Beginning of the End

It’s T minus 12 days and counting before I start the new job, and I’m swinging wildly between “oh boy…this is going to be so cool!” and “oh no…what have I done!” I suppose that’s natural. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a change in your line of work is only slightly less stressful than the death of a close friend (and I suppose that assumes that you didn’t bump him off to get his job) and slightly more stressful than a “change in frequency of arguments” (and I assume those arguments don’t flow along the lines of “why don’t you get a real job, you lazy bum!).

I spent much of last week “laying off” clients, notifying them that I would no longer be looking after their websites. I had mixed emotions about this process. I’ve worked with some of those folks for more than a decade. I’ve never even met some of them, but I still feel like they’re family (albeit distant cousins who never show up for family reunions, or when they do, they forget they were supposed to bring the deviled eggs. But I digress.). Of course, you can’t lay off family unless you’re Donald Trump or Jerry Jones, in which case you wouldn’t be worrying about a job change to begin with.
Most of them have been quite understanding, and while not happy about the change, I’m still fairly comfortable opening unusual packages that show up in my mailbox. Many have said some very nice things about my work, and I really appreciate that. I never had any illusions that I was or ever could be the most creative or technically proficient web guy, but I did have a goal to be the most reliable and dependable service provider, and I think I succeeded pretty well in that regard. And I do think I got steadily better in my design and development skills; I feel good about that.
Here’s what’s sort of scary, besides the whole uprooting of your lifestyle thing: it took only one email to dismantle what it took ten-plus years to build up. There are a lot of things in life that are that way, if you think about it. One careless word…one signature at the bottom of a legal document…one unwise decision to get behind the wheel of a car or to glance down at your phone.
Regrets – I have a few. But then again, too few to mention. Oh, except for the fact that I never slept in on the mornings my wife headed out to work; never spent afternoons in a Starbucks, pretending to be a hipster designer seeking out Third Place inspiration; never took off to see a movie. I never did any of those things that are supposed to be the perks of being a work-at-home, self-employed, free-as-a-bird freelancer. I also didn’t learn to play the guitar or ride a unicycle.
Meh. I have 12 days to do that stuff, right? Lotsa time.


  1. Assuming you didn’t bump someone off to get their job… reminds me of a Firefly quote from “The Train Job” episode:
    Sheriff Bourne: You mind telling me, uh, when it was you last spoke to Joey Bloggs?
    Mal: Never did, myself.
    Sheriff Bourne: Right. Your uncle. And it was indicated to you that, uh, Joey had an opening?
    Mal: Any job would do.
    Sheriff Bourne: It’s funny your Uncle never went to mentioning the Bowden’s problem. Or that Joey Bloggs ate his own gun ’bout eight months back.
    Mal: Did he?
    Sheriff Bourne: Yep. Blew the back of his head right off.
    [long pause]
    Mal: So… would his job be open?

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