I have decided to be a full-time freelance writer/author.
Yep, I won't be applying to any publications or companies for full-time job but will be my own `boss' - writing and doing the stuff I enjoy and know I could do well in.
And for that, I have NST to thank. No, I'm not being sarcastic and I'm ready to spill the beans on what's been happening in my career area ever since resigned and left MM (which belongs to the same parent group).
For 3 months or so, I thought I was going to take a couple of months break and then join NST as a lifestyle feature writer.
I have heard some unconfirmed `rumour' that it is almost not possible for one who has left MM to join NST as the latter's bosses would not allow that. But I did not quit with the intention to join that paper. I really wanted just to take a break and explore other opportunities.. But the lifestyle editor asked me to join them and she had said she believe it won't be a problem.
So although I have other opportunities to consider, somehow I am a person who welcomes familiarity esp when it comes to work environment. Having been in the company for 12 years, although it's not a perfect place or paper to work in, I thought I should join them again as it's like what a friend said: `better the devil you know'.
I was asked to wait about three months. That suited me fine because I wasn't in a rush to start working agin.. From November to January, I have explored other freelance opportunities though it wasn't a lot of work yet. But at the back of my mind, I thought I was going to go back to work with NST come February or March.
In end of December, I was asked to go in and fill up a recruitment form for formality, and told that the group editor has `okayed' me to come in. I was asked to wait. So I did. Then January passed by with no news. I asked the lifestyle editor and she asked me to check with the editorial admin which I did and was told HR is handling it now.
Then just a week before CNY, I called HR and was told that the `big bosses' were still considering it and they should have a decision soon. I was a bit baffled for I thought it was `okayed' already but just waiting for procedure to be carried out.
At the same time, came the decision and calling that I should finish writing my book that I started long time ago. And then suddenly, I was having second thoughts about working for NST myself. You know, its really great being a freelancer.. maybe it's because I'm already `spoit' with my long break but as a freelancer, you can plan your own time and life's much freer and interesting.. and MOST importantly, I can make time to write my book!
But then my parents, especially my mom thought NST is best for me and I'm too indisciplined to be a freelance journalist! She said not only my earnings would reduce but I would end up spending too much money!
So I prayed quite hard on this..and even consulted my pastor. I didn't pray that God will close or open the door at NST but for His will to be done.
Then yesterday, I decided that I should make the initiative again to call HR. To my slight surprise, but not dismay, I was told that my application was `disapproved' by the top bosses after serious considerations and discussions among themselves.
There wasn't any explanation offered but I guess I know why. They couldn't set a precedence to let an ex MM staff to join NST. The unwritten policy rumour was true after all.
On one hand, I must admit I was slightly pissed at the way they handle this.. making me waited two months since I submitted that form. Why couldn't they reject me earlier? What happened if I am really need the job for financial reasons?
The thing is I am not desperate for the job. I would have really welcomed it a month back. But right now, my heart is set on writing my book, and at the same time, I'm finding freelancing really interesting and suits me fiine. If I'm hardworking, money is not an issue though I'll definitely have a huge pay cut.
However, my aim is not to go all out as a freelance journalist ie. getting all the jobs I can either for the money or for the experience and self-fulfillment. My aim is to complete my book - hopefully by end of this year. My aim is also to learn to be self-sufficient with less money, and to learn to manage my time well and fruitfully.
And there're much blessings I can think of that would come with it. I get to have dinner at home more, I get to spend time with my parents and grandparents and the two Js more, and I can run errands and even watch a movie during working hours just to name a few..
So after CNY, I will be starting a new chapter in my life- that of an author and a freelance journalist! And I know I will love it... ;)