Don't quit your day job

So, I quit my day job this week. I’d been building up to it in my head ever since the deal on ILLUMINAE broke, but it’s still left me a little . . . bitey. I’m sitting here at 10pm, having written 3.5k of my SLASHER GIRL AND MONSTER BOYS short today, and I’m in no way able to relax. SO I’m writing a post for my poor neglected blog. The idea of forcing myself to stop is foremost in my mind. My fun muscle seems to have atrophied through disuse (that wasn’t a euphemism, minds out of the gutter people jesus).
Point is, this state of being will take some getting used to.
The job I had was a pretty cool one for a lot of years. Many chapters of the LOTUS WAR trilogy were beaten out on my lunchbreaks, ditto with ILLUMINAE. And while I wasn’t doing anything as worthy as curing cancer or as exciting as playing high stakes poker against Le Chiffre and making sweet, sweet lurve to Eva Green, I worked with nice people and the gig left me the energy to write when I got home.
But things change. In recent months I found myself with a new boss I . . . was not fond of. A very wise man once told me “life is too short to work for ass clowns”, and I found his disembodied Obiwan Kenobi-eqsue mantra (yes, this makes me Luke Skywalker, bitches) ringing in my head in recent months. And so I dropped the bomb. Pulled the pin. Choked the chicken . . . no wait that means something else doesn’t it.
It’s a strange feeling (not choking the chicken MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER PEOPLE). I’d bet my collection of naughty French lithographs you’ve all worked for a boss you disliked at some point. Like most of you, I’d find myself fantasizing about the way I’d quit in darker hours. Generous heapings of profanity would be involved. Bodily orifices and directions where jobs could be forcibly inserted would be mentioned. The bridges I burned would light my way.
But as I was on the final run up to Q-Day, a workbuddy of mine gifted me some words of wisdom, and the need to prove anything pretty much vaporized. When I finally pulled the trigger, I was 100% polite. No profanity or mentions of bodily orifices anywhere.
Looking back a few days later, I’m kinda proud of that. Just washing my hands and waving bye-bye. And I’m not about denying you the pleasure of venting your spleen, but if any of you lovely folks are lucky enough to be able to tell the boss where they can shove it . . . I’d at least entertain the thought of refraining. If only because you’ll probably feel better for not having gone out of your way to make someone else feel bad. The boss you dislike is still going to work tomorrow, after all. And you get to sleep in for the first time since forever. Winnnnningggg.
So I’m quit. Full time author. Amazing and terrifying. Driving home from work that last day, I was wondering when the glee would kick in. I didn’t quite know how to feel. I rang my bride and told her the deed was done and the first thing she said to me was “I’m proud of you, baby.” I knew exactly how to feel, then.
I’ve basically been working two full time jobs for five years straight. Every lunch time, I’d sit in a meeting room and write stories about gryphons and insane artificial intelligences for an hour, then try to switch my brain back into Regular Life Mode. I’d get home from work, walk the dog, eat, hang out with my wife for a bit, then write until 2 or sometimes 3 in the morning. Saturdays, I’d write all day. Sundays, I’d do the grocery shopping, then write some more. That’s been my life for five years. And believe me I’m not complaining – I am so, SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY to be doing what I do. But jesus, it’s going to be nice to get a few hours extra sleep a night.
To everyone who has made this possible, to the awesome folks and Macmillan and Random House, all my readers, all of YOU, much, much love.
The next chapter awaits.

30 Responses to “Don't quit your day job”

  1. RSAGARCIA says:

    Congratulations!! That is an awesome milestone to achieve. I hope you never look back!

  2. Huzzah! Congratulations, Full-Time Writerman.

  3. Good luck, Jay. Not an easy road, but the easy road is not always the right row.

  4. eliza tilton says:

    My co-workers are finally used to me writing during lunch. It is hard to write then go back to work mode.
    Grats on the new change. Now you get to work in your pjs!

  5. JdV says:

    Incredibly happy for you sir. I believe we can all relate to frustrations at work and we have all fantasized about dropping the bomb and walking out unscathed (some of us have even done so).
    I am grateful for your emphasis on the simple truth that the best way to walk away unscathed is not to drop the bomb at all but to simply and kindly walk away.
    I love reading your blog posts (more please) and I am grateful to have found your books.
    I look forward to the next.

  6. So happy for you, Jay! Enjoy your sleep and some extra writing and reading time.

  7. Well done! i always look forward to reading one of your posts filled with humor. Challenge Accepted, you came you saw you conquered. Well done to the bride for being proud of you. I have spoken to several authors over my time blogging I have met and they have all felt like you and then after that settles, they are smiling from ear to ear. The doors are opening up for you so take those challenges and smash it!

  8. Tien says:

    Woot! Congrats & well done on your self-restraint (I know exactly what you mean, that was me last year 🙂

  9. jtothedd says:

    Congratulations on starting this next stage of your career. The fact you enter it with calm dignity says much!

  10. jchryssafis says:

    Well done mate. Congratulations and good to hear you departed in a polite manner. Enjoy the extra time with your partner and especially enjoy all the little things that life provides us.

  11. Sceptimum says:

    Woo! Moar words for the word god! Or bourbon for the bourbon god.
    Or both. Can’t we do both?

  12. drey72 says:

    Congrats on this next step on your road, Jay! I, for one, cannot wait to see what you’ll gift us with next. My reading pile hates your guts, but I don’t care what it thinks when there’s a new Kristoff book to devour… 🙂

  13. Anne F. says:

    I’m really happy for you. It will take a little while to get used to, but wow, I bet it feels good anyway.

  14. BarakiEl says:

    I’m proud of you for keeping cool and being polite. A decade after the fact I still regret how I quit my first job. I was young, said all the things that had been pent up… It wasn’t pretty. Sure it was all true, but it wasn’t necessary to say it. If I could go back, I’d have done it the way you did: clean, polite, mature. Their business went under 3 years later, the boss, who was knee deep in debt, just did not show up one morning and never paid his employees their last salaries.

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