Anyone who has read more than one post on this blog knows that working in children’s editorial was my dream job, and now that I’ve had it for almost a year(!), it still is. The talented authors who write the most fascinating books, the top-notch editors from whom I can learn so much, and did I mention the books?
One of our fantastic authors, Charles Benoit who wrote You, has another book coming out next summer called Fall From Grace. I won’t—I can’t yet—tell you much about it, other than it’s mind-blowing and thought-provoking. The situation one of the characters is in and the advice he receives, however, has got me thinking about why it’s so important you have a job you love.
The first advice the main character receives is the old adage, “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
The meaning behind the quote is kind, but the message is so not true. I have a job I love, but it is what it is—a job. Work. I wake up to an alarm that goes off hours before I’d like it to. I deal with the unfriendly, uncooperative, crowded commute typical for a New Yorker. I work at least eight hours a day, five days a week in the office. I have not, for the past three weeks, taken a longer lunch break than walking to the bank three blocks away. I attend industry events in the evening, hoping to make a contact—be that an agent, an author, or an editor at another house—that will somehow provide advantageous in the future. I take manuscripts home to read on the weeknight and weekends. I continuously read books published by our competitors so I know what is out there and can speak and act knowledgably related to industry trends.
All of the above? It’s work. It’s getting less sleep than I’d like. It’s giving up time to spend with friends or family or even, if it’s what I like, in front of the tv. It’s what I do to support myself—pay my rent and bills, save for the future. That’s what a job is.
The other advice the character gets in Fall From Grace: “Find out what it is you like to do, then go and do it.”
This is key. I do all of that listed here because, yes it’s my job, but more importantly, because I feel my job is worth those sacrifices to my sleep pattern, my social life. It’s what I want to be doing. When I was sixteen and had my first job as a sandwich maker—that was only my job to earn money for college. It was solely a financial arrangement. So when the opportunity came for me to leave that position and rise to department store associate (ooh, ahh) I did not look back. Sandwich making was not a career in which I felt fulfilled. I was not willing to wake up at 8am on a Sunday to ask if you wanted the 6-inch or the 12-inch, and would you like a value meal with soda and chips? I did not care if we sold more sandwiches than the rival shop down the street. Publishing, on the other hand, in an industry I’m invested in, and my work as an editorial assistant is worth the time and effort I put in. I love what I do—helping authors produce the best book possible so that everyone can read it.
A job, by definition, is paid work. But having a job that I’d keep even if I won the lottery? It’s work that I am meant to be doing.