I taught a workshop last weekend — Wild Writing, Crazy Wisdom, a mix of yoga, meditation, and writing practice — and only two people showed up. Don’t get me wrong, they SHOWED UP, but…
This is why I got certified to teach yoga, so that I could teach this very thing, this magic mix of practices. I’ve been crossfading, or trying to, from my job at a university for the past six years. Laura Simms talks about the crossfade a lot, that time when you are still working your current job while also trying to grow your new career, so you essentially are doing two jobs. I feel some days like I’ve got what amounts to three jobs, and then there’s the laundry, and bills that need paid, and my floor is covered in dog hair and the toilet needs cleaned and my dogs are bored and I can’t remember the last time I flossed my teeth and I really want to go to the gym if only I had the time or the energy — and that doesn’t even include the things I want to do because I love them, like read a book or watch a movie or take a nap or hang out with my husband.
The truth is, when I teach my 7 am Tuesday morning yoga class, I’m only paid $3 per student, and a few weeks ago no one showed up, and last week my one regular student said she was starting a new job so probably wouldn’t be coming anymore. And my weekend workshops? The yoga studio gets to keep 40% of what I make, and then another 25% might go to taxes, so when only two people show up, there’s not a lot left — certainly not enough to justify a shift to a new career.
And I’ve been blogging like it’s my religion for six years. My weekly “Something Good” post is republished on Yoganonymous — they are partners with Wanderlust, and when I first started sharing my list, the editor was a friend who valued my work and paid me $25 per post. As soon as she was gone, they stopped paying me, offering me the “exposure” instead, which I gladly (sort of) took because the mission of my list is to inject some basic goodness into everyone’s Monday and “exposure” helps me do that, but again… no change in career is going to happen there.
And there are some really good reasons to stay where I’m at — my boss appreciates my work, I get tons of positive feedback, most of my colleagues are really good people that I love working with, it’s that magic mix of what I’m good at being what someone else needs, I have really good benefits (health insurance, paid sick leave, yearly raises, retirement, and summers off), and I have no way of knowing if the new career I’ve imagined in my head will be any more fulfilling or any less stressful than what I’m already doing, (and once I leave, it’s not like I can come right back if it doesn’t work out).
I’m not complaining, just giving you the backstory for my point: recently I’ve been thinking that maybe my university job is what I do to be able to fund the gifts I offer in other ways, that it isn’t about changing careers or making enough money somewhere else or getting anything like fame for myself. If money weren’t an issue, I know what I’d do, how I’d spend my days — but money is an issue, and I can’t pretend like its not.
You know you have a great career in education (it is a very important job – encouraging young (and perhaps older too) students in their efforts to find their voice through writing, helping them discover their own unique style etc., great benefits as you outline, fair monetary compensation and the list goes on… I think you’d be crazy to even consider leaving such a wonderful career which I imagine could be transformed by you over the years into something more to your liking. Who knows, maybe one day you will be able to incorporate more of your “dream” career into the one you have now… Just remember, those summers off are sooo nice…You are one lucky girl!! But , I think you know that !
Someday, if I do decide to leave, you will know it was a very carefully considered choice, not crazy. 🙂
Thank you for putting this out there. I’ve been struggling with this for the past almost 3 years in the opposite way but wanting the same as you. I’ve been teaching yoga for about 3 years. Even I teach at least 7 classes a week I can’t support myself like I did when I worked a 9-5 job. I’ve been trying to find a part time job that will still allow me to keep my teaching schedule and make more than what I do teaching. I’m still searching. Thankfully my husband and I never really “needed ” my salary to live on. But I do, like you say, to help support the gifts. I do for my own self esteem, to not feel so dependent. Trying to find the balance….
I feel really lucky to have the “problem” of trying to figure out what to do with my life, what I want, from a perspective of comfort, stability, and yet it can still be frustrating, trying to get to that place where it feels like it all fits, it’s all working. ❤
I love your down-to-earth insights on this issue. So many people in the online world are telling us we can be epic and do anything, but is that really true? I had an empathetic laugh when I read how you’ve been blogging like a religion for 7 years. I wish you the very best with whatever you decide.
You are so right, Sandra — there are so many fairy tales told around the issue of work and doing what we love. What’s been helpful lately is realizing I don’t have to decide anything right now, don’t have to make some sort of definitive choice. I don’t have to trust my own stories about it either. ❤
Here’s a crazy idea: could you propose a class at your paying job that incorporates yoga? If I were a student I would be all over that! I love you, Jill and you have no idea how much your blogs and posts have inspired me over the last year. Thank you!
This is so good to hear, Cat. ❤ Seriously, if I had to choose between having exactly what I wanted in my own life or having things as they are but being able to encourage others who are working to figure it all out, I'd definitely chose the latter!