I thought I wanted a job. I was wrong.

This past November, I celebrated thirteen years of being self-employed. Thirteen seems like a weird number to celebrate, but I actually celebrate every year.

And when I say celebrate, what I mean is that I freak out on a semi-monthly basis over the state of my finances and wonder why the hell I don’t have a full-time job for chrissakes.

On a recent freak-out, I convinced myself that I didn’t want to start another business, this time building WordPress websites. As much as I love working in WordPress and creating web sites, starting a new business means that I’ll need to hustle to get projects. That part, I don’t love. I’m already hustling enough in my other work. Instead, I decided to look into a bona fide j-o-b using my WordPress skills.

I figured that I may as well start right at the source, so I looked at careers at Automattic, the company that created WordPress. It’s an amazing company, one that I could actually see myself working for out of love and not just for a paycheck. I found a job called Happiness Engineer and it fit me and my skills perfectly.

Unfortunately, Automattic did not agree, which was a humbling experience. While I can apply again in 12 months, I don’t think that I will. Rather than becoming soured on WordPress, I felt a sort of renewed energy for creating on the platform.

The more I thought about finding a full time job, the more I found myself reflecting on the past thirteen years of independence. When I first struck out on my own, I often felt like an unemployed loser. In my head, my family was a hair’s breadth away from starving to death in a shanty town, reduced to selling cheap trinkets made from our toenail clippings. Over time and with some success, I was gradually able to think of myself as a business owner. We never did starve, and our toenail clipping trinkets are made just for our own pleasure. We’ve had to get creative at times (the Oregon alpaca farm comes to mind), but somehow we’ve always made it work.

The other magical thing that happened to shoo me away from a full time job search was that I suddenly got extremely busy. Big screen printing jobs mean long hours of pushing a squeegee, a writing gig means lots of coffee-filled outlining and collaboration, and I also landed my first WordPress gig. Not bad, considering I had convinced myself that a j-o-b was my thing only three weeks before.

Last week, as I was pushing ink onto my 200th sweatshirt, I suddenly realized that had I been hired at Automattic, I would be scrambling right now trying to figure out how I would be able to show up for everyone, every day, with my brain intact. Forgoing sleep and injecting the coffee comes to mind as a possible solution. But whatever, that did not happen and my brain is still (to a fair degree) intact.

What I also realized is that over thirteen years my brain has also been rewired. I’ve trained myself to work the way I work, meaning that I structure my time in the way that works best for me, rather than an employer deciding that. I’m able to put my energy into things I love and when I need to move on to something else, I just do it.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes push deadlines to their absolute limits. Huge deadline tightrope-walker, me. And yeah, there are days I wonder how we’re going to pay for those little frivolities, rent and food. I don’t enjoy the financial roller coaster. Who likes credit card debt, raise your hand. You, in the back, with the foil hat, you can have mine.

So this is me saying I don’t want a “job.” I’m not sure that I’m even employable anymore. But I do know how to hustle. And that might be okay.

Januaryish

What I’m Reading

Rose Madder, Stephen King

Ask the Dust, John Fante

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Alain De Botton

No One Understands You And What To Do About It, Heidi Grant Halvorson

Music

I’m looking for some good jazz. Improvisational jazz. Suggestions?

Work & Projects & Stuff

Zines! Zines! Zines! I’m making zines! Want to get one?

Looking to help people with their WordPress sites. Need help?

Starting to play trumpet again!

Teaching an Old Puppy New Tricks

I’m currently doing a new course in PHP, specifically how it relates to WordPress. I am picking up on my German again. I’m also learning to touch type with https://www.keybr.com/.

Quote of the Moment

Ask yourself, who do you want to be? Figure out for yourself what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Mood

Woa?!?

How the Bullet Journal Saved My Brain

Note: This is a re-blog from my other site. Used with permission because, well, I wrote it. I said it was cool.

I have a long and weird history with analog organizational products. Starting around age seven, I developed a mild folder fetish, spurred along by gloriously shiny document holders with The Muppets on them. Then there was that year I asked for a Trapper Keeper for Christmas. My mother simply blamed it on my Virgoness and indulged me. I think my father wanted me to see a doctor, or at least a little league baseball coach.

