So it’s been a week since I graduated, and life in the “real world” is very different from academia. In some ways, it’s scary, but in other ways, it’s actually kind of fun.
Freedom from schoolwork is HUGE. Seriously, I had no idea how much day-to-day stress came from school until now. Without this or that assignment hanging over my head, I feel incredibly liberated. I can go wherever I want, or do whatever I feel like doing, and the only restrictions on my time are the ones I set for myself.
Of course, life isn’t stress free–far from it. Employment is definitely a problem. I need to find a job and start making some kind of an income. That’s the main stressor right now–how am I going to sustain myself?
In some ways, it’s kind of a game. I’ve got my budget lined up, with projected monthly expenses, and that tells me how much money I need to make to break even. The object of the game is to find creative ways to make that money.
This is what I spend most of my day doing. Some interesting prospects include:
- Freelance editing. A roommate of a friend of mine has actually contracted with me to do this for a company he recently started. It isn’t steady work, but $40-$60 per job for basically reworking a piece of fantasy, it isn’t bad either.
- Freelance translation. A friend of mine from the FLSR told me all about this. Basically, I just need to set up a free account at proz.com, post my resume, set up paypal, and start taking jobs. Again, it isn’t steady, but it’s promising.
- Temp work. As luck would have it, there’s a temp agency across the street from my apartment, and a friend of mine already works there. It’s just filler until I get a real job, but it seems to pay fairly well, though the labor is mostly grunt work. Still, better grunt work than office work.
- Working for a teleresearch company down the street. It isn’t the best kind of work, but it’s a job, it’s got flexible openings, and it’s local.
- Anything legit on craigslist.
- Anything from the Wilk boards (though it’s kind of skimpy right now).
- Donating plasma. Hey, $65 a week is better than nothing.
So that’s what I’m thinking about doing to hold me over until I get a real job. My goal for May is to make more money than I spend.
Really, though, I don’t need a job for the money–I’ve got enough cash saved up to last at least through the summer. I need a job for the sense of security. It’s hard to focus on writing when I don’t know how I’m going to support myself.
Another danger with unemployment is the lack of structure. When you don’t have to get up and go to work, you find yourself getting up later and later. If you don’t have to do anything, you generally don’t accomplish very much. It’s hard to stay productive in the face of so much free time.
Still, I’m going to try. I’m keeping up with my writing, doing about 3k-4k words per day on the revision of Mercenary Savior. I’ve got a handful of submissions out on Genesis Earth, and I’m going to keep a steady number of submissions out at any time. I’ve also been submitting my unpublished short stories, so we’ll see where that goes.
In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for a day job while I play the game of financial independence. It’s an adventure.