I’ve been wondering how to write about this for a long time—in other words, since I got my notice. I thought it might be great because I’d finally have something to say on here that’s worthwhile. But I’m still not sure that’s the case.
I also didn’t want to broadcast it on the internet because it’s such a loud thing to say, something that seems to live between the areas of “my dog died” and “I have cancer.” But I also feel like I should talk about it. I think we have this idea that it’s shameful to admit when bad things happen, especially if we don’t have something wonderful to counteract it with. Like, oh damn, she got laid off, but hey, look! She got a better job at a better company two months later, and now her life is twice as grand!
No. That’s not how this one works.
I will say this: I kind of saw it coming. Mom saw it faster than I did. When your company doesn’t bring in new people—interns, especially, were the big thing, the real start of it all—then you know.
It was at that time that Mom started asking if I’d be losing my job. The first time she asked terrified me, but I scoffed. Not having interns was odd, but not the end of the world, I thought.
Then people left, and no one got hired to replace them. Then the real kicker came: one of our big contracts got cancelled. At that point, I knew we were sitting at the very last red light before we hit the real danger zone.
I didn’t get out fast enough, despite my best efforts. Now, I’m back to square one, except this time, I have the experience people demanded I have before hiring me…and yet not a single offer of employment.
All I can say is, thank god I cleared out my student loans before any of this happened. Now I just have car payments to make. It’s the beauty of having a family that won’t kick you out of the house, and supports you when, frankly, a big part of your life goes to shit.
The irony of it all is that my former company was founded in London. When Brexit happened on my last day with them, I had to laugh. I wonder what they’ll look like in two years’ time.
But the reality’s also hitting me harder than it ever has before. I knew things were bad when I was being told by well-meaning friends and family that I should work freelance jobs, since I’m a writer. Things haven’t gotten much better. Last year, at least two of the companies looking for writers wanted them to also be traveling salesmen. One heaped on a pile of legit scary-looking parts to the job, and then told me they’d be going with a freelancer. Another had no idea that “customer service” doesn’t equal “social media guru” in any way, shape, or form.
Administrative assistant jobs are worse. I wasn’t making much before, but I’d be making chump change as a glorified secretary.
People just don’t want to hire someone if they can get someone else to do the same job for less, and without benefits. And I don’t think I’ll ever go into another job thinking I’m safe. Job security? Maybe twenty years ago. Many of the people I know don’t work steady jobs. They either have to work something very low-paying, or they’re working at a couple places to make ends meet.
By the way, these people I’m talking about? They’re all millennials, like me.
So this is why I often wish I wasn’t an English major (though from what Boyfriend and a few others I know go through, it’s not so great being in tech, either). I’m not sure being another major would’ve saved me, though.
It’s also why things are so quiet around here right now: there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to keep a consistent schedule for the blog the way I used to. I’m not a blogger, that’s not what this place is about. This is just a smaller piece of what I do. The real thing is writing books, and when I’m not looking for jobs, that’s where my focus is going.
Because of that focus, book 2 of the Almost Human Series should be available earlier than October (and earlier than that for anyone signed up to read it before anyone else). It’s also why I managed to write an anthology of flash fiction (available now), with another on the way. It’s one thing I can do. It’s one thing I’ve been doing for a while—finishing books.
I don’t have control over anything else right now. I don’t know how to do much of anything else right now. It’s like Kameron Hurley said: I’d reached the point in my life where I didn’t know how to do anything else but finish the fucking book. (Shoutout to The Geek Feminist Revolution, the song of my people.)
I’m persistent, and I’m disciplined. So I’m publishing. I’ve done it before, I can do it again, and I’m going to keep on doing it right now. Especially now. It’s not going to save the house. It’s not going to get me a job that’ll pay me what I’m worth. It’s not even going to turn this economy around enough so that no one has to experience this shit again.
I wish it would. Until it does, I’ll be on the job boards, looking for sustainable income, and at the keyboard, writing. At least work I love is one thing I know will always be there, especially because a day job won’t.