In the last two months, I have found myself trying to maintain two very different jobs, and doing it poorly. I am a teacher and a writer. I am an educator by day and a writer by any other time available.
It hasn’t been pretty. Trying to keep up with grading, lesson planning, blogging, writing and meeting deadlines has been difficult, but not impossible. I know so many people in my position. Maybe you’re a mom, but you also maintain a career. Maybe you’re a financial adviser and a community leader. Maybe you raise money for private schools, and maintain a style blog. Whatever your story, it is easy to be overwhelmed with responsibility, and be busy for vanity’s sake.
In our society an inbox full of e-mail and a schedule that looks hectic can make you feel important. But the truth of the matter is, that is all just vanity. So, in the midst of work– how can we remain sane, but not become vain?
I’m no expert, but here are some things I’ve learned.
1. Be motivated by something other than the paycheck.
The biggest buzzword of the last few years, in my opinion, is “community.” But for me, that summarizes my motivation for maintaining my teaching position while also cultivating a new frontier with writing. I am not simply burning the hours away at school, waiting for my paycheck and the next opportunity to write. Every moment is a chance to get to know someone better, whether it’s a student, a colleague, or a person I’m interviewing for a story. Every moment is a chance to love your neighbor– and that is a far better motivator than a bi-weekly pay stub.
A sweet student of mine, after a great performance this winter.
2. Manage time wisely
Duh. This is kind of a no-brainer, but is very difficult. Teaching for a full day at school, and completing writing assignments has been a challenge. Thankfully, at CPA, I’m given ample planning time to create lessons, grade papers, make phone calls, and organize my classroom. A few visits to twitter, facebook, or Joanna Goddard’s blog
, and I can waste a good measure of that precious time. I’ve had to discipline my “clicking” and “piddling” so that I can go home and really be
home. Although I am writing this blog post at 9 p.m. on the couch, which leads me to my next point.
3. Accept your limitations
This is especially hard for people like me that like to pretend I can do it all. I haven’t been able to cook every single night this month. Sometimes the dishes sat in the sink overnight. I haven’t been able to blog every day. The bathroom is looking a little gross, to be honest. Whatever. I have two jobs. I won’t always have two jobs. But for now, the bathroom can wait. Sorry, guests.
4. Walk through every open door
There are so many people in my position–in a job you like
, with a second job you love
and wish could be your only
job. If that’s where you are, hear me when I say this. Walk through every open door. Accept the invitation to the goat farm. Write the story you think you’re too inexperienced to write. Say thank you and keep going. Each opportunity can (and likely will) lead to another. Today, for example, Patrick and I went to Delvin Farms
to participate in their open house for retailers and restaurants. Will it turn into a story? Maybe, maybe not. But, I walked through the open door, and that’s what matters.
Hank Delvin Jr. + Cindy Delvin + Me
5. Be grateful
When I had one job, and still felt lost
, an honest friend told me it was probably because I wasn’t being grateful. And he was right. It took some soul searching for me to realize that I can be content whatever the circumstances (though sometimes I choose not to be). In this season, walking out of one job and into another, it would be easy to get bitter about one and fearful of the other. At times I have been bitter, and many moments I’ve given into fear; however, gratitude drives out bitterness and love drives out fear.
I am grateful for CPA kids I love.
I’m grateful for new experiences, and the community I love.
— What advice would you give to someone who is trying to learn how to manage a full time job for the first time? Or two full time jobs? Is there a way to stay grounded without getting lazy? Are there ways to accomplish a lot without becoming vain?–