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Archived Author Help > Hate my day job, when to quit, advice on dealing with it.

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message 1: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I never got to the storming out stage, but I did have an incident that went so badly that it planted the seed. I planned, I saved, I gave a proper notice, and became a full time writer at the end of 2013.

What got me through was the small goals, like paying off my car or setting a savings amount, as well as ensuring that when I was ready to quit, I didn't burn any bridges.

Something else you may consider: Depending on where you live and how many expenses you have, you might pad out yout savings and trim down your lifestyle to discover that you can get by with a less stressful part time job. Not only do you get to ditch the angry job, but it frees up a few more hours that you can dedicate to writing.

Whatever you decide, good luck and don't let your job get to you!


message 2: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Fascinating question, Joseph. I will eagerly watch for the responses to roll in. Unfortunately, I don't have much to offer. It's my life's dream to be a stay-at-home writer, but that is nowhere on my radar screen at this time. My first book came out just six weeks ago. Baby steps.

One suggestion, Joseph, would be to change to a different job. If you're so unhappy in your day job, can you try to find something different to do while you're building your writing career? Life is too short to be unhappy, as you implied. I agree. I don't know what your personal financial situation is... but maybe you could find a more enjoyable job to tide you over until you feel it's the right time to write full time.

April


message 3: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
I really can't give a lot of input, since I didn't start writing until I was hurt. I honestly don't even know if I would have started writing if it weren't for that.
Still, I believe hard work pays off in the end. Is your job the kind where you can do some of your play while working? I know I used to have a lot of free time when I worked night shift.


message 4: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 240 comments I'm not in a storming-out phase, but I am definitely to a point where I would like to do something different. I'd love to be able to make a living on my writing, but that goal is a long way off, so for the time being, I'm just looking for a different job to hold down in the meantime.

Though I gotta say, the occasional day where I can sneak in some writing at work is pretty nice. Helps knowing I don't always have to wait until off-hours.


message 5: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments When I was in my teens, I came up with a plan: I'd work for 20 years (until I was 40), save, establish a firm foundation in life, and then do something to satisfy my creative/artistic side.

It was a nice plan but it didn't survive contact with reality, except in one particular: at 39, I suffered a major a health collapse brought on by exhaustion from years of overwork. Unable to hold down a job after that, I ended up living by my wits. I've done all sorts of things since then to make money; writing is the latest.

What it comes down to is what your are willing to do without, how flexible you are, what other options you have, and what you are willing to risk? These are hard questions. And writing, far more than anything else I've done, depends on luck. I've started a few businesses in my time, and those you could see a return in 3 to 6 months, but writing takes years and often has a low rate of return even then.

All the best, and I hope a better option awaits you.


message 6: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Joseph wrote: "...what gets you by?"

I think I have what it takes to make a living at writing except one thing - an audience. I'm building up to it, but it will take time. My writing is not seasoned for everyone. I know it could be years before I am able to make it, if I ever do.

So, in the meantime I take on other work that fills a number of criteria for me. I enjoy it, it keeps the bills paid, I feel I'm contributing to society and I feel I'm doing what I've been called to do by a higher power.

If you are not ready and able to make it with your writing, it may be time to seek other employment to carry you until your writing takes off. Maybe storming off the job isn't a good idea, but start looking for other work. I used to do jobs that I hated and life is too short for that.


message 7: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Joseph wrote: "Interesting Christina, when you quit were you doing freelance writing or something for magazines or you just went head first into novels?"

I'd already published all but the last book in my first series when I made my decision. I planned and saved and tried to figure out what the minimum number of sales I would need would be.

Several things happened. First, when I opened my bank account, there was a requirement that I either have direct deposit or maintain a minimum balance of $500. I did not take into consideration that I opened the account twenty years and three corporate takeovers earlier and so a much larger portion of my savings became unusable.

Next, I under budgeted massively. My first couple of months I was bleeding money. Then, my sales didn't come to anywhere near what I had expected given the push I'd experienced just before I quit.

