A Triple Threat of Work, School and Side-Gigs: Monica on Work/Life/Passion Balance
Meet Monica Sweeney, who is probably living your dream job right now. I was pretty excited to learn more about her current role and how she looks to the future. Read on!
Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hello! I’m a human, but right now I’m a human who works for a conceptual book agency called Hollan Publishing. We’re a bit of a literary agency and book packager hybrid, which means we come up with book ideas, find expert authors to write them or write them ourselves, and then sell those concepts to a larger publisher. This makes me a bit of a hybrid, too—I spend my days working closely with authors and illustrators, thinking, wordsmithing, analyzing book trends, managing projects, and then hoping I’m doing all of it well.
Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
My work-life-passion balance at the moment is a very delicate one. I’m in a publishing grad program in addition to my full-time job and a part-time waitressing gig. I adore sleep but get very little of it, so I rely on the people close to me, yoga, walks around my very beautiful city, an expensive concert-going habit, and various forms of delicious food to keep me centered. Part of the reason this all works is because everything I’m doing right now is just sensory overload of things that are inspiring and stimulating to me: the book business and even the law behind it, creativity and collaboration amongst incredibly talented and clever people, and, well, beer styles and food trends. I’m an avid complainer that I don’t have enough time for anything, but I’m not totally sure what I’d do with my time if I did have more of it.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My childhood career goals shifted based on the (sometimes bad) media I watched. When Twister came out, I wanted to be a storm chaser; when Dante’s Peak came out, I wanted to be a volcanologist; and when I spent my early adolescence watching Buffy, I wanted to be some version of a strong, witty, scrappy feminist who did things that benefited people (though I was and still am unsure how to translate that ass-kicking into the non-fiction world).
Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
Someone asked me what I wanted to do with my career recently and my response was something along the lines of, “idk, run shit.” I have high expectations for myself and I want to be a leader in my field, but I want to earn it and always feel like I’m still reaching. If I ever feel like that’s not happening, it’s time to change careers. I would also welcome a role as a burrata, ceviche, and cookie taste-tester, though not all at the same time.
Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
Googling my name is a really silly and confusing experience, even for me. I’ve written books that appeal to a number of different proclivities and interests, so there’s that. Or just send friendly tidings via some form of social media.
Anything else you want to share?
The best fortune cookie I’ve ever cracked open said, “About time I got out of that cookie!”