Don’t Quit Your Day Job By Laura Roberts

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The words “Don’t quit your day job” are usually meant as an insult, but what if this overused phrase were actually the key to new opportunity?

I’ve been a freelancer for several years now, and have tested my pen with a wide variety of assignments. For me, work is most interesting when I have the chance to try something new.

Of course, freelancing is a risky business that most describe as “feast or famine.” So, to supplement my freelancing income I will occasionally take day jobs – part-time work that pays a modest salary and keeps me, my artist husband and our lazy cat out of the poorhouse. The work is rarely writing-related, but it affords me a cash cushion that enables me to concentrate on my writing without worrying about mounting bills. I keep on writing in my “spare” time (as my employer sees it), but continue to work toward my freelancing goals.

Having recently taken a day job at a local culinary school, I wondered if there might be any opportunity to add a bit of writing to my administrative duties. As it turns out, my employer was looking for someone to write weekly blogs for their new website, concentrating on themes of fresh, local food and the people who create it. Since they had already seen my CV, they asked to see a few of my writing samples. I showed them entries from my local “cheap eats” blog, featuring restaurant reviews, recipes and interviews with other foodies, and after speaking with the head office I was hired as their Austin blogger.

In short: I took the sage advice of those who say “Don’t quit your day job” quite literally.

Instead of leaving your job to become a writer, sniff out the opportunities that are right under your nose. Sometimes the sweet smell of success is stewing right in your own kitchen.

Laura Roberts currently blogs for the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas. She is also the editor of the cheap-eats blog Shoestring Austin, and the literary rebellion Black Heart Magazine, and is currently working on her first novel, entitled Naked Montreal.

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