I will have to get a job very soon or have a miraculous sales event, but I managed to have two years and in that time, I put out six books so far and I've got far more ideas on the back burner. But like I said, I have learned that I require very little to live on. I should be able to get a part time job. At this point, it will feel like a huge cash flow. ;)


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Copsey (ian_d_copsey) | 69 comments Joseph

A lifetime can seem much longer than the number of years that you have lived. It's a tough world and I can't see it getting easier just yet. (Stock markets are going to tumble a long, long way... and be stagnant for 2-3 decades at least.)

While young it's possible to get by for some time but not being able to afford a basic life is as stressful as having to have a job you don't really like. A stable foundation of basic security is needed to build a writing career - which we all know has an unknown outcome until we succeed... The worst outcome is an unstable life that would wreak havoc with creativity and trigger a double whammy...


message 9: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Self. This is Support for Indie Authors, after all. ;)


message 10: by Shameez (new)

Shameez Patel Papathanasiou | 4 comments Hi Joseph

I am so sorry to hear. I feel like that on certain days. My alarm goes off and I wonder whether it would be shameful to take a sick day. There have actually been days where I hoped I would get sick just to take guilt-free sick days.

I work as an engineer, so the job is very stressful, we are always trying to meet deadlines, and if something goes wrong, well, worst case, someone could die.

That aside, I am an aspiring writer, and have just completed my first novel, doing it while working took me two whole years, and I also kept wondering whether writing should be my full time job.

I changed my mind, writing can not be my full-time job, not right now. Book sales in South Africa are very low and South African writers struggle to get by when it is their only income.

I have therefore decided to keep writing part time, even if that means one book every two years. I do however feel that if my negativity towards work continues, I will find another job that is less stressful, and I suggest you do that.

The other thing I found that helps, is if I have enough fun outside of work, it made work seem almost worth it.

I think Christina has given you some amazing advice.


message 11: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments It really depends on what is making you angry.
fyi I used to work in Security, so totally understand the frustrations involved.

So, if it's frustration with something in the job itself...hate something change something. Speak to your manager to see if you can get it changed. Or change jobs.

However, if it's that you resent the job itself as it interferes with your writing then suck it up buttercup!
Most of my fellow authors on here have to hold down a day job, deal with kids/life, and fit writing in as and when we can.

Sadly, the day job pays the bills, so is a necessary evil.

Don't expect your writing to ever fund your life.
This sounds pesimistic, but it's real.
Write because you love it.

I seem to be pointing lots of people at my blog, but it's a helpful post. I find it comforting to know ALL authors, even the greats have had the same frustrations as us mere mortals...
http://tlclarkauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2...


message 12: by Angel (new)

Angel | 216 comments I was never the 9 to 5 type. Although, I've done all sorts of jobs. But, I decided to start my own business and be my own boss. I like to lead. So far so good but, it's quite a challenge. I can't quit because I'd lose my only employee and my employer would be mad:)


message 13: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments @Joseph:

Fifteen years ago, I was in a similar position. I didn't have a savings cushion, but I took the leap and started my own business. When the economy tanked in 2007, I went back to the corporate world for about 5 years, but returned to self-employment when we had to move to take care of a family member.

I make a lot less money now than I did in the corporate world, and I pay a lot more for health insurance (for me and my family). However, my blood pressure is lower and I sleep better at night. There is certainly stress involved with being self-employed (mostly financial) but it can be a rewarding experience in many ways.

I'm not advising anyone to do what I did and jump off a metaphorical cliff, but there are always options. As you said, life is too short to spend most of it in a miserable job.


message 14: by Doris (new)

Doris Caruso | 4 comments Hello, This is my first comment and perhaps my last.(We never know, do we?)

I am a very senior, senior citizen and have had a very happy and useful life, in that I worked with my husband (now deceased) in commercial enterprises for over 36 lovely years (our own businesses) until we retired to the coast of NC for my time to write...his to do the woodworking he had longed to do. It was an ideal situation.
Sometimes in our lives there comes the 'time' to do the things we dream of..Do not get discouraged. Keep writing in all of the spare moments that are possible. Keep a notebook of all the story ideas that you wish to explore when you have boundless time..

