A few weeks ago, the press ran a story about a woman in Des Moines who was fired for writing a romance novel on the job. This story grabbed my attention because believe me...it could have been me. At just about any point over an eight year period.
Years ago, to support myself “until the writing took off,” I took a job as a technical manuscript typist at a university. I was upfront about my career goals, and pleased to find the professors admired my ambition, even going as far as telling me I could use the word processor “after hours” for my writing.
Well, the “after hours” thing got a little blurry--whenever possible, I would steal a few minutes there at work. In fact, at one point, some graduate students admitted to going through my trash to read my drafts!
Here’s a picture of me from the early years. Check out what’s on my desk: novels from the university library.
In my seventh year, at which point I was a Staff Services Officer with my own office, the departmental head appeared in my doorway to tell me I’d been nominated for a Special Performance Award. I had to stand in front of the computer screen so he didn’t see the YA novel I was writing. Two months later, he appeared again to award me with a certificate and a check, and yep, caught me working on my book! I felt guilty, of course, but concluded I must be a pretty good multi-tasker to win that award while writing so many short stories and books on the job, so believe me, I cashed the check.
Anyway, it’s too bad that the Des Moines woman didn’t have the kind of look-the-other-way support that I did.
So now I am turning to you: have you ever attempted writing or homework or personal ventures at work? And how did that go?
What I'm Reading: Plum Lucky, Janet Evanovich
How to Hook a Hottie
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009