As I was saying in the last post, I handled the six and half weeks without Cayden surprisingly well. Maybe it was because I was insanely busy with things like finding a new place to live and a new job even.
Let me explain. You've heard me bitch and moan about my shitty salary before in this blog, so I'll try to keep that to a minimum this time. With the salary I was on at the magazine, it would have taken me nearly a year to save up enough money to buy a plane ticket to London. So I decided something had to change.
I started with my apartment. I think I mentioned this briefly earlier, but here's a longer version. For the past year, I've been living in the Knox-Henderson area of Dallas, which is a really fun, trendy neighborhood with lots of bars and great restaurants within walking distance. I love it here. But my lease is up at the end of the month, and I knew there were cheaper options outside of Dallas. My good friend Joyce was looking to move as well (she's been living out in Euless, more commonly known as "Useless.") and so was our friend Terry from college. So the three of us decided to move in together and we started the search.
A few friends of ours live up in Addison, an area about 20 minutes north of downtown Dallas with more restaurants than I can count on 40 hands. Some more friends and my sister live up in Plano, just north of Addison. So we finally decided it made the most sense to make the move to Addison. We found an adorable house on an even more adorable street, and I'd be saving more than $100 a month in rent. Of course, I'd probably make up for that in gas money commuting to the magazine office in uptown, which could take up to an hour in heavy traffic.
Which brings me to my job. Just about every single one of my friends make at least $10,000 per year than I do. But I've always said I didn't choose journalism for the money (no one does). I chose it because I love to write. Writing is my passion.
Well, as I was in bed writing a blog post one night, I realized that it didn't matter what I did during the day, I'd never stop writing. Writing this blog has been much more fun than any magazine story I've ever written (OK, maybe except for that time I wrote a feature story about psychics in the Oklahoma Gazette and I got to have a ton of psychic readings done).
This is the kind of writing I love. The kind without boundaries. Without rules. Where I can use my voice instead of the collective voice of the magazine. Where I can say "fuck" and not give a fuck about it. Where I can interact with people all around the world who thank me for sharing my story, who tell me I had an impact on them, who share their beautiful stories with me. That's not typically something you find as a magazine editor.
But I finally decided enough was enough when my good friend and former coworker Phil put in his two week's notice. He'd been working there nearly five years and rocked the enviable position of senior editor. Oh, and he was making less money than most people make right out of college. If I stayed there, that would be my future. I'd find myself there 5 years later, still living paycheck to paycheck, still taking advantage of any free meal I could find, still turning down vacations and roadtrips because I couldn't afford them, still eating a peanut butter and jelly and a handful of trail mix at my desk for lunch every day.
Yes, I loved my job. But maybe I'd love something else? All I'd ever done was magazines. College magazines, sports magazines, food magazines, health magazines. Writer, editorial assistant, assistant editor. Copy editor, researcher, reporter. It was all I knew. Problem was, it was all I knew how to do. I couldn't apply for a PR job and expect to get an offer over someone with a PR degree and actual agency experience. I couldn't apply for an advertising job because I'd never actually created, sold, or designed an ad in my life, although I'd seen billions. Did that stop me from applying? No.
But then I saw it: A position for a social media specialist at a media company in no other city than—you guessed it—Addison. A friend of mine who used to play on my softball team worked there, so I called her and told her to give me the scoop.
"You'd be blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking for a handful of companies. Does that sound like it's up your alley?"
Oh, and it would pay almost 50 percent more than what I was making.
Does a bear shit in the woods? (Or as Scott Stratten of UnMarketing would say, "If Big Foot shits in the woods, does he have to wipe his own ass?") OF COURSE it was up my alley!
I applied. A phone interview led to a personality test led to an in-person interview led to an offer. Would I accept?
"Can I have a day to think about it?"
I sat down with my editor to discuss. He had a smile on his face.
"We'd like to offer you the Travel Editor position."
Holy predicament. Travel Editor of a national magazine at the age of 25? How cool would that be? But, that also meant I'd be traveling for work all the time, which meant less time for Cayden's visits. Oh, and I'd still be broke. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were still in my future, despite the small bump in salary that came along with the Travel Editor title.
The social media specialist position offered more money and a better vacation policy. So what it really came down to was, I could stay at the magazine, still mostly broke and traveling for business; or I could try something new and have enough money and vacation time to travel for pleasure. My decision was made.
I move into my new house in Addison on New Years Eve. I start my new job as social media specialist on Jan. 3. Cayden will be here to kiss me under the mistletoe Christmas morning. He'll be here to give me my New Years kiss at midnight. And he'll jump on a plane right after he gives me a goodluck kiss on my first day of work. I'm finally going to make big-kid money.
And I'll never stop writing.