Monday, March 15, 2010
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’ve worked in marketing & corporate communications for the last 10 years.
What I haven’t mentioned is that right now, I’m not.
Three days before this past Christmas, my employer summoned me for a routine meeting. Well, I thought it was a routine meeting. It turned out he thought it was an excellent time to inform me my position was being eliminated.
I was sad for about 43 minutes. That’s the time it took me to clear out my home office and review the household budget with Pythagoras to determine that we would not be required to juggle flaming cantaloupes on a street corner to pay the bills.
While I hunt for a new job, the layoff has given me what I’ve always dreamed of having – the time and space to devote myself to being a “real” author. Though my new three-book deal with Sourcebooks certainly helped my quest for “real” authordom, I wasn’t certain how well I’d stay focused without the structure of a day job. Would I freeze up? Flounder for routine? Become addicted to cyber-porn without a boss breathing down my neck?
I didn’t need to fear any of those things. I have an Australian Kelpie.
For those unfamiliar with the breed, Australian Kelpies are herding dogs on caffeinated crack. Medium-sized and tenacious, Kelpies will herd anything that moves and several things that don’t. We acquired Bindi from a local rescue group five months ago, and within an hour of her arrival at our house, she had herded the three cats into the living room, lined them up alphabetically, and taught them to execute a military salute in formation.
She runs me the same way.
If I’m tempted to sleep in and ignore the blog, my canine boss is quick to cajole me out of bed.
Once I’m seated at the computer and my workday is underway, Bindi assigns herself the task of accompanying me on journeys to other parts of the house. If I get up to fill my water glass, she herds me up and down the stairs with a gentle reminder that my time is best spent in the office and not dusting the houseplants on the landing.
My new boss does permit me to have regular physical fitness breaks, something with surprising benefits for my writing. I can spend hours in front of my computer alternating between beating my head on the keyboard and beating the keyboard on my head as I attempt to solve a complex plotting issue. The second I leash the beasts and head for the woods, the puzzle pieces of my plot will begin falling into place. By the time I return to my computer, I can barely type fast enough to capture all the new clarity I’ve achieved.
So overall, I guess you’d say I’m happy with my new boss. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say she’s made me a better writer, but she’s certainly kept me from being a lazy one.
For those of you interested in seeing Bindi in action, I have a one-minute video clip to share.
A bit of background: Bindi’s canine housemate is Ozzy, an elderly Australian Shepherd/Heeler mix who is deaf, mostly blind, arthritic, and suffering from a vestibular disorder and a torn ligament in his knee. In spite of all this, he loves to go for hikes in the woods, where he inevitably wanders off and can’t hear us calling him.
Enter Bindi . . .