Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fortune favours the feckless

Hard at work

Freelance writing is the perfect job for me. Whether I'm travelling around the world or sitting around enjoying wasting the precious gift of life, it gives me all the freedom I desire and means I don't have to go into a bloody office and suffer twats (there were always a few cool people too).

This is the job I plan to do forever, however the industry evolves. There's no way I could have worked and travelled like this even five years ago. This is so much better than a real job.

But as I realised last month - when the company that's been funding my travels, keeping me alive and has even helped me build up savings over the past year in an extremely convenient situation suddenly ceased sending me work in any kind of sustainable quantity - this job never lets you get complacent.

The dream is dead...?

Without a job, how can I indulge my expensive habits - like drinking needlessly extortionate coffee that's been first passed through the digestive tract of an animal?

I was a little annoyed and stressed about this sudden drop in workload, which happened without any kind of explanation or warning. As I'm just a freelancer, I know the company doesn't owe me anything (well, apart from that £300 it's owed me since last November - they literally owe me that), but after all the frequent positive comments, gratitude and general acknowledgements of what a bodacious guy I am over the past year, this felt a bit like getting punched in the face and shat on (I imagine - any activities I may or may not have undertaken in Thailand were strictly research for a story I'm writing or something).

This was the perfect situation for me. I hardly had to think and was so used to churning out these pages, I could do them in my sleep. Sometimes I think I did. I could work my own hours and take most of the week off if I wanted to do tourist things. Plus, I was usually half a day ahead of UK time, which is an ingenious way of extending deadlines slightly and also makes it easier to pretend you're asleep if there's an important email someone's waiting for you to reply to.

It was even reliable in its unreliability, and despite the ramshackle and chaotic operation I somehow ended up bringing home the bacon in roughly even quantities each month. It would have been more convenient if they paid me in actual money, rather than this unhygienic pork-based reward system, but I muddled through somehow.

Long live the dream

Without a job, how can I afford to drink offensively overpriced Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel's Long Bar while throwing empty monkey nut shells onto the floor in contempt for the skivvies who have to clean up after me and other rich bastards?

(I felt very out of place in there)

Fortunately, this isn't a devastating financial blow or anything, and there has been a bright side to this - in that I finally stopped being lazy and keeping all my eggs in one basket, and took my friend up on his kind offer of writing for his company instead. Doing very similar things for very similar income.

So now all my eggs are kept in a slightly different basket, which is a relief - I need something to eat with all this bloody bacon.

Plus, this new company's financial department actually works, as I seem to be getting paid on time. This makes a nice change from only getting paid when I start a fight over it. And still not getting paid that £300 from last November.

The moral here is to never trust The Man. And also, that you don't need to worry about making changes to your life or finding new opportunities when you can just rely on a great friend to hand you a new job on a plate... so I guess sometimes you can trust The Man. But only when he's THE MAN.

 There's always the soup kitchen, I guess.
These homeless guys eat so much healthier than me


  1. Okay, so the first company's now sending me a reasonable amount of work again (however long that lasts for), so there may still be two egg baskets.

    Good thing I'm not known for having premature paranoia attacks or anything. All the time.

  2. Rumour has it that the first company have actually started a copywriter sweatshop by bringing in about 30 new members of staff to write articles in-house for a pittance. Might just be a rumour though. I wouldn't know...

  3. It would be very out of character for that company to pay meagre wages to hard-working copywriters.