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View Full Version : If you shouldn't quit your day job-- what is your day job?



SBibb
12-20-2011, 02:44 AM
So I was wondering, we've all heard the saying, "Don't quit your day job to become a writer" and I know that you typically don't make a lot of money when you first start off writing.

So I wanted to know...

What does the typical writer do to make a living? What do you do?

Me personally, I'm still in college studying to be a photographer/illustrator (hopefully for book covers), but I'm not sure how likely either of those will pay rent when I first start.

So I'm curious to see how other writers do it. :-)

Shadow_Ferret
12-20-2011, 03:22 AM
I work a regular 40 hour a week job that has absolutely nothing to do with writing.

Terie
12-20-2011, 03:58 AM
Technical writer.

Parametric
12-20-2011, 04:01 AM
Publishing, hopefully. Just graduated with a publishing degree and started getting job interviews. I have a backup opportunity lined up in the financial services sector if all the publishing interviews fall through.

night-flyer
12-20-2011, 04:05 AM
I work in retail hell. And believe me, if there was a way to quit my job without becoming homeless, I would've done it by now. Not that you can't make as a writer or an artist, many have, I'm just not good enough to do so. ;)

Quickbread
12-20-2011, 04:06 AM
I'm a copywriter.

Mr Flibble
12-20-2011, 04:16 AM
I work in retail hell.

I hear you.

I'm a shift manager at my local shop (7-11 job. Thank you, come again!) and I also work a couple of shifts at my local pub

Ofc the upside is, I get loads of material, esp from the pub job. :D

kuwisdelu
12-20-2011, 04:24 AM
Does research assistant and statistical consultant count? It pays, anyway.

Kateness
12-20-2011, 04:25 AM
Paralegal/superstar detective for my attorneys. :D

Calle Jay
12-20-2011, 04:31 AM
Graphic designer/copywriter/researcher
Freelance articles
Curricula development
and
Part-time content editor for romance epress.

Doing these from home allows me to work on my writing daily as well. And it keeps me from getting bored!

Aerial
12-20-2011, 04:32 AM
Flight controls engineer for an autopilot and avionics manufacturer.

Aerial

amergina
12-20-2011, 04:36 AM
Technical writer. Well, at least until Feb 29th, at the moment. After that I'm an unemployed slacker. Or something.

Zelenka
12-20-2011, 04:42 AM
Tour guide and freelance proofreader (sometimes), possibly something else soon if I get any of the jobs I've applied for.

areteus
12-20-2011, 04:43 AM
Technically, my day job is teacher. It used to be clinical scientist. However, these are both day jobs I would be doing if there were jobs here for me to take.

So, in reality my day job seems to be 'writer' at the moment (I am even being paid for it but it does not pay the bills) plus the following:

- a couple hours a week teaching (basically one afternoon)
- Being on call for about 5 Supply agencies who may call any morning and ask me to go into work but so far haven't found any work for me at all...
- Private tuition. Again, when the agencies manage to find some for me (currently only have one client...)
- Being a stay at home house husband who does the housework (badly) and looks after the dog inbetween writing assignments :)

The second half of this year has not gone well at all in terms of finances, which is a shame because the first half was excellent with a full time job (that allowed me to pay of two thirds of my debt before the contract ended) and two publication announcements (both of which won't pay out until next year...).

CrastersBabies
12-20-2011, 05:01 AM
Adjunct professor
I also work part-time at a local non-profit and do freelance work where I can get it.
Occasionally, I teach workshops at the local writing hub.

I've applied to a PhD program where my focus will be on gaming pedagogy. If my funding comes through (for a GRA), I'll drop my teaching back to 2 classes and probably drop the part-time nonprofit gig. We'll see. Depends on if they want me to teach for the PhD as well.

Bushrat
12-20-2011, 05:12 AM
I just live and write about it - the joys of sitting in the outhouse at 30 below, the finer points of keeping freindly relations with bears and moose, kayaking obscure backwaters, cutting firewood, growing a garden ...

Tepelus
12-20-2011, 05:26 AM
Housekeeper.

virtue_summer
12-20-2011, 05:36 AM
Transcriptionist. I don't make a lot of money, but it's actually a pretty decent job for a writer. I learn about a lot of things I otherwise might not, and I hear a lot of stories.

M.A.Drake
12-20-2011, 05:40 AM
Psychotherapist, and consultant at Thorpe Laboratories an experimental research facility. Would happily quit one of them to write more full time though. Though both lend to my writing. Such a pickle.

butterfly
12-20-2011, 05:44 AM
I just live and write about it - the joys of sitting in the outhouse at 30 below, the finer points of keeping freindly relations with bears and moose, kayaking obscure backwaters, cutting firewood, growing a garden ...

Really? Do you live in your avatar? You know what I mean...

D.M.Drake
12-20-2011, 05:45 AM
Psychotherapist, and consultant at Thorpe Laboratories an experimental research facility. Would happily quit one of them to write more full time though. Though both lend to my writing. Such a pickle.

Speaking of which, I am waiting on those notes for Conduit. Google docs?

Oh, uh, I am a full time writer/mother. Both... uh... contribute to my writing. :gone:

M.A.Drake
12-20-2011, 05:46 AM
Speaking of which, I am waiting on those notes for Conduit. Google docs?

Oh, uh, I am a full time writer/mother. Both... uh... contribute to my writing. :gone:

Aye, they are already uploaded, love.

D.M.Drake
12-20-2011, 05:52 AM
Aye, they are already uploaded, love.