It was after my 80th birthday that I completed two novels, now one on Amazon print and one on Kindle and I am about to place another on Kindle within the next month. Never give up your dreams...Somehow they all come true...Doris


message 15: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Joseph, reflect on your stubbornness (you admitted to being stubborn). My daughter is very stubborn - she gets that from her father - and she'd rather make life very difficult for herself rather than change her mind about something. Just something to think about, my friend and fellow writer. :)

April


message 16: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments I'm of the take a giant leap and see where it takes you camp. However, this approach does not work for everyone. I have had a lot of success with this over the years in terms of uprooting and relocating my life to different parts of the world every few years sorting out the details only after I arrive... and everything has always worked out in the end, leading to some amazing adventures along the way. Most recently I've tried this with switching to writing full time.

That said, very important caveat here, while I had taken giant leaps alone for many years, for the latest ones I have a partner in crime (my husband) and we take turns supporting each other while the other works at their passion (he's a professional musician). So that's huge. Right now it's my turn to make a go at writing full time while he pays the bills.

But what Christina has said is excellent advice, minimalist living does the trick and you'd be amazed at what you can afford to live off of when you really try. I have huge college loan debt and that is the primary thing that had kept me from trying to write full time until a year ago. I still have that debt, but between my husband's work and my occasional contract jobs that I use to pad our living we are doing just fine. We buy all of our clothes at thrift stores, make as much of our food from scratch as possible (it is VASTLY cheaper to make your own bread than to buy it, for example), and live in an apartment that's a little too small, but still fits us cozily. We bought a cheap used hybrid to reduce travel costs, use our bikes a lot/walk to get around town, etc. etc. You get the idea.

You'd be amazed at what you can live without, and you still get to keep all the good stuff; I still buy way more books than is probably reasonable (but since I'm a full time writer I can deduct them from my taxes as a business expense) we still go to concerts, travel periodically, and spend time with friends and family.

Sorry for being so longwinded. That's my two cents.

Life is too short to worry about financial security if you're not worried about providing for your offspring. You can't take it with you!


message 17: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Virginia wrote: "Life is too short to worry about financial security if you're not worried about providing for your offspring."

This is solid advice though. If you're not enjoying your job even part of the time, might be time to start searching for a new one.
That's how I became a CNA, hated my job, so I did something I thought I wouldn't hate as much. I was right, and now I miss that job.


message 18: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Virginia wrote: "I'm of the take a giant leap and see where it takes you camp. However, this approach does not work for everyone. I have had a lot of success with this over the years in terms of uprooting and reloc..."

Virginia, I really loved your post, and I'm envious of the strategy you and your husband employ - especially how you take turns supporting each other. What a wonderful partnership!

I'd love to live like that, but as a single parent with a house, a child, and four dogs, that's not possible right now. But kudos to you for living lean and flexibly. Personally, I'd be happy living in a closet and eating rice and beans if it meant I could write full-time. Someday, when my child is grown and off doing her own thing, I can downsize and live in a closet and eat rice and beans. :)

In the meanwhile, I'll just keep writing. :)

April


message 19: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Joseph wrote: "April I'm siding with your daughter on this one lol. Most Billionaires and Presidents are stubborn haha."

Joseph, you are SO right! LOL! That's exactly what my daughter's father said to me when I pointed his stubbornness out to him. He's stubborn and proud of it. (It's also why we got divorced, but that's another long story I won't bore you with.) LOL

April


message 20: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments What some might call stubborn, others might consider perseverance. :D


message 21: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Charles wrote: "What some might call stubborn, others might consider perseverance. :D"

Good point, Charles! I can't disagree with you. But sometimes, stubborn people take it to extremes and actually cause pain or damage to themselves because they won't, or can't, take a different course than the one they're on. My ex-husband would rather cut off his hands than change course. Still, he is effective at getting things accomplished - no doubt about that.

On the other hand, I like to think of myself as "fluid."

April


message 22: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Virginia wrote: "Life is too short to worry about financial security if you're not worried about providing for your offspring."

