I look like a twelve-year-old, so it's hard for receptionists, guards, and pretty much everyone on the way up to whomever I'm about to interview to believe that I'm employed and, yes, interviewing their boss. After a while, I stopped telling reception that I was there for an interview, because then I'd get, "Ah, you're a job applicant? Well, Mr. So-And-So doesn't usually interview applicants himself." Now I just say I have an appointment or official business or something like that.
Another thing I get, usually before or after an interview, when my friendly interviewee and/or their assistant is making smalltalk, is, "Is this your first job?" If not that, it's, "So, how long have you been at BusinessWorld?"
The next question, if they ask another question, is almost always, "So, this is your passion, eh? Writing?" or its twin (fraternal in the way the Olsen twins say they are), "So writing's what you really love to do?"
I hesitate, shrug, half-nod, and give a shaky, "Ye-es."
Maybe it's unfair of me to stereotype, but I feel I'm being stereotyped by corporate types. (Or maybe I'm just being defensive.) I make my living doing something that they might see as impractical, therefore I must really love it to have said no to something more lucrative.
As much as this next sentence/paragraph may endanger my employment status, the truth is that this job is not my passion. I do not take joy in writing articles for advertising-driven supplements. I enjoy writing articles, and I tend to actually enjoy writing about the things we have to write about (except credit cards and cars--I don't charge, and I don't drive, so I don't really care). But other aspects of the job--dealing with Vogons and Golgafrinchans; bugging decent human beings for an interview, getting them excited, and then having to tell them that the lack of advertisers means that the article may/will not be published; and dealing with Vogons and Golgafrinchans--make whatever enjoyment I get out of writing almost negligible.
The other thing is, when I first entertained thoughts of becoming a writer, this was definitely not what I had in mind. When rhyme was still cool, I thought I'd be a poet. Then I gave that up and focused on writing stories for kids and good pulp for all. My D/R/NSPC days had me thinking that I had a future as a journalist, too. If I were doing any of those things for a living, then I'd be able to say, "Yup, it's what I love."
It's not just the weekly whippings from Golgafrinchans that get me down, though. Recently, I've had doubts that I should have become a writer at all.
I'd always liked making stuff up, but only when my fifth- and sixth-grade teachers told me that I was good at putting pen to paper did I believe that it was what I should do with my life. Now, I'm not so sure whether I am where I am because it's what I want, or because it was encouraged. Because I'm not happy, I think it's the latter.
Before I got this job, Martin and I tagged along to last year's Heights writer's workshop. We went back to Manila with some fellow alumni and Martin's now-boss, Ma'am Beni, who told us that we shouldn't do what we love for a living. To be specific, writing for a living would just ruin writing for fun. I wonder now whether that--burnout--is what happened to me, or whether I just didn't love writing enough to begin with.
The scary thing is, it feels too late for me to try anything else, because anything else I was good at and enjoyed before college would require returning to school to do again, this time for a living. While my parents would probably support me, I'd like to do whatever on my own time and dime, and I'm not sure I have both.
Perhaps it's my fear, but the other problem is that "whatever" is just not so clear to me. I like design. I like computers. I like science. But I don't know if I love them, and isn't that what we're supposed to do? Know what we love and do that?
Ugh. I don't know where I wanted to go with this entry. I don't know where I want to go.