Free stuff, that is!
- Work where you get something you love for free.
I do not work in a high-paying industry. 15 years into my career, I probably still make less than most first-year law firm associates, and I think I've had a better than average, if not stellar career path compared to other people in publishing. But I've always had a few perks that made it worthwhile. I don't mean perks like free espresso and ping pong tables in the office. One of mine is books: I've always loved to read, which is why I was drawn to publishing in the first place. If I'd had to buy all my books at full price, I'd be many thousands of dollars poorer. The other big perk I've had has been travel. At one of my jobs, I had to go to Europe 3 or 4 times a year, and was usually able to extend my trips into at least a few days of vacation time. I also racked up a lot of frequent flier miles than I was able to use for personal travel, again saving me thousands of dollars. I also save money in other small ways because of my job. I occasionally get free meals. And when it comes to tax time, I can deduct everything under the sun: internet access, movies, plays, museums, magazines-- all of these things very legitimately contribute to my awareness of the book market!
I'm sure I could also have been happy working in some other career where I made more money (and had the espresso and ping pong), but I'm sure there are many paths I could have taken that would have made me miserable. I kind of stumbled into what I do, but I've always felt that it is a pretty good balance in terms of its challenges, its time demands, and its benefits.