Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adrift

I'm fully aware that this is probably not the best time to write anything. A couple days of very poor sleep had me lashing out at A. a few days ago for no reason (other than the fact that I handle lack of sleep much worse than PMS). It's been raining for days and I keep having these nightmares about leaks and water. Or it could be because my bathroom has completely flooded twice since last night and could very well do so again before today is through.

So in other words, I'm not exactly in the best state of mind.

Still, I feel like I've hit a wall. A massive, insurmountable wall called Life as an Unemployed Writer. Nine months as a freelancer and I feel like I should have more to show for that time. Yes, I've churned out about 10 magazine stories and more online articles than I care to count, but it's not enough. It's not a set schedule with a steady wage and coworkers to complain about. It's not brainstorming sessions in the conference room feeding off of each other's ideas. I miss having one product I can put all my efforts into and feel like I'm contributing towards something promising be it a flourishing magazine, my career or both.

When millions lost their unemployment benefits in June, I freaked out along with them. I saw my savings start to go down and gave myself until the end of summer to find a new full-time job. Luckily, those benefits were reinstated a month later, but it taught me not to rely on this government to bail you out for too long. Well, unless you're a money-hungry bank owner.

But as summer winds down with few prospects in sight, I'm beginning to give up those lofty dreams of actually finding something solely in my field. The magazine industry - one that's already so hard to break into - isn't in the greatest shape right now. Plus, it's all about who you know and milking those relationships to your advantage and unfortunately that's never been my strong suit. But I suppose hoping that my work and enthusiasm would just speak for itself without the need to toot my own horn is pure naivety.

So what does a person do when she realizes that she can't really follow her passion right now? That she might have to get off her high horse and pay off her master's degree with a retail job? What else could she do that would make her just as happy? That's what I'm currently trying to figure out, quickly, before I wind up settling because time has simply run out.

Image: flickr.com

14 comments:

  1. If you end up "settling" because time has run out - please remember nothing - absolutely nothing is "permanent" and always keep that eye open (and ear too) for the faint knock of opportunity. You've impressed me the past few months - doing the freelance thing - which to me would be far harder than a "permanent" position.

    Just make nice with "A". ;)

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  2. Man this is so right up my alley- you have no idea who you reach when you put these ideas out there.
    I'm at a different crossroad. The I'm-anti-debt-refusing-to-start-grad-school because I have no idea what I want to do and the how-do-I-expect-to-make-a-living-freelancing whether I go for my Master's or not but I'm-tired-of-my-unfulfilling-9-5 limbo. So I'm choosing to pursue another passion...not forgetting my first love is writing but also understanding that I've got to be flexible (like Gumby) in this environment and that I'm still young with no real responsibility but myself.
    ALL THIS to say, thanks for writing this.

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  3. If you figure out the secret, be sure to let the rest of us know.

    In the meantime, find something, anything, that will help pay the bills and provide decent blog fodder until you can head in the direction you really want.

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  4. Oh good luck, girl! I know how you feel because I have been there. It's tough for writers out there, but keep your head up, do what you gotta do, and keep writing!

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  5. As others have already said... Find something - anything - for now, that way you can guarantee a regular income while you look for something you would rather be doing.

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  6. What Iggy said. Nothing is permanent. A job is a job. Being able to do what you love is actually much easier for you than for many. :) You can do it anywhere, anytime, and even if you don't always getting paid for it (during lulls like this one), you can still DO IT.

    :) You will be fine. You will suck it up and do what most of us are doing - working in a field we don't like! It doesn't mean we aren't enjoying life, still. Granted, it would be fantastic to do something for a living that we truly enjoy and find passion with, but eh....life is life. I won't let my "money maker" make or break my happiness. That is all within me. As yours is within you.

    Be nice to those close. The slippery slope of beating up on the ones closest to us in times of need is a tragic downfall. In any type of relationship.

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  7. Speaking as someone who has been there, and maybe still is there, I would suggest finding some sort of compromise. If you need steady work find something that you can do while also doing what you really want to do. Of course, that being said, that's how I wound up with a sales job selling books to libraries at a time when libraries are losing money left and right, but I'm still standing and I still have time to do the writing that is my true calling.

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  8. I can relate, as a fellow unemployed person. I'm just starting on the journey though, so I hope I find something awesome before my benefits run out! I'm sending you good wishes!

