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..: stories

..: About Freelancing

A story by the kj elf.


"So how's the freelancing going?", my husband's boss asks, from down thelong, family-sized table in a noisy greek restaurant.

"It's okay. Work's not the main focus of my life right now", tumbles out ofmy mouth to the president. I don't know why I feel so stupid in front of aguy who is my own age, I went to art school with, and now employs my husbandat a web development company he started when he was 22. (Mind you, NOT adot.com startup!)

Freelancing. Wacking away on keyboard and mouse in my plaid pj's withmorning coffee that I had to make myself. My commute is all of 30 secondsand I have a reserved parking space, not that I need it. My 11 x 14 officehas a big window, a real door that closes, and a big desk situated smack inthe center of the space, where I can face incoming visitors and no one cansee what's on my screen. I can play Oakenfold as loud as I can tolerate.Lunch time is whenever I want, as long as I want. There are no meetings toattend that I don't set-up myself. There are no office politics orannoying fellow cubicle dwellers. I have no boss. All the things I couldever want, but never hope for in a working environment.

It wasn't always like this.

I used to work for a cool web boutique. And I did have a boss. How shall Idescribe her... head-strong, opinionated, anal-retentive creative who,despite her fragile build, could intimidate anyone with one fell comment.She liked to exercise her control and yet have people adore and respect her.And in some sort of weird way, she sought approval from her karate sensai,her pilates instructor, chiropractor, nutritionist, and lesbian lover. Shedrove both a 528i and a convertible roadster - both green - both into theground.

Despite all this, I liked my co-workers and my personally appointed cementcubicle with the cabana umbrella over the top. Jamba Juice on Melrose wasa 15 minute walk away and I could sit my well-shaded car and practice myguitar chords for lunch. The work was challenging enough and I thrived onwinning my boss's favor. This full-time job was not so bad.

Then my 40-year old boss decided she would rather be called "SVP ofCreative" and get her cushy stock options and salary from some 28 year-oldentrepreneurial superstar, than run her own shop. We get acquired into acorporate monster. A dot.com incubator.

Dot.com, dot.net, dot.org, hell... we named the levels of the parkingstructure. Round and round I go... looking for a vacancy.

"Good morning, good morning."

"Yeah, just waiting for the coffee to finish brewing."

"Parking really sucks, huh?"

"Yeah. Can you pass the Coffeemate?"

I hate powdered creamer.

I take my paper cup to my nice 6 x 7 cubicle. I'm bored already. There isa perforated metal wall that separates my cubie from my gay neighbor's. Wecall it The Confessional. He is already there. Prompt. Resourceful. Ameticulous designer. Getting ready to make his next leap up the careerladder.

As my workload wanders farther and farther away from my job description, mymind wanders to more distant places. I feel purposeless. Useless. Andmostly bored. My fiance encourages me to quit. I spend hours at a localcoffee house to pass the time during the day. Ms. SVP only has enoughmindshare to make it to her meetings, trying not to be accosted in the stallby subordinates who need answers and approvals, while she urinates. I amnever missed. Or maybe I was never really needed.

On a Friday, my resignation letter takes effect. My co-workers take me outto El Cholo for lunch. I WILL miss them. Next Monday, exit interview. DidI say too much? Tuesday morning: What do I do with myself now? I getsick.

...Then I get married, spend a honeymoon in Kauai, move, buy a used G3 andset-up shop.

So how's freelancing going?

Great. I think I just need to stop and appreciate what I've got here. Nowif you'll excuse me, I need to keep Tandy from chewing my mouse pad and brewmyself a refill.

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