I have a bad feeling about the publishing company where I work on a full-time/part-time basis. I and a few other writers have survived this company’s first round of layoffs, and management has said that the cost savings from those firings should keep our division profitable. But … I just can’t help but shake the feling that all of our jobs here are on the verge of disappearing.
Maybe it’s what my publisher told me this morning: He had to take the train into work today. That’s rare for my boss, an avid hater of anything to do with public transportation. Turns out, though, that the company bigwigs have decided that employees who drive have to pay for their own parking. In downtown Chicago, that’s pricey.
“They’re cutting everything to the bone,” my pubisher told me.
This makes me nervous.
I’m already jumpy, though. My wife and I did our taxes yesterday. Turns out, I made more money from freelance writing last year than I did in 2007. Problem is, it didn’t feel like it. Maybe that’s because my 401(k) dropped so severely. Or maybe it’s because the value of our home plummetted.
Maybe my nerves are jangled because some of my best freelance clients are struggling, too. One home magazine that I wrote for on a semi-regular basis just folded. Another has slashed its freelance budget. Still another is losing my favorite editor and not replacing her.
These are tough times for publishing, as they are for so many other industries.
Because of this, I know that I should be taking my own advice and be looking more actively for another full-time job. If I lose my current full-time/part-time job, my freelance writing will keep my family afloat. But it’ll be awfully, awfully tough.
It’s nerve-wracking, though, when you look at your profession and realize that it’s dying a slow but steady death. There’s online writing, of course, but that doesn’t pay well.
Now I know how my wife felt when she worked as an apparel designer. She was logging time at Chicago’s Montgomery Ward’s as it went under. She looked at her field and realized that it was dying, with most of the business going overseas.
After raising our two sons, my wife is now returning to school to train herself for a new career. I think it’s a wonderful move. I just hope that I don’t have to do the same thing.