So, I took the day off yesterday. Did a lot of things. What I didn’t do was write. So today, I should.
But my Muse still isn’t happy. She’s refusing to play. She’s not just having a sulk for the sake of it. She wants more. She’s trying to tell me that something is wrong in my life.
When I ask her, she says “You promised I wouldn’t have to go to work in the cold this winter.” She’s quite right to get angry with me over that one. I did, too, back in April when I made plans to quit the Day Job. That all changed.
The Muse has been sulking since I went to work on Thursday. It was cold on the station. It was cold on the train. It was cold on the bus. The only place it wasn’t cold was the stuffy and over-heated office. But no-one there is happy. I didn’t get a minute to think a thought of my own all day.
I’m not sure what my answer to the Muse should be. To apologise? Tell her I hoped we’d be able to do that but I got it wrong? Tell her maybe next year?
She’s not buying it. Any of it. She wants me to resign from the Day Job. Now! NOW! With a foot stamp and a pushed out lower lip and that mutinous expression that promises a full blown tantrum and no writing, ever.
I don’t know how to deal with this.
I didn’t expect I’d be back again so soon to the question of whether I should quit my Day Job.
I will eventually, it’s just a matter of when. Earlier this year I was ready to leave, commit to writing full-time for as long as I could afford it. I had a leave date set of mid- September. Then my manager offered me half-time work. The plan changed. The work-life balance should have been ideal. I could write full-time, go to the Day Job two days a week, instead of the other way around.
Sounds great in theory, and for about five weeks, it was. I loved it! I became so much more productive. My energy levels and happiness soared. I could stay doing that until we’re ready to move to Australia. We’d be in such a strong financial position. I could have it all. The perfect solution.
Then it went wrong.
A colleague left, and we all need to work extra hours to cover. They can’t find anyone to replace her. My manager has changed, and the new guy is a no-stopping-him change agent with a touch of ADHD. Time to write is becoming harder and harder to create. I’m tired. I’m sad. My Muse won’t write, she just pouts and says “Not fair, you lied to me.”
My “perfect solution” has disappeared and won’t come back.
I want to quit now too, not just my Muse. It’s the inner parent telling me to stay. Telling me not to let my colleagues down, when things are already so tough there. Telling me I’m crazy to throw away such a good, well paid job. Telling me we need the money. Telling me resigning is a financially ridiculous decision.
It’s correct on all counts.
The thing my inner parent doesn’t take into account is how much of my unpaid personal time the Day Job eats up. Not just the commute time, but needing to prepare food to take to work with me, and needing to have work clothes clean and ready to wear, and most of all use of prime real estate in my brain. I spend way too much time chewing over work problems, time that could be used to chew over writing problems instead!
Of course, if I do resign, the terror will kick in. The terror of having no income. The knowledge that living off our savings means the only house I can afford in Australia will be the one in the photo. The pressure to earn money from writing, ASAP, which might push me to damage my career by putting stuff out there before it’s ready.
But what’s happening in my workplace isn’t what I signed up for when I agreed to stay on part-time instead of resigning.
The decision I have to make is – which one of those options can I live with best? Which one will let me write the most and work towards my goals the most? Which one is sustainable and not soul-destroying? Which is the real suicide?
Well, I know the answer.
My question isn’t should I resign? That’s a given. It’s when should I resign? Can I hang in there another few months to let things stabilise in the workplace and give them more chance to find a replacement, or do I need to leave ASAP?
I’m inclined to resign now, today, and give them until January 15th (or whatever that middle Monday in January is) or until they fill my position, whichever comes sooner.
That’s scary. But it feels the best decision. I hope my Muse is happy with that. I hope the inner parent is too. Now maybe they’ll start co-operating and let me write!