The last month has been beyond hectic. After several months of not having enough freelance work, I made an effort to promote my editing services, and booked enough work that I wouldn’t have time for much else for July and August, but at least my bills would be paid. Then, at the end of July, I had to take some time for family, and didn’t really get back on track until the 2nd week of August. A week later, I was offered a full-time office position. Suddenly, everything I thought I’d finish by the end of August suddenly had to be done by the end of the week.
Editing, crits for my workshop students, reading slush for Lakeside Circus, Dagan Books work, getting my son into childcare for the rest of the summer, cleaning/filing/organizing, appointments, phone calls that could only be made during the day, finding work clothes, catching up with SFWA and Codex, setting up autoposts, and a hundred other little tasks…
I slept 3 hours Sunday night, 4 last night, have barely been on social media for weeks, haven’t been updating my blog, and recently stopped checking my email, trying to balance what needs to happen with all the time I no longer have. Because this:
Yesterday, I started my new job. I am the Administrative Assistant for the Director of Operations of a small scientific equipment company. We invent, make, and sell the tools necessary for certain kinds of biological experimentation; aside from the Director and the CEO, everyone else is a scientist or lab tech. In addition to admin work, I also handle marketing, graphic design, database management, social media, some accounting, and more. (They actually offered me the title of “Sales and Marketing Associate” but I went with Admin Assistant because I see myself moving into management here or elsewhere, given my background and skills, as being more likely than moving into a full-time sales position. It’s not my style.)
Whether I stay here or not–though I plan to stay, I like the people and the position–I’m on track to have a stable dayjob now until I retire. This gives me the security of knowing my bills are paid and the freedom to do a lot more conventions, writing retreats, acquisitions and promotions for DB and LC… I’ve always said “don’t quit your day job” and after being a full-time freelancer for the last 18 months, I won’t be going back to that soon.
The only downside is that while it’s not an entry-level position, it is entry-level pay (and no benefits for a year). There’s potential to work my way up, but to begin with I have to keep freelancing if I want to get out of debt and do the things that make me happy. And before I can do anything else, I have to catch up. I cut my already-tiny editing fees to compensate for delays on scheduled editing work (because my deadlines and my clients matter to me, and should be respected, whether life interferes or not). I haven’t taken on anything new yet, and I’ve set aside my own writing until I’m finished with my current freelance contracts. For the next couple of weeks I’m basically working for free, with work going out and no more money coming in, but that’s part of freelancing.
And when I’m done, I will be able to pay off debt, I could afford to be more social, and I’m building a great addition to my resume. This is a step toward my future, the life I’ve been planning for a while now, with the people I love. All of the hard work, worry, stress, and being so damn broke… It’s paying off. That’s how life works sometimes. It’s horrible just before it all comes together.
I just have to survive a little longer.