Thursday, October 18, 2007

So is that like uh, a real job?

It is always when I'm about to go to an event with a lot of our friends that I begin to feel the 'I' word. Insecure. I didn't always feel that way. Nope. It only started when I quit my 9-5 job and decided to make a go of this whole writing thing that I felt these pangs of insecurity.

We go to an event and the topic of work comes up. No one asks me about my job anymore. I'm left out of the conversation unless I shoehorn my way in. When I would begin to talk about a particular project I could see the judgment. The "HA! Yeah right! You don't really work anymore, you just stay home." It has been said to me more than once. It has gotten to the point that now I don't even talk about work. Even if I'm really excited about something or something big is coming up I just find something else to talk about. Hell, I'm even traveling twice in one week for work and to me that is scary and exciting as hell but I won't be mentioning it this weekend. Why?

I don't really feel like a working Mom. This is especially the case when I talk about deadlines and people laugh in my face. When I mention how backed up I am and can't fit in another review and people look confused and then scoff. Yes, scoff at me because what I do must not actually be work. I just play with free stuff all day, write about it which probably only takes me five minutes. Never mind trying to write about other things as well. That's not work. I might as well just be surfing the MamaPop site all day.

I can't tell you how angry this makes me. Sometimes violently so. On some days I'm rearing for a fight because freelance work can be a lot like fighting. You are constantly looking for work and pushing for the chance to make a name for yourself and carve your little niche in the writing world. It is exhausting. Like any other working mom I juggle my time and work late. I sometimes need additional help with T.D. and I do get paid for a lot of the work I do. I make my own schedule and work from home so why in this telecommuting day and age is that seen as different and not real work? When I read Risa Green's article on Mommytrack'd this week it was just when those insecure feelings began rearing their ugly little heads. I could hear the scoffing, the snorts, and "yeah rights". Simply because I no longer work in a traditional office setting or because I no longer have benefits through my work I demean myself into thinking that I'm not a working mother despite that very much being the contrary. Maybe it's the lowering of my income that has done it as well but whatever it is I can't let myself spiral down into these thoughts and self-doubts anymore. I can't let the scoffers, naysayers and non-believers make a non-believer out of me.

I am a writer. This is my career. I chose this path which is more than just a j-o-b. I chose to listen to my heart and my gut and follow my dream to be a writer. Just because I'm not working in a newsroom or getting paid as much as I would like to be doesn't mean it is not work and I'm not working it. In order for others to take me seriously I need to start doing that with myself when I present myself to others. When people try to push me aside I can't let them. If it means I have to keep fighting in one way or another then I have to accept that and keep on fighting the good fight.

4 comments:

  1. This is a complicated post for me to comment to. I think it is because you eloquently express a lot of what I think, feel and experience.

    Because I produced a book, people Get It. To a degree. They don't really understand all that goes into the making of and the ongoing selling of that book, but it's concrete. They can hold it, and comprehend.

    Office jobs are concrete. People understand that.

    Okay here's the sketchy part for me.

    I'd be curious to talk to a professional athlete. Not a football player, but maybe a women's basketball or soccer player. Do they experience they same sort of disrespect and nonchalance about their "work" (quote marks not mine, I use them to demonstrate the air quotes I hear in voices when talking about my work)?

    As someone who did work in an office as a writer and editor, but who now endeavors to do that from home, I'm found the attitudes to shift from one form of " " to another. KWIM?

    Writing and reading...this is something *everyone* who is literate thinks they can do. Very few admit they can't do it well. And something common, such as blogging or brief articles? I know people think, "Oh I could do that."

    And there's so much that stems from that thought. Including a sort of " " disrespect/lack of comprehension.

    I'm not saying people are cruel, mean, intend bad. I'm just saying it's really thoughtlessness and misunderstanding.

    Julie
    Using My Words

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  2. Our culture has people thinking their job is their identity. I had a similar problem when I first moved to MD. I was a long distance grad. student, and had no job. I'd go to my husband's work functions, and I didn't have a job to discuss. I spared everyone from explaining my research, and I made it a game to try to find out everyones hobbies, dreams and ambitions.

    I find that now when I get together with my friends, so often we get caught up describing/bitching about the now (or the current past), that we don't share our hopes, dreams and passions.

    Keep living the dream sistah! :)

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  3. I have worked from home for a few years, and I can so relate with you! No respect!! Just as long as you are proud of what you do, and you feel good about contributing to your family- it doesn't matter what other people think. Just my two cents :)

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  4. Anonymous3:48 PM

    See, that's what I hate about society! I learned a long time ago not to care what other people think. I'm a working single parent, I've heard some pretty harsh things over the years, seen some pretty harsh looking faces and fingers pointed my way. No worries, they only make me stronger. Do what YOU need to do, not what others think you should be doing!

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