Responsibility Vs. Opportunity

Things have taken a sharp turn for the positive in the past week. Last week I had a landlady accusing me of breaking her lawnmower, a dog with such severe anxiety about being trapped indoors that she was tearing apart the house, and a job that was stringing me along without actually sending me an employment contract. This week, my other housemate backed me, reassuring me that there is no way that I accidentally broke this lawnmower by moving a few things in our shared shed because the part my landlady accused me of breaking off the mower wasn’t even FOUND in the shed when he helped her move the mower out. I WAS FRAMED! As for the dog, since I live part time in Alexandria, VA and part time in Brookneal, VA it seems her stress was mostly a result of being in our Brookneal home for an unusually long amount of time (it was spring break at the schools where I teach dance in Alexandria) and she was missing the freedom of our fenced in back yard in our Alexandria home. Last but not least, THE JOB.

After weeks of poor communication and back and forth with the owner, I started work at a new arts center opening up in Sterling, VA. The venue is an absolutely beautiful center dedicated to what they describe in the brochure at the four main arts – Music, Dance, Visual Arts, and Theatre (in my opinion creative writing is certainly a MAIN ART), but the point is – it’s an INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER. Literally the perfect place for my particular passions. I was hired there as part time Program Coordinator and Dance Instructor and started yesterday.

It turned out, the owner of the center is a fabulous character with a deep and real passion for the arts. Although there is a language barrier (she is Chinese) I feel a great dedication to helping her dream of making this center great come true. The problem is, the center has been quite mismanaged and poorly run for the past year which is why it is currently not running and she is trying to start it up again. There are several vigorously negative reviews of the venue online and although this is somewhat a put-off being that I want to work for an arts venue that is loved and respected by the public, it also gives me this spark of adrenaline inside, that “LETS MAKE THIS GREAT!” feeling. The feeling of an epic challenge.

There is a lot to do to improve the classes, curriculum, website, company procedures, staff communication, and the center’s reputation, and a lot that I believe I have to offer. Unfortunately, Since I work 3 other part time jobs I am only able to dedicate 19 hours a week to this project and am being paid the hourly wage of an Office Receptionist to be one of only 3 employees (including the director herself) who come in each day to work.

So here I am. I WANT to devote all my time to this venture, I WANT this beautiful place, this inspired but failing idea of a arts paradise to succeed, and I want to be instrumental in it’s success, but I cannot live on what I’d earn full time there at my current wage without my other part time jobs, and I cannot work there for regular full-time hours without leaving my other part time jobs.

….. and then today, I find a post on Indeed from the same arts center. They are looking for a full time employee to be Program Director for Performing Arts. The job description is almost exactly what I am doing now, and the salary would be enough for me to quit my other part time jobs. The qualifications posted are WELL UNDER my own qualifications, my Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Masters Degree in Teaching Dance and English LA making me the PERFECT candidate.

A large part of me wants to go into work tomorrow and demand that position, and offer to quit my other jobs for it. BUT I have responsibilities to my other employers, despite two being only once in a week and the other being 1 to 3 classes in a day, those employers and those dance students rely on me to teach, and if I were to give the full month’s notice they deserve before moving on, there is no doubt the opportunity at the arts center would have gone to someone else.

So if you read this and have some thoughts or advice, I could use them now. What do you think? Should a person jump on opportunity when it presents itself at all costs? Or should a person remain loyal to responsibilities whether or not that is in the best interest of their career? is their a happy medium?

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