Recently, I visited a friend who used to work with me. She retired and moved out of state to live with her son.
Over breakfast one morning, I was bemoaning my work situation, a typical topic with us, as she hadn’t really liked working at my place, either. She told me that I should just quit. I asked her who she thought would pay my bills then. Matter-of-factly, she said, “Your next job.”
I then asked, considering that I’d been looking for a job for the past four and a half years with no luck, what made her think that if I quit my job, I’d suddenly and magically find a job right away.
She replied that if I quit my job I would be sending a message to the Universe that I was serious and really, truly ready to move on.
Which, of course, implies that I have not already been sending the message that I am serious and really, truly ready to move on. Of course I haven’t. I mean, who would ever think—from the 235 positions I’ve applied for, 12 blind resumes I’ve sent, 10 total strangers I’ve contacted (through organizations I belong to) in the hopes that they would pity me and be a reference, and the numerous leaps out of my comfort zone to participate in events and do things I’ve never done before—that I was serious?
I don’t know if Destiny or Fate or the Universe has already laid out our paths, or if life is just a completely random series of events, but I was always led to believe that if you work hard for what you want, you can achieve it. And I gotta tell ya, I’m frustrated.
I had a career once. In publishing. I was essentially booted out during the economic crisis. I know I’m not the only one. These days, just having a job is considered lucky. And I appreciate that. However, there comes a point when people want more. I mean, if I just sat back and accepted everything that came my way as if it were written in stone, then I’d say I’m fine. Nothing to do but sit back and live life.
But I haven’t done that. I’ve done quite a bit to try and make myself attractive (worthy? acceptable? desirable?) to prospective employers. I’m out of ideas, out of energy, and running very, very low on motivation.
Unfortunately, this affects me as a writer as well. What happens when a writer loses faith in herself, when a writer’s self-confidence gets bashed beyond recognition? The answer is pretty obvious.
Writing has always been my refuge from the everyday world of working at stupid jobs for stupid people and stupid pay. It’s the only thing that’s remained constant for me throughout all these years. And when I allow the stupidness to invade my refuge, that’s bad. I can’t allow that any longer.
I think it’s time that I accept that my career is in my past now and that I have to allow my writing to live its own life, free of the constraints of my self-esteem, as defined by my work-life identity.
I have to tell my writing, as well as my self-esteem, to fly and be free.