Pushing it out.

Didn’t post yesterday because I was ridiculously swamped with work the moment I walked back in the door from my ride. Contrast to today when I had hours in the morning to do a brick workout, water the plants, and even make a pot of turkey chili. It reminds me that when I was a kid I swore that I’d neverbe like my dad and work check-to-check freelance. My dad was squeezed out of advertising agencies when he hit 40, the mystical age in advertising where you’re considered out of touch with core demographics and if you haven’t made the shift to management your career is dead. He went freelance and did random work for years, right around the time my sister and I were teenagers in constant demand of STUFF. He never outright said things were tight, but it was clear there was an ebb and flow to the income and therefore an ebb and flow to our economic stability. I swore I’d never live that way again.

And yet I wanted to write screenplays from the time I was 9 and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil blew the back of my head off. I quit working full time 8 years ago and have been a Ronin writer/technologist ever since. The positive spin is that I have limitless earning potential. The reality is that when the phone rings I hear money and I ought to answer it. In the downtime when the phone isn’t ringing I’ve found the time to become an endurance athlete. This should tell you that business often sucks.

But the endurance training gives me the sense of reward that the two other careers haven’t in a long time. With the writing I work for months on a script and then send it off into the world. Some people like it, others don’t, and maybe someone likes it enough to offer help. The help invariably leads to changes, which means more work, without necessarily a payoff at the end. But a finish line? That’s being done, man. I sign up for a race, put in the miles, and a few months later – BANG – I cross a finish line. That is cause and effect. That’s no one’s terms but my own. That’s not grinding out idiotic work for retarded monkeys in management, wasting my time, my LIFE, for someone else’s goals.

I’m addicted to tri because after an hour or two of working out I feel like I’ve done something for ME. Yeah, it’s hard work. But there’s a tangible reward at the end. There’s a finish line, which once I cross it I can decide if I want to do it again, or something else, or anything. It’s my choice, my time, and I savagely protect that space.

Until the bills show up. Which means it’s time to answer the phone.

Notes: ocean speed circuit – 3 laps, 45 minutes (750 yards or so in nasty current and big ass waves this morning), ran six miles (or so). Ocean Park to Santa Monica Pier to Venice Pier, back to Ocean Park. Under an hour or something. Ran shirtless for the first time. Breezy!

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2 responses to “Pushing it out.

  1. Sometimes a fact checker would be helpful. Your perceptions may have been reality to you… but were not necessarily real reality.

  2. Setting the record straight(er.) Your father wasn’t squeezed out of advertising, Madmen to the contrary. Your father had been management (VP of a major agency IS management.) And when you reach a certain level of accomplishment, there are not that many slots available. For example, a professional sports coach has only a literal handful of job opportunities in any given season. He may be at the top of his game, but he can also be unemployeed because all of his peers ARE employed.
    He also was past 40 and had a couple of kids to take care of. He therefore CHOSE to stay in a geographic location to minimize the disruption to their lives. Your perception of random work is interesting. Do you consider what you do random work? Or are you at the mercy of your client’s needs? And in point of fact, he continued to maintain his clients on a freelance basis for 15 more years. Please be careful how you characterize other people’s choices. Glass houses and stones.

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