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Nope. Still not over it. Still not finished with feeling that the world is a little bit happier place because of that wonderful Wedding on Friday.

Also, all this past weekend I had to catch up on bits of that fabulous Wedding that I missed on Friday because, you see: I HAVE A JOB (and I couldn’t spend the day in front of the TV like I wanted).

Yes, I HAVE A JOB. A full time, M-F, 9-5 JOB.

It was several weeks ago when I was totally exasperated about the noodling persnickety moronic corrections I had to make to the Damn France Book that I wondered if book writin’ was all I was good for. I’m not exactly loaded with useful talents but this book was killing me and I thought, “Is there an easier way for a writer to make a living?”

Which was totally hypothetical, since I don’t really “make a living” writing books. But I was ready to either convince myself that this was all I was good for SO BUCK UP, or maybe there was something productive out there that I could do instead of screw up the French and English language as is my wont.

So I googled Writing Jobs on Long Island and this job listing popped up, posted just 40 minutes previously, and it sounded too good to be true but I sent in my resume. I had an interview on Thursday during which I heard myself say, Yes, I could start on Monday.

Voila: I’m a professional, M-F 9-5 writer.

I haven’t mentioned it until now because, well, I haven’t left the house in about five years and I wasn’t sure I could hang with the M-F 9-5. But it’s been over a month and so far — so good! I LOVE it!

Every day, I write three or four 300-word press releases for a national professional organization HQ’d on the Isle of Long. On any given day I might have to write about the Dean of a prestigious New York University who wants to announce a recent award for a research paper, or the bio-chemist working on next-generation cancer drugs who just got some elite laboratory rating, or a lady who sells Star Trek memorabilia who just opened an annex to her Jedi Emporium. I never know. It takes all kinds: I’m endlessly intrigued by how many different ways there are, out there in the USofA, to find purpose and fulfillment, meaning and individuality in work. It’s very inspiring.

I sit at a desk and I write. Then I go to the next assignment, and I write that. And then I go to the next assignment, and I write that. I look through the bio for a catchy headline, I read the C.V. to shape a narrative, I do research so I understand what the heck I’m writing about (I had the person in charge of supply chain for the ballistic missile defence system and I had to look up every  other word in that resume), and then I compose 300 words that I’m proud of.

And then I go to the next assignment.

I’m the senior writer of a staff of three — senior in experience and by about 30 years. I work with recent college grads — journalism grads — whose skills and work ethic are a bit unformed as yet. But my boss (this is absolutely true) saw that I was having some challenges coping with the hearts and minds of 24-year-olds and she gave me a very helpful pamphlet called Working With Generation Y.

Suffice it to say, Gen Y was raised in such a way (constant praise, undeserved self-esteem, rock-solid belief that what they don’t know isn’t worth knowing, etc.) that they still expect to get medals just for showing up.

But enough about them — this is about me! I thought I’d give you all a look at a Day in the Life of a Professional Writer.

Here is where I go to write professionally:

Oh, sure, it looks like a big non-descript office building, but that’s only because it is.

Here is my desk, where I sit facing a beige wall so I can concentrate better on my professional writing:

I tried brewing tea using micro-waved water for the first week. Now I have a nifty thermos that I fill every morning with Assam and vanilla sugar, and I bring it to work with my own tea cup and sweater. I’ve never worked in an office that wasn’t too damn cold — and this place is not exception.

Our office has a lunch room — a nice, full-size kitchen with small cafe tables and chairs. But I need a little get-away, so I do what a lot of my co-workers do. I go to the off-site lunchroom:

Also known as my car.

Yes, I slouch in the back seat, put my feet up, and sit in my own cocoon for an hour.

At first, when I heard that this is what people did during the lunch hour I thought Jeeze, that’s so pathetic.

But now that I’ve given it a try, I rather enjoy the weirdness and Americanness of it. And I really like the privacy.

Because, now that I’m out of the house, and Top Cat is miles away, I can indulge in my favorite lunch without having someone (husband) judging me:


This job is fate. It lets me use my writing ability to tell other people’ s important stories, which is the best use a writer can put her words to.

But also, since the whole thing was such a fluke — I wasn’t actually looking for a real job so much as looking for proof that there wasn’t a real job out there for me — I knew I had to take it. Only twice before in my life has the perfect job come my way so randomly. And both jobs were experiences that totally changed my life.

So I knew that there was now way I couldn’t not take this job. I don’t know what’s in store for me here, but I know I’m here because the universe wants me here.

And I’m A-OK with that.

Anybody else out there ever have the perfect job fall into place? And did it turn out PERFECT?? Or are you still hoping for a second chance?

10 comments to A Day in the Life of a Professional Writer

  • Congratulations! (Also intended for the person who was smart enough to employ you – bet they are thanking their lucky stars that their job came up just when you Googled!)

