Rethinking: Career shifts

I haven’t done much blogging here for quite some time. If I didn’t revive the regular blog habit during COVID-19 Stay at Home, then I probably don’t need as much of an outlet for cranky moments.

My kiddos are older, and I’ve been reassessing career options. I have given away a lot of my time in free labor. I have served on various committees and boards for the last decade. I don’t regret that time. It was a service I could provide, a way of giving back to the communities with which I associate. I learned a lot, helped others, and knew I made a tangible difference in the neighborhood. Sometimes though, a person wants or needs something beyond a heartfelt thank you. Sometimes a person needs to pay some bills.

I did not want to start a customer facing job until I received a COVID-19 vaccine. I’m team Pfizer. Although I would love to have medical coverage, after nearly 20 years of being a student and self-employed, the idea of being an employee 40 to 60 hours a week is mysterious. Like how do I conduct myself in an office? Do I need to bring a sweater? Will I have to wear a button up shirt and shoes that are neither sneakers nor clogs? Part time employment seems like the best way to test these waters.

One of my favorite parts of grad school was teaching. I thought about becoming a substitute teacher, but given the number of hoops in my state, it would be a short term path. I could sub in for a few months, but then would need to pursue a degree in education to get a teaching license. I don’t have the passion or energy to pursue another degree. But I do enjoy the exchange of knowledge. I was at my best in one-on-one and small group interactions. In other words, I am great at tutoring, unless the subject is math, computer science, or biology.

I am also a skilled reader, which sounds strange and made up, but to those wishing to publish a book, a skilled reader is valuable. I read a lot – fiction and non-fiction – and I absorb story like a sponge does water. Having swum in lit-crit theory and philosophy during my grad school time, I am attuned to the underlying structures that shape the big ideas. When something is missing, I notice.

While I sort out the next phase of “what I want to be when I grow up,” I’m hanging up a shingle on Fiverr to do Beta Reading. Why Fiverr? I’m willing to let someone else have a cut so I don’t have to do the tax paperwork and chase down payments. I put under Beta Reading, but I think of myself as a “book whisperer.” It’s somewhere between beta reading, developmental edits, and tutoring. I’ve been doing this for years, largely on a volunteer basis. Although the thank yous are good, so is paying the water bill.

Look – A cat photo