Reactions to the new blog have been enthusiastic, but the thing that sticks out most to me is how each one of you brings a different perspective and asks a different question.
A couple people wondered if we really moved to a new house. Nope. It was a metaphor. Maybe not a very well-spelled-out one. Sorry for that.
A couple people asked if I got fired. Quit? Planning to quit? Thankfully, no, I still have my stressful but important day job.
To Quit or Not To Quit
Even though I complain about it a lot, I have a pretty good gig. (Yes, Sam. I just put that in writing. Send me a link to here next time I beg you to fire me.)
True, most of us are doing the work of three or four people. True, even Dilbert knows that the more we cram in, the lower the quality becomes. Does that bug me? Heck yes, it does. Do I wake up at 3AM worried about it? Too often. Even once is too often.
But do I love my day job? Yup.
Do I have to leave it to become a “real” writer? Quite the opposite.
Over the past several months, I’ve discovered an idea that really has inspired me, excited me, and helped me see that dream jobs and day jobs are not mutually exclusive….in fact, they are symbiotic. They support each other.
Jon’s Acuff’s dream was to be a writer. In the strictest sense of the word, Jon was a writer. But at the time, he was a technical writer for a big and, (sorry Jon) slightly dull website. He wrote button labels and error messages and sometimes maybe even a Help topic.
Jon is a really funny guy, dreaming of writing. So one day (well, I suspect it took longer than a day), Jon started a blog called Stuff Christians Like. And people started reading it. Publishers started coming to HIM.
But Jon is really open about the reality of what that was like. He tells us that from his first book deal with a major publisher, in the end, he made about $13K. And he reminds us….you can’t quit your job and move to the Caribbean and live the high life on $13K. You can maybe buy a decent used car for that. Maybe.
Last April, Jon Acuff released his third book, Quitter: Closing the gap between your day job & your dream job. On the cover of Quitter, Jon SCREAMS that subtitle in all caps. He feels THAT strongly about it. He shouts it from my bookshelf.
And he’s right. The two can and must live in harmony.
Most bloggers don’t start a blog for money.
Trust me on this. I don’t get a cent for getting up at 5AM every day to squeeze my heart out through my fingers into keystrokes onto letters that form words that make sentences that start as a stream of consciousness and flow into a river of thoughts.
So……yeah, most bloggers don’t blog for money. We blog because we can’t NOT write.
- Sometimes we have something practical to share like couponing or SharePoint tricks.
- Sometimes we want to keep our family and friends up to date about our lives…like I did when we hosted Masha in 2006.
- Sometimes we just know that time stops for us when we’re spewing words onto a page. we land in that sweet spot of “yeah, this is what i’m supposed to do”
Unless you’re Stephenie Meyer, that ain’t so lucrative.
But it’s fulfilling.
It means something.
This is all sweet, but none of this great stuff that’s important to me will actually pay doctor bills or electric bills or Starbucks Breakfast Blend.
Keeping the day job pays the bills and saves for the girls’ college and for our retirement and helps others and maybe even helps us go on a nice, relaxing vacation to Mexico every now and then.
Keeping the day job lets me stay connected with a whole boatload of people that have come to be an extended family to me (by the way, every one of you had better read this blog and post a comment).
Keeping the day job gives me the freedom to build my dream:
- to write.
- to write stuff that people actually care to read.
- to write stuff that might actually make someone’s world brighter.
- to write stuff to help other people. to tell stories of hope. to inform people of injustice. to get you off your couches. to get me off my couch.
None of this happens if I’m living in a box under the Clinton Street Bridge. Which is turning into a really nice bridge, by the way. Pretty soon it’ll be too nice to live in a box underneath and I’ll have to find a new example of the catastrophe my life would be if I didn’t have my day job.
Bottom line….blogging about stuff that matters usually doesn’t pay as well as project management. :)
My “I’m…, but…”
Jon points out that people say “I’m…., but….”
Like “I’m a plumber, but I want to be a ballet dancer” or “I’m a neurosurgeon, but I want to be a chinchilla farmer.” From there, he inspires up to find ways for those two things to co-exist, to feed each other…to find parallels where one can be a patron of the other.
As I’ve started working down that road, my “I’m…, but…” has changed. It began as “I’m a project manager, but I want to be a writer.”
Now, it’s “I’m a writer, but I get paid to be a project manager.” Not perfect, but it’s a story that pushes me closer to the dream.
So, Sam…..thanks for not firing me. And thanks for being an unknowing patron of my dream. Now you know.