Monday, February 21, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Opinion Polling 

It's not often that I troll for advice, but then again, it's not often that I'm faced with a dilemma of this nature, or indeed of this magnitude.

Alreday first day back from spring break and there's so much to do and so much to decide upon. For the most part I've got my things in order. Perfectionist-planned to the last detail. I know where I'm going and I know how I'm getting there. Following the plans so that everything doesn't get last-minute backed up is another issue, but not one that is relevant today. I guess it's time for me to stop stalling and get to the point I'm trying to get your advice on today.

We all know that I'm a table games dealer with Great Canadian Casinos. We all know that this job pays obscenely well. While hourly I'm only really making minimum wage, I make $8-9/hr in tips in cash, paid to me weekly. That works out to about $100/week in cash in my pocket. The government doesn't get any of it and because I'm a student I don't even have to pay taxes on it (Full-time students are tax exempt). Hell, some weeks I even do better than $100/week if it's the season for giving. In addition to my ridiculous tips on top of my wages, there's the employee investment plan. Every paycheque a set amount is deducted (a set amount of my choice, mind) and it put into an investment plan for my retirement. The company matches whatever I contribute to this investment plan. In addition to the investment plan are employee stock options. Now I've just become eligible for this, but the company matches a third of your investment (i.e. if I invest 75 cents, the company will put 25 cents in for me) when you buy company stock. Company stock is valuable. Not only are we expanding our existing locations, we are also opening new casinos left right and centre. This is a company that has no where to go but up. Plus there are great benefits. Now, I don't qualify for benefits because right now I'm only working part-time and I'm on Jim's company plan anyway (that really isn't as good...), but this point is relevant because to work off student debt I would be working full-time with the casino.

The downside to this job is that it has absolutely nothing to do with my career goals, neither do I want to alter my career goals to include a future with this company. Don't get me wrong. It's probably the best company you can work for outside of government service on the west coast of Canada. It's just that I'm in school to be a speech pathologist. You know. Helping children with learning disabilities and blah blah blah blah. Oh fuck. I don't even like kids. I'm just in it because there's a global need for speech paths and therefore there's money in the business. Not to mention I love what I'm studying and I'm good at it. Unfortunately it's not like I'm working toward a future as a speech pathologist while I'm dealing mini baccarat. Sure, I mean, my customers sometimes seem to have learning disabilities, but I don't think that counts.

The kicker is that on a whim I sent my resume to some people who are currently recruiting ABA therapists. These therapists work one-on-one with autistic kids to try and help their behavioural development. It's very close to what I will be doing as a speech path especially if I want to join the school board after graduation - which I do. I got a call back and this Wednesday I will be meeting the family they want to pair me up with. If all goes well I will become the therapist for this little kindergarten-aged girl with autism.

The job with the little girl is so much closer to my career goals but there are no benefits, no investment plans, no stock options. The wage will be $8/hr to start (minimum wage) and will increase to $10/hr. I don't yet know how many hours I will get a week. It depends on the family and the child's needs and so far I don't know what this little girl needs from her therapist. I hope to know by Wednesday. I think I will be paid under the table, which means that I will be getting all this tax-free, but I will no longer be making the obscene amount of money that I am now making at the casino.

I cannot go to school full-time and maintain both jobs and my A average.

God I need a drink.

So here's where you, my esteemed reader comes into the picture. What the hell am I supposed to do? Wednesday is coming up quick and I don't know whether to accept the position should it be offered to me. Accepting the position means that I would have to quit the casino. Quit the casino I love that place. I love the people. I love my bosses. How many people can say that eh? I even love my customers. Well, some of them. And seriously, as far as I can tell, they love me back. In fact, I had this Taiwanese lady come in the other day and realise I understood Hokkien. Now we're not allowed to communicate with our customers in languages besides English for the plain and simple fact that it's rude to the other customers at the table who don't speak the language you are engaged in. But she knew I understood what she was saying and just had a grand old time talking to me. Apparently her kids only speak English and she hasn't had the opportunity to speak Tai Yi in a damn long time. I'm rambling now aren't I?

It's just such a hard decision. Do I give up money and working at a place that I like working at to work with the little autistic girl? I mean I don't even like kids and I've never worked with anyone with a disability. Maybe I'll fall for her when I see her on Wednesday. I don't know and I don't think it's fair for me to make any judgments on whether or not I will like being an ABA therapist until I actually do it. It's probably alot more rewarding than taking money away from chronic gamblers. Technically the casino's stand on employees that quit is that if they leave in good faith, they are welcome to reapply for future positions. I don't know how well that applies to me because I haven't passed probation yet. The casino is one bridge that I certainly do not want to burn. Not to mention the casino paid for me to become a dealer in the first place! A right way of saying thank you would be to forfeit their investment in me.

Gosh. Like I said. I don't often ask for advice, but I'm doing it now.


posted by Joie! at 1:41 PM

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