Saying Goodbye / by Josh Guess

This morning at 6:33, I clocked out of the nursing home for the last time. My notice is up and while my technical last day ends tomorrow, it's my day off. Maybe that's not poetic, but it has the advantage of being accurate. Functionally I'm without a job.

I'm happy.

I have orientation at a new job on Friday, so I'm not going to go without work. I'm not dumb. I have some money saved up because the new job pays less and is part time. I'm doing this for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is so I can have at least a few months of working somewhere that doesn't leave me so exhausted I keel over in the mornings so I can write more.

I'm going to be using the reduced hours and workload to get things done. I'm working mostly on Next at the moment, but I have some work done on Victim Zero and I'm planning to get deep into it in the coming weeks. (If you don't know, I'm running an IndieGoGo campaign for Victim Zero right here.)

Between working part-time (maybe even full-time hours depending on demand) and having an easier job, and having my savings, I should be able to swing this for at least three months. During that time I expect my productivity to shoot way up. I've been excited about it for a while now, and impatient for my notice to be up.

The reality of leaving work for the last time this morning was far different than I expected. My coworkers gave me little going-away gifts, thoughtful ones, and brought in food. I choked up when I did the rounds giving them hugs as I left. I felt a bittersweet joy in going, sadness that I wouldn't be laughing with them and telling jokes any longer. They're a damn fine group of friends to have, and even though I saw them just a few hours ago I already miss them.

Working in a nursing home is hard. Mentally, physically, and spiritually. You're responsible for the well-being of a large group of people, and the folks you work with are some of the few who understand. I'm leaving behind a solid group of people I care about, and that's just the ones that work there. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss the ones I took care of. The nursing home was like a family--sometimes dysfunctional, but at the end of the day full of love and good times.

I should feel trepidation about the near future. I'm in uncharted waters, with no guarantees. The only sure thing I have is my writing, and probably the best and most heartwarming thing my friends at work told me was that I should go for it. They know how much being an author means to me. They've encouraged me to succeed and wished me all the best. In return I told them that if I manage to get Stephen King rich, I'll share the wealth.

I'm onto the next step in my career, or at least that's the plan. The likely outcome is that I'll use this time to finish several works in addition to the books mentioned above, and that I'll see some increase in my writing income, which is currently at a very low point. Chances are high I'll have to get another full-time job at some point this year, but I have hope I'll finally strike gold with one of the things I'm working on or am about to start. I finally feel free to explore those ideas, even knowing I'll be working in home health. Going from taking care of twenty people a shift to a maximum of two means I will have energy to work on my books and the blog before and after my job. It's an awesome thing to know.

I feel confident and happy. I feel excited about the future for the first time in ages. I'm up. 

It's a fantastic feeling.