What is unemployment anyway?

I’ve been a horrible person. It’s not because I hate you, though I probably do, because I’m a horrible person. How’s that for circular logic? It’s because I’ve been ignoring my blog – the public manifestation of my unemployment. Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging, and have no plans to stop. (And I love you too.) Life just got very busy, in a very good way.

My short-term unemployment status is now in question. I don’t have a full-time job with an annual salary, health insurance and a 401K that will never let me retire. But I do have a desk smaller than a standardized test cubicle from elementary school to sit at every weekday, all day. I do get email reminders to delete files off the server and remove food from the office refrigerator. And I do have an ever-growing to-do list. But the most exciting part… the multiple paychecks in my future. Now if I could only remember how to turn them into those green pieces of paper.

A contact I’d recently reconnected with emailed me a few weeks ago. She was heading up a big project and asked me to participate. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. It didn’t matter what the work was, though given the source, I had a sense. Nor did it matter that sitting next to me would be “some New Jersey yokel who mainlines Diet Pepsi and eats cashews by the barrel,” as she described him. Okay, maybe my crystal ball told me that last part. It’s been a whirlwind two weeks. Who can remember what came from the all-knowing, all-seeing orb and what came from my soon-to-be temporary boss? But shortly after she contacted me, I was working. The orb portended good things.

That’s the upside, or the downside when it comes to my blog. In addition to a temporary full-time gig, I have smaller freelance projects, which keep me from sleeping much. And there’s the potential for more.

One small project came by way of wifey. A freelance client of hers found me through her portfolio website, and asked for help with his new website. He needed some editing and troubleshooting, and, essentially, a kick in the ass to get things done. It sounded interesting, by which I mean, it paid money and sounded interesting. And if there’s one thing I can do, it’s kick some ass.

An old dear friend reached out to me about some small-scale project management work. I have the skill in my repertoire, though the discussion was purely theoretical. I referenced a social media map I’d seen at a WordPress conference, and that became a short-term project. The discussion has since evolved and should lead to more work. She wasn’t just feeling sorry for me, as I first suspected.

There’s also been some extra blogging on the side. That’s right, not only have I ignored Jobless and Less, I’ve cheated on it with other blogs. It’s all out in the open now. And I’m not ashamed. One blog called SmartBlog on Social Media is about cooking or keeping a pet pachyderm. Or maybe it’s about cooking your pet pachyderm. The focus of the site was a little unclear when I started. So I wrote a piece on social media, as it relates to search engine marketing…

Let social media help your SEO

The other site is AOL; maybe you’ve heard of it. I hadn’t. Here’s a link to my first article there…

Seeking Stay-At-Home Dad… Positions Being Filled Now!

The second piece for both sites is written and could go live at any moment. I’ll post the links when they do. So my advice to you – hated and loved reader – is to stay on my site and hit [refresh] until they appear. That could be in an hour or a week. But the surprise of knowing will make the waiting worthwhile.

The point of all this isn’t to gloat, far from it. Nor is it to garner sympathy. I’ve averaged five hours of sleep per night for a couple weeks. And April may find me unemployed (or underemployed) once again. The point is to raise some important questions.

Can I really cobble together a living from all this? I don’t know. Do I want to? Again, I don’t know. Many people make a living freelancing, some a very good living. But freelancing seems like one never-ending job search, interspersed with lots of work. These are the opportunities presenting themselves. Being in no position to turn down work, I keep accepting. What choice does a long-term unemployed type like me have? I’ll give it a try and let you know what happens.

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3 Comments

  1. Deadhedge wrote:

    I hope that Jobless and less took the news about your infidelity well and didn’t throw plates at the wall. Tentative congratulations given your acknowledgement of the improvements. What you’re describing sounds like my 2004 unemployment experience. What started out as temporary work and freelance turned into a new career direction for me.

    By the way, I was never sure if Norm Elrod was a pen name or your real name. Now, I know.

    Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  2. Ben wrote:

    I’m trying very hard not to take it personally, but hope the collection of opportunities works out. Congrats!

    Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink
  3. kelby2012 wrote:

    Congrats!, Please feel no need to guilty about not updating your blog, no one stays truly unemployed forever, I think…lol. Anywho, your wit about being unemployed made me feel like I wasn’t the only crazy person out here ranting about how fubare’d the job market is. I am working a temp assignment myself, paycheck, no bennies, future uncertain and all that good stuff.

    The one thing I can say is different for me, is that I continue to work on the side projects I started “with the exception of playing Team Fortress on the PC” when I was fully unemployed.

    Hope the projects keep you busy and I look forward to the NBC sitcom one day about your unemployed experiences.

    Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink