How to Lose Your Mind Finding
Your Next Freelance Job
NICK CADE / WNW MEMBER
OK Linkedin, it's been 3 hours, 33 minutes and 22 seconds since my "available for freelance" post and, still, no job. This is when panic sets in. And with every second that ticks by and every fruitless email refresh, the knot in my neck tightens until I'm hunched over in pain.
My lunch companion suggests a "great" chiropractor. But this isn't my first rodeo. So, I call my shrink. "Can you make it today at 2:30?" he asks. Of course I can doc, I don't have a job.
I can't tell you how much I hate spending $160 out of pocket to see a psychiatrist, but I walk out of his office feeling completely realigned. And even though it's been 4 hours, 20 minutes and 12 seconds and still no job, I feel good. In fact, I feel inspired. And by the time I get to Starbucks I have a list of three things to accomplish today: find a gym, redo my portfolio and, finally, finish that screenplay which I'm going to start right now... just after I check my... Fuck, 5 hours, 20 minutes and 32 seconds and, still, no job. Things are getting pretty dark, pretty quickly.
Man, I just don't get it. My "Hey, I'm just checking-in" emails to the recruiters were on point. Each word perfectly balancing the fine line between dedication and desperation. Is my rate too high? Did David talk shit about me? Have they discovered I'm a fraud? Probably all three. After all, it's been 5 hours, 21 minutes and 45 seconds and, still, no job.
At this point, two things are becoming painfully clear. 1: I will never be gainfully employed in the field of advertising again. And 2: My shrink is an idiot. Who am I kidding? I'm never going to finish my screenplay, and I've already gained 5 lbs. from stress eating.
By early afternoon, I'm at DEFCON 3. I tell my wife to cut the cable, stop buying organic and start shopping at Ralph's again. We're poor now. She rolls her eyes and says "Go take a walk, your mind is playing tricks on you again." It's not her first rodeo either.
Maybe Natalia is right. My mind has always been a fair-weather fan, cheering me on when I'm producing wins at work. "You're so smart, Nick. A stable genius I tell you." But at my first mental fumble, he turns on me. It doesn't matter if I've given him two Super Bowl spots. Or that I'm a great dad. Or that I'm happily married. To the fair-weather fan in my head, I'm a failure. And as I leave the field, I hear him screaming "Almost 6 hours Cade and, still, no job!!!”
It's amazing how fast things can change. Last week, I was swatting away freelance offers like Shaquille O'Neal. This week, I'm really considering direct mail assignments in Dubai. See you in 3 months, kids. Maybe I should go full-time? Or client side? Or better yet, maybe I'll find a whole new career? But my only marketable skill... is marketing, and you see how well that turned out.
By the time I pick up my daughter from school, I've accepted my new lot in life. Not everyone can be David Droga. The world needs Nick Cades, too. And just when I'm ready to call my Alma Mater to see if they need any teaching help next quarter, a Linkedin notification pops up on my phone. Holy fucking shit! I can't click through fast enough. Is it my next gig? My next adventure? My salvation? No, it's Steve, from Steve Shore photography. "Hey Nick, do you have time to check out our latest work?" God dammit Linkedin, you screwed me again.
Illustration by WNW Member Eliot Wyatt