Please Don’t Pity Me
I enjoy writing. I enjoy living in my own little world and translating the experience into words. Even when the words don’t come easy, I still enjoy it. I would write even if no one reads my words. And there are thousands of other people out there similar to me. But that’s where the similarity ends. Some fantasize about becoming the next J.K. Rowling and building a tower like Scrooge McDuck’s to store their wealth. Most just dream about earning enough to quit the day job, which, for many, is getting a “very nice deal.” When I tell these writers I don’t share their dream of quitting the day job, they don’t believe me. They think I’m lying to myself to make my situation tolerable. After all, if they hate their day jobs, so must I.
Admittedly, I joke about the day job all the time. I even refer to it as the Clark Kent gig, or a job that help pays the bills but it’s not what you really want to do. Thus, I can’t blame people for assuming I hate my job. I don’t. I enjoy it. In fact, I’m something of a workaholic. I work long hours because I never say no to my boss and missing a deadline isn’t an option for me–and I’m slightly anal retentive. I solve problems, which I love doing, and these problems can be technical, financial, or operational. My work isn’t routine. Some problems are solved within seconds, some require year-long projects with resources drawn from five countries. Because I deliver results, my boss never takes issue with my dress, my anti-social tendencies, my gripes about having to do the MBA the company is paying for (the boss tells me it’s for my own good, but he’s not the one sacrificing his weekends to do homework), or the fact that I come in any time between 5AM and 9AM. Also, I get paid for it–and paid well. I can afford to indulge my love for Apple, Tag Heuer, and Kal Gajoum.
In addition to a steady paycheck and the all-important health and dental benefits that include regular appointments with the masseuse, the day job provides me with material for my writing. No, my stories are not embellished accounts of my life. The day job provides me with awesome research material. I have flown in helicopters and private jets. I attend black-tie business and charity galas–and even organized one or two. I deal with millionaires and billionaires, many of whom are nothing like the ones in the HP universe, and pick up great tips from them. I get to travel with an unlimited expense account, allowing me to try restaurants, hotels, and attractions I would think twice about if I had to use my own money. I even had the opportunity to talk to DEA agents and the like in the course of my work. So much research material that I didn’t have to Google to obtain. That’s awesome.
If you’re a writer who dreams of quitting your day job, I wish you well. If you’re a writer who doesn’t need a job, full-time or part-time, to supplement your income, congratulations on living your dream. Please don’t assume it’s also mine.