The End of an Era: A Freelancer's Failure Story

My exclusive announcement is finally here: As of 2013, I am switching to full-time work.

Five years of bouncing around gigs in pursuit of an entrepreneurial dream… I quit. I’ve thought a lot about how I want to share my story publicly so it was perfect timing that Stephanie Vorhees at Crush New York approached me for an interview last week. 

I’ve been taking a long, hard look at the career path I’ve dealt with this past year. New Years Eve I laid in bed unconsolable as I tried to think of just one success from each month that had just passed by. I couldn’t. Every month seemed to end up worse than the previous and I was puzzled as to why this kept happening. Opportunities that presented themselves as meaningful, enjoyable, and promising quickly became nightmares for me. I couldn’t get things right and the line between my personal life and my professional career began to blur. Despite my best efforts, I was falling apart. 

Things were really, really bad. I was left without a place to live three times in 2012. I noticed myself becoming a different person: someone with no motivation, no trust in other people, a distracting negative attitude, and crushing stress that took a toll on me in ways I never thought imaginable. 

Five years of this crap wasn’t worth it. 

In the end, unable to look back with pride on work I had done (with a majority of roles I flat out abandoned for more reasons than one), losing my confidence and motivation to contribute my talent, and being disregarded in too many ways, I gave up. I knew that things had to change and they had to change NOW. My life depended on it. 

ON LEAVING FREELANCE BEHIND

Getting a job is all about who you know. It’s the oldest tip in the book, and it’s absolutely true. You never know who may have an offer you can’t refuse one day, and that is exactly why I always tell people to connect with people in a meaningful way. Don’t think about business cards; think about conversation.

For me, it’s also all about timing. Good timing has always been unpredictable for me, and this time was one of those perfect times.

With no desire to stay in New York, given I had no money or guaranteed long-term offers, I was on my last leg to find an excuse to give this “career-y thing” one more shot. At my lowest of lows, that’s when I got recruited by a good friend of mine whom I had met at a travel happy hour for the opening position of Digital Sales Planner at THE WEEK and mental_floss. We know each other pretty well and have exchanged many pro-tips, attended the same tech events, and even did some bike rides together (this is my version of “networking”). No application, no job description, no experience in sales required. The job was mine if I wanted it. Salary, benefits, and paid vacation were also on the table. 

I of course accepted. For the first time in my professional career, I felt I had made the right adult decision. I finally could see a future for myself again and could regain confidence and challenge myself to accomplish better work. As Digital Sales Planner, I am able to take all of my digital media experience creating, managing, and measuring integrated advertising programs for publishing. It’s a new world for me, but I welcome the learning curve. 

I thank every one who has followed my story and continues to follow my story no matter what successes and failures I go through along the way. I hope that I can inspire you to also find your own path and create a meaningful career, even if it takes longer than you want and requires you battle the same obstacles I had to. I welcome your comments (and congratulations) with open arms. 

In addition to working full time at mental_floss and THE WEEK, I will be teaching a five week digital career path program with The LAMP and throwing a dinner party for Melba’s New York launch. 

See you at the water cooler…

On AMEX OPEN Forum: 8 Creative Ways to Promote Your LinkedIn Profile

On AMEX OPEN Forum: 8 Creative Ways to Promote Your LinkedIn Profile

Career Tip: #Rethink Yourself