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!!