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Again, as if there was indeed a force greater than just us humans, life tried to speak to me for the second time today. I applied for a freelance job today and heard back from the guy in literally under five minutes.
We met after work today at his offices and I’m hired. And here’s the force-greater-than-just-us-humans part: this one little project pays almost exactly to the dollar what my regular office job paycheck is.
It made me think, as I sat on the couch this evening and got to work on my new freelance assignment, what’s the difference between these two checks (other than the fact that one is for 80 hours of work and the other is for roughly 10 hours of work)?
The answer is that I truly dig it. I enjoy even the most boring of the creative non-fiction writing genres. I enjoy sitting on my couch with my lap top and cat and Ben typing away in the other room. I enjoy that with each new project I get to learn about a whole new subject and world. Oh, and I enjoy choosing which hours I work and whether or not to wear pants while I work.
And here’s the thing: even though I never ever, ever hear back from real full-time jobs that I apply to, I’ve gotten the last five out of five freelance gigs I’ve applied for. Again, capital-L Life is probably banging his head against his desk right now. (Life has his own desk, right?)
The tiny hitch lies in the fact that freelance work doesn’t come regularly. It’s risky. But I might be ready to take some risks after a year and a half of no surprises. Even if it means getting a second job as a clown or stripper or, if push comes to shove, the dreaded clown stripper.
I know this blog has gotten a little more journal-y than usual in the last few days, but this is all I can really think about. Tomorrow I promise I’ll write about something else. At least for one entry.
Apparently it’s yearly review time here at work and upon looking at my bank statement this morning, something was peculiarly different. Moments later, my (good, non-emoticon) boss called me up and informed me that my performance over the last year earned me a raise (this is normal, I think pretty much everyone gets one).
It’s almost as if they could hear my soul dying from inside my cubicle and decided to do something about it.
But how much is this raise? Is it enough to raise me out of my enraged and depressed funk in which I’m pretty sure I am wasting my youth, energy, and, ultimately, my life? Is it enough for me to rethink this office job stuff?
No. It’s a $24 bump per paycheck. $12 a week. Not even enough to push me into the coveted four-figure paycheck. In other words, it is the most demoralizing raise ever. It is two movie tickets (no popcorn, no sodas). It is FIVE PERCENT of my monthly student loan bill. Most importantly, it does not compensate for the extra work, effort, time, and energy I’ve had to put into my job.
And did I mention that we’re only allowed one raise per year? And that my job has no upward mobility? This is the last bump I’ll see for a while.
The good news is, though, that it serves as a kind of wake up call for me. Even if I am rewarded for my hard work at the office, the reward only further reflects everything else about my job. Four percent of a pile of shit shit is a marginally bigger pile of shit. If I’m going to be poor anyway, shouldn’t I be poor and happy?
I mean, I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Twelve extra dollars a week is $12 I didn’t have before. But at the same time, it makes me feel like Sisyphus, if Sisyphus was given a spreadsheet to fill out and each time he finished it he was handed a blank spreadsheet.
I think a big change might be coming – I’m just not quite sure how to act yet. Either way, I’m planning on taking a week off from work to simply calm down and evaluate things. Who knows, I might even write a less self-centered and money-focused whiny blog entry. We can only hope for the best.
Some of you might recall that a few weeks ago I claimed that Britney Spears hasn’t yet hit rock bottom because she’s financially secure – unlike TLC or Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer, she seemed to be far from having to trade in her sports car for a bicycle or having to move back in with her mom. As much as people say that money doesn’t have anything to do with happiness, I’m going to say that you can’t really be in the depths of despair, the lowest of the low, when you have millions in the bank.This, of course, was before I read this article on CNN about where Britney keeps her money. The answer is: she simply doesn’t. The official court papers show that while Brit spends, per month, $50,000 on her two mortgages, $16,000 on clothes, $15,000 on her baby daddy, and $100,000 on entertainment and gifts, she is putting exactly $0 into investments and savings accounts. She gives exactly $500 dollars in charity.
This does not bode well for her. I don’t care how catchy her new song “oh oh Baby” is (the answer: extremely catchy), Britney has a limited shelf life whether or not she has a successful comeback in the next few years. I mean, if I were that well off, I would at least pay someone to care about my money situation and future security so I didn’t have to – you know, like an accountant or someone? More than the drinking, the unprotected sex, and the hitting people with her car without a license, her financial situation seems to paint the picture of how destructive (or just stupid?) she has been behaving.
And now for the comparison: how am I doing in this aspect of life? Well, even though I make as much in a year as Brit spends of cute shoes and half shirts in a two month period, I’m putting away 6.5 percent of my income (which is generously matched by my employer). And I save 100 percent of the money I make freelancing, which, in a year, comes to as much as Britney pays Fed-Ex a month for cornrow upkeep, releasing failed rap albums, and weirdo hat purchases. I spend exactly as much a month as Britney does on charity aggressively paying off my student loans, which is a charity in its own way, helping the poor student Sarah of the past.
The way things are going now, even though Britney grossed almost exactly 10,000 times as much money as I did last year, I might end up in the same nursing home as she does. Now I just have to make sure my old lady abs are flatter and less wrinkly than hers.