I'll be leaving my job with Apple's .Mac group Feb. 28.
I love the company and love the people, but my group and my job have evolved over the past six years in such a way that almost all of my work is project management — which isn't the most exhilarating way to spend your day if you're a writer.
If you've known me for several years, you'll recognize the pattern: I'm hired as a writer, get promoted to editing other writers, and then to managing a publications production process, thus winding up with all of the stress and none of the fun. But the people in charge of the places I work are managers, not writers; they enjoy managing and think I should, too. To confuse matters, I'm fairly good as a project manager. No one sees me when I end the day limp as a dishrag, too bleary to cook, and all I want to do is get into a hot bath and bury my nose in a science fiction novel.
By contrast, after a day of writing I want to leap out of my chair, scamper around in the garden, come in and cook a gourmet dinner, and then go out dancing or meet friends for drinks. Needless to say, my family finds the writer persona far easier to live with.
This wasn't an easy decision, because Apple is the only place I've worked where I was able to be myself, do my best work, and feel safe, valued, and appreciated. I've been able to get a tremendous amount of work done because I've never had to waste time watching my back. Sure, there are heated arguments, but they're always professional. Each person truly believes that he or she has a plan that puts the best interests of the company, or the products, first. And what products!
After I wind up my work at Apple, it's back to full-time writing. I have a couple exciting offers for freelance writing and editing projects, and projects (specific, intense, and short) are exactly what I want. I'll be attending some writing conferences, and working on some fiction projects as well. In short, my schedule will be just as full, but far more flexible. And I'm expecting to have lots more energy to garden, cook, and go out dancing.