Mmm, thank you. Off I go :e2writer:

Richard White
12-20-2011, 05:52 AM
Technical writer/editor or analyst/reporter for a Defense Contractor.

It definitely keeps me busy.

butterfly
12-20-2011, 05:53 AM
Another technical writer.

Charles Farley
12-20-2011, 05:56 AM
Pharmaceutical sales . . ;)

Victoria
12-20-2011, 06:12 AM
School bus driver. The pay is pretty decent, twice minimum wage for my bracket, and I'm off when my kids don't have school. Sure, being laidoff every summer kinda sucks, and we don't get paid for snow days or teacher collaboration days, but I love it. You have to in order to do it and keep your sanity.

Bushrat
12-20-2011, 06:27 AM
Really? Do you live in your avatar? You know what I mean...

Yeah, really :) But we don't live in the cabin that's my avatar. Which is a good thing because that one has a leaky roof.

Susan Littlefield
12-20-2011, 07:02 AM
I work 37.5 hours per week as a paralegal in a law office. I would say 80-90 percent of my job is writing, the other percentage is research and pushing papers. I love my work. Even when I do publish my novel, I will still continue my current work because I love it so much.

CrastersBabies
12-20-2011, 07:08 AM
For the tech. writers out there, did you just jump into that field? I see ads for technical writers and I always wonder just how much "technical writing" experience you need to get into that field, or if you just need experience as a writer.

MysteryRiter
12-20-2011, 07:23 AM
Me? I'm a student, trying to make a living writing when I get older. :)

Xelebes
12-20-2011, 07:27 AM
Student, living on disability.

c.m.n.
12-20-2011, 07:27 AM
Part time "May I take your order?"

Though, I'm actually happy with my job. It's greasy, messy, and there are rude-ass customers, but all in all, I wouldn't quit my day job.

Although, I'm hoping to find something different some day... that is, when I'm ready to look.

EclipsesMuse
12-20-2011, 08:21 AM
Unemployed currently, so I could say writing is my day job. :D

Though when I am employed (hopefully sometime soon), usually customer service/tech support.

ohthatmomagain
12-20-2011, 08:42 AM
I'm a teacher (special education preschool).

Atlantis
12-20-2011, 08:56 AM
I'm a records officer. I open the mail and do other light duties. I work for my state's education department so since its xmas hoildays and now and all the schools are shut the amount of work has dropped right off which means I spend most days trying not fall or asleep or hording whatever work is available so I have something to do.

Kateness
12-20-2011, 08:58 AM
I work 37.5 hours per week as a paralegal in a law office. I would say 80-90 percent of my job is writing, the other percentage is research and pushing papers. I love my work. Even when I do publish my novel, I will still continue my current work because I love it so much.

Dude. Your law firm hiring?

:D

Night_Writer
12-20-2011, 08:59 AM
Telephone psychic.

Terie
12-20-2011, 10:51 AM
For the tech. writers out there, did you just jump into that field? I see ads for technical writers and I always wonder just how much "technical writing" experience you need to get into that field, or if you just need experience as a writer.

I got a job as a tech writer at a company where I'd started in the mail room six years earlier and worked my way up. (Yes, I'm a living cliche.)

The thing is that in the current economy, there are many experienced unemployed tech writers. So I think one would have to be extraordinarily lucky *at the moment* to get a job without either experience or a fresh degree or certification in tech writing.

Which isn't to say that won't change once the unemployment rate gets back to something reasonable. Tech writing has historically been a field where a proven ability to write and research can still get your foot in the door. This means that you don't have much to lose by applying for jobs, even now. You might get lucky.

Another factor in play at the moment is that many companies have offshored their tech writing work to India. This has been a disaster, and early adopters have begun to yank their writing operations back. But that's happening only slowly, and it also explains the abundance of experienced tech writers on the market right now.

PEBKAC
12-20-2011, 11:37 AM
Program manager at a software company. Software design, technical writing, project management, etc.

pdblake
12-20-2011, 11:51 AM
Software developer.

gothicangel
12-20-2011, 12:46 PM
Unemployed currently, so I could say writing is my day job. :D



Ditto. :)

Waiting for the heritage/tourism jobs are advertised next month. Hoping to get into a Roman site.

seun
12-20-2011, 12:59 PM
What does the typical writer do to make a living? What do you do?


Is there any such thing as a typical writer?

As for me, I work in a library. Have done for the last seven years. It's a decent job all things considered. And I get first dibs on all the new books.

Flicka
12-20-2011, 01:15 PM
Lawyer working for the government.

waylander
12-20-2011, 02:00 PM
Drug designer

shaldna
12-20-2011, 03:09 PM
I work in goverment now, but previously I worked in research science and before that in large animal veterinary science. I've also been a retail slave and barmaid.

BotByte
12-20-2011, 03:14 PM
A walking wireless interceptor. (I carry a signal interceptor where ever I go so people don't talk on the phone around me)

Bad joke. haha

Student and aspiring writer. I do some odd jobs and work here and there.

Anninyn
12-20-2011, 03:21 PM
Unenmployed at the moment. When I'm employed I do various retail jobs. Trying to break into marketing, cause I have a talent in that direction.

Creative_Solitude
12-20-2011, 04:21 PM
Training & information specialist - I do training sessions, write training manuals and user-end documentation. I'm also the system administrator for my department's Wiki, among other things. I am full-time, unionized, with full benefits...so I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon. Unless, of course, I become a phenomenal writing success....haha!

