Category Archives: Career & Education

Suffering Supervisor

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I work with someone with whom there is mutual and active dislike. I
am her only supervisor and report to a boss of my own who thinks she
only needs better direction and instruction. He is unwilling to mentor
me in how to provide it or take his own time to give it. Sadie is a
single mom (something she tells us regularly) who tries to ingratiate
herself with everyone (except me). Ironically this has backfired and
she’s managed to annoy most of the staff with her prima donna
attitudes. I’m responsible for training her and getting productive work
out of her. I have tried being her friend, being stern, and being
professional, but nothing seems to dent her pseudo-sunny personality
and haphazard performance. She’s been here a very long three
months. How much more time do we owe her to see if she will work
out?

Suffering Supervisor

 
Dear Suffering:

It’s always hard to be caught between bad help and a hard boss.
Assuming you want to keep your own job, you’ll have to tread carefully
and document your footsteps. Most of all, don’t take it in emotionally
so much that you lose your own self-esteem or act in ways that might
reflect badly on you. Give all your instructions in writing, finding a
balance between micro-management and careful explanations. Cc your
supervisor if the task is particularly important to his deadlines, so it’s
clear that you see the big picture and gave your staff enough lead time
to meet the needs of the project.

 
As for how long you’ll suffer before a change, immediately do a three-
month evaluation. Be explicit about both her flaws and performance
expectations for the next month. Repeat this exercise every four
weeks until she improves and you change your mind, she leaves on
her own, or your boss sees enough to fire her. Protect your own
reputation as a supervisor by acting like a friendly mentor (even if
you’re gritting your teeth inside). Be seen as putting the organization’s
needs first, at least in public rhetoric. Be sure not to take your
frustrations out on your family. Keep a calendar countdown to six
months, the outer limit of deciding. You’re already halfway there.

Still In His Prime

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve worked for 35 years and could afford to retire tomorrow if money
were all that mattered. But I just cut a fabulous deal to go to .25 time
at my firm as a Senior Advisor starting in January, make big bucks per
hour, and even be eligible for a bonus. I am simply not ready to give
up such a windfall, at least without trying it for six months. But my
wife says I am too stressed out and I should quit. I say look at the
vacations we could take with the money. You get a vote, though I
know the details are sketchy. What say you?

Still In His Prime

 
Dear Still In His Prime:

Money is hard to turn down; in our society it is a necessary addiction.
Big money almost always comes with stress. Ironically, we can get
addicted to stress as well. My vote is to map out a typical week with
your wife. If you can limit work to fixed hours that will not corrupt
your ability to make a new life (for example, three to four hours a day
on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) and truly restrict it to those
hours, .25 might be feasible, like a hobby that pays you while you
develop new, lower-stress things to do with your time. But my bet is
that it expands into five days a week pretty fast unless you are
vigilant. I would commit to a three-month probationary period, and
then review how it’s going with both with your wife and your
employer.

 
But don’t delay creating your second life too long. You my find that
retirement is much more fun than you think or fear.

Tiring Fast

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a woman in my 50’s who is trying to make a career change. I’ve
sent out 50 resumes and haven’t gotten one bite for an interview. Do
you have any ideas for what to do? I used to be a school counselor.
Now I will do anything (but that).

Tiring Fast

 
Dear Tiring Fast:

The job market isn’t as bad as it was during the great recession, but
for middle-aged women it remains a tough place to make a transition.
You won’t face the tacit discrimination that motherly-aged women do,
when employers fear absenteeism because of sick children, which yes
is illegal but still happens tacitly. But you will be classified in the what-
happens-if-she-decides-to-just-stop-working bias as well as
competition from many other equally qualified folks.

 
I hate to say it but 50 resumes is a drop in the bucket. When you’ve
sent out 1,000 you can be tired. My best advice would be to seek out
headhunters, both the kind who is paid by employers and (I know you
will hate this) the kind you might have to pay for finding you a
professional placement. From doing the tireless work of planning and
crisis intervention, scheduling and coping with bureaucracies, and all
the manifold duties of a counselor you have acquired a great many
transferrable skills. You just need someone who is in the employment
industry to understand them.

 

Create resumes for counseling and for
administration. Then connect with recruiters, both in your area and
national folks. You can find many of them online who have list-serves.
Get on the list-serves of all local governments and non-profits too. And
then get yourself as many informational interviews as you can with all
the folks I just identified. Pitch yourself as reliable, experienced, and
incredible well-rounded, ready to tackle any job. See how many doors
they can get you into. It will take time.

