Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't quit your day job...

I made a decision a few months ago that I was going to try to support myself through my art and clay. I worked as a Site Director in a before and after school Child enrichment program, and it was starting to stress me. When school was dismissed in June, I decided to take the summer off. I had a great summer, and my cake topper orders kept me in cash all summer. I had saved some money to live off of and having all of that freedom gave me the push I needed to tell my boss that I wasn't coming back in the fall.

I listened to motivational tapes that kept me inspired and I worked daily on my business. I was sure that I could support myself with my clay, but the need for a new car and a drop in orders forced me to rethink that decision. At about the same time that the financial crisis in America was hitting, my own crisis was starting to show itself. I was beginning to think that I might not be able to make it as a self employed artist.

Two weeks ago my former boss asked if I would like a small site to direct. "7 kids!" she said, dangling this opportunity over my head. I did not hesitate and accepted the job. It was with a happy heart that I started last Friday.

My first day on the job (which is only 3.5 hours per day) I bonded with the children and met most of the parents. It was a great start and I was glad to be back working with kids.

It's funny though, how a few rude parents can totally change a person's perspective. Yesterday, I had to inform a parent that she was a few weeks behind in her tuition. She started to argue that she didn't owe it, she wasn't going to pay it, and she's going to be mad if she has to. I finally told her my boss would handle it. She told me she understood it wasn't my fault, but she still wasn't going to pay it. I just can pass her off to my boss, who said she would handle it. I still may have to listen to this parent complain, in fact, I'm sure she will.

Today, a father came in to get his son. I hadn't met him yet and asked to see his ID. I knew it was going to be a hassle because when the dad came in, he didn't look at me or speak to me. I came up to him, introduced myself to him, and asked to see his ID. His attitude was immediatly condesending. He asked me, "how old is my son?" "How old?" he repeated. Before I could answer, he said, "He's ten years old and he ought to know I'm his dad."

I replied, "yes, but I don't know you." He repeated his rude comment.

I replied, "My concern is just for the safety of your child."

The father walked to the door, stopped and looked at his son. "Are you old enough to know I'm your dad?" he asked.

"Do you have your ID?" I continued.

Finally, he opened up his wallet, mumbling under his breath as he flipped it open, and just as I leaned forward to see, he snapped it shut and walked out of the door.

I was dumbfounded. If I were a parent with a child in daycare, I would be glad to show my ID.
I stood in the middle of the room and, sure enough, felt my eyes tear up as a lump formed in my throat. It took me about 15 minutes to get the thought of him out of my head without crying, and now, 6 hours later, I'm writing about it. I hate the fact that I'm so sensitive. It really bothers me. What I would really like to have said was, "Well, sir, I guess you won't mind if I let your son go home with anyone. Hopefully, no child molester will stop by to get him."
But, because I'm too polite for my own good, I just stood there like a door mat.

It's moments like this that I wish I could be more successful with my clay and that I could make more than enough money to support myself. I must admit, as soon as I got home, I worked on my website, made a few items, did my homework for my graphic class and worked on promoting my sites. It's jerks like the above dad who will inspire and motivate me to one day be successful enough to be self employed. I should have thanked him. For now though, I'll bite my tongue, do my job, and work like mad on my own business.

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