In trying to determine what classes I wanted to teach in the fall, I found myself confronted with two very different options:
- Teaching three times a week in the morning.
- Teaching twice a week in the evening.
Each presents its pros and cons. Option #1 has 33% more commute, and I'd have to get up earlier than I'd prefer, but it leaves my afternoons and nights free for yoga, the band, and maximizing my hours teaching karate. Option #2 has less commute, and the hours better suit my sleeping habits, but it cuts into my other interests and responsibilities.
When faced with a logistical conundrum, I turn to the most practical man I know: my dad. He was happy to calculate my gas mileage, ask the important questions, and help me determine which option would work best for me.
He emphasized that I ultimately needed to consider income versus quality of life. I'll be making the same amount of money at the college regardless of which option I choose, but option #1—despite having an additional $16 per week in gas expenses, according to my dad's calculations—allows me to make more income at my other job because it keeps my evenings free. Option #2 may allow me to sleep later, but its schedule restricts the income I can make outside the college.
The issue comes down to money versus happiness. Is it better to make a lot of money and be exhausted and/or miserable, or is it better to make less money and be happier? I've done both, and the best choice is something in the middle.
I don't think either option is necessarily better or worse. Because I've never taught college before, considerable experimentation will be required before I can determine what sort of schedule best fits my financial and emotional needs. It was a tough call, but at this point, my priority is to maximize income; an increased income will actually improve my quality of life. As such, option #1 feels like the best choice. If it ends up being terrible, I can modify my teaching schedule next semester.
It seems unfortunate that questions of money and questions of happiness are so frequently intertwined, but to a certain extent, one does inform the other. Hopefully, a middle ground isn't too difficult to engineer.
But when in doubt, always ask Dad.