Altruist

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I am a veterinarian who works with rescue organizations in cases of
major emergencies and natural disasters. In my time in Texas the past
few weeks I have witnessed acts of great heroism and great cruelty
and indifference towards pets. I’m proud to say that I helped a great
many helpless, abandoned creatures that might otherwise have died.
What do I say to my clients and neighbors here who are accusing me
of abandoning them in their time of need and “running off to help
strangers when I needed you!”? I value my clients and my neighbors
in Florida. When I got assigned to Texas no one knew what would
happen here. I trust that my professional peers who were not in Texas
will be just as heroic and diligent as I was when they work in my
community. How can people learn that we are all connected and
should care for one another rather than hoarding and blaming and
being only out for themselves?

Altruist

 
Dear Altruist:

It always fascinates me during periods of great crises, natural disaster
or war, how human nature tends towards the extremes. Hard times
bring out the best in many, even thankfully most, of us, and the worst
in a few who make all problems worse. Compared to physical violence,
looting, and threats and coercion, emotional guilting is a relatively mild
form of acting out. But it speaks to the same limited consciousness
and selfishness as the worst of the bad extreme.

 
You are to be commended for volunteering to go into danger zones.
The whiners should be chastened but I suspect that is not your nature.
I’d like to think they would find greater compassion once they are out
of imminent danger, though sadly that’s likely not going to happen.
Give them a pass for now, and send an email to your clientele both
now and just before you deploy next time. Remind your clients that
you serve a wide population in need, and that if they need help while
you are away, they should contact so-and-so. Wish them good health
for themselves and their critters and remind them of your years of
service. If they choose to leave your practice, wave at their departing
tushies and seek out kinder folks. This is the season to heal the world.
Thank you for doing more than your share of the heavy lifting.

Money Man

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m in the advice-giving business too, but people depend on me to
protect their life savings, which in these financially perilous times
means I have the burden of their fears as well as their expectations. I
need them to perceive me as smart, reliable, accessible, and
trustworthy. I also have a serious medical condition that has affected
my mobility in increasingly limiting ways. It is a multi-focal motor
neuropathy that it is possible, fingers crossed!!, an experimental
infusion therapy might reverse it but no one know if it will work or how
my body will handle it. I may need several series of these treatments
(five days in a row) and have no control of the timing. How can I
cancel my appointments without alarming my clients?

Money Man

 

Dear Money Man:

You need to communicate everything you told me in an email to your
clients. If there are particular people with very large portfolios you
may wish to communicate by phone as a follow-up, but telling the
basics in an email will allay a lot of their concerns and questions.
Here’s a draft: Dear ___[yes make it personal]___: I need to
reschedule your appointment for ___[date/time]_____. As you may
know, I’ve been coping with a complicated medical condition for the
past year that has impacted my physical mobility, though thankfully
not my cognition or insight. I have a tentative diagnosis of “multi-focal
motor neuropathy” (this means my muscles and my nerves aren’t
speaking well to one another). There is an infusion therapy treatment
option that requires a week of daily treatments, and no one can
predict how I will respond. How all this affects you: I’ll keep my
calendar as up to date as possible. Please reschedule from my website
[link] and I will try to provide you with a replacement appointment
quickly. It’s my intention to continue as your financial advisor as long
as you desire. My assistant [name/number] is available any time I am
out of the office. Thank you so very much for your patience and
support. Most folks will send a polite reply of support. The clients you
lose are not worth worrying over. Work with your assistant to keep the
good ones happy.

Tired of Thinking So Hard

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I have been at my company for more than 30 years, working my way
up from an analyst to a senior project director. I bring in hundreds of
thousands of dollars a year in net revenue to the firm, but the hours
and continual stress of deadlines have taken their toll on my health
and helped end my first marriage. Now have a new wife, a child on the
spectrum who needs more of my time, and enough money that I
could, as my wife tells me daily, retire today. I don’t want to because I
am senior enough that my firm will need at least three to six months
to hire a replacement, and the extra I could earn this year and as a
consultant for the next few years will help with vacations, extra
therapy for our daughter, etc. Can you help me with a script for the
boss (call him John) when I go in to tell him I want to hang up my
spreadsheets?

