Yes, Momma, I got a new job today!
It's always fun to get a job offer. It's new and fresh and exciting--kind of like a new boyfriend or a new car. You're all atwitter with anticipation at the outset, and then ya sorta get used to it after awhile, and it's not such a big deal anymore. But hopefully, you're happy enough with the situation that you enjoy staying with it.
My mom, God bless her soul, always worries about me. Now, I know--all mothers worry and want the best for their children, no matter how old we get. But Mom's got a different animal of daughter in me. Because I'm constantly going between freelance and contract work, I never really know from one month to the next how much I'm going to make, let alone save back for a rainy day. That makes her nervous, and I don't really blame her. There have been plenty of times when I've been literally down to the last five dollars in my bank account, when fortunately I got a phone call offering me a gig. Somehow I always land on my feet--knock wood--and claw my way back to solvency, at least for a little while.
Thing is, I'm just really lousy at keeping "normal" jobs. The ones where you sit behind a desk and stay there all day. Now, I don't mind doing that now and again--I'm a writer, for Pete's sake, so yeah, there are days when I sit down and crunch the keyboard for hours on end. But that's different. If I had to sit and answer phones or enter data into a computer 9 to 5, forty hours a week, without ever going anywhere, I'd die. Or I'd kill somebody. I simply suck at that sort of thing. That's why I'm in marketing and public relations; you never do the same thing every day, and you're always meeting new people. The hours are irregular and weird, but I like that. You have room to be creative and innovative--you have to be, in order to keep up. You have to be energetic and out in front of people on a consistent basis, and you have to manage your time extremely well.
I don't know if it's New England or it's me...maybe it's a little of both, but the problem with me is that it's very hard to find an employer who understands how the job really works, and how I need to do it in order to produce effective results. Some people have the idea that I'm out there just having one big ball of fun, and I get paid to do it. Well, that's not exactly how it works. Yes, I have fun at what I do--I'd be an utter dingbat to work in this field if I didn't enjoy it. But it's not an easy job, and it's not a free ride to weekly lunches and business functions. It's work. Some days, I don't feel particularly charming or energetic or personable, but tough noogies. That's what I get paid for, so whether or not I'm having a bad day, I have to pull out the smile and act like I'm the happiest girl on the planet. Doesn't matter how tired I am, or that my feet hurt, or that I have a cold and really want to be in bed with a hot toddy. I am there to represent my client and/or employer, and lots of times my day doesn't end at five o'clock. That's part of the deal.
I've had employers who genuinely didn't understand the necessity of going out of the office to do what I do--and I think that they have it in their heads that I'm on the beach somewhere working on my tan. It boggles my mind that there are still people out there who honestly hold to the belief that if you're not in the office, you're not working. Hello?
We are now a global society that requires us to be mobile. That's why we have those stupid Blackberries and cell phones and PDA's and laptops--so we can work outside of our cages. If you can go to the golf course and call that a "business meeting", then why isn't my committee membership given equal credence??
Anyway, I suck at the cage. I don't like it, I don't want to do it, and therefore it's hard for me to find a "normal" job with the kind of employer who really gets it. That's why I went into doing contract and freelance. I didn't always make as much money, but at least I could do the job the way I wanted.
Which brings me back to my mother.
She's relieved because I accepted an offer today from a "normal" employer. I've been interviewing with them for a bit, figuring out if I'll fit in with them. It looks good, and I'm happy about it. They're a nice bunch of people who seem to agree with my marketing philosophy, which makes me feel optimistic. I figure I'll ease into the job over the next few weeks, tone down a little on my personality so as not to frighten anyone, and then dig in after we've all gotten used to each other. I may even last longer than six months. And if they're just as nutty and off-center as I am, this could go on for years.