I worked for just under 20 years in the tech sector. I graduated college with dual bachelors in Computer Science and Information Technology with a minor in Business Management. The thing of it is, I never wanted to work in data security or enterprise network administration. Sure, back tracking hackers and putting out corporate propagating viruses was fun. Telling CEO’s what they could and couldn’t do with the machines I built them was awesome. Trust me when I say that in that field, what you lack in passion is easily assuaged by the salary.
I never wanted it though. I fell in to it completely by accident. AOL looked interesting, so I started taking MCSE courses. I had a natural aptitude for it, a God given gift if you will, and it cared for my family. I was never happy.
There was something that did make me happy, however. Writing. Since I was a kid I’ve loved the written word. Not just writing, but reading as well. My parents filled my life with books and I devoured them. My vocabulary in elementary school was daunting to say the least. Through school, I began winning creative writing and essay contests with little or no effort. Even through college, the majority of my papers were written in true ONE AND DONE fashion, most of them easily netting A’s.
So God truly gave me this gift first. In this one, I’ve never felt so fulfilled, so hungry, so absolutely capable of ripping the passion from my soul and expressing concepts the helped others to truly see a world in my eyes, or implant a desire to see more in theirs.
I was always told writing wasn’t a career though, unless you’re a trust fund baby. You don’t support a family by writing. Writing is what you do Saturday evening when the kids are in bed and you have some time to kill. Writing was my ephemeral “one day”.
A terminal genetic kidney condition forced me in to early retirement. I was fully unable to sustain the 40-60 hour work weeks required of me, much less remaining on call 24 hours a day for literal years at a time. It was crushing to the healthy part of my ego. I’m a provider. I’m a man with a work ethic that is rooted in my marrow. If I was tasked to clean horse shit for the rest of my life, I would become the horse shit cleaner of the decade. Work is something that you respect. It is a gift. It is something worthy of your very finest efforts. None of these ideals are bad, unless they become life consuming. It never did for me, yet the hole left by being unfit to work the way I had for all my adult life hit me really hard. I thank my wife daily for carrying me through that darkness.
So fate has led me to that rainbow on the horizon, that star so brilliant and so elusive that you don’t mind the strain it causes on your optics just to catch the smallest glimpse. I’m at my “one day” and joy has found me again.
Through applying for jobs that I clearly was not qualified for (shoot for the stars and catch the moon?), I was referred to iWriter. This will not be an expose on them, but I would advise anyone that is patiently trying to turn their craft in to a second job or networking to make it the center of their life, to check them out. There are literally hundreds of job requests for a myriad of different companies and every one is a paying gig.
You have to work your way up if you want to use it as a revenue stream. Take your lumps, earn your stripes, spend that humbling time in the trenches. Everything I publish, I will continue to post under my Professional/Published category. So far, I think I’ve published a kids English assignment and a brochure for a sporting goods store. It doesn’t matter. My work was chosen by them, and damn it feels good.
So from humble beginnings, a new chapter begins. I will write for others. I will take as many of the jobs that they just aren’t interested in doing and will do them with my prized horse shit shoveling mentality. It’s a fair trade off and the goals has never been more clear in my sights-for now, I’m writing for you so that one day I can write for me. Absolute win/win because I would have done it for free anyways.
Let’s just not share that with them. For now. =)