The Meandering Path

Everything is opening up for me in rather wonderful ways right now, but they also bring BIG CHANGES, so there’s that to contend with. Jobwise, I have my meeting tomorrow to go over what exactly my new duties are when I shift to the new official position July 1st, I have a wonderful intern that I’ve acquired for the summer, a part-time employee I’ve acquired for the year, and they may have found me a full-time person to work under me, which is amazing. It means that we can do even better projects, I can hopefully stop pulling those 65-75 hour weeks that I occasionally have to do, and I have a chance to do great work in the other areas that they want me to work towards. But it also means that I’m an official “boss”, which is strange. Lifewise, we’re meeting with a mortgage broker next week to see where we’re at, and, strangely enough, an acquaintance just posted a rather lovely home up for sale. Not sure if life intends that direction for us, but we’ll find out next week. And creatively and spiritually, things have been opening and progressing nicely too. I don’t talk too much about that side of my life, because certain areas I like to keep private, but you will see the fruits of my labors spilling out here.

Life has not followed the path that I thought it would in the least, but that’s okay. We’re placed where we’re meant to be to allow us to grow the most, I think, and that is what I will continue to do.

Life Changes Yet Again

I’m going to be full-time gainfully employed again with my current employer. They offered, and I have decided to accept. Which is great in lots of ways. But also means that I’m going to have even less time for the work I do here, so that made me start wondering two things.

First, I started questioning whether I should even be bothering attempting the personal projects or with this blog anymore. I have a job that is creatively fulfilling and time consuming and has the added stress (and challenge and fun) of being in charge of a lot. But I will always slowly chip away at my writing and art and music, and while my job is creatively fulfilling, it does not feel as necessary to me as the work I do here. So I may as well push forward with this, even knowing it will never ever be as quickly as I want it to be. And to kind of cement the idea in my head, I finally began setting up a gallery at Fine Art America to push my art out to a larger audience, and I forced myself to charge what other artists were recommending verses the paltry price that I was thinking of charging for myself. It will be a while until I finish setting everything up, but once I do, I’ll get around to fixing the art section here on this site. That’s the way I banish the “why should I bother’s” and “I’ll never be good enough’s”… push myself past my comfort zone.

The other thing I started thinking about was when to cross my two working relationships over. I know eventually I want to tell everyone who knows me about the work I do here under this name, not just a select few. And I suppose eventually I’ll share the work I do under my real name on this blog. I still feel like I want to hold off though. There’s the vanity issue, of course, of wanting to wait until I have a big announcement to casually drop “Oh, by the way, I’ve been doing work under the Kat Micari name for years and I’m doing fill in the blank so check it out.” Then there’s the issue of having signed a contract when I worked with the brokerage firm to update a certain government agency every time I move for three years after leaving that job, and part of me wants to wait until a few months after I move again or until after the three years are up (whichever comes first) so I don’t have everything that I’ve done under the Kat Micari come up under the random search that I’m sure will be done after the paperwork is filed. Not that I’ve made it especially a secret, as far as using the same SSN to get paid and file taxes and such, and not that I feel like any of my creative work is something to be ashamed of, but I just don’t like drawing attention to myself. And that’s a little more protective than I need to be, but there you go.

Anyway, it’s a strange fork in the road right now, one that I didn’t imagine being at two years ago. Everyone keeps telling me how excited they are for me and how lucky I am, which I suppose I am, but it’s also really a lot of work so I don’t always know how to respond to them. The luck piece of it is there, but the hours and physical and mental labor seem lessened when people talk too much about the luck piece, not to mention the years of training and the sacrifices I’ve made along the way. And while it is really exciting to be helping to build something from the ground up and to be well-compensated for it (in comparison to the rest of the industry), I’m finding that it is also a big pain to be in charge of other people directly and to have so much depending on things that I’m not in control of but still responsible for. At least as a freelancer, the only person I have to depend on is myself. Well, we’ll see what happens. It will certainly be interesting to witness how the next several years unfold. I’m going to try to continue updating twice a week here but forgive myself when it slips to once a week occasionally, and just keep pushing ahead on all fronts as much as I’m able to.

Career Verses Motherhood

My place of employment where I am part-time salaried and freelance on certain projects is pushing me up to full-time hours for three months starting in a couple of weeks, and they should know soon if they will keep me permanently full-time (all depends on whether certain funding they are hoping to get comes through or not). And I am having mixed feelings on the matter.

