I Have A ‘Day Job’ And I Like It

Long time no see. It’s been a very long time since the last time I wrote anything on this blog, and quite a long time since I’ve written anything in general.(When I first wrote this, it was still true, but since, I’ve restarted my daily writing habits, and started doing some freelance writing again.) If you’re seeing this in your inbox, you’ve probably forgotten about me and my little blog. Which is okay. Just to summarize I’m that guy that used to write a blog about things I struggle with and what I’m doing to overcome them. About my dreams and how I’m working towards them. About my failures and trying (but sometimes failing) to learn from them. Anyway, I’m back, with at least one more post, so if you want to read it, feel free to do so.

One of the main reasons for my ‘hiatus’, is that a couple of months ago, I decided to find a ‘day job’. Specifically, I decided to try to find a job as an English teacher in Chiang Mai in Thailand, where I’d started to, almost by accident, lay down some roots. (I like this city a lot. But also, I realized last year, that fast paced travelling wasn’t right for me, or my wallet, at the time.)

I decided to take a TEFL(teaching English as a foreign language) course in September, and by the middle of October, I had gotten offered a position at a private school very close to where I live.

Good things:

  • I’m no longer stressed about money.
  • I no longer feel as much guilt about not having a job (worrying my parents, etc.)
  • Very strong external motivation to actually do the work. (I will have to stand in front of the kids anyway, so it’s better to prepare properly.)
  • Very strong external motivation to wake up early.
  • Very strong external motivation to socialize on a daily basis.
  • Quite strong external motivation to meditate. (During assembly every morning there is a period set aside for the kids to meditate.)
  • I like working with kids (to my great surprise).

Downsides:

  • The work hours are inflexible, and make up most of the hours when the day is still bright. Which affects my ability to do stuff and go places on weekdays, although I don’t always take advantage of that freedom when I have it, it is a nice freedom to have.
  • The commute(although I’m lucky considering it’s just about 10-15 minutes) usually involves a LOT of scary traffic and is quite stressful.
  • I’m often quite tired after work. (Which often means I don’t get a lot done, or seek out new experiences. I’m currently working on slowly changing my diet, and adding in some light exercise to get a bigger energy pool, which will hopefully give me the necessary energy to restart my writing efforts.)

Things I’ve Learned:

I’ve learned, like many others before me, how easy it is to let your efforts for a better self, a better life, slip once you’re struggling from ‘within the confines of a 9-5 existence.

That I don’t necessarily have to write for a living to be content. The fact that I’m not writing for a living doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Rather than feeling like I quit or gave up, I am discovering that what is most important to me is doing work that aligns with my personal values. A job that allows me to try to make a small difference, rather than just writing being the be-all end-all. Although I have started taking some small steps towards a future where it’s possible for my work to include both.

I am quite good at compartmentalizing, which is weird because when there are no reminders of the other parts of my life, they can stay ‘semi-forgotten’ until something finally does remind me. Instead of missing home, I barely remember to think about home, and the same goes for my family, and most of my friends… not because I don’t care, it just doesn’t seem to come up, somehow.

I have also come appreciate why one reader, who emailed me looking for guidance, seemed completely uninterested in anything I had to say after I told him I wasn’t working a full time job at the same time as ‘pursuing my dreams’.

I’ve learned that I like challenging myself. I long held onto the idea that I was very effort and challenge averse. And while I sometimes let some bad habits lead me astray, like when I get caught unaware by the treacherous anti-muse known as procrastinata, I am able to enjoy putting in more work than the bare minimum when I feel like there is a development going on.

I’ve re-learned that partying really isn’t my cup of tea. I make enough questionable decisions in a day without the assistance of alcohol thank you very much! If I’m in exactly the right kind of, light-hearted mood, then dancing can be fun without being wasted, but that takes the right crowd(of friends) + other factors that I’m not 100% clear on. Going to a club in the wrong mood with a less than ideal crowd just kind of feels like torture. Going out drinking also just feels too expensive for what it is. At least now my tolerance has probably dropped so if because of some emergency, medical or non-medical in nature, I should need to be shitfaced, that would be easier to achieve than it used to be in the past.

But I’ve also discovered, that it’s possible to become a little better, for your life to become a little better, through work and the interactions you have there.

What My Days Are Like:

I teach 4 classes of mostly good 6-7 year-olds English. Because of their age and level, most of the time my job is to teach them vocabulary, and more importantly, how to correctly pronounce the words, and maybe to understand an accompanying sentence or two. While this sounds droll and monotonous, the challenge of engaging as many of the kids as possible, not for the sake of their grades, but to teach some kids something, and hopefully inspire them to learn some more English in their free time. Something that could play open doors for them in the future. (Since it’s a private school, the majority of the students are probably not that ill off anyway, but there are some from families of moderate or quite minimal means that send their kids here as well.)

Most days I finish work and I feel good. Other days I might feel like I’ve dropped the ball, if my lessons weren’t engaging enough.

I’m still not exactly sure where I’m going, or what I want to do ‘for the rest of my life’ but I’m finding it a little bit easier to enjoy my days. And that means a lot to me. Maybe learning to let go of the dream first and just focus on doing now is what will end up getting me there.

3 Responses

  1. CC January 23, 2015 / 11:54 am

    good to hear from you and your message! recently I have gone back to work after a 2 year hiatus (my last job when to hell……. and I think several of the mgrs. will end up there-very deservingly so!) not sure how long it will last because I will retire w/ partner in the next 2 years. :)! keep on truckin’ dude! (there’s some slang for your class to study.)

  2. Jordan Bates January 27, 2015 / 6:59 am

    Hey dude, glad to hear teaching in Thailand is treating you well. Makes me want to get back to Asia and teach more too.

    • Ragnar Miljeteig February 1, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Thanks Jordan. I think the timing and the people I’ve more accidentally than not been able to surround myself with this time around is why I’m enjoying it more than my stay Japan. Plus the kids, and a little dose of added self-insight. Looking forward to see what’s in store for you, whether that means coming back for a second run, or going somewhere, and doing something, completely different.

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