Domoviye
12-20-2011, 04:31 PM
Oral English teacher in China. As soon as my month and a half long vacation starts in a week and a half, I'm making a big jump into writing for a living.

areteus
12-20-2011, 04:42 PM
Psychotherapist, and consultant at Thorpe Laboratories an experimental research facility. Would happily quit one of them to write more full time though. Though both lend to my writing. Such a pickle.

Need any research assistants? :)

Norman D Gutter
12-20-2011, 05:14 PM
Civil engineer (at the end of a long career in infrastructure design), currently assigned as corporate trainer. Part of that includes writing training helps, construction specifications, and marketing materials. I expect to be doing this for the next 6 years and 11 days.

Devil Ledbetter
12-20-2011, 05:32 PM
Marketing Director. It involves a lot of writing and editing, planning, product development, travel. I love my job and can't complain about the pay. Even if I had a bestseller I'd keep working here.

quicklime
12-20-2011, 05:33 PM
So I was wondering, we've all heard the saying, "Don't quit your day job to become a writer" and I know that you typically don't make a lot of money when you first start off writing.

So I wanted to know...

What does the typical writer do to make a living? What do you do?

Me personally, I'm still in college studying to be a photographer/illustrator (hopefully for book covers), but I'm not sure how likely either of those will pay rent when I first start.

So I'm curious to see how other writers do it. :-)


The typical writer has a similar career to the typical brunette, or the typical person who enjoys coffee.....

There is no "typical" writer; because of the hobby there are probably a few more in writing or English-related fields than in the general populace, but not as many as you might assume....lots of folks who were police, lawyers, scientists, toll-booth operators, bartenders, and anything else. I don't believe there is much commonality of vocation, writers come from everywhere.

I am a biologist, to answer the actual question...if you're looking at it from a "what should I do?" angle, well, whatever you'd do if you realized today that your writing was hopeless and you needed to pick a different career you could be happy or at least satisfied with. Pick that, and pursue it until you can (always a maybe) support yourself by writing.

Alpha Echo
12-20-2011, 05:41 PM
I work a regular 40 hour a week job that has absolutely nothing to do with writing.

Me too. FAA. Admin. Assistant. I do budget and travel. It leaves me with some time to write, sometimes, though.


Paralegal/superstar detective for my attorneys. :D

That would be awesome! I bet you have some stories...


I just live and write about it - the joys of sitting in the outhouse at 30 below, the finer points of keeping freindly relations with bears and moose, kayaking obscure backwaters, cutting firewood, growing a garden ...

Mmmm...if you enjoy it, yay for you! Nothing I'd enjoy though. :tongue


Pharmaceutical sales . . ;)

In Toronoto? I have friends up there. I know what that really means. ;)


I work 37.5 hours per week as a paralegal in a law office. I would say 80-90 percent of my job is writing, the other percentage is research and pushing papers. I love my work. Even when I do publish my novel, I will still continue my current work because I love it so much.

I bet. I would too. I love to write, I love to research, and I love law stuff. Just not enough to have gone to school long enough to do anything in that line of work.

lucidzfl
12-20-2011, 06:01 PM
I'm an engineering software manager. I have teams throughout the us and in Australia and Malaysia.

Storm Surge
12-20-2011, 06:06 PM
Unemployed. Used to be housekeeper/nanny but the family kind of let me go without telling me. So I'm trying to pick up any work I can find even if it means hauling scrap metal out of ditches with my brother.

Richard White
12-20-2011, 06:37 PM
For the tech. writers out there, did you just jump into that field? I see ads for technical writers and I always wonder just how much "technical writing" experience you need to get into that field, or if you just need experience as a writer.

I was hired by my company to do analytical work. However that specific contract went away and my boss asked if I would mind doing some tech writing.

Hmm. Tech Writing or being unemployed.

I wound up doing tech writing for 10 years. Finally got back to the analytical side of the house, but I notice I'm still doing the Quarterly Briefing slides and the Weekly Activity Reports for my new team - "Since you were a tech writer, you can handle this, right? ;) "

*le sigh*

Psychomacologist
12-20-2011, 07:02 PM
I work in a University press office, where I write press releases and news items for the Uni.

So technically, I make a living as a writer.

Just not as a novelist.

bearilou
12-20-2011, 07:04 PM
goat herder and bunny rabbit tender.

It doesn't pay and it leaves me all this free time to fritter away when I could be writing....

Phaeal
12-20-2011, 07:11 PM
Human Resources* calls me an administrative assistant. I say I'm a secretary, honorable keeper of secrets!



* Ack, Human Resources. Sounds like the Uruk-hai division in charge of rounding up lunch. Give me back my good old Personnel!

ghost
12-20-2011, 07:12 PM
I guess I'm not typical because I did quit my day job.

I'm a full time writer. Before that I did all sorts of crap. Taught English in S Korea. Accounts manager for Xerox. Worked at ToysRUs. Bicycle courier.

RemusShepherd
12-20-2011, 07:15 PM
I'm a rocket scientist. No, really.

I don't expect to make up my current salary by selling books. So no quitting the day job for me.

amergina
12-20-2011, 07:34 PM
For the tech. writers out there, did you just jump into that field? I see ads for technical writers and I always wonder just how much "technical writing" experience you need to get into that field, or if you just need experience as a writer.

I fell into technical writing via being a computer lab manager at college. Wrote up a troubleshooting guide for the Macintosh so that the Unix folks would stop panicking when a Mac went down while they were on duty. (This was in the days of System 6 and 7... and my college had Mac labs and Unix labs.)

