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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Sunday (9/18/11) 5:42pm - ... wherein Peter speculates about how the vacation may turn out.

So at this point my plans for the Long Vacation are starting to settle into place.  It seemed like a good time to talk about things that could go disastrously wrong (or unexpectedly well) with this plan.

--

Disaster #1:  No Job, Forever
The most obvious possibility is that I wind up unemployable.

I have no reason to think that the American economy will magically un-shit its bed over the year or so.

And it may be that, even after I spend some time figuring out what I want to do, I'll *still* have no idea what I want to do when I grow up.  Without any passion beyond wanting to stop burning through savings, it would be damned hard to find work.  Hell, it'll be damned hard to find work no matter *what*.  The peculiar gap in my employment history won't help, nor will the fact that I plugged away at NI for some seven years without a promotion. 

With nobody hiring, I may be completely up the creek.


Disaster #2:  Medical Crisis
When I walk away from NI, I will be walking away from some spectacular medical insurance.  Sure, I'll buy my own insurance afterwards, but I can guarantee it will be nowhere near as plush as what NI buys for me.

So... what if I get cancer?  If I contract some life-threatening condition, I'm sure my new insurance will do a crappy job of keeping the bills at bay.  I imagine my poor health could blow through my coverage and then start hungrily chewing through savings -- meanwhile, I'm just busy trying to stay alive.


Disaster #3:  I Wreck My Car
This is basically disaster #2, plus my car-insurance rates go up, plus I have to buy a car.  This would throw a lot of my financial calculations way, way off.


Disaster #4:  I Just Sit Around and Eat Cheet-os
If I spend all my time off just sitting around playing video games, that will be the biggest disappointment in my life.  If that happens, then when I hit the other end of the Long Vacation, I will have nothing to show for it.  I'll have learned nothing about myself.  I'll have missed what's basically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what I'm capable of, art-wise.

Plus, I'll wind up with no better idea what sort of job I'm supposed to be doing, so disaster #4 is kind of a superset of disaster #1.

--

I'm trying to think of the opposite of "things that could go disastrously wrong" ("things that could go unexpectedly right?"), but not many such outcomes come to mind.  This plan doesn't really gamble on unlikely-but-amazing possibilities.

Yay #1:  I find a job I love.

Yay #2:  I win at writing.
This is a bit vague (on purpose), and it includes several possibilities for "surprisingly good things that can happen if I write scripts for several months".  One possibility is that I sell a script somehow.  (Yes, that's highly unlikely, but so is cancer.)  If I move into a world where screenwriting provides some fraction of income, then that changes everything.  Another (more reasonable) possibility is that I produce a script I'm fantastically proud of.  Or maybe I submit to and win some contest or other.

--

Of course, the most likely outcome is some sort of middle ground between these 'really good' and 'really bad' possibilities.  I'm expecting the following:

* Some sort of financial mishap will curtail my time off.  (If it's not one thing, it'll be another.)
* I'll wind up with a job that's satisfying, but not absolutely wonderful.
* Finding and landing said job will take a lot of time and effort.
* I'll finish some scripts, but they won't really do anything beyond adding to the world's supply of competently-written-but-useless scripts.
* I'll get a script produced, and it'll be mildly-entertaining enough.
* All this writing will be good practice.
* I'll figure out whether or not I'm *supposed* to be a screenwriter.
* I'll get competent (for an amateur) at film editing, though I'll only ever use that skill for occasional comedy sketches and AIC videos.
* I'll get to the point where I can play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on the trumpet.

--

I don't know if any of this affects what I'll actually do.

Most of the possible disasters involve circumstances beyond my control.  I mean, I'll do what I can to get decent health insurance, but that's probably nigh-un-obtainable for a non-employee.  I'll resume my research about what job to get, and try to pick up occasional odd jobs over the year, but when all that's said and done, I may be no closer to knowing what I want to do.

Really, all I can do is avoid the "sitting around and eating Chee-tos" outcome.  That's why I've been so busy writing up elaborate task lists and schedules.  I think I've accommodated for, say, how much time I'll need for housecleaning (my guess:  half an hour) or the maximum time I can spend writing (my guess:  three hours) or how much time I need for socializing to keep from going batty (my guess:  three hours).  But I will need to keep an eye on myself, see if I'm burning out, see if I need to spend more time on housecleaning or less time on music.  (See ptevis's posts about 'limiting work to capacity.')

I'm thinking, if I can just move mechanically from doing one thing-that-I-like to another thing-that-I-like, I won't have to spend willpower trying to pick out what to do next.  Eventually, things will get written, music will get practiced, and shows will get done 'automatically', without any noticeable effort from me.

So at least I can, with effort, avoid the Chee-tos outcome.

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Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none
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[User Picture]
From:kbadr
Date:Sunday (9/18/11) 11:54pm
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As far as Disaster #2 goes, I got insurance that's $108/month. It covers 1 preventative visit per year (a physical) as well as 2 teeth cleanings, I believe. Beyond that, it covers nothing until I hit my $3500 deductible, at which point it pays 100%. It's basically my "what if my liver jumps out of my body" insurance. If you aren't the type to frequent doctors/specialists/allergists, and don't have any prescriptions, it will do the trick as far as putting your mind at ease with regards to catastrophic situations.
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From:fraeuleinchen
Date:Monday (9/19/11) 5:26pm
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And though it would be a more expensive option, COBRA would let you keep your current coverage for 18 months (last I checked). That peace of mind (the cushy insurance coverage) might be worth the money. And I don't think going on COBRA would make it any harder to find coverage after the 18 months are up, if it came to that.
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From:hujhax
Date:Wednesday (9/28/11) 2:27pm
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Cool -- I'll check on prices for that.
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From:hujhax
Date:Wednesday (9/28/11) 2:27pm
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(Cool -- I may pester you for more details about this in a couple of weeks.)
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From:happywaffle
Date:Tuesday (10/25/11) 10:54am
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So, car wreck = cancer, but worse. Got it.
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From:hujhax
Date:Tuesday (10/25/11) 12:15pm
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EXACTLY
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