Monday, August 15, 2005

Big News: Taking the Plunge

Well, friends, I have a bit of breaking news: Today I took the proverbial swan dive and quit my job.

I've decided that it's time to devote myself to my writing career. Yes, I'm dumping a high-prestige, $50k/year NASA job, but it's never been about the money. My wife works full-time as a college professor and I still have my Navy retirement pay, so even though by Holly Lisle's definition I'm jumping way, way too early, I think we'll be okay. I'm going to be writing fiction, of course (the new novel, as well as short stories), but I'm also going to write non-fiction articles for various science, education, and gaming magazines. I'm also going to continue doing keynote speeches (they're paying me a thousand bucks plus travel expenses for my next gig -- it's a pretty good deal), and I'm also going to open up my own educational consulting firm, writing educational curriculua, reviews of products, and program evaluations. I'm really looking forward to it. I've never cared about money much (though it's nice to have, of course); I'm really motivated by the desire for recognition of my talents. Fame, not fortune, if you will. I'm also going to finish up my Ph.D. this year, hopefully by the end of next summer. I've finished all my coursework, I've just got to do the dissertation. That's going to be a short-term priority for me, but it will help add credentials to all of the other projects I've mentioned above, including fiction writing, I think.

I've been planning this for some time (as astute readers of this blog will have no doubt figured out), but I didn't want to make any public announcements until I told my boss I had decided to leave. I had decided not to drop the bomb on her until after MRO was safely on its way to Mars, and had hoped to talk to her at the Cape, but it just didn't happen. As it was, I had to camp outside her door from 8 AM until 1:30 PM just to get in to see her. She seemed to take it rather well, though I think shock was starting to set in towards the end of our conversation. We have a boatload of projets we've already committed to, and frankly, I don't know how she would get them done without me. Even she admits she doesn't know how she'll replace me. My sense of professionalism won't let me leave things undone, so I offered to work half time for her for the next year, doing nothing but writing from home, so that we can finish these things up. She's considering it. I'm okay with it either way -- if she turns down the offer, then at least I will have tried, and the rest is up to her.

It's exciting and a bit scary, but I think I've got all the bases covered. No matter how you look at it, though, it's a huge step. Here's to the future!

UPDATE: When I got home tonight, I had a rather cryptic message from my boss asking me (in part) not to "announce my departure" just yet. Well, a bit late for that, eh? I'm curious what she has in mind, but there's simply no way she can entice me to stay, if that's it. Watch this space for more in the saga...


Holly said...

Finding this terribly late, but congratulations and good luck. Going full-time is a thrill. Especially if you do it the hard way. :D

Keith Watt said...

Thanks Holly! I'm really excited about it! I'm fortunate that my family has been very supportive of this leap. Cutting our income in half is a scary, scary thing, but I really feel it's time to take this step with my life. It's gonna be an adventure!