Ever since I started teaching full time six years ago, I’ve never just taught. I’ve always had some kind of side gig going to earn extra income. I’ve tutored after school, at times in two programs at once. I’ve written curriculum. I’ve written standardized test questions. I’ve attended paid trainings and conferences. I’ve done a lot of different things to earn extra money.
But right now, for the first time, I have no side gigs going. I’m just teaching, just working one job.
The reason for this is two-fold. I’m working in a different role this year as both a teacher and instructional coach, so there are more demands on my time and energy. I don’t have enough of either anymore, so I resigned from one of the tutoring gigs I’ve been doing for years; it was too time-consuming to plan and too stressful to carry out, given all the other responsibilities I’ve taken on.
I was planning on keeping the other tutoring gig because it’s a much easier job, but the program ended up getting cut from the school’s budget. Also on the chopping block are a lot of the paid trainings I used to attend. So on the one hand, I was purposely trying to lighten my workload. On the other hand, a lot of the extra income opportunities that I used to take for granted have become victims of a tight budget.
A few years ago, not earning extra income in some capacity would not have been an option for me. Luckily, my finances have improved such that I don’t have to rely on making more money to make ends meet whiles still working towards my financial goals. But these cut-backs could have been disastrous for me had I not made good money moves (i.e., making extra money and using it to pay off my debt) while I had the chance. So I suppose a lesson here is that when opportunities to earn extra income pop up, take them. You never know when they might disappear.
However, I have to admit: I’m kind of relieved to finally be working a little less. Sure, it means that I’ll have to make sure I stick to my budget very, very faithfully – there is no more room for error. But I’ll finally have something else that I haven’t had in years – time. It’s a completely new feeling to me to be able to sit at my desk after school, grade my papers, then just go home. I don’t have to rush off to a tutoring session or worry about sitting through boring trainings. It’s very freeing, having my afternoons to myself again. Luxurious. Almost exciting, in a way I totally didn’t expect.
In the debate of time vs. money, I’ve always, always picked money. But I have to admit, I’m getting pretty used to having some extra time, even if it wasn’t 100% my choice.
What about you? Do you pick time, or money? What types of extra income gigs are you working right now, or have you sworn those off? Tell!