Monday, May 15, 2017

I can swim

Last week, I received a message from LinkedIn. The good folks at the data mining company informed me that I had come up on 13 years in my current position.

Ironic, because my current position is not a position at all.

I can gussy it up all I want, but the truth is I'm an unemployed freelancer. The other truth is I never thought my career trajectory would go this way. In my mind I was between jobs. Just waiting for the right opportunity to come knocking on my door.

Turns out there weren't many ad agencies looking to pay a handsome sum of money to a cranky copywriter who was never willing to compromise on quality. And even less willing to work late or on the weekends.

And so I found myself gigging. Leapfrogging from one assignment to another. From one dysfunctional ad agency with free bagels to another dysfunctional ad agency with artisanal iced coffee.

It was terrifying at first. Particularly since I had two young princesses to feed and spoil wildly. Two mortgages. And a mountain of bills from the Bosley Hair Replacement Center for a treatment program that proved itself ineffective.

Of course I had no one to blame but myself.

If there was any pain, it was all self-induced. I had quit my lucrative position as a Group Creative Director at Y&R, where the work we were doing was hit or miss, and blindly leapt off the cliff into the unknown.

As you might expect there was fear. But that fear was far outweighed by not having to commute 106 miles every fucking day on the 405 Fucking Freeway --or as I refer to it, Satan's Dirty Anal Tract.

In many ways it was reminiscent of the way my father taught me to swim.

Having watched all the other dads, with their slim waists and full heads of hair, patiently coax their kids into kicking and paddling and alternately swinging their arms to stay afloat, my father dispensed with all the niceties. He hoisted me up and to the dismay of my screaming mother, simply tossed me in the deep end of the pool. Somehow I managed to claw my way to the edge, where my father announced, quite proudly...

"There, he's a swimmer."

So now I've got 13 years behind me as a semi-successful freelancer. I'm only 44 years old, so hopefully there will be another 13 years in front of me.

After that, I'm done. Because quite frankly I can't imagine any agency in their right mind needing the services of a seasoned copywriter in his mid-fifties.

That's crazy talk.

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