Life's a bastard...but sometimes it lets up

The life and times of an ordinary Dublin girl. Follow her journey as she finds out working from home really ISN'T about watching Oprah all day and that perhaps men aren't really all bastards.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Help me Jebus!

Readers of The Life and Times of an Irish Emigrant may recall a post a while ago where Dunner asked where he was going with his life, what he was doing etc? (The link’s in my sidebar there, I’m too lazy to figure out the whole HTML thing!)

Anyway, without stealing his thunder, I find myself in the same predicament this week and as our American cousins might say, I’m friggin freakin out! Help me Jebus!

As of the March 22, 2006, I will no longer be in full-time employment. After seven years working as a news journalist and almost a decade in journalism, I’m FINALLY leaving my job to work as a freelance writer.

I know that I’m leaving to do nearly exactly the same thing as I’m doing now and the only difference will be that I’m intending to cut down on my hours (following surgery at the end of last summer I’m still not 100 per cent and need the break) and will be working a lot from home, but still.

I feel slightly ashamed about that, for it’s not as though I’m heading off on a round the world trip and will be writing from fabulously exotic locations, or like I’m leaving journalism to do something worthwhile like work with poor children in Africa, or teach English to all of the new communities flocking here from ‘out furrin’. It’s not even as though I’m leaving journalism for an altogether more spiritual life and will be meditating and discovering my chakras or anything (‘whenever, wherever, we want to be together….’ Oh sorry, that’s SHAKIRA, I always get those mixed up) I’m simply cutting down on my hours and offering writing services from the comfort of my own home.

So why do I feel like bolting into my boss’s office and begging on my hands and knees for my job back? (Please, please, Don Boss, I a-do anything you a-say….yes, yes even a vox pop.)

Why am I constantly staring narrow-eyed at all my colleagues bitterly thinking “you bastards, you still have a job and holiday pay” and why does the thought of having my P45 in my hot little hand have me holding my head? (Too much alliteration there?!)

I think it’s because I have worked on either a part or full-time basis for a salary since the age of 14 (a gift shop in the Swan Centre in Rathmines, I clumsily broke EVERYTHING) and now almost 14 years later, I’m going out on my own and I’ll be my own boss.

I’ll be my own boss!

And somehow I don’t think excuses like ‘oh there was a HUGE queue in the coffee shop and the, er, a horse died on the road in front of me, yeah, he just….died’ will cut it when I’m explaining to MYSELF why I’m late back from lunch.

I’m just not sure that I have the discipline to work from home, everyday, regularly, with little direction and no one to answer to. I’m just not sure that I have the motivation to tear myself away from Oprah to sit down and write. I’m just not sure that I have the talent to survive as a freelance when every second person I meet is a ‘writer’ or working for ‘loike, The Times’ and I ‘loike’ can barely spell Times.

I’m just not sure.

On the upside though, I’ll be my own boss! I’ll be able to work on different types of writing projects as opposed to just hard news. (Any journalist will tell you that hard news is more about fact gathering and putting something in readable form, rather than actually showing off your writing style or talent.) I’ll be able to set my own working hours and do whatever work I choose, not work that is chosen for me. I’ll have a sense of freedom that has been missing in my life for some time now and finally, I’ll feel like I’m dragging my lardy arse out of the rut I’ve been in.

So yes, it’s exciting and exhilarating and everytime I think about it, my stomach gives this almighty swoop and I feel like I’m going to throw up (in a good way) – but it’s also terrifying and frightening and worrying. How am I going to earn a crust? What if I fail? Will Mammy and Daddy Dunne throw me to the wolves if I don’t make with the ‘house’ money AGAIN? Will I be forced to – oh Jesus I can barely type it – take a job working with a load of slimy advertising executives coming up with lines to sell their crappy products? (You know the type of thing – ‘Cheesy cheese, it’s….cheeeeeeeesy’ and then a shiny faced gombeen grinning and pointing to the cheeeeeeeeese.) You see how bad I’d be at it?!

