Financially, this past year was a crummy one for me. I invoiced about 1/3 less than I did last year and I did less work on payroll so taxes are likely to hit me harder at the end of it (I paid less into income tax so far).
To be fair, I invoiced less because I spent less time working on billable projects and more time traveling and visiting with my parents in California. As a consequence of those choices I was concerned about money and whether or not I had enough for Mai and I to continue living in the manner to which we have become accustomed for the last third of 2013 . For the most part these worries have been unfounded. We scaled back on fancy dinners out but have not had to make any drastic changes. The change in my financial standing has remained largely hidden from everyone who knows me, other than Mai, until now — assuming anyone who knows me is reading this (hi friend).
Emotionally, this past year was a depressing one for me. My emotional state is certainly impacted by the financial worries resulting from me working less but the reasons I worked less took a toll as well.
When I left IPG in February I had an understanding with my then boss (and still friend) – work, in the form of a new branch of an existing client services company, would be forthcoming shortly. From our conversations about this new company, I was under the impression I would be the technical leader of the newly minted branch and work directly with him as the technology half of a technologist/designer pairing (much like the copywriter/art director pairings of traditional advertising). To top off this sweet deal the company wanted our new branch to work on the development of products and intellectual property in addition to spending time on traditional client services projects. I held myself back from taking much client work while awaiting word the company was ready to fund this adventure. I did some work for Wondersauce on the Champion website during this time, though I handled the most important launch — from Wondersauce’s perspective — poorly.
After the launch mis-fire I retreated further from client work and tried to focus on Lynr, a project started in February and intended to be a little side-gig money maker. After about a month of working on Lynr I agreed to do more work for Wondersauce on the Champion property, this time for a new contest. The billable work suspended effort on Lynr until shortly after the Champion launch on June 17th. While working on Champion the funding we (my friend from IPG and I) were hoping for never materialized but the dream job continued to tempt me in the form of a role with a company being started by my friend (same one) in partnership with two others. When the four of us sat down to talk about whether or not I would be interested in joining this new venture — I now realize — I carried over too many assumptions about my role from the from the last (almost) venture. As a result of my assumptions, I did not ask enough or the right questions about the role they expected me to have nor did I make the appropriate assertions regarding what I wanted my role to be. My assumptions and my lack of assertions directly resulted in me waiting nearly two months for an offer that was neither what I expected nor what I wanted. When I made a counter-offer outlining what I did want they said no and ended the discussion. I sunk further into my quagmire of negative emotions.
After a tough talk with Mai and a concerted mental effort at getting my shit back together over the last three months of 2013 I am back to near normal mental and emotional state but it has been difficult to get here and likely will continue to be a struggle.
After review, maybe I’m not so indifferent after all.