2012 is the end…of TGA, that is

It was a valiant effort, folks. I tried, hard as I might, to make a living spreading the “gospel’ of atheism, but in the end, I failed. It took me a little while to realize just how desperate the situation had become, but my failure to secure even the most modest of loans served as a cold reminder that outside of my tiny group of supporters, there is no recognizable value in what I do.

Part of me is honestly resentful of the scene. Were I some religious no-name douche-bag, my coffers would be overflowing with monies. Religious people might be gullible, but they are also aware of the importance of spreading their message, and the cost involved in doing so. For them, the idea of stretching their budget to accommodate their local pastor is just something they do. This dedication and generosity is in large part the reason why religions continue to spread and prosper. As atheists, we have no such dedication.

In many regards, my life is one of a “pastor”, in that the skills I have spent years crafting have no real importance in the 9-5 world. When a priest leaves his profession, he enters a world where his ability to sway the masses is essentially worthless. It’s why so many who have already lost their faith continue to preach the “good news” in order to pay their mortgage and put food on the table. In a way, my situation is similar. After spending years studying, researching and promoting my program, my isolation from the corporate world has lowered my stock. I’m at the bottom of the ladder, and that’s a terrifying prospect.

My eventual return to the working world spells the death of The Good Atheist. While I don’t doubt that the odd podcast may appear, I must now dedicate 100% of my effort to ensure my continued survival, leaving little time to contemplate matters of life, the universe, and the absurdity of existence. I stand defeated, and must now resolve myself to the fate that awaits me in the work-a-day world.

I would like to thank all the fans who have supported us over the years. The hard-core fans, in particular, helped to keep the show afloat for all these years. The tiny raft, set adrift in a sea of uncertainty, faced little chance of success. I’m grateful for all the wonderful messages I’ve received over the years from fans who expressed their love of the show. They were all touching, and I shall treasure them for as long as I live. I leave you in the capable hands of my fellow atheists, who will continue to fight the good fight.

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Comments (22)

  • avatar

    Murf

    NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    Jacob, I’m so sorry this didn’t turn out the you (and we) would have liked.

    I will miss you.

  • avatar

    Harkanin

    You will be missed on this site but at least there will be catching up with you on facebook from time to time. Good day Sirt and it was a valiant fight at that.

  • avatar

    Harkanin

    You will be missed on this site but at least there will be catching up with you on facebook from time to time. Good day Sir and it was a valiant fight at that.

  • avatar

    James Boat

    DAMMIT….. But you better keep posting articles..

  • avatar

    Wait, what?

    You sound like you’re blaming the atheist community for your failure. Shame on you as far as I’m concerned.

    I would say a good majority of people on the atheist blogosphere are NOT supported by their online endeavors. Most of them have jobs or go to school… BlagHag? School. PZ Myers? Professor. Friendly Atheist? Teacher. and so on, and so on.

    Why are you here now telling us that it was the atheist -community- that refused to keep you afloat by not donating money into your pocket? How low the mighty have fallen indeed.

    I’ve followed you “religiously” for a long time.. but at this point even if you stayed a float, I wouldn’t even look in your general direction any longer.

  • avatar

    Vladimir

    I understand you unenviable situation in regards to income. Your podcasts and posts were a great help in a very difficult part in my life, and for that I thank you kind sir.

    I wish you the best of luck with your love life, and I hope you finish your book soon. I would love to buy a copy of it.

    To others who criticize Jacob for “taking the easy way”, please consider the amount of work, effort, time and money invested to produce the huge number of podcasts and posts on this site. Just the shear amount of time needed for research is amazing. Then, consider the financial cost for podcasting such as software, hardware(good mic, proper computer, etc.). Than consider the time needed to prepare a show, get guests, record, edit…

    Try doing something like this for yourself, then you may have the moral high-ground required to bash like that.

  • avatar

    WCLPeter

    Aw man, please tell me this is one of those “TGA is Dead, Long Live the TGA!” moments where you rally yourself and come back stronger than ever?

    Its hard to believe its been almost four years of listening to you, Ryan, Carissa, and Geoffrey, in my head during lunch at work. Four years of interesting conversation and knowledge. If my financial situation wasn’t the suckfest it was I would have totally put some money up, unfortunately I couldn’t. Feel kind of bad now.

    Still, I’ve been in the Unemployed world for a while. So, even though you didn’t ask for it, I’m going to give you some totally unsolicited advice:

    1) Go down to Manpower, Kelly Services, or any other Temp Agency in the phone book. You will *not* find a job right away, no amount of online job searches and resumes are going to get you anything. For every job posting there’s at least a 100 people applying and one of them is *always* a College / University Graduate with way more skills and experience. Temp Agencies on the other hand almost *always* have work.

