The Cultural Imperative of Contributing to a Society…or Something Like That

I’ve been looking for a way to boost my income, my revenue, my self worth, my life for a while now. Even more so now because I have a child whom I need to look up to me. Also, one day soon, I’ll turn around and I’ll be 50. This boost is never going to happen because I’ve shackled myself to a dead end job out of some sort of perverse sense of loyalty. And it sure as hell ain’t gonna happen while I sit around and spin my wheels trying to hatch a plan involving doing something that I don’t know how to do just because I think that that’s where the money is. This boost needs to kick in now.

WEEEEEEE!!!

I apologize if my words seem a little clipped this time around. I just spent the better part of a week on this draft trying to adequately express how I’m going to do what I’m going to do. Again…spinning wheels…

The idea that I took the long way around in trying to explain before I got tired of the sound of my own voice is that I now have a new plan. Now, here’s the part where I explain that I’m currently at point A and how, through sheer will, or some arcane mysticism, I will end up at point D. Here’s the part where I prattle on and on about “The Goal” while at the same time failing to explain “The Process”. Here is the part where I deliver my treatise on The Cultural Imperative of Contributing to a Society. Here is the part where I tell you all of that, followed by a loud but gracious thud a few months later when I figure out I have no idea what I’m doing published in the form of radio silence. It’s a pattern I follow. Over and over again; wanting or needing to start something that I believe that will make me a better person, starting on that thing, fall flat on my face and by the time I get back up the initiative, the drive, the will has left me and I abandon the quest until I find another one to go after and again and again it’s exhausting. I tried to look up the name of this psychosis but I can’t find it.

Serial Questing…yeah…let’s call it that.

In any case, I shall endeavor to not do this again, although I can’t make any promises. When I graduated college, my goal was to be an actor. Nothing big, just a working actor. Years later, it was constructing and repairing computers. After that, it was artisan bread, then a pizzeria. None of these ideas saw the light of day because they were unrealistic. As with most things, I get lost in the shuffle. I have to remind myself from time to time that I’m not the only one who thinks this way. These ideas lacked planning. They lacked capital.What they did have in common, however, is a need to create something and the desire to be my own boss. I make pizza from scratch every Saturday night and the family raves about it. For Holidays and special occasions, I have several requests for one of my scratch made cakes, sometimes giving them as gifts. If it brings them joy, then it brings me joy. If it brings me joy, then why wouldn’t I make a life out of that? Do what you love and the money will follow. Right? Despite what all the haters say, I believe in it. That’s all that counts. It took me a while to get to this conclusion, but after much consideration, my contribution to society would be better delivered by me if I weren’t chained to a cubicle.

From “The Far Left Side” by Mike Stanfill

(Open Letter to Forbes Magazine: Thank you so much for pointing out the possibility that doing what you love may not make you rich. I’m not sure if your article was intended to keep entrepreneurs under the yoke of corporations or to crush the spirit of every American who dares to set out on their own. If your intention was either of these, then please forgive the majority of us unwashed and unclean barbarians who just want to wake up in the morning and make that day the day that they get their head above water, rather than work themselves up into a lather about how many additions they should add to their palatial summer home. 

Listen, I’m sure you mean well. I mean, you’re basically the Reader’s Digest for the 1% anyway. But, if you can just peel yourself away from your Tesla Motors brochure for just one second, please take a moment and recognize that in this economy right now, at this very moment, just being satisfied by working two part time jobs with no benefits and still hovering around the poverty level; to spend four years or longer and hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education just for the privilege to work as a night-shift janitor; to work the most unfulfilling job for barely a living wage and be satisfied with it is, for lack of a better term, unacceptable. If all things are equal, doing what you love and leading a more fulfilling life by doing so is just as much of a pipe dream as being a private country club card carrying member of the American Elite. Ergo, since all things are equal, if it came down being submissive to the will of Corporate America just because its easier to give up become a liability or an expenditure because maybe…MAYBE I might just catch that lucky break on the way up the corporate ladder, or going ahead and taking that leap and joining the legions of dreamers who can actually sleep soundly at night because the fortune they seek isn’t gold or possessions but something intangible and more valuable, then I’ll cast my lot with the dreamers every single day of the week. In closing, I beg your pardon Mr. I-just-traded-my-Lexus-for-a-Bentley, but if my way of living doesn’t coincide with your Vulture Capitalist mentality, then I honestly don’t give a shit.  I’d rather be a captain of a ship of my own construction than a Captain of Industry. 
Sincerely, “2Cents”-Resident of the Bottom Half of the 99%. xoxo)

Now, this is the part where I either go on at length about something that may or may not have happened in my past in order to make a point forgetting what I was talking about three paragraphs in, or ramble on about something seemingly unrelated but just filling the page up with words just because the words I’m using might turn up in an a search or something. Got to think in terms of generating web traffic and ad revenue. Pancakes. But, right now I’m boring the hell out of me and whatever I didn’t mention this time around will probably show up in another posting anyway. Moving on…

“Don’t look at me, I’m irrelevant.”

The Goal: Well, honestly, the ultimate goal is to make sure my family is set. But, how to be sure? Well, you can never be sure. But like Chuck Noland said a long time ago, ” I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean than to stay here and die on this shithole island, spending the rest of my life talking TO A
GODDAMN VOLLEYBALL!” There comes a point in someone’s life where you just have to take that chance because your life just might depend on it. Does it mean that you know what you’re doing? Not necessarily. But it’s worth a shot.

