We don’t usually do much, if anything, for Valentine’s day, so that isn’t a big deal. But Jon is still recovering very slowly from his surgery and my dad is in the ICU because of severely low sodium levels and today it all just hit me. Maybe I’m PMSing, or maybe the PMS just made me acknowledge the feelings that I’ve mostly tried to ignore. I don’t know. But I had a meltdown, wrote a pretty emotional email to my boss that.. is gonna be pretty awkward to deal with, and nothing really changed.
My mom and I apparently had synchronized meltdowns, because she called me when I was driving home. I couldn’t answer (driving and talking on your cell phone isn’t safe, friends), and it’s probably for the best, because I was already trying not to cry (crying while driving is also not safe, friends~). When I finally got a hold of her again, she told me that she had had a moment of not being okay and that’s why she called. It sucks, because I can’t really do anything to help her, or Jon, and I’m so fucking tired of that. I just. I can’t do anything.
Life, if you’re listening, can you maybe go easy on us for a month or something? I need things to be at least in the possible range of getting better so I can quit my job and get my shit back on track. I may end up doing it anyway, but it feels really scary when Jon isn’t working and there’s no real end in sight right now. Just. Throw us a fucking bone please.
I made the mistake of starting to read The Freelancer’s Bible tonight before bed. And now my brain won’t stop mulling over everything I read. Mental note: don’t do this again!
I’ve started going through the Proofread Anywhere course, and it’s going well so far. The idea of freelancing is still scary to me, but I have the aforementioned Freelancer’s Bible (henceforth TFB) and a few other books to help ease me into the specifics. I think I really want to do it, though it’s hard to know when or how to get there.
The TFB suggested that one of the benefits of freelancing is that you can do lots of different types of work if you want to, and I think that’s probably a good mindset. Maybe I can pursue the medical coding certificate at Blue Ridge Community College, as a secondary skillset to go with proofreading. That would probably make medical transcription or proofreading doable, and coding itself might be remote work, I’m not sure. But now I keep thinking about what other possibilities there might be. I could do WordPress work, I could do some development work, maybe; it wouldn’t be much of a stretch from proofreading legal transcripts to actually making the transcripts and even branching out from there into medical transcripts. That depends on if I actually like the work though, which is still up in the air.
I have other interests too, of course: video games, knitting, reading.. Surely I could find work if I tried, right? At least we’re financially in a position where we’d be okay if I had a few dry months.
Regardless of all of that, I’m going to have to take the plunge eventually. I’m not sure I can handle trying to juggle both my full-time job and learning a new trade, and thankfully, I don’t really have to. But I still want to have some reasonable assurance that I could enjoy doing this, and for that, I need to get through more of PA. I can’t do that now, because I need to go to sleep, but I can do it tomorrow. And I can read some more of TFB. Just not right before bed!
I’m still afraid that the whole thing is too good to be true, and that I’ll get to the end only to find that there aren’t actually any jobs. I hope that won’t happen, but who knows.
Brain dump so it will hopefully shut up:
Build a report of how much we spend each month and how much we currently bring in. Maybe build a budget to aim for if I quit my job.
What are my goals for starting this business? What do I really want?
What alternative freelance job types could I really pursue, both with and without additional training? Make the list of skills suggested by TFB (preferred, other).
Brainstorm list of what I would need to get started.
I can’t sleep, but I’m only a little mad about it. I still have to work tomorrow, so it’s unfortunate in that respect, but the thing keeping me up isn’t my anxiety for once. This time, it’s excitement. Excitement about finding a new job, excitement that I’m actually getting support from the people I care about, excitement that maybe I’m finally starting to get better. At least a little bit?
I’ve mentioned my thought about starting up a freelance transcription proofreading business to my mother-in-law, my therapist, and my mother, and they’ve all been varying degrees of supportive. I was so sure that everyone would tell me that it was a stupid idea and wonder why would I throw away the job that I have (that I’m growing to hate) for something as potentially dead-ended as this career that no one’s heard of. But MIL was nothing but supportive, to the point of saying that if I did end up working from home that we would have to have a standing lunch date or yoga date or something, and therapist thought it sounded great, and my mom was kind of grudgingly on-board with the idea.
