I don't remember if I've mentioned this before (primarily because it's not completely writing related) but I've been pondering where I want to go with my professional life. You see, I'm currently a govt IT worker and while I get paid decently enough, I find it no longer fulfilling like it used to be.
The problem with making good money is that switching jobs might mean making less - something that can be difficult when you're supporting a family. I have spent the many weeks since graduation examining where I am, where I'd like to be, and figuring out what it would take to get there. I take my role as my family's provider very seriously, and I have included my wife in all my thoughts and musings.
I decided on basically three possible courses of action. I could remain where I am and retire in another 16 years. I've worked there 16 already, but because of my age, I can't start receiving retirement for some time to come (age 55). This is a sobering thought, because I'm fairly certain I don't want to do this type of work for another 16 years and there really isn't anywhere to advance to.
Another option I have been considering is going back for my Masters degree. I could either go for a Masters in IT - Security or choose a degree in an entirely new direction. The IT degree has some great benefits, one of which is that the program fulfills the basic certifications required for employment by the National Security Agency (as well as other comparable security employers). Such a degree might open significant doors for me.
A third option I have been weighing is working towards becoming a full time writer. This is what we'd all like to do, isn't it. Be able to sit at home and just write all day, in our pajamas no less. There are significant drawbacks to this choice however, most importantly the lack of benefits of any kind (i.e. medical, 401K, etc). I know there are plenty of you out there who do it all the time (and probably make a decent enough living), but this one scares me more than any other.
Last but not least, I have been considering a mentor position working for Western Governors University - the college I recently graduated from. You see, every student at WGU is assigned a mentor that guides them through their degree and helps keep them focused, all the way through to graduation. I was extremely impressed by my own mentor, and I have thought for some time now how much fun that would be. I have also thought how fulfilling it could be, helping people make it through college. The kicker of course is that the entire school is online, so (after a 4-6 month training period at WGU) I would be able to work from home. They also have great benefits, which satisfies the provider in me.
In the end, I've decided I am going back to get my Masters degree after all. I haven't decided WHICH one I will go for, but I'm scheduled to talk to an enrollment councillor soon. I have also decided that I will keep my options open, but I will either be using my degree to go somewhere security related in IT or become a mentor. It will just depend on what opportunities present themselves when I am done.
Don't worry though, fellow writers. Despite the fact that currently I am discounting becoming a full-time writer, I have no intention of stopping. I am just not ready to bet my family's farm (so-to-speak) on it. If I do manage to write a best seller (that sells millions of course), you can rest assured that my plans will change once more. I will continue to write every day, and I will probably still take a writing class here and there where I can.
I feel much better now that I've made a decision - now that I know where I want to go. Kind of ironic, isn't it? In my real life, I like to know where I'm headed. I like to know that my world is safe and secure. In my writing however, I'm content to let the story go where it will, no matter what dangers it holds for my characters. Kind of funny, actually.