The big empty.

Update: No you’re not losing your mind; yes this was originally posted yesterday. I moved it up on the page for blog housekeeping reasons. But hey! Why not read it again? Send it to friends! It’s all good. [The post that disappeared will come back, I promise].


Since losing my regular gig back in December, I have continued to work fairly steadily.

Well, I suppose I have continued to work “changeably,” because a constant stream of not-very-much-work has been intermittently interrupted by holy-crap-too-much-work-I’ll-be-up-until-the-dawn!

But, you know, there’s been work.

Of course, this has lead to an odd little situation: I’m constantly bemoaning the fact that I don’t have a job — and yet I am often very, very busy working. My head is not infrequently done in by the paradox, believe you me. I mean, I know that the problem lies not so much in “work,” per se, but in what kind of work, the extent to which it’s meaningful to me, the extent to which it draws on my strengths and abilities — but, bearing that in mind, it’s still kind of weird. I mean, I’ve even been making o.k. money.

Until today.

Sorry. I should have cued the music:

Dun dun DUNNNN –


This is the first week that has dawned since December in which I have had literally nothing to do. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Kloom, shoom davar, abso-fuckin’-lutely nothing.

A very small piece of this — to the tune of $100/month — is my fault. There’s a small, wee little job that I’ve done for several years now that pays badly but manages to both be meaningful to me and draw on my strengths and abilities, as well as often being very interesting, so I keep doing it. For reasons mostly having to do with the kids and their schedules, however, I decided to take July and August off. Without getting into a complicated and insanely boring explanation of their schedules and the deadlines this gig entails, suffice it to say: Trust me. It was a wise choice.

But the fact is that between now and September, I have not even $100 in the offing, and let me tell you: That is a fact that clears the sinuses!

It comforts me/serves to turn the screws tighter to know that this is not for lack of effort. I’ve applied for writing positions for which I would have been, in a word, perfect — and not even heard back. I’ve applied for writing positions for which I would have been pretty darn ok — and not even heard back. I’ve networked and asked around and made calls and sent emails and haunted the various job boards that have led to work in the past — and the best I’ve turned up in the process was that one job that I just missed applying for, but it’s filled now, thanks for asking.


I suppose there’s a little bit of invoicing I need to do. That’ll take 10 minutes. And there’s always focus group work — maybe I’ll wriggle my way into another $125 or so that way. And I’ve been amazed to see how much of the day can be consumed by commenting on a couple of blogs, tweeting a bit here and there, and occasionally pulling together my own blog post. There’s no end to projects I could do around the house, of course.

And there is the very real possibility that work could come over the transom tomorrow morning — hell, work could come over the transom in the course of me typing this post. That’s the way that freelancing works, and the one good thing to come of the past seven and a half months (the one good professional thing — there have been many, many good other things) has been the dawning realization that the work is likely to come. Here and there. Bits and bobs. Possibly even enough to make o.k. money.

But it’s rather an enormous, gaping stretch of Nothing that I face this afternoon, and I have no idea how I’ll fill it.

The simple truth is that for all my angst (jitters, jumps, misgivings, foreboding, fretfulness, and/or inquietude), I have largely been able to avoid thinking very deeply or at much length about what the fuck happens next, because I’ve been kept very busy nibbling around the edges of what came before.

So. We’ll see. I have many things that I keep meaning to get to on this blog, but I have good days and bad days, good moments and bad moments, and I never know in the morning if I’m going to be up to writing anything substantive before it’s time to go to bed (witness Friday’s post. That really shouldn’t have counted). I have a couple of book ideas, I have a few leads on teaching in private schools, I’ve bookmarked the Career FAQs for Trader Joe’s. We’ll see.

Fingers crossed. For what, I’m no longer sure.



  1. all workers labor just to have what you have right now, a moment for themselves to relax and enjoy! I envy you!

  2. dmf

     /  July 12, 2010

    ah, as the tube used to tell me in my uk student days “mind the gap”…

  3. I’ve worked at Trader Joe’s, and would again (to supplement that adjunct pay); my co-workers were generally fine, and I really liked the discount.

    But: customers.

    Retail would be so much nicer if one could avoid customers. . . .

  4. Well, I just put this post on Stumbleupon – hope that brings you a bit of attention.

    I imagine you are going to have a very sizeable audience soon, if you don’t already. Most bloggers do have a pledge/donate button of some sort, and there’s no shame in it. In fact, the more thoughtful and better crafted the content, well, your readers are going to want to chip in a little bit here and there when they can. I really should have a donate button up myself: I remember how long writing a commentary on Nietzsche’s “The Case of Wagner” took me, and I can’t even get search traffic for it.

    I don’t think has ad modules, but another way bloggers are supported is through a small ad people can click on here and there.

  5. Bella Q

     /  July 30, 2010

    I hear you, and empathize. I’m in a similar position in terms of hearing zip from positions for which I’m well qualified and have likewise also worked contacts for all they are worth, and beyond.