|Diane Patrick is a freelance editor and
writer who is in the business of helping
publishers, editors, agents, academics,
legal professionals, entertainers, and
business owners get their words out.
Woman Leaps From Job, Survives
by Diane Patrick
Once upon a time–in April of 1992, to be specific–I quit my part-time job at a big, fancy, Wall Street law
firm in order to devote full time and energies to writing.
It was a spontaneous decision provoked by my desire to no longer tolerate the duplicity of the corporate
environment, and to work in a pleasant, venom-free atmosphere. So I resigned effective April 10, invited
my most supportive buddies over for a Freedom Celebration Party on my birthday, April 12, and began
to operate a writing business from my newly upgraded home office. (“Upgrades,” at that time, meant
Word Perfect 5.0 for DOS, a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet IIIP–purchased after eons on the waiting list–and
a fresh stack of 5 ¼” floppy disks. And they really did flop.)
As terrifying as it was, it only took me a few months to conclude that quitting my job was the best thing I
ever did, because it freed my mind and spirit to be their true selves. Sometimes you have to just close
your eyes and bite; you cannot wait for the best moment to do something, otherwise you will never do it.
The feeling of freedom was wonderful. No unappreciative employers, no corporate duplicity. Clocks and
calendars were now my friends. I was responsible for generating my own income and finding my own
clients... and was proud to be one of the 12 million Americans running a business from home, doing work
that I love.
My daily life became much nicer, too. I actually had time to appreciate my home! And to see it during all
times of the day! And even to do things I never dreamed I would do, like baking bread! My eating habits
improved too, since I no longer had to rush to prepare meals, or skip them and eat junk food.
Now, here it is over a decade later. You can call me crazy, but I’m still enjoying the freelance life. And the
interesting thing is that whereas ten years ago, it was highly unusual to do what I did, the volatility,
duplicity, toxicity and general hypocrisy that many say they find in the corporate world today has made it
quite the norm these days for people to up and change careers. I take my hat off to all who do!
Just today my friend Connie* called me to tell me that she’d lost her job as an editor–one of the few
minority editors–at a huge publishing company. And you know what? I congratulated her. Because now
she gets a chance to explore her other side(s). All these years, she has been an expert on something–
the publishing business. And experts get HUGE $$$ just for opening their mouths, don’t they? So if I
don't seem sad, it’s because I know Connie can do something amazing on her own. I know how
knowledgeable she is in her field, and I know how well-respected she is–which means that she can write
her own ticket. Plus she is passionate about her work, she knows things happen for a reason, and she’s
looking forward to the next thing the universe will bring her.
Sure enough, she thanked me for my congratulations and added, “Everyone else I told was crying
and angry about it–except me!”
Then, my other friend Donna,* who was the managing editor of a home decorating magazine, emailed
me: Regrettably, as of this week, I am no longer editor of _____ Magazine. It all happened rather
suddenly... I’m back to being your basic freelance writer, like yourself... trolling for assignments from
whoever will give me one! Quelle pity–but when you’re being treated shoddily, as I was, sometimes you
just have to say “I can’t take it anymore!”
Don’t misunderstand: I’m not reporting this from some ivory tower; as I write this I’m not exactly chillin’ on
the yacht in the Mediterranean, waiting for Jeeves to fetch me a tub of caviar. And true, the freelance life
is certainly precarious! But whenever I hear of people losing their cushy-seeming jobs, right and left, the
thought sneaks in: “My situation may be precarious, but at least I know for sure where I stand!”
So here’s to all of us who take that leap: be fearless, and embrace the unknown–it can be your best
*of course I'm not using real names!
Copyright © Diane Patrick 2008-2013