I quit my job last Friday.
It wasn’t exactly a snap decision. It had been coming on for quite a while. It was kind of like what you go through when someone you love dies after a long illness. It’s not like you didn’t see it coming, but there’s still a certain enormity — or the enormity of certainty — once it finally happens.
Two things happened once I put it out there on Twitter and Facebook what I’d done. One was happily surprising, the other was inevitable and understandable, but a little more terrifying. The happy surprise was the amount of amazing support I got. People were actually congratulating me! For quitting my job! I was getting “Good luck! Yay!” when I expected to get “Good luck! Sucker!” The other thing was the question. Or, as I think of it, The Question???: What are you going to do now?
What are you going to do now?
Ummmm … uuuuuuh … Panic is a good start … Die alone in the dark? I can do that … Can I get back to you?
The quickie answer I actually gave was ???Freelance.??? Freelancing in what was left more or less unspecified. Except I think I said somewhere that I was going to do things I like to do and not do things I don’t like to do.
And those are?
(Can I get back to you on that?)
I’ve been thinking about that. A lot. Pretty much constantly. It turns out there are basically three things I like to do:
- Create things
- Explain things
- Make people laugh
It???s not a long list. It???s not a particularly unique list, but hey, the way I see it it???d be a pretty poor world if only one person liked doing these things.These are pretty broad areas, so it???s probably a good idea to say a little bit about what I mean by them.
I thought about making the first one ???create content,??? but that???s not quite it. ???Create things??? does it better, but it covers things I don???t mean like ???create a chair??? or ???create a rug.??? Those are good and worthy things to create, but I don???t know how. I know how to make beer, but I haven???t done it enough times to know when things are going well and when they???re not, so that???s a little shaky. So here are the ways I like to create things:
- Writing. If you???ve been able to follow along to this point, I rest my case. Or apologize. Whatever.
- Online. I guess I could have mailed you a letter, but this seemed like a more efficient way to handle things. This is my medium.
- Video. My first love. I especially like putting video online. Don???t you love it when a plan comes together?
- Code. The folks at WordPress have it right as far as I???m concerned; Code is poetry. I???ve grown rusty in the last three-and-a-half years, but I???ve never left it completely. I???m looking forward to diving back in.
I like explaining things because you have to understand something before you can explain it. Then you have to understand who you???re trying to explain it to so you can find that pathway between what the person already knows and the thing you???re trying to explain. I think that???s fun. Or maybe, as Neal Stephenson more-or-less wrote in Snow Crash (paraphrasing here), the brainstem is the biggest hack of all.
I like to make people laugh. Or smile. I can do sad and thoughtful and pretty much any other emotional response you want, but I like the happy stuff better. I always have. I???ve always thought — along with everyone else who???s ever thought about it more than a couple of minutes — that if you understood something well enough to laugh at it, you pretty much had it figured out. And it???s hard to be scared of something new if you???re laughing while you???re being introduced. Lord knows enough people have laughed at me when we???re being introduced …
This has gone on long enough, so this is it in a nutshell: I???m going to start creating things that explain things and make people laugh. I???ll write, I???ll shoot and edit video, I???ll code an app and I???ll put it out there for you to see.??And if you or someone you know wants to pay me to do these things, we can talk.
So that’s the deal.