Where’d My Safety Net Go?

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  But isn’t every day.  What a silly phrase.

But today is different for me.  Today is my first day without a day job.  I left mine yesterday. 

Julie made the decision a few weeks ago that I needed to leave my day job (even though I only work a 3 day week anyway).  She said, “You’re not getting any younger.  Your best years are behind you.”  I believe in a previous life Julie gave pep talks on the Titanic.

I railed against the idea.  My day job doesn’t identify me as a person, though I’m mad keen on the benefits and pension schemes that come with it, but I got to thinking about what was important to me and my day job didn’t really feature.  I really want to write.  At the moment, I’m lucky enough to have more than a full plate in that department and I still have room for a little more.  Unfortunately, that pesky 9 to 5 thing keeps getting in the way. Something had to give, so I handed in my notice.  Obviously I prepared myself for my boss’ denial and the offers to double my salary if I would reconsider.  To my boss’ credit, she held herself in check and said, “So when would your last day be?”  That woman is a trooper.  Brave to the bitter end.

I have to admit it took a little getting used to the idea of leaving my day job security blanket behind.  I’m a very pragmatic person.  I need my food and shelter requirements squared away before I can go crazy, but as Julie says, I’m not getting any younger and I could run out of time before I get to do all the things I want to do. So, I’m going for it.  I’m quite fortunate to be in a position to do this.  We live comfortably off Julie’s salary and mine goes towards vacations, investments, the house, etc.  For the first time in my writing career, I’ll earn something close to what I earned at my day job.  In addition, I have secondary income from some very nice investments and added to that I have a second job.  It’s very non-traditional, super secret job and is the reason Robin Burcell stood in for me last week.  So financially, I won’t be struggling for food.

So as of this morning, my job title is writer.  It’s a little scary.  It jars with my pragmatic sensibilities.  Writer.  It’s such an intangible profession and in the same leagues as cloud wrangler and attorney general.  But my pragmatic sensibilities drive me to make this work.  Not because I want a new car every other year, but because I like being a writer.  I like being a professional liar.  I want to make people believe in something I made up.  I think I can do it and I hope I can pull it off.  I’m going to give it my best shot.

Naturally, I’ll have to make adjustments.  Some of my priorities will change.  If this is my job then I have to treat it as a job.  I’ll have to get my act together in some respects and work damn hard to nail down some projects I want to do.  Julie has expectations as the sponsor of this adventure.  Someone is going to have to look pretty for her and better have the dinner on the table when she gets home.  And that someone isn’t going to be the dog or one of the cats.  On the plus side, I will have certain freedoms.  How many of us out there can go to work in their underpants and not have the boss complain? 

So, I’ve dispensed with the safety net.  I’m not sure how it’ll go.  I don’t have catlike abilities where I always land on my feet, but I tend to fall on my arse and not my face, so I’m hopeful.  Now please turn away, I have to scratch.

Yours flying high and not looking down,
Simon Wood

Next month will be a special month as I’m going to make it things that I survived.  I have a small talent for calamity, so I’ll be sharing some of mine.

22 thoughts on “Where’d My Safety Net Go?

  1. Christa Miller

    Much luck to you! I left my full-time job 6 1/2 years ago to freelance. I have never looked back. Even when the money got tight. I am enjoying myself waaaayyy too much, probably. But it was worth being happy with life. Hoping the same for you!

  2. Naomi

    You make me laugh, Simon. Bless Julie’s heart–in more ways than one. And you bother to wear underwear? Overdressing for the workplace, I think.

  3. JT Ellison

    Congrats, Simon! Being kept and providing from your writing isn’t too bad a gig, I’ve been enjoying it for some time now. Answering to yourself, your editors and publishers, is a helluva lot more fun, I’ll tell you!

  4. Louise Ure

    I want to be a cloud wrangler!

    Cheers to you, Simon. Your kind of success comes only one of two ways: a lot of great writing, or a supportive spouse with a lucrative job. Sounds like you’re successful on both fronts.

  5. simon

    Ray: I could only pretend to work for only so long. 🙂

    Christa & Mark: I hope to follow in your footsteps…what’s your shoe size?

    And thanks to everyone and stop saying nice things about Julie. She’ll get all bossy…

  6. PJ Parrish

    Another one flies over the cuckoo’s nest.Best of luck to you, Simon. I remember my own free fall from the workplace. Afterwards, you only wonder why the hell you didn’t do it sooner. Write well and long.

  7. Keith Raffel

    Last February when I told my wife that I was going to leave my day job and write full time, she started her own job search. A few weeks later she had a job. A vote of confidence in my writing career? Or just an unwillingness to be around the house with me during the week?

    Good luck, Simon! (Julie may think you are not getting any younger, but does she think you’re getting any older?)

  8. a Paperback Writer

    Wow. I am impressed and jealous. It’s not that I don’t love my day job — I do — I’m just really ready to be a writer. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m ready to get rid of the safety net just yet, and I don’t have the luxory of someone else to pay the bills if my stuff doesn’t sell.

  9. spyscribbler

    “It’s very non-traditional, super secret job”

    And, of course, I’m absolutely dying to know what it is. My imagination is probably more interesting than the reality. Maybe.

    Anyways, good luck! I’m so sick of the phrase “don’t quit your day job.” It’s such a ridiculous thing to say.


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