2.07.2006

day job

I'll be downtown Toronto today, registering with the two big legal staffing agencies. One agency found Allan's job, the other kept him temping until that happened. They're competitors, so they'll both be working hard to find me something good. (Hooray for capitalism.)

Thank you to everyone who has emailed me with writing ideas. I really appreciate it. Please don't interpret my not going for these opportunities as lack of interest or gratitude. Although I welcome opportunities to expand my little writing niche, many things are just too far out of my line.

I chose a long time ago to separate my principal means of income from my writing goals, rather than write about anything just to make a living. This isn't because I'm so laden with integrity. I just can't motivate myself to write if I'm not really into it. I have to be really passionate about my subjects, really excited by and challenged by them, or I just can't bother. If it's "only" for money, I'd just as soon do something easier.

So, until moving here, I always had a day-job of some sort. It gave me the freedom to write what I wanted and pursue projects on my own, without worrying about income. Most of the projects that interest me can't pay well, or there aren't enough of them to live on. (The children's encyclopedias were a rare exception, because the publisher's parent company was a giant media monster. And we see how that turned out.)

Over the years, as my writing career picked up, and as my income-earning potential increased on the day-job front, I was able to cut back on the other income and spend more time writing. (For the curious, a little history here.) But my goal was never to drop the day-job entirely.

The tough part - for both me and Allan, because he has lived this way, too - is that our income-earning potential is much lower here than it was in New York. This was one of the less pleasant realities we faced leaving New York City: we knew we'd never earn as much anywhere else.

We weren't going to stay in the US just to keep our day-jobs - that's completely backwards. The jobs are supposed to enable your life, not control it. Besides, jobs can end. I could easily see the firm I used to work for hiring a new personnel director (who wasn't already attached to me), then firing me, and hiring someone for half my salary.

So we had to pursue our goals despite this. But the fact remains: it will take 40 hours a week in Toronto to earn what I did in 24 hours a week in New York. Damn.

The most important thing for me is to find something with nontraditional hours - evenings or weekends - so I can still have a writing life. Until then, I'll temp.

Now I have to make myself look halfway professional, which is the most I can manage.

11 comments:

Nerdbeard said...

How does cost-of-living compare? I'm usually more interested in needing less than making more (because I'm lazy) but to be honest I don't spend much effort on either...

Wrye said...

Nothing says halfway professional like a designer sombrero, I always say. Maybe with a Ralph Lauren bolo tie. And as always, colour coordination is key.

Carrie said...

It makes sense to temp or work full-time until your writing jobs increase.

From my viewpoint, having worked in law firms in Canada, if you have experience with American law (and you do!) you should be in demand with top law firms in Toronto. I'm thinking of McMillan Binch off the top of my head
http://www.mcmillanbinch.com/default.aspx

Also, and I won't be offended if you're not interested in this, but a Canadian marketing whiz keeps a great blog at http://www.blogbusinessworld.blogspot.com/
There might be some leads or ideas there for you. He covers all manner of things and I'm thinking you could find something through him or his links.

I hope you find something soon which you can enjoy. As for looking halfway professional...lol...I don't envy you having to get on that horse again. I burned all my corporate clothes. The thought of ever having to buy new or work in that environment again is almost enough to kill me once and for all. ;)

L-girl said...

How does cost-of-living compare?

It's expensive here, but then, New York is wildly expensive, too.

Rent is much less here. We are renting a 3-bdrm house for what many people pay for a studio or 1 bedroom in NYC. Of course, we're not in downtown T.O., we're in a nearby suburb, but you could never, ever find a house in the NYC area for what we're paying. In general you get more for your money.

Canadians think Toronto is expensive, but to a New Yorker, it's not.

I'm usually more interested in needing less than making more

Oh, me too. The only reason I'm intent on making more is to have more time to write, and more time off. I'm essentially working two jobs, one to support the other, so I need maximum bang for my working buck.

L-girl said...

Nothing says halfway professional like a designer sombrero

Mine was quite the sensation today, especially the jingle bells.

L-girl said...

From my viewpoint, having worked in law firms in Canada, if you have experience with American law (and you do!) you should be in demand with top law firms in Toronto.

You are absolutely right - we are. Allan's working at one of the biggest Canadian firms, and the agencies are sending me to many others.

Also, and I won't be offended if you're not interested in this, but a Canadian marketing whiz keeps a great blog

Thank you! I appreciate it. I'll definitely check it out.

I burned all my corporate clothes. The thought of ever having to buy new or work in that environment again is almost enough to kill me once and for all. ;)

It would me, as well. Luckily as support staff I don't have to go that route - or I'd have to invest in all new clothes. I worked weekends for 12 years - I wore whatever I wanted. For the kinds of jobs I'm going for, "office casual" is sufficient. And I can just about manage that...

Andrea said...

well good luck, I am looking forward to hearing how things turn out.

Nicole said...

Break a leg!

sharonapple said...

Good luck.

Scott M. said...

Good luck! If you end up coming across any superb placement agencies, give me a buzz (montague@iname.com)... my wife is just finishing up her Law Clerk diploma and will be hitting the market in the next month or so. She currently has a placement working for one of the lawyers who is representing Air Canada in the industrial espionage case between Air Canada and Westjet.

L-girl said...

Scott, I'm using the two big legal staffing agencies: ZSA (www.zsa.ca) and Cartel (www.cartelinc.com). Good luck to your wife in her search.

Thanks everybody, for your good wishes. :)