Tired of Thinking So Hard

 
Dear Tired:

The key to negotiating is to have something you bring to the table. In
this case it is not only the projects you have already won that have
been contracted with your firm, but your decades of name recognition
in the winning of future projects if you can hammer out an agreement
to keep some kind of consulting relationship. A couple points before
the script. Usually when a bid is submitted, staff substitutions are to
some degree with the approval of the client. Otherwise firms could bid
A-grade labor and substitute wet-behind-the-ear staff. So you have a
little leverage there. That goes too for letting them include your
resume and qualifications on future bids, for which you might want a
very limited role in the future—perhaps in project design or reviewing
draft reports.

 
The convo should go roughly like this: John, I want to review the
status of my department. I’ve brought a spreadsheet that shows the
work we’ve recently won, that gives a good summary of what’s on the
table for the next year plus. You know I’ve worked here for 30 years.

 

 

My wife would love me to return today, but I’d rather work with you to
develop an exit strategy that will allow you to hire someone with
strong qualifications to take my place on these projects. I’d also like to
talk about developing a role for myself in the long run, in a consulting
capacity without benefits but at a higher wage, for as long as you think
it would be good for the company to have access to me. I don’t expect
us to get the details completed today or even this month. But I want
to start the conversation with a goal of getting to closure by the end of
the year. Then shut up and listen.

Middle Gal

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I was in Human Resources for thirty years and was quite good at it. A
friend of a friend asked if I would help with a job search for her new
receptionist/scheduler, a part-time position in her physical therapy
clinic. I agreed to do it, in exchange for a few free sessions and an
exercise plan for my aches and pains. After she posted the position
she told me that one of the applicants was a young woman who had
been dating her son through and since high school (seven years),
whom she really loves and hopes will become her daughter-in-law.

 

She said we wanted a buffer in case the young woman was not the
right applicant, and to have an interview that would be professional
and objective. I felt a little sandbagged but agreed. Bottom line is that
the young woman presents herself very well, but does not have any of
the technical skills (electronic medical records, Excel, and more) that
the PT requires. In addition, when I called a friend who works where
she does, I heard some things that would give me pause even if she
were well qualified. There are several other, better qualified,
applicants. Do I just aim her their way or tell the whole truth and
nothing but the truth?

Middle Gal

 
Dear Middle Gal:

I think you do what you agreed to do: help the PT identify the best
candidates, and do not include the future daughter-in-law in the mix.
If you have three candidates who are truly more qualified, your job is
easy and you can easily explain your rankings to the PT based on the
requisite experience and skills for the job. You could rank the future
DIL fourth and suggest that she interview her last, after the more
qualified candidates. That allows her the benefit of hearing for herself
what others bring to the table. Then, if she still wants to hire the
future DIL it is her decision and made for non-professional reasons.
Unless what you heard was so egregious that it endangers the health
or safety of the future family, I would back channel to your friend that
there were more qualified applicants and to please keep what she told
you confidential. Seven years is a long time for a mother to inspect a
future daughter-in-law. One conversation should not derail that, even
if she doesn’t get the job.

Tongue-Tied

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

For almost twenty years I volunteered at a shelter for women who left
their abusive living situations. Most of the volunteers were good,
caring people and I enjoyed working with them. One, however, who
was by all evidence in a long-term abusive relationship herself,
managed to undercut the fragile gains that residents made while they
were in our care, by belittling their progress. Now I’ve learned she is
finally ready to make changes in her life, including changing jobs. She
has asked me for a letter of reference as a personal/volunteer
reference, but I am not comfortable giving her more than an average
endorsement. What should I say?

Tongue-Tied

 
Dear Tongue-Tied:

A lot depends on what she’s asking you to say. If, for example, you
were involved with finances, you could stick to that aspect of a
reference. But if she is asking you to speak about interpersonal
matters, you should be clear, if not completely honest. Say, I don’t
think I’m the best person to ask for this reference. Perhaps you should
try X, Y, or Z. My interactions with you were limited, and I make a
point of not writing letters of references for people unless I have been
their direct supervisor in a work situation.

 
For most folks, that level of No would be enough of a warning that she
might not want prospective employers to hear your answer to
whatever you might be asked. If she pushes, and challenges you, be
polite but clear, about your hesitations, and be prepared to back them
up with examples. You can end by saying, You may have changed your
style in the interim, but I’m still not comfortable being the person to
assert that. I wish you only good luck, but I cannot be part of the
process.

