I’m Free! (Uh Make that Unemployed)
Being jobless isn't too bad. It's the homelessness and starvation that sucks.

So, if you read my last post, you may have seen that I mentioned I’m looking for a new job. I could spin it that I’m enjoying my freedom and recharging, but really, I’m pounding the digital pavement looking for a new gig.

Sadly, I stopped working at Bigfish at the end of last month. It just wasn’t working out, but I left on good terms. The agency owner, Joe, who I count as a friend, even invited me out to lunch the following week and said he’d pay (“Man, I hope so,” I responded. ” I’m unemployed!”).

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Joe, the owner of Bigfish, and Jamie, the Agency Manager, sent me this pic this week. My Land Manatee mugs in action!

Was I bummed to leave? Yes, because I enjoyed being around my coworkers and the excellent work environment. But I wouldn’t miss some of the clients. This was my second stint with the agency, but this time around, I was working with a totally different type of client — primarily computer hardware companies that also offer software. They were my bread and butter. Boring stuff mostly, producing sales playbooks and presentations to encourage vendors to sell arcane technology. To be honest, their projects were a mixed bag. Some companies had interesting projects. Others, I struggled with and did not enjoy working on. It’s hard to make routers and switches sound sexy or exciting. Some projects were engaging, but some were the equivalent of having my teeth pulled.

Can I have an extra helping of anxiety?

Anyway, I realized early on that my heart wasn’t in it. I was happy to be back in my familiar stomping grounds, but something was causing me misgivings. One tech client had my anxiety cranked up to 11. I had trouble keeping my stress in check, and my first month back, I came close to resigning. But I talked to the Agency Manager, Jamie, who gave me excellent advice, and then we spoke to the bossman, who had my back and said he was cool with whatever I decided to do — mental wellbeing comes first. I really appreciated that, and I opted to stick it out and see if I could adapt — I didn’t want to leave anyone high and dry. I’d also started on anti-anxiety meds to see if that would help. Boy, did it! The client’s projects were still a pain in the ass, but I was no longer pulling my hair out over them. I should have been taking these things years ago! (In hindsight, I seem to be more anxious than the average person.)

Me looking jittery.
Maybe 4 cups of coffee a day wasn’t helping either.

My primary source of anxiety was one particular marketing group. Nice people, but they made projects way more difficult than they had to be. I could go on about them for days, but one major hassle was they never supplied the creative briefs we requested. For those not familiar with what a creative brief is, it’s the treasure map with the steps to follow to find the treasure chest and instructions on how to open it. Basically, it establishes the parameters of the project in detail: what the client wants, the approach you should take, the intended audience, essential elements, resources, things to avoid, etc.

Instead, this group would dump a jumbled collection of information into a shared online document. They even included random internal questions that no one bothered to answer. Basically, it felt like the corporate version of the stream of consciousness style. Combine that with my lack of familiarity with their product line and minimal resources, and welcome to copywriter hell. They even drove one of the other copywriters to try to quit last year (the boss talked him off the ledge).

But that’s all in the past. Now I’m figuring out what to do to put myself into a winning situation.

Wish me luck!

Check these out

By the way, not all tech company projects are equal. Check out these online video ads I worked on (the text; not the impressive part, you know, the actual making of the videos).  These were a breath of fresh air! Typically, tech companies create live-action videos of some high-level nerd talking shop interspersed with lots of shots of servers and routers blinking away. Anyway, CBass, a talented designer (who basically called me a fat Santa a few posts ago), did all the magic. Bigfish puts out lots of high-quality stuff like this. They even make the driest subject matter look awesome.

He really is good at what he does.

Wish I had his mad design skillz.


Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

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16 thoughts on “I’m Free! (Uh Make that Unemployed)
Being jobless isn't too bad. It's the homelessness and starvation that sucks.

  1. I’ve seen ads like these before, but never imagined the hair-pulling stress that can go into them. I guess it can be pretty challenging trying to bring something to life that is naturally dry and dull. Good luck finding employment that is more fulfilling.

    1. Sean D. Layton

      Actually, these ads were a breeze (for me). They loved the text and had zero modifications. I had a client that loved to put out presentations for distributors — basically in PowerPoint. And they were from hell. Lack of material, a mishmash of sources, and even though it was supposed be written for someone to present, it was about as far away from the way a person would speak as possible. And the marketing team were not tech nerds, so they often could not answer any questions I would have. So, I’d have to scour the internet hoping to find something illuminating. It was a major pain.

    1. Sean D. Layton

      Well, it’s great at first. Then I start to worry about paying bills and making the car and house payments. Luckily, my car will be paid off in 3 months, and my mortgage is low. But, I’m hanging in there. Thanks for asking.

  2. I enjoyed your eloquent use of words describing a tricky work situation by maintaining privacy and integrity. I sure hope you don’t starve to death in the meanwhile… 😉

    1. Sean D. Layton

      Thanks, B! I’ll try to catch up on all the blogs I’m behind on — and work on some of my own stuff.

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