The two-year small-business development program for which I’ve applied—and it now looks like we have a fair chance of acceptance—has a four-month “boot camp” period in the fall, requiring a once-weekly meeting that conflicts with one of my afternoon courses. Adjunct teaching can’t be called a “day job” by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the closest thing to it that I have on my plate just now. Of the three enterprises at which I labor, the part-time teaching job brings in the most cash on a quasi-regular basis.
We will not know until just before the semester starts whether the AAAME program will accept The Copyeditor’s Desk. If we don’t get in, I sure don’t want to forego that munificent $2,400 paid over four months. However, I didn’t feel I could wait until the day before class begins to tell the departmental chair, who has been very generous with me, that I’m walking out on a section.
So, I made up my mind to quit part of the day job: to drop the afternoon class that would overlap the AAAME meetings. It’s not like I don’t have $2,400 in my long-term survival savings account, after all.
Actually, over the past couple of months, enough work has come in to The Copyeditor’s Desk that the business could pay me that much next fall without doing itself any harm. Matter of fact, it owes me a little over $3,000 in the form of a loan for start-up capitalization, made way back in two thousand and aught-ten. So I could simply withdraw the equivalent of my net pay, which doesn’t come anywhere near $2,400, as a tax-free loan repayment.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Well. When I went to meet with the chair, he suggested that instead of dropping the third course altogether, I pick up an early-morning Tuesday-Thursday section. That would hedge my bets, and I wouldn’t have to draw down funds from the business to cover base living expenses.
Unenthusiastically, I agreed to this; then realized that at 7:30 every Thursday morning, I’m supposed to be in Scottsdale! It would be counterproductive to enroll in a business development program that’s supposed to be showing you how to market your company while, at the same time, dropping out of one’s main networking group, eh?
So he countered that I should take on a Monday-Wednesday section, at the same ungodly hour.
Ugh. I sure don’t relish traipsing to campus at 6:45 in the morning. Nor do I especially welcome a “full” course load (which it ain’t , but it’s the most the junior college district will allow adjuncts to teach) while I’m devoting a minimum of 16 hours a week to the AAAME project and hustling business and, with any luck at all, actually doing business.
On the other hand…
We do not know that we will continue to get the kind of work we’ve seen this summer. It’s a never-rains-but-it-pours sort of business: you can go for months without seeing a single assignment, and then all of a sudden a bevy of nice jobs lands on your desk. There’s no guarantee that we’ll get any work this fall, to say nothing of enough to keep the wolf from the door.
And, if we do get enough work that I actually could pay myself a little salary and take a little dividend…think of that! Another three to five thousand dollars of income would mean I could live almost like a normal human being!
That would be refreshing.
Even the unholy hour presents an advantage: it will force me to get up, get dressed, leave the house, and meet some live human beings before the real workday starts. Right now, the weekly Scottsdale Business Association meeting is the only thing that makes me do that. Since I routinely get up at 4 or 5 a.m., I often roll out of the sack, walk the two steps across the hall, and plop into a chair in front of the computer. There I will sit, all. day. long, often without getting up to so much as bathe and brush my teeth. I’m getting so little exercise that my back and hips have started to hurt from sitting in a desk chair for hours on end without moving.
Later in the semester, when the mornings cool off a bit, I could throw my hiking boots in the car and stop by the mountain preserve on the way home, getting in a mile of walking before parking myself in front of the monitor. This would help a great deal with the aching joints and the avoirdupois.
As unpleasant as it sounds, having to get up and get going at that hour will actually be a good thing.
Sooo…. Now I’m scheduled to teach a 101 section at 7:30 in the morning Mondays & Wednesdays, a 102 section at noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the magazine-writing course online in the second half of the semester. It’s far from ideal—my dream is to quit the “day job” (such as it is) altogether—but it has some things to recommend it.