Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Long absence and life direction frustrations

Hi everyone...

I know its been forever since I posted... I've had a lot of junk going on lately in my life and I feel like I've been losing and re-orienting my direction in life a lot over the last year.

To understand where I am there are just a few things you probably need to know that will help everything make sense. I have a lot of student loan debt and a degree that I don't like. Well... I take part of that back. I do have a tremendous amount of student loan debt. Around 120k. And I have a BFA in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. Which is cool... except I don't want to work in that industry. I LOVE doing art... and I'm fairly good at it, but I like doing it on MY terms. I don't like clients dictating how the design needs to look, and I certainly don't want to work in advertising and convince people to buy things they don't need with money they don't have. I've probably mentioned all of this somewhere before in previous posts, so if I am repeating myself, I apologize.

What I have been struggling with over the last year or so is what to do next. Where do I go from here? I have been working several different very low end jobs to try to pay down my student loan debt, but I am not even close to making ends meat. Art is NOT a good profession to have in this kind of industry, and it is difficult to get other well paying work with an Art degree. Last year I made $8,000. My student loan payments are $1100 a month. You can do the math.

So I figured I probably ought to get back to school and get myself a degree that pays better and is in an industry I enjoy more. Because if you do what you love you'll never actually work a day in your life. I just... have no idea what I WANT to do. I keep feeling stuck.

For a while I thought personal trainer. Then I wasn't so sure about that. I am MovNat certified, but in Oklahoma, that is worth SHIT because it seems like everyone here is overweight and no one cares about their health enough to do anything about it. I have offered several seminars and I have never had one person call or show up. So that went out the window.

Then I got a job in a administrative type setting. I was working as a Customer Service Rep for a while. Which is a fancy way of saying secretary. But all three jobs I worked as a CSR over the last year were HORRIBLE and ended badly. Terrible bosses seem to be everywhere these days and it seems like people are being abused and mistreated in all levels of businesses these days. So... even though I've been trying to keep a steady job to work on paying my loans down, I seem to keep winding up places where the working conditions and the management are so bad I end up quitting because I refuse to put up with the terrible working conditions.

So I did some research and talked to a few people and decided maybe PTA would be a good fit. It's just an associates degree, they make decent starting pay, around 35k to 40k in Colorado, (which I am planning on moving back [home] soon.) So that would be good. So I took a few classes to see if I like the material and looked into prospective colleges and got my shadowing in line and everything. I took a Kinesiology class, which I absolutely love. I was thinking PTA would get to do a lot of things similar to the material we were covering in class, but incidentally, they don't get to do any of it.

So... now what?!

I keep thinking and thinking "what do I want to do with my life" and I keep coming back to running a school with Nick. That is what I want to do. So... instead of trying to find something to do to make money doing so I can do what I want, I need to figure out how to make Nick's school successful so I don't have to have a day job. I want my job to be the work that I love.

Nick and I have talked a lot about diversifying the school a little bit so that we can make the best use of the space. We would like to offer fairly comprehensive services to our students. We don't want our dojo to be open only a few hours a week in the evenings. Ultimately I think we want to offer self defense classes in the form of Applied Karate and Aikijutsu. We want to encourage our students to read works by Wilder, Miller, MacYoung, and others. We want to offer personal training and encourage good health and fitness practices in our students. (I will be honest, it is a huge pet peeve of mine to see Black Belts who are seriously overweight...) We want to offer nutrition classes on occasion and nutrition coaching if students want it. I think this would be great to have these resources available to students all in one place. I feel like so many schools never go into anything other than, let's kick and punch and go to tournament. People come to study martial arts for a variety of reasons, so why not try to help aid and encourage the diversity of those reasons and give students the resources they might want or need right there at the school?

I have read some stories of schools trying to diversify and that didn't work out for them AT ALL. One story was of a school that had a tea room and a pro shop attached and was about to go under till they got rid of both of those and made them classroom spaces and now the school does incredibly well. On the flip side there is a Krav Maga school in Denver that has two classrooms and a work out space and they do very well.  This is more along the lines of what I am wanting.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... while I have been trying to figure out 'what to do till we get the school going' and working, it just keeps taking more and more and more time away from me doing what I really love and what I really want to do: MARTIAL ARTS. Because school class times conflicted with dojo class times, (and I desperately wanted to take the Kinesiology class, which I am very glad I did) I haven't been able to attend any Martial Arts classes since December. And I won't be able to go back to classes till May. ARGH! It's killing me! I HATE not going to class. It's such a huge set back.

So what is the point of having a day job that I'm not making any money at any way, and that keeps me from getting closer to doing what I want to do? It all seems so backwards and frustrating. So I feel like I need to re-organize and re-prioritize my goals.

I DO want to go back to school, but I want to go back for a degree that is going to be the most useful to running a martial arts school and fitness facility. Through shadowing and taking a few classes this semester I think the things I want to do in addition to helping Nick manage the school and occasionally teach classes would be more on the fitness side and the mobility assessments and range of motion tests and such. There are a few different degrees that I am looking at, which would be a B.S. with a major in Athletic Training (which would be a lot of injury assessment and detailed bone and muscle knowledge), or a B.S. with a major in Health and Human Performance with a minor in Nutrition. (Which is exercise science and coaching and nutrition) either degree would be completed with intent to go on and eventually look at getting a Masters in Kinesiology.

The really frustrating part is that because I left Colorado, I no longer have residency there, and since that is where I will be returning to, I will be going to school there, and I don't think I can afford out of state tuition. ARGH. I feel like for every one step I take forward it is two steps back. >.< It's so frustrating. I just feel very stressed out about the whole thing. I know what I want... (I think...) I'm just not sure how I'm going to make it happen just yet...


1 comment:

  1. An aikido teach with whom I trained with for a short time had a flash of genius.

    He was in between jobs and was struggling to make teaching full time viable.

    He became a fireman.

    With his job as a fireman, he makes a living salary, has great benefits and a lot of time off. He puts in his time in a combination of 12 and 24 hour shifts. It works out that he's at the fire house for 10 days a month, with the rest of his time to himself.

    Like a lot of other firemen, he has his own full time businessl: his dojo. Since he is already making a living, the bar for the dojo being financially viable has been greatly lowered. All he has to do is basically bring in enough for rent, utilities and insurance. Everything else is gravy.

    On the days he has to go to the fire house, he has a senior student supervise the classes and what they work on is their testing techniques.

    There are plenty of ways to skin the proverbial cat.