Continue reading “How the Bullet Journal Saved My Brain”

Decemberish

Bookshelf

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Alain De Botton

No One Understands You And What To Do About It, Heidi Grant Halvorson

The Vampire Armand, Anne Rice

The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart

Music

Van Halen, 1984

Tones and I, The Kids Are Coming

Work & Projects & Stuff

Working on a screen printed zine

Getting WordPress Help site up and running

Starting to play trumpet again!

Studying

I’m currently doing some courses in CSS and javascript. I am picking up on my German again. I’m also learning to touch type with https://www.keybr.com/.

What’s up?

How can it be December? Already?

I just became a staff writer for an amazing group of people: Puttylike.com

Looking for a stocking stuffer? I have one for you. Pants!

Quote-ish

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker

Mood

You’ll have to guess which one.

A Very Minty Thanksgiving

My very special journey with Linux Mint

About an hour ago, I went for my first post-Thanksgiving run, where not only did I play Frogger crossing The Big Street (sorry, Dad), I got a ton of ideas of things to write about. Then I got home, fired up WordPress and my mind went kablooey:

Not as clever as I had hoped. It will come back to me eventually. In the meantime…

Pandemic Thanksgiving happened on Thursday and I was not too surprised to find that it was exactly like non-Pandemic Thanksgiving, with the exception of the Macy’s Parade Lite we witnessed. I was happy to be peeling potatoes.

Continue reading “A Very Minty Thanksgiving”

Art

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

– Andy Warhol

Novemberish

Bookshelf

The Mutiny on the Bounty, Charles Nordhoff

The Vampire Armand, Anne Rice

The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart

Music

Fleetwood Mac, and not just because of the skateboard guy.

Tones and I, Dance Monkey

Worriers

Work & Projects

Screen printing for The Gentle Pit

Thinking about creating a screen printed zine

Developing my first WordPress theme!

Studying

I’m currently doing some courses in CSS and javascript. I am so behind on my German. I’m also learning to touch type with https://www.keybr.com/.

What’s up?

It’s almost Thanksgiving. I have a ton to be grateful for.

I’ve applied for a position at what is essentially my dream company. Stay tuned.

Quote-ish

“I haven’t found anywhere in the world where I want to be all the time. The best of my life is the moving. I look forward to going. – Sir Sean Connery

Mood

via GIPHY

Now is so… now

vegan burger and fries
Photo by Rolande PG on Unsplash

I’m going to be starting dinner soon, but I wanted to get something down here because I’ve been neglecting the blog lately. I’m making vegan burgers and fries. Not quite a gourmet meal, but we all love some comfort food. Anyone else could make it, and I can make lots of other things, but like vegan French toast it’s kind of my thing. I have a system down.

Continue reading “Now is so… now”

Octoberish

Bookshelf

Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice

The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart

Music

All over the place, as usual. I’m mostly into Worriers and Elvis Costello at the moment.

Work & Projects

Screen printing for Whimsy & Row, Café Tropical, The Gentle Pit

Creating a new website for a secret vegan project

Studying

I’m currently doing some courses in Sass and javascript. I should be practicing my German but I am a little behind on that at the moment.

What’s up?

I just came off of WordCamp LAX (did some volunteering). It was my first WordCamp (surprising after ten years), and of course I couldn’t just attend, I had to volunteer. Me, in a nutshell.

I’m still running, yay! Consistently since January, about 7-9 miles per week.

I’m getting really tired of hearing about the election. Yes, it’s important, yes I’m voting, but jeez. It will be nice to not have it in the news for a while.

Feeling Mantra-ish?

Progress, not perfection.

Tweet of the century!

Finally getting @LocalWP up and running. Now that I know I can import sites I’ve already been working on locally, it’s like a magical blood orange sorbet cone with two scoops. #WordPress

Originally tweeted by D.J. (@ItsJustDJ) on October 22, 2020.

50

Today I turned 50. Fifty years old. Half a century. Roman numeral L. 

They say that age is just a number and mathematically they are right. Aside: Over the next 50 years, I’d like to devote my life to finding who the people are behind the mysterious “they.” Okay, so not the whole 50, maybe just a half hour.

Continue reading “50”