Self-inflicted Depression

Maybe it was because it was late on Friday or maybe it was because I had more sugar/less sugar than I should have, but I sat in this chair at 5 pm doubting myself. Yes, even we cheerleaders (or wannabes – former wallflower here) get the blues.

I can tell you how it began and what I was doing when the feeling grabbed hold. I was scanning job boards when I got this sense of “What’s the point?” It was just after I sent out a query to one particularly interesting posting that I suddenly felt… hopeless. Yes, hopeless. As in “Will I EVER find work again?” hopeless.

I’m not really surprised by it. I get that feeling every time I spend any amount of time on job boards. They’re just damn depressing places and I don’t know how anyone can spend day after day weeding through the gawd-awful job offers without wanting to take a sharp object through the forehead. Repeatedly.

It was a moment of weakness. A dear friend sent me a job listing she thought would fit. We both raised eyebrows when an automated response came in. My eyebrows shot through my hairline when I realized this response was almost word-for-word the same one I got a week ago when I responded to a different ad for a different website. It was one of those “Send us suggestions on how you’d fix this site” numbers. No promise of any work beyond, “If we like what we see, you’re hired!” bullshit lines. I passed. What a pathetic attempt to get free copy.

However, that got me searching on sites – just for fun, I thought – to see just how bad things really are. Then I started to need to find one gem among millions of piles of dung. There were a few, and one in particular is a possibility, but who knows if it’s still open? Enter malaise, hopelessness, depression.

That’s why putting more time into actively finding new clients is time well spent. Responding to ads may work, and occasionally does, but it shouldn’t be the main source of work for you. God, the way I was affected, I shouldn’t go near them again!

Tell the truth – don’t you get the same feeling of hopelessness when you search Craig’s List or one of those pay-to-search job sites?

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  • Devon Ellington February 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    As you know, I am vehemently opposed to sites that charge for listings or to bidding sites. I know, I know, some people swear they’ve gotten legitimate jobs from them, but I think the majority just are “mill jobs”.

    The listings kill me every day. I’ve found some good stuff — as I mentioned last week, mostly fiction-related.

    And I’m marketing.

    But it’s a rough patch.

    And I have to raise a bunch of quick cash because one of the cats got sick. I’m kind of panicking today. But I don’t want to get caught up in a low-paying mill site that won’t pay me properly for the work I do, and I’d have to work 24 hrs for weeks on end just to maybe sorta pay a single bill.

  • Lori February 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Devon, I got two jobs from those pay-to-view job boards. Two. One lasted about a year, so it justified my sticking around to find the second job, which was a ghostwriting gig (one of the two I’ve done that’s actually worked out). Do I think I needed that board to find ongoing work? No way. I could’ve save my money and found work elsewhere that paid the same or better.

    Sorry the cat’s sick! My prayers to you that it’s a quick recovery.

    You’ll find work. You’re good and you’ve put in the legwork. Meditate on it. It’ll come. πŸ™‚

  • Eileen Coale February 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    IMHO, Craigs List and other job boards are hopeless. That’s why I just don’t go there.

  • Michelle Miles February 23, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I’ve scanned a few of the job boards and I have to tell you, I’m not head over heels about any of the postings there. I’ve been trying to come up with other ways to freelance. Even though I’m not actively seeking, I’m actively thinking. I’m trying to put a plan into motion. πŸ™‚

    I’m sure things will get better for you!

  • Carrie Wilson Link February 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    No matter what career we’re in, there’s that occasional sense of “Why bother?” Hope yours passes and stays away for a good long time.

  • Kimberly Ben February 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Lori, this is kismet. I feel very much out of it today. I wouldn’t call is depressed exactly, but it is a srt of hopelessness. I’m quite frankly pissed with myself because I’ve allowed a client to suck away my time on a project that should have been completed last month. As a result, I’ve slack up on my marketing efforts and am really feeling it now. Ouch. Lesson learned.

    BTW, I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of Craigs List and other job sites (I don’t do bidding sutes though), but I have been working with a client for over a year that I contacted from Craigs List – one of my biggest, so I stop by there from time to time as well, because you just never know.

    I’m going to get out in the sun and get some exercise in a couple of hours when I walk to pick up the kids from school. That usually makes me feel much better.

    @Devon: So sorry to hear about your cat. I hope everything’s okay.:(

  • Lori February 23, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Eileen, I have found ongoing work via Craig’s List and some job boards, but like I said, these are few and far between. I don’t write them off completely, but I don’t want to make these places part of my regular routine.

    Michelle and Carrie, thanks. I felt better once I exercised and meditated. Just didn’t want to spend the weekend worrying about work. Ugh!

    Kim, maybe it’s also a bit of the economic atmosphere creeping in – what do you think? We listen to gloom-and-doom all day and then we go looking for work. It’s enough to make you want to find a tall bridge with a sudden stop at the bottom! LOL

  • Dana Prince February 23, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    It must be time for the annual February freelancer’s depression…

    I’ve had a few waves of hopelessness this month.

    I had hopeless and helpless moment a few weeks ago after a few rough days and wanted to have a good cry and go back to the corporate world where you finish at 5:pm, say “tgif”,get to go to the dentist twice a year for ‘free’ and go out for lunch with the girls, etc.

    But thankfully it didn’t last long. I some great feedback from a few clients and got a new gig and then a $150 bonus from a client and it was enough to pull me out of the depths.

    Then last week a writer I subbed to plagiarised and that could cost me my reputation and a big client (who thankfully forgave me) so I had another hopeless/helpless moment thinking that I should pack in the team and only be responsible for myself because the team only takes the fun/good paying stuff and ignores my messages when I want them to write about safety equipment, industrial screws, and the like.

    Then a team member pulled me out of a jam with a tight deadline and I was thankful for the team.

    Sheesh this gig can be a bit of a roller coaster. Sheesh am I ever babbling today. Yep, February blues.


    Hope something good happens to pull you out of the depths, Lori.

  • Amanda Nicole February 24, 2009 at 2:05 am

    This is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. More and more, there are ads for free content and phishing scams, and trolling those boards day in and day out is deflating, to say the least.

    I’ve actually been thinking of delving into more fiction and creative writing, as at least I’ll get some sort of thrill out of it. Strange times, these.

  • Lori February 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Dana, I was floored when I read your post about that team member plagiarizing! Ridiculous behavior, and it doesn’t belong in ANY economy, much less this one.

    Amanda, it’s sickening, isn’t it? Reading those ads and wondering exactly where the real work is….

    Maybe this is why Mardi Gras was invented – too many writers with mid-February blues. :))

  • Michele March 9, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    More than once, I’ve received replies where you’re supposed to go check out a site “to see if you’d want to write for them” and you have to subscribe or they’re selling something. And there’s the ads that when you reply, you receive some sort of invitation to join a writer’s site. That one kept checking up on me. They emailed several times “reminding me” (???!!!) to subscribe and you have to pay for the service!!! ;-( I finally emailed back and told them to take. me. off. that. mailing. list!!!!

    It does make a person sad and bonkers, I suppose. Imagine that!

    Anyway, I hope you’re cheered up now Lori!

    And… Devon, so sorry to hear about your cat. It’s never fun when a fuzzy/furry friend is not in good health.