Working 9 to 5

Late breaking wicked awesome news: Liz Mugavero (today’s poster) is an popping-the-cork-to-celebrate-success1Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel, for Kneading to Die! And Barb Ross is a nominee for both Best Short Story for “Bread Baby” AND for Best Contemporary Novel for Clammed Up. Now that’s the way to rock an award announcement, Wickeds!  

Now back to our regular scheduled programming…

By Liz, still amazed and thrilled and in utter disbelief about the Agatha nom:

In addition to my fiction writing, I work a day job. One that’s pretty demanding at times. This isn’t a pity statement – it’s simply a fact. Working a day job has been a fact for most of my writing years, except the difference now is my very real contract and very real deadlines. Now, it’s not just about writing when I have time or when I’m not too exhausted from everything else. It’s about making it all work and keeping my sanity.

Today, my day job is not just an 8-hour attempt to make money. It’s a career. I work in marketing strategy, interacting with people on all levels of the corporate ladder every day. I have to be “on” pretty much all the time.

There are plenty of days when I would like nothing better than to immerse myself in my fiction. Where my commute is nothing more than walking downstairs to my office, and I don’t have to worry about looking presentable. Days where “talking to my coworkers” means having conversations with the people living inside my head. A life where I have one or two deliverables per year, rather than 10 or more a month.

All that said, I have a dirty little secret – I like my job.

I know that sounds odd for a writer who is, well, committed to writing and wants to see a long and successful career in that field. (I mean, think of how much more could get written during those hours of commuting and working!) But here’s the thing. The corporate life and the lessons I’ve learned along the way – and am still learning – are central to my success not only in the writing and publishing business, but in life.

I know, sounds crazy, right? But check out a few examples of what I mean:

I’ve learned how to structure and manage my time more efficiently.
I often joke that I need a project manager to project manage my life. The truth is, I’ve learned a lot from working with project managers and folks whose brains are organized and structured. As a creative, my personal life and my book writing life is filled with creative types. If I didn’t get this exposure through my job, I wouldn’t get it – and that would be a loss. I’ve learned oodles about how to structure tasks and organize time better. Plus, multitasking is a necessary skill set in the corporate life, which can also be a time saver – as long as you’re not sacrificing quality.

I get to work with really cool people from different cultures, professional backgrounds, countries, you name it.
My boss is from Egypt, and spent time lobbying for women’s rights at the United Nations. The extended team that I work with has people hailing from so many different countries it would take me forever to name them. Not to mention, I spend time with a lot of numbers people, which is cool because, well, see above.

I get to bring my unique skill set to the table.
It took me a while, but I’m finally realizing the value I bring, as a former journalist and PR person, not to mention my writing skills. I think of things a whole lot differently than a lot of my counterparts. At first I thought of that as a bad thing, and kept quiet a lot. Now, I’m finally embracing my value and putting myself out there more, which is huge for me.

Difficult people are in every industry, every job, pretty much everywhere.
This one’s self-explanatory, right? Doesn’t matter if you work at McDonald’s or Google, I’m sure not everyone gets along all the time. And it’s okay. As long as it doesn’t consume you, there’s some great learnings with this one. I’ve been listening to a lot of Wayne Dyer lately and he calls the people we dislike “petty tyrants” and believes they are here to teach us something. Julia Cameron calls them “crazymakers” in The Artist’s Way. I’ve taken to looking at my crazymaking petty tyrants differently…which also means I’m evolving as a person, and I’m not letting them rent space in my brain. Well, most of the time. Hey, no one’s perfect.

Anyone else out there like their day job and want to admit it? I promise I won’t tell!

12 thoughts on “Working 9 to 5

  1. First, congratulations, Liz! As for day jobs, I did like mine for many years. I wrote technical documentation for software companies. I got paid well, worked with smart people, had flexible hours, wore casual clothing, and I was working with words all the time, even if it wasn’t that creative. It was the commute that finally wore me down, as I never found a company that allowed me to work from home regularly. Glad you like yours.

  2. Yes, congrats to you and Barb on the nominations.

    Lots of artists have day jobs that may or may not complement their art of choice. I don’t think a person needs to do or be only one thing in life, and sometimes you have to do a job that pays the mortgage. Your job sounds fascinating, so how wonderful that you love it AND you love being a writer. Even with the time and personality challenges, your contentment must shine through.

    And yes on the petty tyrant/crazymakers. My critique group calls them whackadoodles. We joke about inventing a spray repellant but it is still in the idea stage.

  3. I loved my day job and worked for some fabulous companies. It’s no accident that the protagonist in my Maine Clambake Mystery series is a former venture capitalist. I got to know many of them well in my years as a tech entrepreneur. I also learned how to multi-task and solve complex problems, how to make a plan and implement it. All things that are serving me well in my writing career.

    Thanks for all the congrats! Thrilled with the Agatha noms and thrilled to be traveling this road with Liz and my fellow Wickeds.

  4. Terrific news for you both on the nominations, congratulations. I’m not 9-5 (more 11 AM to 9 PM kind of dude) but my evening / night job as private investigator has certainly led to some good writing material. I interview witnesses all over the US, and sometimes that means coffee, a meal, a conversation with some intriguing people. They always leave me with a little gem of a story or a comment. Not a bad gig at all.

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