At my first job out of school (doing point and click QA for a piece of software), when they found out I could write and saw my writing sample (which I saved--I ain't dumb!), they hired me to write release notes.

So basically, no *formal* technical writing training (my degree is in creative writing) but since I had help desk experience, I managed to parley that into written documentation. Then I got what amounted to an apprentice position. The rest was hard work and on the job training.

However, if the job openings are for 5-7 years of experience, they mean that. And you have folks like me (15+) looking for jobs, too.

*kicks the economy*

Jamesaritchie
12-20-2011, 09:09 PM
What does the typical writer do to make a living? What do you do?



So I'm curious to see how other writers do it. :-)

Same things as any other group of people. I just write, though there have been years when I made an inordinate amount of money from a hobby I had for a time, which was finding and selling first editions and rare books.

But I have writer friends who work at fast food joints, one who worked at NASA before he retired, another who has a job with a title I can't pronounce , and another who makes something over 100k per year as a stockbroker. I know three writers who own used bookstores, and one who quit a fairly decent 35k day job two years ago, and now keeps a roof over his head, clothes on his back, and food on the table by playing poker.

I never have bought into the "Don't quit your day job" scenario. For some writers it's a stupid move, but it's the smartest thing other writers can do. It depends on individual circumstances, dedication, and talent.

It also depends on who is handing out the advice, and why.

HarryHoskins
12-20-2011, 09:20 PM
I work part-time (evenings) as a drunkard. :)

Rachel77
12-20-2011, 09:53 PM
Project management; I'm between the users and the programmers for our database/application.

Right now (when I'm not posting on AW during lunch), I'm testing the new version of our application to make sure all the reported bugs are fixed and no new ones were introduced.

Filigree
12-21-2011, 12:39 AM
I'm fortunate in that my 'day job' is something I love. I'm a commercial artist when hotels and designers want to pay me for pretty things on their walls. I'm a published and award-winning fine-craft artist when my book arts agents sell another of my sculptural pieces to a uni or museum. I also write ad-copy for local businesses, and work PT as a consultant in local galleries. I'll always do art, no matter how much my writing brings in.

Jamiekswriter
12-21-2011, 01:03 AM
I work full time as a tech writer and part time as a paralegal. I also sell handmade jewelry and knitted scarves at local craft fairs.

The tech and legal writing keep me honed and consise and the crafting helps keep my creative juices from drying up :D

Dave Hardy
12-21-2011, 01:18 AM
I work part-time (evenings) as a drunkard. :)

Are there openings in that field?

I smuggle goat cheese across the borders of totalitarian regimes.

OK, I'm actually an exceedingly boring bureaucrat.

The Lonely One
12-21-2011, 01:28 AM
Grad school applicant. Seriously, applying to these programs is a full-time job...

thebloodfiend
12-21-2011, 01:34 AM
Full time student for a BA in Architecture. And I work as a customer service assistant, but I do a lot of accounting.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-21-2011, 01:44 AM
Like jamie, I'm a technical writer.

But I'm feeling more and more removed from my career, and more distanced from it every year. I hate what it has turned into. I don't like the software we use nowadays, I hate the whole dynamic, single-source bullshit (DITA, I'm looking at you), and I know my quality has suffered for it. I may even begin looking into basic clerical work just so I can leave it at work at the end of the day and concentrate on my writing, now that it has begun dwarfing everything else in my life.

LilGreenBookworm
12-21-2011, 01:49 AM
Full time housekeeper, chef, counselor, safety instructor, nurse, detective, and clown...or, in short, I'm a stay at home mom and wife.

MokoBunny
12-21-2011, 02:51 AM
Unemployed :cry:and wishing I could find a job. I do Voice Over from time to time too but it's so difficult booking a gig. Especially when you live in a commercial city and no one wants to hear an ad with someone who sounds 12 trying to sell you car insurance.

goldmund
12-21-2011, 03:23 AM
Thanks to writing I do have a day job, and the best among my peers, too. I'm a writer/producer in the On-Air department of two cable TV stations, that is, I write scripts for movie trailers - things like: "What must happen... so that even a house starts to cry" for this Dark Water horror etc., and then I direct the VO session. If I went to an economy/administration school like most of my friends from school I'd be stuck in some office five days a week and still make less money. I'm quite indebted to my seemingly unrealistic passion!
And of course, I'm also a Dad... and this is the most demanding job of them all.

Of course, the TV job has its drawbacks. Most of the time I'm quite frustrated when the movie is a heap of cow dung and I'm supposed to make it sound exciting... still, it beats writing hymns to a washing powder 8-|

ladyleeona
12-21-2011, 03:33 AM
Is there any such thing as a typical writer?

As for me, I work in a library. Have done for the last seven years. It's a decent job all things considered. And I get first dibs on all the new books.

Jealous!


Thanks to writing I do have a day job, and the best among my peers, too. I'm a writer/producer in the On-Air department of two cable TV stations, that is, I write scripts for movie trailers - things like: "What must happen... so that even a house starts to cry" for this Dark Water horror etc., and then I direct the VO session. If I went to an economy/administration school like most of my friends from school I'd be stuck in some office five days a week and still make less money. I'm quite indebted to my seemingly unrealistic passion!
And of course, I'm also a Dad... and this is the most demanding job of them all.

