On a bright snowy January afternoon, sitting in Foodswings in their last weekend open, over a lunch of fake wings and disco fries (Brooklyn’s version of my beloved chips, cheese & gravy), I told an old friend of my new year’s resolutions. Resolutions are out of character for me - usually decisions are just made and stuck to - but I had a lot that I was ready to let go of from the previous year. A lot of the emotional nonsense is still stuff that I’m coming to terms with and trying to make sense of, but that’s for another day.
Here was what I had decided:
1. That I had to get one full time job,
2. That I had to leave AB.
On top of everything that had been happening at home and all over my personal life, I had held down two jobs for the best part of two years. Here’s a thing they don’t tell you about having two part-time jobs: each job - no matter how much you think you can give, and no matter how much you try to give - expects all they can get, all the time. All of your time. All of your effort. If you’ve got work to take home, paperwork to catch up on, lessons to prepare, time to travel between jobs, well that all comes out of your time. Even negotiating whether or not you’re free for each job is hard - I can’t even count the number of times I’ve taken leave from one job only for my time off to get eaten up by the other job. I’m constantly tired, busy, straddling the ever-changing line between working too much and earning too little.
That said, I’m in a much stronger position than I was when I started this over-employed-but-not really malarkey. When I started, I was a shop monkey in a store I didn’t really care about, but tolerated because I loved my colleagues. Into this mix, I added shifts whenever I could get them at a coffee shop proximal to my home. (While visiting the shop recently, my friend Matt asked why I ever left that job. It was a fairly sweet deal - I signed up for shifts when I wanted them, made all the coffee I could handle, got to choose all my own music to play in the shop, and read when it was quiet. In spite of the people who would pester me on shift, it was pretty great. Side note: it closes this week and part of me is away with it.) While working these two jobs, I found the time and energy to apply for a youth work position which was very part time, but as I built up experience I could do more. I ended up teaching music in a studio and this has formed the basis for a lot of my youth work practice, it’s been great. Around this, I ended up working with young people in another job that I’m not going to say much about, but I’ve learned a heck of a lot in that position.
Recently, despite everything, things have been good. They’ve been settled. I’ve regained control when I came very close to losing all of it, and I feel like I’m powerful again. I’m away to start in one full time position, and keeping up sessional hours with another, but things are coming together. I’m where I want to be.