Stay at or leave my part-time job?
December 15, 2006 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I've always been a late-blooming underachiever. Is it time to get off my butt and get out of my lousy part-time job, or should I keep my lousy part-time job because it gives me time to work on my book (I'm writing a novel)?

I'm torn because there are good and bad things about my work situation (it's a radio job). Long story short: I'm currently doing an on-air shift and some audio data entry. I've been told that my on-air stuff will be going away in 2007, so I'm going to be a grunt again.

The good things are that people leave me alone to do my job, and I don't have to interact with a lot of bozos. The bad part is, I'm losing support (my mentor and supervisor was laid off recently), I've been here seven years and have never gotten a raise (and won't be getting one), and the creative, fun aspects of my job are going away. There's no sense of development, no challenge, no career path, etc. I just type some stuff into the computer and go home. It's like punching the clock at the tool and die. I have no pride in my work, don't feel any passion (how could I, for data entry), and there doesn't seem to be a way to improve my situation if I stay here. My vanity has been wounded, I feel taken for granted, I've lost my main champion, and I'm down every day at work.

My DH says I should think of the job as a source of money, end of story--that I should use it for what I need and stay glued to my novel the rest of the time. I'm leaning toward this, but find myself waxing nostalgic for the kind of job where there was a palpable sense of being considered talented, attended to, appreciated. Haven't had that feeling in a while and I miss it. Am I just a whiny egomaniac in withdrawal?
posted by frosty_hut to Work & Money (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It depends, are you actually working on your novel? If you ARE using your free time for that project, then I say, stay with your shitty job until it's done. If however you are using much of your free time hitting 'refresh' on metafilter, (as I sometimes do), then I'd say start branching out.

Also, can you combine your experience with on-air radio and your interest in writing? Perhaps some of your free time could go towards pitching pieces to literary type radio shows (I'm thinking of This American Life, BBC and CBC shows, etc)
posted by serazin at 1:15 PM on December 15, 2006

How long have you been working on your novel? Not seven years I hope. I think I've "been working on" one for about that long (actually I gave up after about three years of continuous procrastination)

I say, give yourself a deadline. Three months. People write whole novels (or whole first drafts) in a month these days. If you can't get it done in three months, then give up. If you can get it done (or at least a draft) then go ahead and revise for a while and see if you can get it published. If you can't, then you might as well look for something more rewarding.
posted by delmoi at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2006

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and talented, frosty. One thing to keep in mind is that people appreciate the hell out of published novelists. I advise you to keep your lousy job and keep working on your novel.
posted by chrchr at 1:21 PM on December 15, 2006

A full time job doesn't take too much time when you look at it. Say you even have to bust your butt and work 50 hours a week. What are you doing in the evenings after you get home at 6 or 7. A desk job won't leave you so tired and dead that you can't type. Find something a little more fulfilling in the area you want, enjoy the raise and the added job satisfaction, and work on your novel an hour or two a night or something. That'll get you done in 3 months like a delmoi suggested.
posted by cschneid at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2006

Best answer: It seems clear they are demoting you. How can that not effect your writing? When I feel fulfilled, it's easier for me to sit down and concentrate on writing. If you ARE having writer's block, getting a new job where people appreciate you may be just the trick. You'll never know until you quit. Move on, they don't appreciate you. You can work on your novel in your free time no matter what job you have. Some jobs you can also work on your novel during the job (see Haiku Tunnel).
posted by Eringatang at 1:27 PM on December 15, 2006

Best answer: You need a new job. I know this from experience: When you feel disrespected and put-upon during work hours, it carries over into after-hours—that's going to steal your focus. Time to edit up the ol' résumé and start sending it out to similar radio stations or media venues. Yeah, it's time spent on job-hunting that you could be spending on the novel—but you probably won't be able to work on the novel much with things the way they are, anyway.

So hop to it!
posted by limeonaire at 1:43 PM on December 15, 2006

Get a full-time job, and use your first paycheque to buy a minicomputer or PDA that you can use on public transport and in coffee shops. I've written three books while commuting and two others in a local coffee bar after work, all of them published, two by Penguin.
posted by Hogshead at 1:58 PM on December 15, 2006

It sounds like you have the perfect novelist's job. It's a routine, you don't have to drain your brain, and apparently it supports you enough financially. So hunker down and finish and then publish that book. I'm hopeful that this novel isn't just some long standing pipe dream to help you feel better about a crappy job. If it is not, then keep the job and keep up on the book.

I finished my novel recently, and it was especially hard because i write full time for a living during the day. Coming home to write after writing all day was very hard. But you are lucky! Take advantage!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 2:34 PM on December 15, 2006

Best answer: You should get another part-time job where you're respected and where you'll receive due raises. Would it be difficult to find a similar job in your area?

Don't go full-time. I know from experience that the soul-sucking monotony of full-time clerical work leaves little heart to put into writing. And don't stay where you are. You should be getting pay increases according to your experience and for cost-of-living. Seven years without a cent of a raise is a real sign of unconcern on your employer's part.
posted by loiseau at 2:49 PM on December 15, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for taking the time to post your very thoughtful and helpful comments. I appreciate your feedback and I feel better already.

Good to hear from those who've written books while employed...You've given me hope ^_^
posted by frosty_hut at 5:11 PM on December 15, 2006

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