Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Drawing the Line

On blogs like Get Rich Slowly, a common theme is better finances through making more money. You can improve your current situation at work by doing things like taking on new responsibilities, asking for a raise or getting a promotion. But the most common way to earn some extra money is to take on another job. Some people try home businesses, others get a part-time job outside the home.

I already have two side jobs: I tutor a high school sophomore in math and I work at Williams-Sonoma. I don't do either of them a whole lot, and I do them more for the change of pace than for the extra money. Teachers might not get paid that well, but it's a good deal better than Williams-Sonoma. I probably get (a lot) more benefit out of the discount than I do the salary.  While more money is always nice, I'm a lot more concerned with my quality of life and time for things outside of work than I am with making extra money.

The only debt I have is my mortgage and car (with only two payments left on it!). I always have enough left over for savings, I max out my retirement and my emergency fund is ready for anything. So I don't NEED need extra money.

Which brings us to yesterday...
I was getting ready to go home when my Assistant Principal asked if she could speak with me. We talked about an ongoing issue, and as I got up when the conversation ended, she asked me to wait. There was something else.

Our school has recieved a grant for forming a data team (a big trend in education right now). The team would analyze various data about our school, present it to the staff, and help inform decisions. And they want me to run it. It's not a surprising choice--I taught AP Statistics, so I probably have a better background (er, consisting of community college online Stats 101, but whatever) than anyone else, I've proven myself to be responsible, etc. It would be an interesting experience, we're likely to have the grant again next year, it would look good on my resume, and so on. I took some notes and she asked me to check in about it. I went to leave again.

And again she asked me to sit back down. There's another thing. How would I feel about being the programmer? (The programmer writes the master schedule for students and teachers and makes all the programs.) There are some immediate deadlines so they actually need to know about that one asap, as I (maybe? a real programmer?) am already behind. I got a copy of that calendar too, and we talked a little about what next year would look like. She assured me it wouldn't take me out of the classroom (which I don't want), but when I mentioned a reduction in load (teaching fewer classes, which would be nice) she said she'd push for me to get extra money instead. Except I don't want extra money. I want nights. And weekends. And summers, and that sort of thing.

I feel really ungrateful, but I'm feeling very pressured by these two opportunities. They're nice opportunities. They'd look good. But...they're a lot. I think something else would have to go. But what?!?!

I know there are teachers in my school who could really use the extra money from doing these things, and that I'm in a strong financial position. So its tough to say that I might not want that money; I might not want to do these things. Or rather, I do want to do them. They sound interesting, challenging, developing. But worth the money? I just don't know.

How much is your time worth to you?

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