Twenty years ago, I worked for a computer retailer. Well, two of them, actually. I was at one for about five years, the other for maybe three weeks. Before that, I ran a computer components distributorship for a year or two. I wasn't a very good salesman. I've always had trouble with cold calling and "getting out there." If a customer walked in, I was always happy to provide loads of information. I prided myself on being an engaging educator who happened to occasionally sell things. Helping people and giving them the information the needed mattered most. Come to think of it, this is probably why I'm so bad about staying on top of my invoicing today.
In this dream, I worked at a desk in a huge warehouse. I was dressed nicely -- slacks and button-down. I don't think I was selling computers, but it felt like it, if that makes any sense. I had the impression of waiting to help when, in the back of my mind, I knew that I was supposed to be on the phone, drumming up business. Getting out there. Behind me, several of the boss's kids ran amok around the business.
Next thing I knew, I was in the boss's office, and he was dancing around giving me the sack. You knew from the hemming and hawing what the punchline would be, but he didn't have the nerve to just come out and say it. I waited with outward calm and a mounting sense of dread. At one point, the boss's young son appeared behind me and spilled a plate of spaghetti down my right arm. He didn't reprimand the boy. I left the noodles there as my boss continued speaking, as if it were a badge of persecution.
When I finally left his office and walked home, I wasn't thinking about how I needed to make more money with writing articles, which is what I've done for the last 17 years. Instead, I wondered how quickly I could write novels until my scant money ran out and my family was on the street. How little sleep could I live on and keep functioning? Was there a cheaper way to buy Top Ramen than by the case?
I was terrified, of course, but also excited. My safety net had been removed. There was no more opportunity for excuses. It was time to write or die. And then I woke up.