What’s the Difference Between Unemployed and Self-Employed?

Both will get me sympathetic looks and empty words of encouragement, but only one will get me a check from the state every two weeks!

I finally got my first unemployment money. Nearly two months after getting laid off I have a whole $190 on a Bank of American Brand bank card burning a hole in my wallet. Thanks California.

The reason there’s no money on it is actually a good thing: I’m finding, and reporting enough work of my own that my payout got reduced. But I’m having a hard time staying on the sunny side of this, even though there are actually more things to be happy and excited about than there are things to be apprehensive about. I’m getting work, I’m generating interest, I feel confident in my product and in my ability to deliver, and I’m extremely proud of the work I’ve done so far. If the amount of work and the amount of pay were not important factors in this equation, I’d be in heaven. But they are, so I’m shitting my pants.

Everybody else acts like 2 months is not that long, but it’s really long to me. that’s two months of expenses out of my severance with … I was going to say nothing to show for it, but that’s wrong. It’s just that two months of severance have come out and I’m still nervous. And the fact that we spent a fortune in gas and lost an entire week of progress without making a single cent while we were at grandma’s is making me really uneasy. I tried so hard to make something happen, but progress bends around that house like light around a black hole.

I used to put a lot of stock into what money I made and what title I held. In the later years at my last company, the relative stagnation of those things was starting to get me pretty anxious before they laid me off and gave me something better to worry about.

Now that I work for myself, I’m at the top of the food chain. And at the bottom. And every position in-between. My metrics are all fucked up. And I’m hung up on it. How do I judge my worth without these concepts of pay and title?

Half of that is a rhetorical question, and the other half is a legitimate issue for me. How do I know when to stop? How do I know what constitutes an appropriate amount of work? How do I justify resting if I haven’t gotten anything to show for it? Then again, how do I expect to produce if I’m not rested?

I think a lot of this just comes down to me getting some time under my belt so I can get the lay of this new land.