(gif by Seth Eckert on Dribble.com)
The round holes are opportunities that I could select and try for in the market. The square peg is the part time job I have now, and the desire to hang onto it.
It hit me this morning that if I really want to make changes, I’d better find something 30-40 hours a week, regardless of the schedule my current job fits into, and just not bother with my current job anymore. I don’t mind it, but I had to face the facts (while paying the last of my bills and breathing a sigh of relief that I still had some money left over).
I actually did some tricky thinking when waiting for my morning to officially get going. I was waiting for my paycheck to clear so I could get those bills taken care of ASAP (two were due online today–hate when the 1st of the month falls on a Sunday) and had to take my neighbor’s daughter to her job. They’d been working on getting her car fixed for months, but something kept going wrong with the process. The poor girl was stuck at home, unable to go anywhere, and couldn’t work, obviously. She was so happy yesterday when she went to a job interview (the car had just been returned a few days ago) and she got it. Then on the way home it started acting up.
Thankfully not THAT bad… ever.
Well, I said I’d be okay taking her to work in the mornings when the parents weren’t available to do it. Dad could pick her up, thankfully. I told her I would because it would totally suck for her to finally get a job only to have to quit the very next day due to car trouble, especially when she’d been searching for so long.
Job opportunities have grown pretty quickly the past few months in the next town and I started taking a close look yesterday, even filling out a couple of applications. Hell, the daughter said they’re trying to hire people so quickly I could probably get a job where she’s at, too.
Well, as much as I like kids–in small doses, and usually as a tutor or homework checker–I hadn’t thought much about working in a daycare seriously since I was a teenager. But honestly, even if the pay wasn’t the best, it would be far better than what I’m doing now. This was the thought I had this morning, and the reason I jumped online to check my accounts, pay my bills, and figure out what I’m really making and how badly I’ve been screwing myself.
To summarize: Badly.
To elaborate: Really, really, really stupidly badly for far too long.
So, the job she’s got doesn’t pay as well as other jobs around here because it’s a small daycare center. I believe it’s a mom and pop business that’s just been around a long time with a good reputation in the area. I don’t get pay stubs with my job; I just get a direct deposit in my account and I trust ’em not to screw me (hee hee). Well, I didn’t have a sick day all month and I worked every shift, so I figured out the hours and divided my check by the hours.
I found out I make b/w $10.50 & $11 an hour, and don’t remember what my starting pay was (probably $10). I just needed a job so badly and my former boss recommended me to it. I like it most days, though lately it just feels harder (or we’re just busier) and it’s harder for me to keep my cool or get things done without feeling like I’m messing up somewhere. It could be the leftover intense stress from paying taxes that’s making things feel so much worse. We all have our odd ups and downs on the job, and maybe that’s why I just had to figure this out this morning, but I decided I’d better stop trying to work around the few hours available at this job and just clear the whole damned board.
No more trying to work with and around that square peg.
So, I earn just south of $11 an hour. Some places offer less, some a helluva lot more. I’m not gonna whine and argue about that.
What’s been wearing me down most is the drive, the hours available, and the time involved in all of the above.
I currently work 3-4 days a week. 3 shifts are 4.5 hours and 1 is 2-3 hours. I told them I’d help ’em out and work that shift if they really needed me, because of the drive and all, and I originally just covered for those who couldn’t make it… then it just became routine. I was actually trying to figure out how to tell them it’s no good for me to come on that last 2 or 3 hour shift because it’s barely worth my gas. The shifts give me roughly 17 hours a week (I tend to show up early most days, which pads my time some). The drive is 72 miles round trip.
I was appalled when I got my odometer to record my actual trip and saw it was true. Then I compared it to other routes I was used to taking for old jobs and my heart just sank. Sure, the next city of note is about 22 miles driving, but the round trip is nearly half what I’m doing now. I figured I’d better ditch this job and go for something closer to home, because the gas is eating me alive. 72 mile round trip 4 days a week for a job that’s around $11 an hour (x 17ish hours).
On the other hand, the daughter’s job is 9 miles away and she’s gonna make just a bit less than my current wage as a starting employee, but it’s a full-time job, too. The idea that I could work at the same pay rate (or even better), probably get more hours per week, and only have to deal with 1/4 the mileage (and travel time) each day just floored me.
I wanted to punch myself for not seeing how great this would be so much sooner.
I was clinging to a job that has been quietly sucking away my time and energy because of loyalty and my fear of instability. Well, I’m not terribly stable the way things have been anyway (stupid fears and all), so that’s a moot point, or should be. Some things I know I’ll never work, but honestly, I’ll go find a full-time job if they’re willing to train me well enough, and make it work so I can be a proofreader or freelancer on my weekends or whatever. If the job is an overnight position, I’ll be happy to do it if I’m busy enough (and the schedule doesn’t bounce too much so I can get consistent sleep in…time to look for soundproofing panels so the birds and pups don’t wake me up all the time).
I am looking for most anything right now, and I’m glad my current employer’s always trying to hire more people (not surprising, considering the part-time nature of our business and the conflicting schedules), because if I end up with a position where they’d like me to start tomorrow, then I’m freaking sure I’ll send in my notice and start training. I’ve got a bunch of jobs I’ve pulled up info on and will see about sending my resume in. I’m sure there’s plenty I won’t be able to do because of requirements, but they’re worth a read.
Then I can make enough money to save up for courses to take, vet appointments, doctor appointments, etc. But most of all, even if I got a new job tomorrow, my “financial diet” is very much going to stay in place. I want to pay down my debts fast, save for this year’s taxes and emergencies, and a job that gets me a helluva lot more chances to work and learn will be awesome. I’m also concerned that I need a new job because–like my neighbor–my car has some serious mileage on it. I hope it goes for a few hundred thousand miles more, but let’s face it, things break down. If something happened to my car, I wouldn’t be able to go to my current employer anymore, anyway. Nobody’s gonna drive that far to drop me off for a few hours every day. Too time consuming and impractical. I can’t afford to let that happen.
So, yeah, with Murphy’s Law working overtime on everybody around me (knock on wood), I figure it’s best not to make things worse regarding transportation issues. A job much closer to home would help me save time, energy, money… and I could get a ride from a neighbor once in a while, much the same way I’ve helped ’em out over the years.
I think what’s stopped me from feeling like I could do this, that I had to hang onto my initial job and work another around it, is the idea that this new job might be a stress nightmare or terribly hard for me to do, and I’ll end up quitting without any prospects worth a damn. Well, I had to remind myself that what I’ve got now is not a career, anyway, so I’d better be trying for something else. Unless I’m a company owner or office staff, my position by nature is temporary or “as needed.” This could not be a long-term plan no matter what. Somehow, though, I got complacent and forgot about that.
I don’t know what I did this past weekend, but something lit a fire under my ass. And I’m super grateful for it. Just hope it doesn’t burn out.