Freelancing?

ExitYou may have noticed (or you may not…) that it’s been quite some time since I mentioned work here.

There are reasons for that.

Most of them were related to my not enjoying the job. However, I finished there on Friday and am now much happier – if somewhat lacking in disposable income.

Resigning without another job to go to isn’t something I’ve done before, and I couldn’t have done without the support (if not the happiness…) of my wonderful wife and family. Thanks, guys!

I’ve been job hunting for a while now, and despite coming tantalisingly close on occasion have yet to have any luck. But that luck seems to have changed following my resignation, just not in quite the way I expected, because I’ve now got some freelance work.

Freelancing is new to me. I have friends who are very successful at it and recommend the life to everyone. Their stories have always sounded marvellous, but while talking about tax advice, remarkable pay and choices of self-employment or limited company status, they always seemed to miss out the part where they find the work.

You know, the important part.

Luckily I seem to have stumbled onto some of this forbidden knowledge by accident.

In a couple of job interviews they loved me and my writing, but the job didn’t quite match my skillset. I shrugged my shoulders, thanked them for their time and was about to move on when the interviewer paused for a second.

“You know,” they would say, “we really did enjoy meeting you. Could we keep your details on file for the future?”

“Sure,” I would always smile, “that would be great.” And then close the door.

Well, this time, I’m pleased to say, they weren’t joking. In fact, they were so not joking that it might – just possibly maybe might – be a substitute for a “proper” job.

Only time will tell. In 12 months I might be king of the freelancers or I might be blogging from my ‘phone as I beg for money outside Albany Park station.

You’ll know it’s me because the cardboard sign will be properly spelt, grammatically correct and devastatingly effective in its call to action. 🙂

 

More redundancy (yes, you read that right)

Everyone of a certain age remembers The Littlest Hobo and its theme tune.

For me it was always the lyrics I enjoyed, and they took on an extra-special resonance Wednesday, when I was made redundant again.

As theme tune says:

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

I was called into the office by my boss (never a good sign) at the very end of the day to be told about big new marketing changes, company restructuring, and a consequent reduction in demand for copywriters, i.e., me.

And that was that.  Completely unexpected.  Just turn around and I’m gone.  Again.

So I smiled, thanked my boss for eight enjoyable months, and went home.  After the fourth time this happens you become kind of immune.  There’s none of the panic of your first redundancy, the sense of injustice of your second, or even the resignation of your third.

The fourth time is far more positive: it’s an opportunity rather than a crisis, and I left there with a spring in my step ready to start another new chapter. 🙂

So, next time you need a superb copywriter or wordsmith with five years experience think “Stuart Carter!

How to kill a blog

New jobs are notorious blog-productivity killers.  Many times in the past few days I’ve thought “I should blog about this,” then remembered that of more importance is the text for a promo video, the FAQ web page and checking a job description for error – not to mention writing the girls’ Christmas book (which looks like being quite long this year).

Oh, another problem was that I was out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening – a burst of social activity almost unheard of in modern times!  Meeting up with old Yahoo! colleagues on Monday at a pub quiz in London’s fashionable Soho (and we won!); watching Gravity at the cinema in 3D on Tuesday (best film I’ve seen in a long time!); and Wednesday I went to watch Public Service Broadcasting in London’s not-so-fashionable Kentish Town (there were balloons – lots and lots of balloons!)

Thursday, as you might imagine, I rested – well, took a nap in my lunch hour (working from home is great sometimes!)

21st century home office
21st century home office

The new job with Fotolia is going really well; the work is enjoyable, the people nice, and I’m feeling happier than I have in a long time.  Have my family noticed the difference?  Hard to say, but I certainly have: I’ve had more patience and been a lot quicker to laugh all this week.  Even the enforced home working is going better than expected.  With no rush to catch a train there’s no panic in the mornings; I can pick up the girls at 3.15 so there’s no need for after-school club – hell, even the chickens get to come out of the coop more often!

And the writing… Oh!  The glory of writing for a living once again!  I can’t tell you how much I missed it!

Seriously.  It’s so good to be back.  A little nerve-wracking at times, wondering if I’m up to the task, but mostly…just glorious. 🙂

The only downside so far is that I’ve lost my reading time.  The hour-long commute into the centre and back was perfect for reading; with that two hours of literary bliss gone I’m struggling to find the time to read.

