There have been some big changes for us in the works for the last several weeks and I’m really excited to share the news about moving forward into some new life adventures. So here it is: After almost three years of working full-time at a bank, I’m starting a new part-time job so I can focus more time and energy on teaching piano lessons from home. Hooray!
It’s difficult to know what to say about leaving the bank job. I have learned a lot, but it’s hard and sad to think about spending so much time and energy on something I’m not cut out for. I really struggled with many aspects of my duties there. I’m not a “type A, everything in it’s place, just follow the rules, order-without-beauty” person. For most of my time there, there hasn’t been opportunity to exercise my personal strengths and I’ve felt very stifled. Furthermore, the regular full-time job thing means that my employer controls most of my life. Someone else chooses when I have to work, what I can wear, when I can eat lunch, if I can snack between meals, in some cases even when I can use the bathroom, whether or not I can have time off around the holidays to see family, how I can use e-mail and the internet, and so on. This is just part of life for most people, but it has weighed heavy on me this whole time.
I’ve been teaching piano in the evenings for about a year, and since that started I’ve turned down several families seeking afternoon lessons because I had to be at my regular job during that time. What? I can’t get paid fairly to do what I love because I’m too busy getting paid a lot less to stay at a job I don’t love? Who’s brilliant idea was that? We realized the absurdity of this situation. I would definitely prefer to be working from home doing things that I’m actually good at, so we began thinking about other boring, very grown-up topics that would impact this dream of responsible self-employment: health insurance, taxes, retirement savings, coupons, groceries, mortgage payments. It was clear that I would really need to work about 20 hours a week in some sort of flexible job, because music income would likely be a little shaky with school breaks and the variation of my students’ disposable income. So a few weeks ago, amid prayers and tears and a big part of me wondering if those lame-o money details would ever come together…
…a really flexible part-time job landed in my lap.
This is truly a gift. It’s so hard to feel like you’re slaving away, that your work-life (and consequently, the rest of your life) is just one giant blob of frustration and deadness, reading countless application rejection letters and wondering if anything will ever get better. Maybe because I have been through a long season like that, I can say pretty confidently that landing this new job was not of my own doing. Even in my gratefulness, it’s easy to wonder “Why now? Why not two years ago?” I don’t know why this came together now. Or why it happened at all, really. But grace opened a door and we’re running through it.
Naturally, I am thrilled – I’ll be working partially from home with quite a bit of control over my schedule, and the flexible part-time hours will give me more chances to market my music business and connect with future students. This means… from here on out, it’s all on me. This is a big change and a new sense responsibility on me. I’m excited, and a little nervous about jumping back into the role of the confident self-starter I was before my current job. Hopefully it will not take long to excel in this re-entry into a life of true self-government. Of course I know I can do this, but I’m not going to pretend there is no anxiety or sense of uncertainty somewhere deep inside me as I prepare for this.
Enough blabbing about these details, though. Plenty of people get through their whole lives not even knowing what they’re good at or what they would do if they could choose anything. The point is, I’m 25, I already know I’m good at some of the things I love, and I get to make a living doing something I’m really passionate about. And be my own boss at least half of the time. That’s pretty awesome.
[photo from kara paslay designs]