(And even though I know it will hurt literally no one if the truth isn't revealed, I like to think we here around blogland like to be in the know about each other's lives—hence why we read lifestyle/personal blogs to begin with.)
(Also, it's long, so buckle up. Or skip it, I won't hold it against you.)
About a month ago, something finally happened that I'd been waiting for for too long: I received a job offer that could signal my departure from the publishing company I'd worked at for the last three years. I will be more honest now than I was able to be then: The last year at my job had been absolute, utter hell. My bosses treated me terribly if they deigned to acknowledge my existence at all; I was spoken down to if ever spoken to; I was demeaned and degraded on a daily basis; I had my ideas and the very nature of my profession, skills, and passion reduced to absolutely nothing. I couldn't stay a minute longer. I accepted the job offer—managing editor and part-time reporter at a local newspaper—simply because it was an excuse and opportunity to leave the publishing company, one I had been begging the universe for since I started (intermittently) applying for new jobs in April 2014.
I gave my two weeks notice and felt a weight vanish from my shoulders. Soon, I would not have to walk into this office to be disrespected daily. Soon, I would be free from my obligation to make a rich man richer while remaining highly underpaid (and underinsured) myself. Soon, I would be able to stop entertaining the horrendously inappropriate and morally bankrupt ideas of a company owner I could no longer feel good about myself for bolstering in the industry.
And somewhere in the back of my mind, overshadowed by the excitement I felt about finally being free from the worst workplace I've ever been a part of, was this thought pattern: A 40% pay cut is downright insulting for my professional level—I'm not an intern, I'm not entry level. I'm talented and have experience. That salary is literally just barely above the poverty line. On that salary I will not be able to support myself. I will have to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs to make ends meet if I take that salary. How can they expect to obtain quality candidates at that salary? This is just ridiculous.
I'm not entirely proud of thinking all that, but it's the truth. Because a 40% pay cut is not the difference between ordering top shelf and well vodka. It's not even the difference between a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota. It is, completely honestly, the difference between being able to finance my basic, reasonable, modest lifestyle and burying myself in debt.
Another thought pattern was emerging: I never wanted to work at a newspaper. I like writing features, but I never wanted to be a reporter. Didn't I decide way back after that first news reporting class in college that I seriously detested the idea of working as a reporter? Yes. The answer is yes, I did. I have never, ever wanted to work for a newspaper—until it felt like my only option for escape.
So I did something a lot of people probably consider a little bit crazy—especially considering that I am 100% financially independent and wholly plan on remaining that way as long as I live.
I took a leap of faith. I quit my job and declined the newspaper job offer.
I took a calculated risk after I was contacted for a couple of interviews for jobs in fields (namely, special topic publishing) I actually am a) well-suited to work in, and b) want to work in. (Also after doing a lot of math and financial planning.) Because here are some true things:
For most people in America, the need to work is a real thing in order to sustain a happy, healthy life.
Working for the majority of adulthood is the norm in America.
Given that, having a job does NOT have to equal being miserable, being treated unfairly, or being disrespected.
I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of life is, but I do know for sure that it is not to work myself ragged and miserable for morally reprehensible people.
My life is meant to belong to me, not to my employer(s).
Life's too short to not take risks every once in a while.
And here are some other true things I've learned over the last few weeks: Vacations and time off are good and essential for the soul. The pursuit of passion is a basic human necessity. Time and room to breathe are crucial for creating decent, happy people.
So here's what I've been doing over the last few weeks since I left my job on July 17:
Going on job interviews and working with recruiters. I'm determined that the next position I take will be one that's good for my career, good for my health, and good for my sanity. I don't want to jinx anything, so that's all I'm going to say on this front. In the words of Michael Scott, I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.
Working. I've been doing some freelance writing work. I've been working on the last round of edits for a manuscript set to be digitally published next month. (!!!) Feather Magazine is better than ever; we're working on September stories right now. And the literary magazine I'm collaborating on creating is coming soon to a device near you. (You still have time to contribute a piece of writing or art! Let me know if you want the deets.)
Writing. My novel is still in progress. I took about a week off, but am forging through the second half this week.
Going to the beach. Michael perfectly recapped our Blogger Beach Day. The day after that I headed to Cape Cod to spend a few days with my grandparents, and my mom and stepdad who were also visiting them at the same time. It's different air up there, I swear. So good.
Celebrating my cousin's engagement. Visiting her fiance at work for a TV show taping, which happens to be less than a mile away from my apartment, and also happens to be the set of the Food Network show The Kitchen. Running and working out. Trying to catch up on my reading. Watching a lot of The Office. Having dinner with old family friends who I haven't seen in years. Window shopping for a real wardrobe to be worn in an actual professional office. You know, the usual.
So there it is. There's the reason I haven't posted yet about my new job—it doesn't exist. There's the reason I took an impromptu trip to Cape Cod last week. There's the reason I'm funemployed and on no semblance of a schedule right now. There's the reason I finally feel like I can breathe M-F 9-5. There's the reason I now something bigger, better, and right for me is coming down the pike.