Entry 10, November 3, 2016: Professional developments
I officially have 5 part-time jobs. The private ESL company offered me a substitute role for both of their 2 locations. They pay $17/hour for each 5 hour class. It isn't what I wanted - I wanted a permanent position. I am going in tomorrow to sign paperwork. I may bring up the issue in some way or another and see what they say. I also will be asking how many classes on average I'll need to fill in for per week. I think they had a permanent position open, I want to ask what happened to it.
I have another job with the local college teaching ESL - also a part-time position. They pay $50 per 2.5-3 hour class. They've already offered me 9 classes to fill in over the next 2 weeks and I've accepted 7 of those that I could fit on my schedule. That's a decent number, but, again, having my own permanent class would be preferred. I've reached out to another specialist in their office who wanted to see my resume. She handles classes outside of ESL, but I haven't heard back from her yet.
My hours are also picking up on the online tutoring, which pays $10 per 25 minute class. My schedule isn't wide open for them, but I've been scheduled about 20 classes this week, although a few were cancelled.
The problem with these 3 jobs, while they pay better, is that I have no idea how many hours I can actually rely on. This setup also incurs an opportunity cost, where I have to decide how many and what hours to offer to my old part-time gigs at the climbing gym and the grocery store. For example, if I offer a Monday to those 2 jobs, then I lose the ability to earn more per hour if a substitute gig comes through.
Over the next couple weeks, I will monitor how many hours I average. Since balancing 5 part-time jobs is less than ideal, I'm considering dropping 1 or 2 of the other jobs. The climbing gym hours interfere with the substitute hours that fall in the evening. That's a problem because the gym only offers me $20-$25 per shift. The grocery store offers up some $70 per shift, but that takes up 8 hours, again leaving no time for the higher paying jobs.
One solution I'm considering at this time is dropping the climbing gym, and offering my weekends only to the grocery store. This way I can make some $140 over the weekend, while leaving the weekdays open for the online tutoring (which because of the timezone difference doesn't really interfere with any other job) and for the substitute opportunities.
I've heard being a substitute is a lousy gig since you're on call, have unreliable hours, have to travel all over for all sorts of different class locations, teach all sort of different classes (age, proficiency, subject, etc.), are frequently treated with less respect than the regular teacher (although I suspect this is less of an issue for ESL than public schools) and don't get any benefits of a permanent employee. Moreover, I've heard it is easy to get stuck being a substitute since schools always need a pool of substitutes, and are not eager to decrease the pool size.
Thus, I'm not sure what to think about picking up these two other jobs. I earn more per hour, but less per day, unless I can get multiple classes per day. And since my schedule has to be flexible, I lose the ability to schedule extra hours at the gym and/or grocery store otherwise I risk being unavailable for classes that come my way. The goal was to net 40 hours/week and average $20/hour between the two tutoring gigs. I'm not sure how realistic this will be now.
If I try to estimate my income from the 3 ESL jobs it would look something like this:
College ESL - 4.5 classes/week * $50/class * 4 weeks/mo = $900 (average based on first 2 weeks only)
Private ESL - 1 class/week * $17/hour * 5 hours/class * 4 weeks/mo = $340 (I don't know how many classes to expect)
Online ESL - 15 classes/week * $10/class * 4 weeks/mo = $600 (class frequency varies each week so far, some could be more, some much less)
Total = $1840/month or the same as I'm earning right already but for 26 hours/week instead of 40-50 hours/week.
See? I pray each week that I get classes, and when I do I may have to travel all over the city (which has terrible public transportation and is not all reachable by bike), and I take all of this uncertainty to basically earn the same income. Moreover, the college classes will likely drop during holidays and vacations. I'm not sure if its the same case for the private ESL company.
I'm also not super stoked to give up seeing my kids at the climbing gym. Sure, they can be a pain sometimes, but they look up to me, respect me, and I can honestly say they look forward to our time together - as do I.
Am I being too pessimistic? Sure, maybe I am. On the flip side, being a substitute and setting my own hours for the online tutoring means that I could open up my schedule wide open when I want to get away for a few days. Trip to Yosemite? Anytime. Head back home to Texas to see my Pops? Name the date. I'm also getting great experience that could easily lead to permanent classes. Maybe I can even pick up a charter school teaching gig come next Fall or even next semester, who knows. I'm not breaking my back at the grocery store, nor am I wasting time there getting near valueless experience. Lastly, I'm using more of my soft skills and even some of my college education (I have greater insight than others as to what its like learning a new language, having studied Spanish for some 6 years before college and then intensive college coursework in Chinese for 4 years, plus going abroad and using Chinese in the Middle Kingdom).
Overall feelings? "Meh," apathetic, so-so, unsure, and a little disappointment. This is one of those areas where I struggle. As mentioned in my last entry, I don't do well with uncertainty. Once I admit it and recognize the uncertainty is stressing me, I can actually flip my psyche 180 and embrace the hell out of the uncertainty. That's something I may have to do here... except there's the issue that balancing 5 part-time jobs may not be feasible. I have to make some
sort of decision in the next couple weeks. Whether that's giving the gym and the grocery store specific hours/days I can work and telling them leave me off the schedule for the rest, or straight up dropping one or both of the gigs. I don't really want to string either of my old employers along - I respect them too much. At the same time, I'm nervous to cut them off completely as I'm working with such uncertain hours and income!
#MillenialLife? I'll need a couple more weeks to feel out the new jobs. I'll go with the flow until then. We'll revisit this in a couple weeks and determine what is best for me. But really, I've been stressing too much over all of this employment business as of late. Time to just ride the wave for a bit
As always, your insight is greatly appreciated. Many of you are older and wiser and have maybe even been through situations like this. Otherwise, expect to hear from me later this month and good luck with your own ERE journeys!