Of course, the TV job has its drawbacks. Most of the time I'm quite frustrated when the movie is a heap of cow dung and I'm supposed to make it sound exciting... still, it beats writing hymns to a washing powder 8-|

I would love to do movie trailers. They are my favorite part of going to watch a movie :)

Me, well, I'm a grad student til May, then...who knows. Hopefully a tech at a local research center.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-21-2011, 05:16 AM
Sorry crasters missed your post above about getting into tech writing. I was very lucky (I wonder about that now...) in that I went back to school in the '90s since I crapped out of getting a degree my first time thru.

I wasn't sure if I still wanted to major in art, since I was considering practicality and paychecks. But I do not have a head for business, and wasn't sure what was out there. I ended up taking some basic courses just to check things out, and had to take a technical writing class.

The prof and I got along really well, and one night we were sitting outside the tech writing lab talking (before EVERYONE had a computer, I had to go to the lab to get all my projects done...).

"I could really see you doing this for a living," he said.
"Really? How much do technical writers make?" I asked.
He told me, and that decided me.
So I got an art history major (they were easier classes to take since I was busting my hump with the tech writing projects, but I could only get a minor in that, and all my credits were in art), with an English minor with a technical writing certification.

I was fortunate enough to graduate at the height of the dot.com/telecom boom, and managed to get 7 years at the first company that hired me, so got a nice grounding in operating systems, databases, and the interactive voice response units that we manufactured. Also had an amazing editor who really kicked my butt into shape grammatically and otherwise.

Don't count on that now. Everything is contract-- you're lucky to get 6 months at a place. But there are still programs in professional writing out there. We have one here at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton. I know UW in Seattle, UNC in Raleigh, and Northeastern all had good graduate programs when I was checking. Their bachelors' programs might not be bad either.

SBibb
12-21-2011, 06:07 AM
I didn't expect to get such a large response. :-)

But cool, I was curious to know what sort of things people did, and it's neat to know there's such a wide variety of things (though technical writer seems to be a pretty big one). :-)

jaksen
12-21-2011, 06:21 AM
I was a teacher (science) for 35 years. Bio degree, but I taught middle school science and loved it. Now retired.

Retirement does not guarantee my days are committed to writing. I help care for one elderly parent and an adult child who is both autistic and mentally retarded.

So I guess I still have a day job - and writing.

AutumnWrite
12-21-2011, 06:46 AM
I've been in advertising for sixteen years, originally in print production and now more recently in the operations end as the digital age has grown.

Alley1958
12-21-2011, 06:48 AM
Accounting Technician.

Anaquana
12-21-2011, 07:03 AM
I'm one of the very lucky few who was able to quit my day job (retail hell) to concentrate on writing because my husband makes enough to support us until I start getting published.

Kateness
12-21-2011, 07:06 AM
Paralegal/superstar detective for my attorneys. :D




That would be awesome! I bet you have some stories...



Oh, man. You have no freaking clue.

:D

happywritermom
12-21-2011, 07:51 AM
I worked 11 years as a newspaper reporter, soaking in all kinds of stuff that has found its way into my fiction.

After our first was born, I left journalism and worked part-time as a tech writer (for software), a web content editor, an adjunct English instructor and a freelance writer/editor while writing my first novel.

Then came more kids.

Regular hours became almost impossible (My husband travels a lot.). So these days, my primary job is mom to four awesome kids, including high-energy identical twin boys.

I work on my novels when I am able because I know this time with them is short. In another year, the last two kids will be in school full time.

Then I can go crazy on fiction.

blacbird
12-21-2011, 08:17 AM
Biostratigraphic palynologist.

Now, aren't you sorry you asked?

caw

AndreaGS
12-21-2011, 08:59 AM
Contract analyst. I get to do quite a bit of writing, but it's definitely not fiction.

NeuroFizz
12-21-2011, 05:30 PM
Biostratigraphic palynologist.

Now, aren't you sorry you asked?

caw
You show your ages well.

Me? Neurobiologist/Professor (and Marine Biologist - I work on marine critters), and I love my day job as much as I love my writing. They each give a very different slate of intellectual challenges, which really float my boat.

CaroGirl
12-21-2011, 05:33 PM
Technical writer here.

willietheshakes
12-21-2011, 06:07 PM
Bookseller here. Author event coordinator.
Oh, and reviewer.

Christyp
12-21-2011, 08:40 PM
I'm blessed! My husband works a great job and makes enough money for me to stay home. Technically, I stay home because nobody would pay enough to pay for child care, but now I get to write and sew while I'm home. Not so easy to do that, though, during the summer when they're home.

acelticdream
12-24-2011, 10:08 AM
Hubby works in a furniture factory and I stay at home manning my own business - website design and hosting, and SEO services. Plus I am also an Internet Marketer.

I pretty much sit at a computer upwards of 18 hours a day - building/maintaining websites for clients, blogging, surfing traffic exchanges, admining the new traffic exchange I started, reading loads of fan fiction ... and occasionally writing whenever my muse decides to come back and talk to me.

C.H. Valentino
12-24-2011, 11:11 AM
One-man-band as a 911 operator and police, fire, and medical dispatcher servicing about 30,000 people.

This thread is interesting as hell. Cool to see what everyone "does."

Snitchcat
12-24-2011, 08:18 PM
Technical writer / marketer

Katrina S. Forest
12-24-2011, 08:42 PM
Part-time preschool teacher and part-time accounting assistant.

Word Jedi
12-24-2011, 09:11 PM
I'll be unemployed soon. I did work as an account manager for a defense contractor. They're closing the site I work at.

