So all of you who emailed me after that last post with your “Thanks for the laughs,” and “Nice knowing you”? You can forget getting another company Christmas card from me, you cutesy ingrates!
The rest of you can all breathe easy. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve just been getting a needed dose of reality. Undergoing some realignment of my inadvisably high expectations.
Some context for that last post on survival. It’s been a really rough patch with that little cutie in the left corner the past few months since Christmas (she’s lucky she’s cute) (and yes, it’s only been 5 weeks; that was a little comic irony). So surviving is all I can expect in that area. But the spill-over into the work life resets me back to default setting…
“Okay, God. It’s up to you.”
And that’s a good thing. Another time and place, I might consider it weak. In fact, at times I’ve seen my struggle with the morality of our industry as misguided, self-righteous foolishness. But it’s only when I’m being this honest that the misguided, self-righteous fool manages to give my conscience its due.
Actually, strike that. Bachelors have consciences. Married men have wives.
My lovely wife helped me make today different. Night into day. The miracle of miracles, we ignored everything and stayed up late and she talked me down, helped me up, smacked me around, and put me back together. Far better place today. We’re determined to make more space for personal time and us time. Things already look better on the CBA front.
It’s at the bottom of the well, when you have nothing left to give, that you find you actually can see tightening that schedule another few cranks.
Of course, there will always be days when things fly out of whack. And you have to accept that the baby really is in charge at 2 am. And 2:30. And 3:15. And 4:25. And you have to accept the sometimes, despite all your work, your day is going down the toilet.
Then there’s the adult-resistant inner child who may bristle at your neat little scheduling of his spontaneous creativity, and decide it’s time for some shut eye, a good pint of Ben & Jerry’s for breakfast, and roll into the office by 11 (at least, that’s what I hear some other lazy editor-parents do).
And then you may even finally catch that umpteenth cold your kids have had since October. And there you’ll be, with all of that converging, and you don’t have the shields up. You don’t have any more shields to put up. You’re completely sans shields.
So things look a little more bleak when you’ve been robbed of your hard-earned perceptive faculties.
Many of us worry about how our industry is reflecting on God and our faith. I don’t think it’s wrong to worry and take our part seriously. It’s not even a bad idea to work (covertly, winsomely, carefully) for change. Simply, there are a few special stomach-churning elements that must be dealt with. In God’s timing and His way. And when you’re an acquisitions editor, you’re the one holding your finger in the dike saying, “No, no. Really. This is NOT who we want to work with. Believe me.” And then you’ll hear later that they sold 3 books elsewhere—oh, excuse me, that’s “ideas for books”—for 10 times your yearly salary. For each.
It’s not about the money. It’s not greed. It’s not selfishness. It’s not even so much the facts of business.
It’s pride. It’s the presence of this worst of evils in us all. But luckily, that’s only a problem in publishing.