Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reverb 10 -- letting go of a career path

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I'm not a freelance writer anymore. My wrist accident in January pretty much ended that part of my career, at least temporarily because I couldn't take notes or type with any accuracy for about seven weeks, but I'd been feeling some angst about it before then anyway.

I've loved hearing people's stories and learning about new places and things and events all around Tehama County, but putting them into a story with a limited word count has frustrated me for some time. I worry about doing the stories justice, about being faithful to the words and the emotions behind them, about telling the stories accurately but compassionately. And for the most part I think I managed that pretty well, but it was usually like opening a vein for me and dripping the words onto the keyboard.

So I let go of that part of my life, and not unhappily, especially since I was able to start a friend on a freelance path, and I left still being friends with my editors. Could I do it again? Definitely. Do I want to? No. I have other things I need to be doing, at least right now.

That doesn't mean I don't write, obviously. I'm just telling my stories, with however many words it takes. And I know there is a book coming, although I don't know yet what form it will take: fiction, memoir, essay?

Actually, I let go of my working life completely in 2010, since I filed for Social Security in January. No more job hunting, interviews, kowtowing to corporate rules, dealing with office politics. No more trying to fit this round peg into that square hole -- something I've done for most of my working life. I've always been too outspoken and too ethical to thrive in a corporate setting, although I tried (and I did a good job for them too). I did better in nonprofits which better suited my ethics and desire to make a difference in people's lives, but salaries were always pitifully low, alas.

So I'm now a former teacher, former public relations director, former communications director, former marcom writer/manager, former content manager, former Realtor, former freelance writer. There won't be another job like those. Ever.

But I don't feel retired either. That'll come, maybe, when Tony retires. And I am not unhappy to let these jobs go, end my 'working for pay' careers. If I ever make money on something again, it will be doing what I want to do. That's a good way to end that part of my life.

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