Today is the 1st anniversary of the last day I worked for someone else. That was not the plan, though.
I was working a short contract position at a theme park as a technical writer. I thought that this was what I wanted to do professionally, even before I graduated from grad school (which I did three years ago last month).
The gig paid well. The people I worked with, for the most part, were great to work with. My team of writers, though, was not. It was icy, insular, and white, like an igloo with the door shut.
I was sad that my contract wasn’t renewed. I knew I had done an excellent job. But maybe politics got in the way. It was a long commute from my side of town, most of which I didn’t do with my own car yet.
So here’s what’s happened to me since then, in somewhat chronological order:
- I evacuated and went home due to Hurricane Matthew.
- Went on unemployment
- Signed up for “content mills”–website that people use to hire writers for cheap
- Went on food stamps
- Applied for full-time jobs
- Had my room flood due to busted pipes
- Found a steady client for social media work
- Started to find new friends (online but still)
- Saw one awful housemate move out and a worse one move in
- Helped a friend move from Miami to D.C.
- Lost my car, again
- Focused on my blog again
- Went to St. Pete for a women’s retreat
- Got a new website for my writing business, then switched developers
- Partnered with a friend to do copy editing and writing
- Updated my writing rates
- Evacuated to Chicago for 12 days because of Hurricane Irma
- Finished two big copy editing and writing projects (just this month)
It’s been a lot, and to have the freedom to create my own schedule, to work from home—even if home is obnoxious a lot of the time—it’s a freedom I’ve experienced before, when I was working as a contracted grant writer. It was nice to get work done in Chicago without having to need anything except my computer. My business is me.
And to even say that I have a small business—that’s really wild. I wasn’t signing up to do the content mills because I wanted to. I didn’t even necessarily want to be on this path. But a solar return (astrological term for birthday) report that I received almost two years ago confirmed that I needed to work for myself.
I just didn’t think it’d be so soon.
It’s been a little harrowing, though—and that’s an understatement. But I didn’t expect to be a small business owner, I really didn’t. All I have wanted since I’ve been in Florida is to support myself, which had gotten increasingly harder to do. The opportunities are here, but they don’t seem to be for me.
But Twitter has especially helped me out–with job opportunities, with fundraising, with emotional support. It’s funny how I came down here thinking I’d get that from the people I knew down here. But Florida has been the land of surprising disappointments. And after this hurricane evacuation, and seeing how easy it was to be in Chicago, I plan on leaving here in 2018. I have long overstayed my welcome, but I’ll write more on that later.
I don’t have much to say except that I am grateful—and maybe a little exhausted. I waded through swamps of humiliation, doubt, and frustration and I feel like things are finally going to be even beyond where I wanted them to be, yet where I need them to be.
Here’s to Freedom! ’17. 🙌🏾🎉🍾🍻