I’ve been sort of plotting it out, and I think I’m really going to try it, at least. ProofreadAnywhere lets you pay for individual modules rather than the entire cost up-front, so I can try the first week for $77 and see how I feel about it afterwards. Maybe I’ve romanticized it too much and it won’t be any good, but I really hope that it is. It seems so promising. I appreciate that Jon is willing to give it a try with me. I think he’s happy to see me taking an interest in something again – I’ve been pretty blah for the last year or so. Hopefully it all works out.
Things that I need to think about:
How to handle the business aspects – taxes, sole proprietorship versus LLC, etc.
Getting a decent professional headshot for LinkedIn and other photos (maybe?) for a website for myself.
When do I quit my current job?
Ways to keep myself on track
Domain name for myself/business. I have jenshort.net but it feels kind of casual so I’m not sure if I want to use it. Jennifer Short shows up in google results mostly related to the murder of the little girl, not sure if I want anything of mine associated with that, even if it is my name.
Do I also want to take the transcription course for a fallback?
If I start making decent money, I should put some of it away for a retirement fund, since I probably won’t have my pension from VA state.
Probably a lot of other things that I’ll think of later.
I think I might try to blog some about the course. Not what information I learn, because they’re pretty strict about not sharing that, but just how I feel about the process and that kind of thing. Hopefully my momentum will continue to carry me forward.
As usual, I failed to keep up with my writing. But I’m back now. It’s been a pretty rough year. Jon has been sick for 6 months (and out of work), I’ve been struggling with my depression, and I’ve realized that I kind of hate my job. I like some of the people I work with, but the actual work that I do holds no interest for me anymore. It doesn’t help that Jon works in the same place, with the same people, but is higher up in the chain. I am stuck, as my therapist says, in Jon’s shadow, and that’s not a great place to be.
It’s funny, because I’ve never really thought about it that way, but it’s true. I’ve spent so much of my life wishing that I could be as good at getting things done as Jon is, or as good at some video game as Jon. It’s stupid, because there are plenty of things that *I* can do: I can make web apps, I can do some web design, I knit, I read, I write.. I could be better than I am at all those things, but they are things that are mine, rather than his or ours. I think I need to make an effort to both expand that list of things and to be better at remembering that it exists.
In any case, I think I want to quit my job. I’ve been thinking that since last summer, but it’s been more of a stress-avoidance feeling than anything else until recently. I’ve been thinking since my last appointment with my therapist about what I might do if I didn’t have my job any more. And somehow, I randomly ended up reading a question on https://ask.metafilter.com from someone who had a disability that prevented them from working normal 9-5 hours, and one of the answers mentioned maybe doing remote copyediting or proofreading. And that set off fireworks in my brain.
I’m good at writing and good at proofreading — Jon and my former boss ask me to proof their emails or documents pretty frequently, and I had a huge part in getting our unit documentation in order. What’s more, I think that kind of job would be of the form where I would get discrete tasks and have to do them, generally with a pretty hard and fast deadline. And that’s what I want. If it happened to come with a side of working from home, that would be even better. So I’m going to look into it. I was so fired up that I got off my ass, got over my stupid phone anxiety for 10 minutes (talked to a very lovely older woman, so not only was it not scary, but it was actually pretty nice), and got my college email account reset so I could access things like requesting a transcript. I don’t know if I want to go back to school, but where I work has a pretty good Technical Writing program that would probably be useful if I did. I might check and see if the community college has something more focused on proofreading, though.
It’s weird. I don’t know if it’s the prospect of something new or the prospect of just getting out of my current position, but I actually kind of feel good about this right now. To the point where I wanted to write about it, even. I don’t know if this feeling will last, but it feels like it could be the beginning of an upswing. I really hope it is.
“I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” — Cheryl Strayed
I play Final Fantasy 14, an MMO based in the Final Fantasy universe. I love this game. I’ve played through the story 5 times, even though the game lets you level up multiple jobs on a character, which mostly removes the need for “alts”. But the story is great and the gameplay is fun and really, I just love it.
However, every time I try to play a “tank” character, I freak out, get too afraid to actually queue for dungeons, and then I quit playing it. And it’s so stupid. I did a dungeon today where our tank did almost nothing. They ran to the next group of mobs and pulled one, but they never did any AOE threat, never responded to any chat messages, just.. I half think that they must have been a bot, because surely no actual person could be that terrible, right? Anyway, we made it through the dungeon anyway, even though it was annoying.