A-freaking-men to that! :)

I want to add that while I am by no means even close to being profitable let alone a success, here's a list of things that have happened in the last two years:

I quit smoking
I lost 20 lbs
My blood pressure went waaaaay down
I have not had a single anxiety attack (used to get them often)
I beat diabetes into submission
I am a lot more eager to get out of bed in the morning.

Some people enjoy the stress of working 12 hour days in an office. I'm simply not one of them. Would I like enough to pay off the motgage and afford the occasional nice thing? Of course! But more than that and it's not worth the stress for me.


message 23: by May (last edited Aug 21, 2015 11:25AM) (new)

May Sage (maysage) | 15 comments I'm with you, Joseph, I absolutely hate my job... but TL has a point: it pays the bills.

Realistically, I don't think being a self-published author can be a career straight away - you need to be in for a few months or years, at least, until you can safely take that leap.

On one hand, you'll have more time to write and promote your book, but on the other hand, promoting your book costs money - without the day job, you'll be limited.

What I've done to try and get "there" as quickly as possible is resuming an activity I used to do sporadically: freelance editing/proofreading (and the occasional content writing.) It pays rather well, and it actually helps get in touch with potential readers etc. Technically, I suppose I am actually ready to quit my job now; but extra money does mean being able to reach more readers, so I’m sucking it up for a few months :)

M


message 24: by Joe (last edited Aug 21, 2015 11:30AM) (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Oh, I'd love to quit my job, but having a little one and another on the way means that's not going to happen for a while yet. I'd love to write full time, but frankly, I'm not sure I'm in the right place maturity-wise to do that, which may be why I'm still where I am for the time being.

Be patient, everything comes in its time.


message 25: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments April wrote: "I'd love to live like that, but as a single parent with a house, a child, and four dogs, that's not possible right now. "

Which makes absolute sense, and was the purpose of the "if you're not worried about providing for your offspring" clause.

I have one canine fur baby. This would be a much trickier thing to manage with any human babies kicking around.

As it is, I think that anyone who is working part or full-time, raising kids, and still writing when they can is a freaking super hero. Major high five to everyone who's doing that!

April, you have my deepest respect, and I hope your daughter appreciates all that you do for her! (In my experience children don't, but she probably will by the time she's in her mid-twenties.) ;-)


message 26: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Joseph wrote: "Virginia that's inspring and sounds like the perfect system."

I don't know if it's perfect, nothing is, but it certainly is working for us for the time being. We're very lucky to have each other.

The long term goal is for us both to be able to do what we love full time, and we're slowly inching our way there.


message 27: by Virginia (new)

Virginia | 142 comments Christina wrote: "A-freaking-men to that! :)

I want to add that while I am by no means even close to being profitable let alone a success, here's a list of things that have happened in the last two years:

I quit smoking
I lost 20 lbs
My blood pressure went waaaaay down
I have not had a single anxiety attack (used to get them often)
I beat diabetes into submission
I am a lot more eager to get out of bed in the morning."


Woot!! It sounds like it has been a wonderfully healthy change for you. That's fantastic!

*fist bump*

I haven't tracked anything like that, but I am always happy to "go to work" in the morning and I never fantasize about being sick anymore. I absolutely love being my own boss.

The only downside is that it turns out, when left to my own devices on a project I love... I'm a bit of a workaholic. Who knew?


message 28: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 266 comments Cool beans christina!

Joseph, I don't know what to say about a day job, because I had one a decade ago and after I got sick, I've been barely surviving off disability cheques. It's not easy either. My writing is only to keep from being bored. I'd rather jockey a desk like I used to...

All I can suggest is find another day job you enjoy doing and write what you can on your down time. Carry a tablet or a messaging phone to write your ideas or notes in, or a notebook if you prefer longhand.
Hell, my sister used to carry a portable word processor while she jockeyed a desk for the state.

Until your books make it big where it's your only source of income, it will be a long difficult road ahead. I wish you the best of luck. Keep working hard!


message 29: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
K.P. wrote: "Cool beans christina!

