Finally back from that professional conference! It was actually a good trip but it always feels good to come home, yeah?
One thing that was a hot topic is jobs. The conference was for a state-level organization of information science professionals (librarians, archivists, records managers), a field that has taken a lot of hits during this extended recession. Meanwhile, as people get laid off, those who want to get into the profession decide it is time to take out student loans and go get their MLIS (master’s of library and information science). Those who are lucky enough to have jobs are fighting hard to keep them, putting off retirement or other career-changing plans
The end result is that there is a glut of people looking for jobs, and so it’s a buyer’s market.
There is, of course, a lot of complaining about this, and shaking of fists at the heavens and creative cussing. I’m certainly in that group, looking for a full time position myself. As the saying goes, it’s hard all over.
But then, right before the conference, I got my quarterly royalty check. It was my largest check yet by a substantial margin, and really hit home to me that with a few more releases under my belt and some luck, I can pay my bills doing this writing gig. It was such a relief, I cannot even begin to describe it; “weight off my shoulders” and all that.
Because the difference between writing and job hunting is that my writing career is based on me, myself and I in regards to effort expended. Yes, I have to sell the stories and hope that someone buys them but experience points to the fact that both happen pretty regularly: I sell stories, they get published, people buy them.
The thing is, I love my academic career. I love being an information science professional, working in archives and special collections, dealing with manuscript collections and rare books. I love it. I want to do it without worrying about whether it pays the bills. It’s fun, and I want to do it because I enjoy it.
The irony is that the sound, responsible career option I was pursuing is turning into my personal hobby, while the pie-in-the-sky hope of being a popular author whose writing pays my bills is turning into reality.
I’m just not going to argue with that. 🙂