So I am new to Women Make Waves and to online writing in general. I feel like I’ve always had it in me to write and at twenty three my drive seems to be: now or never. That drive is great. It forced me to quit nine to five, accept who I am and feel like I actually have a purpose. That being said, there are so many barriers that tend to not only physically hold someone back from achieving their dream, but also make an individual feel guilty for following said dream.
Up until June this year I was an office worker in Santander. As monotonous as the workload and hours were, my colleagues were decent people and the wages would have been enough to keep that tail between my legs and stay there forever (these people do exist). That was what scared me entirely. I had graduated from University and within a year I was in a secure job, completely unrelated to my degree title and feeling at a loss. I remember one of my lecturers asking us to raise our hands if we came to University to get a good job at the end of it. I was the only person not to raise my hand. I always maintained that I went to learn but to most I would have appeared successful having landed myself a bank job. So after six months I quit my job and decided to go for it.
In the weeks after that I was all go. I bought web space and began posting recipes and short stories. I returned to the novel I started and raced through the first two chapters. I felt more motivated and elated than I had felt that entire year. Then my money ran out and I had to sign on at the jobcentre- who makes you apply for every conceivable job you are physically capable of. Suddenly I was going through the exact same rigmarole that I had been through before; applying for jobs I did not want; meeting a quota for applying for said unwanted jobs; bluffing my way through interviews and hiding from my phone in case it was a potential employer I had no interest in speaking to. I hate wasting other people’s time and lying so this really got me down. It is also not fair for me to be taking an interview space away from someone who maybe did want these jobs. I eventually got to the point where I was going for interviews in offices and telling them I wanted to be a writer just so I could get the jobcentre off my back.
I would never have signed back on if I did not need the cash. As I live alone things can get really tough financially so it is comforting to have that support. That being said because I don’t want to apply for jobs that are not to do with writing I feel and believe to be perceived as a scrounger. Why is this? In what universe do people believe that an individual is going to do their best work in a job they are literally being made to work at? Don’t get me wrong I have friends and family who have worked in general jobs since they have left school and been committed to them, they seem content enough. This is where the guilt kicks in on my part. Am I really a lazy person who should be seeking full time work in any field? Am I indulgent to think that working as a writer is the only thing I should be doing? All I know is that when I tried to do both I was left with no inspiration to write and when signing on I felt like a waster for not applying for their agreed job quota. I was also under threat of sanctioning if I did not reach this quota.
I see other people in my life who have worked and are reaping the financial benefits and security that goes along with it. I can’t help feeling like a failure or like I’m falling behind. The guilt sometimes takes over me. It’s probably the reason why I worked nine to five for all those months. But when I was working I found it really hard to integrate myself, like I knew if I did I would stay and I really didn’t want to. I’ve reached the cross roads and it’s very bumpy. The decision to write is one that is taking a lot away from me. I can only hope that it is the right one.