Hi friends. I need your advice. For the past 7 years I've been self-employed as a writer. I self-publish books on Amazon and other platforms and I've had a lot of successes as well as a lot of...
I need your advice. For the past 7 years I've been self-employed as a writer. I self-publish books on Amazon and other platforms and I've had a lot of successes as well as a lot of failures. It's been amazing and weird and fun and stressful. But I'm just not where I hoped I'd be this far into my career. Being a professional artist is really hard.
I write under a pen name and the stuff I write--while I do think is good and I am proud of it--it's also slightly embarrassing. I don't share it with anybody, friends or family. Most people understand when I tell them why I can't share, but I know over the years my close friends have felt a little jilted that they don't get to know my secret.
I've dabbled with leaving professional writing behind, but after so long it feels like a daunting prospect to get back into the job market. My background is in IT consulting (6 years), sysadmin and jack-of-all-trades type stuff. So I understand managing servers, virtualization, networking, troubleshooting, and so on. I do have a minor background in programming, and last year I spent a lot of time learning Python, I learned Docker, I learned Git, I spent some time diving deeper into SQL. I'm skilled in Linux (and love it, actually). I don't have any certs. This past summer, I applied to a handful of local IT jobs (I left the big city years ago and now live in a very small market, almost 3 hours away from a larger city) and didn't hear anything back. I spoke to a recruiter who wasn't very helpful at all beyond saying he thought my resume looked good. I disagree, though... I don't think my resume is that good at all.
I just don't know what to do, though. I'm 40 years old. I've always wanted to be a writer, and I'm doing it. But I'm not writing the stuff I really want to write, and it's hard to pivot. Partly because of the sunk-cost fallacy, but also because starting a new pen name is very difficult and can take years to really gain traction. A lot of days, even though I work hard and push, I still feel like I'm failing. I'm not making the kind of money I'd like. The last two COVID years were pretty hard and I didn't work as much as I should have.
My partner works at a small company on the web development team, and I'm considering trying to get a meeting with her boss (who actually really likes me) about possibly getting some kind of junior developer position. They're currently having a tough time finding developers because their pay isn't really competitive with the current market and they don't offer work from home. They mainly do PHP for client websites, and while that's not my jam, it would at least be a foot in the door for a development role. I learned to program in high school, understand a lot of the fundamentals, and had a blast with Python last year (it came very easy to me). I taught myself HTML in the 90s, know CSS, and have some basic PHP experience from my WordPress days.
When I think about having a tech job again, I really just envision being able to work in Linux full-time, work on backend problems, and just solve higher-level issues. Not really a client-facing position. In a development role, I really don't know what I'd prefer. Just command-line, backend stuff maybe. I don't really care for frontend UX stuff. I'm most concerned with a good work-life balance, being able to leave my job at the office, and feel like I'm learning and doing and helping. I've got no FAANG aspirations or any desire to be some hot shot. I just want a chill life with chill people.
But I'm really just feeling lost. What do you think I should do?