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Yet another internal conversation about what I want from work

October 5th, 2012 at 05:40 am

How about that? After 3 or 4 weeks of mostly steady freelance work, I'm pretty much all caught up. I actually have free time.

I interviewed yesterday for the preschool job with the director and chairman of the board (clerical work, 4 hours daily, 5 days a week, $15/hr). The director really seemed to like me, while the COB didn't say much, so I don't know.

The director was saying how much help i could be in helping them brand the preschool and do a lot of promotional writing and PR stuff. While I am sure I could be of help there, I have mixed feelings about it all, since they advertised for "general office help" at $15/hr. I usually charge much more than that in my freelance business for marketing and PR work, so I sort of feel like this was a little bait and switch here.

They were very nice people and it's a non-profit dependent on state aid, so i know they couldn't afford to pay more. But I'm not sure it's ethical/fair to get a professional writer whom you've hired as office help to heavily discount her writing services for you (over 50%) just becus you have her answering your phones. What do you think?

Doing that kind of work for them WOULD make the job much more interesting to me, although the COB said the more routine stuff would take up 95% of my time. The director disagreed. If it did take up the bulk of my time, the job could prove very boring for me, but I'm more concerned about whether I could actually do it.

You see, I know what i'm good at and what i'm not good at. I have held a handful of customer service-oriented jobs in my life, mostly when I was much, much younger, and i found I was terrible at it becus i tend to want to do my own thing and quickly get impatient, even annoyed, with people I need to wait on. I'd like to think I've matured and would be better at it now, but there are certain personality characteristics that stay with you, and I'm thinking this could be one of mine.

So I've been feeling very torn about it and feel I should make up my mind in case they make an offer.

On the one hand, I really need the money. We're talking a difference between netting just $400 a month now from my abbreviated driving job with J., a job that will end next May anyway, versus netting about $1100 a month with this job, which is 5 minutes from home. If I took this job, no more early morning rises to drive J., and I wouldn't have to deal with bad weather, driving 2 hours plus daily.

But I think I will probably pass on the job for reasons stated above. I also found myself thinking of how much more sickness I'd be exposed to working in an environment with 60 little kids and their constant colds and all. I hate being sick, and I hate working when I'm sick.

Also, fearing that I might not do well with the customer service aspects of the job and knowing that i would likely either quit prematurely when something better came along or that they could let me go if i didn't measure up (there were complaints about my predecessor's customer service skills, apparently), it might be better to bide my time a bit longer to get something better rather than take on a job I know is iffy and leave a trail of short-term work experiences that didn't pan out.

My preference would be more hours but fewer days per week, partly so that I wouldn't have to get all dressed up and looking "presentable" just for 4 hours. Although local jobs in my hometown are pretty few and far between.

I don't know. I was thinking I could tell them something else came along if they made an offer, but then tell them i'd still be open/available to doing their PR work at the same rate of pay but on a freelance basis. So i wouldn't be tied down to working in their office and i wouldn't have to do the clerical work.

My unemployment benefits safety net is good thru year's end; after that, i'm on my own. My absolute minimum monthly expenses are $1800, so starting in 2013, whatever shortfall i have from driving J. or working at the preschool or doing something else would have to be made up by my freelance work.

That would be problematic. In 2012, my average monthly income from freelance writing alone was just about $600, so simply doing my freelance work and driving J. next year alone would not be a tenable situation; I'd have to dig into savings to pay the bills.

If I consider this as only a choice between driving J. and the preschool job, the choice is easy. (Take the preschool job.) But there are plenty of other possiblities out there. It would be a risk to pass on a possible job offer in the wings, but I think I will take my chances.

Aside from having paid off the mortgage, my financial situation is pretty much as dicey as before, yet I found myself last night responding to an email from a voting registrar in a neighboring town saying "no thanks."

Earlier this year and last, I worked as a poll worker in my hometown maybe 4 times. I did it for the money, $175. But it's a VERY long day, from about 5:30 am to 8:15 pm....15 hours!

So when I was desperate to earn income any way i could, i realized i could venture beyond my own hometown and do the poll worker thing in other nearby towns as well. I had approached this particular voting registar before but had yet to work for him. He emailed me last night to tell me about a special election they were having and did i want to work.

Again, after much internal back and forth dialogue, I decided against it. It's just a very long day and you can't leave the premises for any reasons and at least in my town, they didn't even have a refrigerator so you had to get creative about what kind of food to bring. There was an ice cooler or two there. Given how many seniors wind up doing this sort of work, I'm surprised they don't break the day up into two shifts. A 15-hour stretch is hard on anyone, but probably more so on seniors. Yes, you could take little bathroom breaks or walk around the gym if you wanted, but it's not like you could just take a nap or sit on anything other than a hard, cold metal folding chair. I must be getting old. What a complainer I've become.

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