Anyone who’s followed my idiotic blathering on the internet for any length of time would know that I generally avoid talking about topics that have any substance to them. There’s several reasons for this:
- Jokes about food, pop culture and Apple products I will inevitably buy sight-unseen are easy, and jokes about things that are not those topics are uncomfortable and difficult and exhausting.
- I don’t want to link myself to saying something that might endanger my job.
That second one has been the big boogeyman for quite some time, and with good reason: I’ve seen that shit happen, gang. I know people who were let go from their jobs for well written, insightful posts on their blogs. I know people who were fired for simply being tagged in someone else’s stupidity on Facebook… Nothing salacious or incendiary, just dumb. I’m related to someone who was taken to task by their employer’s HR department for making jokes about how the television station they worked for would fill a few dozen holes in their programming schedule with repeat showings of the House Party movies. I couldn’t ignore the possibility that it could happen to me and, as a fan of health insurance and paying my bills, I’ve done everything I could to avoid it.
The specter of unemployment also helped usher in a period of creative atrophy for me, as well — with a few rare exceptions, I’ve become adept at writing bland, toothless crap that is completely forgettable. Admittedly, it wasn’t all bad — this whole “don’t upset the apple cart” mentality has kept me in steady employment for thirteen years, after all, which is not an easy feat in the current economy.
It’s important for me to get that out in the open before I go on, I think — I need to acknowledge my creative shortcomings, explain why they exist, and, more for my sake than yours, accept that it has been a necessary move on my part. Sacrifices made for the greater good, blah-blah-blah.
I’m telling you all this because, as of today, I will no longer be enjoying the fruits of steady employment. This isn’t due to some performance issue or any fault of my own — I worked for a software startup, there was a company realignment, and my job didn’t make the cut. Easy as that.
If this had happened a year ago, my path would have been fairly clear: get a short-term job doing whatever I could, likely in retail, and attempt to find another position equivalent to the one I just lost. If we’re going to be honest with each other, this would have likely resulted in my returning to retail full-time, and working my way up the ladder again. I wouldn’t have been particularly thrilled by it, but at least it would be safe.
I’m over the allure of safety, though. Safety is what led me to spend nine years climbing the ladder in a retail chain to reach the auspices of middle management. Safety is what helped me take that job I wasn’t particularly fond of and launch from that into a career in IT, a field in which I am skilled but have very little passion for on a day-to-day basis. These jobs helped me realize a lot of things about myself, but the biggest takeaway was that they’re not really jobs for me.
So what am I going to do now? Work for myself. I’m not sure doing what yet — I have a fairly wide range of skills that aren’t linked together in any sort of obvious way, so it’s going to be an interesting time figuring that out — but it’s about time I gave it a shot. And while I may usually roll my eyes at people who say inane things like “everything happens for a reason”, there’s too much that has lined up too perfectly for me not to try — frankly, the situation I find myself in today is not likely one I will be in again, so I need to get while the getting is good.
When I first relaunched this site, I spoke about how I was a big fan of clean slates — indeed, the first thing I did was get rid of everything I had previously written in order to save myself from comparisons to how well-written everything I had done earlier was. I’ve since re-read those earlier things and, while I admire the energy and conviction of the person who wrote them, the writing itself was actually pretty embarrassing.
That realization has moved me past the love of a clean slate and into the idea of reinvention… I’ve come to realize that I don’t need a superhero franchise style reboot to improve my situation. I had a great origin story (like Iron Man) that launched into a less-than-stellar sequel (like Iron Man 2). If I can recapture the energy and passion of the first chapter while remembering the lessons learned from the second, I might be able to kick off a third part that is far better than what came before it (like The Avengers).
With that said, I’d like to welcome you to a period I’m humbly titling ‘Awesome 3.0’. It’ll be weird and occasionally uncomfortable, but, as far as I’m concerned, that’s how all good adventures should be, right? So let’s get this nonsense started!