Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life, streaming....

Firstus, to set the mood, a video link via Peter:

Which is rather what the last week has felt like. In reality, it's not that... um.... frenetic, but for a creature of habit such as I, it's been unstintingly crazy.

I am mentally preparing for having this career end by June. There is some chance I may continue teaching at that school, as an adult ed instructor, but admin is as responsive as ever about it. That means 100% stone cold zero communications in return to multiple queries and enticements to converse.

(Looking at my paycheck 'stub' a little closer last week, and working the calculator a bit, I reached a rather stunning conclusion. I don't need to replace my reasonably decent salary as a public school teacher... I just need to replace the actual take home pay I get to live on.... which is roughly HALF what I earn. By the time all the Federal, State, and Local taxes are sucked away, along with (recently skyrocketed) medical coverage, mandatory pension 'contributions', union dues, uniform fees, and support payments (ending in a few months)... half my earnings vanish before I ever write a rent check. Yes... medical coverage is going to be a serious worry, as will retirement (HA!) benefits if I live that long. Frankly.... I don't expect to.)

Obviously, I cannot count on that situation panning out, and must prepare multiple backup plans. Towards that end, I begin teaching for HACC come Summer, but just a single evening course one day a week. That certainly won't pay the bills, but maybe it will cover a few small ones. Added to that, they just asked me to do a Fall course as well. Okay... bit by bit... I'll make it happen.

I've also been asked by some adult evening students in my PENNDot certification course to consider doing a class on diagnostics. I've been asked the same many, many times before, but never really considered taking the time to put it together. Now, under a different situation, it's a different proposition. Yes... I am strongly considering building and marketing my own series of diagnostics seminars for technicians. There is not much else around here like that, and there may be a niche market for me to fill. 20 people at $50 a head. $200 room rental. $100 in hand out materials. $100 in refreshments. What's left would pay some bills quite nicely.

So, right now in an effort to put a little cash away, I am working days... teaching evening courses... doing E-bay sales... working Craigslist and Armslist... and actively accepting side work on vehicles for the first time ever. Life is getting... hectic.

Considering that, what would a regular Joe like me do? Take on something new! I've been speaking with two publishing houses about reviewing books for them, and doing so on my Carteach0 blog. Not a paying gig, but lots of kewl free books and some nice material for a weekly regular spot on the blog. That may help drive traffic... which may help with the miniscule ad revenue from that blog. Like my Daddy would have said... "When in doubt, work harder!".


Rev. Paul said...

I have no doubt that you are a survivor, with many marketable skills.

Didn't say it would always be comfortable, though.

trailbee said...

Told you. The doors of opportunity are opening. What may have looked mundane and not so desirable earlier, because you were totally involved in something, now is bearing seeds of interest. :)

og said...

Look, you knucklehead, the work you do teaching people is one of the best skills you have.

Look at the BS out there like "Pimp my ride" and "Two guys garage" and that goofy "gearz" show. You need to be thinking about a series of videos that demonstrate to the budding car wrench that he doesn't have to be afraid of doing his own repairs. There are youtube videos, but a powerful lot of them are crap. I'd start with a video about basic tools and how to select them; how to get good quality tools without spending a lot of cash (My road kit has a Harbor Freight Socket set which has never ever failed me) and what kinds of tools you need to start with. Then I would do things like alternator r&r, radiator r&r, starter r&r, moving up to water pump, CV axle, wheel bearings, etc.

So many people are taken advantage of by shops, people will watch the videos just to know what the Mechanic is going to be doing.

From there you could move on to OBD systems and simple CANbus, how to identify problems (a P0420 alarm usually will get a mechanic to convince the owner to change a cat, when it's usually actually an Oxygen Sensor failure)despite the "intended" applications.

And of course how to diagnose bad "new" parts.

You're a teacher for a reason. Teach!

Peter said...

May I add a suggestion? Look for people of like mind to yourself, who are facing the same sort of problems. It really helps to build a little community, helping each other to survive. That can be as little as sharing a meal when one of the team's in a tight for money to buy food; or it can be fixing a car, or cleaning up around the house, or whatever . . . but it all helps keep everyone going.

That's what I've done where I'm living now. There aren't many of us, but because we care, and help wherever we can, we all have it just that little bit easier.