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  9. Sometimes a feeling you have during a specific time can sort of grow and overwhelm you, even if it isn't the predominant worry of the moment... Even if it's an important issue, during certain moments, it' feels like it's taking over everything else.

    I mean, of course it's important for you to follow your passions, but it's also important do work and survive and try to save for a rainy day. I think that you can do both, especially since your passion (which I'm assuming is writing) is something you can pursue even while you find another job if you have to.

    And in the mean time, put on some rain boots and a raincoat, grab A. and go embrace the bad weather by puddle jumping and singing in the rain! :)

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  10. Aw I feel for you, Dorkys... I've worked for the past two years because I had to, even when the job was not something I wanted nor envision for myself. But it is what it is. I believed in myself that if when the time comes, I'd be able to quit and follow my true passion.

    Yes, I was miserable for those two years having to do the things I didn't want to do, but now, I feel like I've learned so many things too...

    I know whatever you choose, I think in the end, you'll find happiness. Cheer up! xoxo

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  11. Hugs!!

    That's all a part of growing up...doing what you have to and need to, rather than what you want to. Like Iggy said, nothing is permanent and I believe that things happen for a reason. Be on the lookout for blessings and you will be surprised by your "good luck"!!

    Tell "A" you're sorry and make up. Or make out. You know, whatever!! *wink*

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  12. I am so sorry. In the perfect world we would all have our dream jobs, work only 40 hours and get paid lots of money. But well life is far far from perfect. But as the others said, setteling on some other job for now is not the end, just a temporary detour along the way.

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  13. I probably sound like a whiny brat at this point, but eh, it can't all be lollipops and roses around here, huh? Although I must say, the sun has finally come out today and it is GLORIOUS outside, but anywho...

    I've also realized that I've written an "OMG what will I do with my life now!?" post every four months since I was laid off. Let's hope I'm not still in that position in December.

    intense guy, you're right. I guess I'm just afraid of falling into some trap that'll be hard to come back out of like many do. I don't want to settle into something I don't like just because it pays the bills. I'm too stubborn for my own good I guess. As for A. and me, no worries. We've long since made up. It doesn't take long before I start feeling sick inside when we're not okay.

    tracey, you're so welcome and I wish you the best of luck in finding your own path through this. I know some people just op to go back to school while the market recups or take up new interests in the meantime. My thing is I know what I want and what I like, it's just a matter of doing it and being paid enough for it. And yeah, we're still young, but God I feel like I'm creeping towards You-should-know-what-you're-doing-by-now.

    karen, I love how you have your priorities straight: blog fodder is of the utmost importance here!! I'll be sure to add that into my list of questions at the end of each interview: "Yes, but along with your medical benefits and 401k, do you offer any...blog fodder? Hmmm?"

    jen, luckily I have this and my freelance work to keep these muscles in shape!

    toriz, that's definitely in progress...

    tooje, ahh, I can always count on you for a good reality check. Hello! Maybe I wouldn't be having these existential crises if you and I got our regular chat sessions back. And yeah, I've apologized profusely for becoming a straight-up beyotch when I don't get my sleep. I swear I'm an angel otherwise ;)

    alissa, that's uplifting to hear. I doubt I'd ever leave writing for good no matter what curve ball life throws my way. If it's something you truly enjoy, then you find a way to make room for it.

    janet, thanks and good luck trekking through this new phase!

    julia, way to turn an ugly moment into a positive. Luckily, I woke up feeling a bit more hopeful and to sunnier skies. And yeah, I haven't been able to put my heart into freelancing just because finding a full-time is all I can think about. Meanwhile, those with a job would love to be in my shoes right now. Grass is always greener!

    maki, oh you've come a long way since I "met" you and think you're unbelievably strong for pulling through for your girls and family while still sticking with your love of art. Good for you! Let's see what lessons lie ahead for me. It's anxiety-inducing, frustrating and exciting all rolled into one. I just don't like not knowing what to expect next.

    queenie jeannie, does this mean I'm finally on my way to being a big girl? :p And believe me I'm LOOKING! Thanks for the positive vibes though and yup, he and I are cool now.

    emmy, I know I'm just being hard-headed especially after being so adamant about doing what you love and not wasting your days being miserable. I guess it'd be okay as long as I didn't lose sight of my real direction during any temporary detours.

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  14. *hugs* to you my friend.

    i am in a crossroads of sort myself, though mine is different because i have a work visa and i do still have a job.

    i think i've said this before, i really admire you are able to make it work this far. wishing you all the best.

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