"Now would be a great time to finish your novel," said my wife.

I hope she doesn't have hallucinations about me pulling in a six-figure deal on my first book.

crunchyblanket
12-24-2011, 10:21 PM
I'm a medical laboratory assistant. I test blood, bodily fluids and things taken out of the human body. It's pretty awesome.

Carrie in PA
12-25-2011, 03:02 AM
I work in the exciting field of loan processing.

Chrissy
12-25-2011, 03:13 AM
I work in the exciting field of loan processing.

I think I beat this. I'm an accountant. That's right folks. In fact, I'm a certified public accountant, specializing in tax returns.

God, no wonder I write. :)

silentpoet
12-25-2011, 01:50 PM
Night job is as a CNA at an assisted living facility. 2 hours of work, 10 hours of staying awake. But it does allow me to work on my writing in the downtime.

stray
12-25-2011, 01:57 PM
English language teacher in Bangkok. I really enjoy the work, but the pay sucks.

buz
12-25-2011, 05:55 PM
Farm animal...technician....

I clean up poop. Occasionally I put food in the front so I have more poop to clean up later. :)

bearilou
12-25-2011, 05:58 PM
Farm animal...technician....

I clean up poop. Occasionally I put food in the front so I have more poop to clean up later. :)

At least you keep yourself busy!

shakeysix
12-25-2011, 06:59 PM
i am a high school teacher in a very small rural high school. so small we play 8 man football. i used to teach college english which involved a lot of intensive grading. now i teach spanish 1&2 and ell--english as a second language-- much easier grading.

i generally edit in the evenings and weekends through the school year and save my 10 week vacation for creating new stuff. the best thing about teaching is the paid vacations. another good thing is spending my days with kids--they do see the world in a different light. i like to listen to their stories. keeps my mind fresh.

the bad thing is that it takes a lot of time outside of school hours. i sponsor scholar's bowl and the sophomore class. some evenings and some weekends i have to drive a carfull of teens far and wide to go to tournaments. i also must work concession stands, car washes, etc. in a pinch i translate for our spanish speaking parents. i have filled in serving in the lunch line and i helped clean up after a couple of tornadoes--the greensburg tornado skimmed our town. once i subbed a class that was castrating pigs. all things that keep me from writing but at least i'm not at home all day in a rut.--s6

Crayonz
12-25-2011, 08:20 PM
I just live and write about it - the joys of sitting in the outhouse at 30 below, the finer points of keeping freindly relations with bears and moose, kayaking obscure backwaters, cutting firewood, growing a garden ...

I wanna be you when I grow up.

Er... Full-time student working on becoming a paramedic. :)

buz
12-26-2011, 03:13 AM
At least you keep yourself busy!

Poop cleaning is the ultimate ephemeral art. ;)

Anjasa
12-27-2011, 05:24 AM
I'm a well paid office worker :) I've had many different positions, and luckily there's a good few of them that afford me the time and privacy to write, though certainly not all.

JBuck
12-28-2011, 02:17 PM
I work in a gorgeous little bookstore.
It's my dream job. I get to chat to customers about books and authors all day long.
And there is nothing like the smell of fresh books out of the box!
'Tis a dream.

Lunatique
12-28-2011, 07:02 PM
I actually started as a comic book artist, then wrote/illustrated my own series for a few years. After that I worked in video games as an artist, then in CG animation/film/TV as a creator/writer/director/art director, and also worked as a songwriter/composer, and also normal "non-creative jobs" when I had to.

So writing has been part of my creative career all along.

Currently I'm teaching art in an online workshop while writing in my free time.

Windcutter
12-29-2011, 02:42 AM
I'm a part time content analyst for a large company dealing with web tech. Convenient, but that's it. I used to be in advertising and business consulting, I actually have a nice kind of education that used to impress my employers, but I wish I'd gone into science instead. Business is totally boring.

elindsen
12-29-2011, 07:33 AM
Hairstylist :)

Sarashay
12-29-2011, 07:37 AM
I don't have a day job to quit right now. :/

Last proper job was as a paralegal.

nitaworm
12-29-2011, 08:44 AM
An engineer. So I create things all day and come home and write about the things I wish I had the time and money to create :-D

Angela
12-29-2011, 09:23 AM
I work in an insane asylum disguised as a restaurant. It was a job that started out as full-time and had the potential to turn into "something more", but it has been downgraded to a part-time position (without the company "officially" telling anyone, of course. :rant:) that appears to be a dead-end that doesn't really pay the bills.

I'm thankful to have a job in this economy, but I've been here for two years and my job is depressing me because I don't feel like it's helping me realize my full potential. And there's that thing about it not paying the bills. Needless to say I'm looking for something else. :)

Maramoser
12-29-2011, 10:49 PM
I'm currently a student of biochemistry and a lab assistant. Lord only knows what my job will end up being...

I used to be a grocery store cashier at a chain known for being a dump. Good stories there.

mgberg
12-30-2011, 12:41 AM
I'm a well paid office worker :) I've had many different positions, and luckily there's a good few of them that afford me the time and privacy to write, though certainly not all.
That's the spirit. I'm on a six month sabbatical right now (to write) and when I get back to work I'm going to set up my work station so I can write a little... Honestly, I do the actual work for about two hours of my day and then just goof off the rest. When a magazine is hitting deadline, I work a bit more of course. But I'm faster than most at what I do, and I get bored, even though I have some influence where I work.