Still, it’s only the first week, and I’ve been out a lot in the evenings, so no doubt this will settle down into some new pattern.

I’m going to be at home until the new year, when more UK people will be starting, so the company will wait till then before renting offices.

Being home until Christmas sounds fine to me.  But I’d quite like to get out of the house after then…

New job! New job! New job!

I’ve been offered a new job – which I’ve accepted!  Yay!

All the real excitement happened on Friday but I’ve delayed announcing it here while negotiating a shortened notice period at Expedia.

My new employer, from November 11th (coincidentally my 13th wedding anniversary, which I hope is a good omen) will be a photostock company called Fotolia.  I’ll be their new Content Strategist/Copywriter.

As well as (slightly) more money and a week’s training in Paris it’s also a return to something I’m good at and really enjoy doing – writing.

Most people who know me will be aware that I’ve been unhappy at Expedia since the job spontaneously morphed into a data entry role with no writing or creativity required.

I didn’t write about this because…well, online whining doesn’t make for a very edifying or entertaining read, and because I’m a grown-up and a professional.  Instead I took the decision to go back on antidepressants, which really helped.

And five months later I have an exciting new job – the result of spending many many hours searching and applying, getting slowly better at interviews, and then waiting on tenterhooks to hear back.

It’s been a hell of a rollercoaster ride – finding a great job and getting your hopes up, then being turned down and losing all confidence that you’re any good whatsoever at what you do, knowing that you have to get straight back out there and sell yourself all over again for the next great job…

I’m really really hoping that this one is as good as it sounds.

And as permanent!

 

After school and after work

Another week, another school milestone for Amber.

This week it was her first session at after-school club.  Fortunately for her her she’s got it relatively easy. Millie knew absolutely no one at after school club – she was the only one from her class!  Amber, on the other hand, has a big sister and TWO classmates.

So, to be honest, after school club shouldn’t have been a big hurdle.

And it wasn’t.

I’ve been busy since I got back from the Isle of Wight with freelance work.  I spent the night before we went trying to polish off some emails for my old employer, and again most of last night was spent doing the same.  It’s all money in the bank (or it will be, when I get paid) but it’s hard work holding down a day job, trying to be a good Dad, and spending every waking hour churning out copy.

Did I mention that that I’ve set up my own company?  StuPC Ltd has one shareholder – me, and one reason for existing – as a vehicle for my prodigious copywriting talents.  I’ve even added a new freelancing section to this blog, which you may/may not have noticed…

Employment news!

And in employment news…  Er, not a lot.

I’ve got a short telephone interview tomorrow (Monday) and I’ve applied for a lot of jobs in the last couple of weeks.

Of those jobs, quite a few have been application forms – which sort the men from the boys; CV applications take a couple of minutes, but application forms take a couple of hours, and there have been some that match my skillset to the letter – of which, an elite few have even matched my interests; so I’m hoping to hear back from those in a positive vein soon.

If I don’t…well, we’ll have to take another good long look at how I’m selling my skills, won’t we?

It would be nice to get an interview (or two) over this coming week, because I finish my current job on Friday.  Some freelance stuff is coming in, and more is in the pipeline, but nowhere near enough to live on yet.

If you’ve got any copywriting or editing to be done then I’m your man.  Get in touch at stu(at)stupc.co.uk

Back to the drawing board

Sadly, I didn’t get the job I (second) interviewed for last week.  They were looking for someone with design skills more than copywriting skills (so I was lucky to get through to the second interview stage, I suspect!)

Anyway, despite a momentary sinking feeling when I read the email I’m still feeling confident about finding a new job before we starve to death and lose our home.

I can’t explain why exactly; perhaps because there are plenty of vacancies coming up that I’m qualified and experienced for.  And I am getting some interviews, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

In the meantime, my thoughts have turned to freelance work, thanks to a slew of positive comments about my writing.  And not even the proper stuff I write for a living, just the nonsense I scratch out here most days! 🙂

So, if you’re reading this and you:

  • want a copywriter
  • know someone looking for a copywriter
  • know someone who needs a copywriter but doesn’t realise they need a copywriter (it’s more common than you’d think)

then leave a comment on this page or email godlessheathenATstupc.co.uk and our courteous and efficient staff will follow up your message ASAP.

Seriously.

(except for the bit about the courteous and efficient staff)