Week 33: Working, not working

I’m slightly grumpy this week.

  • I’m still ill, and still waiting to be paid for the only financially significant piece of work I’ve done all year. After eight months as Final Bullet, I’ve decided I’ve probably wasted enough of my time and money and have started applying for full-time jobs – and the rejections have started rolling in.
  • On the other hand, I had huge fun at Helen’s Spacetacular event for Yuri’s Night on Tuesday. I talked about Star Trek, and how it’s basically an office in space.
  • I’ve also been talking through pitches with a magazine so there’s something in the pipeline there…
  • …and I’m off to Birmingham to go to the Gadget Show Live with REPLAY today, which will be fun.

I wanted to explain something about my attitude to work and projects:

1. The only thing that is important to me is being able to support myself. I mean – of course, it’s important to have other projects on the go, and learn new skills and have broad, wide-reaching, non-essential fun. But listen to what I’m saying. The only thing that ACTUALLY MATTERS, if I’m to live validly in society, (given that I’m lucid, educated and relatively skilled) is that I am able to stay afloat. I would cast off everything non-essential to that end, and am beginning to.

2. I am not an artist, I do not have a dream. It’s been almost four years since I last had a full-time job, but I haven’t been pursuing a deep lifelong dream, a muse, or some other powerfully authentic ambition. Fine, if that’s you, but I have no ambition, and the idea of being a struggling artist is anathema to me. I don’t see romance in any struggle – I just want to make money. Is it weird how ambition – for all its thrust – just sounds like ‘struggling’? Always trying to get beyond what we’re really capable of. But the desire to make enough money to live is simply the desire to participate in the world like everyone else.

3. I’m not looking for pity, reassurance or encouragement. I’m looking for work. I have an amazing, supportive circle of compatriots, to whom I owe loads and who will tell me I’m not bad, but this is not an artist’s meltdown, or some kind of drama queen crisis of confidence. This is me looking at my bank balance and wondering where it went wrong. I don’t feel heartbroken, I just feel financially worried and perhaps a little disappointed. No one ever said anyone had to go freelance. No one ever said I had to – but I did, because at the time I could afford to.

4. One by one, I am severing the heads of my projects. All those things I did for fun and thought might lead to work, but never have – down they go. All the talks and the publications and the pitching, chop chop chop. It’s a shame, yes, but I need those nutrients. None of the things I’ve ever made have led to anything significant. I don’t want to get any more bitter about this, and whether I’m unlucky or just not actually that good, it doesn’t alter the fact I’m running out of time.

5. I will do anything now. I don’t know what else to try. 99% of the emails and pitches I spend most of my time crafting go unanswered. It simply isn’t working. It has been far too long since I have been able to make enough money to live, which as I say is – quite honestly – the only goal. I am not making enough from bits and pieces of freelance work, and I am certainly not making anything from any of the side-projects, which would be a fun diversion if I had a full-time job, and free time really was free. However, after messing about for so long, it is very possible I have left it too late to return to full-time employment now. And that puts me into a bit of a sticky situation, does it not?

One thought on “Week 33: Working, not working

  1. Pingback: Week 36: A new job | Final Bullet

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