    Sure, its temporary. 1 week here, 6 weeks there, maybe 4 months over there. The best part though is that the assignments you do, especially the longer ones, are taken as job experience by most people. Many HR managers I’ve talked to, had 20 interviews over that three year period (something I’ve been told by the same HR managers is quite uncommon), will tell you that temp experience shows you’re adaptable and able to learn new concepts quickly.

    You also don’t have to take something that you don’t like, though if you do that too often they won’t take you seriously and stop calling you. Just save those for things you *know* you can’t do. And if you get a better offer, like full time work, just let them know and they’ll send someone else. Easy peasy.

    It also counts toward unemployment hours, you get enough hours and a long stretch between assignments then you qualify for unemployment and then get access to government resources to help you find a job. You might also qualify for the education retraining where they’ll pay you to go back to school.

    Also, many people don’t know this, but some Temp Agencies offer benefits if you work a certain number of hours in a year. Comes in handy if you need to get some fillings, meds, or other things that benefits cover.

    2) Get into a routine and stick with it! This is important, when you’re unemployed its easy to wake up when you want and do what you want. If you do that you won’t find a job. Get into a routine, as an example here is what I did:

    9:00 AM – Get up, take quick shower and get dressed.

    9:15 AM – Call Temp Agency to let them know I’m available for an assignment (you don’t need to do this everyday, just once a week [on Monday] but it never hurts), have breakfast.

    9:30 AM – Read newspaper job ads, look for jobs online. Apply for online job ads, stuff envelopes for places that want a paper resume.

    10:00 AM – Do your call backs for paper resumes you sent last week. This is important, do not call after 12:00 PM! HR managers told me it makes you look lazy, the company will assume you’re not serious about finding a job.

    11:00 AM – Take paper resumes to the mail box.

    11:15 AM – Rest of the day is yours, work on whatever you want. (See 12:00 PM comment above).

    You should be working about 2-4 hours per day finding a job. Its hard work but stay on the Temp Agencies though, if you have a cellphone give them the number so they can contact you directly.

    If you’re good, and you stay on them, you’ll usually go no more than 2-3 weeks between an assignment and they usually last about 4-6 weeks. There aren’t too many places you can work where you’ll go a month and get a month off. Just be frugal with your money and you’ll be fine.

    In the meantime you’re building knowledge that transfers to other jobs. If you’re really lucky, like I was, you’ll end up in an assignment where you’re so awesome the company you’re working for will want to hire you full time. Then its all gravy from there. :-)

    3) Enjoy it. Temping will give you a LOT of free time. I spent a lot of time at the Library, they have free newspapers from other cities so I as able to look for jobs there too, watching movies, reading, just learning shit. Its amazing how much “free” stuff there is to do that’s fun and rewarding.

    You also might find that between your hard-core members and the temping that TGA doesn’t have to die. Not that I’m being self serving, I *really* did do this for three years exactly as I described and it was hands-down the best 3 years of my life so far.

    Not saying that this is what you *should* do,but it worked for me and it is a great way to gain experience quickly and prove to yourself, and others, that you’re capable of doing a great many different things. You’ll also have tonnes of free time, well on a sporadic basis, but you should still have all kinds of time to work on your hobbies.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    Don’t think I’ll be writing any articles either. I plan to round out the shows to episode 160 and end on a high note. I don’t want it to drag and for me to be miserable.

    I wanted this to be my full time job, and that didn’t work out.

  • avatar

    Jeffrey

    Obviously I’ll be talking to you in person about this, but shame on the people criticizing your decision. For a while he said he was having trouble keeping the project afloat and needed support. He didn’t get support. Production declined. Now you’re chastising him because he’s not able to continue?! Give me a break.

  • avatar

    darkpaw

    I think people need to give Jacob a break. We should support him if we can, and if not, at least we should’t moan at him for not being able to continue.

    I love the Good Atheist, and I really hope it can continue.

    I think making this a full-time job isn’t going to happen, and I think Jacob should try and continue the podcasts so that the loyal fans can get one or two a month for their $20, or whatever it is. It’s not a great ask, but I also understand the time it takes to do such a thing.

    Jacob, if you can, please continue the podcast as an occasional one. Many of us out here love to hear it!

  • avatar

    Uncle Ruckus (No Relation)

    Where the FUCK am I going to get my crack now?!!?!?!?!

  • avatar

    BlueIndependent

    GAHH! Another atheist podcast is about to disappear from the scene! Losing Irreligiosophy sucked, and now TGA?

    I understand the time and financial cost it must take to do the show, and as much as I would like to hear you and Ryan/other guest every week or so, I can’t blame you for discontinuing the podcasting. I would like to see the blog continue, as I think those are bite-size enough to serve as community blasts with some good anti-theist snark thrown in. Plus, it’s generally a lot cheaper to do.

