I’m Not Unemployed. I’m NSFW.

I'm Not Unemployed. I'm NSFW.

One of the jokes I tell people after eight years working for myself as a webcartoonist is that I’m probably not able to work a normal job anymore. Eight hours a day with a break for lunch? The ability to blame other people for my mistakes? Does not compute! (and I do not commute)

That’s Richard Stevens on doing T-shirts to celebrate eight years of being self-employed. I’m getting one. Lord knows I need to maintain a sense of humor and pride about the whole self-publishing thing. It’s been the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done. And it’s also been the most rewarding, though that doesn’t always translate into dollars or sexy babes. Mostly it’s me meeting someone at a party and getting a weird look when I mention that I’m a writer. Or it’s me choosing “unemployed” whenever I fill out the occupation section of any given form. They all list every job in the world except for “writer.” Or flair bartender. Eff that. I’m not unemployed, I’m NSFW.

(FYI, if you want the T-shirt, you should know that Richard is doing this as a limited run that ends May 31, 2010.)

43 thoughts on “I’m Not Unemployed. I’m NSFW.

  1. blackwatertown ·

    That’s me too. Though more of a newbie. Like your NSFW description.

  2. R ·

    Ja, I’m not working neither. Sometimes I think on myself as a writter too, I’ve even published some work, a novel and a essay, and I’m finishing another one, but what I like most is just sitting and relax, put some record and stuff like that. When it comes put down what I do in some paper, I just write “journalist” or another joke. What’s “NSFW” anyway? Nice blog.

  3. sapphirecomrie ·

    Love this post. I get the same thing. I am a writer (still working on my first work), and a a professional concierge. Believe me that’s not listed on any employment forms either. I do get up early, but take a break at 11am to watch “The Price is Right” as a form of relaxation therapy (keeps health care costs down), and often manage e-mails and more all day long.
    All us unemployed should form a union. Maybe then we will get some respect.

  4. llexpedition ·

    I LOVE this! Now I feel like I have an appropriate response to family members when they ask me about work and what I’m doing! Thanks =)

  5. scarsarestories ·

    Sweet! I am most definitely going to get this printed on a t-shirt, being a writer and “permanent student”, there is a misconception among many of my friends that I do not “work hard” – well, excuse me, but I work harder than most of them, if not all of them, who sit in offices surfing facebook (read: creeping all day. Just because I’m not rolling in dollar bills does NOT mean I don’t work my butt off, and 7 days a week at that!
    Cheers – I was previously unaware of the term “NSFW”, but I will be using it very frequently from now on :)
    scars

  6. Jim Hagen ·

    I think it would be funnier if you told us what NSFW is supposed to stand for!

  7. BothEyesShut ·

    Dear Mr. Gordon,

    I finished my first novel in high school. It was two-hundred and fifty-five pages long, single spaced, with sporadic paragraphing. The manuscript, typed on the old DOS 3.0 text editor, had more volume than an encyclopaedia. Upon finishing it, I immediately celebrated with a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of cheap wine, and promptly destroyed it utterly, thus:

    C:> del novel.txt

    And that was that.

    The purpose was (and this is where your post comes in) to force myself to write another one. If I had a novel in a swell, ostentatious stack on my shelf, tied up with twine for everyone to see, I might take much pride in it and become complacent, I thought. Having obliterated my first novel, I became the only one who knew I had accomplished it, and therefore still had much to prove. I immediately began referring to myself as a novelist, however, or a writer foremost, and have never called myself anything else.

    If you’re engaged in the penning of a novel, you’re a novelist. If you bash out columns for the local paper, you’re a columnist. If you write, you’re a writer, and that’s that as far as I’m concerned.

    Cheers to you and yours, Sir. I enjoyed my time here.

    Yours Truly,

    -BothEyes

  8. jesse ·

    Well said! LOL You know, creative writing’s one of the few professions where you can sit and stare at a wall for half an hour and actually be *working*. I do that frequently. It means I’m organizing ideas in my head, brainstorming – but to family and friends I’m slacking off because they don’t see me actually typing at my computer. I tell them, “Writing is daydreaming; typing is data entry. First you do one, then the other.” :p

  9. gregallorephotography ·

    When you work for someone else, you are always thinking,”Man, when is Friday going to get here?” And when you work for yourself, you think,” Holy cowmoly, is it Friday already?!?”

  10. jesse ·

    In my early days, a friend was using my computer and accidentally downloaded a virus (yes, I was on AOL – but that’s beside the point – LOL). The virus wiped out my hard drive, taking five years worth of my writing with it. What this taught me: Writing is an ongoing process, and not just the completion of a story, a novel, a screenplay. I had to write new material to replace what I’d lost. And even if I hadn’t lost it, I would’ve had to write new material to replace that which most certainly would’ve been rejected at various publishing houses.

    What did my friend learn? That he was no longer welcome to use my computer ever again. ;)

  11. BothEyesShut ·

    “Writing is daydreaming; typing is data entry. First you do one, then the other.”

    What an interesting perspective! Damned amusing.

    It’s funny, writers feel very underappreciated everywhere I go. I’d be so much more empathetic and sympathetic if so many of them weren’t writing so much more than they were reading, and if said writing were — say — less sophomoric.

    On the other hand, there are some very talented personalities, as well.

    Ah, well . . . Has it ever been any different? I rather doubt it. Except, of course, for that little discrepancy called the Internet.

  12. Joseph ·

    It’s taken my beloved a long time to regard looking out the window as work. Oh course I’ll never tell her that sometimes it’s a open-eyed nap.

