Frozen heart

Hey there,

I know I’ve been quiet again. From nothing to daily posts…and then I go again.

The day after my last post, reality hit. I started writing a new post.. mainly along the lines of ‘what have I done?’. Repeatedly.

It didn’t help that a colleague messaged me to tell me big changes had happened at my (now) old school. Should I have just waited?

No, I shouldn’t. I can’t deny my financial worries haven’t plagued me all week because they have.

But…

The same day I got a call to say I had been cleared to work. Wednesday I met the young man and I started tutoring him Friday. I also told the company I wasn’t happy with the pay, and they’ve raised it and extra £5 an hour.

Thursday I went for an interview at another agency. It’s local, I like the manager, and he’s said he can find me work and – more than that – he’ll find me exactly the right place.

Friday afternoon I got a call from a third agency. They’ve said pretty much the same thing – they have contacts, they can find me work. They mentioned a job that I can start immediately, subject to checks etc. It will be until July.

So…all in all…I know, financially I’m in for a rough ride in the next few months. But I will get there.

As usual, I’m undecided in which route to take. I’m not planning on making a decision for a day or too.

I can’t…I just can’t get my business idea out of my head. I’ve talked about this..or a simple version of this… for 8 years or so. It won’t come out of my head.

And yet…I’m not really doing anything about it. Yes, I’m thinking a lot. I’ve done some planning. I’ve made a few small steps, unfortunately which haven’t got me even to the starting block never mind off it. But in my heart, this is what I should do.

My head.. well my head tells me to tale the financially secure version. The version which helps everyone but…freezes my heart.

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Rain, clouds and coffee.

Following yesterday’s post, it’s not to say world is always rosy now. In fact, it definitely has a horse manure hue and stench to it at times.

I’m sat in Dobbies Garden Centre in a smart grey suit. I’ve just eaten a very expensive and below par gluten free bacon sandwich which I paid the extortionate price of £4 for. (Note to Dobbies, saying you have ‘gluten free options’ and offering tiny frozen gluten free bread only, is not the same thing). I’ve just managed to spend £90 in two shops, which is interesting because that’s over half of what I would have earned if I had gone into work today.

I left the house three hours ago and set off to do my first day of supply teaching. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t sleep last night for the first time in months because I didn’t want to go.

I’m loving my tutoring. But if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Due to where I work in the various school, my half term is split over two weeks. So today, arguably a half term day, I thought it best to do a day of supply, you know to get some money in.

I have been hounded by, and finally signed up to, a supply agency. Having never been on supply before, I’m not sure how they are meant to work, but I’m not impressed so far. They’re pushy, presumptive and focused on business and not their staff. I was asked at interview what I wanted to be paid a day and I told them. With my experience, I don’t think it was too much – and they agreed – but it still works out less than what an experienced teacher would earn over a day. Oh well.

Imagine my ‘delight’ then, when I discovered that they were paying me £30 less than requested, only £10 more than a newly qualified teacher (I’ve been teaching 18 years). After some discussion, they offered me an extra £10 and I agreed to do the day begrudgingly. I needed the money and felt that it was worth a try. They promised to discuss further after the day.

So, as I drove through the pouring rain, navigating through motorway roadworks and traffic jams, imagine my surprise when they called me to day that the school had cancelled and could I go elsewhere? I’m not good with sudden change (SEN?!) And I was annoyed at the presumption that I would just agree – they’d actually told the school I was available. The school is one I tutor at, and am doing well in. But having witnessed the plight of supply teachers there first hand, and not wanting to undo all the positive relationships I have made there, I eventually declined after some umming and ahhing. They were surprised and not happy.

Neither was I to be fair. All too quickly, my head descended in to its mind fog; fear and limiting beliefs and inner voices choruses for attention. Had I done the right thing in declining? Can I afford to not work like this? Is the agency going to ‘let me go’? How do I actually feel about that.

So, I drove. I drove with no particular idea of where I wanted to be, but I knew I didn’t want to go home just yet.

Eventually, I walked through the rain to a supermarket and filled the basket with healthy fruit and vegetables. I went to a second shop to buy ambient goods, applauding myself on my economical shopping whilst inside fear raged.

And that’s when I ended up at the garden centre. I needed a coffee, maybe some breakfast and perhaps would spend more money I don’t have.

As I wrote the above, I was called by the agency. They were apologetic about the morning and the impression they had given of themselves. I likewise apologised for seeming awkward. We had a long discussion about what they can offer and what I am ultimately looking for (?!).

After, I left the coffee shop and meandered through the garden centre. I’ve bought some seeds and treated myself to a rose for Valentine’s Day.

The sun is shining now and the clouds have cleared.

It’s easy to allow the negativity and fear to take over. In that state, decision making is useless. I needed time to think, and I did so. I needed time to talk and I did so. I’ve still spent money instead of making it, but so-be-it. I feel more positive about supply next week.

In the meantime, I need to keep making positive steps towards my own business and future. That’s the I love way to ensure I’m doing what I actually want and not what I must.

Too

I have completed my first “full” week of tutoring. Well, as full as it can be at present. I’ve got three full days and two afternoons. I’m loving those two mornings off but realistically I need to be earning more money.

Earlier in the week I was contacted by a teaching agency who had seen my CV online. I was invited to interview and the recruiter was very persistent in saying I could have full time work if I wanted in January. As a supply agency, I could also have short term and emergency cover if I wanted.

I was flattered at her persistence and agreed to go to the interview, which was this evening. I took everything I needed with me to work today, and planned to complete the application form over lunch.