Anyway... I'm a magazine art director. I started out as a journalist some fifteen years ago, but felt I wanted to sort of 'direct' the whole experience for the reader. Sound familiar? I actually think ad-ing is more like novel writing than journalism. I have the overview, I shape the individual stories so they fit their purpose, I decide (to an extent) what story goes where. And so on. I've learned so damn much about the creative process as well, having been involved in quite a few new concepts magazine births.

(Gosh, I hope I don't come off as Mr. Twat here. I'm very humble ordinarily. Really.)

So now I feel I'm quite prepared to delve deeper into this the hardest of all professions. I'm going to blow up and chase the wrong girl, so to speak, a few times, but at least that's not new to me. My self esteem has been hung out to dry so many times it's now dry and hard as brick.

areteus
12-30-2011, 02:51 PM
I'm a medical laboratory assistant. I test blood, bodily fluids and things taken out of the human body. It's pretty awesome.

A job I have also done (well, as a volunteer... while unemployed I did one day a week at a Haemotology lab just to keep my hand in for research work). I was offered the chance to learn to be a phlembologist at uni but turned it down due to being too squeamish (about veins not blood, blood I can happily bathe in but veins freak me out)

Grunkins
12-30-2011, 04:48 PM
Hotel industry.

I meet interesting people from all over the world . . . and listen to them complain.

A.P.M.
12-31-2011, 03:40 AM
I'm a graduate student in the neurosciences. A few years away from that golden PhD...

BardSkye
12-31-2011, 08:00 AM
Night concierge on 12-hour shifts.

J. Koyanagi
01-04-2012, 12:33 AM
I work as a vet assistant. I love it, but it's hard work!

Anjasa
01-04-2012, 12:58 AM
That's the spirit. I'm on a six month sabbatical right now (to write) and when I get back to work I'm going to set up my work station so I can write a little... Honestly, I do the actual work for about two hours of my day and then just goof off the rest. When a magazine is hitting deadline, I work a bit more of course. But I'm faster than most at what I do, and I get bored, even though I have some influence where I work.

At one position, I was incredibly bored. There wasn't enough work to get me through the day, and so I asked the director for work.

After this, I got called in and told off by three senior managers, and threatened that if I didn't look busier, I might lose my job. They didn't want me to work. They refused to give me more work, even though I wanted to be helpful! They wanted me to look like I was working.

So I started writing erotica, and got praised to the moon and back about my improved work ethic.

It was after that point that I realized what people actually expect from me at work XD

Raula
01-04-2012, 03:00 AM
I'm training to be a History teacher, which as a historical writer should keep me living in the past :-D

NCHammerhead
01-04-2012, 04:34 AM
I spend my days managing a bunch of project managers in the corporate world, making sure that your cell phones and iPads keep you connected to the outside world.. not much excitement, not much opportunity for creative writing except when performance reviews roll around -- then I get to sharpen my skills in fiction writing :)

no intention of quitting the day job for a while though.. if I ever finish this novel and get it published, however, all bets are off

adarkfox
01-11-2012, 05:12 AM
I'm a graphic designer/production artist at a sign shop. Which means I do everything but drive the cranes. I design signage, cut and lay vinyl, wrap just about anything...

Sometimes I think fondly of my old cubicle job, where I spent the afternoons writing... but 95% of the time I love my job. It's a small work force and I do a lot of work that I can do with my mind elsewhere (typically frolicking in a field with plot bunnies).

Rhoda Nightingale
01-11-2012, 05:34 AM
I'm a baker. The pay could be better, but I love the hours and the pace. It's fun.

Brutal Mustang
01-11-2012, 05:50 AM
I'm the head finisher at a machine shop. I make ugly slabs of metal all sparkly, with my assortment of belt sanders and angle grinders. Last week, I got to work on the control panel for a spacecraft data simulator. So yeah, I have too much fun at work.

cornetto
01-12-2012, 02:20 AM
Nursery manager/horticulturist for a small nursery. We grow and sell bedding and vegetable plants, component plants, geraniums, perennials, shrubs, ornamental trees, fruit trees, smalls fruits and vines, natives, evergreens, poinsettias and koi. We also have a store full of high-end garden stuff and oh so many ways to separate people from their money.

Weird as this sounds, we don't have lights in the greenhouses or in the sales lot, so it is literally a day job. Okay, there are lights in the store, but I avoid it as much as possible.

This is the offseason. We start transplanting in February, digging/processing/potting nursery stock in March, stocking in April... then all hell breaks loose. I usually work 10 hour days, 7 days a week from mid April to Memorial Day. Rest of the year it's 8 to 5, M-F. One year, due to a series of freak illnesses and injuries, I worked 67 days in a row, one day off, then another 30 days before things got back to normal. I was getting double paychecks for awhile there.

I love the work, but after 25 years, I'm getting a little burned out with the whole customer thing. People are too impatient, too unrealistic and just fuckin' rude. It's gotten to where I won't deal with a customer until they turn all their electronic crap off.

Whisky
01-12-2012, 07:16 AM
I'm a reference librarian and information literacy instructor at a small-ish university. :D

cwfgal
01-12-2012, 10:53 PM
I'm a registered nurse, and I've been working in an ER for the past eleven years. Talk about fodder for character and story ideas....

I love what I do, it pays well, offers good benefits, and my schedule is flexible enough to give me plenty of writing time. So much so that I also sell real estate part time simply because it's fun and I like doing it.

Though I have a pretty steady income from my novel writing at this point, it's still too little and too unpredictable to be my sole source of income.

