New job! New drafts! New projects!

Everything is NEW this month! Last month was all about panicking as the job hunt continued to be fruitless. Then I happened to walk into a French bakery and café almost two weeks ago. It had such a snug, welcoming atmosphere that I could see myself being a part of. On impulse, I asked if they were hiring. An email and an interview later, I had my first shift less than a week after I set foot in the bakery for the first time.

Now, I have a steady job. The panic has died out. I’m making food and money, and I get to practice my French. If I could stop accidentally echoing my boss’s French accent even after I leave the bakery, that would be great.

But the job isn’t the only thing that’s NEW! Following some feedback from beta readers, the next draft of The Thieves of Traska is in production. There are many little things to change, and then new sections to write, and then the entire division of chapters needs to change. It sounds like an exhausting amount of work, but I am excited.

What’s getting me even more excited is the new first draft of the second installment in the series: The Raiders of VaskegonI started and restarted this one about eight times now. As the story progresses, I find little gaps in Thieves to fill in. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m eager to keep exploring all these new questions I have to answer. It’s why I wanted to have at least a first draft of all three books before the first one is even close to publication.

And finally, the NEW projects. Two of them. One is a Western narrative inspired by an undergraduate project from a few years ago. Depending on how well it goes, it may be a good length to publish as a serial right here on my blog. If not, maybe it just sits on my computer for all eternity.

The second new project: another YA fantasy series. My crazy brain decided shortly after I got the job at the bakery: screw it, we’re writing another series. And this one’s going to have maybe 10 books in it. Why not?

Within a day or two of that thought, I had my premise figured out. I shared a glimpse of the opening on Instagram. The response was positive enough that I decided to continue with it. It still doesn’t have a working title, but that’s okay. At least I finally found a place for a character name I’ve been dying to use for over a year.

So it’s April. Everything is NEW. And, because I now have the song stuck in my head, everything is also awesome.

First Day of Class vs. First Day of Work

Hi friends. Today was the first day at my first real, adult, this-is-my-career job — and the whole day was taken up by new hire orientation. As I tried to file the first few hours into my brain, I couldn’t help but compare the first day at work and the first day at school.

Similarities

Paperwork. Remember all those fun handouts with the course syllabus, class goals, professor contact information, etc.? You get way more at work. Tax forms, medical insurance, benefits, “yes I have access to a handbook, but I’m not saying I read it” forms, and many others. It’s some pretty dense reading, but at least you get a few days to sort through it all.

Introducing yourself. Ah, the dreaded 45-second spotlight in which you declare your field of study, hometown, why you are in the class, and something interesting about yourself — or shrug and mumble your way through something like that. Adults do the same sort of thing, but it almost felt like a bit of a competition to me (but I tend to get that vibe from just about everything). Instead of “I’m majoring in sound design because I like to make beats,” you hear things like “Oh, I’ve got a couple degrees in literature, film studies, and communication.”

Everyone else just moved in, too. Before, you’d talk to classmates about which dorm they’re in, or maybe they just got an apartment. In the fall time, most of these people arrived around the same time you did and are also trying to figure out where all their stuff is. In Adult-World, some of your new colleagues (and maybe you) have just relocated for the job. Some just moved in last week while others may have been living in a hotel and just entered their house for the first time that morning. You’ll bond over things you didn’t expect, like not having your furniture.

Differences

You can’t zone out for “the usual stuff.” Even if this isn’t your first job in Adult-World, you need to know about the the policies, the insurance, and the retirement plans available. And if this is your first job in Adult-World, fear not! They actually explain things and you can ask as many questions as you need for clarification. So all the stuff you worried over not understanding because no one taught you? They’ve got you covered.

The gauntlet of guest speakers. Did I mention all the stuff you need to pay attention to? Well, for each one of those things, you’ve got a specialist whose career is to handle those things — and each of them come in to talk to you about all that important stuff. So no struggle to remember the names of everyone in the classroom. Instead, you get a collection of business cards and contact information.

You don’t pick rivals and allies. I know I’m not the only one who has looked around the classroom, eyeing the competition, and figuring out who will help you improve (as you do the same for them), and who you want to crush with the power of your awesomeness. At the new hire orientation, you’ve got a bunch of people working in different departments. There’s going to be some communication between those departments, but ultimately you’ll be separated enough that how you compare doesn’t matter.

Unless you’re like me and you see the M.F.A. everyone else seems to have as a reason to hurry up and get your own.

Tomorrow, I have some more orientation stuff (including getting an employee ID card and parking), a tour, and eventually I actually get to go to work. We’ll find out what sort of desk I have and what weird things might have been left by the previous owner next time!

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