Despite writing a blog about Alternative Income and not having to go to a regular job, for the last year I have been working as a teacher in an English academy here in Spain. I didn´t want a job. I certainly did not want to teach. After eight years of working from home however, it felt like the right time to dip my toe in the water, start socialising with other people, and get some variety in my life.
So for a year I taught English to 3-7 year old Spanish children. At the end of year I got a promotion to the ´inner circle´ of the academy, meant to help it grow and expand. This came with a nice juicy payrise and the first time in years I would have stable income but little time for anything else. Little time with the kids. Little time to work on my side projects. Little time to breathe.
As an immigrant in Spain, especially in quiet areas like Huelva with limited opportunities, you have to take some chances, and ´opportunities like this´ don´t come along very often. Of course, it came with a price in terms of time and quality of life, but my master plan was that it would give me the money to hire someone to help me with my business and move beyond the single entrepreneur trying to do everything myself.
I was very pleased with myself having moved off the feast and famine rollercoaster of working for yourself, only to realise that I had moved onto a bigger, faster, rollercoaster. Only this time I wasn´t in control. Instead of getting paid to do one job well, I was doing 3 jobs for the price of one and expected to do it all ´now´. After 6 weeks of usually getting in an hour early, working through my lunch and sometimes leaving late, I was asked to go in on a national holiday to work until midnight to fix a problem. I refused. I was fired the next day.
The details are not important. The point is that I should have been devastated. This could have been life changing. We would have had regular money. I could have bought a new car, moved house, bought new clothes, gone on holiday. Things. I could have had more ´things´. Instead, here I was faced with the familiar struggle of going out to find money to pay the bills, put food on the table etc. I was relieved. Relieved to be free of the tyranny of someone on their own emotional rollercoaster, preferring to manage my own time and be responsible for my own failures and successes.
Everyone was so worried for me and I thought my mother was going to have a heart attack on my behalf repeating over and over ´I´m sooooo sorry´. Which quickly changed to confusion when I said I was happy and that I wasn´t worried because I would find something else.
Sometimes my friends and family look at me like I am an alien. Either that or mentally disturbed.
The thing is, that is the advantage having worked from home, of living in a place where you have to use your initiative or drown. You learn to pick yourself up and try again. Find something else. Know there are other things available.
I had my first job offer the afternoon of the day I got fired but even if I hadn´t I knew where to look for other jobs and how to search for them effectively. I have a list of things I could fall back on if I had to after years of searching. Everyone should have that. Children should be taught that.
Which is why I am happy I got fired. I got to teach. I got to learn I like teaching, not just sharing knowledge and I am going to put that to good use teaching people how to find opportunities that will free them from the tyranny of mad bosses, crazy working hours, and low pay. Because when you get stuck in that hamster wheel it is difficult to get the time and the motivation to escape.
Yes, I am one of those people who finds a silver lining or a lesson to be learnt from every situation. It is was has kept me sane all these years. It is what gave me the courage to push through the darkest days. It is what gives me the chance to be free.