I might be screwed.
I quit my job, unceremoniously and in a way I regret. I had reached whatever breaking point I had felt coming for awhile and simply didn’t know how to verbalize. This culminated in a drinking session that I also quite regret, which left me vomiting blood and anything else in or near my stomach for the next couple days. I knew I’d been depressed, and I knew that for me, depression was the big red flag meant to block out everything from view until I figured out what my problem was.
Maybe I lack self discipline. I feel resistant on a very primal, physical level when faced with something I don’t want to do. I have an uncanny work ethic and drive when it comes to something I love, like joke writing, this blog, whatever, but my fight or flight kicks in when I’m bored, unhappy, feeling underutilized over overwhelmed. I could sneeze the wrong way and feel the need to drop all and run.
Likewise, stability is a tough concept for me. I recognize it and I’m sure I need it, but I’m incapable of creating it for myself or sustaining it for long periods of time. I don’t know what that means about me. I don’t know if that’s self fulfilling prophecy; what I do know is that my bouts of reckless behavior usually leave me feeling released from whatever tomb of depression I’ve been buried in. Currently I’m enjoying a peace of mind I haven’t had for months. High risk, taking chances, those are things I feel comfortable with. Maybe I should rephrase that; I’m not likely to gamble if I don’t think I can win, although that certainly seems to be waning given I have to figure the fuck out how I’m going to support myself now.
Since I’ve had plenty of time to do nothing but think, I’ve given the idea of jobs a good once over. I know why I hate them, and can’t sustain them. I also know how difficult financial security is going to be for people like myself; a job is what people can get out of you.
That’s the difference between a job and a hobby, regardless of how serious you are about one or the other. A hobby is something you do for self fulfillment; it’s the reason I struggled in art school and ended up flipping the whole thing off. It’s also the reason I have no idea what to do now. If I sit down and genuinely think about it, what do I have to offer? What can people get out of me?
I guess the other part of this idea, of what I have to offer, is that I’ve hit a point where I don’t throw it all in, I’m going to have trouble attempting to later. The day job has become less of a life raft and more of an anchor at a point where I’m not happy. Trying to balance it with what I feel driven to do was also taking me to a very dark (and very drunk) place. Quitting my job is just following the same emotional road map that’s led me to where I am and where I feel the most content.
Maybe that’s a cynical way to think about passion. I pursue mine simply because I see no alternatives. There’s nothing but death in compromise. Gambling is literally my lifestyle. I’d rather take odds, get hurt and blow things out of proportion. I don’t know where it comes from, but I behave this way because there is something intrinsic in every part of me that firmly believes that I’ll be fine. Maybe all that means is I have a very low standard of “fine” and since I don’t require much, I’m reasonably confident I can maintain that base level.
Millennials and the subsequent Generation Z are faced with a peculiar economic condition. Tons of jobs are being outsourced, and now freelancers can piggyback on outsourcing by offering native speaking labor for less than what they’d be paid at a corporate gig, but with the benefit of more freedom. It also seems like we’ve become a customer service society. The bulk of jobs that are available semi-cater to this more flexible, less stable lifestyle that arguably most of my generation prefers. The caveat? Can we really be sustainable as an economy at large if most of us are driving each other around or making food? In some ways, we’re returning to a community based economic system, which is small scale and many ways my ideal, but I’m brought back to that question, what do we get out of it, what do people get out of us?
For a creative person, I’ve always been somewhat pragmatic; I struggle with what would appear to be inherent narcissism that comes with “trying to make it”. I wonder if it becomes a vicious cycle in which the mentally unstable consume themselves given the volatile and emotionally unstable nature of show business. We are trying to make something that fulfills us that matters to other people. When you realize how big and difficult that is, it makes sense that it could take a lifetime to achieve.
I really don’t know if people get something out of this blog, or my jokes or anything else that I do, because in that respect I know I’m hopelessly biased, just like most comedians. I have to believe they do because I do, and if I didn’t think anyone else did, I’d have to stop. I’d have to get a day job. I’d have to figure out how to not kill myself by doing something that other people want that I can only force myself to do. This logic applies to my feelings on most grand institutions, like marriage, school, family. I only see what other people would get out of my choice to pursue those things. There’s no part of me that thinks I’d feel fulfilled, and I’d be forced to look elsewhere for that sensibility. Given how much time those things require, I don’t know how I’d manage to do both.
So I’ve spent this unintended sabbatical thinking very honestly about what I have to offer. If I am brutally honest: Not a lot. I can write, and I can write quickly. (Not counting this sentence, this article spans 931 words typed in about 20 minutes.)I like to learn, and I can compile research and take notes. I’m funny, but if I’m being realistic I still have a lot to learn before I could do consistent performances longer than about 20 minutes. I don’t really know what the practical application of that skill is, but that’s probably the best one I’ve got. I can draw, and produce simple illustrations quickly. I’m not really sure where to go from there. How do I make those things valuable to other people?
I’ve hit some kind of point of no return but I can’t see what’s in front of me. I’ve been in this situation before and I’m always calmer than I think I should be. I guess finding a job is a lot like finding a place to sleep when you’re a stranger; you just have to figure out where it is and who will let you. Here’s hoping that answer floats down towards me soon.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.