Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Montreal: My new temporary home

I have officially been in Montreal for half a week.  Here is an overview of my place.  Pictures will come.

~3ish miles from school
~eastern part of Montreal (which is really north, but they have kooky directions)
~third floor flat of a three floor town house.  These are very common.
~Front and back deck
~My own room, but it is part of larger room divided by a giant curtain.
~Fully furnished!
~No garbage disposal
~Have to hold the shower head yourself
~Meal worms!!!!!!!!  At least I know how to handle them from when I lived on Spaight Street.
~Nobody has complained about me practicing oboe yet.
~My neighborhood speaks French and English only if you ask.
~My neighborhood is only a few blocks from Montreal's "Petite Italie".
~There is a wonderful farmer's market/organic food stores that is open all week during business hours 3 blocks from my place.
~I have 3 roommates, but I have only met one
      *Tanya is from Ukraine
      *Margherita is from Canada
      *Elizabeth is from Mexico
      *We have the majority of the North American continent represented!
~BGSU sent my transcripts without proof of withdrawing, which I just learned today they don't put on a transcript, but McGill needs it, so an official letter is being sent by BGSU. Why do things have to be so complicated!  I could have arranged this in July if 1)  I would have known BGSU doesn't put records of withdrawing on transcripts or 2) If McGill would have told me that the transcript didn't have the information they wanted when they received it a month ago!
~I heard the health care is horrible here.   Major months of waiting for a simple appointment.  ER visits have waits up to 24 hours.  Internationals have it worse than Canadians.

That is the overview.  Pictures soon!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Private, Corporations, Non-Profit, Government

I have worked a wide variety of jobs in my life.  I used to compare them by how much I made and how many hours I could get.  I have recently been thinking about what was expected from me, how I was treated politically, religiously, if I got what was owed to me, etc.  Here is the breakdown:

Rice Lake Convalescence Center: Dietary Aide (Government)
~ 15 hours a week
~Close to 9 dollars an hour
~food included
~fast-paced work, held to exact break times
~held to state regulations and unexpected inspections
~need to do a good job, or you could kill an old person
~hours subject to nepotism of manager
~Sunday church was respected
~Didn't have any down time outside of breaks

Culver's (Privately Owned Franchise)
~20-30 hours a week
~$8/hour
~50% off of food while working, 25% off while not working
~One 15 minute break between 5 and 11 hours of work
~two 15 minute breaks if you have 12 hours of work
~Fast paced at meal time
~Sunday church was respected
~hours subject to amount of time employed (longer with Culver's= more hours)

Custodial Staff at UW-Madison Eagle Heights (Government)
~40 hours a week (mid-May-end of August)
~Monday-Friday
~$9.37/hour
~teams of two (about ten teams) clean individual apartments in a large neighborhood and are checked on by two supervisors who can verify if an apartment is done and move them to the next apartment
~two 15 minute breaks, one half-hour lunch
~did wait up to three hours to be inspected once we were done= nap and reading time (paid)
~many teams wasted time, slept, read, when supposed to work, so were extremely slow and making the same amount of money as the hard-working teams
~Weekends off, but had a possibility of being called on Saturday or Sunday for emergency cleaning

Kohl's (Corporation)
~Depended on season; off-season: 15 hours/week, regular: 25 hours/week, holiday: 35-40 hours/week
~Able to pick-up overtime during holiday season
~Can trade, pick-up, or give-away hours
~$7.20/hour
~Yearly reviews and raise scales
~part-time health care packages available after one-year of service
~I was always able to ask off for gigging
~Hours subject to availability
~Sunday mornings respected

Oboe and Piano Lessons (Private)
~I can raise my own rates- High School I charged $10 per half hour, I raised it in college, and after I had my degree, I raised it to $30/hour
~I had a policy where you could get out of lessons due to sickness and had one parent/student badly abuse that policy
~Some parents were extremely flexible
~I prefer teaching through an organization, like the Community Music Lessons program at the UW.  The site is neutral and payment is controlled through the main office, so I would always get paid.

BGSU Graduate Assistant (Government)
~I taught oboe methods
~twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays
~free tuition and a $224 stipend/month
~preparation for lesson plans, information sheets, grading, quiz and text writing, grade entering
~subject to two observations by my advisor a semester (which I was notified in advance)

Blessed John XXIII (Private-Church)
~$38.50/service, $100/service for holiday
~9:45 am Sunday morning service, able to pick up Saturday night services sometimes
~Sight read hymns on oboe
~Great director/pianist, all staff got along, well-organized, musicians are often graduate music students
~Have to give up my Sunday morning church, but not required to be Catholic
~Religious discussions encouraged
~However, service content was conservatively Christian

AWSO (Non-Profit)
~Contracted at $1500 between June 15-August 4 (contract promises to pay musicians for all weeks played in case of cancellation)
~Paid $750 for June 15-July 22
~Sent a letter saying that they cannot finish paying for us due to lack of funds
~Musicians don't have enough organization to strike back
~Organization allowed to do whatever
~Cannot declare bankruptcy.
~Our Sundays were controlled and religion was mocked by director at the services.
~Poorly managed
~Director in cahoots with politicians to get him out of jail, get corporation money, etc.

All my work experiences are very unique.  I found that the fairest situations were run by corporations.  You have to work, you start out at a low pay level, but can move up in the pay scales, your religious affiliations are respected, you are paid according to contract, I have been able to pick-up and give-away hours, and I have had the ability to learn more to move up in my position.

I want to make my living just doing music, but I feel that I will need to do something more stable on the side.  I find that the more structured the company/job, the more equal it is to everybody.  When individual people make all the decisions and have nobody to answer to, the workers can be cheated out of hours, money, ability to stay at the job, etc.  These are my experiences.  Here is some food for thought: