My Fuck Off Fund Is Insurance Against My Own Good Intentions
It’s there to sort of save me from myself.
Talking at length about how busy you are is a surefire way to prune your friend group without doing any of the work. One conversation about how the week is really packed easily slides into a ceaseless monologue, a logorrhea about nothing particularly interesting to anyone else except yourself. I find myself checking this tendency often. I work a lot of hours and my free time is limited; the former is a point of pride tempered with a dose of reality and the latter is perhaps my main source of stress.
Working makes me money. Money makes it so that I can live my life in the manner I’d like to live it. Burnout prevents me from living my life to its fullest and is a direct result of the amount of work I do. As an insurance policy against my inevitable collapse, when my left eye twitch takes over my entire face or when I finally snap, I cultivate my fuck off fund as valuable insurance against my own good intentions.
If left to my own devices and faced with a future of financial uncertainty, I will schedule more work than I can comfortably do in order to stave off the panic that comes from never having work again. Freelancing means that the work could suddenly stop; it is imperative to do all the work I can while I have it, so that when I don’t, my time is less panicked and more restorative.
Right now, I have about $18,789 in my second checking account and $717 in my actual, brand-new savings account. That’s my Fuck Off Fund, my Fuck I Have To Pay Taxes Fund, my I’d Love To Take A Month Off Sometime Eventually Fund. It’s the whole banana stand. It’s the insurance policy I’ve built from the ground up, money that I can use in the case of an emergency. It’s a Fuck Off Fund that I can use when I need to tell myself to fuck off from work if I need to for my own sanity.
Not working makes me anxious because it makes me consider my usefulness. I like keeping busy and participating in the elaborate system required to make money in order to live. I like money. I like having it and I like the security it embodies: If I have money, I have freedom. I can move in the world in a way that works for me and the money I’ve made will allow me to do so. That, in its own right, is the point of a Fuck Off Fund: to be able to have the freedom to wriggle out from under the thumb of whatever exterior force is preventing you from living your life to the fullest. It’s not always that easy, but sometimes throwing money at a problem is the simplest solution. Having money to throw at that problem, whether it be burnout or a broken computer or a sprained ankle, is a privilege. It’s something I never thought I’d have. And now, somehow, I do.
I could work less — drop a job or an assignment here and there and free up time for myself to do whatever it is I need to do — but I find it very hard to turn down work that I am capable of doing, regardless of whether or not I have the time. An easy assignment for $200, something that will take me maybe two hours, is hard to turn down. Adding it to the pile and forging ahead, even though the pile is already starting to collapse under its own weight, is easy. It’s money in the bank. It’s something that makes my imagined time away from work that much easier. A bill will get paid because I do this work; I will be able to breathe easy for one extra day. I won’t have to open my laptop. I will pretend the internet and its attendant crises have fallen into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, never to be seen again. I will float on for another day, buoyed by the money I’ve saved, quietly telling myself to fuck off.
This week, we’re celebrating the Fuck Off Fund. This story is part of this series.