Thursday, August 30, 2012

Putting It Into Words

I've been ruminating lately -- dangerous, I know -- on what I want to be when I grow up.

I am not enjoying freelance life anymore. 

Especially not when added to parenting a 6th grader (OMG how did this happen? I swear kindergarten was just a couple of weeks ago...), working a full-time job--a pretty mindless and unsatisfying one, but one that chains me to someone else's schedule nonetheless-- and trying to be a good other half to my husband, who took the plunge into management this year (aka the next step in the we-don't-want-to-have-to-work-til-we-drop-dead plan) and is finding it more stressful than we anticipated it would be.

I don't like enjoy copywriting anymore. I'm not sure I ever did, but now I know that I don't. I still like the finished product, and am proud of what I've done over the last almost 8 years; even if it's not as much as it could have been.

I set out to be a writer almost 8 years ago. I succeeded, in my own small way; mostly ghostwriting, so the only one who knows I made it at all is me, but that's okay.


I dislike my job, but I adore my steady paycheck (something that I never saw as a freelancer).

The lack of PTO is a bitch. Nothing like adding a full week's salary to the cost of any vacation I want to take since it will be an unpaid week off :(

The rest: the mindless tedium of repetitive tasks no one else wants to do, the childish behavior of people old enough to know better, the whining about expenses from people who make in a day what I make in a month; I can live with this stuff because I get to work 8 feet from my bedroom most of the time.

When I first started working from home I thought it would be a boon to my freelancing, giving me more time to work on my own projects so I could eventually go back to working for myself full time. And, some days, it is.

But mostly it's just tiring. My freelance business was just getting its feet on solid ground when corporate RIFs sent me back to working for someone else. I shut down almost completely for a year or more, then slowly started adding a project here and there--some of which have meant sleepless nights and way too much coffee. I'm getting too old for that to feel worth it anymore.

Right now I just want to do what they pay me to do, then shut my computer down and walk away in the evening. Read a book, crochet, make jewelry, spend time with husband and my daughter (seriously, how the hell is she in 6th grade already?!).

I don't want to make dinner, kiss the family, then go back to my desk and work more.

So... outside of a few small client items, the above is pretty much what I've done for the last month. And (as long as I ignore the guilt over not doing more) it's been ~glorious~.

My house is cleaner than it has been in ages and I enjoy spending time here. I've been cooking and we haven't had to call for pizza because I screwed something up even once. I'm blogging (right here, right now) again and ruminating over some long abandoned and dusty fiction ideas.

Turns out, right now at least, I'm actually kinda happy working for the man.

I feel like this is a failure on my part. Aren't we all supposed to want to be successful, independent women taking over the world? Part of me wants that, but part of me also says, "You only have a few more years til she leaves home -- take over the world when the nest is empty..."

I don't feel like I'm giving up on a dream. I'm not the person I was eight years ago when I started down this path. I feel like both the dream and I have changed.

I do kinda feel like this makes me a slacker. Just working, coming home, and doing things that make me and my family happy -- makes me selfish and lazy, right?

Why do I feel like this? What's wrong with wanting to be a good wife, a good mom, and someone who gets the job done but doesn't want or need to take over the world?

I feel stuck. I don't want to just toss my business out the window. I've put a lot of myself into it over the years. Nor do I want to continue down its current path -- even if the doors stay open, I want to stop doing the copywriting altogether and focus on editing.

In other words, I dunno what the hell to do.


Wait, yes I do.

I'm gonna call my mom and talk to her about it all. Moms are awesome.

(Here's hoping Jay says the same in 20+ years!)


Sally_K said...

"I feel like this is a failure on my part. Aren't we all supposed to want to be successful, independent women taking over the world? "

Wow! I gave up my business 2 years ago September and I actually went through a mourning period. I felt like a failure at times but I was also totally burned out on the work and some of the clients.

Although I miss the freedom of my schedule as an entrepreneur I very much enjoy being able to leave work at work when the day is done. I also enjoy the steady paycheck and health benefits.

Thank you for sharing. My nest got empty last week, I think you will forever appreciate this decision when your daughter is gone.

Candy said...

MY opinion... do what makes you feel loved and fulfilled. Whatever that is. Life is too short to do stuff you don't wanna do. Period. Find your passion and go do it.


Dynila said...

Sally -

What boggles me, why I wrote this, is the guilt I feel for wanting to only have ONE job. Does that go away? Wow. Empty nest already? How did that happen?! Prolly the same way my Kindergartener became a 6th grader, lol.

Candy -

Trying to figure it out. I have the luxury of wondering because Himself has a well paid job & carries our insurance. I like the extra income, and I like some of my projects, but I'm tired of feeling guilty for not wanting to do both over the long term. I'll get there, one of these days.

::laineypoz:: said...

I've walked that mile, sister. I'm a child of the 80's and we're supposed to be able to do it all. The thing is I don't wanna. I also don't want to work a full time job either. That brings on guilt because I have my shiny degree gathering dust. Everyone used to ask me if I would "go back to work" once the boys were in school. Not really. I still get that questions some, but it's of the "aren't you going back to work now that they're teenagers" variety. Um, no. Setting aside the fact that I homeschool, I don't think the income would be worth the sheer angst of having to be at a certain place at a certain time and control the chaos at home. Papa Bear is also in management and he has to be one to be able to drop everything and deal because, well, he makes the money. It's less putting-his-needs-ahead-of-mine than it is I like a roof over my head and food in my belly. I'm spoiled that way.