I got my first job at 16. I worked at an amusement park in my area called Great America. I was a fill-in. That meant I didn’t have a permanent position. I would call a number each day and find out where I was supposed to work.
On my second day at work, I accidentally got my manager fired when he left for a five-hour lunch break and I had to call an area supervisor to come and void a transaction where one of my coworkers had accidentally charged a customer $500 instead of $5 for a stroller rental.
For some reason, I was never called back to work after that. I wasn’t fired. I still got to use my employee ID for free park entrance and food discounts.
I worked for myself for the first time at age 19. I became an independent contractor for a low-flush toilet company. My job was to pass out flyers to housing developments and gated communities.
I got paid per flyer delivered and a commission from any toilets sold based on the flyer. I hired two friends and we split everything three ways. At one point during that summer, I was the victim of a drive-by shooting on the freeway. Nobody was hurt and the only damage was that the rear passenger window of my parents’ van was blown out.
Even with getting shot at, I found working for myself much more enjoyable than working for other people.
I’ve been self-employed for the past 18 years. Fortunately, nobody has shot at me since the low-flush toilet days.
I’m in the middle of a big transition. For the past 18 years, I’ve worked as a service provider. First I was a lawyer and for the past 10 years, I’ve been a B2B copywriter. I write marketing materials for businesses that sell to other businesses.
I working on changing my business model to one where I sell products instead of services. The products I want to sell are creative projects like books and poetry comic books.
Some days it feels like I’m chasing chimeras and that I should just keep writing marketing emails and explainer video scripts. But since the start of the pandemic, that way of life seems increasingly untenable. What value am I giving to the world? What legacy am I leaving?
I have no idea how this transition will play out. I do know that at 45 years old, I have to give this crazy idea everything I have or I will always regret it.
On my birthday last week, I started a crazy-ambitious project to write 10,000 haiku over the next two years. I’m writing the haiku in public. You can read more about the project here or you can click here to read the haiku I’ve written so far.
Sub Pub was kind enough to publish my guest post yesterday. I wrote about why I write poetry for people who hate poetry. You can check it out here.
Thanks for reading!
Be the weird you want to see in the world!