Work · Writing

A Real Job

I worry sometimes about getting a real job.

I’ve worked in retail, in admin, at summer camp, as a piano teacher, an English tutor, and as a cook. From all of these positions, I received a regular pay per hour of time spent at each place, and I knew the next time I would be paid, and the next time I would be working.

I quit the secretarial job at the beginning of March, and am now officially unemployed, though I am making a go at being a writer. I’m spending my time actually focusing on being creative, and it’s really quite amazing. I’m honestly still a little bit stunned that I actually have this opportunity; that I don’t need to get a “real” job.

It’s strange, not working. Quite frankly, I feel super guilty about it sometimes. My husband is working really hard, and I’m super proud of him, but along with that comes the guilt of not supporting him the way I was when we were first married. I get that he’s giving me an opportunity to follow my dreams, but even still – not bringing in a steady income, and even more, not actively searching for a job that would do so, is really bizarre. I spent so much time prior to this spring job hunting, and compromising, and changing my standards that being able to just do what I’ve wanted to do for so many years is basically blowing my mind.

When I was young, my life plan was to be a lawyer so I could make a lot of money, and then retire and write. Being a writer didn’t feel like a real job. Even now, people ask if I’m not going to get a real job while I pursue writing. I appreciate the value of getting out into the world and meeting people and observing people, but assuming that just because writing is not instantly monetarily valuable and therefore isn’t a real job is wrong. We’re told to work really hard at what we want, and that we have to sacrifice things to be successful. Well, I’m sacrificing a 9-5 somewhere, or a minimum wage retail job, so that I can spend my time improving, and working hard at what I want to do. Sure I’m scared that I won’t succeed, but wouldn’t I be afraid of that regardless? This way, if I fail, at least I’ll fail while doing something I love. 

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