Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What $28.65 an hour will buy you

Well, it'll buy you a lot of things, but the most important thing it'll buy you is time. Time to figure out who you want to be, time to figure out how you want to get there and time to make it all happen.

I'm not going to name, names but I work for a fairly large, reputable company. After years, toiling in cubicle hell, I decided to take charge of my life. I re-enrolled in school, completed Ryerson's journalism program for degree graduates and made that 'fairly large, reputable company's' $28.65 an hour work for me.

Now you'd think for $28.65 an hour you'd have to do something fairly labour or mind intensive. Not so. I've spent years doing, well, not much, all the while freelancing these fast fingers to whomever will have me.

Interning first as a copywriter one day a week for an online music mag, I wrote movie reviews for a big television broadcaster's website and was an ongoing contributor to a local city guide.

With the $28.65 an hour job keepin' the home fires burning, I worked my way up from a lowly, byline-less copywriter to an occasional music reviewer, to an occasional music reporter, to a full-fledged music journalist in a little over a year.

A few things - getting interviews with big-name acts like Coldplay and Gorillaz early on - certainly helped, but good old-fashioned tenacity got me to a point where I was getting regular weekly interviews and getting myself accredited to cover big-time events like the Toronto Film Fest.

So what happened to the $28.65 an hour job? It's still there, more or less underwriting this little adventure. But not for much longer and therein lies the problem.

How do you keep doing what you love when all along what you love has been funded by an overpaid job that you're soon about to lose that you hated all along?

I wonder...