Overworked Mom

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a middle class housewife who gave up her career to become a wife and
mother of three kids, now all thankfully in K-12 school. I have a precious five or
so hours each day to accomplish everything needed to run a household and take
care of myself. My husband changed jobs, and now travels out of the area at
least a week a month, so then the pressure doubles. A few years ago I started a
business selling essential oils with an online company that had a local rep,
assuming that once the littlest was in school I could get real traction. I started
fast, building a base of downline sellers and the rep loved and praised me. Now
everything has shifted and I have very little time. I know her income depends on
what I sell, but mine is more of a hobby business and I don’t want to feel
burdened by what I can’t do. How can I explain this without giving up the
relationship and the possibility for the future. I believe in the product and have
enjoyed the home shows I’ve done monthly. I just have zero time right now.

Overworked Mom

 
Dear Overworked:

When you join an online marketing company, as opposed to taking a traditional
job in an office, you do so assuming you’ll have a lot more control of your hours
and choices than if you have a boss and a desk you are obligated to sit in
specific hours of specific days. Your primary identity and commitment is to your
family, not to the rep of this company. Her income may depend on what you do,
but yours depends on what your husband does. Supporting him, the kids, and the
house is job one. You can re-engage with the marketing project when you have
more time.

 
In the interim, call or send her a message that says roughly: Dear Rep _ I’m sorry
my attention and sales have been lagging in the past while. There have various
and time-consuming transitions in my home, and they have taken priority for my
time. That’s likely to be true for the foreseeable future. So I plan to take a hiatus
for a few months from doing home shows or actively soliciting more downline
people. I will of course continue to mentor and support the ones I already have in
place. This is part of my future, but needs to move back a few steps in my
present. Thanks for your understanding. You’ll know what to do next.

Wannabe

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I am a teacher who is also an aspiring writer. I have a great idea for a series of
young adult novels, with a spin no one has taken before. I’m a good writer and
have coached others, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how to coach myself
to find creative time. I work five days a week and have a husband, house,
chickens, and volunteer work calling on my time. But I finally have a place to
write. Our son has moved out and I appropriated his room into my writing studio.
Everything is set up but the big blank is my big butt in the chair. Hellllpppppp!!!

Wannabe

 
Dear Wannabe:

Creative time has to be made, not found. There will always be a long list of things
ahead of it, that can be seen as daily necessities not the “luxury” that writing may
seem to others. If you want to make your dream come true, it will have to rise
higher on your priority list and you will need to work hard to keep it there.
Congratulations for making a place to work. Now make time to be there.
You need to pick a number of hours a week to do this, say 20 to start. I am
eyeballing 2 hours a day weekdays, and three each on weekends. That may
mean getting up earlier or staying up later, getting our husband to assume more
household and cooking responsibilities, giving up a volunteer commitment, or
other seemingly large schedule shifts. But once you put them in place and stick
to them for a month, they will become accepted routing. Go into your study with a
pot of tea and no phone or other distractions. Do not respond to anything except
the house on fire. If you cannot write, then plot. If you cannot plot, then do back-
story exercises for your characters. Make this book as important to you as your
family for the next six months. Then take stock of your progress. You’ll know
what to do next.

Jammed

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I am not a lazy person. I’m a respected astrologer (that’s not an
oxymoron) who donates the proceeds of an annual new year’s talk to a
local homeless shelter. I’ve been doing this for almost 25 years and
the talk gets lots of local coverage and has expanded to a two-day
event plus online sales. But this year I got massacred by the double
holiday and visitors and have not yet begun to research my talk, which
is in ten days!!! I generally give two beautiful handouts, one for what
each planet means in each sign, and a cruise through the calendar
year noting big transits or shifts, eclipses, retrogrades, etc. How can I
do in a week what I normally take almost a month to prepare?

Jammed

 
Dear Jammed:

My advice for you is the same as I would give anyone with a big
project and a fixed deadline: break it into small manageable parts and
focus completely on each one, in order. I don’t know a lot about
astrology, but enough to understand that there are major associations
associated with each of the planets in whichever astrological sign they
are in, as well as important events in the heavens like eclipses or
when a planet changes a sign or goes retrograde (a trick of our
different orbits). Make a list if everything you talk about by category.
Make the grids for the planets and signs. Make countdown clock in
hours. They get started.

 
Allocate a fixed amount of time for prep, to conclude two days before
the first talk. You’ll need the last minute readiness to practice, get
clothing and details like flowers and recording set up all finalized. Then
divvy up the time per category and sit down to work. Unplug the
phone and hide your usual distractions like books and games. Give
yourself regular breaks for coffee/tea and rewards like a phone call
with a friend or a walk. Every time you accomplish a section, enter it
into the pretty handout format and save what you have accomplished.
Step by step, inch by inch, bite by bite. That’s how you’ll get to goal.

