All summer I went back and forth. Should I or shouldn’t I? I hadn’t been that nervous since I had asked the young man to move in with me a few years before. Before work, I tooled around on websites that promised hard work, business, and success if I just went freelance. Then I went to work and sat in my windowless cubicle and thought about my health insurance, which was really only a symbol, an emblem of security, because I could have partnership benefits through my partner.
But after a good solid year of juggling control freaks, entitled authors, office gossip, my inability to wear business clothes without feeling like a freak, lack of light, and lunchroom conversations about whether a man is gay if he pees sitting down, I said fuck it. And I quit a full time job to become a freelance copyeditor a few months before a global economic crisis. Never let it be said I have no sense of timing.
I’m pretty sure I would have lost that job in the next round of layoffs anyway. I had a part-time job and the promise of steady freelance work with another client. I had a table and three windows, thank you very much! We got a dog. I became happier even though I panicked, stopped writing, tried to work all the time, and still felt like a fraud. For me, it was worth leaving.
I learned that I can only edit successfully for six hours a day on a good day. I learned that natural light made me a happier person. I learned that small-time freelancers don’t need to have glossy self-promoting blogs. They can have small snarky blogs. They might not get jobs out of it, but they get a great deal of personal satisfaction and a bunch of new friends. I started writing prose, in part, from the practice I got rattling on here about all the perceived slights against me and my noble profession.
I started this blog, lost my mother, and got married within a three-month time period. Not surprisingly, perhaps, my ADD went haywire. I went on medication and it calmed down a little. I have the kind of client I’ve always wanted. I have a struggling book manuscript, a house, a man I love, a dog, and work. Sometimes it is not enough, but other times it is.
I’m sending out my love to those of you who are struggling with career change. If you need some cheering up, back-channel me and I’ll send you disgustingly cute pictures of my dog. Other than the snark, it’s the best I can do.