My old socialist sociology professor said that, in a just society, jobs that ought to be paid well are the "D jobs": dirty, dangerous or dull.
My work as a freelance writer, editor and professional carnival barker is seldom any of those. But it's not always easy, either. Last week, a four-day affair because of Memorial Day, was an only slightly more jouncy than usual. I tried to keep track.
As Tuesday dawned, I was worried that a check I needed hadn't come, and I put it a cringing query to the publisher.
I was also worried on Tuesday that time was running out of time to find a partner I needed for a very important project.
My editors at the Tribune weren't getting back to me on a proposed game plan for the rest of the Chicago Force series.
Nearly every editor in the golf publishing world was ignoring me in droves about a story idea I'm feverishly pitching.
And I was being stonewalled by the commissioners of the Independent Women's Football League, as if they're the Nixon administration and I'm Bob Woodward and the "Massey scoring system" I'm inquiring about is the Watergate break-in.
But things looked up on Wed., when a piece I was about to send to the Huffington Post got picked up by The New York Times and was slated for the Sunday paper! I've never been in the Times before. Coolness.
And then, one of the prospective partners got back to me that afternoon, affirmative. (Actually two did, an embarrassment of riches!)
But the check didn't come though, so I cringed again and bugged them on Thursday.
Apologies. An accounts receivable intern, yada yada. "This is living money for David," the publisher tells the accounting department. The check will be overnighted.
And the Times scotches the story due to lack of space—rejection seeks me out and finds me!—and I'm back at HuffPo. Easy come, easy go.
By Friday, I'm hoping for something good to happen again. Sometimes I bang on the e-mail check button three times in a row, bangbangbang.
I go downtown to buy a summer blazer for my niece's wedding in Vegas. (Freelancers can go too long without buying clothes and wind up looking like lint-caked kooks.)
While I'm downtown, I meet with and hire a second Vital Speeches intern, a rhetorical girl genius whose unpaid service I don't deserve, and she thanks me. (Also this week: My original intern, Henry van der Voort, who calls me "Old Man River," taught me how to use Hootsuite. And why.)
I get back and there's a message from a pal who knows a guy who knows a guy at one of those golf publishers.
No message from the IWFL brass, but Friday night I get on an airplane with about five dozen big bad dames who have a football game to play, in Kansas City.
Not dirty, not dangerous, not dull. But occasionally, yes, demanding. Emotionally speaking, anyway.
I know: What a wuss.
Mark Ragan says
Wow. Congrats on the piece in The New York Times. I want to look for it. Details, please.