Do we hold work life as separate from our spiritual lives? As my Druidry is about what I do moment to moment, not occasional big gestures, I need to either be bringing my Druidry to my work, or working on things that are relevant to my values. Being self employed does not make this as easy as it might be fair to expect.
Very few authors are able to make a viable living out of their writing. Most Pagans who teach, lead, organise and write cannot make a viable living that way even if they do it full time. Pagans and authors alike will tend to have other income streams as a matter of necessity, which unhelpfully feeds into the idea that the work you feel called to do is a ‘hobby job’. For some this means a regular day job. For some of us it means saying yes to almost anything that slightly resembles what we really want to be doing – which can lead to some uneasy compromises. For the self employed, taking time off is a massive issue – you are only paid for what you do, there is no sick or holiday pay, and you don’t know what next month will bring so all too often, self employed folk take on all the work they can. It means trading security for flexibility, it gives you more control, but little leisure, and you don’t always feel able to say no to jobs you don’t like.
Inevitably, some of my day jobs have been happier, more rewarding and more meaningful to me than others. When I don’t feel like I’m adding something of value through my efforts, I am more likely to get depressed.
At the moment, I have a fantastic work arrangement that I’m really enjoying. I’m now officially the publicist at Moon Books. This means spending a chunk of time every week talking about books, supporting authors, and trying to find things those authors can be doing that also benefit the Pagan community. This works for me in a number of ways – I’m working with people I like and who inspire me. I have control over when I work, and a lot of scope for deciding how I work which allows me to be creative. Enabling other people to be creative is part of what I think I’m for – that used to be more of an unpaid calling aspect of what I do, but it’s no hardship to be paid for it. If what I do makes it more viable for other people to be professional authors and full time Pagans – awesome.
I’ve come to realise over the last year or so that I am happiest when my books are under no pressure to pay the household bills, when I have something interesting to do that doesn’t depend on lots of inspiration flowing, and when I feel useful. At the moment, the different strands of my working life are delivering this. It helps that I have an awesome boss. Trevor Greenfield has always been everything I could want in a publisher. He’s also everything I could want in a person I am answerable to – fair, clear, reliable, supportive, willing to trust me and not inclined to keep me on a tight leash. Day jobs, like so many aspects of life, depend on good relationship.