This! This is what I want to be doing. I have decided that doing this will afford me a better life for me and my family. I realized this after a few hours of zombie lurking on Stumbleupon one night. I came across this site. Usually when I Stumble late at night, I would blow right passed sites like this, but this time…this time I could not. Stop. Clicking. I became fascinated with every method. I became fascinated with every code and how everything related to each other. Andrew Kramer, the author of this site, was speaking in a language that I almost forgot about. It was like hearing a phrase in my native tongue that I haven’t heard since I was a child.

It wasn’t too long ago where I constructed my own video using Windows Movie Maker and I thought it was an okay tool…for someone who wasn’t interested in making anything resembling a movie. After making the video and submitting it to YouTube knowing full well that there are literally thousands of videos made by weekend hobbyists that are near cinema quality, I thought, “Meh…could be better.” (I know…”Artists”, right?) While I was making it though, I was having a blast. Sure I was hobbling together photographs with some random footage I shot and it was painfully amateurish. But I didn’t care. I recognized the germ of what it takes to do this kind of thing and I was hooked. This is what I want to be doing.

Hold up there, Spielberg. Have you checked the price of the software?

*Sigh* Yes. Hey everyone, it’s my killjoy inner voice again.

Hello, gorgeous. Come here often?

Nice to be remembered. While we’re on the subject of killing joy, if you get this software, you’re going to need a system that’s strong enough to hold it. I don’t think you’re going to get the same results on your tiny HP home edition. OH! And the CAMERA TOO!! Do NOT forget that!!

Yes, I realize that too.

Do you know how much that’s going to set you back?

Conservatively, about $2500. Three grand, just to be on the safe side.

Okay, just to sum up. You’re working a jWHY AM I NOT SPEAKING IN COMIC SANS ANYMORE?!

There was an update since the last time you were here, Sir Distractsalot.

Hunh. Anyway…you’re working a job that barely pays a living wage, you have a family to support, you don’t own your house, you have a crappy car and you think that you’ll be able to plunk down half of a half of a hundred grand on a set up that you don’t have and will probably lose interest in because you don’t know how to use it.

Encouraging, but yes.

Okay, this is the part where you actually stop and think about it. “It’s too much…how am I going to get that much cash…?” Followed by the inevitable feeling of, “oh well, I tried. Guess I’ll go back to wasting time on the internet.” Right? Just like the last time and the time before that and the time before that?

Usually, but not this time.

No?

Like I said, I have a plan.

Do what you love and the money will follow. That shouldn’t necessarily apply to just the destination, it should also apply to the trip. Yes, it is true that when I see how big the mountain is in front of me that I just want to turn around and go home. But just to prove to myself and my stupid inner voice how serious I am about this, I already made that first step up the trail.

1.) Stop Smoking. Done and done.

2.) Don’t Quit Your Day Job. As much as I’d like to exit this place so fast that I leave skid marks, it’s still a necessary evil and I still need an income. It’s not much, but it’s something, and it’s a lot better than nothing.

If it’s that valuable to you, then to me it’s worth more

3.) Consider Selling My Plasma. Nothing against donating blood, I think it’s wonderful how they guilt people into donating something that they’ve spent their whole life creating only to be given a cookie and some juice at the end of it. While at the same time, turn around and charge up the wazoo for every pint they administer to every patient that needs it. Let me repeat that: They guilt you into giving something up for free while they make a considerable profit off of it. That’s not participating in a good deed, that’s being a willing victim in a carjack. Blood Centers make a lot of money, they can spare a few bucks to buy your blood. I give you a pint, you give me some cash. That way I can get my own damn cookies.

4.) Become a Microworker. Now, this isn’t the best way to get rich quick. Believe me! And even though it’s borderline waste of time and not ranking very high on my list, I put it on here because Amazon offers this service. You sign up with them and in a matter of days, they’ll give you an ID and an account. At that point you can take surveys, submit reviews and view websites. The money you make is minimal, but they have the option of putting the money you do make into an account so you can use the funds to buy things from them, which makes the most sense to me. Sure, it’s basically panhandling online but like I said, even though this will not make you rich, it is money coming in.

It’s better with the feather…

5.) Practice in the Meantime.  Adobe After Effects is something you don’t just pick up and start working with right away. There are many levels of techniques and nuances that you need to be acquainted with or else it will destroy you. I have no fear of learning this, I just simply cannot afford it yet. Until that time I am going to practice with some Photoshop just to get a feel for it. Earlier this year, Adobe made Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator a free download. Not a trial version of one or two things, the entire freakin’ package! W00T!! Yes, it’s out of date and hardly anyone uses it anymore since CS3 seems to be the gold standard these days. But it’s something, the core technology hasn’t changed that much, and it’s well within my price range. In the future, I’m going to use this blog to show off stuff that I did.

Granted, these five examples are not going to get me to my goal in a few weeks. I’m well aware that I’m going to need more than just selling my blood and socking money away that used to go to smokes. Nope, this is going to require a wee bit more strategy.

And that is a subject for a future time. For now, cue the Eighties Montage Soundtrack!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: for the record, borrowing any version of Photoshop is just simply a bad thing. I do not condone downloading the version of Photoshop that Adobe has essentially just thrown away. So remember kids, pay for your own software!

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