Everything is all up in the air and there’s a maelstrom of thoughts just whizzing through my brain every second and to be honest, part of me can’t wait for March 22 so that I can actually start DOING it instead of thinking about it. But the other part keeps propelling me to my boss’s office on my hands and knees silently begging for a second chance. So far I haven’t uttered the words ‘gis me job back’ yet, but he’s starting to look at me funny and I don’t think he believes me when I mutter ‘oh, lost a contact, there it is’ jump up and scurry back to my soon-to-be vacated desk. I think he’s on to me.

However, the excitement of this new step in my life is slowly taking over my blinding terror and I think I’m going to run with it. So, if you see a panic stricken woman, scorching down the street clutching a boxful of notebooks and screaming “please, please, someone make me a PAYE worker again”, do stop and say hi!



At 1:11 p.m., Blogger Red Mum said...

You see that, you wait all week for a post and then they all come at once.

It's a good move and you are bound to feel trepidation. I certainly did when my last job move involved a six-month contract only, still here two and a bit later.

Its a scary move but that makes it all the more liberating.

Good luck! Are we going away? Or does that not happen anymore? Maybe we should

At 1:50 p.m., Blogger Cat said...

You go girl. I left a permanent but dull job to work as a freelance television researcher (on advice from a psychic person, but that's a story for another day) and never looked back. It was a massive gamble but one that made me very happy, if not very rich. I'm not in TV now as ultimately the instability/mortgage balance forced me into PR slavery, but I have no regrets.

At 7:54 p.m., Blogger Steven said...

Best of luck with it. You'll do fine. :-)

At 10:34 p.m., Blogger JL Pagano said...

Freelance writing is my dream, Kaz, and once I can afford to chance it I most certainly will - so naturally I wish you all the best and on the evidence of your blog you should have no problem making it work.

At 1:16 a.m., Blogger dunner said...

The worries are only natural but you will do great at it. As JL says if this blog is anything to go by you will be a huge success (dont forget your friends when your rich and famous!!)

At 5:10 p.m., Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

You are too talented a writer not to succeed. That said, change particularly move into the unknown can be very unnerving.

At 5:46 p.m., Blogger Pure Cork Boy said...

Ha! You are so fucked now! No, no, no! Of course I'm only joking - you'll be fine!

At 2:15 a.m., Blogger Omaniblog said...

I came to your blog today via Blank Paige, and I'm delighted to read such a long piece on what it feels like to on the edge of precipice. I would love you to blog your way through the next month while you grapple with the issue. I would read you every day because I have had the experience of being employed for many years (1975-1998) and then setting up my own business. You remind me of so much.
I used to wonder whether I could ever work for any other organisation than London Transport? I was so bothered by the possibility of not having a monthly income that I went straight from one job into another. I couldn't even treat myself to a holiday. Five years later I left The National Trust for unemployment and my own business.
I want to dump loads of advice on you. Tell you how I think it'll go. Suggest you do all sort of things. And I know nothing. I haven't the slightest idea about you except that you can write a blog that's hooked me.
Of course, I can restrain myself from making a fool of myself and encouraging you to wish I never visit your blog again.
Of this I'm certain: it's a big time for you. You have prepared for it, but you are unlikely realise how well prepared you are until later.
Thank you for the gift of this blog. I will be tuning in with my eyes open and my spirit enhanced.
I must thank Paige.

At 12:59 p.m., Blogger Curly K said...

Like Cat Girl says: you go girl! It'll be fine. We've all made changes and I'm a big believer that what is meant for you never goes by you!

Best of luck with it :-}

At 1:53 a.m., Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Ha! Good luck with that! Yes, it's very amusing working for yourself; however, it's the lack of regular income that is the real bitch. Kiss bye bye to all of those Direct Debits that you have to pay for fucking everything with these days...



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