First, apologies to those who might believe the title of this post has anything to do with Douglas Adams. Though I’d do anything to possess his wit and literary note, I do not and I try not to think about it very often.
For several months now I’ve been pulling back at various aspects of my online presence, from my twitter feed to my blogging to even merely zooming around and seeing what the rest of the world has been up to. The reason has been external and not entirely planned, but absolutely necessary: I was hunting down some gainful employment. And now I am, gainfully employed full-time, and for the first time since 2008.
Yeah, the economy sucks.
To be fair, I’d only been job hunting seriously for seven months, and a great number of ideal positions I was seeking were clearly inundated with applicants. I’ve worked in HR for a spell and was well aware of the “negatives” that I couldn’t hide – gaps in employment, indirect career paths, and the biggies that no one could legally ever admit to, my age and my abundance of experience – so a good deal of my hunting involved reframing my personal narrative. Add to that my willingness to start from the bottom in a career shift where “entry-level” now means “at least two years unpaid internships with prior experience and a willingness to work 80 hour weeks” and I was really up against the wall. I landed in familiar territory – retail management, bookstore variety – but I really thought I had so much more to offer in other fields. Sadly, hundreds of employers did no agree with me.
The job hunt itself pulled my internet tendencies away from blogging and took up valuable time I would normally have assigned to my creative work. Then, just before a long-planned family vacation, and I thought I’d have plenty of time to do a little catching up before the nine-to-five grind caught hold of me.
Yeah, I honestly thought I’d be chillin’ online instead of enjoying a fine week on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in late June.
And while I was on vacation, I caught a cold.
So here I am using a holiday to recoup and see if I can’t get a sense of what the future looks like.
When I was last employed full-time I had just begun the process of earning an MFA with an eye toward becoming (finally) published in the area of children’s and young adult literature. That work, that road, has been steady but bumpy. I think everyone has a hope of what they think will happen, and then adjusts as reality sets in. The hope is the goal, the distance keeps shifting, the way a place on the distant horizon always looks closer that it really is when you’re driving straight toward it. While many (or most) of my fellow MFA-ers worked parallel to their employed lives, I am just now making the adjustment back into the stream. I don’t imagine it’s going to be easy at first, but I also don’t think it’ll be impossible. Once I get the rhythms of the new job (and commuting, and home duties) in place, I’ll know how and when to establish writing time, better manage my online presence, and find that new balance between all the things I want and need and hope to get done.
I have much deck-clearing to get done on this Independence Day, with more to do in the days and weeks ahead, looking forward to the equilibrium that is the next stage in this crazy life of mine.