I’ve been kinda desperately looking for a job, ideally an ESL teaching job, but those are pretty few and far between, and the market is flooded with teachers with more experience (read: any). So imagine my surprise when I was offered a teaching position at a school here in LA, not far from where I grew up on the Miracle Mile. Unfortunately, the teacher I’m replacing dropped out in the middle of the term, so the time frame is pretty tight: interview Thursday, job offer Friday, orientation Monday, start teaching Tuesday (tomorrow). I should be excited, terrified, anything. But all I can think of is how busy I’ll be, and how much sleep I’ll lose writing lesson plans and correcting papers. I’m insecure about my teaching abilities (which makes sense, since I’ve never had my own class), but I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ll figure it out like I do everything else new and intimidating. But god. I’m so tired. I just want it all to stop. And now I won’t be able to take any of the vacation time I have saved up at Office Job, and I might not be able to go to that academic conference I’ve already registered for (SO EXPENSIVE). I need a break. I’m not getting one anytime soon.
I’ve been working the Renaissance Faire every weekend for the past three weeks, and its starting to wear me down. My feet are sore and my voice is hoarse from standing and hawking food all weekend. If I don’t quit that job, I’ll be working seven days a week for the next month. I gave up on my standing desk at Office Job this morning; sitting feels like a luxury. I woke up this morning with a stomach ache, and it hasn’t gone away. I look in the mirror every morning wondering when the bags under my eyes will go away (hint: never, apparently). I’m always tired. Always. Plus, if I get any of the substitute teaching classes at the ESL school where I’ve been volunteering, that’ll be four jobs. Plus Shinkendo. Plus the Japanese class on Thursday evenings (which I’ve already paid for).
Something’s gotta give, and I’m sad to say it might be the Ren Faire gig. I just can’t do it all. I need my weekends back if I’m working all day, every day during the week. They’re already short staffed, and they really like me and my smartass mouth, so I’ll feel bad leaving, but I might have to be selfish and just drop it. It’s $8/hr plus tips. All my coworkers are high school or early college students. It’s fun, but exhausting, and I just don’t have the time.
Even as I type this, I’m not sure I’ll quit that job. Let’s analyze why that is for a minute, because it’s insane:
-I don’t want to let these people down (but I don’t know them well, they’re average bosses).
-I don’t want to give up my access to the Faire (which I’m not enjoying as a spectator because I spend all my time there working).
-They’re already short-staffed (not my fault).
-I don’t want to add extra work to my coworkers (who I don’t know that well, and they’ll likely take the extra hours without complaint).
-I don’t want to burn bridges (this is the one that’s getting me, but are these bridges that I’ll want to cross again in the future? Will I want to work for these people again? Even if I wanted to work the Faire again, I have a friend who works beverage there, too, who would love for me to work with her, so I’ll still have access to a Faire job that way).
So. What’s holding me back? I’ve always wanted to work the Faire, so it’s the romantic quality I’ve attributed to being an insider at the Faire. I like the insider status, and I don’t like ditching people when they need me. But things are lining up to make it impossible to hang on to this thing I’ve wanted for years that has turned out to be as much fun as I expected, minus the feeling of camaraderie I expected the Faire folk to share. A lot of the people there are just working a job, and not having much fun. So maybe it’s time I take the good times and bug the fuck out before I grind myself into a fine powder in an attempt to live the dream/not let people down. At the end of the day there’s just too much good, not enough sleep. I have to let go of some of the good.
I had similar times in grad school, and Shinkendo fell by the wayside then. That was hard, because I knew my skills would suffer. Here, though, what am I missing? Lousy pay, sore feet, and no weekends? Maybe it’s time to call it quits, kid.
I had a good conversation with Hollywood Coworker, who is now officially my supervisor, about my schedule. If I’m teaching in the morning, and working Office Job in the afternoons, I won’t be able to attend several events where I’m needed. “You’ll have to make a choice, and it’s up to you,” she said. Meaning: Attendance at these events is mandatory, and if I can’t make it, I can’t stay. Time to quit the job that pays well and doesn’t work me hard to pursue a career that will do the opposite.
But she’s right, I suppose. Today is orientation, so I’ll know more about my schedule then. Terms go for a month each, and I would imagine I’ll be expected to teach them all. I wonder if I’d have to take a full term off to get long vacation? I’m not excited about the prospect of losing all the vacation days I’ve earned at Office Job. Time to start cashing those in, lol.
And then, when I’d inevitably be forced to quit Office Job, I’d start hunting for another part-time position I could work in the afternoons.
I could use a break.