Friday, June 4, 2010


I am tired. Once again I feel like I am treading water. I'm working hard on my artwork in my spare time. I got some great anatomical reference material and I've been practicing figure drawing and working on Intrepid Space Heroes. I've finally got the first comic written, inked, and half painted in photoshop.

I'm not sure what to do about work though. I've spent the last few months working and getting certified as a CNA. I don't know that I've mentioned it explicitly before. Thing is, if I write about it a lot I'm sure I will commit a HIPA violation and that's not cool.

It's better than my previous jobs in that it's easy to be invested in the work even though I know it's not something that I want to do for the rest of my life. The people I work with are great (by which I mean the residents, not necessarily my coworkers), and most of the time I enjoy it.

But the coworkers.... Most of them are nice enough, and do a good job. But some of them are mean, just phoning it in, super bitchy complainers, or just otherwise make the workplace as unpleasant as possible.

Lately there has been a big political shitstorm around the place. The administration is newish and has been rather at odds with the small town mentality. Last year for instance they brought the hospital into compliance with a state law that forbids smoking on the hospital campus. People continue to complain. I continue not to have any sympathy for those people whatsoever.

But this new administration just fired the wrong person. An individual who is just generally unfit for their job (due largely to substance abuse issues, just who you want working at a hospital right?) but someone who somehow has the loyalty of the small town mentality behind them. So now the administration that was brought in to pull the district into compliance with the law (it was way out of compliance on several points, and there was some embezzling) is under fire, and my boss has been forced to resign.

The thing is, if the hospital board is seriously going to side against my boss and the administration she represents in favor of scumbag drug dealers (seriously) I don't think that it's a place that I want to continue to work.

So now I'm contemplating yet another job search. I am tired of this town. There are almost no people here my age, and I have nothing in common with those few. I am finding it increasingly frustrating to not be out. I'm not really in fear of negative repercussions or anything, the town isn't super homophobic, but I know that my work life is easier while I'm not out. And I don't feel any particular urge to share anything of myself with any of my coworkers. I feel very isolated.

I know I would be happier anywhere larger. Walla Walla would be an improvement. But I have loans to pay off from my time at the Art Institute, and if I quit the hospital I will have to pay them back for my CNA training. I actually have enough saved to do that now but it would encompass all my savings, and the thought of saving up two or three times that amount so that I could put down a deposit on an apartment is daunting.

At the same time, like I said, I feel like I am treading water. All my family is happy about my CNA certification because it is a "real job." And of course my 5 years of various art school have proved to be largely a waste of time. Not to knock my classic liberal arts education. I learned a lot of important things and that knowledge has value. I learned how to write and how to think analytically and I did get a lot of practice with actual art. If I did it again, I don't think I'd do that differently. But the fact remains that after those four years of school I was no more qualified for a career than I was before.

And even the Art Institute wasn't a complete waste. Some of my classes there were excellent. It was just that some of them were a waste of time. I'm a good enough student that I know when I'm learning and when I'm not. And the AI was charging tuition on par with a not quite Ivy League school. And the classes just weren't on par. At all.

I really loved the good parts of my classes at the Art Institute. The work never felt like work. All my assignments were fun and I was always excited about them. I can't even say that about my beloved liberal arts school. I was so sure that animation was where I wanted to be.

Quitting the AI was really hard to do. I felt like I was giving up on my dream even though I told myself I was just putting it on hold. Now, because of this shakedown at the hospital I am at another crossroads. My plan was to work there the requisite two years, save money, pay off my debts and then enroll in the online animation school Animation Mentor. The buzz when I was at AI was that it was a better school, where your teachers were all working in the industry at places like Pixar and Dreamworks. The tuition was low and it was completely online and that it had an excellent reputation in the industry.

Well that school is still there. I spent most of this afternoon looking at the website and it looks enormously appealing. It's an 18 month program and the tuition for the entire time is less than the one year I spent at the AI. You only take one class at a time and you have constant contact with your mentors and with the other students.

And I think, what am I waiting for? My debts aren't enormous, but making $9 an hour it's already going to take me years to pay them off. I could save up a bunch and move back to Portland, or I could stay here and hope that the work and the community that the school boasts that it fosters will be enough to make me content to stay where I am for 18 months. But 18 months is a doable time frame. It's better than the amorphous time frame it will take me to pay off my loans.

So I think what I will do now is look for a job with steady hours. I'm tired of being jerked around at my current place of employment. We are short staffed and since I'm not married and don't have kids they figure that it isn't important for me to have any kind of regular sleep schedule.

Besides, it's an online school. I can do it anywhere. I could apply right now and start with the winter classes.

The things I want are; a job that isn't too stressful, my own living space, the puppy that I'm already on the waiting list for, and this school. If I stay here I can have all these things. Hell I could apply at the school today and have until classes start to work out my job situation. I mean, I already have a full time job that pays reasonably well, it's just that the current climate sucks. It might get better. I'm not betting on it, but it might. I'm a little shy of this school turning out to be like the AI all over again, but they charge you as you go. So I wouldn't be out the full cost of the program if I decided not to keep going. And if I am still desperate to get away, I can still save up the extra to move.

So we will see.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I hope you move back to Seattle. But that's just me wanting you to live closer.

    I still don't understand why repaying student loan debt wasn't part of the stimulus plan.