In the halcyon days of pre-pandemic employment, I was thought a lunatic for requesting to work from home. It was as if the current working arrangement for millions of Americans weren’t a modern invention. There’s this assumption that if you’re at home, you’re lounging around in front of the TV. Excuse me but I’m from Kansas, where working from home often means 12 to 16-hour days.
You want to know what kills my productivity? People. Commuting. Also, people.
There’s this nonfiction book I’ve been trying to write since the early 1990s. The information I needed should have been right in front of me but it wasn’t. It turns out the problem with researching someone who should have been well-known but wasn’t is that people have no idea they even existed. Go figure.
In the early aughts, I used the limited information I had to search every single person, place, and thing I could think of on the internet. Digitization of historical documents was in its infancy, however, so I mostly wound up frustrated and discouraged. The only solution at that time involved a lot of travel, which meant a lot of time away from work during a time when that wasn’t an option. Hiring professional researchers also wasn’t an option so the project ended up in a filing cabinet that was ultimately moved into storage.
I thought for several years I was just like everyone else who is “writing a book.” Even if I could get motivated to finish the damn thing, it isn’t a very interesting story. I’m not a writer. No one cares about this subject. Leave it alone.
Then 2019 happened: I sold my beige stucco box in a suburban HOA. I left a job that was an exercise in futility. I packed up my dogs and headed to Mexico. Burnout is real.
It took a while to decompress and rediscover the art of working for myself. By mid-2020, the world was locked down right as I was ready to pick up my research. As soon as I got back to Tucson this February, I was all about getting those records out of storage and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
Going back to work in a traditional employer/employee scenario seemed like the logical next step but I just couldn’t do it. After researching electoral college talking points for a live hit on my porch overlooking the ocean, you cannot make me sit in a cubicle and tell me I’m not allowed to keep my cell phone on my desk. Tell that shit to a 20-year-old.
Instead, I started a C-Corp and decided to live that freelance life. I could do Human Resources consulting but a little part of my soul just died while typing this sentence. COVID-era HR work literally makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a ballpoint pen. After a few months of working on-site for a client, I’ve pretty much settled on remote-only 4eva.
The past couple years have proven it’s the work environment that kills my creativity and motivation. After 9 hours in the office plus, I dunno, another 45 minutes of commuting time, I’m done with the thinking. The last thing I want to do is break out my laptop and do more work, especially if it involves any kind of focused problem solving. On the flip side, I was up until after 3 am the other night because I had found some really interesting information and couldn’t put it down. The dog got me up at 5:15 for walkies and I was back at it as soon as we got home.
Why work at some meaningless, soul-crushing job reporting to incompetent, narcissistic asshats when you can spend your time getting paid to do something that doesn’t suck? Find a way to monetize the things you enjoy. Check out various freelance platforms; not all of them take a big chunk of your pay. You can create a gig for just about anything and don’t have to leave your house, unless you’re into that sort of thing.
Speaking of which, I’m available for the next few weeks if anyone needs a researcher or copy editor. I only charge for my time when accessing subscription databases I already use. Any documents I have to order are billed at my cost. A 24-hour turnaround is usually possible if it’s a simple request. If you want me to compile your entire family tree, that’s another story. I can also provide suggestions if you’ve hit a brick wall with your own research.
Click here to send me a message. I can either reply with a link to a Fiverr gig or we can work something out directly. My rates are super reasonable…unless you expect me to leave the house. That obviously costs extra.