Sunday, August 22, 2004

New Day Rising

I've often heard it said that "life is full of surprises." Well, given the last couple of months, I would have to agree -- with a VENGEANCE!

After looking for a job in Portland in between surgeries and moves for about a year and a half, I finally landed a job at Alling Henning Associates in mid-May. AHA! (as they like to be called) is a smallish (about 30 people) marketing communications firm based in Vancouver, Washington. I was ecstatic when I got the job and looked forward to working there for a long time. However, "life" intervened. In June, I settled with the insurance company of the woman who ran over me two years ago. The result is that Lisa and I, if we're very frugal, can live off the investment proceeds of the settlement.

Many times I've heard people say that they wished they didn't have to work for a living. But that begs the question, "If you didn't have to work, what would you do?" After giving the matter a lot of thought, I decided to get serious about fiction writing. Unfortunately, working at AHA! required not only a nine-hour day, but a 50-60 minute commute each way. When I got home, I'd usually be too tired after cooking dinner and walking the dog to even recall my name, much less knock out a couple pages of decent prose.

The solution, I thought, was to work part-time. AHA! is a great place to work, with good people to work with and good people to work for. However, such an arrangement wasn't in the wasn't fair to many of the writers who'd been there far longer than I, and also the workload dictated a full-time writer, not a part-time one. So it was either full time or no time.

I had last weekend to think about it, and on Monday I gave them the answer: I'd put off my fiction writing dream long enough. So I told my boss "thanks very much, too bad we couldn't work it out, when should my last day be?" And she said, "Well, the pay period ends Wednesday."

So it was a bit abrupt but actually good timing as I was just finishing up a big project and the next big project was just getting started.

So. Here I am unemployed again. I'm hoping to work part-time somewhere, partly because I like to work and also because I benefit from the structure imposed by having to be somewhere at a given time. We'll see how it works out.

In the meantime, I'm working on some story ideas and hope to begin actively writing very soon, say, tomorrow.

So my question to you is: what would YOU do if you didn't have to work for a living? I look forward to your comments!