The Side Hustle

Everyone's familiar with the phrase "Don't quit your day job," but in today's economy you probably shouldn't give up any side work you can get either. While I was trying to find a full-time job, I took on several freelance gigs and I've been reluctant to give them up for a couple of reasons: 1) I like being able to feed the kids; and 2) They're interesting. 

So to address part 1, while I wouldn't say that I'm exactly suffering from a "Depression Mentality," I'm still not buying over-priced butter and I continue to view cherry tomatoes and mouthwash as luxury items. Am I permanently scarred or just a little wiser for the whole experience? Only time will tell.  


While we definitely took a financial hit during our mutual unemployment, things could've been a lot worse. That said, the whole episode has left me feeling vulnerable -- like it could happen again at any moment -- so I'm hesitant to pass up any paying opportunities. 


Now for part 2, freelancing for a few different places offers a nice change of pace. While I often kick myself as deadlines loom and I have a mere three awkward sentences strung together, I never regret taking an assignment once it's been turned in. Recently, I interviewed a man battling ALS and his courage in the face of this disease was awe-inspiring and hugely humbling. 


It's enormously gratifying to meet someone interesting and go toward the positive rather than lurk constantly in the shadows of the negative. Plus, I worry that after months of writing nothing but 14 Ways to Clean Up a Murder Scene Using Baking Soda & Vinegar, I'm forming a lot of bad habits. (I think of it as the literary equivalent of eating nothing but Twinkies while sipping on 40-ounce Yoo-hoos. Sounds sweet in theory, but over time it will kill you.) 

As much as I've tried to stay in the realm of "the good side," that doesn't seem to be what readers want I'm told. So each time I suggest something like, 10 Ways to Make Your House Guests Feel at Home, I'm told 10 Types of Houseguests You Wouldn't Mind Seeing Killed by an Intruder is such a better idea, and so, many of my days go a little something like this: 

Me: 7 Ways to Improve Your Spring Wardrobe
Them: 12 Reasons You're a Hot Mess

Me: 10 Gifts That Are Ideal for Your Mother-in-Law

Them: 14 Times You Wish Your Mother-In-Law Had Been Captured by ISIS

Me: 9 Picnic Lunches Perfect For You & the Kids
Them: 13 Perfectly Reasonable Explanations for Locking Your Kids in a Hot Car

Me: Are You Hair-anoid?-- (A look at the overwhelming and sometimes gripping fear of your hair getting in the food you make for your family or bake for friends.)

Them: That's just you, Liz. You may want to see a therapist.

Me: 12 Pie Recipes Guaranteed to Make the Most of Your Farmers Market Bounty

Them: 16 Farmers Who Were Arrested for Beastiality

Me: The Perfect Age for Your Child to Start Swim Lessons

Them: 7 Times Faking Your Own Drowning Led to an Encounter With a Hot Lifeguard

Me: 12 Things to Consider Before Boarding Your Pet While You're on Vacation

Them: DIY Pet Spaying & Neutering: Easier Than You'd Think!!

Me ... Um? 


So you can see why it's been good for me to mix it up a bit. Plus, branding expert Dorie Clark, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting at a Lower East Side speakeasy (her pick -- she's that cool!) points out by 2020 it's expected that 40% of Americans will be freelancers. So might as well get used to it, right? 

Until then I'll be the gal in the produce aisle sniffing cilantro and hoping she can afford it. 

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