I was asked last week if I was interested in a job. This would be a job as the director of the same department I’ve worked in part-time through most of my graduate degree studies, which makes it a “real” professional position in my field, i.e. a job with a salary and health insurance and sick days and a business card (do not underestimate the political importance in academia of a position that comes with a business card! Without it you are just another post-grad slave worker).
Right now I have none of those things at the two jobs I work at on campus. Despite years of professional experience in the corporate sector and a master’s degree, I’m working two jobs that together gross less than $18k a year, without benefits. This puts me over the poverty line, but not by much. :/ So, a job making upwards $40k would be a life-saver, even without the other benefits.
And yet, as flattered as I am, I’m gun shy about it.
Oh, I’ll apply for the position, because I’m not stupid. Despite the department director’s desire to hire me on the spot, which is flattering beyond words, the bureaucracy demands that they advertise the job. This reduces my chances of getting hired for it dramatically, for a variety of reasons, but I’ll still put in for it.
Yet…well, my personal, private goal is more focused on Cooper West, writer, than on a professional career. Taking on a job like the one on offer would be a heller of responsibility and energy commitment. I have trouble writing every day as it is, and I can’t imagine how hard it is going to be if I take a job like that. Not to mention, I’ll be making enough money to be comfortable in my lifestyle. I could afford to pay all my bills, instead of juggling them like a circus clown. *sigh*
Sadly, I know myself well enough to know that being hungry helps keep me focused. But that’s a nasty cycle to cling to, because it insures that I find a way to stay hungry. It’s an anti-progress motivator, ironically.
In a way, that makes writing the perfect career for me, because it is a job that is always about the next project, the next thing on the list. It requires constant vigilance to stay current with readers, which is a challenge I enjoy. There is no “getting in the 9-5 groove” in the sense of just showing up to get paid.
I’ll take the job if it officially offered, but I’m wary. My priorities are here, in my writing life, and I don’t want to lose sight of that.