Two years ago tonight was the last night of the job I had working for someone else. It was a sentimental night, as I had tried my damnedest for three years to build a “successful” business, and ultimately could not navigate it into a profitable space. I had been fired the day before, but was working one last Saturday… Working almost every Saturday for those three years was one of the drawbacks of working that job, as my wife and kids missed me on the weekend, and I missed them (first world problem, certainly, but still not how I would chose to spend Saturdays). I still feed off the gratitude on Saturday when I consider the freedom from the feeling I felt those many weekend work days when I sat alone with little activity at work, and knowing that my family and countless others were enjoying the many gifts of Saturdays. I was not really wired to work for anybody else, I don’t think, at least not most boss types. I think that I had a similar problem with school, and though I tried a handful of times to make my way through college, I could not endure the system. It could be a defect of character, or this trait could be an asset and my saving grace… the verdict is still out. It is both a source of pride and shame, coloring moments differently, depending on my state of heart and mind. That being said, I knew that job had become toxic, but I was not quitting, for I resolutely wanted to find the means to catapult the business into the black. I was helpless and hopeful, assured but exhausted. Getting fired was likely the best thing that could have happened to me, it set me free. I didn’t realize how much I had internally been damaged during my time there, and the instant lifting of that psychic weight was a great release. Being an artist, and getting strapped to a microscope looking at the business of the art world in a city that doesn’t really support the visual arts, is torture. I had become quite enraged with all of the brokenness of the industry, and there was no way that I could go about fixing it in the position I was in… but I really wanted to believe I was in a great place to help in a specific manor. It was one hard lesson after another hard lesson, and I am still rebuilding from the recovered debris. There were countless highlights of the job, and I remain eternally grateful for the opportunities that were provided… especially as I never really even applied for the job. The past two years of self-employment have been liberating and difficult, with all of the stereotypical trappings of working for oneself, plus the additional twisted madness of the art world. I have meandered and navigated paths with slight variations as I continue to seek the maximized version of service and of a self expressed.
Today, I am grateful to be self-employed, even if my “business” may not be very profitable. The value of the job and the Work and the freedom outweighs everything (or, I’m completely stubborn and delusional and should be medicated or committed… or, this is one very long April Fool’s joke).