There is nothing quite like getting laid off.
All of a sudden, every friend, associate, or potential contact becomes infinitesimally more important. Each one of them could potentially help or lead you into another position.
Suddenly, you’re on a limited income. Wondering how to spend money wisely, or not spend at all.
So very quickly, Facebook and LinkedIn become more valuable then ever. However shallow they are, in this industry, they’re a very functional set of communication tools.
What happens when you’re a director of editorial in the game business, and you’re out of a job? You look at the competition, the magazines, the online sites, the blogs, the freelancers. You do a little soul searching. You may panic. You think about what things really mean to you.
Do you call a headhunter? Do you call your parents? Do you tell your friends or neighbors? What should you do all day? Say fuck it–and spend the next eight hours playing games? Or not play a single minute so as to maximize your work hours?
As I experienced day two after my lay-off from Future, these things and many more ran through my head.
Fueled by coffee caffeine today, I came to the conclusion that, ideally, freelancing would be a great idea. I always have fresh ideas on how to cover the industry. I always look at a situation and try to get the full picture when I hear a rumor. I can comment intelligently on a dozen stories a day, consult for a half dozen companies, freelance for a ton of publications, and I would not have to answer to a single manager on a daily basis. I could write what I want, for whom I want, and use my time as I’d like to. Why look for a job as a manager when what I really want to do is write?
I love coffee.
But when it wears thin and I’m not thinking like a raging bull, I consider the reality of said thoughts. Freelancing means hustling every day, answering to a half dozen editors, getting edited by a half dozen editors, being paid poorly, saving one-third of said money for taxes, wondering what I am going to cover and for whom, or if someone will beat me to it.
I thought about freelancing today very seriously because it’s the exact opposite of what I have been adamantly set on doing, which is getting a full time job. I have a house, a wife, two kids, bills. You know, I have all the things you’re supposed to want, and I have come to them in a very different way, and I don’t want to lose them. How do I keep this house? How do I pay my bills? Can freelance money pay these bills? I would love that to happen.
So I did stuff. What did I do today? I updated my resume, entered in all of my contacts into LinkedIn and sent out requests, called and emailed people, and checked job listings. In the last few days, I got a few LinkedIn endorsements, too.
I spent time speaking with colleagues and writing letters to a few companies. I wrote a proposal to a media outlet for free (with a little catch). I looked at the news a little, and realized I needed to seriously update my RSS feeds.
I took a long walk with my dogs.
I set aside five games I have been meaning to play. I played Horde mode in Gears of War 2 and got to level six. I read to my daughter and made dinner, and have watched the Battlestar Galactica: The Last Frakking Episode. And now as I write this I have very little idea of what I will do tomorrow.