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After getting a few hours of writing done after work, Ben and I walked up the street and returned to our apartment with a few deli wraps and a bottle of wine.
We then spent the night watching mixed martial arts fights on TV, toasting to various things, and envisioning how the next few months of our lives are going to unfold. Now that we will both work from the home, how are things going to change?It was quickly decided (after two glasses of wine) that as far as our growing home office was concerned, Ripley would be named Chief Executive Officer. It was also quickly decided that Rips would look really, really cute in a tie.
I thought it would be a good idea to install a water cooler in the living room so that we could take breaks and talk about the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars. We both agreed that any emails we sent to each other would now be referred to as “office-wide memos.”
Ben also suggested that we instate a company policy prohibiting interoffice relationships in order to promote professionalism, but Ripley and I quickly struck it down. After three glasses of wine, we decided that instead of “dress-down Fridays” we’d have “drunk Fridays” – you know, just to keep everyone comfortable and to keep company morale up.
The list of things that our office wouldn’t have was highly encouraging, though. No more commutes, no more bagged lunches. No more dress code, no more dour 15-minute birthday celebrations. More importantly, no more spreadsheets (or, at least, very few), no more working on projects I don’t choose, no more phone addict cube mate.
I know that the challenges ahead of me are hard, but at least they’ll be my challenges. And even though my new boss demands to be fed twice a day and makes me clean up her poop, at least she doesn’t have the ability to talk. Or use emoticons.
I’m feeling elated and terrified.
I like the idea of being responsible for my happiness, production, and income on a daily basis. I also like the idea that even if I fail, at least I will have tried and gotten it over with.
My (good, non-emoticon) boss seemed almost as happy as I did. I would say that I liked working with her as much as I hated my job. She’s going to tell my emoticon boss that I’m leaving so I dont’ have to.
I also somewhat brashly asked for a weeklong vacation before officially giving my two-week notice. It was granted. This will give me one paid week in which to get a jumpstart on writing and marketing my ass off.
Anyone’s company need a freelance corporate copywriter?
* The new website is going to be another day or two as we work out tiny kinks. It’s pretty damn exciting, though.
* I spent the entire day writing biographies of famous boxers for another web content freelance job. It was surprisingly inspiring to write about a bunch of guys over the last 150 years or so who held a vocation that I would describe as the absolute opposite of having an office job.
I was especially inspired by the story of Jack Johnson, the son of two former slaves and the first African-American to win the World Heavyweight Title. To read about his against-all-odds struggle against racism at the turn of the century was unbelievable – and I immediately Netflixed Ken Burn’s PBS documentary about him on Ben’s recommendation, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. I’ll tell you how it is.
And, since I like for everything to be about me, I’ll point out that in each and every one of the boxer bios I wrote today, there was this moment in each fighter’s career when they quit their job at the factory/farm/army base/post office and decided to take the plunge and be a professional boxer. Just like that. (I won’t mention that many of their lives ended in heartbreak and financial ruin.)
* My insomnia is getting worse and worse. And although it makes my mornings painful and takes away from my daytime production, I’m enjoying the surreal hours I spend in the dark on my computer, from about 3 AM to 6 AM, scheming and planning. It’s almost as if things are more possible in the middle of the night than in the light of day. It’s like I’ve replaced my literal nighttime dreams with my figurative career-aspiration dreams. I feel like some sort of freelance writer vampire in that regard – the person inside me who truly believes that I can start up and run my own business retreats to a coffin at sun-up, hissing at the light.
* In fourth grade, it was mandatory for everyone to take swimming lessons at the high school pool. I passed everything except for the diving part and, therefore, I failed gym class that quarter. To this day, it’s been absolutely impossible for me to dive into a body of water – something deep in my brain won’t let my body jump headfirst into something. And yes, even my ten-year-old self understood the blatantly obvious and lame metaphor about diving as it translated to my larger life.
* In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’d like to post a link to the speech Barak Obama gave yesterday in Atlanta.
I was hired for a nice freelance job by a new client this morning, which always, always feels good. I haven’t had work from new people in a couple of months, so even though this is just a web page content job, and even though the project is due the day after Christmas (!), I couldn’t be happier. It’s a new contact and a new future writing sample and a new little notch for my belt.
Sure, I won’t be able to go crazy at the company holiday party this afternoon, as everyone was probably hoping, but it will be one more nice check to deposit into my Escape from New York savings account.
Speaking of freelancing, it’s now been almost exactly a year since I started looking for writing jobs outside of my crappy office job. Including this new project, which I’m fitting in right before the year-end bell, I’ll have completed 29 separate writing assignments for a profit of just over half of what I make annually as a company drone (before taxes). And every single penny of my freelance money has been nestled safely away. I think that translates to my being half-way to my goal of getting out of this skyscraper and into a pickup truck.
This is all so hard 99% percent of the time, and Ben and I have been so stressed and fatigued and a little hopeless lately, but moments like these are enough to keep me moving forward.
Now, I don’t want to get into a big pissing contest with anyone about whose job makes them feel the most worthless. But I do want to say this: I spent the morning frantically tracking down two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes for my boss.
Have you ever had to explain to a complete stranger that you don’t have a superhero/rodent fetish? Well, I’m getting paid approximately $11 an hour (after taxes) to do so.
Me: Hi, I’m looking to rent two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes. I have neither a rodent nor superhero fetish. It’s for a sales meeting.
Costume Shop Lady: A sales meeting?
Me: More specifically, it’s for a sales meeting I didn’t plan. They always have silly themes. No weird fetishes here.
Costume Shop Lady: Yes, we have one available – it includes the head, hands, cape, and spandex.
Me: I actually need two. I need Mighty MICE. And I swear to you on everything holy that the second one isn’t for my significant other. We just like holding hands and watching movies.
Costume Shop Lady: We only have one. Why in the world would we have two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes??
Me: Why would you even have ONE?? Freaks!!!
It doesn’t help that this task was given to me by my new boss – the one prone to marking all emails with the high-important red exclamation point regardless of their importance level. Here’s a timeless and fool-proof business tip for managers and bosses: if you have a new assistant and are trying to make her feel welcomed, useful, and like a human being with real hopes and dreams, do not ask her to track down two adult size full-body Mighty Mouse costumes. Or any sort of other costume. For at least a couple of weeks.
Well, I have to go now and make some more important business calls and try to talk over the laughter of my cube mate while I ask questions like, “Is the spandex one size fits all?” and “What are the mouse hands made out of?” and “Didn’t I already explain that I’m not into weird mouse stuff?”