Even though I know I’ll have a job in Sydney, I can’t help but wonder what else is out there.
So I start job hunting for the first time in 4 years. I can’t fathom why it’s much more stressful than I remember.
I mean–if anything, it should feel easier, shouldn’t it? I’m older, I have more work experience, and I know what I want.
But that’s just it. Knowing exactly what type of job I want and knowing what I’m worth are the exactly why job hunting is more stressful than I remember.
When I was younger, I believed in my own skills less. I felt young and hopeless and I was willing to believe anyone else’s estimations of me. Job hunting in my twenties felt just like Halloween–I’m going from job to job, dressed up like an adult when I feel like a kid. I’m holding out my empty bag of hopes and dreams and just asking random strangers to give me something I normally don’t deserve.
Yet another aspect of why job hunting now is more stressful: I am more of a realist now. Four years ago, I was looking for ANY job. I didn’t care what job I had, because in my mind, I was a writer. I was going to be a writer on my own and whatever job I got to pay the bills really didn’t matter, because I didn’t have to care about enjoying it. I blindly believed I could do both; I could work in a professional field for a living and still accomplish the personal writing goals I set out to do.
But… four years later, I haven’t made much progress, writing-wise. I do my daily word limits like a good little self-starter. I’ve created some interesting short stories in this time. Overall though, my big writing projects haven’t gone very far. There are a million excuses when you work a day job.
- I’m too tired thinking about my work that I actually get paid for.
- My brain is frazzled from my paid work.
- I need down time from my paid work.
The excuses for not having completed personal writing goals are endless when you actually care about your day job.
It’s depressing, because now that I’m (kind of) an adult, I know better. I know that caring about one’s day job is impossible to avoid. Being a kid, even a young adult, you really have no accurate understanding of what might happened to you if you quit your day job. You have no one counting on you to put food on the table at the end of the day.
So here is where I admit: it’s not possible to care less about my day job. I have to care. Caring means more stress. And that’s okay. Being an adult means I have to stress. Maybe having all these things to stress about will make me a better writer.
Caring about my day job doesn’t have to mean that I just throw in the towel on what I want to achieve with writing; it just means that it’ll be more difficult for me to do, but it’s not impossible. I just have to push myself harder.
Perhaps this is why J.M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan–to help him (or others) deal with the realities of adulthood.