Guest Post: The Biggest Challenge The Little Red Reviewer Ever Faced

Today I’m delighted to welcome to my blog Andrea from the Little Red Reviewer. I’ve discovered so many books over the years from Andrea’s reviews that have turned out to rank among my all-time favorites. Her book recommendations are always spot on. And now she’s embarking on a new project – a Kickstarter compilation to publish all of her book reviews in one collection! Learn more here.

The Biggest Challenge The Little Red Reviewer Ever Faced

You can recover from blogger burn out.  You can recover from a reading slump. You can take a hiatus from reviewing and blogging and come right back. You can change the layout, the personality, the goals of your blog. Your blog can, and will survive all of this.

What my blog nearly didn’t survive was my day job.

When I started The Little Red Reviewer, I was working part time at the world’s easiest job. We certainly had busy days and weeks, but when there wasn’t much going on my instructions were to “be available if anyone needs you and stay out of trouble”. So I sat in the corner reading my book until someone needed something. As business slowed down, there were more quiet weeks, which meant more reading. Then business really slowed down until it came to a complete stop.  Then I needed to find another job.

In January of 2015 I landed what purported to be an excellent job. Better salary than I’d ever seen before, company car, excellent insurance, expense account, the works.  I’ll be very polite, and say this job was just not the right fit for me. I was a talented person put into a position that required a very different skill set and a very different attitude. Your attitude towards your work is a learned skill set, by the way. So I observed, I learned, and I imitated until I became a stranger to myself.  Within a few months, my blog was on life support.

It was a large international company, and I thought this was #adulting, so I stuck with it. I was working far more hours than I’d expected, traveling more than I wanted, things were just, um, really terrible.  I didn’t have the time or energy to read, let alone blog. Things somehow got worse. I had zero time for a social life of any kind, zero time for my family. There were about five times that I packed it in, and drafted a “so long and thanks for all the fish” style blog post.  Or contemplated not even doing that, just letting my blog die. Aside from my blog barely surviving on life support, the two years I worked at that job were two years of pure hell. I hated what I was doing, didn’t recognize myself, and I felt like if I stopped what I was doing that would be admitting that I was a failure.

But you know what? My blog was my baby long before I got this unrewarding job. My blog was there for me, it was my history online, it was a place I could be myself.  So screw the job I couldn’t stand, my blog was going to survive! Somehow!

The survival of The Little Red Reviewer wasn’t the only reason I started job hunting, and my blog isn’t the only reason why I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I left that company. I will say that these days it sure is nice to have a normal office job,  work normal hours, have a work-life balance, and get to read on my lunch break if I feel like it. There is even a bookstore a block away from my office building, and one block the other direction is the town library. And yes, I go to both of these places at lunchtime or after work, if I feel like it.  The blog has bounced back, and so have I.

Moral of the story?

Stuff happens. If you need to take a break from blogging, the blogging community will welcome you back with open arms.

Next moral of the story?

Life is too short for a job that makes you miserable.

To celebrate eight years of blogging, over 400 book reviews written, and a good chunk of material I am incredibly proud of, I’m kickstarting The Best of Little Red Reviewer, which will be a print book of my best book reviews.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Biggest Challenge The Little Red Reviewer Ever Faced

    1. it was an awful job, and i don’t miss it. my last day working there, I was like “wait, i never have to talk to these people again? i don’t have to do this anymore? This is the best day ever!”. Being unemployed was a little bit terrifying, but i knew I would come out of that ok, and I did!

      i do want to make it clear that it wasn’t a bad company I was working for. They didn’t do anything wrong, they business plan was the right business plan for them. Most employees there were successful and happy, and many people had worked there for 10 years or more. And it was neat to have an experience working for a gigantic conglomerate type company after having only ever worked for smaller employers. It just wasn’t a good environment for me. A classic case of It’s not you, it’s me.

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