So, this is the first time I’m unemployed since 1997. This time it’s just two days, though, since on Monday I’ll be starting on a completely new job. For me this is the end of an era. On the year 2000 I started writing game reviews and other stuff for a big computer magazine on a part time basis and on one fateful day in 2001 I set off to be a full time freelance writer, which lead into me founding my own one man company for the job a couple of years later. So, for the better part of a decade I’ve been working in media full time, quite often 150% of the time since I’ve had a dayjob and done journalism on the side. 18 hour work days haven’t been that uncommon, while at the same time handling all kind of other assorted crap life has thrown my way.
This spring I decided that enough is enough. I’m pretty sure that during these years I’ve pretty much seen what gaming, computer and technology media has to offer in Finland. I’ve also reached the conclusion that I can’t recommend working as a full time freelance journalist for anybody. At least nobody who’s as diligent a workaholic as I am.
Leaving the Media
So, what does this change mean in practice? Earlier in the spring I stopped accepting assignments from my clients and started handing them over to other freelancers and winding down the company. Now the company is shelved and I’m just waiting for my MacPro leasing to run out on July, after which I can officially close down the whole thing. No more dealing with the company taxes, paperwork & bureaucracy, stressing over deadlines, shuttling test hardware back and forth, keeping up with 4-6 high volume e-mail accounts daily or pestering people who really don’t seem to want to get interviewed.
Yesterday was also my last day working for the gaming TV program I’ve been producing for two years. A lot of that time was very interesting, although very hectic, high pressure and high responsibility stuff. I can’t say that as a working place it would have been even remotely ideal, but it was a nice gig to do for a while. It was fun to travel around the world in press events arranged by the game companies, learning how to film and to edit video and sound was both interesting and useful, and generally it felt good to get to use my strengths – ie. organizational ability, social skills and stress tolerance – right up to the max.
But enough is enough. So, I’m out of the media field, probably for good (Oh my good, it’s like the whining of a million obnoxious nerds and fanboys had suddenly been silenced in my inbox!). Never say never and all that, but I don’t think I’ll find such a well paying client that I’ll get back on the horse and start hammering out hardware tests or other technical stuff for a good, good while.
What next? Well, when I made the decision, I sent several applications here and there, the main aim being the post of an associate producer in a Finnish game company Remedy. I made it to the last stage of the process, where it was only me and one other guy left. In the last moment he got chosen over me because he had previous experience in game production. Considering that I really don’t, I can’t say that the end result was that bad.
My other choice, where I’ll be starting on Monday, is something completely different. The next half a year I’ll be spending in the Finnish National library, where I’ll be working on the master database that links to most other library databases in Finland. I have this weird feeling that the pace of the work and the stress levels will be rather different compared to what I’ve got used to, plus I’m really looking forward to a straightforward coding work with academic flavour. It’s much like the stuff which I did at the turn of the millennium when I was a project researcher in the department of linguistics. The project will probably end by the end of the year, and after that… well, there’s something completely different in my sights.
So, this is an end of an era for me. The amount of free time I’m looking at is staggering, compared to what it used to be. I predict a lot of gaming, diving, geocaching, meeting friends and other assorted fun for the summer. Now I’ll just have to get rid of this goddamn flu, which has kept me indoors through most of the week and especially this very beautiful and sunny Saturday.
Right, I’m off to see if some old school Sam & Max will help with the recovery enough for a barbeque trip tomorrow!