Saturday, June 9, 2007

Dropping out for a short while...

I will probably not be blogging as much for the next 4 weeks or so because I have several projects lined up that will be taking most of my time. I am a newbie, so I thought I would post this announcement to let everyone know that I did not get bored and the novelty has not worn off.

And when I return, I plan to have some great new pictures because I intend to spend the week of the 4th in beautiful, sunny South Beach!

What's happening?

I've mentioned that I lost my job in early March. It's amazing to me what a blessing that was (and not even in disguise). I was 'let go' with 7 others. My position within the company was eliminated. My supervisor who hired me, trained me, and had worked there for 8 years was dismissed 10 minutes before I was and given 20 minutes to clean out her office. (Yeah. It was like that!) So, I didn't feel bad for myself. I knew it was nothing personal, no reflection on my job performance - but my God! Did the management handle it badly!

But that is not my point. I was working for a company that I liked, with people that I liked, and then someone (in management) decided that changes needed to be made. Changes did need to be made. And I am all for positive change, but.. that was not how things were shaping up. So, even before I was let go, I was thinking of making my exit. And as I sat in the conference room listening to the cliches and platitudes about what good workers we were and how sorry they were and how my supervisor would trade places with us if he could (Yeah, right!)...It was all I could do to keep from smiling.

There have been few times I have felt so free. I had reached a point where I wanted to quit, but that seemed like a very irresponsible choice, since I had not lined up anything else. However, being let go meant that I was eligible to collect unemployment while I transitioned and nobody would look at me crazy and say: why did you leave a perfectly good job that was paying the bills?

I called up all my friends and said: Guess what? I got liberated from my job!

They were worried because I sounded too happy. Everyone figured the reality had not set in. Nope. That was really how I felt. Finally free to pursue other interests and do some things I love. And maybe figure out how to make money at it in the mean time...

I am not entirely unemployed at the moment, only severely underemployed. I am naturally good at standardized tests, and I love to teach, so about 6 years ago I started working for a test prep company. I teach high school kids and adults how to get higher scores on SATs, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE and the like. It's a fun job and the hourly rate of pay is great, but it's a contract position and jobs are assigned on a first come first serve basis. All of the teachers/tutors in my area get an e-mail and whoever confirms a class first gets the job.

And even at that the classes don't usually run more than 4 or 5 weeks at anywhere from 3 - 6 hours a week, so... this job does not pay the bills.

However, the local office of my company formed a partnership with Clemson University. Clemson has a department that is focused on recruiting minority and underprivileged students. Every year they run a two week Boot Camp, and our SAT course is included in the curriculum. It's an excellent program that I am glad to be part of. Students from all over the state apply and a limited number (this year it is 125) are selected based on G.P.A and other factors - a lot like scholarship programs. I have loads of fun with them.

The camp starts on Monday June 11th and runs for two weeks. I will have to commute to Clemson and it is almost an hour each way. I've been teaching SAT for so many years I could almost teach it in my sleep, but I have been told that the course materials were significantly revamped, so I will need to prep 1 hour for each hour of class time. Plus, the course is normally arranged where I teach 2.5 hours a week over 8 weeks, but for the boot camp I will be teaching 4 hours a day, every day That leaves very little margin for preparation between classes. I'm going to feel like I'm back in there is all the driving.

I live within the city limits of a pretty small town. It has been a personal rule since I moved here that I would not accept employment that required me to drive more than 15 minutes one way. And in 9 years, I've been able to stick to it. So, I hate a commute, but what can you do? I'm not really complaining because I get hourly pay and mileage, so, it really is all good. But I said all that to say that the entire endeavor will be quite time-consuming and I really won't have time to blog.

I'll have one buffer week after the camp ends before I leave for Miami, but at the end of that week I'm attending a 3-day convention. Now, I am not complaining about that either. I am quite looking forward to time away from home and on the beach. Travel is my third favorite hobby (behind reading and writing, narrowly ahead of dancing - and you know I will get my salsa on in SoBe!) so I routinely surf the 'net looking for travel deals. I found a deal that included 4 nights at a trendy boutique hotel for about $250. Not per person, mind you, and not per night: total!

That's less money than it would cost me to drive to Myrtle Beach (which is so not as cool as Miami) and stay in a dinky motel that didn't even have beach access.

Unemployed or not, I felt like I couldn't afford not to go, so me and my bestis friend are flying out on July 2 to spend a week at the beach.

And...just yesterday I got an e-mail from the test prep company about a 5 week workshop in Paris! How awesome would that be! I replied right away, but I feel like everyone and their brother is going to jump at that opportunity, but it's sort of short notice (it begins on July 10) and I'm just hoping that of the people who are qualified to teach it, most have job or family obligations that would prevent them from following through. That's why I never did. It still doesn't pay much, but, hey! It's a free trip to Paris!!!

What's not to love?

I wanna say wish me luck...but I know luck has nothing to do with it.

Anyway, that's an overview of the next four weeks for me. I'll be back to post when I can.


Carmen In NC said...

Bless your heart. I feel so bothersome TAGGING YOU!!! Please see my blog.

Mel said...

Have fun while your working; I'm sure you'll think of lots of things to blog about during your commute.
Paris eh? How cool, and not too far from London...

n'Drea said...

Wow, a lot has been going on with you. But, when one door closes, another one opens. I know what you're talking about re being liberated from a job. I've experienced being made redundant, and I used that closed-door-open-door opportunity to pursue further studies. Also, and I DON'T recommend it, I took a huge risk a few months ago, when I left my then job - with nothing lined up! Yeah, I got a better job 2 weeks later, but I ONLY took that chance after recognising the need to make a transition, and ONLY after MUCH prayer about the decision.

Anyway, I'm gonna miss your blogging. However, I realise that you're in a new season of your life, and that you've gotta do what you've gotta do. More power to you, sista. Bring back abundant tales to tell, and, of course, tons of pics.