To what do I owe this particular silence? Well, there’s a long answer and a short answer. The short answer is: work. The long one is a bit more complex.
Over the past two years I’ve been working at GEO magazine. This is my first “proper” job, as in where I need to go into an office on a regular basis, unless you count the two months I spent at Sterling or the two weeks at Hindustan Times (for the record, I don’t count either). GEO is a fairly decent place to work in —I have a nice boss who cares more about the work we do rather than whether we’re doing it yawning over our office desks or sprawled in bed at home; I don’t have to go in every day; the production cycle lets me take a week or so off every now and then; and overall I have enough time to myself to continue with some freelance work. And, of course, there’s money coming in every month without having to chase it.
However, things have changed a bit this year. For starters, the colleague I’d been working with quit and our comfortable well-oiled machine developed a few creaks. Second, having a “real” job was supposed to be a two-year experiment (in fact, I hadn’t been expecting to last two years, but that’s another story!) and now that that’s over, I’m feeling the pressure to do something about it.
If there’s been one thing I’ve really prized in my professional life, it’s been the freedom. The freedom to work whenever, from wherever, and the fact that nobody dictated when I came and went. And then there was the smug factor, I have to admit, of having this freedom when others were slaving away. True, I never earned even close to half as much, but it was always enough.
Of course, some of that freedom has had to be sacrificed over the past couple of years, but it’s not like the GEO job puts me in the corporate slave category—heck, I just go in two or three days a week. That said, the thought of losing the regular ka-ching in my bank account makes me uncomfortable. As a freelancer, meeting deadlines reliably was always my strong suit, but I find I’m stretching more and more of them lately. I don’t have as much time to myself as I’d like. And as for creative writing, it’s been a year…
I can’t blame my job, obviously. But clearly, some changes to my work life are required. Perhaps it’s time to cut some strings…