  • Wow, does this mean you’ll be getting, like, an actual *paycheck*?? I’m feeling a pang of envy here. (Because I remember those. Vaguely.)

  • Nadine

    I got my perfect job by the New York Times Classified back in the mid-80s. Unfortunately, my dream job was out-sourced to India in 2000. I guess I should be grateful for a mostly happy 15-year run but I still miss that job.

    Now I work in NYC rentals and I run into Gen Xers and Yers all the time as clients. I don’t get their fascination with their cell phones and Facebook. I LIKE my privacy. I want that book the explains the Xers — please tell us the title!

  • Susie

    Cool the way things sometimes show up, I’m sooo very happy this came along for you!
    Congrats on your success!
    I’ve never had a perfect, real, paying job and always felt I’m missing something important.
    I’ve done lots of volunteer stuff, but not much paid stuff….Several years ago the therapist I was seeing (ha, what a laugh) told me that if I DID get a paying job, it would totally change the dynamics of my marriage. Translation for me was: If I could earn my own way, I’d live alone with my cats.
    I’ve never pressed the issue, lol.

    So, is it part of your job to oversee the kids?
    And in the first photo, is that your car in front on the left? Inquiring mind wants to know….

  • JOAN

    Before my husband retired he had to “babysit” the Gen. Yers…one of the main reasons he retired. They would show up when they wanted to, wearing flip flops and jeans or shorts. One of the secretaries refused to wear shoes! Padded around the office like she was at the beach! Oye! Two weeks after joining the firm, one of the Y-esr wanted to know when he was getting a raise!!! And by the way, he’d be taking a 3 week vacation to tour Europe! Needless to say, my husband of the Dinosaur Era, couldn’t handle this and retired after 55 years in the Civil Engineering field.

    He’s now digging up fossils at Icthyosaur Park. Those dinosaurs are very compatible with him…and good company, they don’t talk back. HA


  • Tracey

    I had to go to intergenerational training – how to work with Boomers, Gen X (me), and Gen Y. It helped – I understood that there was a reason that the Gen Y employees appeared to be from another planet. We are allowed to work in neat jeans – it was the sweat pants and flip flops that I could not believe.

    Get an electric kettle for your tea. You can plug it in by your desk and it will boil water very quickly.

  • Deborah

    Monday was certainly a day of surprising news!

    Love the tale of synchronicity/serendipity. I’m still waiting for that perfect job. I did have a right time/right place experience on Monday which is nearly perfect but doesn’t pay (setting up a Monarch Waystation at the elementary school nearest me)

    I do know my perfect job would not entail 9-5 in an office. I kept trying to make myself conform to that, but I only last 6-9 months in those situations. I need to be able to move around.

    Teaching fits that bill, but coming back to it after 8 years was a total culture shock because Gen Y had happened: tell us EXACTLY what’s gonna be on the test! You expect us to learn all this stuff?! I have to READ all this stuff?! The class times aren’t convenient for me: can I just do an independent study? (hell, no!)

    Another change that had happened during my time off was the number of home-schooled kids who were college-aged. I routinely had at least one in every class, and they were exceptions to the Gen Y whiney-baby stuff above. They know how to buckle down and go at it on their own.

  • Mindy

    I am now in a perfect job and it was a fluke that I found it. After way too many years in international corporate marketing I decided I was done with airplanes and living my life on the road. But, I didn’t know what I could do “in town.”

    In my spare time I volunteer at the women’s prison near me and I love working with people who have decided they want to change their lives.

    A friend of mine who keeps tabs on the job postings on Craig’s List sent me an email with a link to a job he saw. The job was with a nonprofit whose mission is to improve outcomes for children whose parents are involved in the crimnal justice system. I interviewed at 11:00 one morning and they offered me the job at 9:00 the next morning. Voila, I was working in town (3 mile commute) and in an area for which I have a real passion. I have been here almost three years and I love it.

  • Rachel

    Amazing. I am gobsmacked. Wishing you every happiness. Just hoping this does not get in the way of your *real* life, which I have been enjoying so much.

  • Good for you! You gave up a day for US , and now we KNOW the special effort it must take to inform us all the time, of your new ideas.
    Now we know you are WORKING. Different set of rules.

    Working takes a lot of effort, and you have the family too.
    Keep us informed of the kittys and Top Cat, and neighborhood observations, PLEASE.
    Many of us wish we had a job, too……

    Your job sounds just right for a writer, a PUBLISHED writer, looking for the big time, like the rest of us who read you. You keep us informed of what it’s like to do “art”. And you are the BEST. Thanks, Vivian, for helping us get by in the art world.

    I vote for a CAT book next.We love your stories of the cats in your yard and basement.

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