Cube free is the way to be: 12 months without a real job

It’s 10:53 p.m. and I have just forced myself to stop working, but that’s only because I’m going to go to bed as soon as The Hold Steady stop singing on The Colbert Report.

Today as I was preparing lunch to go with my daily “Roseanne” reruns I got excited because I had new peppercorns to put in the grinder. This is only mildly more embarrassing than Sunday when I got excited about SuperT stocking big jars of Skippy Creamy Natural Peanut Butter.

When you spend most of the day alone with cats and the radio and the internet it doesn’t take much to excite you. Also, when you work as a freelance writer cheap lunches you make at home are a key to survival.

Saturday will mark the first anniversary of my unemploymentiversary. I should call it my self-employmentiversary, but there’s something about the term self-employment that sounds masturbatory. It just rubs me the wrong way*.

After buying Supergenius HQ and keeping I Will Dare going for ten years, this past year might be one of my proudest achievements. It hasn’t been easy.

Being the sole breadwinner makes going without a steady paycheck terrifying. It took months to stop worrying about my inevitable destitution and probable basement dwelling. I still have to refrain from applying for every interesting job that pops up. It hasn’t been easy either, because there’ve been a lot of interesting jobs popping.

I’ve learned a lot in the past twelve months not the least of which is don’t carry your water bottle in the same bag as your computer. The other things all involve super lame cliches:
Do what you love and the money will come. I’m sorry, it’s true. I get paid to write words in my pajamas. The pajamas part is a total side benefit. My clients pay me the same amount if I wear jeans.

Working for yourself is the best job ever. Bleh, I know. But it’s true too. I’m thisclose to turning into one of those people who go on and on about how awesome working for yourself is and how I wished I’d done it sooner and that everyone should quit their jobs immediately are totally right. The only thing that keeps me from being that person is the fact that I hate people who talk about work all the time. Work is boring, I’d rather talk about “Roseanne” reruns.

So yay! One whole year of cube-freedom. I just want to give thanks and be grateful tonight while I was in the mood, because tomorrow when I get up at 6 a.m. to Tibblesit I’m not going to be too happy about working until 11 p.m.

*I slay me. I tried really really hard to not point out that joke because laughing at your own jokes is lame, but here I am pointing out to you how funny I think I am.

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  1. Reuben Collins 14.May.10 at 9:15 am

    boy, what a downer post to read from my cube…

  2. Jodi 14.May.10 at 9:22 am

    Dude, I’ve been there. I worked in a cube on and off for ten or eleven years. It will eat your soul.

    It always reminds me . . . CLICHE WARNING. . . of that scene in Reality Bites where Ethan Hawke says, “What is it that you want from me Lelaina, huh? You want me to get a job on the line for the next 20 years until I’m granted leave with my gold plated watch and my balls full of tumors just because I surrendered the one thing that means shit to me? Well honey, you can just exhale because it’s not gonna happen. Not in this lifetime.”

    Yeah. Sorry.

  3. david 14.May.10 at 12:21 pm

    Congratulations! As a fellow cube-free worker, I salute you. I agree that working for yourself is wonderful, the last couple of years of blogging and freelancing have been the most fulfilling of my life and given me the time and opportunity to pursue dreams both professional and personal (and yes, people do look at me funny when I go on and on about it).

  4. Placemat 14.May.10 at 2:13 pm

    Congrats. Alas, my balls are not as big as yours. I just ain’t got the guts.

    P.S. John Goodman rocks. & Darlene just might be my favorite TV character ever.

  5. Peabo 15.May.10 at 7:34 pm

    Congratulations!! You totally deserve to be Cube Free–and I’m glad that everything worked out for you as it should…quite well 🙂

  6. Doug 23.May.10 at 3:44 pm

    I applaud your bravery. I’m not sure whether those of us still in the cubicles are supposed to feel slightly condescended to if we don’t follow your path, or if that’s just inevitable envy (probably the flip side of what you feel when you don’t get a paycheck for a while and we’re smugly content knowing we have one coming in two weeks), but there’s no quibbling with your central thesis: There’s no substitute for finding something that makes you happy.

    Personally, I don’t mind having a day job and only writing as a hobby. I know me, and that trying to make a living at it would suck some of the joy out of it. So I have the utmost respect for people who can get past that and still love it. I’m certainly glad to know they’re out there, because the world does need them.

    p.s. I always interject a parenthetical “Ack” to designate when I’ve cracked myself up.

  7. Jodi 24.May.10 at 11:22 am

    I didn’t intend it to be condescending. I usually only condescend about rock & roll and literature.

    There are some people who are better suited for day jobs, who find day jobs that click with them. I thought I was one of them for a long long time. Even when I hated it, I kind of loved my job at Hell, Inc. But that was mostly because I loved my co-workers. Getting laid off from Hell, Inc. and having a taste of the cubefree freedom changed my life. I had a kickass job as a Blogger at one of the awesomest places to work on the planet and I was miserable. Freelancing seems to be for me, but it’s not for everyone.

    Even when I had a day job, it was writing. That’s all I know how to do. Well that, and being a gas station attendant.


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