Saturday, April 23, 2011

Requiem for a day job

"It feels better being an unemployed musician than an unemployed pipe fitter"
—Dean the Sax Player, The Commitments

Effective three weeks from now, the company I work for will no longer be doing its creative work in-house. My position will go away.

This didn't happen, I was assured, because they were unhappy with the quality of my work. If I want to become an independent contractor and take on my own clients, they'll feed me as many jobs as they have—as many as I can handle. But my days of full-time employment are, for the time being, over.

* * *

Three years ago, I wrote a wistful post about how the day job was sucking up all of my time. It got in the way of my ability to practice, to rehearse with the band, to gig ... But as an Adult With Responsibilities, I never seriously thought about giving it up. Aside from the fact that I quite liked my job, a steady income was nothing to sneeze at, especially in this economy.

Now that the choice is made for me, I'm caught between conflicting emotions. On the one hand, there's the sadness you'd expect to feel over the loss of a job, the fear of not being able to make ends meet. On the other hand, there's curiosity and excitement about what I might do with my newfound extra time and flexibility.

The band could tour.

Newfound extra time and flexibility don't guarantee we'll take our act on the road, of course. I have other responsibilities that make it difficult to leave Tucson. And maybe no one will want to hire us—that happens to misunderstood geniuses a lot.

But we could try. We could at least try.

Also, there will be more time for ME/CFS advocacy. I'd like to volunteer my services for the Whittemore Peterson Institute, though I'm not sure if I have any skills they need.

* * *

So, goodbye for now to routines, to the assurance of financial stability, to waking up around the same time every morning. Goodbye to daily face-to-face contact with coworkers, though I'll see old officemates now and again when I go back to pick up materials. Goodbye to work and home being two different places.

Hello to new possibilities, some of which I haven't yet imagined.


offcenterlarry said...

Remember, when one door closes, another door opens. Sometimes you have to pry it open a little, or even find a window. But if you let Life speak to you, it will. I don't know how many times in my life I've said, "If you had told me ten years ago that I was going to be here, now, [I would have had a good laugh.]" Best wishes to you, Cinder Bridge, and your ties in Tucson.

cinderkeys said...

More like, when one door closes, it forces you to notice or look for other doors. I'll be looking for doors and trying the keys.

Jeff Shattuck said...

I've had to leave jobs prematurely twice, and each time it was a Very Good Thing. I would say give yourself a good month (if you can afford to) and spend as much time as possible out in the world doing unfamiliar things. You'll feed your songwriting and maybe you'll find the door that's worth kicking in if you can't find the key to it.