Easier said than done…

The Universe, life, God, or whatever your existential bent may be, frequently tests your commitment to any plans, goals, or values you dare to speak aloud. Less than a week ago, in April 2021 – Life Update, I stated:

5) Consulting Work – This continues to be a balancing act. I have accepted a second project that will take me through the end of May but I will not accept any new work over the summer. I know! It doesn’t really seem as though I am in a position to be turning down lucrative work. However, taking the second semester of organic chemistry over the summer will be very intense, and other than work at University B, which is much more lax at universities during the early summer, I want that to be the only priority.

Right. Having dared to speak this allowed, I get the following email from a colleague this afternoon:

Hi, AP.

We were hoping to have our new (insert outstanding role) in place before the (the summer camp), but it is looking like that is not going to happen, so we are in a position to hire a couple of people to be (instructors at a virtual camp). I don’t know how much flexibility you have with time in your job, but we would love for you to be a part of the (camp staff) if you might be able to swing it.  We know it’s a long shot but figured it couldn’t hurt to ask!

Typical daily schedule is here: (link removed)

Pay would be $2,000 for the two weeks. 

Please let me know if you might be interested and if you have any questions! 

Take care, Colleague

Ugh. This should be a no-brainier. I should have immediately responded to my colleague stating, “Thanks so much but no thanks this summer.” But I have not done this. Instead I have spent the last half hour trying to figure out how I can do all three (job at University B, summer camp, and summer class). Realistically, it’s not possible to do all three and the most significant friction is between my planned academic summer course and the virtual camp schedule.

I don’t know why I haven’t already responded to my colleague. That’s not true. I do know. It’s called, “opportunity cost.” There is a real cost of applying to medical school and there is an opportunity cost, and I have never gotten quite as comfortable with the later as I am with the former.

4 thoughts on “Easier said than done…

  1. Oh gosh! I’m not even going to pretend to have the slightest clue on what to do if I was in your situation. On one hand $2000 is so nice but if you already know it’ll be impossible to juggle all your priorities then it’s better to just rip the bandage and send that email so you don’t have to expend any more energy thinking about it.

    I also don’t know much about instructor work but I’m under the impression that instructor work usually involves preparation prior to the actual teaching so while $2000 for 2 weeks sounds nice, how many total hours will you have to devote to the preparation + actual instructor work? It may make it easier to turn down the gig if you calculate your hourly rate and find that it’s lower than expected.


    • You were correct. It was best to rip the bandage off than keep thinking about it. Email response sent.

      The prep is pretty low as it is work that I have done previously in a full time capacity and the age group is low. It’s for about three hours a day for five days a week. Its a specialized academic activity and support for it gets lumped in with academic tutoring. Pay rates are generally pretty good. I think it was hard turning it down because it’s not often this opportunity comes up and it had more to do with the situation they found themselves in (not having a permanent instructor hired by now).

      Ultimately, while driving to campus to sit for a final exam I realized that if I am so fortunate as to be able to pursue medicine, there will be lots of opportunity costs in the future. I might as well start getting comfortable with that.


  2. Ooh this is tough. BUT. I think your instinct to say “sorry, not this summer” is correct. Consider: you’d have to pay taxes on this. So you’re really looking at $1500 or so. You don’t really have the time. Maybe as you write the email remind yourself how much you’re saving in rent by living with your parents.


    • Lol, all good advice. It really boiled down to: “You don’t really have the time.” OR bandwidth.

      As I said to Avery above, I’ve realized that if I am so fortunate as to be able to pursue medicine, there will be lots of opportunity costs in the future. I might as well start getting comfortable with that.


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