Saturday, 5 November 2011

Cat skinnings and other bons mots



If you're reading this, you might have heard me on CBC radio's DNTO today. I was talking about how I suck at job interviews, how when asked my strategy to further the aims of an animal welfare group, I replied: "Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat".

Needless to say, I didn't get that job.

I'm always nervous about public speaking, but it's pretty good on the radio, especially if you're talking to WINNIPEG from OTTAWA. They put you in a little box and basically, you just talk to yourself, which I'm always doing.

You see, I'm a shut-in, a freelancer, which is Ottawaspeak for "chronically unemployed". There's another word for it, a word used by perpetual gas bags and chest puffers who are also unemployed. They call themselves "consultants".

The Canada Revenue Agency has another word for us. It's called "tax evaders".

Seriously, you know you suck at freelancing when you don't bother registering for the GST because you don't make enough money. I'm always puzzled by the freelancers who voluntarily register to pay extra tax to the government, but who don't make the $30,000 a year ceiling.

They are what I would refer to as "optimists" or "Pollyannas".

The most I've ever made freelancing is about $30,000 a year when I was writing speeches in Ottawa. I was pretending to be a Cabinet minister, making things up, rationalizing, obfuscating, lying.

Pretty much what I do with my creditors.

For the most part, freelancing pays next to nothing. You spend three weeks working on a topical story for a newspaper, another two weeks shilling it and by that time, the story is too old. When you do get paid, it's usually about $200 -- that's it.

Except for the fact that you are destined to live forever below the poverty line, it's not a bad life. You get to spend hours with your dogs, you can sleep in the afternoon and you can watch the entire season of the Sopranos on A&E without interruption.

Success in freelancing is more than making money.

It's about marrying somebody crazy enough to support you.

Thanks Scott!

For more stories like this, feel free to visit my sister site: The $10 Life.

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