I’m delighted, giddy and very nervous to announce: I’m launching a new paid membership for this newsletter! There’s a lot more info below, but the short version is that for $5/month or $50/year, you’ll get to hear from me more often, including in a brand new audio format, as well as access a wonderful community of fellow readers. It also has a new name: A-Mail.
Do you ever feel awkward telling people at parties what you do? Or maybe you dread the question, “What are you working on at the moment?” Is there a disconnect between how others see your achievements and how you view your own success?
I have all of these thoughts about my work, too.
Even something as innocuous as describing this newsletter can provoke an existential crisis for me. Sure, it covers freelancing, writing and productivity but that’s not what it’s really about (shout out to all people who read this email every week who aren’t freelancers and don’t want to be!!).
One thing I do know for sure is that I find myself returning to a central question over and over again: “How does my career make me feel?”
Answering that lights up a constellation of topics: money; power; technology; culture; health. It also conjures up some heavy emotions, too: envy; disappointment; loss; rejection; fear. Because you see, what I’ve come to realise is that what I’m really writing about here are those feelings that all of us have but that none of us wants. The unpleasant ones, like shame, guilt, and frustration. The feelings a therapist will tell you to “sit with” but that you’d rather just push away, thank you very much.
I’m exploring all of this in the unassuming landscape of ~careers~ because not only do all of those emotions flare up at work, it’s also the place we’re not supposed to have them. When the “people’s therapist”, Esther Perel, announced she was launching a podcast about work she said it was because understanding relational intelligence – at work as well as at home – is the tide that lifts all boats.
“Work is no longer a production economy nor even just a service economy, it’s an identity economy,” she said. “It isn’t just ‘what I’m going to do next’, it’s ‘who I’m going to be next.’”
The beating heart of Perel’s work is her exploration of paradox. And there’s no place more paradoxical than work. It’s where we work together but apart, grappling with making money and finding meaning at the same time. We get mixed messages about forming our identities around what we do, meanwhile needing to have a life outside of work, too. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I have so many contradictory feelings about what I do for a living. Indeed, even the concept of “earning a living” fills me with ambivalence.
I can think of no better place to ask a hard question like “how does my career make me feel?” than in a newsletter. This is the space where I do my most important work. It’s where I connect directly with readers, where I think out loud, where I write what I need to read.
So, my question to you is this: Will you join me in this exciting new chapter for this newsletter?
Sign up for a paid subscription and help me explore how our careers make us feel
What you’ll get if you sign up for a paid subscription
Signing up for a paid subscription to this newsletter is a meaningful and practical way of supporting my work. You’ll also get some cool stuff!
The Friday posts: featuring a mix of lessons from my own career, personal essays (like this super popular one about what it felt like to make less money last year) and commentary about the wider creator economy, media and internet culture
A new monthly audio project: More details to come when I release the first instalment in a couple of weeks!
A subscriber-only newsletter: The ‘Relevant To Your Interests’ recommendations will round up the best things I’ve read, watched and otherwise consumed that will either help your career or distract you from it (see here for an example)
Access to a community of people who want to thoughtfully discuss how their careers make them feel. I’m excited to do this in online threads, as well as Substack’s new app!
The keys to the archive: There are so many great posts in my archives that are only available to paying subscribers, including a huge pitching guide, and much more!
🚀 PLUS!: The first 100 people to sign up for an annual subscription will also get a free copy of the audio version of my book, You’re the Business!
Answering a few Qs you might have
How much does this all cost? $5 a month or $50 a year
What happens if I don’t pay? I’ll still be sending some newsletters for free on Fridays, but the audio project, community features and recommendations will only be accessible to paying subscribers
Are there any discounts? I will be offering free subscriptions to those who can’t afford it, just reply to this email to be added to the list
Can I support your work in non-financial ways? Very much so. Leaving me a comment, liking this post and sharing it widely really helps me out
When does this all start? Now! Here! Today! I’ll be publishing the new content right away; it will all be free for a couple of weeks so you can see what it’s about before the paywall goes up
Why A-Mail? It’s an email written by me, Anna, so… A-Mail. But also, it was time for a new name and A-Mail just feels more me.
While I sometimes find it hard to describe exactly what my newsletter is, I know how I feel when I’m making this thing - joyful, whole-hearted and at peace (funny how those are “opposite” feelings to the ones I’m drawn to writing about 🙃).
Most importantly, my own ups and downs with my work over the last couple of years have revealed something critical: I want to go all-in with my newsletter. And so I’m thrilled to be taking this next step and for finding a way to do this that’s as sustainable as it is fulfilling.
Let’s figure out how our careers make us feel together.