What’s in my head today

I managed to keep the blog offline for four whole weeks. But I needed to make an ANNOUNCEMENT so I’m online again.

I think I’m about to quit my job. There are a number of things I absolutely hate about the job.

  • Just before I started, my predecessor hired three new teachers, offering two of them twenty euros an hour and one of them sixteen euros an hour. (My predecessor wanted to deliberately make things difficult for the company on her way out.) One of my first jobs when I started was to tell these people that actually we were only offering fifteen an hour. Two of them have since, unsurprisingly, left.
  • I’ve had to tell former employees that if they come back to work for us, that it’ll be on a lower rate than they previously earned.
  • The teachers do not get sick pay. When one of the teachers had to go to hospital because her son had a medical emergency, I had to tell her that she wouldn’t be paid. That’s not human.
  • I’ve had to send students and teachers to our overflow classroom a half an hour’s walk away without any notice and pretend that it’s not a problem, and tell the teachers involved that they won’t get paid for the half-hour’s journey between classes.
  • The students, mainly Brazilians, have their attendance measured on fingerprint scanners, like a jail or something. If their attendance drops too low, it’s my job to expel them and report them to immigration, so that they can presumably be deported. We also check up their sick notes to make sure they’re not forgeries. These are people who came in on student visas and are now working as cleaners and bar servers and bouncers and it’s my job to report them to immigration for not coming to English lessons every day. Like that’s literally the definition of an evil job.
  • At Christmas, the school closes for three weeks. We subtract the time from students’ holiday allowance i.e. we continue to charge them. However, the teachers don’t get paid. It will be my job on the 16th of December to sign the teachers’ paperwork so that they can sign onto the dole FOR CHRISTMAS. I’m literally Ebenezer Scrooge. Teaching pays so badly that I’ve already had to sign paperwork for staff to apply for Family Income Supplement.
  • And it’s all a web of lies. We have a calendar of student social/cultural activities on the school website and Facebook but none of the activities ever happen. It’s all a lie. One of the teachers is under instructions to say he organises the social programme if an inspector visits the school, but he doesn’t. I’ve told so many lies to agents visiting the school, claiming that we do activities, that we have a variety of nationalities, that students prepare for a variety of international exams. So much bollicks. The school is genuinely trying to improve, but at the moment it’s basically a venue for Latin Americans to get easy visas with a veneer of education smeared on top.
  • Most of the school’s administrative staff are either JobBridge interns or Brazilian students and it all feels so ramshackle and cobbled together.
  • On Friday, in a staff meeting, I announced changes to teachers’ working practices. I think these are important changes, but they will involve extra work and the teachers asked for extra pay. I felt myself sneering at them. I knew they wouldn’t get anything extra. What kind of corporate bastard am I turning into?

Why did you take the job, Connor? I got carried away. I was sick of being poor. And after failing in my last two or three job interviews, I got really excited at being offered a job. Of course, it was a big mistake.

The job pays me €40,000 a year, which works out at about 2,500 after tax a month. I can’t find anywhere to rent less than €1400 a month. Unless I’m willing to share with someone and I’m not. I’m just not. I know it’s weird, but I can’t. I’d rather live in a hostel than have to share a flat with someone. There are little studio apartments for rent in Finglas and Ballymun for €800 or so, but anywhere that’s big enough for me and my bits and pieces is at least €1400 and often €1500 or €1600. And I’ve been looking in places I never dreamed of. I had to give up on finding somewhere in Dublin 2, 4 or 6 very quickly. I moved on to looking at Dublin 8, Dublin 12, Dublin 14, Dublin 16, Dublin 1, Dublin 3, Dublin 5 and Dublin 9. But I couldn’t find anywhere in those areas either. Landlords don’t answer the phone. They don’t answer emails. It’s a crazily competitive market. What the Hell is the point in working in management in a job I don’t like if I can’t live within a bus-ride of work? I did manage to get viewings further afield, in places I never thought I’d live. In Portmarnock, in Saggart, in Blanchardstown. But I got turned down for these. They were suspicious. Why would one person rent a flat with two bedrooms? They thought I was running a sub-letting business. They didn’t like that I’d only been in my job for a month, that I was moving from outside Dublin. They didn’t like that I was single. They all asked me how much I was paid and whether I had a girlfriend. Looking for a flat in Dublin is humiliating, slow and expensive. I was asked for two employers’ references at one flat, and for two landlords’ references at another. I was told by another that he would offer the flat to three people the next morning and whoever got the deposit into his account first would get the flat.

It’s going to take forever to find a flat. And I’m due to move out of my current house on Sunday. And is it worth it?

My pay is €2500, less €1400 for rent, €200 for my loan, €200 for my car, €90 for car insurance, €50 for my phone. Which leaves less than €500 for petrol, tolls, food and groceries, electricity, heating, bins, buses, entertainment, internet and TV. It’s certainly doable. Is it worth it?

I don’t think it is. Not for a job I don’t like.

There are things I liked about the job. I like doing new things. I like starting new projects. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing a health and safety statement. And the teachers were lovely. And my boss was kind to me and treated me well. And I will never object to being surrounded by tattooed Brazilian men. But enough is enough. This job isn’t the answer. I can’t really remember the question, but this job isn’t the answer.

And I have a narrow window. I haven’t signed my contract yet. Once I do, I’d have to give three months notice and then I’d be barred from working in the English teaching sector in Dublin for another six months. I need to get out of the job before I sign up to that.

So I’m going to put my stuff into storage and take it from there. At the moment, I’m thinking of going to London, teaching English from 9:00 to 1:00, living in a hostel, and doing all my writing and finding myself. I know this is the same basic plan as Longford was, but this time I’ve learned a few lessons first and it’s in London, somewhere where I want to see my name in lights.

I’m nervous about telling my boss. But I was more nervous about telling my mother. I knew she’d been disgusted by how difficult it was to find somewhere to live and she’d suggested getting a better paid job, so that was a crack to wiggle my finger in.

Surprisingly, it was fine. She was totally accepting of everything I said. For the first time ever, I had an honest conversation with her about wanting to get my book written and she was totally in support of it. She was fine with me taking something part-time, with me travelling a bit, so long as I didn’t go to the Middle East. She was kind of happy for me. This was new. Dad was a bit more cautious, but after they hung up, he rang me back twenty minutes later and told me it was never too late for a new start, that his cousin had gone from teaching to being a Garda. I hope that doesn’t mean I have to join the police. I don’t think I’ve felt as completely accepted by my parents since my Junior Cert results in 1996. It’s funny how life changes.

And I guess the blog is back. This job certainly wasn’t worth giving that up for!


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