Joseph, I don't know what to say about a day job, because I had one a decade ago and after I got sick, I've been barely surviving off disability cheques. It's not easy either..."


I feel your pain there K.P. went from almost 40 grand a year to under 1000 a month. Talk about a tough change to get used to.


message 30: by Echo (new)

Echo Armstrong (goodreadscomEcho_Armstrong) | 3 comments I had just agreed to take a full-time job after being a consultant with the company for 3 months. I came in to work the 1st day as a permanent employee and my first assignment was to fire the entire accounting department. Coincidentally I had an OBGYN appointment later that day. After they had taken my blood pressure, my doctor insisted that I go downstairs and visit my family physician, but never told me why.

After they took my blood pressure, they sent me to see a cardiologist who gave me some very good advice. I went home, wrote a Dear John letter to my boss, walked away and began day trading that following Monday. I’ve never looked back and have no regrets. I believe that that appointment at the doctor's office made me realize that it was better to LIVE and try to do something that I enjoyed, rather than to die working in corporate America and never get to do anything again.

Employees die every day and Corporations just keep it moving. They find your replacement within a week and then work to drive them into an early grave. Yes, it has been a challenge, but one I can LIVE with…just happy to still be here 8 years later. Things somehow always seem to work out!--never give up.


message 31: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments April wrote: "On the other hand, I like to think of myself as "fluid."

One of the biggest life lessons I've learned is that there are times to be fluid and times to take a strong position and defend it to the death. The trick is knowing when to do which. (Still working on mastering that one.)

There's another lesson I've learned, and it's not nearly so practical: if fools rush in where angels fear to tread, I'm rarely on the side of the angels.


message 32: by Ian (new)

Ian Copsey (ian_d_copsey) | 69 comments Owen wrote: "April wrote: "On the other hand, I like to think of myself as "fluid."

One of the biggest life lessons I've learned is that there are times to be fluid and times to take a strong position and defe..."


I really don't like Facebook, but this is a time where we need a "LIKE" button...


message 33: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Ian wrote: "I really don't like Facebook, but this is a time where we need a "LIKE" button... "

Ian, you are so right! I wish GR had a LIKE button. I'm always wanting to click on it. That would be great if they'd add one. Just a basic counter for a thumbs-up. :)

Hint, hint, moderators... Ask the GR powers that be to add a thumbs-up counter for posts, etc...

April


message 34: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I wish I knew how! It always baffles me that people can like mundane things like a recommendation or an action (someone liked my event response!) but not forum posts.


message 35: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Christina wrote: "I wish I knew how! It always baffles me that people can like mundane things like a recommendation or an action (someone liked my event response!) but not forum posts."

Yeah, you can LIKE other things on GR, just not the forum posts. Bummer. That would be great if we could like posts. So often I just want to like a post, but don't really have anything meaningful to contribute in a post of my own.


message 36: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments Which artificially inflates post count, which is sexy to those whose jobs depend on it.


message 37: by Julia (new)

Julia | 16 comments April wrote: "So often I just want to like a post, but don't really have anything meaningful to contribute in a post of my own."

This!


message 38: by Shameez (new)

Shameez Patel Papathanasiou | 4 comments In a weird way, it is comforting to know that basically everyone hates their jobs. Misery loves company and it makes me feel like I am not just being bratty.

I do wish you all well and hope that we can all find our dream jobs!!


message 39: by D.J. Wilde (new)

D.J. Wilde | 44 comments Joseph, there's an old saying in the entertainment business, "Don't quit your day job". Usually it's an insult but I don't mean it that way here. What I want you to think about is that, until you are successful with your writing and bringing in a stable income, you don't want to go unemployed. I strongly suggest, if you hate your job, to find a new one and change things up.


message 40: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Standafer | 57 comments Doris wrote: "Hello, This is my first comment and perhaps my last.(We never know, do we?)

I am a very senior, senior citizen and have had a very happy and useful life, in that I worked with my husband (now de..."


Congratulations to you, Doris, I'm happy you were able to see your dream through and that you and your husband enjoyed time doing the things you'd always wanted to do.


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