This week I’ve come to a life-changing realization.
Three months ago, I went back to my corporate job. This is my dream job, the one I left to pursue writing two years ago. Leaving this job was really difficult because I loved it. The problem was, they weren’t going to pay me what I thought I deserved. This time around, they gave me better compensation, but it’s still not where I believe it should be. Regardless of that, it’s a miracle that they hired me back on and it couldn’t have come at a better time. This job is practically tailor-made for me. It’s 10 minutes away from where I live, pays me more than I’ve ever made, challenges me on a daily basis, has amazing benefits, my coworkers are awesome and occasionally we drink wine during meetings (I work with a lot of French people). Going back to this company has been rewarding, terrifying and stressful. Much has changed in the past two years- management, job duties, morale and environment. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about the job that doesn’t quite fit with me anymore. I finally realized that although the job has changed, that’s not what unsettles me. I’ve become a square peg that doesn’t fit into the round hole.
I should be deliriously happy. I have a great job, no real financial responsibilities and a family that supports me. So, why is it that every day that I go to work my soul is screaming in protest?
I accepted a six month contract, but my boss(es) assume that I will accept a permanent position when my contract is up in January. It took me two months to admit that this coveted position (that made everyone so proud of me) didn’t come close to making me happy. I don’t want the permanent position. Not because I don’t like the work (although it is stunningly stressful), but because this job takes up every aspect of my life and leaves me with no energy to write, which I need to do. This job is all about conformity and being politically correct. Two years ago I was able to do this. Now, I can’t. Years of expressing myself, of realizing I could touch people around the world with my words and make a living from my imagination has completely ruined me. I make enough money from writing to pay my bills. Some months I make more than enough, but my income isn’t consistent. Writing is a gamble, a dream, a risk, a long shot… and I think I can do it.
My life-changing realization is that I will never be able to able to go back to a 9-to-5. There is nowhere for me to go except pour everything I have into what I really want- writing. I want to be my own boss. I want to be creative. I want to live an unconventional life. I want to create something positive and send it out into the world. I want to touch people through story. I would rather live paycheck to paycheck and write than have a nice salary and not be able to dream.
Everyone keeps telling me that I’m blessed to be back at my corporate job. They’re correct. And yet, I feel so empty. I’ve struggled with this decision for weeks and now I feel eerily calm because I know I’m making the right choice. I need to follow my heart and do what makes me happy.
I struggled a lot in 2015. I decided that getting by wasn’t enough. I went into recovery mode and struggled to find a job instead of trusting in my writing. I wasted a whole year trying to find the right job. I’m ending 2015 with the golden ticket… and I don’t want it. This mad, flustered scramble I’ve been in wasn’t about the job- it was about security, about trying to conform and look like I was doing something because I hadn’t “made it” yet with writing. I was afraid to trust my gift fully. I didn’t believe that everything would work out if I just kept on. I always backpedal before I crash. It’s a fatal flaw that comes in handy sometimes, but also can stop me from getting to a higher plateau. I released one book this year- the least I’ve published since 2013. Strangely, this one book made all the difference in the world. My sales soared to a new high and I’ve had my best numbers to date. If I hadn’t wasted time worrying about money and trying to find a dinky job to get by, how much further would I be in my writing career?
If I commit to writing completely, I believe I can make it.
2016 is my year. I’m proclaiming it now. I’m going to live it the way I want- by writing, exploring and keeping my eyes and heart open. We only have one life to live. In a commencement speech Jim Carrey said that his father wanted to be a comedian, but he didn’t think he could make a living off of it so he did the safe thing and became an accountant. After several years he was laid off from that job. Jim Carrey said that he learned something vitally important from this. “You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”