When I stopped working, I felt like I lost an important part of my identity. I had been working for years and years in the pursuit of my PhD, and once I earned it, I had nothing left to replace that project with. People always ask, "What do you do?" and I would cringe and mumble about being 'between things,' or apologize for being a new grad. Even knowing that I had a pathetic response to that question, repeated rehearsals of a better answer always sounded canned and false. Sure, I can say I am a freelance writer/editor/marketing intern, but it's such a weird arrangement that I never see that look of understanding from the questioner and I abruptly change the subject.
Recently, I've had a fair amount of contract work. I've started a new (paid) internship (stemming from my contacts at the C4C). It occurred to me that I don't have time to look for a real job for a while, I'm too busy making money. I'm still making up my mind if what I do now is worth the taxpayer investment in my education, but after a year of seeking a little self-respect, it feels righteous to make a sold paycheck. My phone rang this morning with someone asking if I would be interested in a two month contract, and I got to say I am booked solid for the next two months. I would rather be worried about how I am going to get all this work done than how I am going to get work.
This morning, I was asked, "What do you do?" and without hesitation I said, "I'm self-employed." How cool is that?? I'm still looking for a long term solution, but I'm so happy to have a short term solution that seems to fit really well.