Jan 23, 2012

The "Real" world interrupts, but we're not listening.

We have been very busy over the last few weeks getting our little farm set up. The biggest job has been fencing. With the horse and sheep on the way we need dog proof night paddocks and if we want the grass to survive in them there needs to be enough to allow some rotation and resting time for each one. The fencing is hard yakka, aching muscles are the order of the day, but for now I'm still enjoying the manual work.

Meanwhile there have been some rumblings along the few remaining links we have with the world of commerce. Vicki has had her hours reduced and it seems questions are being asked about my teaching hours by senior bean counters at the Tafe. It has been another year of disappointingly low enrolment numbers in the course I teach for. There is no malice, mistreatment or hostility involved at any point, its just the way these things go, a familiar pattern where budgets (people) are inevitably squeezed. Both Vicki and I are blessed with having great people to work with, when there is work.

So what does this mean?

Well in the short term not much, in both cases it is factors beyond our control that will take time to sort themselves out, and it could all amount to nothing. My work at the Tafe in particular seems to be under some kind of threat constantly and yet still keeps kicking along year after year (so far). So there is no point rushing off in a panic until things become clearer.

That said, I can't help but muse about what I might do if these jobs disappear. There are definitely no art jobs to speak off out this way. I have noticed there is no art education either (Tafe, Uni, etc), maybe I could put some signs up on noticeboards (noticeboards are a big deal in the country :P ) offering tuition for kids or something. We will be going to the local markets for the first time in about a week and I'm keen to see if there are any opportunities there. The Nanango markets are quite big, and almost every local I talk to goes to them. I don't really want to run a stall or anything, but I'm wondering if there are already people selling art, then they might be willing to sell some of ours as well on commission.

Then there is also the possibility that I walk away from commercial art completely. If so then I'd like to do something where I'm helping people and can feel good about my contribution at the end of the day. One thing you notice in the country is a much higher percentage of older folk, maybe I can get some work doing home help or similar, conveniently it also seems to be an area where they are often short staffed and looking for new employees.

For now though its just a case of steady as she goes. We only have meagre requirements for living. We also have more money set aside to spend on the farm set up. It feels counter intuitive to be spending large amounts of money when your income is shaky, but we just have to make sure the spending is focused on things that will save us money in the long run.

I suppose we could be moaning about this and crying something like, "Why now just after we moved?!?" But the truth is we feel more like, "Phew, at least we managed to move before this happened." If we were still in the suburbs this could have so easily become an excuse for procrastination. But we know from long experience that hanging out for some time when everything is stable and you have lots of money while working in commercial art is a fools errand. We are here now, we love it here, and we are going to make it work.


Boon said...

Good luck Ian. Knowing you and you're determination to make life about things that matter, I'm sure this will all work out for you.

Ian said...

Cheers Boon, encouragement helps :P
Good luck with your adventure too. Our journeys make interesting reference points for each other :)

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