What I Did This Summer
The summer flew by for me. My celebrated my 32nd birthday. I bought my husband a new puppy for his 34th birthday a week later. I hung out in Brooklyn a lot. I walked the Brooklyn Bridge like a tourist. I forgot to use that Cold Stone gift card I got for Christmas last year. I began and ended a feud with Busta Rhymes. I lost a few pounds working out. I may or may not have ripped an Xbox controller out of a young boy’s hand and thrown it down the hall while yelling “How you like me now?!” so I could win the video game we were playing.
Oh yeah…and I got a job.
Well, not a job. I’m still a full-time freelance writer. But I started working for this restaurant and event company part-time. It came from Hubs having issues with his own employment that took my savings plan off track. And while he figured out what he was doing, I wanted to make sure we didn’t get into a position where I was worrying about money. Our savings was just recovering from the hit of moving and losing a large chunk of work. Christmas is coming along with the requisite traveling and consumerism. I have plans to go on a European vacation next year. And, I don’t know if any of you have heard about this, but that city they call New York is kinda expensive to live and play in.
One of the things that attracted me to this gig the most was the money. Most days I make more per hour doing absolutely nothing than most freelance writers working their hardest. There are days I eclipse my own hourly rate by so much that I have to reread my past posts on this blog so I can remember why I work for myself again. And don’t even make me bring up the fact that they are insuring me for a nominal amount of money each month.
I’ve gotten to meet a curious mix of people that I don’t think I would if I hadn’t come out of my home office and braved the public world. They are all young creative professionals who use the job to supplement their growing careers. There is always some interesting project to talk about and it’s fun hearing about it all. Creativity really turns me on. I’m amazed at all the artwork/comedy shows/dance videos/rock shows I’m seeing them put out and wondering how it’s possible I thought I could ever be a human island in this city where people pretend like they don’t even see you. The truth is you just have to get them to slow down and you’ll find some really intersting people under all that unnecessary power walking.
I’ve also got some writing jobs out of it. The business is in a large building that rents ten floors of space to other businesses, mostly startups and solopreneurs. Interacting with everyone, I’ve met five potential prospects and landing four them…including the owner who has hired me to do some blogging for his various businesses this fall.
One of the new clients, a lawyer, said that he’d been approached by writers wanting him to start blog and article marketing over the years. He hired me without ever seeing a writing sample. He said interacting with me spoke volumes for my character and he knew that if I couldn’t do the job, I wouldn’t allow myself to be hired.
Finally, I’ve been much more conscious about time management these days. With the new friends, clients, and work schedule, I have to get it done in the time allotted or I’m screwed. No more thinking “Well ok I’ll guess I’ll work late tonight.” Nope. Now I have to focus and get it done.
On the other hand, for every time I have a day where I struggle to remember why I wanted to be a freelancer, I quickly have a day where I remember how terrible it is working for someone else. I’ve never liked the office politics and drama, but service industry drama is wilder than most. Someone has always slept with someone or is doing coke with someone or got drunk and told someone something they shouldn’t have.
Oh and did I mention I don’t like being told what to do? Well, I don’t. Nor is it fun to micromanaged while I do something that a well adjusted twelve year old could do without much prodding. And the meetings! Endless meetings about what the protocol is for going to the bathroom. For the past five years, my protocol has been to get up and go whenever I feel the urge. Now I need to make sure someone knows where I am and when I got back. Really?
I’m also working lots of weddings. That means I spend a lot of time dressing brides, chasing down in-laws, and praying nobody throws up. As someone who is definitely not a fan of weddings, I often wonder why life is so ironic that I’ve been to almost 30 of them this summer. I’m not automatically excited for the people involved, I try to avoid going to them, and I will definitely leave early if I have to go. Also, I’m wedding bad luck–every wedding I’ve been to beside my parents’ and my own has ended in divorce. I imagine these women filing their divorce papers in three to five years, wondering what could have gone wrong, not realizing it was the helpful little black lady running errands at her wedding that did her in.
Well, it’s September and summer is gone. Hubs has righted his own work ship, I’ve brought on some new work, and my savings account is very healthy. I’m not nearly as worried about finances as I was at the beginning of the summer. But I think I’m going to keep this gig in my pocket. I like having the extra cash and having somewhere to go a couple of times a week. I love having health insurance. I’m definitely going to keep my hours to a minimum, though. I don’t want to get stuck there.
The difference between being a freelancer and being employed is a lot like the difference between being a house cat and an outdoor cat. Sure it’s riskier to be an outdoor cat but the freedom is intoxicating. You also get used to hunting for your own food, which makes you sharper and a little more intense. And while it’s hard going from being a wild animal to a pet, pets almost never make the transition to becoming a wild animal.
To be clear, I don’t want to be a house cat ever again. But that doesn’t mean I mind spending a couple of days a week inside.