I'm saying no to things

Today I got a phone call. A friend. He was in a panic—he had hired a company to make him a website and today, six months later, he had just gotten his first peek at the site and it was awful. Didn’t fit his vision, didn’t contain any of the elements he requested, even had this cheesy font. He asked if he could pay me to make it right.

Now I’ve mentioned this before, I’m currently deadlocked in the most soulless work you could ever imagine. Crippling, mindnumbing drudgery amid moments when I genuinely feel like, to be part of what we’re doing... I’m going to hell. I got this job 6 years ago and back then, it was a totally different job and a totally different company. Different boss. Different vision.

6 years later, my job no longer fits my values. Like, at all. Every day is painful. Every interaction, every meeting. If they knew I was writing this right now I’d be fired. And honestly—all I would feel is relieved. There’s a post-it note stuck to my iMac that says, “Every resource, ASAP.” It reminds me to pour literally every resource I have into leaving as soon as I can. Which will be when my student loans are paid off, $16,000 from now.

Back to my friend. He asked if I could help and I took a look at the project and yeah, I think I could do that. I know him. I know his vision. The moment he reached out and said that the website they’re slowly building for him didn’t fit him at all—that very moment—I knew what fonts and colors and layout would deliver his vision. I half committed to mock something up. We hung up the phone. And then it hit me.

Pour every resource into freeing myself from this awful, awful job. Every resource. I had to tell my friend ‘No.’ For the first time in a long, long time I took a stand for something that I truly value. This friend—I’d give him the world—and he immediately understood. He said, “That’s why I love you, man, always staying true.” I would do anything for this friend but he knows I’ve got to devote all of my time to making money I can pour into the debt.

After I’m debt free, yes, I’ll do websites. I’ll do photos. I’ll do films. I’ll travel. I’ll keep blogging. I’ll disappear—find out what life’s like without cell signal for a few years. I’ll do whatever I want for the first time in my life. That’s kind of my story—I’ve always done what was expected of me. And I’ve always been everything I could ever be for other people.

I’ve never just done what my heart tells me. I’ve never just gone somewhere on a whim. In my life you can draw a straight line from memorizing Bible verses for Sunday School to accelerated reading to baseball and orchestra to AP courses to Bible college to business school to 401k and health benefits. At every stage someone said, “Do this,” and I responded, “Ok.”

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy any of it. And I think if I had it to do over again I’d still want to make my parents proud. But the pressure to be perfect, and to be perfect in my older sister’s shadow, and then to just find a way to be as successful as she was… 

It just occurred to me as I type this that this blog is therapy. I needed this. What was my point with all of this? Oh! The need to say ‘No’ and the value of having friends who understand. Who let you say it. That's the whole point of this post. In fact, I'll just write the whole point of this post in the title of the post so that you regret reading this far. I love you.

For what it’s worth, I told him to tell his web dev to try Raleway for the headers and Libre Baskerville for the body of his copy, find a shade of orange to contrast with the blue in his logo, reduce the contrast of the black text on white background, lose the parallax effect on all the backgrounds, and let it breathe: minimum line height of 1.4 for paragraphs.