That day came in January 2015, when I found myself with all the independence in the world – I was swimming in it. I wasn’t tied down to a company and I could do whatever I wanted everyday, without a boss looking over my shoulder.
But it wasn’t all as romantic as I thought it would be. I was unemployed, wandering, and a bit clueless about the new virtual industry I was trying to penetrate… Not to mention, I was nervous that my bank account would run out before I even land a freelance writing project.
Though I didn’t have much financial responsibilities then as I was single and didn’t need to support anyone, still, there were bills to be paid – phone bill, WiFi, laundry, my part of the rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Quezon City that I shared with three friends.
How did I end up sitting at a desk in my room, relying on my laptop to find me a job that is excitingly, but also scarily, virtual?
I’ve been a television writer-producer since the year I graduated from college. After a short stint at a small TV station, I spent most of my 20’s in one of the top television networks in the country.
Despite working as a news and public affairs producer in that network for six years, I never became a regular employee. We, in production, were all “talents” – a classification that gave us hefty financial compensation. This meant that we were paid “talent fees”, but did not provide regular benefits including vacation leaves or sick leaves.
If I was absent for a day, I would have to find someone to replace me – that pinch hitter would receive my talent fee for that day. We also didn’t have security of tenure as our contracts were renewed every year, or every two years, depending on the TV show we were in. (This labor issue is so complex, I’ll need a separate blog post to discuss it).
The last quarter of 2014
My parents decided to take us to a two-month family vacation in the US, to see the sights and visit relatives. My parents are both self-employed professionals while my sister works for a company that allows long vacation leaves depending on their work merits. I was the only one who didn’t have the perk of going on a vacation for that long.
And so, I devised a plan which my program manager approved: I would resign to cancel my contract for the rest of 2014, and would come back to work in January 2015 under a new contract.
I was marveling at the lights of Time Square, staring wide eyed at Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. I was feasting on my first legit Thanksgiving turkey and Costco pumpkin pie And while I was going this, there came some sort of havoc in the network were I used to work.
The management amended talents’ contracts and changed tax classification resulting in higher taxes and a handful of paperwork. Just merely staying became a hassle. People were leaving. Many of my friends were leaving.
Trouble at work was not something I wanted to chew on while gorging on churros in Disneyland, so I tried to stay off FB messenger and pushed worries to the back of my head for the rest of the trip.
As soon as I got back to NAIA and was greeted back by the sweltering heat, I knew there was no way I could further delay making an important decision – one that would change my life immensely.
I talked to my manager and announced that I wouldn’t be reapplying for a new contract in 2015.
My job in the TV network was fun while it lasted – call times earlier than the sun, the relentless race of delivering breaking news, coverage in jails, evacuations centers and whatnot all in the name of public service.
Though complying with the network’s new job contract requirements was easier than… well, not having a job at all, I saw it as a perfect chance to check out other possibilities.
I’ve had the privilege of fulfilling my dream of being a TV producer for most of my first decade out of school. Life was handing me a new opportunity to go after other things on my bucket list. I took it.
And so we go back to that moment when I was sitting in my room, clicking away onand what was then Elance (now Upwork after marrying oDesk). There was just so much to learn – how do I propose for a project? How does this Paypal thing work? How much should I charge or bid? What freelance jobs can I actually do?
It was exhilarating and horrifying. I felt a bit lost, but also believed I was right where I was meant to be.
And she was
Carla is now a freelance writer and has never been happier.
This is just one example of how your life could be too. And maybe, just as Carla, you need a sign. You need an okay to go do what you want.
THE SIGN IS HERE
Your okay to follow your dream and start your emigration is here.
GO DO IT
What is it about your job that is keeping you from changing it?
Or do you have the perfect job already? Let me know, because I would love to know your story too
Lots of love,