Posted on Mar 21, 2009

No, not a reference to my female cycle as I’m sure the rumormongers had hoped! I’m 3.5 months late on figuring out my new year’s resolution.

In my previous personal post, I stated that I wasn’t sure what 2009 was going to be for me yet. I think it has taken a few months to crystalize around the concept of vulnerability.

It started with the realization that I am a lot less shy than I used to be just a couple of years ago, and how silly I was for being shy over small stuff. I began to embrace being vulnerable within my dating life, from telling someone I used to have a crush on them to Twittering about someone I met that I thought was cute to asking a guy why he went on a date with someone else and not me. All things I used to be absolutely terrified of doing. While I anticipated feeling incredibly embarassed, the process of pushing past my threshold became surprisingly addictive and gave me a huge wave of relief. I suppose it goes in step with all the rainbows and unicorns that are supposed to appear when consultants tell brands about the benefits of being “open”.

In the exploration of vulnerability, however, I’ve discovered that it’s much more difficult to be vulnerable when it comes to work – this is an observation in other people as much as it is myself. As said at SXSW by Ben Brown, the difference between self-employed and unemployed is in your head – but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to announce to people your paycheck status when you’re trying to say, “no, really, I need more things on my plate”. And with me, I know I have trolls and stalkers who are just licking their fangs at the delight of this vulnerability (but of course, they’re also the ones who are the first to attack me every time I experience any recognition/success).

And while a low-to-no paycheck status might be great for creativity, “unemployment” can be like being sick: you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want to do, but like being sick, it’s difficult to focus past the cloud of needing to take care of yourself. This isn’t really a complaint, so much as my personal description of what it’s been like to be on the low-to-no status for a few months. I suppose this makes my other resolution to be to keep producing lots of stuff and putting it out there in the face of this financial “fog”. Good thing I have a shit ton of awesome ideas and people around me :)

4 Comments

  1. Matt Neale
    March 21, 2009

    It’s a good point about the difference between self-employed and unemployed. I’ve just recently finished a 6 month stretch working on my own project. At the beginning I set-aside the money and planned for the 6 months, and I always considered I was self-employed – that I was paying myself. That finished 4ish weeks ago, and since then every moment I’ve not been looking for work feels like time wasted. It’s been making me irritable, even though of course nothing has changed at all.

  2. Halia
    March 21, 2009

    You’ve still done more than the average geek in the last few months! I’ve been ill for 2 years and should have created much more than I have with all the spare time on my hands. But, like you say, when you’re sick your priority lies in taking care of yourself rather than being productive. Learning to do both is tricky but I think 2009 is the year for it. Looking forward to a shit ton of awesome stuff!

  3. Greg Turner
    March 21, 2009

    It’s a weird thing, isn’t it? I didn’t go to a high school reunion because I’d just come out of grad school and hadn’t yet found a job. Of course, I’d just finished grad school and wasn’t really expected to be working.

    The other time I was unemployed I spiraled down until I was eating Fritos off my belly, my T-shirt all grease stained, watching some game show on over-the-air television. That was a serious wtf moment.

    I think the most important thing is to have a schedule. That’s the real difference between being unemployed and self-employed. From n – p, you look for work, from x – z you work on your own projects. You take lunch, you clock out at the end of the day. Seriously. I think it’s the best thing for sanity, for creativity, for happiness.

  4. Shannon
    March 21, 2009

    I think you are doing great! Pico projects sounds amazing!