Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quit your day job

I've been planning for this day, officially, for the last 6 months. Unofficially it's a move I've always wanted to make, but the stars have only recently aligned themselves so that the decision could be slightly less stupid than normal.

I've quit my day job.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I've gone against the oldest advice cliche in the book and given up a perfectly good, stable desk job at an incredibly decent company in favor of the rather terrifying unknowns of life as a freelance writer and musician.

In the middle of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

I think this may nullify any future rights to give advice to anyone about anything, ever.

But regardless of whether time shows this to be the best or worst decision of my life, there was really no getting around it. I simply don't have the temperament or aptitude for a 9-5 desk job. I was going a little mad. Plus, I can think of no better time in life than now to leap into such uncertainty, since I don't have kids and don't own a home.

The enormity of the move is not lost on me, mind you. Not a day has gone by in the last several months that I haven't wrestled with the decision, wavering between excited determination and abject horror--sometimes all in the span of mere minutes. What about paying the rent? What about food? What about health care, for cryin' out loud?

Actually, I've managed to plan things out in advance enough that the only serious question lingering now is the last one: Health care. I am about to re-join the ranks of the uninsured. Look ma, I'm a statistic! And sure, there may be some real progress made on that front in terms of the national health reform bill now being debated in Washington DC (by a bunch of jerks who don't have to worry about health insurance themselves). And yes, thankfully Wisconsin does offer a family planning waiver that covers my lady business for free.

But my prescriptions? And dental care? Any unforeseen accidents or illnesses? Fuggitaboutit. My country just doesn't do health rights. It prefers paid privileges. So I'll likely be lacking--for a while anyway--crossing my fingers that nothing pops up in the meantime to bankrupt me. We'll see.

On to the more exciting stuff:

I now get to focus almost exclusively on my writing and music. That's seriously awesome. And as part of it all, I'm going to focus this here blog a lot more clearly, chronicling the trials and tribulations of what it means to be a freelancer while also attempting to provide useful tips and tricks to those thinking of doing the same. So you can follow along out of curiosity, schadenfreude, or whatever tickles your pickle, really. I can pretty much promise that it's going to be an interesting ride.

Wish me luck!


Steve Novoselac said...

good luck!

John JT said...

Stop talking about it so much; you're scaring yourself. And never allow questionable choices to disqualify you from giving career advice to others, it's never stopped me. You forgot to mention that not only are you planning this big change in the midst of a great economic crisis, but that you are also embarking on, not one, but two, of the most speculative and risky careers ever devised by Man.

Anyway, what suggestion have you for me who has a night job?

I would say good luck, but we both know that it all comes down to something more profound than that. Besides, you live in a state that offers snatch insurance, so what use do you have for luck?

Unknown said...

Emily Mills = Totes Hott.
You's my bra
Chapel 4eva
LRW 4eva
Cyber Cunts 4eva
You're not done with business meetings you know ;)

Forward Our Motto said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Part One

Dear Emily Albatross

May you enjoy all the luck in all the universes, but you probably won't need it.

I never knew there was an albatross blog and was so pleased to stumble upon this one.

Sometimes its hard being an albatross, but mostly wonderful, especially when we soar upon thermals and glide on the cross winds.

I scribed the following rant some time ago, I had to get some shit off my chest, maybe you would like to read it.

Love Audrey.

The Lament of Audrey Albatross or The Game of your Life

"What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not.
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!"

--- Wordsworth.

Let’s play a game:

Pop down to your nearest sports store; buy a bow and one arrow (on credit) and get back home ASAP.

Give the bow and arrow to you partner, or friend, anyone will do and then go out into the back yard.

Get your friend to load the arrow into the bow then draw the stringy thing back as far as possible. Then get your friend to aim the arrow directly at your beating heart. Tell your friend to let go of the stringy bit.

Come back and tell me how you feel.

The albatross, in human mythology, incites mental imagery of a burden hanging around one’s neck. People make jokes about us and it hurts. It’s a bum rap really and that Coleridge guy has a lot to answer for. Why not a sea gull or penguin? But an albatross it was, in fact it was me and it’s time we sorted some stuff out.

Firstly, did you play my little game? Why not?

At least I let you in on my game; you knew what the consequences would be. Don’t you think it’s sad that you guys didn’t give me the same courtesy? Nope you simply crucified me, and it hurt. And then you made a joke of it, and that hurt too.

Right up to the moment of my demise I trusted you. If you remember we got off to a flying start. I was wandering around the mall just like any other blonde and happened upon your good selves sailing in your ship.

