After nearly three years on the farm, Brian and I have decided to hang our saddles up on the barn wall. Go Farm is shutting down, and I am starting a new position with a local firm here in Beverly Hills, Real Pie Media. I have been working for myself for the better part of seven years, after leaving my post as creative director of Media Temple back in the day. I had a brief stint down at Juxt in Orange Country, but have been on my own (or with a partner) for a long time now. And I have to tell you, I’m a bit apprehensive about working for someone else.
I’m leaving for Italy in about 18 hours to see one of my best friends off into marriage, and when I get back, I have about 3 days until I start the new gig. That being said, I’m going to be completely forthcoming about the variables in my decision, and about the things that went through my head. In no particular order, here are a few of the thoughts, both pro’s and con’s:
- No more long drives to Pasadena every day; my daily commute has shrunk from 2 hours in the car driving across hellish downtown twice a day to a leisurely 12 minute walk, door-to-door. The other great thing about the short commute, is that I’ll soon have a newborn at home; the closer I am to home, the closer I am to my baby girl.
- Working for someone else means a release from the stress of owning a company. I’ll still be responsible for keeping projects under budget and making the company’s clients happy, but I won’t have the daily weight of the books, finding new work, salaries, benefits, vacations, scheduling, etc.
- Starting a new job means meeting new people, making new friends, and challenging myself in a whole different way.
- Have I mentioned I can walk to work? My son Sidney can walk to my office after work, to boot. How cool is that?
- Steady paychecks are always nice. I freelanced for a long time, and while large checks sure are nice, 2 months without any checks can get real old.
- The company I’m working with has a very nice client roster and lots of projects. It’s always a good feeling to be in a studio that’s steadily producing, and producing great work.
- I get to do what I love doing – growing brands. Very excited about this.
- Less freedom
- I have a boss now. Urgg. (Fortunately he’s cool, so I can’t put too much else about him here, otherwise I won’t be able to count this as a “con”.)
- There’s a ceiling for how much I can make now, as opposed to the limitless horizon of working for yourself.
Freelancing (Option #3)
- Pro: more money
- Pro: ability to decide how much time is spent developing side-projects and income-generating ideas
- Con: more time to manage the projects, clients, accounts, etc.
- Con: very unstable pay cycles
- Con: it always feels like you’re at work when you work at home
- Pro: working from home means more time with the family (errr, read the previous point…maybe not)
- Pro: can vacation whenever you want and make the hours and schedule that make the most sense for all the other priorities in life
As my new mother-in-law said to me recently, “I’m sure that you’re going to have a hard time working for someone else, and it might take some time to get used to, but I think it’s a good thing.” I was telling her about some of my concerns, but also making it clear that I feel very solid about my decision. Freelancing was a thought, for sure, because of the money, but it’s just not a stable environment for starting a family.
For anyone out there struggling with the same quandary, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line to discuss. It’s been a decision that has taken about 6 months to finalize, and I’m terribly excited about what’s happening right now.