I’ve got a company, business cards, a number of websites and, as of yesterday, five clients in total (so far). It’s going very well and I truly am so much happier. I’m not making much money yet, but I’ve got a budget to live on while things pick up. After a few months, I think I’ll be at a crossroads where I’ll need to decide whether I’m going to stay in the freelancing game long term, and make my business grow, or use the experience I’ve gained to try and break into work for a communications or digital agency. That work that was beyond my reach previously due to lack of experience and the recession’s effects on the job market. We’ll see. The beauty of the situation is that I don’t have to do either for long. I can keep changing and changing roles and no one thinks that’s bizarre outside academia.
Research was the one thing I thought I might miss. Back in June I decided to stop working on all but one last big research project, which was in page proof stage in November and has now been published. Have I had any urges since then to do any research or research writing? No. Not once, not one bit, not even a little urge to just finish up that one last article that was already in progress. How some of my nasty former colleagues would scoff at me for not being a ‘true’ academic if they could hear me say that! LOL. I do sometimes get nostalgic for the idea of being a lecturer at a picturesque old university, but I did have a job at one of those universities and it was not at all like that nostalgic dream. A very small number of people might have charmed academic lives, but that is not the norm. The norm for most of us is overwork, crushing frustration and no life outside work, which is dreadfully isolating and demoralizing if you’re in a toxic department.
As for having a life, I’ve been on holiday somewhere tropical, I’m going to see a band play tonight, I’m attending courses about things I feel like learning about for fun and I’m remembering how to enjoy reading books. Things are looking up. I am so glad I left.