13 Years

Dear Employer,

When you hear the news please save the saintly words for saintly souls. I’ll be long gone, long gone and rotting, long gone and ulcerous. A thing untold.

The first time I got laid off was in March, 2008. We had a farewell party at the office, since Corel was closing up shop and it was mostly empty. I was in charge of the music and I included a live version of Jeff Tweedy’s cover of The Minus 5’s “Dear Employer (The Reason I Quit).” Three times, actually, which is why it’s one of my Top 10 most-listened to songs.

Even though we were laid off in March 2008, the announcement was made in November 2007. In a perfect metaphor about the coldness corporations and the way they dehumanize people, I had to introduce myself to my boss so he could hand me my termination papers and severance letter. He had zero idea who I was before then, even though he’d been my boss for nearly a year.

The last time I got laid off was May 15, 2009. The four-person marketing team had a farewell lunch for me at the same place I had my welcome lunch just six months earlier. That time around my boss knew my name and he was more distraught about the lay off than I was. He kept me on as a contractor for years and has hired me off and on in a freelance capacity since.

My only goal in 2009 was to make it through the summer as a freelancer. After that, I’d go back to work.

I have not been back to work since, so to speak. Like most everything in my life, I had no intention of being a self-employed freelancer for most of my career. This is another case of things just happen & keep happening.

How this has continued to happen for 13 years is not a total mystery. I like to pretend it is, because it seems funnier. Also, whenever I talk about things I’m good at that aren’t eating cookies I feel egotistical or that I’m getting too big for my britches. The feminine urge to downplay every single aspect of yourself that can be seen in a positive life is real, y’all.

The truth is I’m good at what I do and I’m a lot of fun to work with. I have twelve pretty regular clients and have worked with 60+ clients over the years. I have gotten 99% of my work through word of mouth and one time because I was a fan of The Replacements.

Today is the 13th anniversary of being my own employer. I am very good at being the boss of me. Next to starting this blog, working for myself has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I would probably be richer and less hermitty if I had an office job. However, I know for certain I would be crankier and less happy.

Working in for a company would have eaten away my soul until all I did was go to work, come home, and sit on my couch waiting to die.

That’s the reason that I quit,

P.S. I don’t offer a lot of advice about working from home or freelancing. However, the one rule that I think everyone should follow is this: Wear what you fucking want. I’ve read roughly 8,196 articles and blog posts about working from home. Each and every one of them said to “dress like you’re going to work.” Fuck that nonsense. Ostensibly, it’s supposed to make you more productive and more professional. I call bullshit. If you can’t be professional and productive in your comfy pants and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts t-shirt, what are you even doing with your life?

I perform 98% better when I’m comfortable and not spending my time thinking about how a bra is digging into my side or how my shoes are bothering my feet. They say dress for the job you want, which is what I do. I dress like someone who wants to read books, listen to rock & roll, and intermittently nap after lunch. Maybe you want to be All-Time King/Queen Corporate Automaton who looks like they have a ruler up their ass wearing clothes that cost a lot of money and go in and out of style. You do you.

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  1. theluckynun 16.May.22 at 4:44 pm

    Heck effing yes to wearing what’s comfortable while working from home. I got lucky during the pandemic, and my previously undoable request of WFH was miraculously approved because there was no other choice. At this point, I can’t go back. I never knew how productive I could be until I wasn’t being interrupted 40 times a day or trying to drown out open office noise pollution with headphones that made me look “hostile,” or counting the minutes until I could go home and put my sweatpants back on and unhunch my shoulders in a comfy tee and hoodie. Congratulations for making it this long, you’re not missing anything good.

    1. Jodi Chromey 16.May.22 at 7:42 pm

      You’ve nailed the difference between “office hours” and “billable hours.” I try to tell my friends that billable hours are straight work and office hours are the work you get done between meetings, interrupting coworkers, and online shopping while at the office.


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