This was going to be more of a here’s what I’m doing post, but it turned into an essay. So this one’s going to be a two parter. Buckle up.
I always said I would never go full-time freelance. I liked the steady paycheck — particularly the steady tech paycheck — too much. But, over the past few years, it became increasingly clear that for the sake of my work-life balance, something had to give.
I worked a demanding day job. Before the job I took last June, I was regularly working 10 hour days, usually longer. Checking in on Slack at all hours. Staying up until midnight on fire drill projects was the norm. Things were a bit better at the job I just left, and it was a challenging role (in a good way!). But I spent 9 hours on, only to log off, go work out, hop back on for a few after dinner, then switch my brain over to freelance work from 8 PM to 11 PM, midnight, sometimes later.
I’d often have friends say they want to start freelancing during their “downtime” at work — that idea is comical to me, though perhaps that’s the Upholder in me that believes if you’re at your job, you should be doing your job.
It was clear this wasn’t sustainable. I had to give up one or the other. And I kept telling myself, my friends, anyone who would listen, that I couldn’t imagine giving up doing the work I loved. I’d hustled for so many years to write.
Some people turn on the TV when they have downtime. I’d open up my computer and my notebook. I’d sent so many unanswered pitches. I’d put the in hours to make connections, meet editors, and gain trust. Why would I give that up to keep pursuing a career that I couldn’t realistically envision myself in long term?
I worked with incredible, smart people in my day job, and that’s exactly what made me realize that I did not feel the same. I’d wanted to work in tech for the experience (to say I did, perhaps?), yet it became clear that the way I feel about home, design, and hospitality editorial and marketing is how my colleagues feel about tech and B2B marketing.
If you take a look at my goals post from the beginning of this year, you might have had an inkling that I had this plan in motion.
So for the past several months, I kept looking at my options and, last week, things played out as I anticipated they might given the current tech climate. I’d dodged an earlier large round of layoffs late last year, but the smaller ones kept happening — the ones whispered as you went to Slack someone and saw they were deactivated. Eventually I was on the chopping block.
As I got the news, I don’t think anyone’s ever felt such a sense of relief in facing a layoff. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I’d been given the permission I needed to go for it. I literally got off the phone, looked at Adam, and said, “I got laid off — I can finally do what I WANT to do!” There was a sense of possibility that had been missing for far too long in my career.
Part two, coming up shortly…