What are you even doing with your life, Miz?
You mention all this funemployment stuff, and then show me pics of you on a boat, spending a month gallivanting around Europe. We know there’s another side. We know. What are you actually up to?
Oh so you want the dirty deets. I see you. (For reference mom, everyone these days is saying “I see you.” It’s a thing, and I’m here for it). Ok, I see you wanting the dirty deets, and I’ll give ‘em to you.
I feel like drawing a picture on a napkin of my funemployment journey over the last 8 years… brb.
Ok, I’m back and I drew it on the back of my notarized lease (if you look closely where the arrow is you’ll see that official stamp). It’s now my notarized path to funemployment. Best of luck reading it.
So basically I’ve been working at this thing for a while, We got a short snippet of funemplyment in 2015, then I panicked and needed money and went to work for the Catholic Church wearing business casual (LOLS, future post on this for sure). Then after that I jumped into another job, because I was like, “Oh damn, I can make more money.” Then when that full-time job wasn’t doing it for me, I’d quit after 8 months and jumped right into another FT job… fully ignoring that my goal in life was to work for myself.
Actually, last summer I went to my ten year high school reunion. I was given a slip of paper that I had filled out to give my future self in ten years. I was now my future self, and I read the slip of paper which said: What will you be doing in ten years?
Working for myself and raking in the dough.
Wow. That hit home for me. I didn’t know HS me was so knowing.
You know when you drunkenly send a text at night, then you go and try to send the same thing the next day realizing you already sent it. Then you’re like, Wow, I’m just so authentically me, no matter what state I’m in. This is how I felt. Like even high school ding dong me knew what I wanted in life. She was like yes, Miz, YES...find a European man, travel a shit ton, live in a big city, work for yourself, and RAKE IN that dough.
I stood there reading the slip like, Oh shit, I better get started. I will NOT come back to my 20th high school reunion and disappoint my old senior year self. NO.
So I returned home with a kick in the ass from 18-year-old me. Problem was, I didn’t know HOW to work for myself or WHAT THE FUCK to do. So at all these full-time jobs I’d get this overwhelming feeling of knowing that I had to quit. I had to. What I truly wanted to do was just trust myself, quit, and give myself space, without a plan.
Instead I ignored that feeling, and asked everyone around me what they thought I should do. Then, when they’d ask, “Well, if you quit what will you do?” I’d wrack my brain and try to come up with an answer of some made-up future job description, when the true answer was, “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW, BUT I NEED SOME SPACE TO FIND OUT.”
I finally got the lady-balls. I quit again, without jumping into a new full-time job. I made the space. The space was scary as shit. I panicked a lot.
WTF am I gunna do?
I knew I loved doing Airbnb. That felt the most aligned for me.
Being aligned is simply when you’re like, “Oh this is just so me.” Being aligned brings you energy, it doesn’t drain you. It’s fun. It doesn’t mean it’s without challenges, but it means you’re up for the challenge because you’re like, I know I have to do this for me.
So I just had to figure out what else was aligned. THEN I could find my funemployment.
What’s cool is alignment can come with qualities. I didn’t know this, so when I found this out...game changer. My qualities were flexibility and ownership (amongst others). I want to be able to dictate how I spend my time, and have an openness about it -- feeling like everyday may be a little different! I used to describe that I felt like a “caged bird,” being at an office job. Someone later questioned me, asking, “What if you were still in a cage, but the door was open?” BAM. Money.
From there, I questioned how I could create those qualities within the jobs I already knew how to do. I decided to attempt at freelancing. I didn’t know if the jobs existed in my industry, and found out with some patience that they did! I added value by actually being dispensable, by being flexible to leave. “Hey, yeah I’ll come and stay for three months, work with you, then I’ll leave.” This frees up budget for my clients, helps fill some temporary need, and means I can go travel between gigs!
I gave myself permission to have a “portfolio career,” I made that ok for me to dabble in a few different things, which is what I love most — knowing that the mix will evolve over time!
Ok so that’s how you got here...So what are you actually up to now!?
I am freelancing as a product manager and am about to start my fourth gig. I travelled for a month this summer, and let my client know before starting, “Hey, I’ll be gone all of August.” He was like “Cool, actually I will be too!”. My clients usually find me through Upwork, a freelancing platform.
I have paid my rent by sharing my apartment on Airbnb since 2014. Yes, I even share a bathroom. Isn’t that weird Miz? Yes, and I’ll gladly do weird stuff for someone to pay my largest living expense, while living in one of the most expensive cities in America :)
Mario and I rented an apartment in Jersey City last November (I was very low on savings and literally borrowed $4k to start it up) where we run another Airbnb. We’ve done really well with that, and through building strong relationships, we quadrupled the number of properties that we manage this past summer.
Now I’m going back to work at my favorite client for a few months while they need some support, and we are planning to buy our first investment property in the next six months, and travel to Asia in February (tbd where!).
So like when you look at the picture again and see that small little portion at the end where it says “All the good stuff” (look closely)... that’s my advice to you: KEEP GOING. I’m still in it, and I can see how the good stuff will keep compounding. Really connect with your values, with what drives you. You will lose faith over and over, but just keep reconnecting. I think you can get to “the good stuff” A LOT faster than me if you don’t cloud your intuition, your high school senior, with self-doubt. Fucking find that HS senior who knew, “In 10 years, I will be a badass!” And let that person motivate you.
Don’t let her down :)