A self-described “anti-depression guide/guide to a freer, more lawless life,” The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad (Pioneers Press, 2013) examines the root causes of sadness, anxiety, and general boredom. Author Adam Gnade recognizes the demons in one’s own self, and offers tips and self-realized advice on how to live a smarter, happier life. In this excerpt, the author posits that if you quit your job and decide to run your own business, a greater sense of freedom could follow.
If you read the type of stuff a lot of my friends read (anarchist theory, CrimethInc, the Situationists, et al) you'll hear all kinds of pumped-up, inspiring rhetoric about how you should quit your job and not have bosses and be an "ex-worker." That's fine, but no one ever tells you what to do next. Reading Days of War, Nights of Love and Raoul Vaneigem got me fired up and I did quit my job and I did pledge to live lawlessly, but then, "Yeah, but how do I survive?" Not everyone is the dumpster-diving type. Not everyone wants to squat or steal. I don't even dress punk, much less identify with the subculture. I wanted my own version of free.
Unless you come from money, most of us have to work to earn a living. This is no anarchist, post-civ utopia we're living in. This is now, today, and there are certain rules you either ignore, follow, or look for loopholes out of.
The goal for people like me is this: run your own business. Whatever it is: an Etsy craft company, a bookstore, an organic farm, a zine publishing house, you as a freelance writer, as a carpenter for hire, as a screenprinter or a movie-maker... figure out what you want to do and then come up with a plan to do it.
The bulk of my money comes from writing books and zines. I work on them all the time and I stay prolific enough to pay my rent. You have to stick with it and be persistent if you want to live like this. Slacking off is not an option.
Whatever you choose to do, start small and make your money on your own terms. If you have to work a shitty job while getting your dream off the ground, do that, but get the wheels in motion now and let it build up naturally and be smart about it. Working a shit job won’t crush your soul if it’s a means to an end and you know what that end is.
Of course there are one-in-a-million dream jobs out there, and some people will make money by singing a tune so seductive that the world will buy into it and feed them forever. That's not something to depend on. You can't wait for a fantasy.
The best way to live is beholden to no man. Be your own boss and figure out the thing you love best and scheme until you have a ground plan. After that, work as ethically as possible and don't fuck over anyone in the process. Look at people who've made it on their own (respectable) terms and learn from what they've built up. It'll be hard, but you'll feel better about yourself at the end of the day. The combination of hard work, extreme diligence, and strong, smart decisions does not fail. Slip up in any of those three and that's when things go south. You won't make it happen if you're sleeping in or doing a bunch of cocaine or working with people who steal from you. Stay on top of it and your dreams will come true. They might not be the dreams you set out with, but you need to remember that dreams change. Just make sure you're happy with what you get. If you're not, go back to the drawing board.
Read more from the mind of Adam Gnade: Open Your Eyes to Something Like Hope.
Reprinted with permission from The Do-It Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade and published by Pioneers Press, 2013.