My Midlife Crisis
The title of this post sounds like one of those elementary school essays, “My Summer Vacation” except this is the adult version. “My Midlife Crisis”. ::groan:: But that sums it up right there. Ever since late last year I’ve started losing my give-a-shit. It was a long time coming. The day job has always been something I knew I would have to let go of eventually. This past six months it’s become a necessary reality. I am finding myself having to make the decision between keeping the day job and letting my writing career suffer for it (after all it’s really hard working two full time jobs), or dropping the day job so I can concentrate on writing completely.
I’ve come to a compromise.
I finally announced to my mom and brother (and my husband) that while I am grateful to the family business for keeping me securely and gainfully employed while I persued my writing career, it’s time for me to slowly transition myself to a part-time staff position. Maybe go in twenty hours a week instead of the 45-51 hours a week I currently work. Besides – if I never give my writing career a good go – I’ll never know what could have been. I don’t want to be one of those people who wakes up one day, looks in the mirror only to find herself seventy-five and closer to death wondering what could have been if she had only taken a chance.
On top of that I’m nearly 40 and I’ve been working the same job since I was a teenager. That isn’t to say I haven’t had other jobs. I worked for an appraiser. I worked at an amusement park. I worked at a stable. I even did a summer stint at McDonalds when I was seventeen. I could easily get an office jockey or accounting clerk position just about anywhere.
But what I’ve wanted to do since I was about eight years old is write. Now I have the opportunity to do it. Full time. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Am I scared? You bet. I’m scared as hell. This could very well mean we have to get on my husband’s health insurance or spring for a private health insurance plan. And his line of work isn’t stable. He has stints where he’s unemployed for months at a time. In the past ten years he’s been unemployed for almost two of them. During that time it’s been me supporting us with a job that is stable. By taking this chance we’re literally risking everything. Right now the question isn’t whether or not I can make enough to quit my day job. I have been making enough to quit the day job since the beginning of the year. I’m just too hooked on the stability of the day job to consider giving it up. Until now.
Writing is a volatile career. Right now I’m doing relatively well, but who knows what next year will bring. Or next month for that matter. I’m worried. Unsure of myself. I wonder if DH and I will be able to survive. It’s a bad economy.
At the same time I know I can do this. Now I just have to get my husband used to the idea. He’s the one who’s the most unsure about the whole thing. I don’t blame him. But I’ll still have the part time day job. That should at least supplement the writing income and if, for some reason, the writing industry tanks and I end up a pauper, I can go back to my family with my tail between my legs and my head down and ask to get my full-time position back (provided the economy doesn’t tank their business). Worse case scenario – the world ends in 2012 and none of this matters anyway. 🙂
POST NOTE: A lot of people thought that once I started making full-time job wages that I had quit my day job. Again, the day job was/is like crack. The stability, the extra money so DH and I could fix up the house, and regular paychecks (and the fact that it’s my family I work for) all weighed in as factors as to why I’ve kept it for so long and probably will keep it until the beginning of next year. Admittedly I went along letting people think that I wasn’t working a day job anymore. I guess I was too proud to admit that when it comes to my financial security, I’m a huge chicken about taking chances.
Morgan Drake Eckstein
I so understand how you feel. It is a tough call to make; but sooner or later, you have to make it.