Is this just a minor success, or a real turning point in my life?
February 5, 2013 9:35 AM Subscribe
I just published an indie sci-fi novel and it's kicking serious ass on Amazon. I have also just been offered a career assignment that may or may not be a big leg up in teaching, but it would eat up a lot of my writing time. I'm not sure how dedicated I am to teaching anymore. Am I letting short-term success run away with me? I'll try to keep the special snowflakes short.
posted by scaryblackdeath to work & money (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I always wanted to be a writer, even since I was in my teens (I'm 38 now). Even back then, I knew it was the sort of thing where I'd need a regular job on the side.
I got my teaching credential in 2003, worked a year in an alternative school, and have been a sub ever since. Breaking into this biz just sucks. I've repeatedly thought I have been "hired," only to have the rug pulled out from under me through no fault of my own. Sometimes this has happened after I've pulled off stuff in the classroom that probably qualify me for a cape and a secret identity... but I'm still subbing. I have repeatedly felt used and unappreciated.
Some days subbing is fun. A lot of the time it's kind of a drag. Once upon a time, I couldn't believe they actually paid me to do a job this cool. I haven't felt that way in a couple of years.
It also doesn't help that the best friend I've made through work (the only genuine friendship, to be honest), a woman whose desk couldn't hold all of her teaching awards, died of cancer after a two-year battle this summer.
Subbing does, however, offer me time to write. I don't have to plan lessons or grade papers, which consumes insane time and energy. I got serious about writing a couple years ago and self-pubbed an urban fantasy book (with enough smutty fun that I couldn't put my real name on it), and it has sold quite well by self-pub standards. It made up for not having any work during the summer for two years in a row.
A couple weeks ago, I self-pubbed the (not erotic) sci-fi novel I've been meaning to write for the last, oh, fifteen years or more. I'm looking at Amazon's Kindle Sci-Fi page right now and there it is sitting at #4 on their Top 100 list. I have more books in me. I'm halfway done with a sequel to that first urban fantasy book. The new book made me more money over last weekend than I could possibly make as a sub if I worked every day this month; given my already low pay, that's not as much as it might sound, but in terms of my personal benchmarks and standards it's huge.
So last night, I got word that my favorite high school is looking at me for a long-term sub job. I haven't gotten to talk to a live person about it yet, but I believe I know the position in question and it'd be a history job (my own field, which I hardly ever get to teach) taking over for a much-loved teacher who died this year. (Not my good friend who also died... but at the very same school.) I should note: this position should've been filled a month ago, and either they're only now getting to it or I'm a fall-back after others have screwed it up.
I'm torn on what I want to do if it's something that'll be a regular spot for the rest of the school year. There's an outside chance that it'll lead to a permanent position, but I've had Lucy pull the football away from me so many times that I'm not willing to kick at it anymore. Long-term subbing is practical, it puts me at a school that I genuinely like, where the kids largely know me and very few of them treat me badly... but, yeah. The last time I took a long term in this position I got screwed by HR so badly over pay that I had to get the union and the building administration to intervene on my behalf.
What it really feels like is that the super-attractive woman at the party has finally taken a shine to me now that I've started ignoring her. On the one hand, that non-approach has often gotten me phone numbers or dates. On the other hand, I've usually found that she just wasn't that interesting after all. I've got that same feeling in my stomach now.
Do I just keep subbing and writing? Do I go for the long-term spot? Am I genuinely burnt out as a teacher, or is this just because I miss my friend?