Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Day-Job

Day-jobs aren't cool in the writing world, are they? Writers aren't supposed to like their day-jobs, since, obviously, no one who had any viable alternatives would actually want to write for a "living." Day-jobs are the things that get in the way of having uninterrupted writing time. The things we give up when we become bestsellers and look back on with revulsion and the relief born of escape.

Well, my day-job isn't like that.

I've loved reading since I was a tiny little thing and first discovered the wonderful lives I could live between the covers of books. I was that kid who checked out a pile of books from the library every single week. Who stayed up reading well past bed-time. Who never went anywhere without a book, just in case things got dull.

I'm still like that, come to think of it.

But that's not all I am.

At the age of 4, I told my mother to "Stop treating me like I'm 2." In second grade, I about broke down and cried when my teacher, on the first day of school, set us the task of copying sentences off the board. I've always been drawn to characters (like the girl in The Westing Game) who become lawyers or who argue effectively. I've never wanted things to be too easy. I've never wanted to be treated like I'm dumb (even when I am).

I embraced drama growing up and, my senior year, I was the Speech and Drama Sterling Scholar at my high school. Freshman year of college I gave a talk over Christmas in my home church congregation and took about three times longer than my allotment. A lawyer who heard it suggested I should be one. I scoffed. Why would I want to be a lawyer? (At that point, four more years of school was about all I could think about.)

By the time I got married, though, I'd changed my mind. I was going to law school. I took the LSAT. I applied. I was accepted. I started with one baby and graduated with two.

While I was there, I learned to love the law. Reading the cases. Writing about applications. Arguing in class, in mock courtrooms, and in competitions. Trial prep and all that jazz. I published a case note on the juvenile death penalty and learned that I could write really long things--and enjoy it. Fun. Fun. Fun.

I now have a law job. I write fiction at night. I read whenever I can. I'm blessed with a terrific boss and colleagues who also love to read. I still love to argue. Love to say things like "I'm off to court" and "I'm with a client" and "objection" and "your honor." Take guilty pleasure in the foolish way people assume I'm not-dumb if I let slip that I'm a lawyer.

So why do I want to write? To publish? To start a second career? Because I've loved books longer. I love books better. And because, unless lightning strikes and I win the bestseller lottery, I'll never have to choose between the two.

But also because, if I ever do make enough writing to quit my day-job, I'm hoping I'll get to spend more time helping raise my kids. Because I love my family best of all.

So do you have a day-job? Do you hate it? Love it? Plan to leave it as soon as possible?

23 comments:

  1. I think having a day job can enrich your day job, especially a job like being a lawyer which involves being able to see both sides to prepare an effective case.

    It's great that you love your job, it's such a great position to be in. Oh, and your kids are real cuties.

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    1. I completely agree. My kids ARE cuties! ;)

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  2. Sterling Scholar! That is impressive :) If you argue with everyone all the time, is that a good indication you would be an effective lawyer? If so I'm sending my 13 year old to law school.

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    1. Depends: does s/he ever win the argument? Does s/he argue with logic or just an abiding, unsupported conviction that s/he is always right? :)

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  3. I love being a lawyer too, I just wish I had more time to be a better writer. Basically I wish I could have all the jobs.

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    1. Oh, good plan! Then I could be a lawyer / writer / actor / singer! World-renowned in all areas, of course.

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  4. I don't have anything to say about day jobs and it's probably best if I keep my thoughts about lawyers to myself (just kidding!), but I have to say this is a well-written, enlightening post! Fun to read.

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    1. You don't even want to comment on your lucrative career as a book blogger? ;)

      Have I told you how much I envy your life?

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    2. You do know that when I mention my "lucrative career as a book blogger," it's meant sarcastically, right? Although I have to admit it is lucrative in some ways.

      And, I also have to say that I'm very grateful I'm able to stay at home with my kids. Lots of moms don't have the same opportunity.

      I guess my life IS pretty awesome. I should definitely be spending more time being more thankful for all my blessings. Thanks for the reminder :)

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  5. I'm grateful for my day job. A lot of days I hear my coworkers complain about every facet of working life imaginable, but I came from fairly humble middle class roots, and I feel like my salary is more than adequate given what I'm asked to do everyday. Clearly I'm blogging during my work day so how bad can it be?

    This job funds the life I want to have. If I could give it up to write full time as a successful author, sure I'd do it. In the meantime, I'm just fine.

    Congrats to you for going to law school and figuring out what drives you. Not everyone lives out their dreams.

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    1. I'm strictly middle-class, too. Amazing how that changes your perceptions of what you're entitled to.

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  6. You are so lucky to have both a job and a hobby (back up career :-) that you love so much. Thank you for sharing your joy of both with us.

    New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

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  7. I do love my day job but there was a time when I didn't, back when I had a different day job...

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    1. Oh, I've had lots of jobs I'd rather poke my eyes out than return to.

      Well, maybe not my eyes. A toe or two?

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  8. Writing is pretty much my day job.

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  9. Yep, I have a day job, and right now I like it. But we'll see how things go because people voted in a psycho council member which has made things really interesting *coughsuckallthejoyoutoflifecough*. Example: we haven't have a raise in three years, and he wants to cut everyone's pay by 10 percent. And he's got cronies who will be running next year. Joy.

    Other than that, I love my job.

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    1. Colleagues can absolutely make-or-break a job. As can feeling like you're appreciated--and fair compensation goes a long way toward that goal.

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  10. Hi Robin, I enjoyed reading your post. I'm an entrepreneur so naturally, I absolutely love my company and am at the stage where I will do absolutely anything for it to help it grow and prosper. I work for myself, I take holidays whenever I want, and I've never worked harder in a job in my entire life! Lots of hard work but amazingly rewarding!

    This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

    Duncan In Kuantan

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    1. Ah, the American Dream. Congrats! :)

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  11. I don't have a day job, but I really really want one :-)

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  12. Love the picture and your story. We all have several sides to our characters, and it's wonderful when our day-jobs work for us. And you are writing and a mother to boot. Wonderful!

    Loving A to Z. Glad to have found you!

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