August 17, 2010

Without a Net

Last week, staring into my work monitor, with the hissing sound of the "white noise" machine permeating the office, I just kind of hit a brick wall, figuratively speaking.

For 26 months, I'd labored at what was supposed to be a dream job: good pay, great benefits, all that good stuff. Yet it was the worst work experience I've ever had in my 12 years out of college, spanning six different jobs.

It was a writing job in name only. It was more accurate to characterize it as a mind-numbing, bureaucratic, spin-the-wheels to nowhere abyss. I would be assigned projects that would be tweaked, retweaked and, eventually, just kind of disappear altogether as infighting broke out between parties that weren't even supposed to have input when it was first assigned. I had projects that would get tied up in review so bad, some wouldn't be completed for nearly a year. Worse, processes and procedures would be updated during that time, so even if the projects were finally approved, they would no longer adhere to the most recent templates and style guidelines, so I'd have to go in and change it all. So, it was rather galling to have a performance review that said I tended to miss deadlines. Really? You don't say?

It was made all the more surreal when you consider that I had numerous freelance writing requests coming in during those two years, as many as one or two every other month. Did I ever miss those deadlines? Nope. Never. I hit them all, usually with time to spare because, and this is key: THE WORK MADE SENSE.

So it was, last week, as I sat there in the droning embrace of white noise that is, in fact, just noise, I started to consider my situation. On the one hand, I desperately didn't want to be unemployed, but on the other hand I had several freelance articles lined up, as well as paychecks coming in for freelance work I've already completed. Things will be tight, but I have enough freelance work to make things work financially through this year for sure, and probably for a year or more beyond.

And so I resigned. I resigned from a job I just couldn't see myself doing any more. I jumped. Without a net.

Well, not ENTIRELY without a net, but certainly not the kind of net you'd necessarily want to trust with your life.

Today, I have a phone interview with a company, and Thursday I have a sit-down interview with another company. And I have two freelance articles I'm working on.

In other words, I'm terrified, but strangely optimistic.

Posted by Ryan at August 17, 2010 10:35 AM | TrackBack

Good for you!! Good luck!

Posted by: Beth at August 18, 2010 09:27 AM

Big ones. Made of brass. Good for you.

Posted by: Keith at August 18, 2010 10:49 AM

What do you think about doing a novel? I've got a story (a true one) but not the time nor endurance to bang out the whole thing.

I swear to God, if the story ever got published, it'd get us on Oprah.

Posted by: LearnedFoot at August 19, 2010 07:38 AM

Dude. Don't get me wrong -- I basically agree with what you're doing, but Jesus.

Posted by: Joshua at August 21, 2010 05:17 PM

Into the abyss! While it does take guts to do it, I think its often harder to just keep doing the job and feeling your soul slowly shrivel up and wither to nothing.

If I had any tech PR juice, I'd send jobs your way as I could. Maybe I'll make an intro or two for you with some tech editors I'm still in touch with. If you want, of course!

Posted by: Erik at August 26, 2010 06:53 PM
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