Friday, February 27, 2009

An Independent Contractor Looks at Forty

Eighteen years without benefits, without security. You make the sacrifice because producing TV Sports beats working for a living. It also means you can do life on your terms. You can live six years as a single guy on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and do whatever it is that New Yorkers do. You can move from city to city, supporting your spouse’s career in local TV news. You can spend five months a year as a full-time parent. Then you turn forty. And your perspective changes.

“After all my years I’ve found, occupational hazard being my occupation’s just not around.” Jimmy Buffett

I’m not that different from Jimmy Buffett’s “Pirate” going from port to port, trying to build up my riches so I can come home for a while and spoil my family…just to hit the road again when the tank hits empty.

Seriously, eighteen years of this. What do I have to show for it? A low six-figure salary. A couple of random Emmy nominations. A Delta Platinum card.

That’s kind of over-simplifying things. My work is captivating. Live TV is the ultimate mix of stress and stress release. But where is my career going? What will I be doing down the road for my kids in these uncertain economic times?

"Any 20-year old who isn’t a liberal doesn’t have a heart. Any 40-year old who isn’t a conservative doesn’t have a brain.” Winston Churchill

Am I figuring this out too late, on the eve of cuarenta? Do I have to change my vote from this past election? Or do I just oppose this administration as I did the previous one. Not likely. I am happily trapped in a lifestyle now and a few extra tax dollars aren’t going to unravel it yet.

But what if the career goes away altogether? I am certain that more dynamic, higher-paid talent have been laid off in this recession. How will I be responsible to my family then? Don’t cry about it. Act your age. I’m a man. I’m forty.


  1. I certainly feel for you. Even though we seem to be on opposite sides of the political fence, wondering about providing for your kids is universal.

    The new tax plans are going to hammer your family and mine--and even though it seems like a few dollars here and there, the future landscape will be changed radically for our children.

    Good luck!

  2. This Dependent "Staffer" would like to wish you and your Delta Platinum card a Happy 40th!

  3. "The new tax plans are going to hammer your family and mine--"

    that's the beauty of that little thing you get called a '1099'...expenses, baby, expenses...hell, i think i can expense this post..