IDC about ROI: Pragmatism vs. Curiosity in Work and Love

I’ve had a few writing projects fall in my lap, and I found a couple of freelancing jobs I’m super curious about. I found one yesterday and forwarded the job description to my career coach with the subject line: “CAN I APPLY FOR THIS???” His answer was, “ROI too low on projects like that.” I reread the job description and his expert notes; I’m sure he is correct that the Return on Investment of my time and energy probably would be low. I’m a single mom. I should be carefully working toward something that will assure me I can support myself. Right? I’ve spent a good part of today pondering how much I care about ROI and how much I should care.

I have to own up to my impractical, passionate, and impulsive nature. I’ve been working on the impulsiveness and like to think I’ve made progress. But when it comes right down to it, I don’t give a rat’s ass about being sensible. I’m driven by passion and/or curiosity, which means I’ve done things that didn’t turn out for one reason or another.  Or I get bored and quit.

I’m beginning to suspect my career coach will suspect my general disinterest in any work that’s routine, sensible, and occurring in a cubicle. He’s written a resume that really makes me sound like the shit, and I should be using it to find a good job. Should. If the past is a clear indicator of the future (isn’t it usually?), I’ll need to explore and try and decide for myself that the ROI is too low.

I do find most puzzling situations relate directly to dating as an adult. I have done practically no dating over the last year because the ROI was too low. (Ok, dammit, the career coach is right; I’m just not ready to listen!) I found out the hard way that every interaction is an investment, from the first hello onward. Hopefully, you have something to invest, or quickly, you’re in debt and hating yourself. I invested time, energy, and emotion. A lot of it naively, foolishly.

It’s no wonder that once I got to be a smart investor, the dates kinda stopped.

I don’t think I’m in any position to offer advice. I am not in a relationship (though that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming! On my way home from the grocery store just today, I was thinking about how we won’t have a church wedding, maybe no wedding! Maybe we just surprise our kids! Elope! But not on a beach, no, maybe . . . Wait, who’s we?). But let me humbly offer the following as the guidelines I use now to decide whether or not to continue investing in a new dating relationship:

  1. Is communication timely and respectful? (Real interest really shows)
  2. Are conversations easy, pleasant, and mutual? (It’s a real bore to be talked at!)
  3. Is sexual chemistry present from the get-go? (It better be, not crazy, insane stuff but something)
  4. Does your intuition tell you something is OFF? (Man, did I mess this up)

I have to work with my natural rebelliousness and resistance to advice. But I have to tell you, had someone offered these 4 dating suggestions to me years ago, I would have done my own thing anyway.

So I just might end up taking freelance writing work that doesn’t pay well but teaches me some valuable lessons I’d not listen to now.



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