The armrest on the bus was stabbing me in my side. The seat on the small van was too small
An Update on OK Doomer
As many of you already know, I launched this newsletter on Substack last year when my previous platform made it clear they weren't going to support my work anymore. The dudes in charge decided I was divisive, and my constant unfiltered realism was killing their vibe. A handful of self-important grifters more or less launched a campaign to turn public perception against me, spreading rumors about my earnings and pushing the notion that I wasn't qualified to share any insights on...anything. Every few days, there was another article about what an awful person I was.
So I left.
This fall, I decided to leave Substack and migrate everything to Ghost, an indie platform that likes to keep a low profile. They aren't trying to sell themselves as something they're not, and I like that.
I was originally planning to keep writing part-time while teaching college. I've invested a lot in earning a PhD and tenure, and it's not something I want to give up if I can help it. I went into education to teach literacy to underprivileged student populations. I teach freshmen. I teach multilingual students and basic writers (often dubbed "remedial.") I teach reading and writing skills to undergraduates. I train teachers. I also teach graduate classes in research methods, linguistics, language, and communication theory.
But recently, my university decided they only care about one thing: They want everyone back in the classroom. They want us at commencement ceremonies. They want us smiling and greeting students in hallways. They're pressuring "the last holdouts" to get back into their offices. They decided they aren't going to support remote work, and they aren't going to let anyone work a second job or a side hustle. They're not going to invest in upgrading their air quality, or even the classroom furniture. It doesn't matter if they barely pay us enough to support our families. As a tenured professor, I make about $50,000. They insist we continue pumping out books and articles, but they're not going to pay our research costs or even provide us with full conference stipends.
I mean, what a great deal.
A couple of months ago, my family voted to finally leave Trumplandia. It's getting bad out here. We're sitting ducks for droughts and tornadoes, not to mention we always get the worst of every wave of every virus now. My daughter's outdoor school is shutting down.
There's not much left for us here.
So, we're moving.
All of this has convinced me it's time to try and make this newsletter/blog a more reliable source of income. It feels important. I enjoy doing it. In order to make it work, I need to make $6,000 a month before taxes. That's really the bare minimum for us to get by with a child.
Here's how it's going:
You know, that's not terrible.
My posts have a 79 percent engage rate. So my work is clearly resonating. People are clearly getting something out of my writing.
So am I.
An optimist would say I've made a lot of progress over the last year. A monthly income of $4,000 is nothing to sneeze at. I have a lot of readers and supporters, and I'm always grateful for that. I try to show my gratitude through my actions, by putting out the best writing and research I can on topics that matter to everyone, especially the ones central to our survival.
Major platforms and publications often have a low ratio of free to paid subscribers, somewhere around 2-3 percent or less. So it's pretty awesome that more than 10 percent of OK Doomer readers subscribe.
The site is seeing slow, steady growth with occasional bumps when I write things like this. From a realistic perspective, I have a way to go before this thing can support a family. See, when you live in America, you don't get universal healthcare or childcare. You don't get safe public schools. You have to provide that yourself. Either you pay for it, or your employer does. It's expensive. You don't get a tax credit, either. Nope, you get to pay taxes because your government needs to keep subsidizing oil and sending bombs all over the world. Even if you move to another country, you still have to pay U.S. taxes.
And good luck renouncing your citizenship.
Recently, I learned there's still a lot of rumors floating around about how much I make, apparently "too much." In the interest of dispelling that myth, I'm going to share a secret with you. Here's my entire net worth:
It's about $220,000.
That's all the money I have in the entire world. That's my family's house, my car, my savings, and my retirement fund. That's after busting my butt for the last six years, working two full-time jobs. I've lost count of the viral articles I've written. I've brought in tens of millions of views.
Is that too much money?
I mean, I don't know...
Look up your favorite writers. I do. Most of them have a net worth around $5 million or more. They make several hundred thousand dollars a year, even just through blogs and newsletters. Nobody goes around complaining about how much money they make. When it comes to writers and journalists, there's a consensus that these professionals have earned any wealth they enjoy through their artistic/intellectual efforts and contributions.
Am I different?
Recently, someone told me that gender inequality doesn't exist. But let's face it, being different makes everything harder.
Yes, for guys too.
When you're different, people are more likely to take your work for granted. They're more likely to find flaws in your performance. They're more likely to scrutinize your work for errors. They're more likely to penalize you for things they don't like, for the most trivial reasons. You're more likely to get criticized and ridiculed for even mentioning money. If that's not enough, any success you enjoy gets slid under a microscope and examined. People are more likely to attribute your success to "privileges" you don't have. They're more likely to believe you didn't earn it, that somehow you cheated.
I've been accused of cheating my entire life.
My 7th grade English teacher accused me of plagiarizing. My 10th grade English teacher accused me of plagiarizing. A college teacher accused me of plagiarizing. My own MFA thesis director accused me of plagiarizing, and then apologized when he realized he was just reading a revision of something I'd already written. Twice, my PhD committee criticized me. "This looks great, but I have no idea how you could possibly have written it this fast."
"Slow down," they said.
Anytime I won a grant or an award, someone close to me was always there to taint it. A friend once told me, "You stole my award." Another friend said, "If you win one more award, I'm going to break something."
The sad reality is that when you're good at something, a lot of people aren't happy for you. They're jealous. Treating them like an equal doesn't help. It just reinforces their view that you don't deserve anything. They would rather make up stories about you than admit your value.
That's my situation. I want to write about important topics. I want to write pieces that move people and provide assurance in troubling times. I want to support other writers. I daydream about a day when I don't have to annoy my readers for subscriptions. I have to support my family, too. I have to give them a place to live. I have to feed them. I have to clothe them. I have to make sure they can find care when they get sick or hurt. I have a child who needs a safe school. If I can't find one, I'm going to have to make it myself. None of that is free. All of that requires money, time, and labor.
You can be a part of what I'm building. I'd love your support. You can give as much or as little as you want. You can give nothing at all. If you're holding back because you think I make too much or I don't need it...