Of all the careers, in all the towns, in all the world… …you had to be mine.
Since the sad, sorry closing of my old company and the beginning of my new career as a freelance writer/editor, I’ve been pretty lucky. I sort of fell right into my first contract job by paying it forward. By that I mean that while I was scouring the web for freelance gigs for myself, I was also looking out for others. If I saw a job that wasn’t necessarily right for me but might be right for a colleague, of course I would forward that information on. As it turned out, one of these did actually result in a good friend of mine snagging a pretty impressive project. That, in and of itself, made me happy! Then, come to find out, the contract she received was such a large undertaking that she was alloted a small staff! So she came back to me and asked if I’d like to join the team. Heck yes, I would!
Without saying too much about the project, I believe it would be all right for me to say that it involves working on a career-focused educational game for students. In doing much research of hundreds of different professions over the past three weeks, I have come to really appreciate where I am in life right now as well as becoming more aware of how many other opportunities there are out there. I don’t presume to understand how one child grows up to be a neurosurgeon while another becomes an editor while another becomes a game show host while another becomes an electrical engineer while another becomes a candlestick maker. The paths we choose are based on an incomprehensible amount of conscious and unconscious decisions, traits, skills, etc. as we go. All I know is, out of the countless professions that could have chosen me, I am very content with this one so far. Of course, I am still a newbie as a freelancer and I don’t pretend to think it’s all wine and roses just because I landed this first gig pretty pronto. I am sure there will be days in the future where I will be at my wit’s end trying to find work. I hope those days will be few and far between. But in the meantime, it’s pretty groovy to make your own hours, choose your own projects, write-off office supplies, meet interesting people, learn new things, and do it all in footy pajamas! Just kidding, those only come out in the winter.
The only two big cons I have seen so far are: having to buy my own insurance and the occassional loneliness. The former is just a necessary evil of the business. Suck it up and deal. Pretty soon everyone is going to have to be insured whether they have a company to pay for it or not so I guess I’m ahead of the curve there. As far as the loneliness goes, it’s not terrible. I still keep in touch with the old crew and I do live with my girlfriend and four cats so they all keep me on my toes, no doubt. And the newly installed birdhouse out back makes for interesting company every day. I do enjoy raising and shaking my fist at those damn squirrels while secretly marveling at their acrobatics. But sometimes I do miss the long commute into work, the company camaraderie, the excitement of a magazine well-done, and even (or especially) the moaning that inevitably comes in any shared office from the “same boat mentality.” I’m a one-man show now. It is at times very exhilarating and at others, kinda dull. But at least it’s where I want to be and when someone asks me what I do, I can say with pride, “I am a freelancer,” and smile.