For the first two months after my graduation in May, my time was primarily occupied with job-hunting. I put in applications everywhere from McDonald’s to the local United Way office, and got turned down for everything, with only one interview the entire time. More than once, family members were subjected to my “I have damn four-year degree but I can’t flip burgers for a living” rants. Towards the end of July, they turned into crying fests where I lamented my resume-writing skills, the lack of businesses in my rural town, and even my own self-worth.
It wasn’t fun, but I don’t think the state of the economy is news to anyone (if it is, FYI, it sucks).
Finally, I turned to freelance gigs as a way to make money. I had lived off my wonderfully generous and understanding family and the few hundred I made selling old textbooks and dorm room items, but I needed a change. Lots of late night searching got me to a few places, and perseverance after rejection got me clients. Now, I am able to work part-time and build an income, and have time to spend with family and homeschool one of my brothers. I love it.
Yesterday, I got a call — the manager at a portrait studio where I had applied to be an assistant got my application and wanted me for an interview. She apologized for the late reply, but had been out for gall bladder surgery. She and my fiance, Devin, knew each other and she was willing to give me a job just based on my resume and what Devin had told her about me.
A month ago, I would have been elated. An indoor job, paying more than minimum wage and with basic benefits, that I could commute to without needing to buy a car — hells yeah. Yesterday, I was waffling and depressed.
My natural instinct was to take it and feel guilty for not wanting it. I didn’t want to because I liked what I was doing, freelancing, and wanted an excuse to keep doing it. I told this to Devin, and he reminded me that if I didn’t want to be where I was, good job or not, I wasn’t going to last.
So, I kindly turned the offer down. I realized that I have the chance few writers ever get — to make a living off what they love doing — and I couldn’t give that up for anything. Even a “real job.”
To some, it may not seem like the right time to take risks and burn bridges, but I say there’s no time like the present. Each decade will have it’s share of risks, so I can’t wait until the “right time.” It’s now or never.
I’m pretty confident I made the right choice.