Top Three Reasons to Keep Your Day Job

I thought I’d never write that title, but after almost three years in the freelance lifestyle, I have a wee bit of perspective. The gray, windowless cubicle farm is mostly a place of quiet (or not so quiet) desparation. However it has three advantages over editing in your pajamas in front of a bunch of windows.

1. Air conditioning

God, yes. It’s the dog days of summer in most of the United States, and if my dog is any indication, we should all be sprawled across the wood or tile floor like dead things. In my soul-crushing cubicle days, heat was an abstraction as I pulled a cardigan around my over-air-conditioned shoulders. I looked at the weather report and wondered what 96 degrees felt like. Once or twice a year I miss that.

2. Printing/faxing Capabilities

One of the secret joys of my time as an office drone was that I could print out my entire poetry manuscript (3 times if necessary) on the office printer. It printed quickly and easily, and I got to sneak around, picking up the illicit sheaf of poems when my boss wasn’t looking. Then I stole office envelopes and postage and sent my manuscript out to contests. If I had a side freelance project, I could print it out at work. Now I have to go out and buy paper and reload the printer 8 times.

3. Paid Vacations and Health Insurance

My Great Aunt Martha coming into town? Great, I could take a day off and get paid for it. Now I have to work long hours to finish my project and I don’t get paid to lie by the water and hold Great Aunt Martha’s parasol. As for the insurance? I’m one of the lucky bastards with a partner whose employer will cover my insurance. We once figured that his place of employ paid out more for our health insurance than he made in a year. Now that’s fucked up.

But all in all, I have no regrets. Yesterday I went swimming halfway through my day. Remember, if anyone asks? Oh I had a meeting.


5 responses to “Top Three Reasons to Keep Your Day Job


    Except not so much with the heat. We live in a 100-year-old house with no insulation, so anytime the weather reaches either extreme it’ll either be freezing and drafty in here or an oppressive oven set to “broil.” But there are no extremes going on right now. In fact, I am wearing a zip-up hoodie at the moment, and I’m considering putting on socks. I would like some of your 96 degrees simply because I don’t have any. Might I suggest a trade?

    The paid vacation stuff is what really kills me. I took a week off at the beginning of this month for a trip and each week thereafter has been loaded with additional hours to help make up for SOME of the unpaid time. We have to travel out of state for a wedding next month so it’ll be more of the same.

    And I really hate that I can’t diddle around on the internet on a slow day in the office and still get paid for it. There are no slow days at home. Wah.

  2. @lyn, Socks!?! Goddamn Californians! (er, some of my best friends and/or relations are Californians, so I feel like I can say that.)

    And a resounding hell yeah for diddling around on the internet on slow days and still getting paid. But, tell me, it’s still worth it, isn’t it?

  3. The air conditioning is a double-edged sword! Our office is a consistent 66-degrees (with the occasional foray into 67-degree territory!). It’s fucking FREEZING. I’m seriously considering getting a Snuggie for work (as a form of protest). Add in the fact that we’re in a windowless basement and *joy*!

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