Soooo, over a month ago, after getting let down by a promising job, I decided to take a break from job hunting and focus on writing for a month. After less than a month of that (and after failing to avoid job-search responsibilities, as two different employers I had previously applied to contacted me during my month off), I decided that I was going to stop looking for full-time work altogether, instead choosing to focus on tutoring to support myself and writing as a long-term career goal. The prospects for that were looking pretty good, provided I was willing to purchase a vehicle in order to pursue the best-paying tutoring work (in-home tutoring for wealthy families).
Since I announced that decision, I’ve been trying very hard to not think about money or car buying in order to focus on writing and the jobs I’ve already got until after the holidays. That’s been difficult, but I’ve been getting some stuff written, even though you haven’t seen much of it. Other than that, I’ve mostly been trying to spend my free time relaxing and knitting up some spiffy holiday gifts.
And then, out of the blue, that promising job from over a month ago? They emailed me again. They explained that they made a mistake in starting the hiring process before they had really hammered out the exact plans for the position, but now that they’ve done that, they’d like to offer me the job.
I start next Monday morning.
The position seems like a really good fit. It pays okay–a little more than I made as a graduate student, but without the extensive student benefits–and it’s a content-writing job. Science content even, though for a commercial webpage. I only am guaranteed the position for the length of time they need me to re-write all of their website copy (expected to be about 3 months), but it’s open-ended and may continue after that point.
In most cases, the lack of a long-term guarantee would seem like a bad thing, but for this, I think it’s actually good, or at least neutral. Three months of solid full-time work plus the small amount of tutoring I’ll still be doing will put me in a much better position to buy a car than I am right now. Additionally, having an actual full-time writing job on my resume would help me pick up freelance gigs or apply for other jobs/internships. If I love the place and they end up asking me to stay on, then great, I’ll stay. But if they don’t ask me to stay or I’m not loving the job in three months, the end of the project will be a natural time to make a graceful exit, and I’ll leave in better shape than I started.
Obviously, this job will mean less time for personal writing. That’s a bummer, for sure, but for the moment it’s worth the trade-off. I might love being a freelance writer/tutor… but I’d certainly be a lot more comfortable taking that plunge with more of a financial cushion, which as of now, I just don’t have. And frankly, getting paid to write full-time will be a welcome confidence booster.
Going forward, I intend to keep a twice-a-week posting schedule–one full post, one short feature such as old journal entries or link roundups. Once again, the science blog is going on hold, since I’ll be getting plenty of science at my day job and because to be honest, that work just isn’t calling to me with the same urgency that this blog is. My writing about mental health and my personal struggles has been meaningful to a lot of people, and I have a lot left to say.
I’m also still planning to go forward with the “leaving science” project. I’ve had a steady trickle of interest coming into my inbox, and I’m still working out what to do with it. I think my next step is to put together a poll/questionnaire to collect aggregated data, and following that figure out what format would be best to share people’s stories. I’ll ultimately need to decide if those stories, however they get shared, will show up here as interviews/guest-posts, or whether I’ll start an independent blog for the project. On that front, please stay tuned. In the next day or two, I’ll have another post up with a more coherent call for interested people to get in touch, and I’d appreciate people sharing that once it goes life.