Saturday, April 03, 2010

Window Seat

Four years ago, I made the decision that I would become a full-time writer. I would blog, I would write, I would flex my creative muscle, and at the end of it all, I would have a book and a steady freelance career.

Four years later, I have none of that.

I'm the type of person who feels, for whatever reason, that I am always one paycheck from living in my car (at best) and living on the streets (at worst).

Sidenote: I'm not sure why these fantasies of demise never involve us living with my mom or mother-in-law; for some reason, it's always us - poor, jobless and homeless.

So: I worked. Instead of taking the last of those years when it would be just the husband and me, I worked almost all of the time I was in Germany -- three jobs in three years with only months in between.
I acknowledge that  I have also been ridiculously and improbably blessed since we've moved back to the states. (Who was it that said "favor ain't fair?"

Convinced we would be stationed in Oklahoma, I cold-called the local newspaper and asked for an interview, not knowing if they were even hiring. Whether they were or not, I got a call back a couple of weeks later to work though; though, truth be told, I'd been out of the news business so long that I would have worked there for free for a while to build up more current newspaper clips.

When we ended up getting stationed in South Carolina, again, I got on the grind, looking for jobs before we even shipped our belongings. I applied for several and got a phone call about one.

Her: Did you claim military spouse preference? Me: Yes.
Her: Do you have a federal job now? Me: No.
Her: Well, unfortunately, you don't qualify for preference. Me: Thanks, anyway.

But, improbably, I got the job anyway. With no "preference," no prior military service or (non-temporary) federal service to get me on the unbreak-through-able list. (If you know anything about government jobs, you know that it's hard as heck to get in "the system." But once in the system, you're pretty much set for life, so long as you're not completely incompetent. Though in some cases, incompetence doesn't get you fired either).

Six months, one baby and 6 weeks of maternity leave later, I was promoted (isn't it amazing when other people's blessing leads to a blessing for you? That's why you can't be a hater.)

I enjoy my job; really I do. But lately I've been feeling like something is missing. I want to expand my writing, to write something beyond what I've been able to do lately. To focus on finishing? restarting? the book I began some years ago. To have time to volunteer again (I shockingly miss being a Girl Scout leader -- something I never imagined I would EVER do).

So, to that end, I have taken the first step. And that first step will open for all the world to see in a couple of weeks when one of my articles appears in Zora&Alice, a new magazine and blog. I pray that this will be the first of many opportunities with Z&A, but no matter what happens, I know that nothing will happen if I stay in my comfort zone, never pushing the limits of what I am capable.

Does this mean that I will be leaving my job? Of course, not.

But there will come a time when I reach that point at which I have decide what direction I want my career to go. And, this time, finally, I will not make the easy decision.

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