    I do have to ask though: What was your “business” plan like for your effort? I’m sure it wasn’t easy…but other than being an atheist commentator, I don’t know what you’re aiming for in terms of making your advocacy your personal vocation that people come to you for. I think you’d have to be more of a Tim Minchin to really grab some recognition. Being an atheist speaker definitely won’t get you far without some other hook, and the best I think you could do would be to try and make your name visiting any church/synagogue/whatever to duke things out philosophically, ethically, and scientifically. That obviously brings a lot of interesting complexities with it, and your – umm – speaking style isn’t exactly the sort of thing churches would allow, as a matter of decorum.

    Maybe you could team up with one of the other shows and be a regular guest…? Please at least think some of our ideas over, because we like your fire, and we all definitely want to hear more of it. I think you have a unique way of talking about a topic that has enough of its own stamp to hold its own in a round table discussion format, for example.

    I’d rather not see Jacob Fortin’s perspective voice fade into the background in this community.

  • avatar

    Clay

    I’m really sad to see you go! But it’s understandable. I can only imagine the difficulty in making a living through podcasting. The cost of maintaining a website with the need for large amounts of bandwidth must e overwhelming. Good luck to you in the future, and I hope it isn’t the last we hear from you!

    Will you be on Facebook still?

  • avatar

    Benjamin

    Sad to hear it, this show had the perfect ratio of humour and insight which is very hard to come by.
    All the best with your future endeavours, whatever they may be.

    Stay cool

    Regards Ben

  • avatar

    Razzle

    It was a pretty good site. Your time wasnt wasted at least.

  • avatar

    Kyle

    Well, that’s unfortunate. Not entirely surprising considering how few people are able to make a living podcasting right now, but I’m still disappointed to see the show go.

    Best of luck in your future endevours, Jacob.

  • avatar

    Carisa Hendrix

    I can’t believe there is someone bitching because Jake would like to get paid for his work. Hey “WAIT, WHAT?” would you do your job for free? How about for free for 4 years? I doubt it.

    It is completely reasonable to put 4 years into something and be hurt that there wasn’t much of a finical pay back.

    Trust me, Jake loves the fans, the subject matter and is incredibly grateful to his backers. This was a seriously difficult decision for him.

    Anyone who shits on him because he want to invest his time somewhere that will allow his to get out of debit some day can majorly burn in no-existent hell fire.

  • avatar

    Ashley

    Jacob, I really appreciate all the time you were able to give us. It has meant a lot to me to listen to you during some of my own hard times.

    This could not have been an easy decision for you to make. Haters will hate, but you have to do what is best for yourself. I wish it were otherwise, but I know you’ve had a hard road trying to make this work. I am glad you were able to do this as long as you have.

    I wish you all the best luck going forward. You (and Ryan, Carisa, and Jeff) will be missed.

  • avatar

    Ricky Waters

    This goes out to that idiot “Wait, What?”

    Who the F*ck are you to pass judgement on Jacob. You probably weren’t a premium member anyways ….. so “F*ck Off!”

    Jacob, most reasonable people understand fully what mean. You have to feed your family, pay bills, advance your career, etc.

    Best of luck to you, buddy! you hang in there. If we see you again, we’ll see ya. If not, take care.

    By the way, this is your favorite “sycophantic” fan!

  • avatar

    Ricky Waters

    One more thing ……….. Just for the record:

    “Wait, What?”, . . . . Go F*ck Yourself!

  • avatar

    Noah Sandler

    I ran a somewhat successful blog that I had to shut down a few years ago. It’s true that people really don’t donate anything near what they should in return for the value they get. You need to have ways of getting money other than making awesome content and hoping people will be generous, and a separate job is generally one of the best ways to do that.

    As manipulative as it is, making a definitive statement to end the site can encourage your audience to man/woman-up and finally send some cash your way. It’s easy to assume that other people are donating so you don’t have to, but once it’s clear that the show will stop, donating feels more important.

    My blog gave me an outlet to be creative, share my thoughts, connect with the community, and give value to lots of people. That was valuable to me even as I worked hundreds of hours and ended up close to even monetarily. That’s something you will miss if you stop working on the site entirely.

    I’d second the idea of finding a temp agency. I think maintaining the site and supplementing it with temp work will support you while giving you references and work experience. You might want to seek out partners who will help with site content to save you some time.

    I really love this site. I have gotten a lot of value out of it, and I would hate to see it go. My personal circumstances might make me able to help out in different ways. I’m willing to make things happen… let’s talk???

  • avatar

    Damon

    Really sorry to hear I won’t be getting my fix any more, but totally understand where your at. Can’t wait to buy the book.

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