August 17, 2010

The Patch


For a while I’ve told the universe I’d be willing to write anything for a living.
I really don’t care what I write, so long as I can make a living off it. That’s been my attitude for a couple years now. Clearly, it’s the dream. And I am the dreaming fool.
In my mind, I was thinking I’d be willing to write fiction or non-fiction books. Turns out, the universe heard me say exactly what I said, which the universe has an annoying habit of doing. I said: I’d write anything.
So the universe dropped my old job back in my lap, the one I happily left six years, and that is community journalism.

I’ve been looking for a job since January. I’ve inquired about work at Cosco and coffee shops, and even hit up a very successful high school classmate for a job at my 20th reunion earlier this summer. No luck anywhere. The census wouldn’t even hire me, and I got a 26 out of 28 on their silly screening test. There’s not much out there for anybody in this economy, and there’s less out there for someone who has a giant gap in his resume from quitting his full time reporting job six years ago to write a few books on his own.
So while I was in Chicago for my high school reunion, I had lunch with a former reporter colleague and she told me that a former editor was working for something called Patch.com.
Patch is basically local community news websites.
Most importantly, Patch was hiring.
So I dropped that former editor an email and he recommended me to the regional editor here in Southern California and she offered me a job, which I took with some conditions.

One of the conditions was that I would do the job temporarily, for about a month. I was balking at taking the local editor position permanently because of the demands of the job. By working the position for a month, I would give my boss more time to find another qualified candidate, and I could also decide to take the job permanently if I wanted. 

It was a sweet deal. I was grateful, largely because I was broke. I ran out of money in January, and had to move back in with family. I’ve been living between my sister’s family’s house and my mother’s condo in Torrance, Calif. The job at Patch would provide a paycheck that would allow me to be financially independent again-- the sweetest of all dreams. The cost: No time for anything else.

21 comments:

SoccerMom said...

Tough decision.

But having money and the freedom might be the better choice.

I wish someone would pay me to write.

Brian Miller said...

glad to see the update...

arent you about done with this? or did you decide to stick on...?

Vicki Rocho said...

Gotta watch out for that universe. It loves to take everything you say literally! But hey, a job and an income are nice gifts to plop in your lap. Maybe you'll like it? Or maybe you'll meet someone who will lead you to your next job?

Piedmont Writer said...

I feel your pain. I have no words of encouragement, sorry.

And yes, the universe is full of snark - be careful of what you wish for.

But, you are a writer. Good, bad, or ugly, you're doing what you said you wanted to do, albeit not writing books, but you're writing. Sometimes we have to give up on our dream for a little while to make other dreams come true. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise...you'll be able to meet new and interesting people and have a steady income. More than I can say for me.

Keep on keeping on, Ed, I have faith.

Kay said...

I hear ya on that one, my man! Recently took a position... and I kid you not 70-75 hour work weeks...

I hate it.

No time to nurture other things we love...

BUT, a roof over the head, clothes on the back and food in the belly does come at a cost...

now, if only the 'dream' job would appear...

sigh. life as we know it.

TechnoBabe said...

We had the same problem when we lived in southern CA, the cost of living so high we had to work and couldn't do the other things we wanted to do. In particular my hubby couldn't write or work on his music. So now living in NE we both live on social security and can afford to live here. I hope things work out for you. I know the pull between needing to support yourself and wanting to create.

Wine and Words said...

Well....congratulations on the job. My condolences on the circumstances.

((Hug))

Claudia said...

so you decided to stick on..?
usually i work 41 hours/week in my job and some months things go crazy and it can be 70 - but i couldn't do this for a longer time period - so i always try to find the right balance..which is not easy...

existingwithintention said...

Any job is a good job now.

This economy has beat the crap out of me but I still have a job. However, it also put things in motion that needed to happen. Things that I was dreadfully afraid of.

Hang in there dude.

-Cab

Teacher Mommy said...

Oh that tricky universe. You think you're asking for one thing and it gives you what, perhaps, you actually needed all along.

Lucy said...

The no time for anything else happens, in life. It just happens, especially when you are on your way to something else.

That said, it makes me sad - I have missed your prose.

Being Me said...

That is such a hard one! I'd tend to err on the side of 'Universe knows best and has plans I'm obviously not aware of' with things like this (when it's not what you wanted to be doing and feel like it's not right). Who knows, this could be a bridging job to get you right up to the doorstep of the next amazing springboard of your journey. Good luck, Ed!

Sarahlah said...

Who knows? Inspiration can come the strangest sources and even though this is not what you were thinking about when you declared to the universe that you were willing to write anything, you will be able to support yourself and flex your writing muscles. I have to content myself with letters to the membership!

The Words Crafter said...

We went through that when we were laid off. It's scary, but sometimes a job, nearly any kind of job, is what we need for the moment. At least you get to write in some aspect. I'm hoping for you that this will open up a wonderful opportunity to something much bigger and that will showcase your talents!

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Hello Ed! Glad to hear you're still healthy and wise. You never know where your current job will take you, career-wise and personal wise. Time for other things will come soon enough. Yep. :-)

Wild Rose said...

Hang in there Ed, it will work out eventually believe me i know this feeling and hope all is well. I haven't seen you for a while so see you soon :)

Wild Rose~

Bernie said...

Not sure whether to congratulate you or say I'm sorry as you do sound very sad.
You know Ed, don't look too far into the future, you don't want to be robbed of today now do you. All will work out....:-) Hugs

DEZMOND said...

I didn't know that even in USA you have to have strong connections in order to get a nice job.
I totally understand you position, dear Ed, I guess you just have to hang on in there and try to figure out the best compromise.
I'm also working a lot because I need the money, and I also left a permanent job in a high school in order to do what I like and enjoy - translating books (which is done on contracts, sort of like a freelance job).

Deidra said...

Interesting concept...
And interesting to hear the benefits and the cost of the choice.
So...what will you do?

Tori said...

The universe is literal, like the genie in the lamp. :) Hang in there.

The Empress said...

Too high a cost, Ed.