My friends and family know that I am incredibly task-driven and often bite off more than I can chew. This has never been more true in my life than right now.
In August of 2013, I took a job at a small private charter school working as a kindergarten paraprofessional. The job offer was timely and I needed the security of benefits and employment before Rob and said our "I do's" a few weeks later.
I have been at this full-time job for 2 years now and have learned a ton. I have also discovered that although I can work with younger students, it's not where my natural talents or passions find their home. I miss working with the slightly older, more independent students. Younger students have a lot of needs that they need to tell you about. Each minute of each day was filled with students' needs. After two years of this, I am pretty exhausted.
Furthermore, while the benefits were good, the pay was pretty low--$20,000 a year to be exact. I know that most people with a masters degree would never dream of taking a job for this salary. In fact, I could have this exact same job with only 2 years of post-secondary education; I have 7. So it's been a pretty humbling and tiring two years.
As a result, I have sought out opportunities that are more directly related to my career and can also help supplement my income. For awhile, I was trying to get into the admissions department at a university. To work toward this goal (and also compensate for my dismal salary), I started working in our apartment complex as a leasing agent every other week-end. This job involves a lot of customer service and administrative skills. I was hoping that this experience would make me more marketable for admissions' jobs. Per hour at this office job, I make about what I made working at Caribou Coffee.
To help me get my fill of teaching and continue working toward my goal of teaching post-secondary students, I took an online teaching job with a non-profit company. When I started with this company, I was their first employee. I had hopes of helping develop the curriculum and teaching standards for this company. That dream was quickly shot down by another founder of the company who did not want to include curriculum in our teaching. I have been teaching now with this company for about 1 year, and I realize that it is a lot of work without really providing any promise of being more than what it is-- passive income for my employers while I am busting my butt every week for an addition $200-$300 a month.
I feel that my friends are often frustrated that I am constantly so busy with my multiple jobs. I understand their frustration, but I also know that they all make incomes that support them. It is easy to judge people and make assumptions; it's much more difficult to try and understand why people might be making the choices they are. Working three jobs, at about 50 hours a week, I am making about $25,000 a year before taxes. I am frustrated. I am tired. I am seeking opportunities to work smarter, not harder, but I am coming up with nothing.
And I know that even though I often feel alone in this frustration, I am not alone. I know that many people are in the same situation: underemployed with talents and gifts that lay dormant. What is your career story?