A while back I promised a series of three updates, because there were three things I wanted to mention here, but I became highly distracted when talking about my spring quarter UW class. I was also having trouble deciding exactly what I wanted to say about the other two things, but with over a month’s reflection time…well I still have no idea what I want to say. So spoiler alert – here are the other two updates.
1) I got a job.
2) I started my own business.
I was able to secure a part-time, underpaying job with the local non-profit television station. I had high hopes because I had such a great time there seven years before as an intern, so I knew it was an organization I wanted to work for. However it was not a creative-type job and if anybody should know by now that I detest boring, by-the-book, “real” jobs, it should be me. (Hell, I’m sure all of you figured that out long ago.)
And I knew before I was offered the job that I wasn’t going to love it, but for some reason I have not yet figured out how to turn down a job. I see interviews as a one-way street instead of two, and that’s becoming a severe handicap for me, as I am oddly good at the interviewing process.
This job is, like the others, only temporary, and thanks to over-rigid business practices, they eventually have to advertise it as a permanent position and I have to apply for it as a permanent position. Which I’ve decided I just won’t do. It saves me the hassle of quitting, and gives me a meager income in the meantime, though the stress of driving up there and back (nearly three hours for a four-hour day) is taking its toll, financially and emotionally.
I am a creature of habit and I love routine, so I have long thought that a full-time job at a stable company with insurance and vacation pay and all that stuff would be perfect for a person like myself. So perhaps you can understand, or I can justify, my absolute confusion at hating any job with a hope of permanence. (You want me to do this for the next 30 years? Or 15? or 5? or 1? Uhh…….No thanks.)
Upon this latest debacle, I decided it was time to learn from my mistakes and realize that I was never going to be a loyal member of the 9-5 crowd. Freelancing isn’t easy, but for me it’s clearly preferable. I also finally listened to the voices of some colleagues who have been telling me for years to go into business for myself, with an emphasis on the wedding business. I’ve edited wedding videos for friends a few times and always thought that was a great way to generate extra income, but the thing holding me back from considering it a real idea was that I didn’t have a professional video camera. However, one of my favorite smooth-talking, business-oriented colleagues told me I just had to consider it a business expense and figure out how long it would take to make a profit, which would not in point of fact be all that long.
So I started working on a website and told a few friends, and before you could count to three, I had two gigs lined up and an absolute need to buy a camera. Which I did, and yes, all of the extreme Scott-style buyer’s remorse followed, but so did an odd sense of empowerment. The thing I dislike most about most jobs is the lack of challenge that goes with them. There’s an initial learning curve, but once you’re past that, it’s day-in, day-out, mind-numbing, soul-sucking routine. Yet the thing I was afraid of most about doing wedding videos was learning the tech of a camera and the art of shooting. After making it through about a third of my camera’s manual, I understand so much more about the technology and terminology I already feel more at home in my chosen profession. And in just a miraculous stroke of luck, I happen to be taking a class this summer on “web strategies for storytelling” from a professor who is also a professional cameraman/editor and who is incorporating into his lectures and readings some of the practical and artistic considerations of shooting. During his lecture last week, he said that learning to shoot came with a “steep learning curve.” All I can say is bring it on.
Oh, you know what also comes with a steep learning curve? HTML and building a website. Feel free to check out the fruits of my labor at www.suitestory.com. I’m working to continually improve the site, and I am attempting to add a clip of a wedding I edited a couple of years ago. It’s proving difficult because I only have a DVD to work with, but my first gig is less than a week away and I know that I will be able to post that material with far greater ease.
I do not know how long it will take to get my business in full swing, but I do hope that it will someday be my only gig. (Well it may be soon in that I will have no other employment to speak of.) I have been surprised by the outpouring of support for this idea (the guy who talked me into it is jealous and trying to think of a business idea of his own) and terribly excited by all the things I am learning. I really hope to be able to say that out of all my other employment mistakes came something very good.