Career Satisfaction: A Writer’s Good Day
Writing may be something I’ve done my entire literate life, but it’s my third career. I sometimes have the work dream about air traffic control or teaching though I never feel wistful afterwards. I usually wake up with profound relief. I’m not a nostalgic person. Things in the past are there for a darn good reason. Sure, I browse the photos of the kids when they were younger for TBT. I don’t wish for the good ol’ days, I mostly grumble about the grift they’ve run. They’re cute and charming when they’re small so you won’t eat them. “This one is so tiny and skinny. What will become of it?” HA!
At lunch, with some past colleagues last week, I realized, again, I’m not one to look back. Regret buys you nothing but compounded sorrow. I think that’s a quote if it’s not it ought to be. The most common question, people ask me when they find out I used to teach, is “Don’t you miss it?” Nope. Nein. Nyet. Of course, I love to teach. Doesn’t mean I miss it. I don’t miss the helicopter parents. I don’t miss the inept administration. I don’t miss the long hours and shitty paycheck.
Sure I miss some of the kids. Here’s the thing, teachers are part-time parents, counselors, mediators, coaches, directors, politicians, statisticians, researchers, oh and we have to teach occasionally. I’m not having any fun as a parent of teenagers, why would I miss the mental and emotional exhaustion of raising someone else’s kid?
I’m not bitter. I’m a realist. I fully support my friend who is planning on opening her own school. Hell, I’ll teach a workshop or even swing a part-time class if she needs help. I believe education is the key to solving the worlds’ problems. It might not look the way you would define education and believe me, there are parents out there glad I’m not in the classroom any longer. I didn’t raise mindless drones (sometimes I wish I had) and I certainly challenged my students to think for themselves about EVERYTHING.
Here’s the thing, I love my job. The money may be trickling. I may not be traditionally published. Sometimes I go days without speaking to people who are not my family, but I’m joyful. I sit down to write and whether the words come or not, I’m blithe.
Of course, The Beard with all of his “Look at this” or “Read this” or “Here’s the 90-day plan” drives me a bit nutty. When I’m trudging through the minutia of marketing, publishing, and editing, I’m working for me, for my passion and my calling. I know follow your dreams isn’t good advice for everyone. I’ve read the Tipping Point and I’m not sure what I think about the 10,000 hours, but for me at this moment, it was absolutely the best choice.
I do know that many people don’t reach for their stars because of fear or doubt or difficulty. That’s a shame. I didn’t up and quit my teaching gig without a lot of thought. It took me almost three years to get up the courage. The Beard prodded me the entire time. We made the lists, we looked at the budget. Do we struggle some days? Yes, but days like today after coffee with the words flowing without effort….it’s worth it.