So, if rando bot person can tank, why can’t I? I know I can do better than that. Actually, I’m pretty sure I can do just fine, but my brain gets skeered and I’m afraid people will be mean to me, and it’s ridiculous. I’m a good player, for the most part. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always optimize the best, but I do my job the best I can and obviously that is good enough according to the game. Why can’t I get over this stupid anxiety?
I’m still stuck spinning my wheels (mentally speaking). I have so many things that I kind of want to do but when I think about doing any of them, I just .. don’t. Or I don’t have the right inspiration when I do.
Still pondering a new site design. This is something that I get the itch to do every few months or years. Every time I do it, I end up going through miles of site templates that all kind of look the same but better than anything I can do (probably because they’re actually finished more than anything). So far, I have a color palette? I think?
It’s a little more pastel than I usually like, but it’s appealing to me right now. I’ve been trying to embrace pink as a color. I spent most of my life feeling like girly things were bad, and pink pretty definitely fell into that category. But “girly things are bad” is pretty shitty and misogynistic, much like my old “I’m not like the other girls” bullshit, so I’m trying to get over it. Pink is difficult because my mom pushed it on me so much and because my husband lived in a house where everything was a particular shade of pink for a while right after his parents got divorced (it’s understandably not a happy color for him). But we’ve determined that pinks like the one above don’t bother him, and I like it because it’s more .. light red..than a sweet, sugary, fairy pink? Which is stupid, but whatever, I like it.
All that said, I’m unsure how I’ll actually end up using it. I keep waffling between “clean but bold” and “light and breezy”. Eventually I’ll settle on something, hopefully. Or at least throw a mock-up together. Or something. It’s kind of sad how badly my skills erode every time I take a break. I wonder if I would enjoy it more if I didn’t have to relearn half of what I know every time I pick it back up again. It’s kind of like The Wheel of Time – I enjoyed it all okay the first time I read most of the books, but because I reread them all every time a new one came out, I was so thoroughly sick of the story and couldn’t help but pick out all the annoying flaws that I gave up right smack in the middle.
Anyway. I don’t know if it’s really helping me to write out how I’m feeling like this, but it means that I have accomplished something when my brain gets like this, so I guess that’s not nothing. It’s not much, but it’s something.
Today has been one of those days where I’m restless and want to do something, but I just don’t know what. Setting up this site re-ignited my interest in web design, even though I think I’m pretty happy with the current theme – I’m not going to be doing much with this blog aside from writing, so I don’t need anything fancy. Nevertheless, I started looking into doing theme development and re-discovered the rabbit hole that is web design in 2019.
I’m used to using Sass, a CSS pre-processor that lets you do design a bit more programmatically, so I tried to install that. The installer politely informed me that “Ruby Sass” was end of life (!!!) and that the new version was now “Dart Sass” (!?!). What? So then I had to figure out how to install that and update my path and everything. But I finally figured all that out, yay me.
Another tool that I was really accustomed to was cloud9, a in-browser development IDE and server container. It was awesome! You could make a new instance as much as you wanted, with a number of different flavors for the OS and installed languages. You could clone other instances, so once you got one setup with all the dependencies that you wanted, you could just start with that instance and go from there. It was amazing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it got bought out by Amazon, but here we are. It still exists, but now it lives in Amazon AWS, which is.. a huge convoluted dumpster fire that really deserves its own post. The best thing about cloud9 was that it pretty much removed most of the “dev-ops” requirement of coding (wherein you had to know how to setup a server and a database, etc., just to get started). And now most of it is still like that, but like.. you’re in AWS! Which is huge and terrifying and has way too many moving parts and what if I fuck up and run my charges up to some massive amount accidentally? AHHHHH.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, I don’t even know what I want to do! I like this theme. I like other themes with a fixed left side-bar or background. I like minimalist fonts and fancy fonts and bright colors and subtle colors and special effects and simplicity and it’s just infuriating. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, BRAIN??? JUST PICK SOMETHING ALREADY. >.<
So instead, I came here to bitch. Maybe I’ll still try to make something, I don’t know. I should be doing work, but instead I’m trying to resurrect an all-but-dead skill with no goal or direction or anything beyond “that sounds fun” or “this could be better”. *sigh*
I'm a 40 year old woman who lives in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I love D&D, video games, my husband, and my cats. I have anxiety and it's kind of taking over my life. I'm hoping that talking about it will help me. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