I begin writing this at 4:13 PM on a Tuesday. I’ve been officially out of work for three weeks as of today. I’ve sent in dozens of job applications, all via on-line job sites or email addresses. I’ve heard back from three. One of them is a start-up company that has no money but appreciates the small bits of work I’ve done for them. (And it’s been a great learning experience!) The other two I’ve had interviews with. They’ve both assured me they’ll contact me about a second interview. So far, no contact has been made. I’m a little concerned.
So you’re likely asking yourself, based on the things I said I’d be blogging about, what anything I’ve written so far has to do with them. Well… nothing, in some ways. Everything in others. I shall explain. (Because that’s what you do in venues like this.)
My first love when it comes to how I expend my energy, creativity and talent is writing. The genre that I work in is pure fantasy. I get enough reality in my daily life. Escapism is all I want after a long day of facts, numbers, posts, mail and working with vendors and members. I love it all, don’t get me wrong. But eight hours a day is enough (most of the time). It’s nice to get totally disconnected from that every now and then. And really nice when it is my own imagination, as opposed to someone else’s, that takes me there. (And I can bring others along with me if and when I choose, which is the best part.)
Most of my interaction with my favorite genre is through computer games that I have enjoyed now for a long time. I started with Asheron’s Call, then moved on to the now defunct City of Heroes. From there I started playing (and still do play), Lord of the Rings Online, or LotRO for short. This is my escapism. This is where I tend to fight off the reality-inspired blues and exhaustion that gang up on me at the end of each work day.
Now that I’m currently not working, this changes the dynamic within which I get to sit down and veg out for a couple hours each night. Getting a regular pay check and being able to add to the overall stability of my household gives me a little more room to take time off and dive deeply into an animated, well-constructed and well-thought-out Middle-earth. Take that piece away, though, and it makes one wonder if I have the “right” to use my time for enjoyment. Shouldn’t I be searching for a job 24/7?
Well, the answer to that is of course “no.” Looking for work is often much more challenging and difficult than working an actual job. Certainly more frustrating in today’s job market. Washington, DC, is rife with openings, seemingly. Yet with over 3-dozen applications out there currently, I’ve only heard from three, and two of those found me on LinkedIn. They weren’t even responses to an application I’ve sent in. I mean, YAY, that my profile on LI is strong enough to have anyone seek me out. But 1 for 35 is not exactly great otherwise.
So what is this all leading up to? Not entirely sure. I guess I’m just getting out a few frustrations regarding where I am and where I want to be, and how wide the gap is between the two. I want to write, but I get too tired to write. I want to game, but I need to balance that out with having a job and a steady paycheck to go with it. I want to work, but until people start responding to my applications, I sit in limbo. And how best to wile away the time while in limbo? LotRO! (Or insert your game of choice here.)
Pretty vicious circle, and obviously one I’m not oblivious to. I have responsibilities just like everyone else does. They are all much more easily met if I’m working. Even if I have to meet them after a long day at work and a horrible commute home (which I had at my last job, but I’d never have quit that job because of the commute; I loved that job), I’d still much rather be doing the kind of work that garners a paycheck and benefits than exhausting myself with worry and frustration over the not knowing the who/what/where/when/why/how of my next job. Those are the things that plague all writers though. Right?