The Harder, Less Traveled Road?

Yesterday, we hiked a great hike. We hiked the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park. Here are two pictures I took with my phone:



Inevitably, my employment / money-making status came up. When you aren’t making much money, that kind of thing comes up when you hike for 4-5 hours…

Julianne made a comment, something to the effect of “isn’t going back to a big company actually the easy choice?”. That was in response to me talking about how I just don’t seem to want to go back to a big company, but I feel I should be making money. There are two things in there I want to dissect. 1. Should. 2. What is the easy choice?

First, let’s talk about “should” and what it means when it comes to making money. I’ve been the primary bread-winner since we got married. It wasn’t necessarily planned that way, but it was inevitable given our different approaches to career, and more importantly, our approach to raising our children. We tried day care, it wasn’t for us. That, along with my ambition and education, naturally made it more likely I’d be making the money. And, let’s face it, like it or not, our society expects those roles to mostly be that way. I’m not endorsing anything with that statement, just stating what I think is still a truth.

So, should that be how we run our lives now? We don’t have children in the house. She is ramping up a successful business. She likes her business, and the people she’s meeting and helping. I want to write fiction, and do some other things to make the world a better place. SHOULD I be making most of the money now? Is should the right word, or is that some social construct I feel? I’ll admit, it isn’t pressure from anyone, but how I feel. It’s emotional, like I’ve let people down by not being the primary provider right now. But I have thought about this a lot, and we can live off our savings and what she makes for some time. So, there is no reason I should be the primary income generator any more.

That brings up the question of what the easy path is. While I’m not thrilled with the idea of going back to a big company, she’s right, it would be easier in many ways. You don’t have to go find clients. You know your job, and your hours, and probably have some idea what your boss wants. It’s kind of how our society is structured (that again)….most people go to work and do what a company wants them to do. Most people don’t own businesses or contract or whatever (though, that might be changingĀ  some these days, it’s still not how most people make money).

It probably is harder to find clients, or to convince people to buy your books, or to fund raise for non-profits. All things I want to do, actually. All things probably harder than going to an office and just doing what is expected. There is a lot of opportunity for rejection when you own your own things. There is a lot of opportunity for immediate negative feedback in rejection, failure, lack of sales, whatever. In most big companies, you might get that at your review (or not) and if you are really bad, more often than that. So, ya, doing your own thing without the big company safety net is harder.

But, just by asking that question, she properly challenged me (I am fairly sure, anyway) to really go do what I want. So I guess this is me, typing that I’m going to go out there and take a more challenging path, a path that may or may not make me happy. But, if I don’t take this path, I’ll never know. And, luckily for us, she’s probably going to cover our money needs while I try to make this all work for me.

What this means, exactly, I don’t know, not in total. It does mean I intend to continue writing fiction, and will publish a book at some point this year. It means I’ll keep doing part-time product management work. Beyond that? I guess we’ll see.

In the meantime, yes, yes I am happier. And, maybe, that should be easier for all of us.

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