Monday, January 9, 2017

Where ya been, Ben?

It's been a while since I posted on this blog, I know. It's also been a long while since I posted on Twitter, talked about my writing, let alone really had a good writing session. What's been going on, some of you might have been asking?

In August of last year, my family moved up to Ohio, where my wife is a native. This involved me quitting my full-time job at the time, preparing things in boxes, arranging for a truck, etc. Once I got up there, I had the fun task of continuing what I had started back in Virginia: getting a job. This meant playing the "apply for a job" game. Those who have engaged in this game know it can be a frustrating one. Between vague rejections that amount to "You don't suck, but you do suck," and having your heart played by potential employers ("This was a great interview, you're an outstanding candidate!" *sends rejection email the next day*), it can all take a toll on your ego. Add to this that when I finally did get a job, it was a part-time one with incompetent management (eg., forgetting that we have to work Christmas Eve, and throwing me on the shift last minute - not making that up), and management that wasn't even present in the building 99% of the time. One of my coworkers was an extremely toxic employee who thought every new employee was her replacement (and called me as much), thought everything you did was an act against her, and blew a gasket at you if you got fifteen extra minutes on your schedule and she didn't. Eventually I did complain to management, and they did straighten it out a little bit, but it didn't do much to make me want to stay there. What's more, it was having a toll on my desire to do anything else that brought me joy. I went home to my family bitter, and I had no desire to write, draw, read, or anything else, because on my mind was the fact that I had to go back to work the next day. It's really astounding just how much of an effect a toxic coworker can have. I actually did some research and found that 54% of employees are more likely to quit because of one, yet only 1% of workplace bullies are ever fired because of their attitude. But I digress...

Part of me wanted to resign from my job and become a full-time author, while still doing freelance design jobs on the side for sustainable income. The only dilemma is, at this moment, I don't make enough to justify going full-time. It's also harder when you have family to support, and can't just make a shot in the dark. Some full-time indie authors are women with husbands who already work full-time, or are husbands whose wives have taken up the mantle of having a full-time job. If that works for them, great, but I didn't want my wife working and taking time away from our daughter. As the reality of this situation set in, yet another potential escape from my nightmare seemed to have crashed and burned.

Ever have a moment where nothing you do seems to prosper or be blessed? That was my condition. I got into a deep depression. I didn't see any real value in myself. I didn't see any value in my work. Here I was, in my 30's, and stuck in a part-time job, barely able to afford for my whole family. Nothing I did seemed to help. I tried applying to other jobs, but continued facing rejection. I had no impetus to do anything but remain stuck in my life.

Now things have changed around. I got a full-time job offer which I accepted, and I resigned from my last job. The day after, I discovered my trust writer's journal, started looking through it, and soon began to add new ideas and concepts. My confidence was rejuvenated. Suddenly my creativity had returned. As cliche as it may sound, getting away from the toxic environment had given me a sense of self-worth that made me want to be creative and continue exploring my other talents.

Bear in mind I've been lurking on Twitter, and I've seen some of you sending me DM's, tagging me, etc. I did see it, and I intend to respond to you all as soon as possible. My goal is to get back into the swing of things, writing and doing what I love the most. So keep an eye on Twitter and the blog, because there'll be a lot more updates ahead!


  1. Man, Ben, that is a real horror story! I can relate. Had the whole doggone job being toxic. Government. 30 years of toxicity. Am very glad you got out and are getting back into the swing of things. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... Life is always better when the sun is shining.

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