I am watching The Bold Type on Amazon, season 2, and currently on the episode where Jane gets fired from Incite. She’s on to her hunt for finding the next journalism job, and staying afloat with ad hoc freelance gigs.
I have been in the same boat for last six months, and it sucks. Whoever told you freelance lifestyle is ‘dope’ and taking a break is a phenomenal idea is one big fat liar. It is difficult, depressing and downright disillusioned (yeah, I did the triple D on purpose). If you want to but are not working for any reason, I know you can relate to this.
For the rest, let me spell out what I miss the most about having a steady job:
- System: There is a beauty to routine and I miss that. From a set time to wake up to self-imposed curfews, deadlines, designated time for meals, and even deciding on what to wear the next day looks precious right now.
- Steady Paycheck: Sigh. Yes please. My money has had only one purpose – to fulfill my ridiculous desires. The kind that I’d feel awful fulfilling someone else’s money. I can’t explain why I need that Karl Lagerfeld x Kaia belt or €700 sneakers. Just that I do.
- Squad: The people you work with eventually become your friends, and one or two might even graduate to best friends. I miss that.
- Feeling of accomplishment: From petty to monumental, every act contributes to something …bigger? People can have a variety of ambitions, and mine requires a byline.
- Anticipation: Fear of unknown is not always a bad thing – it can be plenty exciting as well. When I organized my first press event for ABC* in Berlin, I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was nervous about the turn out and if I had done everything on my list. I didn’t know German media back then and making sure those strangers showed up while having no control over their attendance – that is the kind of stuff that makes me feel alive.
- Personal development: In my capacity as a people’s manager, I learned so much about myself and how to work with others. As a journalist, I flew from Middle East to Europe with eight perfect strangers to write about a destination that I did not know existed. All such experiences made me who I am today, and I really want to continue adding to my repertoire.
- Saying NO: Ah, my guilty pleasure. Just saying no. Not always out of spite or because I can – but because I have been there, done that and I know why won’t it work. Even better, I know what will.
- Lunch break pedicures: Who doesn’t love pedicures? I know I do. And do you know what makes them even better? When they are rushed against lunch time. It’s almost like going home for a tumble in bed during your break time. Almost.
- The Drama: The communication spectrum, be it in an organization or publications, is filled with drama. From making dibs on a story to crisis management after a foot in the mouth moment, there is never a dull moment.
- Self Worth: this one is hard and more subjective than objective. I am a career girl, and I am proud of it. A dry patch has direct implications on how I see myself. At 30, I have learned to tune out external voices (how do you think I have survived being desi, married for five years and not having little monsters?), it is my own stare that I can’t face. It is the very last step before depression, and bless my man to pull me back up every time I do as much as waver in that direction. But I do know it is an issue that needs to be dealt with before it grows out of proportion.
Some may suggest going the entrepreneurial road. I can invest myself in starting my own business (something that I have been secretly planning in my head for last 12 years). Unfortunately, I can’t but German language is my worst enemy. I don’t want to start anything within a system that can talk above my head about my own baby. So, inadvertently, it has been shelved.
And alas – if you have a steady job (of any kind, and I consider being a home maker one of the most difficult jobs ever), and having a rough day, this one is for you: count your blessings, and push forward. You will get through, I promise.