I have two jobs: Office Job and Karate Job. Karate Job is unique in the sense that if I want any time off, I need to ask the other sensei’s to cover all my classes for me. As a result, I have yet to take a vacation from this job (I’ve been there close to two years). With the exception of two one-day occasions (one was Sister’s engagement the day after Thanksgiving why don’t we get that day off, the other was ComiCon), I have never asked for coverage for anything other than being deathly ill. Having a job means showing up and doing that job every day, even if you don’t want to, even if you’re hung over or tired and want a vacation. You suck it up, and do your job.
Most of the sensei’s are actors, so they’ll ask for coverage at the drop of a hat (“I just landed this really big gig and I need to be on set for the next three days!!!”), but they won’t commit to cover for anyone else (read: me) if I want to make plans a month in advance (say, for something like a vacation) because what if their big break comes along and they’re stuck covering someone else’s classes omfg worst day ever. So when a sensei who has never covered for me (even when I had that stabbing sensation in my intestines every fifteen minutes for two days) asks for coverage because his friends are in town and he wants to be a good host and show them around LA, guess what. NO. A thousand times, no. Everyone wants to hang out with friends, but guess what. You have a fucking job. DO YOUR JOB. When my cousin from Australia who I haven’t seen in a decade came into town, did I ask for time off? No. Because I have a job, and living my life shouldn’t stop other people from living theirs. It’s just that simple.
I think this bothers me so much because I have two jobs, and if I cover for anyone, that automatically means that I will work two weeks without a day off. Most of my time off is spent at the Kung Fu studio already, so the idea that someone would shoot me a quizzical look when I say “Sorry, I can’t cover for you that day,” makes my blood boil. Especially the sensei’s who ask for coverage at the Valley or Near Valley locations. They just don’t understand how not-worth it it is financially. Let’s break it down:
Let’s say the sensei needs four classes covered. At $25/hr, that’s $100; after taxes it’s around $66. It’s 30 miles to and from Valley or Near Valley schools from my place on the Westside. That’s about $16 worth of gas in my current death trap of a car. That drops my pay to about $50, which means that I’m now getting paid just $13 per hour to teach kids who don’t know me in an unfamiliar school in the fucking Valley.
So no, sensei, I can’t cover for you up there. I can never cover for you.
I’ve averaged one day of coverage per month since I started working there. If someone would like to give karma a call and let her know that I’m due for a vacation, that’d be nice. It would mean more if it didn’t come from me, y’know? kthx!
Side rant: What is it that compels bosses to tell their employees that they’re doing a great job, the kids are happy, the parents are (literally) outraged when I’m not there when I’m sick, everything is great. But hey, are you starting classes on time? I heard you weren’t. Yeah, last Friday I lost track of time and we started one of the classes a minute or two late. Ok… Starting on time is important. You need to start doing that. Right, of course, it was an anomaly, my classes usually do start on time. Ok great… it’s just that I heard that it was a thing with you… That’s odd, because it’s not. Have the parents been complaining? No, I just wanted to make sure you knew that-
*sigh* Yeah. Just keep reiterating your point. That’ll help. Because I’m a small mammal or a child, and I don’t understand English too good. I was intelligent when you hired me, but being a subordinate has made me stupid as all hell, so yeah, please just keep repeating yourself. Maybe I’ll crack under the pressure and tell you that you’re right and I’m wrong even if I’m not. Go ahead; bully me into lying to you. That’s a good work relationship, right? Right?