Monday, October 8, 2012

A Paying Gig: 5 years, 573,00 hits and 1200 posts later....

Well, I finally did it- I cracked the glass ceiling, I'm being paid to write. Why am I telling you this? I'm letting you know because I've been sensing some tension in the interwebs, a trembling in the ether... a warble in the Force if you will. Or maybe that's just the digital rumblings of a bunch of faithful readers pissed off at me for not posting anything lately. Sorry guys and gals, I've been distracted chasing a little supplemental income. In an uncommon step away from what we both love (stand up paddling in all of its forms), let me take you into my personal life and explain a little bit of my situation.

I've got a great job, my real one that is; I'm a science teacher here in one of the coolest high schools in San Diego. Why is it so cool? Because, we've got great kids, with huge hearts and mostly empty pockets. The school that I teach at qualifies for what is known as 100% Free and Reduced Lunch- in short, it's not the type of place that I went to school at and, if you're buying your own standos and paddles, I'm betting it's not the type of place you attended either. I love it, for the community around it and for the kids who find a way to make it here every day. I also love it because it's five blocks from, what can sometimes be, the grindiest, gnarliest left hand zipper for miles around. In a weird twist of all that I've known about California beach property, homes here on the West Side (beach) are not as highly valued as those on the East Side (inland), so we're kind of the black sheep of San Diego which is perfect for me since it allowed me to buy a home walking distance to the beach. Even better, the school that I teach at is a two minute bike ride to work from my home- so I'm set up, $5 gas be damned. 

Now, I think I may be an anomaly among educators (I know I'm going to piss somebody off here- sorry) but I'm the guy who never complains about our salary. In fact, I hate it when I hear my colleagues complaining about what they make- for two reasons: One, I've always felt that this was the choice I made and if it was not working out for me, I should find another way to make my living (the beauty of living in these here United States). And, two, dude- we only work 180 days per year! I'm afraid the second that fact is widely known, the gig is going to be up and our sweet deal will be gone. Don't get me wrong, we need the time off. By the time summer rolls around, I'm cooked; working with kids all days (who come with different abilities to act like good citizens- that's code for "act like a human") takes it out of you and a break to recharge the batteries and get fired up to do it all over again is a necessity if you want good teaching to happen. That being said, it's expensive to live here in San Diego and (I promise I'm not getting into politics here but I don't think our school funds are  managed very skillfully... just sayin') this year, our pay was cut by 7% and the school year cut short by 14 day! I know, that means more surf trips- I get it, but really that's not so great for kids and learning. As far as the paycut, I wish I could say I'd skip a latte now and then to make up for it but if you know me, then you know the coffee I drink comes from the bottom of the coffee food chain. 

So what have I done? Well, of course, I've been out hustlin'... which I believe is the American way. And it's been fun. I do have advertisers on this site who have been great (with the exception of one deadbeat company who has stiffed me completely and whose tile shall soon disappear from this site): Stamps has made me excellent boards and kept me in them for years, Boga - these guys have become good friends and their boards and customer service are top notch, Isle - my longest running sponsors have made it possible for me to teach stand up paddle lessons by giving me equipment, Bic and their SUP exec Jimmy Blakeny are a class act based on integrity and professionalism with good equipment that's just getting better and finally, the new kid on the block, Creed SUP and owner Randy who have believed enough in me to give me a full time writing job (I write their blog, here's an example of what I'm up to click here). Which brings me completely full circle as to why the hell there hasn't been as much new content this year: I'm fucking busy teaching during the day and writing at night! 

This site is my baby, however, and this baby needs to be fed (new bloggers would always ask me for advice and I'd say: Feed the blog- it's always hungry). And I shall feed it because it's been a life changer for me. Seriously, committing to this thing has changed me for the better, forced me to develop a writer's discipline, allowed me to meet some of you guys and, damn, finally allowed to develop some type of writing clarity (Miss Oakes, wherever you are, thank you!). Writing, I've found, is a passion and it's here that I get a chance to practice it, on you guys who've stuck with me all these years. So Thanks folks- I'm still here, I'm still contributing and I'm still stoked. Talk more soon.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Bro! You are one of the hardest working guys I know. I remember when you 1st started this adventure & was stoked that it's been successful. Cheers, Alexis

Anonymous said...

Awesome John!
Love the blog as usual-stoked on your new gig-bummed i wont get to surf with you as much here at the Patch but i totally get it and im feeling the crunch too averaging 14 MPG in my work truck!
Oh well, life goes on, the strong adapt and survive and you have done that.
God Bless and hope to see you in the water soon!