Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rocking the second job

When I worked for the state in a social service agency, employees were offered overtime to perform audits on a local mental hospital. I wanted to put in the hours as overtime was rare. My husband (at the time) veto’d the idea.  Later, a friend took on a part time job with HP working Sat/Sun ten hour shifts after her forty hours at her normal job.  My husband declared she’d be divorced in a year.

Well that couple didn't divorce, we did. And when I was preparing to be a one income single mom, I took on a second job waitressing.  Saturday and Sunday found me delivering eggs, pancakes, and muffins to customers.  I loved the people. My feet hated me. (The Burger Bar - Bristol, Virginia- Totally, not where I waitressed.)

I've had a lot of ‘second jobs’ since that stint waitressing.  I cobbled together several jobs including grant writer, administrative assistant, and organizational consultant along with my day job of trying to run a long term care consulting business.  Apparently the idea was too cutting edge and I went back into a real job with benefits. 

One of the hold outs from that time was my mystery shopping.  I loved visiting shops, restaurants, and rental complexes pretending to be a potential customer.  I learned a lot about customer service by seeing it from the business’s point of view.

Then I started writing.  And that became my second job. A very low paying job at the time, especially when you figure in the hours authors put into their creations.  But I’m on my own schedule, mostly.  Yes, I have deadlines for my publishers, but after years of managing a desk career, keeping balls in the air is second nature.  I love seeing my books complete and up for sale.

Once it’s done though, I have to let go of the process and deal with the product.  And start the next book.  Right now I have three series I need to complete, one has a firm deadline with a traditional publisher. It gets priority.  One’s almost complete.  And the other, is just a vision of what it could be.  In addition, I have two finished stories that I’m considering self-publishing,  a partial teaser out to another publisher that I will finish (someday) and a pile of ideas, waiting for me to have the time to play.

I could work every free minute of the day.  And last year, I did. Which created burnout and stress between the new husband and myself.  So this year, I’m taking it one day at a time. Giving the work the time and attention it deserves, but then also leaving time and energy for recharging and relationships. (Like last month's trip to a NASCAR race in Bristol Tennessee.)

But it is a job.  And like all jobs, you have to go home sometime, just to get your bearings. 

So what second jobs have you held? 



Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've done a lot: telephone operator both long distance and information, job of choice when I needed money; teacher in a pre-school for kids with developmental disabilities, teacher in pre-school and day cares in ghetto areas, but my best one was a full-time job that was compatible with writing. Hubby and I owned and operated a licensed facility (home)for developmentally disabled adults. Loved my gals. They went to work most days from 6:30 a.m. to 3 leaving me a good deal of time to write. Of course I had a lot of paperwork for the job, laundry, cooking etc., but I wrote inbetween until the gals came home, then I concentrated on them.

Morgan Mandel said...

One job was more than enough for me!

Lynn Cahoon said...

Marilyn, I worked in social service for several years. Bless you for opening your home to your girls! It takes a special person to do that.

Morgan - I really like to keep busy. Although, I'd love just having one job now - The writing. LOL