Unhappy 47th Birthday

I thought I'd continue the tradition of posting an entry on my website on my birthday, only to find out I never actually did that. Weird. Since I'm already three days late, it works out just fine. Still, I think it's time to start a new tradition and take stock of my life, which currently sucks big time.

For the last few years I've been barely getting by with odd jobs. I was asked to register for self-employment by one employer several years ago, so he could save on health-insurance, pension payments, etc., yet I was asked to work in the capacity of an employee. I obliged, having no choice. I've held several jobs just like that in the last few years, and have gotten increasingly frustrated with the situation. I feel exploited. I was smart enough to look for and find some "real" freelance jobs (writing, public relations, etc), but not enough to get me by.

My fragile employment situation came crashing down in a spectacular fashion last weekend. I started working for a friend's small company two months ago -- freelance, of course, even though I had to work a set amount of hours, basically as an employee. I gave up my other job as an editor (also badly paid, and a similar arrangement) to accommodate her needs. That was a big mistake, as my friend and I had completely different opinions about what I was supposed to do for her and how I was supposed to do it. After a huge argument on Saturday (the last of several arguments in the last two months) I said "thanks, but no thanks." The advantage of being officially self-employed is that I don't have to give notice. Just like that, I can walk away. I now no longer work for her, which is a great relief. But all of a sudden I'm out of two jobs, and struggling to pay the bills.

I'm scared, of course, but luckily I can rely on the financial support of my family, if I need it. They know how difficult it is to support myself with two chronic illnesses (Sarcoidosis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) and are always willing to help out. Nevertheless I am determined to get myself out of this mess on my own.

In addition to being scared, I also feel great relief. The downside of working non-stop in badly paid jobs is that one doesn't have any time or energy left to look for other opportunities. Now that I've freed up my time, I can concentrate on creating the life that I want.

I've already made one important decision: I will no longer agree to work contracts like the one I described earlier. From now on, I intend to get by with real freelance work. I'm not quite sure what exactly I'll do, but I have several ideas. I have enough money to get me through the next three months, and I trust that I will be able to figure out something in the meantime.

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