The dreaded day job is a term I’ve been throwing around often and since departing from what I once viewed as a career, I began working such a job not so long ago, around the second week of November. It didn’t take me long to realize what kind of mistake I had made and am now looking to turn the tide, but doing so isn’t easy.
What can be ironic for writers and I can attest this irony to myself is the fact many of our DDJ’s give us the following:
1: Steady hours. Usually 40 hours plus potential overtime at time and a half pay.
2: Full benefits: Medical, dental, vision, etc.
3: 401(k) retirement plan.
4: Profit sharing.
The place I’m at now offers all the above and at very cost-effective prices.
You look at this and wonder why I’d even consider going back to a job that offered none of the above.
If you’re a writer like I am, I’m sure you know why. There’s something the above job doesn’t offer me because it will never be able to offer me this one thing—or multiple things. Let’s stick to the one for now, which is:
Let’s move on to #2 which is:
And isn’t that why we’re all writers?
It’s why I am, and the job I mentioned I’d love to go back to is personal training, because in my opinion there isn’t a more rewarding job out there, except writing, which is neck and neck with personal training.
Many of us writers tend to be introverts, and whether your personality type is INFJ, INTJ, INFP, or INTP, those of us with these four personalities have one thing in common:
We must find fulfillment in our work. If we don’t we simply won’t do our jobs. We see zero point in doing our jobs. You can’t bribe us with money. You can’t hand us all the benefits and then some. You can’t even hand us four weeks’ worth of paid vacation plus biannual pay raises.
No way, no how.
If a job lacks fulfillment, we’ll turn on it. Each and every time.
It’s why we’re writers. We have messages, themes, and dynamic stories to spread to the masses. We wish to entertain, persuade, or inform our readers.
Because we’re making an impact on others.
It’s what personal training did for me. I changed so many lives and yet didn’t realize it until now, in 2019, where this is the first January since 2012 that I’m not training in a gym.
And it hurts. What I’m doing now offers zero impact. It’s punch in, work eight hours (to ten), punch out.
To many, this is a dream job. To many, they’re set.
To me, I screwed up bad.
And it’s something I want you to avoid.
Which is why I’m writing this article.
The Modern-Day American Worker
Most of us can relate to the following scenario:
Wake up, force feed breakfast (if we even eat breakfast at all), fight traffic to be at work on someone else’s time, work eight to ten hours, fight traffic again, get home and chill for a couple hours before going to bed to repeat the process four to five more times.
To the writer, we ask, “What kind of life is this?”
It’s not a life. It’s going through the motions. Droning on. Building stress to insurmountable levels which can lead to a wide array of health problems. It’s compromising pursuing passion and putting ourselves and our dreams first due to the number of hours plus the morning and evening commute.
Some might find such a life worth it, especially if the job paid well, but most of us writers and anyone with similar personas will turn and run.
It’s smart to turn and run.
But wait, it gets better.
You only need to work until you’re sixty-five. Then, you can retire with all those stress-related health problems you’ve accumulated. Or better yet, you’ve been so stressed throughout those work years you turned to nicotine, alcohol, or whatever your unhealthy fix is. I’ve had clients turn to massive cheat meals.
What are we fulfilling?
Goals. Pointless goals of a company that may or may not know its employees are even there, at a plant, in the offices, or in a mill.
There’s zero influence. There’s zero impact.
It’s work, go home, repeat, work, go home, repeat, work, go home, repeat.
But worst of all, we’ve chosen to do these pointless jobs and work toward pointless company goals at the expense of our writing, or any passion. We know we’re better than where we currently are today.
What Writers Need to Do
We’re all saying, “Wait, wait, we have so many goals in writing we’ve yet to accomplish!”
Writers don’t want to work the DDJ for years to come. We don’t want to be in that crowd that I call the true 99% who works their tail off for 30+ years to help someone else accomplish their dreams.
It’s like the old adage goes: You can either work toward your dream or you’re going to work really hard toward someone else’s.
Or what about this: You’re going to work forty-plus hours a week to make someone else a lot of money.
While I’m no socialist and by any means advocating what that crowd advocates, I am advocating something else, more from my Libertarian perspective, and that’s to pursue the hell out of your writing passion.
What I want you to do right now if you haven’t already done so in the past is to pull up a blank Word document and name it ‘Writing Goals for the Rest of 2019.’
You should already know the next two weeks’ worth of your DDJ’s schedule, so now you can schedule times to pursue writing.
Take my extreme example, for instance. Today, I woke up at 3:45am, was at work by 5am, and was riding in a freaking truck from 6am to 5:30pm. I got home at 6pm. I ate some food and by 6:30pm, I was on my laptop editing Missing in Columbia. I went to the gym at 8pm, did a shoulder workout until 9:15pm, went to the store, finally got around to eating dinner, and here I am at 10:35pm writing this article.
What did I do?
I preplanned my writing activities for the day. I had to get some editing in, especially if I want Missing in Columbia out somewhere between March and April 1st. I wanted to write this article tonight because it’s a subject that has been eating at me for a couple weeks.
So, in that Word doc, write out your work schedule. Give me every single time you will be working this week. 40 hours? 50?
Okay, now that you have your times in, go ahead and fill in the blank spots with writing times. Yes, you might have to write in the early morning or later evening. You might have a one-hour lunch break and can easily write on it.
Wouldn’t it be great to bring your writing to the DDJ and work on your real dream during a break?
I’ve done this before and it’s a blast.
Okay, so now you’ve filled in those writing times, which is great, but now you need to fill in those goals.
What do you want to happen in February?
I want to upload my latest novelette in the Neo Skyehawk Series called Fighting the High Seas.
Now it’s your turn. Write down the February goal.
Move on to March.
Now, keep going, all the way until December.
There you go, now you’re set with goals, meaning your writing will improve, meaning you can write that book you always said you wanted to write.
Now, you’re fulfilling a purpose. You’re entertaining, persuading, informing, or a combination of each.
And if there’s one thing the DDJ does well, it’s the fact it pays you to come in and work, meaning the DDJ will supply you with money you can use to invest in promoting your product, creating a blog, doing all you can to fulfill your purpose and stop being a drone to society.
For us writers, if we don’t experience fulfillment, we’ll experience defeat. But by fulfilling a passion, a purpose, something that will allow us to make long-lasting impacts on others, fulfillment rises.
It’s time for you to fulfill the void in your life. It’s time to ease the throttle on the DDJ and put pedal to the metal toward what you’re really passionate about. The sense of satisfaction is addicting.