Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

Giving Up or Letting Go?

on August 27, 2013

Recently a few people have asked me how long I will pursue self-employment before I give up and get a real job.  Not that anyone put it quite like that, but that’s the gist; how much longer will I continue to struggle financially pursuing my desire to work for myself until I realize that the attempt has failed and I have no alternative but to re-join the ranks of the gainfully employed?

This is a loaded question.

The people who have asked me have done so out of concern for my welfare; they see what the lack of a steady paycheck has done to my quality of life and my hope for a comfortable retirement, and they are worried about me.  I’m grateful for their concern, and my response (without thinking much about it) has been “another year”.  I tell them I want to give the new business venture time to work.  I think to myself that I want to finish the second book I’m working on and see if anything comes of that.  Another year seems like a good answer, and it has satisfied the questioners.

Even before I was asked about it point-blank I’ve wrestled with the question of how long I should keep trying.  Everything you hear from people who have made the rags-to-riches journey tell you to never give up, keep following your dreams, and one day it will all pay off.  Of course the romance of that appeals to me, and I can see myself on talk shows telling about how I refused to give up, even when it got really tough and everyone was telling me I should throw in the towel.  But I held on!  Doesn’t that make me a role model for all the starving dreamers out there?  It’s a great fantasy that I’m sure most people have at some point or another.  But it doesn’t pay the mortgage today, which is actually a huge problem.

If I was on my own, it would be much easier for me to just ride this out.  The irony is this:  the fact that I’m married both allows me to pursue self-employment and sets limits on it.  My husband has been so supportive and patient and has never pressured me to give up and get a real job.  When I see so clearly what he’s giving up in return for his support it makes walking this path that much harder for me.  No vacations.  No occasional extravagant dinners.  No golf at nice courses.  No “getting new” but lots of “making do”.  It tears my heart out to see him working so hard just to meet our minimum requirements.  Not that I’m not working hard – I am – and I do occasionally make money.  I’m doing everything I know how to do, hoping it will all pay off one day. But so far it hasn’t, and the path in front of me is as flat and unchanging as far as my eye can see.

So the question remains, hanging over me every day – how long is long enough?  How long is too long?  Has that time already come and gone?

And then I remember a big reason why I got into this in the first place; when I was laid off in June of 2010, there weren’t any jobs in Atlanta in my field.  The jobs that were available were mostly in Washington D.C. or Chicago, which means we would have to move, which really wasn’t an option at the time as we would have never been able to sell our house, and NO ONE was paying relocation expenses.  I do keep an eye on it, and the situation hasn’t changed much.  I would still have to move today.  Not that I wouldn’t consider it – of course I would.  But the process of finding a new job will take months – it isn’t like there’s all that many out there anyway.   It’s a niche job.

I do draw the line at taking a job I know I will hate.  I would rather be on the street than do that.  I’m just too old and life is too short.

The bottom line is that I have no idea how long I should keep going.  I don’t even know if finding a job in my field is actually an option – it is much easier said than done.  I do know this – my heart tells me that this isn’t over yet.  And I’ve decided to follow my heart.  My head just hasn’t figured that out yet.

Ask me again next year.




6 responses to “Giving Up or Letting Go?

  1. Carolyn Cook says:

    You are on a good path!


  2. jaz27 says:

    Your words are so real and seem to be coming from your heart. I enjoy your blogs more then most.. You sound like you are wide awake so I believe your dreams will come true.


  3. Debbie says:

    Great blog!


  4. diana says:

    And just who gets to define “real job”?


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