I Got Fired Again. Phew!
For years, since way back when I was a full-time middle school teacher, I’ve worked writing and fact-checking trivia questions for a company that runs “pub quizzes.” For most of that time, I was the editor; I worked directly with writers on the question mix and structure and was a liaison between them and the main office. I was proud of my ability to maintain friendly relationships conducted exclusively over email.
Nearly every question went across my desk, from my years as a full-time teacher to my first years of motherhood. I took off a couple of weeks when Big Brother was born and a whopping six days for Little Brother. (He slept a lot and I couldn’t get off the couch. I got bored.)
When I got a job, I started getting behind. My favorite writer filled in as the backup editor. Well, now he’s the editor and I’m the favorite writer and the backup editor.
It stung. Of course it did. No one likes to be taken down a notch. (I was given the news nicely enough, with respect for my years of service, and asked kindly to stay on as a writer.) If I had been able to put more effort into the editing, especially over the summer, maybe things would have been different. And it’s worth noting that the writing doesn’t pay as well as editing on an hourly basis. But within perhaps a few days, I felt immense relief.
For one thing, I like writing. It’s more creative than editing. And for another thing, as much as I enjoyed the work, I am so happy not to have the responsibility any more.
Now, if I’m tied up with other things, I just don’t work. Unless I accept a special assignment (like a Christmas set), there’s no looming deadline. I don’t feel like I have to stuff my mornings (when the kids are at school) with as much editing as possible; the house is a little cleaner and we eat a little better.
And I’m free from the constant sense of failure I felt from my inability to keep up, every time a week ended (and it was most weeks) and I had finished only three shows when I knew we needed four.
I loved that job. I miss it. But no one has time to do everything that they might love. Trying to squeeze in that one thing too many was taking away from my enjoyment of other things.
How have you pared down your responsibilities?