to be an overnight success. So, it's very important to find a day job you can enjoy, or at least not loathe. A writer friend of mine got a job as a night security guard...the place was quiet and she wrote all night. Last year she gave up the "day" job to write full time. Think outside the box while following your dreams.

  13. My job choices have always has a writing-related focus - ie. can I write while I do this job? I would love to think I can give up work one day. Good luck!

  14. I've been in your situation before; I had a job a few years ago that paid fairly well but that took up too much time and that really stressed me out. I eventually quit that job, and I did have more free time, but I will admit that I did struggle financially for a while, until I found another job. I won't tell you not to quit your job, but I will say that even if you're not working for a while, you should still spend at least a little time each day looking around for job openings. That way you'll have a plan B when your savings run low. Good luck!

  15. Hi Sarah, nice to meet you. I was in your position about 18 months ago and absolutely dreaded getting up to my job in the mornings. The reaction was so intense it was physical. I felt I had no choice but to walk away which I did and after a short break, I found something much better and am now really happy. I had dependants counting on my income so it wasn't an easy decision. But the break gave me some much needed clarity to work out my priorities. All the best with the decision. I've dropped in from the A to Z April Blogging Challenge and will swing by again in April.


  16. Wow. Reading this.. it's like I could have written it. I'm in the exact same position right now. Everyday I go to work and I just feel like I'm wasting my time with this thing that's a distraction from what I really want to do. I'm seriously considering either walking out on the job (they have broken my work arrangement, so it's not just me being a brat), or being nice and giving them two weeks. But you're right, it is exciting. The prospect of giving what I really love to do a go is exhilarating... I don't want to keep getting more and more stuck. Ack it's such a tough call!!