Struggling Artist

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a glass artist who works primarily on commissions. I sell once a
year at a local art fair where people see my work, where I sell pieces
for under $100, mostly to get some free publicity. But what I really
like to do is to work with people to come up with a unique installation
to fit their home and/or yard. The more I focus on what I like to do,
the more people seem to be drawn to me, in part because the people I
design for are happy with what we co-create. I have two problems, if
that’s ok. A very close friend wants me to make something for her
that’s like what I have in my own yard. It’s a large installation –
imagine a dozen pieces of paper, but made out of fancy glass. The
glass alone, relative to what the small art fair pieces cost, would be
close to $500 far more than I would want to charge a friend. She
insists on paying me. How can we both be comfortable? Also, a woman
called who said she has bought my art two years in a row but would
like me to make something special for her, just a little bigger. I told
her to bring pictures of the space, and dimensions, and invited her to
my studio, before I realized that she’s bound to notice my three pot
plants, which I am legally growing as sleep medicine. It’s almost
impossible to separate the art from the green vista. I think I’d get a
bigger job if she saw my art at my place. You have a snappy answer
for me?

Struggling Artist

 
Dear Struggling Artist:

Your problems are actually pretty easy to solve. You could have
included a third.

 
Re your friend, get clear with her on the cost of the glass. Start by
asking her what her budget is for the project. Then invite her to your
studio and to a local glass shop so she can see the array of color and
pattern options, and the relative cost of the fancy vs plainer glass. Let
her select and buy the glass directly for the project, and you keep the
remnants as compensation for your labors. You can charge her a small
fee for your art and kiln time if you want . I suspect she will insist on
that. Do what feels fair.

 
Re the visitor, walk her through your home studio so she can see what
her choices are, and then focus her on your selection of glass. Then
walk her into a different venue, your dining room table for example, to
talk about her project, and sketch it out together. If she asks about
your foliage, tell her it is an experiment with sleep medicine, and then
bring the conversation back to the glass.

Teach

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a teacher. I love my job. I love the students, the subjects, and
knowing that I am actively making a difference in people’s lives. I love
when people see me in the mall and tell me how much I helped them.
But I hate that non-teachers think my life is such a cushy ride, and
that I have three carefree months off. My work year ends in mid/late
June and it starts in mid August. That’s maybe two weeks more than
most people. I don’t have to go in and prepare my room or attend in-
service meetings for a few weeks, but I wake up every day anxious
and worried about how I am possibly going to get it all done, and
whether I have another year in me of no time for me. I feel like I just
got into my bathing suit and the chaise is being yanked out from under
me. How can I convey my frustration to snotty people who don’t get
the dedication it takes to be a teacher, would never work for the
peanuts I make, and who certainly wouldn’t put in the 60 hour weeks
that my colleagues and I do?

Teach

 
Dear Teach:

No one who hasn’t taught can understand how much mental and
emotional energy good teachers invest in their student. A society that
pays media stars zillions and teacher peanuts has its priorities very
upside down. So on behalf of those who get it, Thanks.

 
What you can do is to put yourself on a work diet for the remains of
summer and your life on a schedule that’ll last through the school
year. Now. Before the crazy busy times start again. Decide what in life
makes you happy, other than work. Get out your calendar and
schedule those activities in, with indelible black ink, from now through
the end of the year. Promise yourself leisure time each day, and I’m
not talking about holding the remote till your eyes close. I mean with a
book, with friends, your spouse. Movies and meals and whatever your
favorite exercise and hobby is. Things that keep you human and
happy. Because if you don’t make a point of doing those in summer,
and throughout the teaching year, the world’s going to lose a good
teacher to burnout.

 
As for the critics, look at them and say, I work 60 hours a week for
peanuts. And I love what I do. Do you want to trade careers?

Bad Situation

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I started my first real job three months ago. My first day everyone told
me to “hang in there,” which surprised me because there hadn’t been
time for anything bad to happen. They knew more than I did. My boss
is an abusive jerk. I can’t afford to quit, but I’ve been tempted almost
daily. Frankly I don’t want this guy to “win.” Any advice?

Bad Situation

 
Dear Bad Situation:

Working relationships are about power. Sadly, people higher on the
corporate food chain sometimes act in ways they might not treat their
kids or pets. If you decide to leave, make sure your retreating butt is
covered with a paper trail that preserves the possibility of a decent
reference, or of collecting unemployment. If you need the ultimate
reality check, repeat this sentence times: Rage won’t pay next month’s
rent.