But I'm planning to retire in another 8 years and I'm hoping writing income along with my part time realtor earnings and my social security will be enough to carry me through. We'll see.

Beth

Zaziki Sauce
01-13-2012, 12:08 AM
It's interesting to see some biology-related jobs! I got accepted into medical school, decided I will never be happy as a doctor, and left. Now I'm part of the demographic of starving post-college students. Somehow I feel like some people will smack me on the head, especially nurse cwfgal, for my lack of planning.

But no regrets (I've moped quite enough). There is one thing I am certain I love, and that is to write. I hope to be back here with a success story.

JustJess
01-13-2012, 12:18 AM
I've really enjoyed reading the replies.

I am a birth doula (kind of like a professional labor "coach") I attend 2 births per month, most between 12-30hrs in length. I take pictures and also write birth stories for each client. Love my job except for being on-call all the time.

In addition to births, I have interviews, pre and postpartum visits to attend and plenty of phone and e-mail correspondence.

I'm also a Lamaze educator and teach birthing classes on the weekends.

Bogna
01-14-2012, 07:28 AM
Currently a student and triage volunteer. Eventually I will be an ER doctor.

cornetto
01-15-2012, 07:01 AM
It's interesting to see some biology-related jobs! I got accepted into medical school, decided I will never be happy as a doctor, and left. Now I'm part of the demographic of starving post-college students. Somehow I feel like some people will smack me on the head, especially nurse cwfgal, for my lack of planning.

But no regrets (I've moped quite enough). There is one thing I am certain I love, and that is to write. I hope to be back here with a success story.

One of my sisters is a neurologist. She has lots of horror stories about med school classmates who should have quit but kept hanging on and hanging on until they flunked out or fllipped out. If your heart isn't in it, you made the right choice to leave.

J.S.F.
01-15-2012, 10:45 AM
I've been teaching ESL in Japan for the last twenty-three years and enjoy doing it. I've been fortunate enough to have met a wide range of people and professions, from children (who, yes, do say the darndest things) to housewives, students, doctors, nurses, and researchers in many fields. It's a joy to teach them all and even if I make it big in the writing field (I wish!) then I'd still teach. It's something I can never let go of.

Elvirnith
01-15-2012, 11:42 AM
I'm a system administrator at a web hosting company. When your website is down, I'm the guy fixing things behind the scenes. :)

Zaziki Sauce
01-16-2012, 01:40 AM
One of my sisters is a neurologist. She has lots of horror stories about med school classmates who should have quit but kept hanging on and hanging on until they flunked out or fllipped out. If your heart isn't in it, you made the right choice to leave.

Thanks for the support, cornetto :) I admire your sister for making it all the way to becoming a neurologist!

Sevvy
01-16-2012, 05:25 AM
I'm a teller at a bank, which isn't too bad as far as day-jobs go. It passes quickly, my benefits are nice, and I don't leave feeling drained of all life (tired, but still functioning, unlike some other jobs I've worked).

I do want to note though, there seems to be some misconception about banker's hours and how wonderful they are. They aren't. We're in the branch a heck of a lot longer than the doors are open for sometimes. I will admit, the federal holidays are nice though. ^_^

JamesBaldwin
01-17-2012, 01:08 PM
I spend my nights in a cheap suit and earpiece, turfing out drunken ingrates as a casino gaming floor security officer. I alternate between loving and hating my job, because it can be insanely stressful and the workplace is sometimes very draining. I love my team, though, which makes up for a lot.

The rest of the week is spent writing and drawing - I'm thinking that I need to stop trying to be a freelance copywriter, and just focus in on the creative stuff.

angeluscado
01-17-2012, 07:04 PM
Legal secretary at a personal injury law firm. I do a lot of typing, but not a lot of my own writing - a lot of what I do is transcribing dictation. There's also the usual filing, covering for the receptionist when she's on lunch or sick and making sure that my bosses are ready for examinations/court/mediations.

I've been at this firm for two years and I don't hate it. Some days are better than others, but overall, it's a good job, I like my co-workers, the lawyers I work for are pretty awesome and we get some pretty decent perks.

Celia Cyanide
01-17-2012, 07:55 PM
I work as a submissive in a BDSM dungeon. I get beat up for a living.

heza
01-17-2012, 11:52 PM
I'm a technical writer, and I'm jealous of all the people who have day jobs they can draw from for stories. You all intimately know writing and something else. I know writing and... boring writing.

song_of_calliope
01-18-2012, 10:26 PM
I review engineering and scientific documents for content and grammar. The work is fairly enjoyable and, most importantly, I really like my colleagues.

The job isn't going to last much more than the next few years and we're in a rural area without many other employers, so we're trying to pay the mortgage off as quickly as possible - hopefully we'll finish before unemployment hits and then I'll have to find another way to scrounge for pocket change.

uncommonspirit
01-22-2012, 12:14 AM
I'm an artisan jeweler and gemologist. Been in business for 16 years. I sell my celtic inspired wares at highland games, sci-fi conventions and Renfairs. Last two years have been slow due to the economy, but ghostwriting has helped cover the gaps in my income.

Putting up the booth is getting harder as I get older. Selling books on the circuit seems to be a bit easier physically. Less stuff to haul in and most of the venues are indoors. :) I'm hoping to slowly switch my sales from jewelry to books over the next few years.

Pyekett
01-22-2012, 12:27 AM
I get paid to write opinion pieces. It's a long story.