Monday, January 01, 2007

Don't Quit the Day Job!...Unless...

I need to wish everybody a Sickie New Year first...I'm fighting a cold. I'd be tempted to say the cold is winning, except by sheer strength of will and a touch of miracles, I actually managed to sing at Mass yesterday. I could hear the creaks and groans, and you could tell I was a little hoarse (neigh!), but at least I got through it. I'm limping along now with herb tea and snorting Melaleuca oil and Vicks (not together!) and such, but things aren't really improving drastically as yet. I've had the scratchy throat since right after Christmas, though, and while I can say things aren't improving, neither are they seeming to get appreciably worse. So it's sipping chicken soup for me, I guess.

I need to get at least moderately more well before I go back to work tomorrow...but contrary to what some of you may be thinking, no, I doubt that I brought this on myself so I wouldn't have to go back to work! Although the best of all possible worlds, of course, would be not to have to go to a day job...or would it?

Many of us think so, and then we find ourselves in a position where we don't have to go to a day job for one reason or another. Maybe our spouse gets a good position that supports the whole family, and we don't have to contribute income anymore if we don't want to. Maybe we're lucky enough that we win a lottery, or we have an inheritance, or the like that gives us enough cash flow not to have to worry about pesky things like paying for health insurance. (Which is the major reason I would stay at my job, even if I got enough from writing to make up my raw salary...I'd have to make an extra $1500 a month just to pay for health insurance over and above the salary figures. When they tell you equivalent value of these bennies you get on your job, they're not just blowing really WOULD cost you that much otherwise. But, I digress.)

But then, much to our dismay, do we find ourselves actually being productive--i.e., writing up a storm--with all this extra time? Hardly. And I don't think I'm alone in this, either.

Some people find that if they have an office outside their homes, this kind of thing works much better. They get up bright and early, they dress for work, and they GO to same. I did have an outside office, years ago, when I did contract work and corporate newsletters. It was a nice thing to have, I will say that. However, when the village I was office-ing in came into my abode and told me I needed to have a business license to continue working there, because technically I was a "business"...that made the location considerably less delicious.

So before you run out and lease the office space, be sure you know the ins and outs of the local administration, or you could find yourself having to shell out cash you didn't count on for something that still seems silly for those of us who produce words, not inventory in boxes. People pay less for words in many cases than they pay for widgets, so it takes more words to pay those kinds of incidental bills...and you may not have as many words going out from time to time as you'd like. The last thing you want to do is go into debt for the sake of your "job" outside the home. That kind of defeats the purpose, IMHO.

So an outside office isn't always the answer, either. It's especially not the answer should you want to run to jot something down in the middle of the night. It's way easier to pad into a home office and do that kind of thing than it is to get dressed, fire up the car, go into your remote office building after hours (if you can even get INTO your office building after, say, 9 PM or so, which in some cases you can't), and have to talk nicey-nicey with security and/or local gendarmes just to write an idea down. Nope. Not a good tradeoff. :-)

So what's the answer? We'll be exploring a little on that subject as we go through January. When to know if you truly can quit the day job, how to make sure you're productive when you do, and rest assured, I won't have most of the answers, because I'm still looking for them. But I've found that writing the questions down is sometimes half the battle. And, hey, it counts as writing, too. Right? Write!

Think on this, then, in between football games.
Oh, and before I forget... GO BLUE!!!!!!!



Donna Alice said...

Sure hope you get well soon! This is the first Christmas in three years that I've been well so I sure can understand. Put hot sauce in the chicken soup--it really helps clear your head and drinking hot lemon juice helps a sore throat. Honest!

You raise an interesting topic in day job/vs. writing. My "job" revolves around taking care of other people so I don't actually get OUT to a place of work. Writing around the needs of others is a constant juggling of time, energy and guilt! I've often thought, if I just had a little camper or trailer out in the back field...LOL!

Termagant 2 said...

My husb. and I calculated at one time (before the college tuition kicked in) that if I could make half of my current salary, I could quit the day job and write full-time. Hasn't happened yet. If I were to make more $ writing, I'd have to find a richer publisher.

And yes, this is my goal for '07. I don't make resolutions, just plans, so we'll see how it goes.


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