The Curse of Being Needed

Yesterday I received a phone call.  “Great news!  We had that big project we were hoping for come through.  So, when can you move halfway across the country to participate in it for the next one to five years?”

My initial reaction, because I’m a “doer” was, “well, let me see…I guess I could move by…”

My later reaction was “what the hell am I thinking?  I don’t want to move.  I don’t want to go back to working in an office every day.  And commuting.  And what about the pup?  I don’t want to leave her alone all day.  And doggie daycare doesn’t sound much better, not when she spends her days sleeping at my feet.”

Every logical thought said, “take the assignment.”  Every gut instinct I have said, “run away as fast as you can unless you want to live in that city for five years and work such long hours that you stop writing.”

Problem is, this project is a big deal for my client.  Really big.  And it falls apart without me involved.

(That’s not hubris.  I was told that twice this morning.)

It would seem like a good thing to be needed, right?  I get job security and I could negotiate concessions I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

But it sucks.  Because I don’t want any of that.  I don’t want to be secure in that job.

Being needed is actually an obligation.  If you care about the people around you it can be a tether that keeps you from every really stretching your wings.

(Granted, we’re talking about a golden cage here.  Not like I won’t benefit financially.  Holy cow, would I.  Which is what makes me a flippin’ idiot for even considering not doing it.)

I’m not in a position right now to write full-time.  I’m not.  So this shouldn’t even be a question.

But if I wait to be financially secure, I may never take the plunge with my writing.

It’s like having kids, at some point you have to just go down that road and try it whether you’re ready or not.

But I feel like I keep getting sucked back into what I want to get away from because they “need me” and I can’t find a way to say no to that…

(I know, there are probably a ton of people out there who wish they had the same issue and probably hate me just a bit right now.  But like I told my good friend who is looking for a job and would kill for that same offer I received, this is the product of a fifteen-year career and seven years of building a reputation with this particular company.

I’ve earned their need.  It just sucks when that’s no longer the direction I want to take my life.  Because I don’t want to say no, but I really should.)

As of now, I’ve agreed to not say no.  But at some point they’re all going to want a “yes” and, “but I want to stay home and write and hang out with my puppy even though I earn nothing off my writing” is not going to be an acceptable reason to say no.

Aw, suck.


About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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