Aliens in the Barn

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't Quit Your Day Job

I haven't quit my day job; it's more like my day job has quit me. Used to, I could get a job on a survey or a dig over night. All I'd have to do was alert the local Archaeology firms of the presence of an archaeologist in the area and I was good as hired. Now, however, it's becoming nearly impossible for me to get on a dig.

I don't really know what's going on. I have 10 years of experience in Archaeology from the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Texas, California, Florida, and Mississippi. Maybe that's the problem; maybe at a certain point you're too old and experienced for anyone to want to bother with you (not that, at 33 years old, I'm even remotely that old). Maybe it has nothing to do with me at all and everything to do with economy, budget, and high competition for the fewer jobs that are out there. Despite all my experience, there must be enough job seekers in my field who are even more experienced than me.

Eh, enough of that. We just moved to DC anyway, so maybe something will pan out eventually. It could even be this area. I've never worked in this area before, so maybe there's something particular about it that I'm missing.

It's not like becoming an author is any easier. In fact, that may be harder. However, it feels right, like that's what I'm supposed to be doing right now anyway.

Perhaps the fate of the universe is at play. In 2008 I declared I wanted to be an author...for real. I've been writing my whole life, but it wasn't until that year that I became somewhat serious about being published and I haven't necessarily been serious serious until now. Maybe some greater force is pushing me out of Archaeology and into writing; I'm just slow in figuring it all out.

Perhaps some part of me is fighting my fate. I love Archaeology and I have a ton of great experiences and I constantly want to repeat all the good times. So, I keep fighting the side of me that says I'm a writer. I keep trying for that next job, that next dig, that next survey. It doesn't help that I'm my own worst enemy, always reminding myself I'm not truly a 'real' author anyway. I'm not even published; I haven't even tried.

As remaining an Archaeologist seems to be becoming harder and harder, certainly not by my own choice, the writer is finding more courage to emerge. It does make me sad, though, as my greatest inspirations have always come when I'm on a dig.


  1. Who's to say you can't be both? I mean, sure it sucks that jobs are less available currently, but no one person can say what the future will hold. Perhaps this is just the interlude where writing gets it's turn in the focus for a while. Long enough for you to get your taste of it officially, and then a job may come around again. There is no reason to give up on hope of one love for another when you have the talent for both, right? I mean, I guess this is just as much my own pep talk as it is encouragement for you: I don't want to think I can only have one or the other - published writing or my career - so I hold out hope that you could have both as well.

  2. I totally want to do both! I think I'll use this as an interlude to focus on my writing, as you said:) Something is bound to come up again at some point, as far as Archaeology. I think you're right, though, and your pep talk is good encouragement for both of us: I can have both and you can have both as well!