I am happy I committed to Broz last November. From a guy who has been laid off and fired more than most, I can tell you that offering to cut your own salary will do little other than show your employer you have no pride left. If anything, it makes you look desperate and afraid.
I take more risks with my income than most. There is no guarantee when my next pay check will arrive. My retainer clients may decide to cut losses and terminate their contracts tomorrow. Yet in spite of all this, I am happier than I have ever been professionally. I have always refused (sometimes at my own peril) to justify to anyone why my skills and abilities are indispensable. If my work did not speak for itself or it went about unnoticed, than I do not want to work for you.
My employment missteps have led me to where I am today. I am flourishing. I do not have to wear pants to work. I am making enough money to keep diapers on the boy. I would rather fail on my own that be somebody’s puppet. I do not like anyone’s hand up my ass, be it metaphorically or literally.
Last Monday my boss and I had a Come-To-Jesus chat regarding my complete lack of enthusiasm for my current position. While I informed him my lack of passion did not hinder me from going through the motions (just ask my ex-girlfriend She Who Will Not Be Named), I did acknowledge that I was completely burnt out. Many factors led to my burnout; frequent late paychecks, a complete lack of any tangible project process (i.e. massive undertakings were given one line explanations like “Client Center back-end development: 36 hours”), lack of established deadlines and milestones (other than early 2008 or late 2008), non-payment of contractors/vendors and a general malaise regarding client/vendor relationships. I was issued an ultimatum to decide by that Friday whether or not I wanted to stay with the company. When Friday rolled around, I quit, packed up all my shit and went over to DJ’s house to get drunk and play poker (in a rare Ex-Data Slaughterhouse Employees Game victory, I took home $60). After a tumultuous career path over the past three years, I am finally growing some balls and committing full-time to Broz Design. I have already nabbed two and a half retainer clients (the other half happening once I get off my ass and draw up a contract) that will pay me more all while working less and living the pants-free dream. My pregnant wife is thankfully awesome and supportive of my pursuits and deserves a new Lexus once I start rolling in the dough. It is either that or we will be selling our unborn child on the Mexican black market to make ends meet. Wish me luck either way.
As I stare down the barrel of my new gig, I wax poetically at St. Mark’s Uptown, two beers into the evening, going over existing projects with my soon-to-be former boss:
You killed the pants-free dream for me. I don’t think it was intentional, but then again, my ex-girlfriend’s observation of my inability to display emotion wasn’t expressed to break us up but it broke us up nonetheless. Looming over me everyday was the “option” to throw my laptop in my bag and patronize some outdoor cafe with free WiFi and a young barista with firm breasts to serve me hot caffeinated drinks. Actual times I exercised this “option”: zero. Looming over me everyday was the “option” to delegate work to competent contractors while I enjoyed an afternoon skiing down a powder filled slope or taking a lazy nap on the grass at a local park. Actual times I attempted to delegate work to contractors only to have the project blow up in my face and spend late nights correcting mistakes only amateurs make: too numerous to count. I spent my tenure working sixty hours weeks and cursing at my brand new iMac while my cute wife made muffins and brought me beers in the hopes I would cease yelling, “You filthy bitch!” at poorly coded sites. I was haunted by phone calls from clients whose projects were fucked before I came along and will stay fucked long after I am gone. Lesson learned. I need a place where I can leave incompetent contractors, pissed off clients with unrealistic deadlines and an apathetic boss. That place is called “the office” and not “home.”
The working from home experiment officially ends on April 24 as I have accepted an Art Director position for a consulting firm in downtown Denver for a ridiculous amount of money. I learned many things during the home office endeavor:
- When not physically interacting with society on a regular basis I will not change my shorts until I squat down to pick something up and smell the essence of my own ass.
- When not physically interacting with society on a regular basis I will not shower until I squat down to pick something up and smell the essence of my own ass.
- When Divorce Court is on I will not turn it off. Preach on, Judge Toler. Preach on.
- There are times in life when porn is your enemy.
- I do not hate society as much as once initially thought.
- Conference calls are just as worthless as face to face meetings.
- Clients cannot tell when you are calling them from the bathroom.
- Clients cannot tell when you are surfing your RSS feeds instead of taking notes.
- Clients will not take you seriously if your “team” consists of anyone from India or the Philippines.
- Total hours (per week) put in at an office job during a normal work week: 42. Total hours (per week) put in at a home office job during a normal work week: 55.
- Working from home is a lot like bedding a really hot girl and then finding out that she is a lousy lay; at first you cannot believe its happening to you and then you realize its just a means to an end.
A message to all pants-free subway riders in NYC: You are poseurs. I live the pants-free dream everyday. Or at least I did before this cold, arctic air rolled into town. Yesterday I reveled in the sub-tropical 18-degree afternoon by wearing Puma track pants and starting my car without it sounding like Han Solo’s frozen Tauntaun just before it dropped dead. When the temperature gets back to above freezing again, then the pants come and off and sweet freedom returns.
Today, in the midst of Hanukkah Blizzard, I accepted a Creative Director position with a small design firm in Denver. I will be able to maintain the pants-free lifestyle I have grown accustomed over these past months, as my office will be in my home. I will occasionally venture out for a cup of coffee or a sandwich and maintain connectivity with the world via all form of modern technological accoutrement (cell phone, computer, IM, email, carrier pigeon). Other than that, society is officially dead to me. This career path is free of company-wide circle jerks with CEOs who receive Xmas cards from unemployed designers that lie about profits, revenues and layoffs. Once the roads are deemed safe by the governor again, I will be rolling up to the Apple Store to drop some coin on a new iMac and MacBook. Final unemployment statistics: 101 resumes sent and nine interviews all spanning three months, one week and one day.