The Self Employment Blues


Wednesday September 12th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Oh, the many joys and pains of self employment. The pains seem to outnumber the joys. I’m so frustrated right now I want to kick something, but I know it won’t fix anything. I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy pulled the football away yet again. It’s a familiar scenario, but it’s still painful.

Here I lay, flat on my ass, staring skyward hoping to get some kind of message from whomever or whatever is out there running this mess called a universe. My little corner of it is out of whack and getting worse, and the harder I try to fix it the wackier it gets. Steady work sure would help.

I thought I had it too, but that house of cards came crashing down today when I got word that a gig for November 3rd I thought was solid got changed to the 10th. I can’t do the 10th, because I’m already booked with the Chicago Comedy All Stars in Iowa that weekend. I’ve had it booked for months, and I’m not about to back out now. Both dates pay well, and losing one is a total killer.

They’re both private shows, and those are the biggest risk. Comedy clubs switch dates as well, but at least there’s that faint glimmer of hope the gig can be made up later. In a private situation, they might just decide not to go with comedy at all. They have no idea we depend on this for our livelihood and it makes a huge difference in our lives. If the boss says switch the date – too bad.

This was a handshake deal, like most shows are. It’s not a huge paying corporate date, but it’s a nice chunk of money for a Saturday night about three hours from home. It’s less than two months out, so replacing it will be next to impossible. This really stings, but what can I do about it now?

This is the downside of self employment, and I’m really getting sick of it. This year has been at the top of my list of all time years of getting stiffed, screwed and bamboozled out of what should have been solid bookings without sufficient notice to be able to replace them, and I’m running on financial fumes because of it. I’m down what would be an entire year’s rent, and it really stinks.

I’m finding that making handshake deals doesn’t mean a lot anymore. It used to be that once an engagement was agreed upon, it was set in stone. Higher paying corporate type work might have a contract to sign, but way more often than not we’re out there on a wing and a prayer hoping we get paid. It used to be a lot more dependable, but not recently. This pisses on my wallet big time.

I have vowed to make Wednesdays my consistent weekly ‘booking day’, and this was a hell of a way to get it started. I’m sure the person who booked me didn’t do it on purpose, but it sure has rocked my world. Anyone wanting to be a full time entertainer better prepare for bombs like this.

Then people wonder why performers cop an attitude. Dates pulled at the last minute, bouncing checks, clubs closing and any number of unforeseen pitfalls is enough to drive anyone to drink, smoke, shoot, snort or whatever else will let them escape this meat grinder of insanity. It’s ugly.

This is really getting old after a lifetime of placing my trust in people who have no reason at all to watch my back. I mean nothing to them, and it shows. I should have learned to drive a forklift.

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One Response to “The Self Employment Blues”

  1. righttobitch Says:

    “…and any number of unforeseen pitfalls is enough to drive anyone to drink, smoke, shoot, snort, or whatever else will let them escape this meat grinder of insanity. It’s Ugly.” — I love this, it kind of reminded me of something Hunter S Thompson would write.

    I happen to be self-employed as well — albeit, a different trade altogether — but I can definitely sympathize deeply with you my friend…

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