Risking the Unusual Rather than Settling for the Ordinary

Donna B. McNicolYoga pants every day, fresh coffee that didn’t taste like drain cleaner, no threat of yet another infestation of bed bugs being exterminated, and a desk that wasn’t littered with the detritus of an aging HVAC system situated right above my head. When I received an offer for a new day job earlier this month, these were just a few of the little fantasy thoughts that went screaming through my head immediately. You see, the offer was for a work-from-home writing job with occasional travel to the west coast from my native Michigan. Nice work if you can get it, right? I figured this was about as close as I was going to get to being a work-from-home novelist for quite some time yet, so I seized the opportunity.

The reality of it is, I’m just as busy with writing as I was in the previous day job. It’s not the fantasy life I’d secretly dreamed of that included waking up late and taking leisurely lunches, all the while still wearing my yoga pants and MrMr’s comfy day-old t-shirt.  (No wait. That last part about the t-shirt is still true. But I digress….)

The simple fact is, the rest of the things responsible adults do on a day-to-day basis are all still there. I still get dressed in the morning with the exception of my shoes. I still wake up and meditate every morning, I still prepare my meals in batches a week in advance (someone remind me write a post on this some day), and I still have all those mundane chores of paying bills, doing laundry, and cleaning up cat litter, hairballs, and fur every single day.

Have I made the right decision? Did I leave a perfectly acceptable day job on a whim because it  felt right? Yes, yes I did.

February 23 - RiskWhether it’s a dayjob writing technical information or a day job writing a novel, I’ve recently been reminded that in order to be wildly successful, you have to take risks. Do something crazy. Do something unexpected. Do something, as Jom Rohn says, and make it unusual.

When I first started working, I took an unusual risk to my marriage and our finances. We were still very newly wedded and finances were disappearing at an alarming rate. (I’ve written before about the time, calling it “The Ramen Noodle Era.”) We had gobs of education debt. The only way we could stay afloat was for both of us find jobs that paid more than minimum wage. In the end, the job that found me actually meant MrMr and I had to live apart, visiting only on the weekends, for several years.

It was a job with a startup company that could have failed at any moment, but didn’t. It was for untried and untested technology that could have failed under most circumstances, but didn’t. And given the crazy amount of hours, especially while living apart from my husband, it could have had an utterly disastrous effect on my relationship with Prince Charming. But it didn’t.

In fact that job paved the way for just about every other job I took on afterwards. And this new job I have? It’s back to the beginning for me. It’s all about risks. This new job is for a startup company based on San Francisco, an area with the highest rate of startup company failures in the world (and the highest rate of successes!). I get to work from home most days but I still have to travel away from MrMr on a regular basis. And when it comes right down to it, I could, in theory, find out tomorrow that this company’s idea had imploded into a giant mess of Internet goo. But you know what? I’m ok with that.

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. ~ Jom Rohn

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken recently with your writing career?


9 thoughts on “Risking the Unusual Rather than Settling for the Ordinary

  1. Pingback: Risking the Unusual Rather than Settling for the Ordinary | Jennelle Holland

  2. I was working on my masters when my husband and I married. At the time, he was stationed in Central America. I flew down for the wedding and left 5 days later. We didn’t live together, even part-time, for nine months. Since then, we’ve frequently lived in different places. I have quite jobs to follow another path. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been rewarding. Tweeted.

    • Agreed on all counts, Ella. It sounds almost like we’ve lived a mirror image of each other’s lives in some regard. And yes, always rewarding. Not always what I expected, but always rewarding. Thanks once again for stopping by.

  3. I applaud your decision. Living boldly (even if there is less of a dress code) means making bold decisions. This was an inspiring post to someone leaving lots of work-at-home time to take on more demanding work back at the office. Uggg,

    • Thanks so much, Michael. Sometimes you’re struck with a choice that’s so risky that you think, “My god, I don’t know if I can do this.” But when I hovered over that emotion, everything in my psyche screamed “If you don’t do this, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.” I’m going with my gut. The t-shirts are just a bonus. Much luck with your work too, my friend.

  4. Wonderful and inspiring post Jennelle!! Best of luck with your new job! You were definitely brave to take this leap of faith. I have friends/acquaintances who have/have had similar arrangements where they had to live apart for work and only see each other on weekends.

    And honestly, how can you say no to any job that lets you stay in your PJs all day??!! 😉

    The biggest risks I’ve taken lately? I’ve entered a RWA chapter contest, and pitched my WIP to an agent. Nerve wracking for sure. But I’m glad I did it.

  5. Pingback: Reaching for Fat Purple Figs & Tightrope Walking | Fat Purple Figs

  6. Pingback: Staying On Task With Tech | Teatime Romance

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