Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Changes

It's the beginning of July, and I have decided that it is time to shake things up a bit ...

I've decided to hand in my two-weeks notice at work on Friday.  This was kind of a difficult decision to make, because I do not have another job lined up right away.  I am applying for (and likely will get) a work study position at UWO in September, so I'm confident I will have another source of income in 1-2 months.  However, I will be unemployed for a month, maybe two.  I do like the people I work with, so I feel a bit sad that I won't see them as often anymore.  Many of them I probably won't see again.  But there are many more personal reasons why it makes sense for me to leave work right now.

First, my aunt and my cousin are coming from England in one week for my sister's wedding.  I did not give enough notice of my vacation dates to book the time of, nor does my position provide me with enough vacation hours to book off the time that they will be here.  I have not seen them in eight years!  I probably will not see them for another eight years, possible more.  My uncle Gerry, who is very dear to me, cannot travel because of poor health.  Although my Aunt Pat is doing alright health-wise right now, who knows how that may change in a few years?  They are both in their sixties and aren't getting any younger.  This will probably be the last time my cousin Karen visits, as well.  Unless there is some family tragedy in my immediate family, I can't see her coming back to Canada.  I certainly do not have the money to travel to England now, and I can't forsee myself having enough money either in the next five years at least!  I love my family, and I rarely ever see them, so I want to spend every possible moment that I can with them during the two weeks they are here and make happy memories.  When I look back on my life, what am I going to value more: the extra month I worked at Sykes for a few paycheques which will quickly disappear, or the two weeks I can spend with my loved ones, who have travelled thousands of miles to be with us this summer?

Second, my work schedule does not permit me to have rehearsals for Leo two evenings a week.  My shift preferences are either ignored or cannot be accomodated with everyone else's.  I must attend these rehearsals: I am the director - there is no show without me!  I've also invested close to $600 already into this production and I do not want 1) to lose the money I have invested already, or 2) to lose the opportunity to create another show.  If I have the rest of the summer off, I can fully dedicate my time to this production and give it the attention it deserves.  I feel it would be a half-assed effort if I didn't.  Also, having another show under my belt is great for my resume.  I want the theatre to be my career - not a call centre.  Why dedicate so many of my waking hours to a job I dislike and will not get me anywhere in the chosen field?  Besides, Sykes just isn't a challenge for me anymore.  I have been working there just under eight months and already I have some of the highest stats of anyone working there, including people who have been there for many years.  I'm already one of the people at the top, and there's nowhere else to go now.  There is some upward mobility at Sykes, but not right now, and it is definitely not an option with me going back to school in September.  I was planning on going down to part time in September anyway, or even quitting by the end of August, so this has just pushed it forward a bit.

The reason I wanted to reduce my hours in August is because I want to start volunteering.  Sykes is unrewarding work for me.  I want to volunteer places where I feel useful, where I believe in the work being done, and where I can gain valuable work experience in the arts.  I have already applied to volunteer at Art for AIDS International, and the founder wants me to start right away.  Work of this kind is not only something I want to do, but working in the arts/not-for-profit industries will provide me with invaluable experience, make connections and network with other people in the field, and will look great on my resume.  When I'm applying for a job with my Arts Management Diploma, what will look better on my resume: employed 20111-2012 at Sykes Assistance Services? Or volunteered at Arts for AIDS International/The ARTS Project/The Palace Theatre/CHRW Radio Station, etc.?  Any number of those organizations would look so much better on a resume!  I can work in fields relevant to my education: marketing, fundraising, publicity, community development, etc.

When it comes down to it, family, artistic integrity, and work experience far outweighs the $1000 I might make in August at Sykes.  Yes, money is important; as a student with several thousands of dollars of debt, trust me I know.  But in the long term, money does not trump happiness.  Not in my books.