R.I.P. Day Job

When I was a kid, I thought that everybody who was a writer was a full-time writer. If you wrote books, that’s entirely how you made your living…and, oooohhhh, what a sweet, sweet deal that would be!

In the ’90s, I discovered GEnie (basically, the internet without pictures) and got to interact with real writers for the first time. This is when I found that many of them, including authors whose book I’d just bought that week at my local bookstore, also had day jobs. What a bunch of bulls**t, right? And soon (well, not THAT soon) I, too, would experience the phenomena of selling a book for considerably less than truckloads of gold.

So I’ve worked for the same very large corporation for eighteen (!) years. I’ve talked about it a lot on podcast interviews and at conventions, but almost never here on my blog or on social media. Partly because 1) It is not a job filled with non-stop excitement and wacky anecdotes, and 2) I occasionally write books like Facial, where it feels like a wise idea to keep the day job and writing life in two very separate compartments.

Meanwhile, my writing career has had a gradual-but-consistent ascent. Almost every year better than the last, but no big “Yes!!! This changes everything!!!” moment. The idea of “Oh, what glorious things I could accomplish if I had my forty hours a week back!” comes up a lot, but day jobs provide neat things like reliable income. When you have a novel, let’s call it Wolf Hunt, where you never got either half of your advance even though the contract is signed and the manuscript has been delivered and edited and it’s a mass market paperback due out in four months but you’re hearing that the publisher’s horror line is on the verge of crashing and burning and then suddenly your editor gets laid off, it’s easy to think, “Wow, I’m glad I wasn’t counting on that money to pay the rent!”

But, finally, after those eighteen years, I have quit my day job. My last day is Friday.

Why did I do it? The answer I’d like to give is, “I got a massive book deal and I’m rich, rich, rich! Hahahahaha! Writhe in jealousy, peasants! Dance for my amusement!”

The actual answer is: dumbasses in upper management.

This is a good thing. When your writing career is going well, but you’re hesitant to make the scary leap to full-time, what you want most in the world is a shift in the corporate structure that leaves you at the mercy of a couple of dumbasses who make sweeping dumbass changes. Then you can say, “Bite me!” and quit.

(Or you can, y’know, just think it. No need to cause a scene.)

So that’s the deal. Full-time writer in a week. What does this mean for future books, except that there will be more of them? Watch for more updates throughout the week…

23 Responses to “R.I.P. Day Job”

  1. Steve Black Says:

    Best of luck to you Jeff. I think about leaving my job quite frequently but I’ve never had the courage. Hats off to you mate!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kimberly A Bettes Says:

    I’m happy for you, Jeff. Now you have more time to write. And the best part about it is you don’t even have to get dressed! That’s right. You can roll out of bed, scratch your ass, stretch and yawn, and spend the rest of your day writing in your boxers or your jammies or whatever it is you sleep in. It’s awesome! Welcome to the club, buddy. The pantsless do-whatever-we-want cool club. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. evilanche Says:

    Congrats, man! Live the dream!


  4. MommaCat Says:

    I’m so happy for you, Jeff! I’ll say BITE ME to your ex-corp and you do the same to mine. WHOO-EFFin- hoooo! (I’ve been gone almost 2 years).


    • jeffstrand Says:

      Can’t do it. What if I’m charmed by your ex-corp and they offer me a job that I can’t resist? I’d be right back where I started.


  5. Zed Amadeo Says:

    Congrats on making the shift! Looking forward to even more books from you now that you have more time to write them.


  6. dotti4 Says:

    Congrats, Jeff! Now you can write 5 times more books!


  7. Pete Kahle Says:

    I’m a) ecstatic for you, b) extremely jealous for me and c)rejoicing for the legions of fans who will be exposed to your current and future projects

    Yay, Jeff!


  8. darkscrybe Says:

    Congrats Jeff – and best of luck!


  9. Laura Says:

    Tomorrow is never guaranteed so congratulations on seizing the day. Time goes by faster every day and your choice to pursue your passion could have been taken from you any day by death or disability. Enjoy the journey!


  10. Mike Kazmierczak Says:

    I’m not sure if congrats is the appropriate response when dealing with dumbasses in upper management but I’ll throw it out there for you. Congrats! As a Strand junkie, you can continue to count on me to support your book career.

    By the way, I recently read my 8-year-old daughter ELROD MCBUGLE ON THE LOOSE and she loved it! She asked for the next book in the series. I had to explain that the author had a day job and was unable to work on a sequel quite yet but maybe someday he would. Well, since you will soon have more “free time,” I’m hoping for her sake that you can start work on that sequel.



  11. Dan Reitz Says:

    This is great news! That means it won’t be long before I can sell all my lettered editions of your books from massive profits! Woo hoo! (I also sense a horror book starring dumbass bosses getting theirs in some gloriously gory way in the near future.) congrats on the liberation.


  12. Dan Reitz Says:

    Nope, still hoarding them like my gold.


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