Reflections of a Serial Job Hopper

When I was in school, whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always, “a writer”. Then the grown-up would invariably say, “you can’t make a living doing that. You have to get a proper job”.

But there was never anything else I wanted to do, so when I left school I ended up drifting aimlessly from job to job for a while. Because the grown-ups were right and I have never managed to make a living writing, and yet the bills still have to be paid.

For a long time I was looking for something I could do that would give me a creative outlet, and ended up changing jobs a lot because nothing made me happy. I have been in the world of work now for 21 years. In that time I have held 16 jobs. That’s just the allegedly permanent ones – it doesn’t include the various temping jobs I have also done over the years.

I sort of fell into secretarial work. I took the touch typing course my high school offered because I thought learning how to type would help my writing. I never thought I would end up working as a secretary, but ultimately I discovered it was something I was actually rather good at. I’m organised, I’m methodical, I type quickly and I have a keen grasp of spelling and grammar, so a letter I type goes out the door grammatically correct, even if it wasn’t that way when the boss dictated it (this is not a problem I have with my current boss, however, as she is also a stickler for correct grammar).

I worked out a few years ago that what I really want to do is write novels, and until I get to a point when someone starts giving me reasonable money to do that, the day job and the writing must remain separate elements of my life. Once I accepted that fact, I was able to stop job-hopping. I have now been in my current job for coming up to four years, which is far and away the longest time I have ever been in one job. But I find myself now in rather a nice place to work and on the whole I quite like being a secretary, now that I have accepted I am good at it. It’s also a nine-to-five kind of job, and when I leave work at the end of the day I can leave the job at the office.

Which means I can fit the writing in during my evenings and weekends. Or at least that’s the theory.

1 comment so far

  1. sputnitsa on

    If anything, a job that’s 9-5, that doesn’t have you stressing at home, and which doesn’t use up your creativity, ROCKS.

    My whole working life I’ve had jobs that ate time. For the first time now, I’m part-timing. And the job is constantly busy, but never follows me home. I can actually work on the book, switch gears completely to brainstorm, right before work and right after. Fantastic. Now to just make a decent salary… :-/

    Glad you’ve found happiness in your balance!

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