• Mon, Aug 22 2011

The Job Slut: 5 Things You Should Never Say To A Job Slut

I’ve been a full-time freelancer for over a year. It’s been the most stimulating, character-building, nail-bitingly stressful experience of my professional life. And people love to talk about it.

I think it helps that I’m a writer. People who romanticize writing — about 85% of New Yorkers — throw around words like “craft” and “muse” and commend me for being brave for pursuing something creative. The other 15% say something stupid, like “Do you make any money?” or “Seriously, how are you paying your rent?”

Ugh.

Maybe these ignorant job monogamists are merely being honest. Maybe they feel I’m open to it. After all, I’m a self-proclaimed job slut. I don’t deign to act like anything I’ve done is all that special or groundbreaking. I just work harder than other people and prefer doing something I like. But c’mon, you wouldn’t ask any other person, “Do you make any kind of living doing that?”

And while I’m thinking about it, “any kind of living” could be construed in a variety of ways. Yes, I make a kind of living. My own kind. So do you. Everyone does.

My general rule of thumb for talking to a job slut about work is this: Don’t say anything to a freelancer that you wouldn’t say to someone working 9-5. Not initially, at least.

It’s fine to talk more specifically about the unique facets of freelancing (e.g. insurance, contracts, the merits and downsides of permalance work, etc.) if you know what you’re talking about. But if you don’t, please don’t make the mistake of saying any of the following. Really. Just shut up before you ask:

1) Do you make any money?

Would you ask this of your friend slaving away in a non-profit, raising money for disenfranchised orphans in war-torn countries?

You wouldn’t? Well, he or she probably makes less money than me. (And may be doing something way more meaningful than both of us.)

2) Do you pay any taxes?

Does a fish enjoy water?

Do birds lay eggs?

Does abstinence-only sex education fail?

Yes!

I pay taxes, and I pay someone to help me figure them out, too.

3) When are you going to get a real job?

As long as I make enough real money doing something I enjoy on my own real schedule, I intend to keep freelancing. For real.

4) Oh, you [insert creative verb]? Do you [insert creative verb] good stuff?

It’s good enough that it’s what I do all day to earn money, so I guess I’m not a complete hack.

Also, you should be aware that the idea of “good” is entirely subjective. To some people — you may be one — The Da Vinci Code is good. And then there’s the rest of us.

5) Yeah, I’ve been thinking about picking that up in my spare time.

Ah, yes. Building a name for yourself as a writer is a very relaxing hobby. Not to mention easy! Especially after a long week of doing whatever it is you do.

I’ve been thinking of investigating other careers myself. I’ve always thought about picking up urology. Hey, we should work on something together!

What else should someone never say to a job slut? Or what’s a work question that should never be posed to anyone?

Photo: HBO

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