50 and unemployed. Day 2 – reality bites.

Right before my head hit the pillow last night, it dawned on me – I still don’t have a job. Fortunately I’m not one to let a little stress bother my sleep.

But that same thought was there when I woke up today. I still don’t have a job. Fuck. I thought it’d be faster.

I did the most productive thing I could think of then: I went to the kitchen and made pumpkin bread. Then I scooped a couple of litter boxes, started a load of laundry, check my Twitter feed to see if any of the conspiracy theorists I trolled last night responded. Just one comment and it was from a conspiracy theorist follower. I’ll try harder.

A few weeks ago, @breitbart posted hate mail on my Facebook timeline. I may put that on my resume.

In all honesty, I didn’t try too hard to find a job yesterday. It was 5 days before Christmas – no one was hiring. Since it’s only 4 days before Christmas today, they probably still have better things on their minds. Like grog or wassail, or, as autocorrect wants to say, weasel. Maybe that’s on their minds, too.

Eventually I made it back to my computer and I spent the rest of the day working.

I’m in kind of a weird situation. Depending on who you ask, I’m either a writer or an editor or a marketer. If it’s me you’re asking, I’ll say “writer” because it’s the best conversation starter of the three. That’s because no one really knows what editors do and no one gives a shit if you convince people to buy stuff.

But the funny thing is, I haven’t been employed as a writer for more than a decade. It’s been at least 7 years since I held an “editor” title. Since then, I’ve just been directing stuff from my corner cubicle since no one does offices any more. Most recently, that corner cube is at my home. We were a really small company using freebie office space that was more than an hour away from my home. I stopped by once a week. Mondays.

As a writer, editor or marketer, you might be able to swing some contract or freelance gigs. They’re great for the promise of extra money when you hold a real job … until you have to produce the work you promised you could do and stay up until 2:30 a.m. three nights in a row editing a white paper for a doctor who now runs a tech team and thinks his words are solid fucking gold.

Cool thing, tho, when you get canned from your job, you might be able to pick up a few freelance gigs to hold you over. Get enough of them and you can sit around, unshowered and in pajamas all day, and earn a living. You’ll get to write or edit or run campaigns for all of the stuff that no one who works for your client full time wants to touch. You get to be judged by a much higher standard than anyone else because you get paid more (most freelancers do charge a premium because it’s hard to bill yourself out 40 hours per week – and you have to provide your own health insurance, pay outrageous taxes, etc.). You get to make changes that are stupid, annoying and dumb because the client really cares doesn’t care anymore and is doing this to shut up his boss. And you get tossed aside because the president of the company has a niece who just graduated from college and she’s overseeing your project and she really wants her boyfriend to do it instead cuz he’s brilliant and they’re, like, going to get married.

And you do it all over again because someone is paying. And it may be the route I decide to go if I can’t find a job quickly, especially since I’ve been bequeathed a pair of clients. Sort of.

When I was canned (with socks) on this most recent Monday, I was given the consolation prize of the remaining two clients. They were mine to keep – you know, seed for that freelance business that would blossom by January 2. I could bill them directly. Even better, my dick boss would let them know.

“Oh, um, great.”

Why wasn’t I giddy to have a freelance clients handed to me? With one of the clients, I was, but they’ll probably amount to about $750/month in cash for me, which will pay less than 1/3 of the house payment. The other client? They hate us. They’ve been biding time until their contract ends. That happens January 1.

In our glory days, when we employed a total of 5 people, we had some ass nozzle helping the bitter client with a small but important tech project. Ass nozzle knew exactly what they needed. During status reports, we’d get these amazing tales of how the client was exceeding all expectations with this tech. We were blown away.

Two months later, it was evident that this guy had no clue as to what he was doing. So we fired him and I learned two lessons:

    1. Never hire the cheapest person you can find (okay, I already knew this and hadn’t voted to hire this tool anyway)
    2. Never be so busy that you can’t take a peak and see what everyone is doing

I’ll take the blame for his screw up, partly because I was, partly because no one else at the company was ever willing to own up to anything bad. But I was immersed in this world of trying to keep the clients we had happy and trying to convince new prospects to sign and launching another division of our flailing business that I took him for his word. If I had looked instead of listening, I would have realized early on what was going on. I’ve been trying to clean up the mess ever since.

Today was no different. I tried to do whatever I could to make this bitter client – now my bitter client – happy because I needed them to continue as a client of mine past January 1. I also started the meter, which will eventually turn into a bill, for some wrap up work associated with that other division I launched. Turns out, I put in most of an 8-hour day.

Wait, if I still have to put in 8 hour days, does that mean client billings weren’t the problem? Could it have been … a shitty business plan? I’m getting ahead of myself.

Toward the end of the day, the good, small client informed me that they had a really meaty project for me. The best news I had all week, so I went for a run. By the time I returned – mind you, I’m a slow runner, but I don’t go far – the project had been cancelled. That’s the bad part of the good client: they’re amazingly flaky.

I knocked off around 6 with a list of things I still have to do for wrap up, which I’ll tackle tomorrow. Then I spent time looking for available website names because that’s what unemployed people like me should do. “Ecto” was taken (and I’m not sure why I would want it), “sasquatch” was gone, too (I wanted a hairier version of Amazon), my own name seemed pathetic and no one can spell it anyway, “chaos” was neither available or smart because maybe it gives the wrong “hire me” impression. So do droll, dribble, simpleton and everything else I looked up. Misspellings are available, but even some of them are even pricey. Not sure what that says about society – we value bad spelling?

Eventually I got to the heart of my website-name search: because if I DO decide to just work for myself, it might help to have a good site name. But did I want to tell people I’m a “writer,” an “editor” or a “marketer”? Can’t I just be all of them?

Unfortunately, “indecisive,” and “flighty” are already taken. “Wishy-washy” is available though and spelled properly – but I can’t afford it.

And I’m still not sure I want to.


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