Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Median Annual Wage For That Guy's Non-Sciency Work

This morning, I perused the Occupational Outlook Handbook compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( in an apparent attempt to tally all the finer career choices that I got wrong. My life is half over, you see, and beyond just looking in the mirror, I could not resist validating that another way. Wow! Is everyone richer and more cutting edge than me? So many cool career paths out there.  Ever had that nightmare that you missed your flight? That you forgot your homework? That everyone is progressing and making more money than you?  That people are taking vacations beyond the Indiana state line? It's all true. Good for them! Good...for them. Oh, why did I even look...!

I am a scientist by trade. I chose that path when I was very young. And since graduating from Purdue in 19 (you guess the rest), science has paid my bills, gained me leadership skills, and has given me opportunities for continual employment, if not always at the most optimal or fairest of pay. I am lucky, I know, to have such a market, and I am grateful for it. I'm proud to be a scientist. I love biology. I love studying life. I thirst to redefine or prove the status quo and then share what I discovered with other scientists, with my company. Okay...I'm only servicing other people's assays at the moment, but I've had a good fifteen years of the former. We all make sacrifices.

Another sacrifice I make is putting aside time to write in my home life. Like being a scientist, I am a writer by choice, too. And ever since Purdue, I have been writing bad, romantic poems and pretty decent fiction in small and large works that have never paid my bills, but has sparked a trillion scenarios (Dreams? Wishes? What ifs...?) on how I could get to that professional level while keeping my day job. Nonetheless, I'm lucky to be able to create art. I'm proud to be a writer! I love creating plots, complex emotions, and vivid scenarios with twists where only I know how it will all end. And, boy, do I want to share what I created! I want YOU to feel what I felt when writing the story; see what I saw, and taste whatever desire, failure, and completeness that I put on the page. I want YOU to see MY name and associate it with a damn fine story. Even if writing never mints me a dime, I will always write.

Then why the Occupational Outlook Handbook? Midlife crisis. No. More like a Life in Midwriting. I guess that I just wanted to know if writing as a profession is still accountable; still measurable in some way, still an occupational choice. Of course it is. We are everywhere. We are all the stories, articles, journals, scripts you see in newspapers, magazines, and all digital mediums. But, what about the guy whose a scientist by day and a fiction drafter by night? That guy who QCs assays weekly, but who blogs every other week on or with the writing subject, and who dreams about his characters as if they were tangible identities in his own life? That guy who puts the final touches on technical reports minutes before deadline, but who feeds his art through a writer's workshop one chapter at a time only to revise it for some months later and then repeat the whole process again and perpetually one draft away from a published eBook?

I haven't yet found the median annual wage for that guy's non-sciency work.

Which reminds me...I need to finish reviewing that Data Analysis and Control Charting protocol tomorrow for the new boss. He'd like to know how we're validating assays in our department.

For further information on the outlook of Writing as an occupation, go here:

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