On the one hand, I’m really excited. Between the full-time hours and the extra freelance fees, I have a chance to make an actual, grown-up living wage for the first time in my life, from one place of employment, plus fairly decent benefits (as far as working for a non-profit goes, that is). My hours will still remain flexible, in that some weeks I’ll work more and some weeks I’ll work less, and I can still do some of the work from home, but the bank of hours that I draw on will literally be doubled. The projects that are planned for the coming year are incredibly interesting and varied, and having the full-time hours will give me the time to really go in depth on those projects and do the high-quality creative work that I enjoy doing.

On the other hand, it is twice as many hours that I have to work, which means less time spent with my son. Less time to work on personal creative projects. Having to really lock myself in to quality time with both my son and my husband because otherwise I will get too distracted by work and forget. Less time to cook and bake for fun. Less time to take on freelance projects. It means I have to fully relinquish control of the household to my husband (which I’ve already done a lot of) for all of our sanity, which is a rather difficult thing for me to do. But the potential lack of time to spend with my son, even though it is way more than many other parents get to have, is what aches the most.

The dreaded Mommy Guilt is something that will never go away. Balancing everyone’s needs and wants is a difficult task, and one that I’m not entirely sure I’ve accomplished. But we’ll take things as they come, as we always do. As we have to do.

I’m Back and Picking Up the Pieces

I finally finished my commissions which have been devouring my life for the past few weeks.  I am proud of the work I did, but I definitely put in more hours than I was getting paid for these past few, which makes me feel a bit hypocritical since I preach “get paid what you’re worth” up and down here on this blog.  But, I always underestimate the amount of time it takes to make something.  Always.  So I can either start charging more or I can take shortcuts and make a less quality product.  Something I need to consider for the future.

I’m on tenterhooks waiting to hear back from the job I interviewed for.  It’s at a school, and a staff position is less important than getting teachers in the classrooms for the first day  of school, so I’m not surprised I haven’t heard yet.  On the plus side, I have a conference call tomorrow to potentially do long-term part-time work also in my field-ish.  I’m not sure which I would prefer, honestly. The first is a full-time job with great pay and amazing benefits but requires me to commute back to the city we just moved from until we can move back there (a 3 hour round-trip commute – not really unheard of for me since I lived in the Los Angeles area for a long time, but still, a lot of time away from my son), the second will give us juuuust enough money to live on (maybe) and give us more time to spend trying to push our own business forward.  I’m not guaranteed either position, but I just want to know!!!

Anyway, I’m excited to have some time to do my other creative work again.  To write and paint and make music.  Today, I am going to clean my office/workspace because it looks like a tornado hit it, spend some quality time with my son, grab coffee with a friend, and then share a bottle of wine tonight with my husband and relax.  I think I’ve earned it.

Frustration Can Either Freeze You Up or Drive You Forward

I’ve had a rather disappointing turn at my day job this week.  I was passed over for a promotion, even though it’s the job I’m currently in training for and my supervisors know I have an amazing work ethic and really need to be making more money than I currently am making.  They need someone already experienced for this particular group.  Which I get, I really do, but now i get to have “invaluable experience and training” by helping whoever they do hire to do the job.  In other words, I get to do more work for no extra pay on the slim chance that another position will open up in the next year or so.  And since I live in the good ol’ USA, and since I’ve been already trying to get another higher-paying job elsewhere since October with no luck, I’ve had to play nice and enthusiastic about my “opportunity”.

In the past, when a blow like this (to my pride, to my hopes for a better future) would happen, I often would take a “me” day or five.  I’d mope around and watch old movie musicals or escape into a novel or decide to do some random mind-numbing project like alphabetizing my books or CDs (an impossibility to maintain with a toddler, so this is an especially futile task).  But not this time.  I have channeled my frustration and my annoyance and my financial stress into action.

  • Edits for my novella are done and being mailed out to my line editor today.  I should get this back next week sometime.
  • My illustrations for my poetry collection will be done soon, even if I have to pull all-nighters to do it.
  • I will also have my cover designs sketched out and started, and I will create my self-pub checklists this weekend.  These two books WILL be done by the end of March.
  • I am tweaking my resume design tonight and applying for a job lead through my sister (could mean a fast move to another nearby city, potentially renting/buying my grandparents’ house that will soon be on the market, dealing with MY family’s stress instead of my husband’s family which will be a change not necessarily for the better, but also being settled for the next ten years or so).  My husband and I are also broadening our collective job search to include other areas of the country that we hadn’t before considered.  The goal, remember, is to find one job between the two of us that will pay the base of our bills so the other one can be home to care for our son (and future children) and promote our art/writing business.

I really feel like this was perhaps the kick in the butt I needed to power through these next couple of weeks.  After my post last week, I had this great feeling of being unstuck, and this is just a sign of that unstickiness.  I don’t know what the future holds, but that’s okay.  I’m ready to live for my action and my efforts and not for the outcome.