Well, Sunday will be the 7th anniversary of the end of my last "real job". I have, with a few brief gaps (when I was nominally employed for a few weeks, or deeply involved in a non-paying "project"), been solidly looking for work for SEVEN YEARS.
Frankly, I don't know why I consider my time at Simuality/Liminati as a "real job", as, for the first half of it, I was being paid a pittance (everybody was drawing the same very low salary out of the "angel" start-up investment), and, for the rest of it, I was getting "paid in equity", making it no different than several other things since. I guess the difference was that I got up in the morning, got on the El, rode up to Evanston, went to an office, and sat at a desk M-F ... a routine that has been significantly missing in my life for the past 7 years.
I have described these non-paying gigs as my "all hat, no cattle" work ... while the phrase is being used fairly out of its original context (disparaging folks who liked to project a "cowboy" image, but didn't have any livestock), it seems to fit for a "job" that has all the look-and-feel of actual employment minus that one essential thing - a paycheck.
My wife HATES these. In her opinion I'm just a sucker who keeps getting USED by people. Maybe she's right ... however, my "justification" for getting pulled into these situations is that I'd rather be keeping my skills up on SOMETHING, rather stewing in my own juices while sending out hundreds and hundreds (I think I'm up to having applied for nearly 3,000 jobs since 5/15/09!) of resumes - with nothing to show for it.
This came rather abruptly to mind this morning because I got up to work on one of MY "projects" - developing a spreadsheet of all of my reviews - and I was just in May of 2009, when that particular piece of poop hit the fan.
To digress a moment ... the spreadsheet project is complicated because of my wanting to update all those (700+) reviews with new Amazon affiliate links. Back when I ran Eschaton Books full-time, I had an Amazon affiliate account, but in the ensuing years, the Vile Kleptocracy of Illinois went to war with Amazon to try to squeeze out sales tax (one of five states doing so), and in response to this, Amazon pretty much "picked up its toys and went home", cancelling all affiliate deals with residents of Illinois. In recent years, Amazon and the assorted states did come to some agreement (which is why we now have to pay tax on most purchases from them), and the Affiliate program was opened up again for Illinoisans. While it's only pennies coming in when somebody buys a book through one of my links, I still WANT those pennies, so I've been going back through all my reviews (both on the review site and my main blog) and updating the links.
Since I'm "getting into the code" already, I'm also updating my "sig" on those, which is double-broken at this point - both the link (pointing to my long-gone Ning site), and the graphic (formerly hosted at the disappeared WebLogImages site) being broken.
So, this is to note that this isn't just "sticking 700 entries into a spreadsheet", as the entire cycle of opening up the files, getting the information, adding it to the spreadsheet, getting the new affiliate link from Amazon, adding that to both versions of the reviews, updating the sig code, etc., etc., etc., takes 5-10 minutes per, and is very much in the "brain numbing" category, so I'm only able to do a couple of months at a go ... resulting in the project dragging on and on and on (and I'm currently only back as far as April '09, when the reviews go back to January '04).
One of the things I'm trying to do with the spreadsheet is set up either a large "directory" of what's on the site, or (ideally) make a search module that will be interactive with the info I'm accumulating. Last weekend it became obvious to me that it would be VERY useful to have an alphabetical listing of authors and titles in my review books (I was at an event with an author whose book I'd reviewed last year and was wanting to show it in the 2015 book, but it took a lot more effort than it should have to find that). Fortunately, with the print-on-demand tech, this is something that I could add in the books ... which is pretty cool.
Anyway, paging "back through time" has been fairly awful. I'm not really READING most of these entries, but I'm having to page back through a lot of "very triggering stuff" as I try to get to the book reviews in my regular blog. It's a very visceral reminder (like I needed one) of how HELLISH my life has been over the past decade.
Sucks to be me.