Monday, December 18, 2006

Workin' It

I have grown accustomed to the unsympathetic vagaries of life as a freelancer. I have learned to focus on the positive and remain upbeat in terms of job prospects. Because the god's honest truth, as my dad really did used to say, is if I don't remain positive, no one will do it for me.

Today marks the 8th day in a row at LT, which has been very steady for me since late June, with the only significant gaps coming on those weeks where there are holidays, such as Thanksgiving and of course now with Christmas coming up, this week and next look like short weeks at LT. I just talked to my supervisor here and ironed out this week's schedule. It worked out pretty good, with my working today (Monday) & Tuesday at LT, then the catering gig on Wednesday afternoon/evening, then it's back at LT Thursday; Friday is shaping up as an off day right now, but something could still pop up, provided I remain positive and send out the proper morphic resonance. (Imagine relevant link here.) With no sick days, no vacation time, and few if any benefits to speak of, you have to stay mentally tough as a freelancer. As no less an authority than Stephen Crane put it: "Of all human lots for a person of sensibility, that of an obscure free lance in literature or journalism is, I think, the most discouraging."

Finally, I can report some much-needed catering work on the horizon, which will go a long way toward filling in the gaps I just spoke of. There's a school party this Wednesday, with the possibility of a private party at someone's ostentatiously spacious Upper East Side apartment this Friday. Get to see how the other half lives, although by half I more accurately mean the very top upper percentile in terms of household income, socio-economic status, educational attainment and other fairly reliable indicators of demonstrable wealth.

Late Friday here at LT I got a call from K. at A. As soon as I saw the incoming digits on the LCD screen of my cell phone, I was hoping it was news from DC. If you recall from a recent post, A. sent them my sparklingly impressive resume for a long-term proofreader assignment. But alas, it was for a one-day assignment on Monday (today) for an ad agency. As I was already booked for today and manana at LT, I had to turn it down, as much as I would have liked to add a new client to my small rotation I have built up over the last, oh, 6 or 7 months. K. said we probably wouldn't hear anything definitive from DC until post-2006/early '07.

I never mentioned how great the Xmas celebration was a few weeks ago. My freelance agency held it at a small restaurant called Sala One Nine, appropriately enough located on West 19th Street. In addition to the always-welcome open bar situation, and some handy appetizers (nice to be on the other side of a catered event for a change), I mingled with not only my fellow freelance talent, but also some of the clients and A. staff, both present and former, including K., A. and Kr. M. and C and a few others from LT made the scene, and it was here that K. first approached me about the DC opportunity. So it was good that I made the scene, or who knows -- K. might have seen fit to go with another proofreader. Life is a series of coincidences, as anyone who has followed my career arc can attest to. Something like that. I reluctantly left Sala One Nine shortly after the bar cruelly turned back into a pay-cash situation, after one $6 Heineken too many.

My own burgeoning freelance business, you know, the one for which I printed up some business cards, is still stuck firmly in the fledgling phase. I actually did get one call from someone, a guy in Astoria named Tupac who had a thick Spanish accent and wanted me to help him with an ad campaign for his vitamins/supplements business. We set up a meeting at Mike's Diner for coffee; on the phone he said he'd be the guy with the bald head, but of course when I got to Mike's and looked around, none of the 10 or so diners matched that description. Just when I was about to approach the least-hairiest diner, in walked a smiling guy in a suit whose shiny scalp, sure enough, was indeed remarkably bereft of even a single follicle. He turned out to be a very nice guy, but it just wasn't a good match and I had to turn him down. I could have probably strung him along and soaked him for a few hundred dollars, but that would have been a bad karmic choice. That was the only call I received so far, after dropping off around 20 cards in various strategic Astoria locales. But I ran out of cards a few weeks ago and need to get another couple dozen printed up. (I just did a Google search for Eagle Eye Proofreading and discovered that at least two other businesses have used that alliterative moniker for their own. This of course means war!)

Never heard back from metro, the free daily paper where I sent that freelance column a few weeks ago. I stupidly waited a week before sending it off, and due to the timely nature of the material, that probably cost me any chance of publication. I'm working on a few more pieces now that hopefully will meet a better fate. There are fewer and fewer outlets for freelance pieces, although I am aiming high and hope to send off something to Newsweek's My Turn column, as well as a few others I have targeted. As always, you will be among the first to know.

In blog-related developments, I have now been at this for almost a year, having started WardensWorld in late January of '06, while in the deepest throes of unemployment-related ennui. (Incidentally, the word ennui -- meaning listlessness & dissatisfaction -- comes from the Latin in odio, which translates to "in hate." I like that, because that's just how I was feeling then...) This blog has been the recipient of over 5,500 hits/clicks, good enough to earn me $10.74 in Total Earnings. Now, Google/AdSense policy is not to release such blogger earnings until they total $100. At the rate I am proceeding, that money will be in my grubby hands right around 2015 or so. That's really gonna come in handy for my 55th birthday celebration. Drinks are on the house!

Also, my friend E., a fellow copy editor who I worked with at the Wall Street Transcript and who runs her own fine Weblog titled Weenie Enema, gave me a nice writeup last week in her December 11th post, A Blogroll Update Of Sorts. There I am, leading off, and for that I thank her. Now, we don't always agree on politics -- okay, we NEVER agree on politics -- but there's no denying her pop culture acumen and humorously original take on things. If I could figure out how to leave a link, I would do so, but just do a Google Search or go to She's also a Mets fan, for which she has my enduring sympathy, and still works at TWST, for which she has my eternal commiseration, to the power of 10. But I keed, I keed...

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