(Yes, I’m aware that the title is not the right spelling of the term…)
Four years ago today, I started this blog. Two months before I published the first entry, the Powers That Be at my place of employment took me out of the writer’s department for the second time and stuck me back on the desktop publishing assembly line — the same position where I had started almost ten years before that. I was dying to talk about that whole debacle when I began blogging, but after reading the stories of people (namely Heather Armstrong of dooce.com) who were fired because they talked complained about work in their blogs, I decided I probably shouldn’t. Plus, anytime I was tempted to vent on the Web, Cinlach shot the idea down gently reminded me that doing so wouldn’t be prudent.
Now, of course, it’s been nine months since corporate closed up shop, so neener neener.
The last three years at that office were mentally and emotionally oppressive at times. I had to watch writing work completely bypass me and go to others (a couple of whom were actually hired from outside the company to write) because our VP had his own way of wanting to do things that didn’t include a writing department. He wanted to outsource freelancers. As more new people were hired, I could feel the resentment rising inside of me, especially when some people were getting positions they wanted after screwing up million-dollar accounts. I felt like people began to forget that I could write, and I was afraid of being drowned out altogether.
And don’t even get me started on the marketing rep who once sat right behind me. Granted, she didn’t know I had been on the writing staff, but when showing the former layout/content of our company’s main marketing piece to a new sales assistant, she said, “Scary, huh?” At the first opportunity, I wheeled my chair over to her desk and told her that there were those of us who worked hard to make that book valuable to our customers, and we were proud of that work. What I would have liked to have added was that just because the doofus VP* said that the majority of it was useless doesn’t mean it was trash.
Could I have left? Sure, and I tried. Did I try hard enough? Probably not, and that’s something I’ve lived with and learned from and tried not to regret.
So when I first started blogging, I said I was doing so to create another outlet for my writing, and to a point that was true. Now, however, I realize that deep down the bigger reason was the fear of my ability being forgotten, and incidents like the marketing rep — along with just the gradual surprise of newer employees when they found out that I was a writer — made me believe that could happen. It’s the same fear I have now as I scan job listing after job listing and as I apply for writing jobs and end up being under- or overqualified.
What I learned after I began blogging, though, was that I am the one who needs to remember that I’m the writer. I can’t let other people define who I am, and that’s a fact that’s hard to remember in this frustrating time. But what helped bring me to this realization was coming to this site, sometimes every day — publishing writing prompts, the occasional poem, a draft of a short story or novel excerpt, a song or book review, and a lot of random stuff. So you’ll probably see more stuff around here, and hopefully, you’ll stick around.
*The doofus VP (who eventually and unfortunately became P) was instrumental in running the company into the ground. He was strongly urged to leave resigned four months before corporate announced they were selling us to our competition.