I had a great day. I taught four session and three of those were 1:1. These new pupils could be potentially challenging- and I felt a little like a babysitter at first as I got the sense they were with me because the school couldn’t do anything else with them – but I worked my charm and they slowly but surely got on board.

These boys are only a year older than my own son. Added to that, I’ve always been able to get through to disaffected boys on the whole and get them on side. It’s what I’m good at.

The last session was cancelled so I decided to go and buy lunch before my interview. Except, I realised, I didn’t want to go. I get so much job satisfaction from this role. I don’t want to teach full time again, at the moment anyway. I enjoy working with small groups of pupils who often come to me with no confidence or self esteem. My aim is to give it them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done the right thing but it has thrown up some questions for me.

How can I increase my income?

How long can I afford to do this?

Am I being selfish?

I still receive daily job emails and I’ve noticed that some of the tutoring agencies pay more. Like £10 an hour more. That’s potentially £250 a week more.

Problem is, I like this agency. It’s a small business and I like the way the owner thinks. He’s paying me the top of what he advertised but I’m wondering if I should have pushed for more when he asked what I was expecting. Weirdly, the agency I didn’t go to asked the same thing.

How do you price yourself? How do you ensure you are not asking too little or too much?

At present, I’m still on probation so I won’t be asking for a rise any time soon. But I will do in the future. The schools seem to be happy with me and 2 out of 3 have asked me to do more work. That’s bringing money in for him too.

For now, and at least until Christmas is over, I’m happy with what I’m doing.

5am

I’m ashamed to say that I’m still awake. It’s 5.30am.

I wish I could say I had been out socialising. Or had spent the night having passionate sex, or talking the night away by candlelight. I’d even settle for working a night shift.

No. Nothing so enjoyable, satisfying or productive. I just can’t sleep.

Since my last ‘woe is me’ post, a few things have happened. My ex apologised…then asked for money. I ranted at my daughter for the unfairness of it all and then realised that I’m to blame. I could say no. I could have a clear picture of my finances to be able to say yes or no.

So this morning in a flurry of purpose, spurred on by last night’s attempt until 2am, I got to work.

Yes, it took hours. Yes, it was absolutely depressing. Yes, I’m going to be severely short of money in January. But I did it. I even managed to sort a few things out.

If my plan to work full time from October had happened, I would be ok. It’s now 22nd Nov and it still hasn’t happened.

I sat and wrote a list of 18 ways I can increase my income. I was pumped, positive. Who says I need one source of income? Why can’t I put all my skills and hobbies to work to earn more cash?

By this afternoon, it had all come crashing down. Maybe, I just need a proper teaching job.

There is a Head of English job going in the next city. It pays well. I could do it. I don’t want it.

I’ve looked at exam marking. Considered babysitting, selling anything sellable in my house and writing. Working abroad. Getting a lodger. Getting an evening job washing dishes like my daughter. Ridiculous.

This, this is why I’m sat here, bleary eyed and a little dizzy and wanting but failing to sleep.

I’m tired. But I’m also tired of lying in bed and worrying, missing, stressing, thinking, hating.

I wish I could afford a life or business coach, but I can’t. I wish I could keep away from my savings but I don’t think I can. I wish I could be there for my children and earn enough money to live comfortably. I think it is impossible.

My positive note for today is that I have faced the rather depressing 6 month old elephant in the room. Now I just need to work out how I can earn some money.

Yesterday I felt like things were aligning positively.

I had my interview. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted the job but it was a good opportunity, paid well and I had done well to get this far.

I felt like I did ok. I wasn’t too nervous. My presentation went as planned. I answered the questions and tried to get my research in. At the end I was told that the start date could be September which was perfect. I could have my summer with my kids and Wildcard, recuperate and start a new career.

Even better, my sister sent me a screenshot of an industry specialist predicting that Wildcard’s country would be on the greenlist.

In the afternoon, I finally-finally spent some time considering my future and what I really want. I still don’t know exactly bit I have an idea. If I am brave enough.

I also spent some time scouring jobs and felt some relief that, actually, there are quite a few I am interested in and I may have a chance at. There is a big wide world outside of school.

So, all good then.

Until today.

Yes, I am tired. Yes, my son and his friends kept me up all night. Yes, there had been a minor concern with Wildcard (which was nothing as usual). But it gets worse.

I didn’t pass my assessment interview and I won’t be put forward for the last stage. I didn’t know how I felt when I read it. Now I realise more than anything it was fear that I am still without a job.

And of course, last night was the news that the UK Government has characteristically gone back on what they’ve promised and there are actually less countries on green now and more on red. And Wildcard’s country still isn’t open anyway, as of today. So, yes, bad day.

I’ve been ok though. A little quiet and pensive but no tears. I’ve just got to keep on. There are about four jobs I am interested in now. A couple are long shots and a couple sound wonderful but don’t pay well. Could I start my tutor business to top up my wage until it takes off properly?

My own business is what I want. What I’ve wanted for a long time. See, I told you I’d finally allowed myself to think about it. 😁😇

But. The thing I am most worried about is not having enough money to survive. I’ve looked at where I can make savings, and, there aren’t many to be honest. I don’t get any financial help from my ex – I help him! – and that is unlikely to change for some time.

A job is better than no job. Right?

Do I go for the jobs I really like the sound of, but don’t pay as much? Or do I force myself to apply for teaching jobs even though I don’t want to? Do I try to be brave and go for some of the other management jobs that I like the sound of but have no idea if I even have a slim chance?

And the conclusion is?

I’m going to apply for anything that takes my fancy and see what happens.