 
No matter how much of a jerk Your Boss is, keep your verbal cool. You
can disagree about policy or substance, but don’t disrespect your boss
out loud, whether it’s just the two of you or, worse, in front of other
staff. Somehow, no matter how %^#^%$ angry you are, say nothing
except I need to think about that. until you reach a private safety
zone. Also do not send colleagues email that’s hot enough to burn
down the company server. Email is a not safe place, especially when
your emotions are running the show. No one, repeat no one, can resist
telling at least part of a good story to someone else at work. Make a
date with your most trusted advisor who doesn’t work there. When
you meet, remember you’re asking for perspective, not merely for
validation. Bursts of self-indulgence are a necessary balm, but choose
heavy aerobics over hot fudge rescue your mood.

 
Take a reality check of your budget, looking what it takes to keep you
afloat. Then check the help wanteds. Doing this will either empower
you or make you better appreciate your current job, even if it comes
with temporarily diminished self-esteem. Update your resume and
start sending out apps to feel more independent and prepared.

 

Finally, ask Your Boss if s/he wants to meet. Look for ways to connect
and issues to agree on. Emphasize positives. Put your issues onto the
table, but only after it is firm enough to hold them. Swear whatever
loyalty oath you can choke out, even if you mailed ten resumes that
morning. Ask for regular interactions to be sure your working
relationship grows and stays healthy. You have a chance to exploit
Your Boss. S/he has acted inappropriately, and despite the mantle of
power, people who act rough usually feel guilty, especially if someone
else has witnessed the event. Figure out how to make Your Boss’s
moods work for you. Above all, make sure you can keep your job as
long as you want and need it.

Need To Change

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I struggled to support myself without egregious pain or worry. I’m 33
and feel I’ve finally found my life’s work: doing bodywork/massage. I
feel ready and excited but have two jobs now: one is temporary part
time, the other will become full-time permanent in October,
November, or December, but they can’t tell me when!!! I also do
printing work, which I love, but can’t rely on it to pay the bills. Fulltime
bodywork school couldn’t fit with it all right now, though there is a
part-time (Wednesdays and Saturdays) program that starts every
quarter. I think (at least through December) I can go down to two
days at both jobs, take Weds off for school, and do the printing in the
wee hours if there’s a deadline. When the temp-going-to-full-time job
happens, I’ll negotiate for four days, at least for a while. But I really
don’t like it there. Is it okay to walk away from a job that makes me
want to die? I want to love my work instead of sitting alone putting
computer files into folders all day. I’m so sick of making questionable
decisions in fear or scarcity mode. Help…..

Need To Change

 
Dear Need To Change:

What sounds like a great plan on the surface can conceal a multitude
of disasters in the shallow waters. I love the idea that you’ve found a
new career and a place to train for it that allows you to work while you
do so. Going into debt for a profession that might take a while to build
up a clientele to employ you is a bad start. So yes to staying employed
as long as possible while you are in school. You don’t say how many
terms the training is, or what you’ll do if the part full-time job won’t
negotiate. Given their equivocation about timing you should be okay n
the short-run, but employers have the upper hand in most unskilled
labor markets, so you might find that they value their own priorities
much more highly than yours.

 
Start out with a financial assessment for the duration of your training
program and six months afterwards, which should give you time to
find a job. What do you need to bring in each month to pay your fixed
expenses? Can you trim that down at all? Can you get or become a
roommate to save on living expenses? Go through everything on your
list from transportation to haircuts. Don’t forget insurance and other
items you probably don’t want to afford but need. Can you see a path
to making this work? If not, what kind of student loan could
supplement one of the part-time jobs? What happens in an
emergency? Do you have savings? Debts? Talk to yourself the way a
stern parent would. Not to talk yourself out of the change, but to
figure out what it will take to make your new life work. If, in the worst
case, you simply cannot afford to do it now, decide to work for a
specific period with the goal of saving enough to start in six to twelve
months. I know you won’t enjoy the delay, but it will make you even
more committed. In the meantime, get copies of all the textbooks, or
even just a used Gray’s Anatomy and learn every muscle and its
insertion points. Be your own study group while you are doing the
boring work. That will equip you to be a blazing success whenever you
do start classes. You’ll impress the instructors with your readiness, and
they’ll go to bat for you when you graduate. Change is hard and
rewarding. Good luck!!