What a week. So much has happened. It might be easier to process in bullet form.

  • Acquired job at fancy dress store
  • realized said job makes me want to drink
  • found new awesome boutique job that gives me:
    •  more money
    •  a schedule that lets me get to all my classes
    • a cool boss who I can have a conversation with and who knows how to run a business
  • quit job that was turning me into an alcoholic
  • but continue to work it for a few days while also working at NWDP shows
  • NWDP moves to new space
  • Muddy Feet audition
  • Tailbone decides to riot and temporarily “ground” me

I’ve documented my first-world financial troubles; I needed a second job, I got one, and I realized right away that the owner and I weren’t going to get along. I felt like I was exerting so much energy trying to keep up with what she wanted, and she had some opinions I didn’t really like or agree with. For example, two businesses shared the space, and she was allergic to the other business’ shop dog. I can understand that – nobody likes being stuffed up or in pain all day, but the tone in which she spoke about the other shop owners was rude. She obviously didn’t trust them to keep the store locked up or clean, despite the fact that their business has thrived for seven years. After working  at the shoe store, which shares space with the hair salon, it was weird to see two business owners so antagonistic. The tension was visible and uncomfortable, so unlike the community at my other workplace. I love having the hair salon upstairs, as do my shoe store bosses – they cut my hair for free (sometimes, or at a discount) and they get their shoes pretty cheap.

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Fancy dress I’d never be able to afford otherwise

Of course, it was incredibly awkward to call up and be like, hey, I have to quit OH AND BY THE WAY I RIPPED THE THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR DRESS YOU LOANED ME. 

My clumsiness knows no bounds. I ripped the bottom of the skirt of this gorgeous $348 Tracy Reese dress – fortunately, it was on clearance and with some sales incentives discounts I was able to purchase it. I must have had it pulled too high up on my legs when I sat down. Also on the clumsiness note, I knocked over a shelf of greeting cards at my job interview for the cool new place where I work. I’m hoping I came off as charmingly clumsy in the romantic-comedy-protagonist-that-must-have-a-superficial-flaw sort of way. She hired me on the spot, regardless.

The way Saturday went solidified my belief that I was making the right decision by leaving this boutique. The owner left me alone in the store on what she knew was the busiest day WITHOUT ANY CASH IN THE CASH REGISTER. She didn’t leave me with a key to get it, so when three friendly but messy Canadians came in and tried on half the store and then tried to each purchase $300 worth of clothes with their fresh, newly exchanged American dollars, I was at a loss. The store owner asked me if I could use my own cash to make change, but, funnily enough, I had zero dollars so I had no cash. She ended up calling the business next door (begrudgingly) and asking them for a loan. One of the Canadian ladies told me that I should just run, that they’d take me with them. They could see what a nightmare it was, and we lost two customers who were waiting in line behind them with clothes in their hands.

This is the sort of thing, had it happened when I was younger and more eager to please, that I would have suffered through. I wouldn’t have quit this boutique where I was already unhappy after three days of work. I would have sucked it up and pulled my I’m-a-tough-cookie routine and dealt with it, then quit nine months down the line when I couldn’t handle it anymore. I wouldn’t have taken the business card of my new boss, set up an interview, or accepted the position.

Someone, somewhere, at some point, said “You are not required to light yourself on fire to keep others warm,” and then put it on the internet. I do not know who this person was, but I’m glad I cam across this quote. It sums up so well this situation, and it helps alleviate some of the guilt I feel whenever I quit anything.

Which brings me to my next thing: I’m quitting my position as a NWDP work study.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA???????????????

…is what most people who know me are going to think when they find out. I LOVE the company. I LOVE watching them move, and I love (ahem, I mean LOVE) the classes.

Now that I’m working in retail six days a week, I need that day off. Tuesdays I work ELEVEN HOURS total, and half of those are not paid hours. I’m not taking 6 classes from NWDP every week, so they’re not losing money by me being a work study.

I understand that nonprofits have no money. I don’t want dancers or dance company administrators to be paid any less. But for me, right now, I just cannot give so much time and energy to an organization where I’m not financially compensated (and even if I was being paid, I’d still be exhausted and stressed and on the fence about quitting). I am college educated, I have a degree, and I have a lot of experience in not only dance, but in customer service. I wish that it wasn’t so acceptable in the arts world to have unpaid workers, but I also wish that the arts had more patrons and donors and audiences to provide revenue.

It’s going to be hard. I love the kids, and I know a lot of them by name. Some of them will come and chat with me before class, and sometimes parents will bring me coffee or tea when I look a little too haggard. But I just can’t do it any more. I don’t see my position translating into paid work, and, to be honest, I don’t want to be in dance administration. Then all my time and energy would go into that instead of training in technique and trying to audition and work on choreography. That happened when I worked (briefly) with the dance presenting agency, and it’s sort of happened here. My priority needs to be training and auditioning.

If it were a situation where I was getting to understudy with the company or if I was being mentored, that would be one thing. But this is a customer service job, my third one, and I don’t have the patience at the end of the day for it right now.

The timing is bad. They just moved into this gorgeous new space (in which I am so excited to dance), but I can’t light myself on fire to keep them warm. I’m running on empty, and it’s affecting my attitude (and did I mention patience) at all of my jobs. And I can only work for so long and still be able to get my ass to class every day.

I just need a break. And money. I’m hoping I can come back to the position, maybe in the fall when things are less busy with my other jobs, but I can’t handle this work load right now. Dealing with customers is exhausting, and I’m just not getting as many classes as I was when my schedule was more manageable.

It’s hard, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I gotta get to more technique classes, and I gotta get some sleep.

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