Out with the gig, In with the new passion
Back in February, a conference call was arranged very suddenly, at the same time rumors started flowing that a significant number of layoffs were occurring at AOL, where I worked for two-and-a-half years and freelanced for years after that. The Huffington Post acquisition was becoming more of a murderous coup d'etat. I was -- of all things -- at the Apple store with my kids, buying a new Macbook Air with my tax return. The pleasure of the brand new writing tool was immediately wiped away when I got on the phone -- it wasn't just layoffs. Every single person I worked with -- but one -- had lost their jobs in one fell swoop.
For the next month or so, the freelancers ran the sites, more or less -- and then the freelance terminations came, always sudden, in the very early morning or even the middle of the night. Hundreds of people lost their "jobs" with no notice, not even enough time to copy and paste the post they'd been working on with the notice came. I went for weeks logging in every morning as soon as I woke up, just to see if I could. The not-knowing was terrible. And then, the last termination seemed to have occurred and there were four or five of us left (a few I wasn't sure -- were they employees or freelancers?). We posted two or three or four things a day. I made way more money than usual, what I consider to be our bottom line income (enough to pay the mortgage and the utilities and buy groceries), which was good; my husband had just come home from a year in Kuwait and was, for the time, unemployed.
Tuesday morning, another last-minute conference call yanked my safety out from under me. Well, not yanked exactly -- I have a "job" until August 1, when I'll start a new career as a freelancer without a regular gig. I'd like to devote more time to urbanMamas, so if you have ideas about things we can do with my time, please share them. I'm telling myself, this time, I'm only going to follow my passion -- no jobs writing about things I only care about a little. I'm pitching every morning; essays about family and journalist-type pieces about food. I'm going to try harder this time to get the regular mealtime established (this is my chief failing as a parent -- the food's great, the schedule messy). I'm going to work on my novel. I'm going to get the food book finished, and published!
Naturally, I'm in simultaneous mourning (it sounds weird, but I'll miss the software I've logged into nearly every day for the past six years -- it was built by a group of people I now consider my dearest friends, even though I like and respect almost no one in my department any more) and excitement. New things! A new practice! If I can just figure out how to make it pay... (On the new Google+, my 'what should I do' query was answered with universal agreement, 'make jam.')
What would you do if you got to follow your passion?