  13. Nabih ·

    Very nice blog and format, I also enjoyed being here and reading the comments. Being in love with your passion is the best thing there is; it’s like the privilege of a lifetime = being who you really are.

    Keep up the good work,

    Nabih

  14. Pie ·

    I thought NSFW was ‘not suitable for work.’ I like it, nevertheless. I have ‘quiet’ work periods as a graphic designer/artworker, but my brain is still fizzing. It’s at these moments that I put something up on my blog. I enjoyed your post very much. I hope to visit again soon.

  15. D Light ·

    I love it – your humor is contageous and outrageous – even if I can’t spell what I am saying. I particularly like your note on the header ‘and no I don’t know how I got here..’ great.
    If you want a good laugh check out the crazy photos I have taken in Nice France and posted on my blog http://www.crazyparking.com They most likely will inspire you to make a great comment. Keep up the humor – and me too I’ m NSFW
    D

  16. scarsarestories ·

    NSFW could alternatively mean – Not Searching For Work!

    Both are fabulous. After working retail shift-work for five years, starting at age 15, I promised myself to never, ever, to “work” again, in this traditional sense. I took out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans that eventually turned into government grants. I found that as I started to be unable to differentiate one day from the next at the “job”, I started to spend my whole “paycheque”, if you can call a job that started at $6.35 an hour (a whole ten cents over minimum wage at the time – the company claimed that these were “competivive wages”! LMAO) a paycheque, on alcohol and other herbal remedies, desperately grasping at something to make me feel like less of a drone.

    I quit as soon as my disillusionment started to affect the way I was treating my co-workers and customers, and absolutely ridiculous policies came into place, such as a uniform – this was at a bookstore, where previously folks were hired because of, and encouraged to wear creative things. There was no way I was removing my “more than one” piercing on each ear either. *cough* FASCISM *cough, cough*

    I’m ordering the t-shirt, as well as one from the “International Workers of the World Union”, with a statement about employers and workers being of different species. I’ve also bought my own domain name, and am officially going into “self-employment” – much of this was inspired by this post :)

    Best Wishes,
    scars

  17. Tim E. ·

    Wow, that is the best thing ever. I wish I could purchase on of those T-shirts. It certainly applies to me. Since my new found “freedom” I’ve been working on my CGI like crazy (and loving it). For some reason, when I’m in an office space, wearing a bad suit and tie, I’m miserable and the feeling I’m wasting my time comes over me. Saying your a writer does have “something” though. What do I say? I’m a CGI-er? Still, I see I’m in excellent company. I’m NSFW too. :)

  18. scarsarestories ·

    sapphirecomrie: check out the International Workers of the World Union (just type it into google) – it’s a start!

  19. Suzanne ·

    NSFW stands for “Not Safe For Work”

  20. Roberto ·

    haha this is very interesting and funny at the same time. love it ;)

  21. middleagedplague ·

    Writing and artwork share a common issue — people who do either one well are very rare indeed, but the average standardized employer treats these highly difficult skills like hackwork — something requiring the abilities of a trained chimpanzee. And generally, the result looks like something a trained chimpanzee would produce.

  22. citygirl11513 ·

    Nice to know there are other people in the world thinking what I am thinking. I would LOVE to quit my job and write/design all day…but alas…I have bills, no published work and very few clients. I’m not quite sure how to remedy the situations since writing and building a client base takes time that I don’t have because I’m working. [sigh] Someday…

  23. bookjunkie ·

    Gosh this is brilliant. That’s totally me. Never mind that I’m now broke…my dignity and sanity matters a whole load more :)

  24. Scarlet ·

    Yes, that’s me too, and it’s too true – I hate having to fill out unemployed on the sheets, so I lie whenever anyone actually asks me in person. I hope not being paid to do a job means that I am categorised as unemployed, otherwise I’ll have been cheating myself!

  25. InkSligner ·

    Ha…what a great blog! I, like so many others, am NSFW. I have experience…even paid the money for what turned out to be some very expensive wallpaper (M.A. and B.A.). Prior to embracing the self-employment world, I was even a recording artist on a major label, charted in Billboard, appeared in magazines and on television shows – but nonetheless, I sit here…not qualified for any jobs whatsoever (at least every HR department in the world seems to think that when reading my resume). Yes, I’m a writer and I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to work for some silly person in a suit who knows nothing about creativity or good writing – even if it bit them in the rear. I’m thankful I stumbled upon this blog for a nice laugh this morning and sigh of relief that I am not alone in the world of NSFW!!!

  26. Pingback: I’m Not Unemployed. I’m NSFW. « My Buddy

  27. Megan ·

    But I’ve read Time Chaser. I’ve known for a long time that you’re NSFW, Jesse. :-P

  28. eastofeton ·

    I have a job but honestly I’ve had the same dead end job for 12 years doing something that is not related to my degree. I’ve seriously contemplated going to my 20 year high school reunion and when asked what I did for a living, just say freelance animator. It’s not far from the truth but a lot more exciting than saying that I work in security.

  29. ondiluss ·

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers

  30. jesse ·

    eastofeton, Many of my friends have ended up at jobs that have nothing to do with their degrees. Two of them spent ~10 years at college. One ended up a schoolteacher when he couldn’t find a proper journalism job; the other worked retail for a handful of years before settling on a tech job that utilized maybe a third of his skills. Our parents’ / grandparents’ motto was, “Do well in school, go to college, and get a good job.” How much things have changed since then! ;)

  31. jesse ·

    Megan, I’m NSFCAOPWDLCW – not safe for children and old people who don’t like cuss words. :p

  32. Some Girl ·

    I should quit my job just so I can say that I’m not unemployed, I’m NSFW.

Comments are closed.