Category: Work

So … hi. It’s been a while. I have never been exactly a metronome when it comes to blog regularity. If I was pressed for a metaphor, it would be more along the lines of that experiment where people watch a piece of pitch slowly form a droplet and then, even more slowly, drip to the floor. 

Not the ideal imagery for this sort of thing.

So where have I been for the last two years, since my freelancing post? Well, for one, I stopped freelancing. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, I found that I couldn’t sleep unless I did something to address what I saw as the growing shittiness of American politics, and I went to work for a great Democratic political startup called Flippable. It was the longest, but also one of the most rewarding 18 months of my working life, and among the many things it taught me is this: I’m not cut out for full-time politics. It damn near broke me. I will always treasure the time I spent there, but I’m also glad it’s over.

When I left the team at Flippable, I tried to take time off. I’m awful at taking time off, but I did manage a few weeks, and used that time to do some things I had been putting off – setting up my garden for the year, finally seeing Hamilton live, writing more than ten words of fiction in a sitting. All worthwhile, and all things I need to learn to do in concert with work, not instead of it.

So, as King George would say, what comes next? Another thing I learned at Flippable is that I love working with a team of passionate, talented, hard-working people. I missed that in my freelance days. But I also missed the feeling of building something myself, having ownership over something. So I decided to split the difference, and I started a company.

Seaworthy Digital is a new digital marketing agency, combining my web development background and marketing skills with an incredible content and strategy partner, and hopefully soon, a designer. It’s been fun, building from scratch again, and doing so in a more formal way than I ever did when I was a one-man shop.

So that’s my story. I can’t promise that I’ll post here as often as I would like, but since the bar is currently set at “once every two years”, I’m confident I can improve on that. Wish me luck – it’s going to be fun and scary, as all good things are.

Facebook Memories is by far my favorite feature of a social network that is more often annoying or distracting to me than particularly valuable. I like seeing what was happening in my life at this time one or two years ago. Unlike the rest of the site, which mainly tells me which candidate my friends support and what they have been eating for dinner, this feature actually adds some interesting perspective on everything that has changed over the years, and all that has not.

Today, that lovely little app reminded me that it has been five years since I left my last full-time job and went it alone as a freelance web developer. On September 30, 2011, I finished the month of purgatory I agreed to spend working for a boss I resented at a company I had grown to despise.

It’s an interesting time for the anniversary to pop up. Two weeks ago, I set out a fairly ambitious 6-month plan for where I’d like to take my business, basically with the goal of either getting it the way I want it or give up on it completely. There are certainly times I question the logic of being a one-man company. HR departments, steady paychecks, PAID VACATION. These things are nice. Taxes, that’s another thing that’s better at a bigger shop.

Most days, today included, the freedom and self-determination of freelance work outweigh those other things by a mile. I’ve realized, more clearly since I started this most recent work push, and especially clearly today with the sudden realization of the anniversary, that even though I’m often of two minds when it comes to how I run my business, I am really never unhappy with my choice. I love working for myself, and the variety of contract work. I need to do some things better. I’m a much better technician than I am a business owner. But still, I’m not looking back, except in overall satisfaction.

Five years down. How many to go? Will I ever work for one company again? Will I ever want to? I don’t know. What I do know is this: I’ve always said it would take a hell of a deal to bring me back to a 9-to-5 office life. On the good days, it’s hard to imagine any offer that would be worth the tradeoffs. And today, thanks in part oddly enough to Facebook, is a very good day.