One of my biggest regrets as a writer is having missed the chance to get a few serious publication credits with a major retailer. My freelance gigs had dried up and I was running low on cash. I felt backed into a corner and took a job as a Loss Prevention Agent for Gap Inc. “Loss Prevention” is corporate shorthand for “store detective”, and I took the job feeling like it was a major setback and a symptom of my failure to hack it as a full-time writer.
Since I was feeling so sorry for myself, I completely missed viewing the experience as a way to get published and rebuild my writing career into a viable concern again. For starters, the anti-shoplifting angles would be great for any retail trade magazine, but I was so out of it that I overlooked an even better chance; submitting retail loss prevention how-to articles to the company-wide newsletter and corporate website.
Who wouldn’t love to have a writing credit for Gap Inc. on a resume aimed at other clients in PR, marketing, and trade magazine publishing? I blew it big-time, and realized it only after leaving the company for a brand new writing opportunity as a staff writer for a music industry daily.
Never underestimate the situation you are in to provide you with good writing opportunities. A make-do job could turn into a way to beef up your resume. Are you working for Borders while waiting to pick up something in the writing game? You could write articles all day about how important product design, placement, and author involvement is in selling books. Are you selling insurance by day and writing at night? How about a writer-specific piece about how to cut corners and save money on monthly premiums–without setting yourself up for major losses if you have to make a claim?
There are far too many ways to take advantage of your current job if you are only freelancing part-time. Take some time to re-examine your day job and you may discover a cash cow waiting to be milked for all its worth.