My name is Charles Kimball Hicks, IV, but you do not know me by that name. You probably know me as “CK” from somewheres or otherwise. You don’t know that my name means: “strong, manly, enduring” or how much I desperately want you to read this letter. You will soon know, however, that I am an “unemployable expert.” What’s in a name, anyway?
Note: This is not one of your standard guy-with-a-vanilla-blogging-system-emoting-online deals. It’s a serious request for help.
Frankly, if you can see this post, it’s because I chose to send you the link. This means one of three things:
- You mean a great deal to me, and I would like your input.
- I mean a great deal to you, and you would want to read this.
- We have never met, and I would respect any feedback you have.
Welcome to Fight Club.
My name is CK, and I stick around on this crazy rock for three reasons:
- Help people.
- Tell stories.
- Glorify God (primarily through the first two actions).
For me, there is no greater feeling than helping someone solve a problem. I love to do the little things that make something easier for someone else.
How can I communicate that all I really want in the whole world is to help people?
“Help” is a generic word, but that’s because it works everywhere; perhaps it’s something simple like doing dishes, perhaps something complex like building a website. Either way, if I can apply one of my many skillsets to an area where they are having trouble, I count it as a win. If my Tauntaun freezes before the next marker, at least I was out there looking for survivors.
It’s not easy to put that on a resume, nor can I create a portfolio of the ways I work to make things easier for people on a daily basis. I’m enough of an introvert that it I don’t even want to discuss it, most of the time.
Hopefully, this attribute/obsession is already very clear to you: I like to talk. (Thanks for listening, Mom.) I can’t go more than a few hours without penning some kind of story idea. Sometimes those end up in blogs, other times they end up in personally-published public places so I can make room for more notes.
Really, this picture of me tell the whole story. I’ve been taking pictures and loving radio ever since. (Thanks for everything, Dad.)
^ Working title for my book project. It focuses on how Christians can “reclaim” specific areas of creative arts through peaceful, calculated expressions of what God has done. Visualize old Baptist reformers meeting Stephen King and Ira Glass. (Hey, I can dream, right?)
I fully believe that “the 10,000 hour rule” applies to all areas of life. to be clear: I’m not sitting around, waiting for something to happen, hoping that inspiration will strike and I’ll get a check in the mail.
Every day, I wake up and spend time cranking, trying to make something stick.
Every day. Every. Day.
I don’t watch TV at all and I rarely watch movies; I like to consume pop culture with other people…about once a month. I can’t stand Facebook unless I’m actively talking with people, and I really abhor the online gaming scene. Most of my day is spent learning, building, and tweaking. That “knowledge work” is generally hidden from view, but suffice to say: we can safely rule out the wasting of time in stereotypical settings.
My skills and expertise are fairly diverse – web developer, photographer, film vfx designer, video editor, sound technician, etc. – yet I spend most of my time in the background.
I once had a boss tell me:
“You can take this programmer position if you like, but I think we both know that you’d rather manage your own hours.”
He was right. At the time, that advice really stung, because I really needed the money. I wanted to work in an area where I could clock in, work hard, and clock out. In some ways, I still long for that simplicity.
He was right to send me away – I would have been miserable. My focus wasn’t on programming, it was on building my own company where I could use WordPress to build websites. After I left that company, I started my one-man shop Creative Kinesis, which, despite the volume of work, or lack thereof, is still my primary gig two years later. I also co-founded a small company with my best friend, though that business comes and goes as we re-brand ourselves every year or so. It’s (almost) a living.
Problems in Denmark
- Web development is where I earn my dough (such as it is) and I never went to school for any of it. I published my first site to the web in Microsoft Word because I wanted to learn how to put things online. To this day, I grow in my web know-how so I can continue to publish for myself or others. Web development earns the bulk of my daily time/attention.
- Writing is…well, more important than I like to consider. It doesn’t earn dough, but I could be flat broke and feel like I was on cloud nine if I have some pen and paper. (Actually, that has happened several times…) Everything I do comes back to writing, which means that I start to twitch if I go more than a day – heck, even a few hours – without hammering out prose.
- Podcasting is the Way of the Future™ and very dear to me. I love to talk, my voice has a nice cadence to it, and I have photo proof of having been around radio equipment since I was born. This is one area that I’d like to mine for income very soon; my long-term goal is to have at least half of my income come from podcasting. The kicker, please don’t laugh, is that I only have a handful of episodes from pilots and false-starts over the past year and change. Dough? I’d love to make some, but I haven’t made enough stuff yet; right now podcasting stays tucked away for days when the bills are paid. (Which means I may never do it, unless I make a change; I hope you read this, Dan – I’ve been listening.)
My name means “enduring,” but that doesn’t mean I always qualify for that trait. I’m running out of steam. The web jobs aren’t enough to keep things going in the long run, and I can’t write or podcast unless I actively remove hours from my primary job, which means bills will go unpaid. Sometimes I take that hit, but I want to have a family at some point; am I supposed to hop off of the vocational wheel and take a job that pays more? Something has to give.
Still, lots of people would kill to be in my shoes.
People talk about how important it is to fail, which means I should be right on course. Grit? I’ve got lots of grit…unless I completely misunderstand what “grit” means. This is my main fear: Having a good idea of what it takes to “endure” a set of trials, but that my definition would be skewed, defective.
They say you should visualize what “success” is for you, that your goals should be definable before they become tangible:
*Success, for me, is being able to help people and tell stories. If I do those two things at my very best, I will consider any situation successful.”
I suppose that the real reason that I keep going is because there once was a time when I hoped for what I have today. I know some form of independent work is just part of my DNA – I’m just not sure what it looks like.
Living the dream, baby: I am an unemployable expert.
There are days when I’m ready to pack up shop and work for Walmart, if only because I would have some known factors in my life. Everything inside me screams: “That’s a horrible idea!” because I feel so. close. to. the. answer.
Some people only dream about these freedoms. I mean, come on, I get to wake up every day and shuffle pixels/prose until people like them enough to pay for them! Since I live alone, I have all kinds of time to think and take notes on human behavior, which is something that fascinates me to no end. I spend lots of hours listening to people I admire, I read/listen to books, I listen to sermons…all of those are instrumental in rounding out my perspective on life, the universe, and everything.
But where do I go from here? Is there sense in more of the same, hoping that something will eventually click into place? Have I blinded myself to possible options? If you know any of these answers, or even want to take a wild guess, please send me an email.
My name may not have the final answer, but I feel bound to it’s core message: endure.
Right now, I’m at my wit’s end, ready to do whatever it takes to make a lasting change. I want to earn money so I can pay off some bills, I want to tell stories like this one so people can think about their own lives, I want to help people solve problems, and I want to be the best I can be to honor God.
The only things I know to be true are these:
- God is in control.
- My family loves me.
- I have no idea what I’m doing.
- I’m really, REALLY grateful that you read this. Thank you for your time.
Oh, and that every day that I wake up…I will endure. Maybe it really is all in a name.