Thursday, April 16, 2009

This new job is going to be so much fun.

I've worked on two classes now. The first one was a studio class, already in progress. I was in for their seventh session, so they're already prepping for their final production, which starts tomorrow. The studio stuff is my weak point -- I know the basic processes and I understand how the production room and its contents work, but a) it's been a long time, and b) I never got to spend much time with this stuff in the first place. So I spent a lot of the session mentally reviewing the function and operation of the switcher and audio board and various decks and routers and monitors and assorted buttons and sliders and bells and whistles. I have always found studio direction stressful, and found it to be so again last night, but I came away feeling more confident -- I understand what does what, so if it's just a matter of figuring out which button specifically for what function, then I'll be fine.

Tonight I went in to begin the first session with a field production class that'll be focusing on location work. This is stuff I've taught over and over again, so apart from picking up the structures that the existing instructors use, it was very familiar territory, and a lot more plain old fun. We had a nice mix of twenty-something hipsters with a bit of experience, middle-aged hippies who want to make docs about social issues, and african american elders who just want to try it out. It's the first time I've been able to work with new learners in such a well-equipped environment and with such thorough organization. The students have to pay to attend (though the fees are on a sliding scale so the lower-income folks aren't excluded), so they have something invested. And we have the equipment and facilities to justify their investment. Given what I've worked with in the past, this is an unimaginably luxurious set of circumstances under which to teach.

After we'd adjourned for the night tonight, the instructor I was working with said off-handedly, "oh, by the way, did you know it was unanimous? About you, I mean." He told me that after they'd reviewed forty-something applicants for the two positions, the media ed. department scheduled a meeting to pick their two new hires. The other new hire, referred to for now as P., had already done some teaching work at PCM and was a shoo-in, but they all anticipated a long session sitting, hashing out who the second new hire would be. But when they met, the first member said, "I want P. and Amy," and the second member said, "well, I also want P. and Amy," and then the department director said, "then this is going to be a short meeting, because we're all in complete agreement."

And when he told me that, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. They really wanted me!

I'm still finding my feet. I'm trying to jump in more every session, take more of load. P. will be joining as co-instructor next week, and as he's taught this class before, I'll then be basically serving as a TA. But this initial period is for me to get up to speed so I can co-teach on a fully equal basis down the line. My learning curve is steep -- so many details to remember, names and processes and where things are -- and I fret a little about the first night they send me to set up the studio control room, because I'm going to miss some stuff. But in the meantime, I'm studying the studio handbook so I miss as little as possible, and taking copious notes, both mental and ink-and-paper.

I told the management at Fnorders today that I've got a second job. The manager I told is a decent and reasonable guy, so he was cool about it, congratulated me on landing something that's in line with what I actually want to be doing. It's the GM I worry about, because he can frankly be a passive-aggressive, petty little man. I anticipate that my hours at Fnorders will drop to almost nothing purely out of spite -- I would not be the first person to whom he's done that. I'm giving him no grounds to fire me, but he can make it clear that he'd prefer I leave if he has a mind to. But I have no intention of being pushed out. Even if he drops me to one four-hour shift a week (we call it a "princess shift"), I still come out ahead, financially and qualitatively. So there's not much he can do to make me miserable at this point. And that in itself is a big boost -- I am no longer dependent on one floundering, flailing corporate employer to pay my bills. That said, I still need a second job if I am to survive. Once this situation is stabilized -- once I'm no longer new at the job, and in a new apartment with a new flatmate in a new part of town -- then I might be looking to get a different secondary job. But for now, I don't need any more fresh upheaval. Not that it hasn't all been for the good, but there's a limit to how much I care to deal with at once.

When I talked to my mom yesterday, she pointed out that my whole life has changed in the last three months, and thinking about it afterward, I realized how right she was. Three months ago, I was just home from my illicit trip back to Texas to see family, and had an idea that maybe I would move to a new place when my year was up, but nothing in the way of real plans. Now I'm in a much nicer apartment, in a far more satisfactory part of town, working at the kind of job I'd hoped I might find when I moved here. My car's gone, I get around on my bike and by bus and train, and I'm in a position to do lots more cool things and meet lots more cool people, in a more significant way than I've been able to previously.

Things are really starting to work out, you know?
1:59 AM ::
Amy :: permalink