It was all good for a while. I did tricks for you and you feed me all sorts of exotic food. It was fun. And I never missed vespers nine by moonlight. It was ever so romantic. Golden times they were. I truly believed our relationship was based on honesty and trust; the (necessary) seed crystal of intimacy and love. I felt secure.

And then it all went pear shaped, you started to play a very silly and dangerous game – with yourselves. Sadly, for me, you didn’t realise you were playing the game and for no good reason you chose me as the perpetrator of your own stupidity. You allowed your fears and superstitions to justify the cold blooded murder of an innocent life – me.

And to make things worse I have become an insidious archetype of ridicule. Is that how human beings play their game? Draw you into their confidence then take you for all you’re worth and more?

They say life is a game and I suppose it would be hard to disagree. I suspect the challenge is being aware if one is participating in a game; and knowing the players (your competitors) and rules - for games usually have winners and losers.

Continued below...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, those who prefer not to play games will be disappointed, for in the real world individuals are being constantly drawn into the games of others; the political game, the religious game, the games our corporations play and the games we play with each other.

Life is a competition and sadly the rules are nebulous and favour the well informed, cunning, connected, deceitful, manipulative, and in many cases the mean and brutal. These are the types who (in general) rise to the top; these are the ones many choose to follow. Mostly they end up disappointed then have to cop it on the chin.

The game of life is unavoidable but we can mitigate the (destructive) games we play in our personal lives - our direct relationships. We have a choice: to play or not to play. Once again one must know if one is playing a game, and if so what is motivating the game, otherwise the consequences are quite often unfortunate.

The self personality quite often acts as a very selective filter, a personal censure, distorts stuff and creates unnecessary conflict; many of us end up playing games with ourselves and don’t even know it. We all know and understand this on an intellectual level but comprehending it from a personal psychological perspective quite often escapes us – to the detriment of our personal lives and relationships.

We seem to find it easy to identify short comings in others without even considering we could share same. We think we know how to cure others but find no reason to look at ourselves.

The mitigation of games reduces competition and fosters co-operation. It also reduces conflict, creates stillness and most of all fosters trust. Who do you trust?

They say competition is an excellent catalyst for progress; it would be hard to disagree for the greatest competition of all - war - has proven to be an excellent accelerator for the sophistication of the art of destruction including socially advantageous stuff as well – but at what cost?

Some games are not worth playing.

It would be very naïve to think we could eliminate games all together, for our leaders will never allow that, but we can choose not to play some of the unnecessary games, ones that create conflict:

The racist game; the envy game; the get rich at all cost game; the winner take all game; the control game – you know the ones.

They say we are all connected by six degrees, I would argue that in many ways 99% of humanity is connected by nil degrees; it’s just that we are so distracted by the game of life we simply miss the obvious.

On that note it’s now time to withdraw from this little game and return into the ether; sometimes games just go round and round. As such I shall bid you farewell and wish you and your loved ones all the joy in all the universes.

With infinite fondness

Audrey Albatross.

PS. In an other incarnation I worked for a guy named Rupert Murdoch - I resigned (for ethical reasons) and did my own thing - it was the best decision of my life.

PPS. It’s been said that science begins as philosophy and ends as art. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn the science of living into the art of life?

Scott Fendley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey, good luck! You are young and definitely need to follow your muse and your heart.

And the economy is turning around, so it's a good time to strike out on your own. I did last January in the midst of the doldrums, with 3 people to support - and I survived and thrived.

You can, too! Do what's right for you and don't compromise!

Zach W. said...

Good luck and congratulations!

Keep us little people in mind when you hit it big!

Emily said...

Steve/FOM/Zach - Thanks very much!

John - Fair point. Snatch insurance FTW!

Meg - Business meetings 4eva! ;)

Audrey - I always thought the albatross got a bad rap in the poem, too. Weren't the sailors more to blame? Harumph. Thanks for sharing.

smed - Glad to hear things have been going well for you! I intend to work my butt off to make this work, one way or another, but the well-wishes are always appreciated.

apc said...

This sounds like a great opportunity for you spend some time procuring that bid to South by Southwest. I look forward to hearing Little Red Wolf at the Continental Club come springtime.

Best of luck. You probably don't need it, but a little luck is always a nice thing to have.

George H. said...

Don't forget to eat. Be healthy. Return phone calls. Timing. Is. Everything.
Don't forget to write. (or ask for help)

Briane said...

Good luck with it. Just reading your post made me feel nervous.

W J said...


The road won't always be straight and level, and the wind won't always be on your back. But you're free and on your way, and surely you'll make it.

Oh, and of course what you're doing is crazy. But rarely is something worth doing if most people think it's not crazy.

The Lost Albatross